Elissa is now sharing the story of her life in a new book Stolen Innocence . At only age 14, Elissa was told to marry her 19-year-old cousin Allen. "At first, I was shocked. There was many girls older than myself that were in [my] family, and it was very shocking," she says.
The marriage had been arranged without Elissa's consent. "The people who are actually in the marriage do not decide for themselves," she says. "Someone acting on the prophet, who they call the leader, on his behalf, is the one who arranges the marriages and decides who goes with who."
Elissa says she petitioned her church leaders, Warren Jeffs and the prophet at the time to delay the marriage several times. "I asked them if they could wait. I wanted at least two years to grow up," she says. "When I later found out who I was to be married to, who was my cousin, that really upset me, and that's also one thing I begged them is that they could at least find someone else for me to marry other than my cousin."