When US woman Faith Bistline left her family home in the polygamist community of Short Creek, she faced an unexpected complication: how to style her hair.
Speaking to the BBC in an exclusive interview, she explained: “It sounds silly but it took ages to work out what to do with my hair – we had always worn it pulled back, so I was like, ‘How do girls get their hair to look so pretty, all around their faces?"
Faith recounted her strict upbringing as a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) on the Arizona-Utah border.
The FLDS, which splintered off from the Mormon Church, preaches a life of no television, conservative clothing, and multiple wives for men.
“Pretty much every adult in Colorado City is in a polygynous marriage. They believe that men must marry at least three women in order to go up to heaven,” Faith told reporter Zaria Gorvett. “Not everyone has this many, though. You have to be deemed worthy, so some men only have one or two.”
Faith revealed she has three mothers and 27 siblings, whose ages range from 42 to around 10.
As ABC News reports, members of the FLDS community followed religious leader Warren Jeffs. The leader is currently behind bars for assaulting two girls.
Faith eventually started dating a boy who had left the FLDS and she herself decided to leave the religion in 2011.
“A few months later I’d been kicked out of church – but not the religion – because this is how they punish people," she said. "My family started to reject me. It was very hurtful and that’s when I knew I had to leave."
This article first published on Marie Claire.