Momlogic's interview with the mother who escaped Warren Jeffs and his polygamous sect.
The polygamy raid has left the country wondering, what will happen to the kids and whether the moms are to blame. Kathy Jo Nicholson, 37, was raised by her father and his three wives--along with a dozen siblings--before walking out the door and never looking back. Kathy unveils the secret life in a polygamous sect and gives us insight into the meaning behind the dresses and hair, "bleeding the beast" and whether the Moms could be at fault.
Momlogic: What's the story behind those dresses?
Kathy: The women are required to wear long clothing that covers them from head to toe. It's a matter of modesty, plus it strips everybody of their individuality.
They consider hair to be a woman's crowning glory, and you're not allowed to cut it. That stemmed back from the story of Mary washing Jesus' feet with her hair. Warren Jeffs told us that wearing makeup--or, as he put it, "painting our faces like the savages"--desecrated the temple God had given us.
We grew up outside Salt Lake City, near a junior high, and my sister and I peered through the drapes at the kids walking home from school with their feathered hair (this was back in the '80s) and their makeup, just chit-chatting.
We would come up with these elaborate storybook fantasies that we would act out in the privacy of our room. We longed to be them.
Momlogic: How did the women obtain money?
Kathy: When I was growing up, most of the women collected welfare. It was called "bleeding the beast." The women who aren't legally married to their husbands and have children are technically single women with children, so they collect more benefits.
Momlogic: Should the moms get their kids back?
Kathy: I think they should be given one more chance. These women are terrorized. They don't have the knowledge to feed and grow their minds, or make the right decisions.
But they must change. The children cannot go back into that compound and they can't be given back to these women until they seek help. My heart bleeds for the mothers, but my interest is for the children.
Do you think they should get their kids back?