Officials, ex-FLDS insiders applaud efforts to support those seeking to leave polygamist communities

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Those who choose to exit polygamous communities frequently rely upon the assistance of outsiders.“It is because of the kindness of some very good people … that my kids were able to escape,” said Jeff Black, one of the featured speakers at Holding Out HELP’s annual fundraiser in St. George earlier this month.Another participant, private attorney Roger Hoole, said, “These kids, they don’t recognize that they’re being victimized. They just don’t. It’s all they know. They live in fear and they don’t even recognize the fear that they’re dealing with.”Nevertheless, Hoole said there are plenty of little things people can do to help. 

During the event’s Q&A session, panelists suggested reaching out with acts of kindness, such as offering a plate of cookies or asking for help doing yard work.

One mother named Gladys, a former polygamist whose last name was withheld, spoke of positive interactions she’d had with strangers while shopping in a store.

“One person said, ‘Can I just give you a hug?’ and it meant the world to me,” Gladys said, adding that another person gave her $20 and said, “I feel like you need this.”

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