Bonnets, Buggies and Belize

Dr. Phil begins by asking the girls, "What do you understand about me, and who I am, and why I'm here, and why we're talking?"

"You're here to help get this resolved so that we don't have Dad going to jail," says Mollie.

"Well, my number one goal is to make sure that you guys are OK," says Dr. Phil. "What we know is a year ago you were scheduled to go see your mom and have visitation with her, and instead of taking you there, your dad decided, 'I'm not going to do that.' And then you crossed into Mexico, from there to Belize " which means nobody's seen or heard from you for a year. And so people have wondered, are you alive, are you dead, are you safe, are you hurt? How has life been?"


Allene says, "It's been fine for us."

"Pretty good," Mollie adds. "I mean, except for not seeing Mom, we've been happy."

Dr. Phil asks if the girls felt like they were hiding. Allene says she doesn't know.

Mollie speaks with more certainty. "Yeah, I guess we kind of felt like we were hiding, but we were out in the open all the time and weren't ever hidden," she says.

Dr. Phil asks, "Did you question, 'Why are we doing this? Dad, what are you doing? We're breaking the law.' Did you question any of that?"

 

"We understood why," Allene responds, "so we didn't ask a lot, because we understood."

"What was the problem that your dad said, 'We've got to go. We've got to run,'?" asks Dr. Phil.

Mollie says, "High school, main thing, was the problem. And going to a psychiatrist who wouldn't understand the way we believe and the way we live."


"Mollie and I really didn't enjoy public school very much. It wasn't very nice there," says Allene.

"Were the kids mean to you?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Some of them were really friendly," Mollie explains, "but we weren't used to having kids disrespect the teachers openly and not obey if the teacher told them to do something."

Dr. Phil asks how the girls feel about not being allowed to attend school after the eighth grade, as dictated by their faith. "Do you miss that?" he asks.

"Actually, no," says Mollie, "because we don't prohibit learning. Going to school and getting graded is one thing, but I can still learn about history and whatever I want, still. The reason why we don't allow high school, really, is because of the environment that is involved."

Dr. Phil asks how the girls get along with their dad, and both respond with, "Pretty good."


"We're very close," adds Mollie.

"Were you ever mad at your dad for taking your mother out of your life?"

"Actually, yeah, we were," says Mollie.

Allene appears surprised at her sister's response. "I wasn't," she says.

"I was. I was upset a little bit," Mollie confirms.

Dr. Phil asks, "Did you ever tell him, 'Dad, you know, we miss Mom. This isn't the best thing'?" Mollie says that she did, and Dr. Phil asks what her dad said in return.

"He said, 'I'm trying to protect you,'" she tells him.

"But he also said that if we really want to go back " right now " he always said that we could, and he would try to do it," Allene adds.

Dr. Phil asks if the girls wanted to leave when they left.

"We were starting to feel uncomfortable," says Mollie. "We were starting to feel pressure. My mom, and the way she lives and the way that I had decided to live, they don't work together very well. They clash a lot. And I wanted to make her happy, and so what I was doing was not making myself happy."

Dr. Phil asks,

"Was your mother trying to pull you into the other world " normal " as you say, the typical American teenager? Was she buying you those average teenager kinds of clothes and wanting you to wear those?"

Mollie says, "She thought that would make me happy, and at that time I thought so too. But to be quite truthful " the way " now " this makes me happy. It makes me be me."

Allene explains, "Once you hear about the conservative world and you understand it well, you're not just going to go, 'Oh, well I don't think I'll wear a covering anymore because I'm just going to ignore that scripture.' It's not very easy to ignore once you've read it."

Dr. Phil asks the girls what they would want to see happen next. He reminds them that their father might go to jail and that the courts could award custody to their mother.

"Well, we would want to live with a Plain family and visit Mom," Mollie says.

Allene agrees. "Yeah, we would rather stay over with the Brethren, you know? That would be much, much nicer for us," she says.

"How would you feel about living with your mother?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Right now, the way we have decided to live really wouldn't fit with Mom's lifestyle, to be quite honest," says Mollie. "Television and movies are things that we don't like to have anything to do with, and Mom doesn't see anything wrong with that."

"Our lifestyle and hers is so much different, and her beliefs and our beliefs are so much different. We could be faithful, but it would be hard, and it would be somewhat uncomfortable," says Allene.