About 90 miles (140km) north-east of the Grand Canyon, in a barren desert surrounded by rust-red cliffs and majestic canyons, lies the Short Creek community. This is the headquarters of the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), a branch of Mormonism which splintered off in the early 20th Century. It’s famous for its conservative ways – no television or internet, outdated clothing (women wear full-length prairie dresses) – and polygyny, where one man can take many wives. After a series of scandals, the religion’s leader, Warren Jeffs, is now in jail. But the community and their way of life continues in the twin towns of Hildale and Colorado City, just as it did when it was first founded nearly 100 years ago.
As BBC Future reported this week, the community’s long history of polygyny has led to serious genetic problems:
But what is it like to live in the polygynous community in Short Creek? BBC Future spoke to Faith Bistline about her previous life in the religion – and the tense moments on the night she decided to run away.