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Ex-wife of cult leader Warren Jeffs shares traumatic story of survival

Despite her struggle with healing from the trauma surrounding her experience in the FLDS church, Briell Decker decided to return to the Short Creek community.

SHORT CREEK, Ariz. — “People tell me now it was so high of drugs, they were definitely trying to kill you,” said Briell Decker, who was forced to marry Polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs.

Decker was caught and drugged before she finally escaped from cult leaders in the FLDS church eight years ago.

Decker was polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs, 65th wife before they divorced. She was forced to marry him at the age of 18.

Jeffs was convicted of multiple felony accounts of child assault and was sentenced to life in prison back in 2011.

Despite her struggle with healing from the trauma surrounding her experience in the FLDS church, Briell decided to return to the Short Creek community of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah to help others.

After submitting a request, Decker was able to obtain Warren Jeffs’ old compound where she once lived, which is now known as the Short Creek Dream Center, a safe house and refuge for victims.

“There isn’t hardly anybody that isn’t really, really, deeply grateful for at least that,” said Decker.

The community has been in the process of rebuilding for over a decade, but there are still signs they have further to go. 

Although there are more and more businesses opening, there’s still a shortage of jobs for those who live in the community. Many are having to commute long distances just to work.

Still, there’s now hope and restoration where there was once pain and control.

“It reminds of when a war hits a town and they just devastate the whole town and people rebuild,” said Decker. “I’m proud of this town, the transformation is almost unheard of anywhere else.”

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