When Rebecca Wall was growing up in the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) faith in Utah in the '90s, her family greatly admired the Jeffs family for being prophets of the religion. The Jeffs were notorious in the FLDS community, and they've served as presidents of the church for decades. The male Jeffs family members are also known for having polygamous relationships and dozens of wives.
Rebecca Wall grew up in a polygamous family, as her father, Lloyd Wall, had 25 children with his three wives, so it wasn't a foreign concept for her to eventually marry into one herself.
Upon turning 19 in 1995, Rebecca Wall learned that Rulon Jeffs, the then-president of the church, had a vision that she would become his 19th wife. At the time, he was in his late 80s, and he would go on to marry dozens of more women after.
In the years that followed her marriage, Rebecca Jeffs said that she endured extreme trauma and abuse. Once Rulon Jeffs died in 2002 at the age of 92, she feared for her safety and left the religion. She's speaking out about her marriage and the Jeffs' family in the May 8 episode of Dateline.
What happened to Rulon Jeffs? Read on for the details of his life, marriages, and passing.
What happened to Rulon Jeffs?
Born in Salt Lake City in 1909, Rulon Jeffs became the President of the FLDS Church in 1986, and he maintained the position until he died in 2002. To his followers, Rulon Jeffs was referred to as "Uncle Rulon," and he oftentimes made decisions based on visions he claimed he received from a higher power.
His first wife, Zola, divorced him in 1941 when she learned that he wanted to have multiple wives.
After spending some of his early adult life in Idaho, Rulon Jeffs moved back to Salt Lake City in 1945, and he became a High Priest Apostle. He was the protegee of both Leroy S. Johnson and John Y. Barlow, who were big leaders in the church at the time. When Johnson died, Jeffs took over leading the church.
Rulon Jeffs is the father of the current FLDS President, Warren Jeffs, who is in prison for multiple counts of child sexual assault.
Just seven years after marrying Rebecca Wall, Rulon Jeffs passed away in September of 2002 at the age of 92. At the time of his death, it was believed that he had upwards of 75 wives, and that he had fathered 60 children. It was also reported that some of his wives may have been underage at the time when he married them.
Following her husband's passing, Rebecca Jeffs claimed that Warren Jeffs had stated his intentions to marry her. She alleged that she had suffered years of abuse from her late husband, and that she was fearful of the cycle repeating if she stayed in the religion.
She ended up scaling the walls of the Jeffs' family compound in order to escape Warren Jeffs and guards, and she fled to Oregon to stay with her brother.
Where is Rebecca Jeffs now?
After her escape, Rebecca Jeffs married Rulon Jeffs' grandson, and she now goes by the name Rebecca Musser. She is also a mother of two children, Kyle and Natalia.
She also proved key in the case against Warren Jeffs by testifying against him more than 20 times. During one of the days she testified in court, Musser wore a red dress, which was powerful because Warren Jeffs had prohibited women in his church from wearing the color.
Musser wrote a memoir entitled The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice in 2013. She also founded Claim Red, which is a non-profit that aims to encourage people to claim their human rights.
Her sister, Elissa Wall, is the author of Stolen Innocence, which is about her own journey to leave the FLDS Church.
Musser lives in Idaho with her children now, and she's once again sharing her story for Dateline.
Dateline airs on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.