When Elissa Wall escaped Warren Jeffs's polygamous community at the age of 17, she had no idea she would help bring down the man she once recognized as her prophet. During the trial, Elissa was known to the world only as Jane Doe IV, one of the women who testified against Jeffs. He was convicted on two counts of accomplice to rape in September 2007.
In April 2008, authorities needed Elissa's help again. Investigators asked Elissa to return to the FLDS compound in Eldorado to help them communicate with the frightened women and children. "It is a very different culture than people even realize," Elissa says. "They have different meanings to different words, and they use completely different words that people here would not have a concept of an understanding for."
Elissa says the events that unfolded happened very differently than some people are portraying. "[Law enforcement] went in very, very carefully and very kind. They did everything they possibly could to be kind and respectful to the people."
Back at her old home, Elissa says she recognized some of the women and understands why they would feel deceived. "It's very hard for the women to understand. Many of them don't have a concept for abuse," Elissa says. "In their eyes, they don't feel abused. So, yeah, some of them felt like they were lied to. Some of them felt like it was forced."
Elissa says she also saw young, pregnant girls. "It was hard to see that they continue to condone the young, young, young marriages and pregnancies," she says. "They honestly do believe that they are taken care of. A girl's greatest goal in that culture is to be married, no matter the age."