Dateline   |  September 13, 2013

Unbreakable, Part 3

19 year old Rebecca is chosen to marry the 85 year old prophet Rulon Jeffs.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> was no courtship. no romantic proposal. just a short ceremony, to of all people, the prophet himself. uncle rulon jeffs. rebecca was his 19th wife.

>> in the flds world, the age of the man doesn't matter. it's his standing with the prophet . how pure, how obedient, how honorable he is, and in my case this faithful man was the prophet himself.

>> rebecca 's father told us he believed she wanted to marry the prophet , it was an honor for her. oh no, said rebecca , her father was wrong. it was like a horror.

>> i did not want to marry rulon jeffs .

>> a man in his 80s, for heaven's sake.

>> he was 85, and i was 19.

>> they held the wedding in the living room of uncle rulon 's sprawling house, september 17th , 1995 .

>> i had just resigned myself to the fact that that was my fate, just to surrender to it.

>> this is my prince charming . this 85-year-old.

>> my prince charming . i just remember walking in and feeling like just stand up and do your duty.

>> she wore the white wedding dress she sewed herself. she did not walk down the aisle. no here comes the bride for her. just a brief exchange of vows witnessed by her family and uncle rulon 's many other wives.

>> he couldn't stand up. he was kind of leaning up against like a bench, and feeling what it felt like because his hand was real shaky, holding this old man's hand, i felt lost. why don't i feel like this is the right thing inside? i was ashamed that i was not thrilled to be marrying a man more than four times my age.

>> and something else, which was certainly no thrill at all. because she was married to uncle rulon , his children were now her children. which meant that the authority figure she had learned to fear, the man who tormented her for years at school, warren jeffs , was suddenly her son.

>> after i married rulon jeffs , warren was strangely nice. but he could also be very stern and make sure that you knew your place, your duty, and what was required of you.

>> and life as a married woman required serving the prophet , any way he wanted to be serve. they had a phrase for it, keeping sweet.

>> to keep sweet means that you are absolutely without question obedient to what is being asked of you, is.

>> no matter what that may be.

>> no matter what that may be. with this sweet attitude there should be no anger, no resistance. no -- even we were told that asking the question "why?" was wrong.

>> so whatever uncle rulon wanted, he got. and though he was 85, he still wanted sex.

>> when i first married him, it was two to three times a month.

>> how can a man of 85 with 19 wives perform the functions of a husband?

>> he was old, and even though he couldn't, he certainly did try. it was horrifying. i kept trying to say this is a man of god, and yet he's doing this to me. and if he talks to god then surely god will give him the message that i'm terrified.

>> but neither god nor anyone else seemed to be paying attention. so the next time the prophet called for her, rebecca did the unthinkable. she refused to see him. i said no. i am not ready to come and stay with you. i was not going to go through that again.

>> that's a pretty big deal .

>> it was a huge deal.

>> word of rebecca 's refusal got to warren jeffs , and again, she says, she was called to his office. the petty skirmishing is was over. now she was in real jeopardy.

>> he used scripture to tell me it was your duty to be a comfort to kour husband, especially my husband, because he was a prophet , that he received direct revelation from god, and he said don't you ever, ever, ever, ever tell your husband no again. if you do, you will be destroyed in the flesh.

>> destroyed in the flesh. well, maybe not rebecca . maybe someone