"He just turned to us and he says, 'I've been given my revelation and I never thought this day would come, but I am no longer your father or your priestly head. So, I'm asked to leave and go far off to repent,'" Suzette Steed told "20/20."

Her husband had just been cast out by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), acting on orders from the imprisoned Warren Jeffs. The FLDS leader still controlled his followers, who lived in Colorado City, Arizona. The Steeds are one of dozens of families split by Jeffs' purges.

There was no warning for excommunication. After his daughter Suzanne, 17, helped him pack, Carling Steed was gone.

Not long after, church leaders told Suzette Steed that she, too, was banished. But she refused to leave her children behind.

Suzette Steed's son Willie said she was banished because she "was one to ask questions."

"She wanted to know where she was going and where her future was," he said. "And there was no future in that, and she knew it. ... She was a woman that stood up to fight for her kids."

Fearing that the rest of the family -- Carling Steed's other wives and children -- would stop them, Suzette Steed and her six daughters secretly slipped out of the house.

With no money, and no means of support, they turned to a group called Holding Out HELP -- a kind of underground railroad for those leaving polygamy. The organization provides access to housing, food, clothing, counseling, mentoring, job training and education.