Book - 2007
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The dramatic first-person account of life inside an ultra-fundamentalist American religious sect, and one woman's courageous flight to freedom with her eight children.

When she was eighteen years old, Carolyn Jessop was coerced into an arranged marriage with a total stranger: a man thirty-two years her senior. Merril Jessop already had three wives. But arranged plural marriages were an integral part of Carolyn's heritage: She was born into and raised in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), the radical offshoot of the Mormon Church that had settled in small communities along the Arizona-Utah border. Over the next fifteen years, Carolyn had eight children and withstood her husband's psychological abuse and the watchful eyes of his other wives who were locked in a constant battle for supremacy.

Carolyn's every move was dictated by her husband's whims. He decided where she lived and how her children would be treated. He controlled the money she earned as a school teacher. He chose when they had sex; Carolyn could only refuse at her own peril. For in the FLDS, a wife's compliance with her husband determined how much status both she and her children held in the family. Carolyn was miserable for years and wanted out, but she knew that if she tried to leave and got caught, her children would be taken away from her. No woman in the country had ever escaped from the FLDS and managed to get her children out, too. But in 2003, Carolyn chose freedom over fear and fled her home with her eight children. She had $20 to her name.

Escape exposes a world tantamount to a prison camp, created by religious fanatics who, in the name of God, deprive their followers the right to make choices, force women to be totally subservient to men, and brainwash children in church-run schools. Against this background, Carolyn Jessop's flight takes on an extraordinary, inspiring power. Not only did she manage a daring escape from a brutal environment, she became the first woman ever granted full custody of her children in a contested suit involving the FLDS. And in 2006, her reports to the Utah attorney general on church abuses formed a crucial part of the case that led to the arrest of their notorious leader, Warren Jeffs.
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, 2007
ISBN: 9780767927574
Branch Call Number: B Jess
Characteristics: ix, 413 p. : [8] p. of plates ; 25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Palmer, Laura


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Jun 11, 2019

Yet another scary look inside the world of the FLDS church. Women are treated like chattel; men have absolute power and are absolutely corrupt towards their wives and scores of children. Changes made in the cult are without a second thought. No one questions the prophet. I have such high regard for the author: how she escaped from the clutches of this terrorist group and kept seven of her eight children. Would love to know that Betty is alright as well. Highly recommend this book. It was never once a dull read.

Manateestarz May 08, 2019

A really compelling read about a strong ,educated woman who is held back by a Fundamentalist society. What I didn't expect was the humor. Jessop is a funny, talented writer who draws the reader into her situation by drawing compelling and dramatic scenes. She can step back and see how everything must look to an outsider.
I highly recommend this book.

ArapahoeLesley Jul 06, 2018

Scary stuff this FLDS. Carolyn's story is definitely harrowing but for a full impact it could have been edited down a bit for repetition.

Oct 26, 2017

Compelling read. Carolyn knew well before she left that things weren't quite right with how much control the men had, especially when psychopath Jeffs became the "prophet. I am amazed at the pettyness, jealously and backstapping of the FLDS. Unbelievable!
I'm wondering how many Canadians know that there is an FLDS cult in Bountiful, British Columbia, where exactly the same nonsense goes on? This cult sucks all the money it can from the government through welfare, taxes and lying.

Jan 06, 2015

This book is about a woman with a strong character, and the dangers of not being able to think independently for one self with one's own mental faculties. All the cruel things that happened in the book is caused by blind faith and believing in human beings blindly.

Jul 22, 2014

Shocking story! It was really difficult reading about the many forms of abuse Carolyn and her children experienced plus the neglect and brainwashing. Carolyn is one strong woman! Carolyn's story is sad but she persevered. You must read this!

Jun 05, 2013

Unbelievable how this group of people lived & were led by such an extremist individual. It's unbelievable that anyone would ever make it out of this type of religious cult alive! Even though there were a few disgusting details about what some of these people endured, it was a hard book to put down. Kudos to Carolyn Jessop for getting out of this extreme lifestyle & making a new life for her children & herself!

JCLColleenO Apr 18, 2013

This book is an amazing testament to a very strong woman who ultimately chose freedom over fear. She was the first to gain victory over the FLDS by getting her children out of a horrendous life, and gaining full custody of them. She gave so many others courage to fight for what's right for themselves, and gave many young women a voice. If you want to know more about her life after the cult, read her next book, Triumph.

Jan 06, 2013

It was an interesting read and look into life inside a cult. Honestly I blew through this book pretty fast because it was a fast read and pretty interesting. Especially on her insights on what made her change her views on the FLDS church, Warren Jeffs, and the relationship she had with her sister wives.

However there were a few things about this book that make me want to give it 3 1/2 stars. First it felt like many things she wrote about were filler. There were a lot of repetition of things that she would say in a previous paragraph, page, or chapter that made it sound like she was trying to stretch the story out. This book could have been about 100 pages shorter, more to the point, and said everything that she wanted it to say.

One of the other things that bothered me was that there was a lot of jumping around or things that just seemed out of place. She would have a story going and than the next paragraph would be totally random and make me wonder if I skipped a page or missed something. This made me sometimes wonder if it was bad story telling, inaccurate info, or poor editing.

Overall it was a good book with great insight that I would recommend to anyone looking into reading the story of living with in a cult.

Oct 28, 2012

Amazing! Such an easy read! What a life, she writes so well it was playing in my mind like a movie and still is.

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