LeAnn Jeffs, 17 (center), and her 1-year-old daughter were removed from the Yearning for Zion Ranch after it was raided by Texas law-enforcement officers in April. She now lives in a rented home in a San Antonio subdivision with her mother, Sally, 52 (right), and some of her 14 siblings. A friend, Joy Darger, 25, is at left.
On a humid Wednesday in late June, as she waited to be summoned by a grand jury, 16-year-old Teresa Jeffs hitched up her navy blue prairie dress and hoisted herself into the crooked arms of a live oak tree that sits in front of the Schleicher County Courthouse in Eldorado, Tex. For a few minutes, she was not — as has been speculated about many of the young women of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or F.L.D.S. — a possible child bride, or a sexual-abuse victim, or a member of an out-of-touch, polygamous religious sect. She was just a kid in a tree, perched serenely above the heads of all the lawyers, reporters and sheriff’s deputies — a moon-faced girl with an auburn coxcomb of hair and a mischievous grin.
Inside their world - slideshow
Young ladies of F.L.D.S. - slideshow
NY Times Magazine Article