November 19, 2014

Moving to Kansas

I know there are a lot of people with very valid questions about what happened this July. This is the post to answer any questions that haven't been addressed directly about what's occurred recently in Sydney and Dani's lives.

About this time last year, my dad and stepmother resided in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Over Dani's birthday weekend (her birthday is October 29th), my dad made a life-altering announcement to Sydney and Danielle. During their next weekend visit to our mom in Orem, it was obvious they were holding something in. They were depressed; they looked sickly, worried, and terrified. My mom and I would ask them what was wrong, and all they would do is look at us with a deep sadness and reply, "He said we couldn't tell you. I want to tell you because its my worst nightmare, but we would get in so much trouble. I don't know if I could handle it."

I went to a family dinner one evening a few weeks later with his side of the family. Even though I had no clue what was going on, I sensed something wasn't right from the moment I walked in the doors of the restaurant. It felt like there was an 'elephant in the room'; no one kept eye contact with me very long and it felt like something was being repressed. Everyone was very solemn. Despite the brightly colored walls, the entire room had a claustrophobic and eerie feel.

As soon as my dad greeted me, he locked his eyes on me, and didn't let me leave his sight as I continued to greet everyone else. When I saw Sydney and Dani, I was so excited to see my sisters. I practically ran up to them, only to have my dad come near us. It was obvious he didn't want us talking outside of his earshot. I was used to this--it was the way we were treated in our home, before I moved out--But it didn't make it okay. Even with the limited contact I had with them, I could tell something was wrong. Dani and Sydney looked sick and hopeless. Their faces were sunken and their eyes were glassy, as if they'd been crying minutes before.

I was extremely worried for them, and whatever information they were being forced to keep secret. I wanted to sit by them (they were at a table with cousins), but my dad wouldn't let me. He took me to my designated seat, and of course it was on the opposite side of the room from them, at the far table's end seat. He sat across from me, and his reasoning was because he had something to tell me.

I was on edge; terrified of some looming announcement that had been tormenting my sweet sisters for weeks. My dad kept prepping me with statements like, "Brittany, you're going to have to have an open mind. It's a big change for our family, but it's a good one." I had no idea what it could be. I was hopeful Angie was going to announce she was pregnant again, but based off of the way my sisters acted, I knew that wasn't it.

At some point, I knew I would have to break away and find a chance to talk to Sydney and Dani out of earshot of my father (if he was able to hear our conversation, I knew they would repress how they really felt). Somehow, I made it quickly to the other side of the room while my dad was talking to someone else. His eyes shifted to me, but he wasn't able to reach me before I quickly asked the girls what was going on. They were on the verge of tears as they expressed that they felt they were about to explode from grief. "We can't tell you exactly," Dani said, "But it's about a move." My insides dropped. That was when a cousin, who hadn't been listening to our conversation and obviously thought my dad had already told me, accidentally slipped up: "Brittany, what do you think about your dad moving to Kansas?"

I was absolutely shocked. Speechless, I moved my gaze back to my sisters, as a tear ran down one of their cheeks. The cousin realized that I hadn't been told yet, and apologized... Before Syd and Dani were able to say another word, my dad walked over. "What are you girls whispering about?" The girls said it was just something about school, and he looked at us suspiciously, and I sat in painful agony for those girls.

I had to act completely normal. If he found out I knew, my sisters would have to pay. So as the evening wrapped up, I acted cheerful and ignorant. When I asked my dad what the news was, he answered, "You'll just have to come over sometime this week so we can tell you." But I already knew, and when I got in my car to leave, the tears surfaced. I wasn't crying because this was an out-of-state move: I was crying because my dad was going to achieve what he most wanted to, which was complete and total isolation from our mother. He had always threatened us with that, but this was our worst nightmare and more, because it was isolation not only from their mom but their entire community and social support. Without anyone to turn to, they were going to crumble under the weight of the pressure my dad caused on a daily basis.

I waited for two days in agony over my sister's situation, until my dad invited me over to their house for the 'big surprise.' Once we were situated in the living room, my dad began to describe to me the situation that had taken place. UVU, my dad's previous place of employment, had partnered some with Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. My dad was moving there, not to make more money--but "for the girls." I was floored by this. His sole explanation for moving was because he got "spiritual confirmation that the girls needed it," and "was prompted to move." Sydney and Dani told me that most all of my dad's family tried to talk him out of it, offering to let them take the girls in so they didn't have to move in the middle of a school year, at least until school was out. It was obvious to even them that on top of everything the girls had been through, the move was too much for them to handle. But my dad wouldn't have any of that. He insisted it was "for the girls."

Dani, Sydney and I are members of the LDS church, and it was extremely burdensome for them to hear their dad telling everyone he was taking a leap of faith by acting on this prompting that it was for the girls. They themselves knew it wasn't--they felt sick at the thought that he was using them as the reason for moving. They knew his agenda in keeping them from my mom (and now me, since I moved in with her), and they knew he loved the fact that he could get away with it on spiritual claims. He even started scriptural referencing his move to Lehi's move into the wilderness, and counseled me to "be like Nephi" and support his decision. He told me that if I didn't agree with his decision, I would be acting like Laman and Lemuel.

Not only did almost all my dad's and mom's family live in Utah, but so did Angie's. She was also going to be completely isolated, but put on a brave face.

The next post will be picking up where this one leaves off: everything that my sisters knew would happen when my dad moved them to Kansas. It will include the speculations I've seen through social media about how long the girls really stayed on their visits to Utah.


  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing. After moving to Kansas was your dad proactive in making sure the girls at least maintained proper contact? What about the visits back to Utah? Did he help pay for travel and cooperate with them getting their court ordered parent time with Michelle?

  2. Thanks for taking the time to write this, Brittany. I really hope you can maintain the energy to keep it up.

    It's so great that your story is coming out. Your courage amazes me. You're a fantastic sister and I really hope all the Wolferts girls make it out of this victorious.

    1. Just sawy this, thank you so much. I hope they do too. They deserve it!

  3. Anonymous, thanks for your questions.
    My dad was preventative in making sure the girls maintained contact with their mom. They were allowed about 15 minutes one night a week to talk to her, and it had to be on his phone over his Skype (he insisted on being present, so they never felt they could be open). They were not allowed to text/email her without his permission, or make any other form of contact to her.
    The visits back to Utah: the girls visited twice between December-June, and each visit was a day and a half. This totals about three days of visit time in six months. My mom's family paid all visitation expenses (totaled $2000 for three days to see the girls). My dad wouldn't cooperate on a flight time until super last-minute, such as the evening before the flight.
    Watch for my next post, when these topics will be discussed in greater detail.

  4. Are the girls not more isolated than ever right now? I hope this situation is resolved soon and that all involved can receive the support needed.

    Many people go through difficult things, and many people come through them. I can't imagine that the girls in isolation are any safer than they were before all of this happened.