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Friday, September 20, 2013

"Sister Wives" Willy Steed's View of the UNLV Panel

This is an amazing young man Willy Steed.
A story waiting to be told.



Willy and his family were banished from the FLDS about a yr ago. His mother and six of his sisters were out in a cold new world. He is an inspiration to me and will be to you. Watch their story underneath his video response. 
Willy went to discuss the issues of polygamy  with the members of the UNLV discussion. He was not happy when his story and answers left on
the cutting room floor. He does realize this is the Brown's show and can respect that.

Also below are the clips below from Willy's 20/20 interview right after his departure from the FLDS. If you liked last week's with Rebecca Musser, once again you'll be invested in this story. Much has changed in the short year since it's premire. 
Willy Steed's view of the UNLV panel discussion
(Diggin' the longer hair Willy)
Feel free to ask Willy questions about the FLDS and his life.



Part 1 of 20/20 Willy starts at 5:48



This next clip will break your heart all the way around. From the education being being taught to the FLDS children, to the LACK of Laws protecting the home schooled in FLDS areas, to listening to his little sister calling herself an apostate. MUST SEE!



Click the links to catch the rest:

A Haircut Means Freedom

Confronting the God Squad

Pulled Back Into the Fold

We appreciate everyone that came and spoke this week; Ed Kociela giving his time and answers and many folks emailing us, insider tips, and all the fun we've had. I hope that you will remember Willy, his family, and Kollene this week in your prayers, if you do so. God Bless these young folks on their new journey in life.  
Post limited to discussion of Willy and the FLDS.

95 comments:

  1. Willy, thank you so much for sharing your story. You were so moving, and well articulate.

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    1. Much admiration for taking *any* opportunity to share your story. It is commendable. I hope you and your family find comfort.

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  2. Dear Willy,
    I was so excited to get up this morning and see you on Sister Wives Blog! I was hoping for it after I saw the others. I too felt like you got cut out.

    I will be watching your 20/20 later too learn your history.

    I did feel like you were the cute blonde on the panel. Kody may be jealous because of that nice head of hair.

    I felt like it wasn't a panel at all. If I were you folks I would be mighty angry.

    Think it's sweet you call the Browns good parents but honey, not beating your kids and abusing them really is the norm, not the exception. This saddens me greatly to think you and Kollene seem to feel they are an ok family because of this. That doesn't speak for them as much as it speaks for the fundamental religion you were in. Something is very wrong there. Thrilled that you are out. Can't see anything but brightness and sunshine in your future.

    Tell us Willy, what do you hope to do for a career?

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    1. When I didn't hear from you on the panel, I was suspicious about TLC, not you, Willie. You are trustworthy.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that your life is one of happiness and prosperity. You and your family deserve the best that lfie has to offer.

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  4. I am impressed by your grace and intellect. Kody could learn a thing or two from you. I hope your life going forward is filled with happiness.

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  5. Dear Willy,
    I am a grandmother so bear with me. I am proud of you and Kollene for standing up for what is right. To come out and be honest about what happened. I assume you are like Kollene and don't watch the show. I hope from now on however, you do investigate these shows before going to appear.

    Being honest is far more important than the almighty dollar. I don't have many of them myself. But I would rather be poor than to say what someone wanted me to say on T.V. It is amazing and says something about you two that you hold true to your values vs being a sell - out. Sending a false message to the masses could be very scary. Thank you for trying to be honest. It must be very hard and hurtful.

    I know that you will have your voice heard. The world is just beginning for you Willy.
    You showed such an aptitude for the camera. I would be upset too if my points had not been presented.

    Your time will come. It is exciting to think how you and others like you might help future boys leaving a sect. We see many women but very few men.

    I want to hear more of your story and am sure others do too.

    The one message I did receive also was that for those of you youngens coming from the fundamental Mormon culture do believe that if a parent doesn't do innate harm to their family, it must mean they are doing a good job. So sad to me to think that.

    Kody Brown would not come and visit with you all after the episode. So it seems to me that they were lucky you would come on theirs.

    I wish you all the best as I also do the Brown children. Do you mind telling us what your plans are?
    I think that you could be whatever you want to be. You sure do look good in that top picture. Have you thought of modeling?

    Count me in as one rooting for you!

    One last question. Do you mind me asking how the rest of your family is doing?

    We don't mean to pry. Very hard not to ask after the 20/20 ep.
    Thank you Willy for sharing with us.

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  6. SheCameInThroughTheBathroomWindowSeptember 20, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    Willie, they by no means made you look like a dumb blonde kid! It appeared that you were somewhat reserved or a tad nervous is all. You were fine.
    What I know now is that you are a really smart blonde kid!
    Throw that in your past and reach for the stars. Wishing you all the very best. What are your plans for the future? Best wishes.

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  7. Willie, thank you for sharing your story. Most of us can't even come close to understanding the things you and the other panelist have been through. You are an awesome young man and I pray that you all continue to share your stories and trying to help others. Best wishes in everything you do!

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  8. Willie I hope that you and your family find comfort and joy in your new life.

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  9. Willie,
    You have MUCH to be proud of. Your video was so clear, so honest.
    To think that you have only been out for just one year and reached this level of articulation and focus is quite admirable.

    You are a showing the way for other plyg children who leave either on their own, or who leave with their families on how to cope on the outside.
    Your story is important, *very* important, to tell and to be heard.

    Thank you for your courage and integrity.
    Best wishes to you as your new life unfolds.

    ** And many thanks to Mister Sister and her crew for providing all the contacts and videos. You are certainly honoring the stated mission of this Blog...to educate the readers about polygamy.

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  10. both willie's and kollene's videos on youtube say "no longer available." :(

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  11. What are your plans for the future, Willie?

    What's next?

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  12. Willie thank you for taking the time to make this video for us on the blog. I'm sorry that the TV audience missed out on hearing your experiences because it would have gone a long way toward showing people that the Browns are the exception rather than the rule as far as polygamy goes.

    I'm glad you and your family are out of the FLDS although I know it's had to be a terribly difficult transition. It breaks my heart that you think the Browns are doing a good job because they don't beat or sexually abuse their children. Kody's wives still struggle with jealousy, disappointment and all the other emotions that come along with sharing a husband.

    Please continue to speak out, don't let the TLC panel experience stop you from getting your story out there. You are a bright, articulate young man that speaks from the heart and is extremely believable. If people are to be educated about the evils of the FLDS and other polygamist groups, people like you have to speak up and never let anyone silence you. Kudos to you for speaking out! Maybe other young men will hear your voice and seek a way out.

    Good luck in the future! Please return and let us know how you are doing. I hope and pray that you and your family continue to adapt to the 'outside world' and find fulfillment now that you are free from the FLDS.

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  13. Willie, Thank you so much for doing the video. You are a young man with a lot of common sense and compassion who has lived and witnessed unspeakable horrors. I will follow your story and that of your mother and sisters. Wishing you all a wonderful life. You certainly deserve it!

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  14. Sam Franklin and Tony the TigerSeptember 20, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Dear Willy,
    I was glad to hear your story. I wondered why at the beginning of the ep, you were so articulate and interesting then were not featured much during the debate. Happy that you have a voice here!
    Your story is heartbreaking. I hope you mother and siblings are adjusting to the good ole normal US and enjoying the freedom from a cult.

    I have a question for you. It is pretty clear that the Browns do not want their brethern, the AUB mentioned. I find that odd, they should wear it loud and proud if they want the viewer to think this is all ok.

    Do you Willy feel that all Fundamental Mormon groups are bad, esp for the children; or do you still believe in the tenants of the Fundamental Mormon group-just not the FLDS.

    I wish you nothing but the very best! Smiling think you got to ride that first rollercoaster! Was is a trip for you? They scare me to pieces!

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  15. Hi, Willie! My heart hurt for you when I first saw your story and your family's story when it originally aired. I have thought about all of you a lot. I am very pleased to see that you are open and willing to open yourself to the world. Good for you!! I know it seems hard, but the end result will be worth it.

    I am wondering, from your perspective, what people outside of polygamy and Utah can do to help those who are escaping and who have already left the polygamous culture? I would be very interested in helping those who are trying to start a new life, of their own free will, and helping them to have a real chance of being successful.

    Good luck, Willie! There are a lot of people who are rooting for you and your success. You are truly an inspiration to more people than you probably realize.

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    Replies
    1. Any help is appreciated. You can contact Holding Out Help (holdingouthelp.com). Monetary donations are always needed.

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  16. Willie's video is the best, most honest thing I have seen on this site about polygamy. I wish him the very best. I am not sending prayers. It is the "god" thing that creates these abusive cults. I wish him freedom from that kind of oppression.

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  17. Thank you Willy for coming to the blog.

    I feel so bad that you were abused as a child. It is awful how this cycle of abuse keeps spinning through the FM culture much more prevalent than in mainstream society. The I hope that you and your mother and siblings have come to feel at peace out here.

    I want you to know that the anti polygamists came off as being kind, collected and in control of their emotions.

    Even though some families the abuse is not seen to the naked eye, do you feel that you and others can sense the emotional abuse of others?

    Do you still follow Joseph Smith? How do you feel about this man?

    We will be here cheering you on A young man full of integrity.

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    1. No, I do not follow Joseph Smith or believe in the Book of Mormon or Bible. However, I am fine letting people do so if they believe it. It is not my place to tell others what they should and should not believe in. I still believe there are decent people in all walks of life. I am presently living with a Mormon family and we agree to disagree on some issues but respect each other.

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  18. Dear Willy,
    Thank you for taking the time to post a reply. You're a brave young man and you deserve only the best in your life. I think you've summed the Brown family up quite well with calling them "high maintenance." They certainly are!

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  19. Hey guys, it's me, formerly MsMarysKilla. I've posted several times but decided to update my profile and omigerd I have a picture now! I figured it out after how many months of being a dummy? LOL. I wanted to tell you guys I'm going to make some seriously funny SISTER WIVES memes tonight and e-mail them to the group admin just for laughs. I have to cheer myself up, I have an 11 hour work at home shift tomorrow and unlike Meri, Christine, and Robyn -- I work a lot. Hope that's ok to the admins. I have some TOS friendly memes! :)

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  20. Hi Willy, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I was pretty disappointed in the panel discussion as well. It was no surprise to me that Kody was defensive and that Robyn babbled about being a victim, Janelle put in her time, Meri cracked a joke and last but not least, Princess Christine brought on her drama. I was pleased to see you with the rest of the panel, as I have watched you on the 20/20 show. You strike me as being raised by a very kind mom. You have a very respectable presence...I did NOT see you come off as a dumb blonde, just as an edit of TLC's to throw together a drama piece for the Brown's soap opera.

    I am so hopeful for your family. Will we get to see more of you and your family as you navigate away from the clutch hold of polygamy? Will there be follow up features?

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    1. i agree, Darlene. these Brown twerps are *yawningly* predictable by now.

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    2. I for one would like to see more of Willy!

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  21. Oh my goodness. How can our government allow these human rights violations to occur in our own country but rush to defend the women and children of other countries. Every book I read, blog I follow, news report I watch reveals the abuse and neglect that these children are exposed to at the hands of either their father, older half siblings, their other moms or other men in the community and no one seems interested in saving these children. While I understand that the women are brainwashed into that lifestyle and are unable to leave, I know others have left so while my heart breaks at the fear these women feel, I have to say they need to stop living in fear and start living for their children. I am so proud that Willie, Kolleen, and Kristyn have come out with their stories and I hope this blog is able to keep their stories alive and relevant.
    For many years, I volunteered at a women's shelter where we provided a safe (security guards, locked doors, and secure travel to and from the center) place for these women and children to decompress after leaving an abusive relationship. Their needs were like so many of the needs that I saw in the videos. Men who control women and children don't want them to know life outside of the walls of their home so these women and kids needed literacy skills, education about shopping, cooking, and all types of things that we all take fore granted. I remember one mother didn't tell us that she was on her period and she needed pads and when I finally realized that she was in need of some products, I said, why didn't you ask and she said, I spent the money allotted to me and just figured that I would have to wait. Then she said that in their home life, her husband gave her a very small grocery allowance that had to buy everything so if she spent all of that on food and supplies, and then she or the kids needed something extra, they had to wait or do without. Like most women would do, she made do with old rags and so forth but in the shelter, she didn't have old rags. The idea that one needs permission to even buy those types of products is sickening...a man must give permission When men or a man controls a woman to the point of saying, well if you want to go visit your family, save your grocery money, I say it's time to cut that ass out of my life. These poor, poor, women.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. Willy, I wish you and your family all the best. You are an amazing young man! Thank you for sharing your story.

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  23. That was wonderful Willy! I hope this gives people a glimpse of how strong and smart you really are. I am so proud of you!!!!

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  24. Thank you Willy, for coming on and talking to us. You are a strong young man, and very courageous. It can't be easy on you to tell and re tell your story. I wish you all the best that life has to offer!

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  25. Willy,

    You speak so well! I wish you had had the childhood that your younger sisters are now living! Keep soaking up all the knowledge that you can-- it's rightfully yours--take it and live the life that you deserve!!! God bless you and your family!!

    Is there a way to rescue people from this cult and the lies,
    or must an individual or family be banished for them to be approachable
    and/or receptive to hearing the truth?

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  26. This is the first chance I have had to comment and want to say how everybody's stories have touched my heart and I can see touched the hearts of everybody on here. Willie, so proud of your family for sticking to your guns and not going back to the FLDS. My heart breaks for your mother who ended up without her husband and a father for her children. She has just strength and wonderful children to support her and each other. The road may not be easy but it will be worth it in the end, you now have a chance to live a life as us normal people do without your every movement being controlled.

    Be proud of who you are, your background will only make you stronger and more determined to make a good life for yourself. Fate has intervened in your life and you have a new path to follow.

    Wishing you and your family the very best and wish only good things for you all. I hope we have regular updates on you and your family as well as the others.

    By going on TV, the Browns thought it would be all about them. But they have opened so many eyes to the negative side of polygamy as more and more people are reading about it and watching videos. This blog is my Adult Education 101.

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  27. Every time I see you, Willy, you are looking stronger and healthier. Don't worry about how Sister Wives was edited. The viewing public knows it is going to be cut in such a way to make the Brown family look good.

    We also know that you are NOT just a dumb kid. I have the greatest respect for you going and trying to tell your story. I think it took tremendous courage!

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  28. What an articulate and poised video. You were able to state your feelings without putting anyone down and I am just so impressed by you. I also thought on the episode you seemed nervous, but nervous about reliving the atrocities that happened to you and your family not nervous about seeing The Brown's. I really felt like that was the difference between both sides. You guys were going in to educate the audience and share your stories while The Brown's made it personal.

    I have a question and I hope it's not too personal. When you and Kollene were sitting on the couch before the panel, you both were talking about alter personalities. Robyn also spoke of having an alter personality in their book. I am assuming this is to be able to shield yourself from the atrocities that happened in your past. So, when you speak of the past do all of those feelings come back up, and after it is over is it hard to recompartmentalize? Also, is this something you have seen in a lot of victims of polygamy?

    I am rooting for you! Your mother has o obviously raised a bright, articulate and respectful young man. Good luck to you!

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  29. This is my first time commenting, but I just had to tell you, Willy, how incredebly impressed I am by your strenght and, even more, comprehension/ wisdom and eloquence! Not many people could have said these things like this...I feel so angry that you were denied to learn and thrive in school as a child and hope you get to now! And I applaude your ability to speak about the Browns with so much composure, I could not any more! How dare they pretend they were the victims on that panel. Keep your positive attitude, it is amazing. I wish you all the best!!
    ** Excuse any grammer/spelling mistakes - not an english native here. Thanks! **

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  30. You are amazing Willy. What are your future plans? :-)

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  31. Willy - you are more of a MAN than I have ever seen Kody be on this show or any interview he has ever done. You stay strong, continue your education. I think the world need to watch out - you ARE doing and will continue to do amazing things!

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  32. I am concerned for Willy the most because men, unlike women, often carry a great deal of shame around and internalize it. Women sometimes are better at comforting each other and giving each other permission to feel their feelings. Willy, I hope you are healing and using that intrinsic strength to move forward. You seem like such a gem! I would be honored to know you just like the other panelists.

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  33. Let me add my voice to those thanking Willy for visiting us here. I certainly never thought you were a dumb blond kid; I'll admit that I did think you were an introvert but now I'm pretty sure that's another misconception we can blame on editing.

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  34. Willy, you are courageous and articulate, and know that there are those of us out here that are a bit more wise that TLC thinks we are :) Thank you for sharing your story and your perspective with us, and so many of us are learning about the abuses going on.

    I just watched all of the 20/20 episodes, and wonder how your sisters and mother are doing? They are amazing! And my heart breaks for those babies and young children that had been featured. They deserve so much better.

    Also, as a Phoenix resident, I have been able to follow the reports of Mike Watkiss, who I would argue is the only reporter continuing to inform the public about Colorado City; I admire his work. But now, having more exposure to the stories, I feel even more motivation, if not an obligation, to do something about what is going on. Thank you, SWB, for being an honest vehicle.

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  35. Until this week, I watched Sister Wives fairly regularly and was somewhat entertained by their antics. It was marginally better than a lot of the other junk on TV on Sunday evenings. But this week I woke up. This is all so wrong on so many levels. Shame on you Browns and TLC for advocating polygamy, knowing full well about what is happening in these sex cults you call religion. Shame on you for trying to marginalize abuse and immorality on last week's UNLV "Debate" episode. Instead of being defensive and selfish, you Browns should be using the profits from your TLC gig to help people like Kollene, Willy, his mom and little sisters, and others who are still imprisoned. Now, there's an idea, TLC: Next season, drop the Browns and start a series about people that are making a difference by helping people escape.

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    1. I totally agree - I couldn't have said it better!

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  36. Thank you Willy, for coming here and speaking to us. You are a strong and courageous young man and I wish you all the best

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  37. My heart hurt for you. You are a very strong person and I wish the best for you.

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  38. I wanted to read through all the comments before adding mine. I watched all the provided videos above ^^ and I have so many thoughts coursing through my mind right now.

    I want to begin by thanking you, Willie, for sharing your story. You are a very bright young man, and I know that you will continue to absorb all the things you want to learn. You are going to do some powerful things in this world; I'm sure of it!

    Please know that the editorial cuts reflect poorly upon the TLC crew. I am disgusted w/ the producer who made the final content decision for this past Sun. night's program. (I must disclose that I did not watch it b/c I have become so angered and disgusted by the manufactured drama and nonsense on the Sister Wives show. One of the UNLV audience members supplied a comprehensive report for this blog about what took place, and the administrators here along with the commenters provided the rest re: news about the hashed-up job of editing.)

    As many here have already stated, you are wished so many good things, and first among all is the encouragement to continue to move forward. It's astounding how much you have soared in such a short time! I can only imagine how difficult this whole process has been for you and your family. I look forward to having you update us with news of how all of you are doing.

    Kollene and some others have suggested places to contact for those of us who want to provide assistance. They include Holding Out Hope, Shield and Rescue, and the YWCA. I'm sure there are others, too, but I don't know the names at this time. I've been diligently reading books on polygamy that have been recommended on the right side of the SW blog, and have expanded my knowledge regarding this subject in a compressed amount of time. Stories like yours compel me to continue to learn more and then channel my outrage into helpful actions. For instance, I will be supporting the efforts of those who are assisting people emerging from polygamous backgrounds as they try to adjust to a radically different life apart from all they knew in their groups.

    Stay strong, remain curious, and be proud of yourself, Willie!! You deserve a world of happiness and fulfillment.

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  39. Thank you for reaching out and educating us about your experience. I can only imagine how painful it is to relive this nightmare every time you share your story, so please know that we are listening and we do care. You are a strong, intelligent and inspirational young man- I wish you all the best!

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  40. I cannot view the video but can see the picture of Willie with his hair back. He could be a model and so could Koko. Maybe Christine Marie`s husband could put a portfolio of fashion photos together and send these two to New York City. Tell TLC about it and they might be offered a show.

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  41. Willie,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. What a sweet and bright young man you are! I wish you all the very best in the future. You and Kolleen and the other panelists, you are all strong survivors and I would even go so far to say you are heroes! Heroes for not giving up and determined to have your voices heard REGARDLESS of how TLC edits the shows. In hopes for being able to save more people from such a life. The Browns have sorely disappointed many. Week after week its more fluff about being victims. After learning about yours and the many who have spoken out, in comparison, they have nothing to be complaining about! Nothing! Victims of their own drama maybe. Never forget that you all have a huge support system here. We hope to hear more from you.

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    1. Wonderful post, CG. Completely agree.

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  42. Willy,

    This is also my first comment on this site.

    You are brave and courageous and I know you are helping people.

    Please keep it up. I am so impressed by your strength.

    K

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  43. Willy you are a well spoken and handsome young man. I'm so proud of how far you have come. I'm so happy you learned to read. Preventing people from being able to read is part of the control aspect of cults. It awful and blood boiling.

    Everyone reading, please please please take notice of what he said about the child labor that goes on and not just the abuse. The abuse is bad but the child labor is why these groups are allowed to continue. The companies responsible for hiring these people NEED to be shut down or looked into.

    I really hope someone reading this has information or looks into those companies because cutting these cults off monetarily will cause them to dissolve over time. The government obviously isn't going to help so it is up to us to put pressure on the companies.

    Thank you for speaking out Willy and shedding light on the less known things like racism and child labor practices within these cults. You have a bright future ahead of you and deserve it all. If you were my kid, I would be extremely proud of the man you have become.

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  44. The testimonies of Willy and others about their experiences in polygamy serves as a reminder of what can happen if society becomes too complacent. These atrocities we have read and heard about must be stopped. Religious freedom is one thing. But it cannot be tolerated when it tramples on the rights of the most innocent among us.

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  45. Willy, I would like to thank you, your mother and sisters for being brave enough to share your story with the world. I pray that more brave souls in your community will speak out about the abuses of power taking place in the FLDS and similar communities. I have a couple of questions for you if you don't mind:

    I've noticed that you share a common name of Steed with Warren Jeffs and I'm curious as to how closely related you are to him?

    Awhile back, we here on SWB had a report of Warren Jeffs ordering the children of the community to go on an all bean diet. Do you know if this is still being carried out?

    And most importantly, how are you and your family doing since the ABC special aired?





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  46. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Willie.

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  47. Willie, thank you for sharing your story and I wish all the best to you and your family. How are they doing?

    Adding that you are a cutie!

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  48. I cannot believe how articulate this kid is! Just that he isn't laying in a dark room in the fetal position is a testament to the human spirit. The maturity displayed in the respectful way that he speaks about the Browns is the the most impressive part of his statement. I can only imagine what a success he might have been by now, had he been given a better start in life.

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  49. Thank you Willie, I wish you so much prosperity in the future! Hope TLC at least reimbursed you for the time you spent. They certainly are reimbursing the Browns and I'd say you and your group could benefit far more than the Browns.

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  50. Hi Willy!
    First of all thank you for sharing your story.

    I did not know you before.

    I saw you on the episode, but was very happy to see the information here. Your story on 10/20 was very well put together. Your personal video spot on.

    Those Browns are high maintenance. I fear since they believe they are movie stars, probably has gotten much worse.

    You brought up an interesting point. All your mothers, siblings and father lived in the same home. 42 in all. Don't you think that the Brown family would not be so jolly if they had to live all together? Sure don't think so. They have added Robyn and 4 kids since they have done that. I know you are too young to speculate, but in general, would you say that the abuse and tension found in your home came from living all together?

    Does your mother feel any sense of freedom not living with sister wives?

    Congratulations on getting out!

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  51. Willy Ihave to say you came across as very articulate what little we got to see of you in the show. While working on some things today I actually counted down. Out of a 60 min episode, the UNLV debate was a matter of 8 or so minutes at the end. Oh sure we got to see some tidbits here and there before hand. Many did not show what was said! Ex. Kody saying that using welfare, etc., was a stereotype of the lifestyle. I am sure many of the SWB community would have liked to been there and said, yes, you were the stereotype.

    They are getting too big for their britches.

    You seemed like a breath of fresh air!

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    1. "I actually counted down. Out of a 60 min episode, the UNLV debate was a matter of 8 or so minutes at the end."

      Wow !! Obviously, we could see that it was chopped into small bits, BUT.... 8 minutes is just ridiculous !!!

      How could the producers tout that show as a legitimate "debate/discussion." Seriously...how !!
      Shame on them !!!

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  52. Willy - thank you for posting! You have shown great strength, courage and fortitude to live through what you have. It breaks our hearts that you, and many other children, worked so hard and had such a harsh family life.

    Don't worry, you did not come off as a dumb blond, no way. You came across as polite, showed deep respect for everyone and had wonderful manners. You are not one to over talk another person.

    I appreciate hearing your perspective as a young man coming from a polygamy background as there aren't many that give interviews. I hope you will continue to speak out and go on other panels and forums.

    There are many more viewers who see through the TLC watered down version of polygamy that are too shy to post here etc. I tell my Mom about the postings here, she is 81 and doesn't use computers but feels exactly as we do. I play her clips when she visits me.

    Willy - please take heart, one positive outcome of this panel is that everyone's true colors showed through loud and clear to the viewers. We saw and heard who spoke from their hearts and who wanted to create drama.

    Wishing you the very very best!

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  53. I am so glad you are telling your story. It certainly is heart breaking to see the abuse and oppression. I feel the need to help the families who have escaped or been banished. The Browns should have given you and the others some love and noble healing instead of making every thing about them. They looked ignorant and selfish.

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  54. Thank you so much Willie! You've made some excellent observations, and I think you are more than gracious to the Browns who treated the panel members so badly. Like you, I wanted to walk away from polygamy and never talk about it again, but those who have left need to share their stories to educate people about the realities of polygamy. Great job with the video!

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  55. Thank you, Willy, for being willing to tell your story honest and openly. You are a shining example and give much hope to people who are in less than desireable circumstances.

    As far as the "panel" was concerned, based on what I know of what happens in the editing process... I would have loved to see the unedited version of the "panel".

    What may have been an incredible heart-felt interaction, was edited to appear to be an assault... and I know that was not your intent.

    I am so proud to see your survival skills and to know that somehow you've found a way to keep your heart and sanity intact.

    Stay true to you, my friend.

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  56. Willy, you and your family rock! I too, am so proud of you for calmly presenting your point of view on polygamy without playing the victim card. Your mother and sisters and VERY lucky to have you out of the group as they are. Could you tell us where you currently live and if you have plans for college? Your photos are amazing!
    I want you to know you come across as a very warm and sincerly person, well spoken, and compassionate. Please don't ever feel like you much justify your actions. You are a wonderful young man. I could tell your mom raised you very well! I also believe the sky is not the limit for you. The world is yours now. If we all are proud of you now, I can't wait to see what the furture holds for you!

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  57. Hurrah for Willy for becoming literate at age 18 !! That has to be a difficult process! Willy, you performed wonderfully with the Browns even if your story hit the cutting room floor.

    It has been said that your Mother had 14 children but 6 daughters and you escaped the FLDS compound. Where were the other 7 children? Were older girls already married into the cult?

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    1. One brother recently left and lives with mom and sisters. Two brothers were "lost boys" who were kicked out in their teens. One brother and two sisters chose to stay with the FLDS. The sister have no contact to those who have left. Fortunately, no sisters have married.

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  58. WOW... Thanks Willy.

    dj

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  59. Hi Willy, thanks for the info. Your sisters are lovely girls, and the littlest one is so dang adorable!

    It appears that all of your family's recent changes have been tough on your mom, based on what I saw on the 20/20 video. I haven't walked in her shoes, but I was widowed while my kids ranged in age from 5 to 17. My heart goes out to her. I think she is amazing to step up to the plate and rebuild her life and become a strong foundation for all of you. I hope she has lots of support.

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  60. Wow...Team Willy FTW!
    It is just so refreshing to here someone speak so kindly while expressing their frustrations regarding the poor behavior of the "others".
    I wish more people had the skill and fine art of giving a respectful critique of a given situation.
    Well Done Willy. Keep studying and go to University and make something really good for yourself. You genuinely have just a sweet, kind soul and that is more rare than a diamond when delivered with such sincerity.
    :)

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  61. Willy, I know I'm repeating what other people have said, but it is important that you see just what an impact you have made on us here. You were robbed of a childhood and education, but you have an amazing maturity for your age. You show a lot of compassion for the Browns and others in polygamy. You have lived heartbreak most of your life, but you didn't let that poison your approach now. Your reading and writing will improve with practice. Never, ever think it's too hard. You have lived through a lot worse. Never doubt that you have a strong voice and you express your thoughts very clearly. This shows that you are very smart. You can think for yourself. When the time comes for you to write your story, keep this in mind: many of America's biggest authors needed a lot of help with writing. Normal Mailer was apparently so bad at spelling and grammar, his editors worked harder than he did. It's OK to ask for help in life.

    I am delighted that your mom and sisters also left the FLDS. Your father's decision to stay behind is tragic, but I can see that you have stepped up to the plate in encouraging your mom and sisters as they share this adventure into a world that's scary new in every way.

    I wish you the best of all possible futures. As you said, you hope to have a wife and family of your own one day. I really pray that you will find the right girl and that you are blessed with children of your own. You will be a great father. You know what children need. You are such an inspiration to us all.

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  62. Great job Willie! Way to go. God bless

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  63. Willy,
    Thank you for sharing your story and for talking with us here on the blog. I was impressed with the strength of you and your mother and sisters when I first heard about you on 20/20 and I'm glad to see that you're doing so well. You're a handsome young man!!

    You're a bright, articulate, caring man who has so much to offer the world. My heart breaks though, to know that you feel that your appearance on the TLC show was like a dumb blonde. I didn't get that impression at all! You showed the viewers that you're a man of strong convictions and one who's not afraid to stand up for your beliefs and wants to help others by sharing your story.

    You have so much to be proud of - I hope you see in yourself what we see in you. Stay strong! Stay confident in yourself and your good choices! I hope you continue your quest for knowledge and experience. You have so much to offer -- keep sharing your story and making a difference in other people's lives. You ROCK!

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  64. Willy, I'm so proud of you for telling your side of the story-- both at the UNLV panel and here on the SWB! You are such a wonderful young man. Your appearance on "Breaking Polygamy" was both heart-breaking and inspiring. I can't WAIT to see you as guest on Doris Hanson's "Polygamy: What Love Is This" in November!!! God bless you! Virtual hugs and prayers from the other side of the world! :-)

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  65. Also, could you share with us what you are doing now? What are your hopes, dreams, and/or plans for the future? :-)

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  66. Willy, does your Mom need help in bringing out your other siblings?

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  67. Dear Willie,

    Thank you for your video. I have enormous respect for you and your views. You're very kind and courageous. I like your new look; you look great. Wishing you lots of love and a peaceful, happy life.

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  68. Willy, So many people here have said things to you that I agree with and couldn't say as well about your strength, poise, intelligence, thoughtfulness, and very bright future. I too look forward to following your successes. In mulling over what you have said, I am becoming madder and madder about your lost childhood and minimal formal education. I do not understand how you and other young boys, as indentured labor, traveling to job sites distances from your home, were not saved by competitive non-FLDS work crews reporting your illegal child labor situation to the authorities. Where were the building inspectors? Where were the sheriffs from other communities? Was everybody paid off? Why did the police turn Short Creek upside down upholding the law looking for under aged teen-wives and not do the same for hundreds, if not thousands of boys being abused as child labor? Why isn't this being done now?

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  69. Oops. Meant the Texas raid, not Short Creek.

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  70. Willy we would love to hear more about you. i hope you let SWB interview you further. It's great to hear from a man. Best wishes to you and your family.

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  71. I am honored to have heard your story. You are a strong and intelligent and sensitive young man. I am looking forward to your having a bright and successful future filled with love.

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  72. Thank you Willy for sharing your story. My wishes and hopes for you are a happy and bright future. It takes guts to leave FLDS and you did it! You can be proud of yourself.

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  73. Willy, you have an innate intelligence and insight that shines through. Best of luck to you in all of your endeavors. God bless you.

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    1. I second that and also hope Mister Sister or someone her on the blog gets to interview you.

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  74. I don't. I believe any religion that practices polygamy is the mother of harboring abuse and child labor in their society and I disagree with those societies. I think the reason for not mentioning the AUB is it was part of the contract the Browns included with TLC. They wanted to portray it as a lifestyle and I disagree.

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  75. Wow, Willie - you are so much more confident, articulate and self-assured than the show portrayed. I was annoyed when we didn't get to hear you speak at the panel, but now I am more offended on your behalf. Knowing how difficult it must be to even speak about all this when you just feel the need to "bury it deep" to try and move on, it must just add insult to injury that, after all the hassle and drama of this event, your story was not even shared. I so admire your strength and composure! You are so dignified and you really do yourself justice in this video. I wish you, your mother and your siblings all the best for the future.

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  76. Willy, thank you for sharing your perspective and thoughts. You are very insightful and wise for your age. As a young mom I love hearing a view from a young male who has left polygamy. It sounds like you could really see the unhealthy dynamics between the women in the house you grew up in. I wish you all the best and hope your schooling is going well and you are getting all caught up. Good luck in your future endeavors!

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  77. thank you for for sharing the other side- that of boys/men who do not choose polygamy

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  78. All polygamist groups have abuse in one form or another - whether abusing the system or abusing their people. At the end of the day, there is a reason it is illegal! Thank goodness for people who are able to escape. Willie, his mother and sisters seem like bright, talented people who just needed a chance.

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  79. Willie, I am standing here applauding you with tears streaming down my face. You are an AMAZING person and will go far! You and your family are so brave. I applaud you all.

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  80. Hope you come talk to us soon Willy!

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