When she was 18 years old, Carolyn Jessop was coerced into an arranged marriage with a total stranger - a man 32 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. Over the next 15 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 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. But in 2003 Carolyn chose freedom over fear and fled her home with her eight children.
Escape exposes a world that is tantamount to a prison camp, created by religious fanatics. Against this background, Carolyn Jessop's flight takes on an extraordinary, inspiring power. 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 its notorious leader, Warren Jeffs.
"The story Carolyn Jessop tells is so weird and shocking that one hesitates to believe a sect like this, with 10,000 polygamous followers, could really exist in 21st-century America. But Jessop's courageous, heart-wrenching account is absolutely factual. This riveting book reminds us that truth can indeed be much, much stranger than fiction." (Jon Krakauer, author of
Into Thin Air and
Into the Wild)
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Grasping Story, fantastic Speaker