Elissa Wall Now: Where is Ex-FLDS Member Today? – ‘Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey,’ a Netflix docuseries, explores the religious practices of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Underage marriage, child abuse, and polygamy were all common under Warren Jeffs as their prophet. Elissa Wall discusses her experiences as a member of the church on the show.
She was 14 years old when she was forced to marry her cousin against her will in 2001. However, Elissa’s voice was essential in exposing the awful events taking place within the FLDS facility a few years later. So, how about we learn a little more about her?
Recommended: Where are Ex-FLDS Members Lloyd and Myrna Wall Now?
Who is Elissa Wall?
Elissa Wall was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 7, 1986, to Douglas and Sharon (Steed) Wall, both members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) (FLDS). Following the LDS Church’s decision to abolish polygamy in 1890, the FLDS broke from the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Sharon was the second of three spouses for Wall’s family, who practised polygamy.
As is customary among the FLDS, Wall’s parents had a big family, with Lloyd having 24 children in total and Sharon having 14. FLDS women wore “length pioneer type dresses”, and their hair was fashioned in traditional buns and braids. Makeup, tattoos, and piercings were not permitted, and the required underwear covered their entire form “from the wrist to the ankle and well up to the neck.” Wall attended the Alta Academy, which was owned and administered by the church, as did other FLDS youngsters.
Warren Jeffs, a community leader, began reading from the Book of Mormon at 8:00 a.m. “You were expected to attend and take notes regardless of your age,” Wall recalled. “It had been a highly religious upbringing… You hung on to every word as a child in that world. I recall believing in it so strongly that it almost consumed me.” Her education was later referred to as “brainwashing” by her.
When Wall was 13, her mother was reassigned to marry another man, Fred Jessop, and the first big crisis in her life happened. In the year 2000, Wall, her mother, and her sisters moved to Hildale. Because the new family was so large, the youngsters were compelled to eat in shifts. In terms of parts of her life that she had to re-acclimate to, she compared the experience to start a new school. Several of her brothers and sisters eventually quit the religion or were banished.
Rulon Jeffs, the FLDS leader, arranged for a 14-year-old Wall to marry her 19-year-old cousin, Allen Steed, in 2001. Wall revealed that she loathed her cousin and requested more time or a different potential husband. However, her stepfather and mother were enthusiastic about the marriage and encouraged her to go ahead with it, even creating her wedding gown and planning her honeymoon. At the Hotsprings Motel in Caliente, Nevada, she married Steed. Warren Jeffs, who had earlier insisted on the wedding going forward, officiated at the event.
The marriage, according to Wall, was horrific, with repeated rapes and miscarriages. She claims she never received any sex education in school and, as a result, was unable to comprehend her husband’s advances. She began spending nights sleeping in her truck after her marriage with her cousin went apart, and it was there that she met former FLDS member Lamont Barlow.
Wall, who was 17 at the time, began an affair with Barlow, who was 25 at the time and encouraged her to leave the church with him. When she became pregnant by him, the affair was discovered, and Jeffs had his marriage to Steed annulled. Wall left the FLDS and married Barlow, with whom he had two children.
Wall filed charges against Jeffs in 2006, and he was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. In August of that year, he was detained in Nevada while traveling “in a red Cadillac containing $54,000 in cash, 15 cellphones, three iPods, laptop computers, a police scanner, a stack of credit cards, and two female wigs, one blonde and one brunette.” Wall was referred to as Jane Doe IV while testifying, but she later requested that her name be made public. Jeffs was found guilty of two counts of rape accomplice in September 2007.
Where is Elissa Wall Now?
Lisa eventually reported her forced underage marriage to the authorities. Warren was charged as a result of this, and she testified about how he was to blame for the marriage. “This strong, scorching, consuming rage impacted my daily existence for a while,” she explained. Then I understood that I was allowing them to rule my life by being furious. It’s not that I’m not upset anymore; it’s just that I wanted to move past it because carrying it around with you everywhere you go is taxing.”
Warren’s conviction was reversed before he was convicted of sexually abusing underage girls, despite Elissa’s testimony is vital. HarperCollins publishers announced in January 2008 that Elissa Wall was working on a “tell-all” book, which was set to be released in April of that year. She elected to use pseudonyms for most of the characters in the book, but she left the names of the plaintiffs and a few other church members alone.
The book centred on Wall’s marriage to Allen Steed, whom she regarded as “boorish and weird,” and offered background for her life inside the FLDS. She shared her feelings about polygamy and the troubles it caused her as a child.
Lisa Pulitzer was contacted to audition as a ghost writer for Wall by HarperCollins. Pulitzer refers to herself as “the official cult gal” since she enjoys crafting escape stories and can make her subjects feel more at ease while doing so. “Elissa referred to three women as mothers,” she explained. “However, as a member of a blended family, I am aware of the complexities of relationships and loyalties.”
Wall’s lawyer remarked, “It’ll be a fantastic book. Her tale has never been told. She’s just been told snippets of it.” Attorneys representing Steed and Warren Jeffs were angered by the decision to publish the book before the end of the trial, claiming it would jeopardise their clients’ right to a fair trial.
Warren and the church were ordered to pay her $16 million in damages by a judge in September 2017. Elissa had already received $2.75 million in cash and property from a trust that held the majority of the land in Short Creek, which straddled the Arizona-Utah border and was home to some of the church’s members.
Elissa planned to utilise the funds to assist others who had left the group like her. Elissa divorced Lamont after having two children with him, Tyler and Emily. Elissa presently resides in Hildale, Utah, with her three children (all of whom are now teenagers) and her online alternative baby clothes company. She filed to run for Hildale City Council in 2019.