At the time Elissa married, she says she thought beds were only meant for sleeping and didn't know anything about sex. "I was like many, many girls from there. They don't teach a sexual knowledge. They don't teach you human anatomy," she says. In fact, Elissa says it's often up to the husband to teach a woman about sex.
Elissa says she was so uncomfortable with physical contact she refused to kiss her husband on their honeymoon, a group road trip with other couples who were married the same day. "Most of the girls didn't know their husband beforehand, so it's kind of a get to know one another," she says. Elissa says the other couples dared her cousin to kiss her while they took a picture. "Allen just grabbed me one day and just brought me in for a kiss. Even as I look at it today, it hurts me to see that I was so uncomfortable. I was blocking him with both my arms to push him away."
Elissa says her marriage was not consummated on her wedding night, but she cried and shook with fear the night it did happen. "It was very traumatic, coming from a very innocent mind where I knew nothing of even the anatomy of my own body," she says. "[My husband] told me that that was the prophet's and God's will, that this was his job and right as a husband of mine."
Talking about sex outside the marriage was taboo, Elissa says, so she couldn't share her fears with anyone—including her fears about having a child with birth defects. "I didn't know a whole lot. I just knew that it was not very good for people to marry that close," she says. But Elissa says there is not concerned about close marriages producing children with birth defects because the marriages are considered arranged by the prophet and God's will. "They look at it as a child who was so special he had to come to earth," Elissa says.
Elissa's former husband, Allen Steed, has been charged with one count of rape. When contacted, his attorney issued a statement saying Allen has pled not guilty and is contesting all charges. He is anticipating a trial.