Not only would I pray, I would fast in the hope that God would understand my concerns. The phone call with Uncle Warren had drained the last of my energy, but a piece of me felt better knowing that I'd told him my thoughts. Honestly believing and trusting that the priesthood leaders would listen to me, I felt my anxiety begin to ease.

Back in my room, I knelt by my bed and spoke to God as if he were my friend. "I believe you are listening to me," I said, closing my eyes and envisioning him before me. "And that you have my interest in mind. I'm begging you." Fighting back sobs, I gathered strength. "I know you are up there and you can hear me. If I have proven myself worthy, then you can change this situation for me."

When I awoke it was the middle of the day, and I was on the floor next to my bed. I'd been so exhausted from not sleeping the night before my conversation with Uncle Warren that I'd fallen asleep in the middle of my private prayer session with God. But I was sure God would see that I was a good person and hear my pleas. With that realization, my mood began to lift, and the darkness that had lingered over me for days temporarily receded.

Over the next few days, both of my stepsisters were told whom they were going to marry. Lily was invited for a drive around the town with our twenty-three-year-old stepbrother Martin, whom the prophet had revealed as her husband even though they'd been raised as brother and sister for a few years. Nancy's intended husband, Tim Barlow, was already married to one of Nancy's blood sisters, Mabel, and one of her stepsisters, Catherine.

For members of the FLDS, dating is not permitted in any traditional American way. However, once a girl has been promised to a priesthood man, sometimes the new couple is given a chance to spend some quiet time alone together. The man will typically come by the girl's house and pick her up for a ride in his car. Both Nancy and Lily had the chance to meet and talk to their future spouses like this, yet for some reason I was still in the dark about whom I was to marry. It was troubling, but I held out hope that it meant that now was not my time after all.

My hope turned out to be short-lived. When a few days passed and Uncle Warren still hadn't responded, my anxiety returned and once again the future became uncertain. I kept replaying my conversations with Fred and Warren in my head, insisting to myself that they just didn't understand how old I was.


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