On the season finale of Lifetime’s moving show Escaping Polygamy, MaryAnn reaches out to the show to build a new life for herself outside of her oppressive FLDS religion. Her family wholeheartedly believes in their leader Warren Jeffs, but MaryAnn’s questioning and curiosity has led her to look for the truth behind why he’s behind bars right now and she’s come to a definitive conclusion.
MaryAnn says she used to fully believe in Warren Jeffs but other the past few years she’s been researching why he’s now in jail. She now believes that he did assault young girls. She says losing belief doesn’t happen over night, but her curiosity has increased over time and she would sneak around and look up information late at night.
“Once I realized that Warren Jeffs is a pedophile claiming to be a prophet . . . if I stay in the religion I can’t go any further in my life,” Maryann says. “I actually want to make a life for myself. I want to leave.”
She also really wants to wear jeans and a T-shirt and get rid of the wave in her hair. When the FLDS church first started making headlines after being raided by the police, the rest of the U.S. was shocked to see the uniform way the women looked. They all wear praise dresses and have a signature upsweep to their hair – all orders from Warren Jeffs himself.
MaryAnn also doesn’t like the idea of polygamy. She doesn’t want her future husband to have other wives. “Nobody’s gonna touch my man!” she says.
Tensions rise on the show after MaryAnn’s mom finds out that she’s been meeting with the show. When the team arrives to pick her up, MaryAnn is able to make it outside even though her mom is right inside. It’s initially unclear if she still wants to leave, but a tearful MaryAnn is still resolved to pursue a different life than the one she was born into.
In an extremely emotional moment MaryAnn says goodbye to her mother and explains that she wants a life for herself. Escaping a situation like this is extremely complicated and bittersweet.
“I know I’m doing the right thing,” she says through tears. “I’m just going to miss my family.” Leaving the religion means she is now considered to be an “apostate” by those still in her religion, even by her own family.
Amelia Cunningham is a Starcasm writer and editor