Monday, March 16, 2009


By Carolyn Jessop, with Laura Palmer
Copyright 2007
Visionary Classics, LLC/Broadway Books

What an incredible story!!! This amazing book is a shocking look at what can happen when one perverted man is given too much power. The Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is a male-dominated dictatorship that has suppressed women for over 100 years. Warren Jeffs and his male predecessors have created and maintain a society where a woman is nothing more than property and her only job is to bear as many children as she can.

Carolyn Jessop is born into this polygamist cult. When Carolyn is 18 years old, she is married to a 50-year-old man who already has three wives. She tries to make the best of it, but her story details the suppression and fear that Carolyn lives with from day to day. The abuses she must endure at the hands of her husband and her “sister-wives” are unbearable. Carolyn has eight children with her husband before eventually escaping from his hands and the strong arm of the cult she has lived in her whole life. She ventures into the world as the first woman to ever escape with all of her children. She fights her husband and the cult in court to win custody of the children; a victory for women’s rights everywhere.

I really liked this book. Carolyn Jessop is a strong woman thrust into a role of submission and subservience that she can never fill. As we read about her experiences in early life, it is difficult to imagine because the world she lives in is so vastly different from our own. Can one even imagine a society where you have no right to choose whom you will marry? A society where your only value is in how many children you can bear? A society where girls as young as 14 years old are married to men who are five times their age? A society where women don’t even know that they have any rights at all? Members of the cult are not allowed to watch TV, read a newspaper, or have any contact with the outside world. The children are not allowed to go to public schools. The women are forced to wear their hair in a certain hairstyle and wear clothes that would have perhaps been stylish in the 1850s.

Watching Carolyn go through what she has to go through, you just want to reach into the book, grab her and say, “You don’t have to do this! You have rights!” But women in this cult do not believe that they have any rights. They are ruled by fear and oppression. They don’t know what they’re missing. It brings a whole new light to the things that have gone on in the FLDS ranch in Texas this year. The 15- and 16-year-old girls that were found pregnant or were already mothers on that ranch are evidence of what goes on in this heinous cult.

A very eye-opening book. I give this book a very high recommendation because it was so well written and because I feel it is an important book for our society, especially to those with historical ties to this community.

No comments:

Post a Comment