Jessop, Carolyn

Book - 2007
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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 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, c2007.
ISBN: 0767927567
Characteristics: ix, 413 p., [8] p. of plates ;,25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Palmer, Laura


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Jan 06, 2015
  • kianting rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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
  • lilyofthevalley3 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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
  • lwilkinson73 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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!

Apr 18, 2013
  • JCLColleenO rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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
  • samanthakimble rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

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
  • Jakeandlilysmom rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

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

Aug 06, 2012

I am so impressed with this woman. I simply could NOT put the book down. Very informational about a topic unknown to most. Americans need to know about this cult lurking in our own backyard.

Jul 30, 2012
  • missinformation rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book reads like a fiction. It's amazing what a mother is capable of when it comes to fighting for her children. As I read about Carolyn's escape from her Mormon family and community with her 8 children, my heart filled with sadness and joy. I just could not put the book down.

Jul 21, 2012
  • flowergirl rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Fascinating account of growing up in a polygamous culture and of the challenges of leaving and starting all over again.

Oct 18, 2011
  • glendamiller rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

We've heard about this group in the news and have wondered. Reading Carolyn's account of her upbringing and her eventual escape with her 8 children is an incredible eye opener to what can be happening in one's back yard with no concept of what is really going on in there. It's honest, heartbreaking, infuriating and absolutely amazing. A must read.

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