While there’s no denying polygamy is a rather interesting way of life, things are a lot more complicated for those whose familial religious beliefs command it because their choice is taken away. This much has even been evidenced in A&E’s ‘Secrets of Polygamy,’ which actually delves deep into the dark side of several fundamentalist Mormon sects through the eyes of some of its survivors. Amongst them is Faith Bistline — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about her, her background, her experiences, as well as her current standing, we have got the necessary details for you.
Who is Faith Bistline?
Although Faith was born in 1992 as the ninth of Deborah and Ladell Bistline Sr.’s twelve children, she did grow up as one of 28 since her father also had two other wives — normal for FLDS followers. “We were a polygamist family [hailing from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints],” she candidly said in the documentary series. “My parents were both born in the FLDS and so were their parents; it goes back generations. I have three moms, one dad, and then there’s 28 of us kids… My birth mom is the first [wife turned] mom, and growing up, it was difficult to have a close personal relationship with my parents, as you can imagine.”
Faith continued, “My dad especially, he was very strict. He ran his househ old that way. But he was kicked out by Warren Jeffs [while this leader was on the lam from the FBI around 2005].” According to reports, he never gave a reason, yet his personal notes later indicated he was either fearful of Ladell’s internal influence or had had a dream he’d turned him over to the authorities. This gave way to her eldest brother Lud Bistline assuming the role of house head, only for him to eventually deviate them from their known Propet to Samuel “Sam” Bateman’s denomination.
“[Lud] was the first one to be convinced by Sam,” Faith conceded in the original. “Sam Bateman has convinced my family that Warren Jeffs is dead; that Warren Jeffs came to him in spirit and told him he was going to be the new Prophet.” However, the truth is the latter is apparently still presiding over this group through a mouthpiece from behind bars, where he’s currently serving a life sentence for sex crimes as well as sex crimes involving minors. Thankfully though, none of them involved Faith in any manner because while he’d made it so that he alone could perform marriages in the church, he was arrested when she was merely 13.
In other words, neither Warren nor any other senior member even had time to set their eyes on her; “Otherwise, I probably would’ve been married sooner than age 19 [when I left], just depending on my worthiness.” As for how Faith came to the realization she needed to leave everything behind for her own sake, she’d spoken to an elder brother who’d already deviated following some concerns upon experiencing parts of the real world. She’d actually earned her GED at age 16 before enrolling into a community college despite it not being the norm — high school education was canceled by Warren just as she was about to begin her freshman year.
“I’d started displaying outward signs of rebellion,” Faith expressed in the production. “Like, I no longer wore a big poof in the front of my hair; I pulled it back… There were no fights over these little rebellions, my family just kind of started to ignore me, and that was excruciating. I was always told anyone who had left was miserable, and they all wanted to come back. I had an older brother who’d left [six years earlier] who I had no contact with because we weren’t allowed to talk to anyone who’d left. I knew if I left, my family would cut me off,” yet it was a price she was considering.
Faith thus got a hold of her brother and directly asked if he regretted it, only for him to vehemently state: “No, it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I would recommend it to every single person there.” This obviously baffled her since she was invariably told differently, making her think, “Wait, I’ve been lied to. What is going on here? I’ve been lied to. My parents have been lying to me.” That’s the moment in 2011 she decided she was not going to stay any longer, so she quickly planned things with her then-boyfriend, packed her bags, and soon left in the middle of the night.
Where is Faith Bistline Now?
“Everything was different outside, but I was trying to fit in,” Faith once said upon being asked about her biggest adjustment. “It sounds silly, but it took ages to work out what to do with my hair — … I was like, ‘How do girls get their hair to look so pretty, all around their faces?’ Make-up, that was another thing. I could not for the life of me figure out how to get it on without getting it all over my eyelids. Oh, and it took a whole year to get used to seeing myself in pants. I felt like I was very attractive all of a sudden — I had legs!” Then there was her having a job, understanding punctuality, and other seemingly normal things we do on a daily basis.
As for where Faith stands today, it appears as if she resides in Phoenix, Arizona, where she proudly serves as an Emergency Department Registered Nurse at a non-profit organization named Banner Health. She actually studied nursing while attending Mohave Community College prior to leaving, only to continue pursuing it with a Bachelor’s from Dickinson State University upon settling down (2013-2017).
Moreover, we should mention Faith previously used to work as a traveling nurse based out of Las Vegas, and it was while she lived here in 2022 that she found herself in the news for consciously going on a tropical vacation with the woman her long-term boyfriend was cheating on her with. This made her thoughts on infidelity, as well as polygamy, very clear. “I just don’t think it’s fair,” she’d said earlier. “In the polygamous marriages that I saw, the man was always in charge and the women — they are lower, I guess. That just doesn’t make sense to me. I believe in equality of the sexes, and I don’t think that in polygamy they are equal.”
Coming to why Faith is now finally speaking up, she recently told People she hopes it will make people “more aware of what’s going on behind closed doors and what’s been hiding in secret. And the reason why sexual abuse against children is happening is because it’s able to be done in secret.” She’s glad more than a dozen of her family members have followed her path and left FLDS in the years since, yet she still struggles with how the others, especially Lud, are essentially abetting so-called Prophets in heinous crimes.
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