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Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints

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3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  2,974 Ratings  ·  340 Reviews

"A remarkable man on many levels, Sam Brower is the real deal. Readers are apt to find his firsthand account of bringing Warren Jeffs to justice both extremely disturbing and absolutely riveting."-Jon Krakauer, from the foreword

From the private investigator who cracked open the case that led to the arrest of Warren Jeffs, the maniacal prophet of the polygamous Fundament

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Kindle Edition, 311 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Bloomsbury USA
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Julia
Note: There’s some bad words below, that bugs some people, so consider yourself warned.

Sam Brower, a private investigator and Mormon who lives an hour away from Short Creek, started his professional experience with FLDS when a little guy, Ross Chatwin, was excommunicated from FLDS and was required to leave Short Creek, and leave his wife and his children. (His crime: wanting another wife, choosing one on his own with his wife’s input, and being very low in the pecking order.) He didn’t want to
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Ruth
Sep 14, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a practicing member of the LDS church, I have always found myself see-sawing between repulsion and horrified fascination when I read about the twisted atrocities that the FLDS have made of polygamy and LDS church doctrine. As I've read some of the news accounts over the years, I've wondered "How could they possibly read the same scriptures I do, and NOT see how impossibly screwed up their practices are??"

So I really appreciated how Sam Brower, a private investigator and also a practicing LDS
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Lindsay
Sep 26, 2011 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, polygamy
Out of all the books I've read about polygamy, this is definitely my favorite. It is written by an LDS cowboy who makes his living doing private investigating and a little bounty hunting on the side. I was expecting some red neck language, but he is surprisingly eloquent, and an excellent writer. I liked his perspective because it had a much wider scope than "Escape" or "Stolen Innocence." Sam Brower tells many different individual stories, and then outlines the legal battles against Warren Jeff ...more
Jenalyn C
Make that 4 stars for content and 3 1/2 for writing (because of the repetition). When I moved to Utah 31 years ago I was puzzled by the pioneer-clothed people I encountered. They regularly frequented the same fabric stores as I did. I saw middle-aged women with young daughters picking out fabric for wedding dresses. After asking around I learned they were polygamists and Fundamentalists, a break-off group of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I also learned that the huge white comp ...more
Libby
Jun 26, 2016 Libby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I first saw the cover of this book from a distance and couldn't get to it fast enough! I had thought it was a Jon Krakauer book that I had been waiting to read. I had already read Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven," which pertained to the history of Mormonism in the USA and placed a focus on the FLDS and how two brothers murdered their sister-in-law and baby/toddler niece in the name of God. It was such a compelling book that I wanted to learn more about this group of people and found mysel ...more
Jim Leckband
Oct 22, 2014 Jim Leckband rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first became aware the FDLS when driving back from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. At this time (early 2000's) my wife was enamored with cheese curds. So when a billboard on the desolate highway proclaimed that fresh cheese curds were available up ahead there was no doubt we were stopping. We exited the highway and proceeded to end up in the twilight zone. The dairy store was manned by young girls/women in dresses from the pioneer days. When it was found out that curds were not available - ...more
Linda
Aug 26, 2011 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: polygamy
I like seeing the FLDS from the POV of an investigator who spent 7 years on various cases in its midst. But what i really wanted was some insight into what makes someone a crazy cult leader and why people follow along, even when exposed to other ideas.








From June 2011:
Look -- I started a polygamy shelf in goodreads.
Linda
Dec 16, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Goodreads rating system fails me for books like this. I didn't "like" this book at all, describing as it did a cult that's still operating with relative impunity while systematically abusing girls and women, and to a lesser degree, boys and men.

It was, however, a powerful book, a well-written book, and a book that delved further into the misdeeds of Warren Jeffs (and his father Rulon) than any others I've read. Books written by female survivors of the FLDS, while describing horrible abuses,
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Alisha Marie
I've read a few books about polygamy and I've always felt that it's reprehensible the way these cults treat their women and children, demeaning them, abusing them, by taking the word of the Bible and skewing those ideas to excuse their perverseness. It's just one subject that pisses me off to no end. So, I liked that Sam Brower didn't shy away from the cruelty that the FLDS inflicts on its members and didn't sugarcoat it. It is what it is. That being said, I found the Prophet's Prey, while an ok ...more
Carolyn
Sep 30, 2011 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must say that this is a page turner. I am so concerned for the FLDS members now. I see Jim Jones and Branch Davidians and Nazis all over again, only worse.

I was very impressed with the structure of this story. The explanations and history really helped me understand more how this mess happened and continues on. I give thanks to Sam Brower and other hard working activists who never give up on exposing injustice when they see it. I wish I could say that our government agencies had the guts to ta
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Diane S ☔
Oct 12, 2011 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 .5 I found this book very disturbing, not just because of the subject matter, but because this happened here in America. How one man and a church could be so perverted and have so much power over people is astonishing. The fact that our government and authorities let it go on so long, when so many laws were broken. My heart goes out to all those young girls and boys that were caught up in this perversion. Thank good ness for Sam Brower and the other who took on this supposed church, definitely ...more
Jen
Oct 26, 2015 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've read any of the books from FLDS survivors, chances are you've heard about Sam Brower. He's a private investigator/bounty hunter who has played a large role in bringing down Warren Jeffs.

Is this book fantastically written? Nope, but the no frills, no nonsense, detailed writing is what I expect of the author, based on the way he describes himself. The book has great insight into the FLDS. He has an in depth big picture view of the cult. Despite having read most of the available books abo
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Liz
Sep 28, 2015 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a compelling look into the investigation side of the crimes of Warren Jeffs, and told a side that I didn't get from other memoirs on the same topic. I think I'd recommend this one right alongside Escape and The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice. All are deeply disturbing, but shine a good amount of light onto the corrupt, criminal practices within the FLDS community.

I think the most disturbing part of reading this book was when I realized ju
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Brad
May 28, 2015 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most disturbing stories I have ever encountered. The epitome of sick, twisted and evil. Want a book that leaves a feeling of dread and disgust deep in your gut? Prophet’s Prey is the way to go.

This is a book by private investigator Sam Brower, a man instrumental in bringing down Warren Jeffs - that sick psychopath leading up something laughably called the Fundamental Church of Latter Day Saints. But this is not a story of religion. This is a story of an evil cult where pedophi
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Sara McDonald
Dec 13, 2014 Sara McDonald rated it really liked it
The subject matter of Prophet's Prey is very disturbing. Sam Brower gives us a look inside of a well-organized cult, run by a madman (a series of madmen), and based on a perverse religion in which polygamy, pedophilia and intense psychological abuse is commonplace. Only one man, the prophet, can access the will of God through direct revelations that he then selectively shares with the people as the "mouthpiece of God." They follow him absolutely. Brower quotes one man with the gruesome statement ...more
ElphabaNewlin
It is no secret that I am eternally fascinated by the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints (FLDS), the uber conservative and notorious break off branch of the LDS Church. My first reading experience regarding this group was UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, a book my Jon Krakauer that I picked up at my parents house and then couldn't put down. After reading many books, I saw this one at the library, and knew that I needed to take it home.

While this book didn't tell me much that I didn't alre
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Beth
Oct 27, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few books that I think “everyone” should read. It’s an exhausting, harrowing look at the inside workings of cult leader Warren Jeffs and his FLDS.

The author’s credibility is unimpeachable. Brower worked as a private investigator for seven years on behalf of FLDS members who were kicked out of the church and on behalf of attorneys filing claims against the FLDS. He became friends with some of the former members, and he recalls past cordial working relationships with church mem
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Kay
Feb 24, 2013 Kay marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I HATE to start a book and not finish it. It really bothers me. But I’m afraid I can’t finish this one. I read a few chapters, but hate how it makes me feel. It is the story of a cult and of a very evil man- Warren Jeffs, their so-called prophet. I think I maybe could stand to read the sordid details if I thought the story was over. . . If I thought Warren Jeffs was behind bars and could never hurt or wrong or destroy people again. But nearly every week there’s more in the news about him and his ...more
Michelle Robinson
I have read almost every nonfiction work that I can find related to polygamy, fundamentalist Mormonism, underage marriage, and the FLDS in America. So, when I heard that this book was coming out

I read a few reviews of this book before reading, Prophet's Prey, the one review that really gave me pause was one that stated that Brower's book was just a rehash of basically other books that had already been written.

I thought of this statement often, as I read. That did not really seem to be true,in my
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Kathy Panton
Sep 20, 2012 Kathy Panton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subject matter is nightmarish, for sure. Because the Yearning For Zion raid and its aftermath went down in Texas, I kept up with media reports here at the time, and thought I already knew most of what these people were up to. But this book has shown that those things were just the tip of an iceberg of horrific abuse. This book gives great insight into just how isolated these FLDS communities are; how it is really quite impossible for even a grown woman to extract herself from the FLDS; how t ...more
Darcia Helle
Prophet's Prey is not about bigamy. Yes, bigamy is a part of the story but, bigamy in itself is far from the main issue. This is about a cult hiding under the sanctions of religion. This is about one man's journey to ultimate power, the corruption of an entire town, horrendous child abuse, the total absence of women's rights, ingrained fear, warped beliefs, and helplessness. This is also the story of a handful of people who stood up and, no matter the obstacles, did the right thing.

Before readin
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Denise MacDonald
Mar 22, 2012 Denise MacDonald rated it really liked it
This was a very eye opening book. It answered a lot of questions I had about the FLDS, but it also brought up a lot more. I was absolutely horrified by the actions of the government,legal system and child protective services when it came to protecting the children from human trafficking and sexual abuse. I cannot wrap my mind around how some many of the things Brower talks about in this book can be so blatantly obviously happening, yet there is little being done about it. And what is being done ...more
Jenni
Oct 11, 2015 Jenni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book after watching the documentary based on it, and am glad I did, as the condensed documentary did not cover many things discussed in the book. I've read quite a few memoirs written by former FLDS members (mostly by women who've escaped), but none that so thoroughly shed light on the cult leadership of Warren Jeffs and the pathetic brainwashed lives of his followers.

At its conclusion, I cannot help but feel some sort of combination of outrage, disgust, and general hopelessness
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Funbrarian
Oct 10, 2011 Funbrarian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-loan
I realize that the title of this book makes it appear to be one of those poorly-researched and sensational true crime books. Not so. I decided to trust Booklist on this one (partly motivated by my obsession with Big Love), and I was absorbed within minutes. In PP, author Sam Brower details his efforts to reveal and halt the multitude of abuses that FLDS leadership has perpetrated on it's membership. Brower is genuine in his celebration of small victories and his regret that more hasn't been done ...more
Kandi
Jul 23, 2012 Kandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was between 4 and 4 1/2 stars.

This was a very compelling and disturbing look into the physical, emotional and sexual abuses perpetrated by the FLDS community on their children. As someone who was irate at the sympathy generated for the mothers of the children taken at the YFZ Ranch, it was nice to read a book that detailed how wrong it was to just hand these children back to their abusers. While satisfying to follow the steps that helped lead Warren Jeffs to his life sentence, I feel f
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Karen
Jan 12, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars

Very disturbing. It's sad that some people think this group is associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm glad to be more informed about the practices of this cult, which I can hardly call a church. It is shocking that law enforcement efforts are sometimes so lax or uncoordinated that the practices go on unchecked. Almost nobody in authority really wants to deal with this complex and difficult issue.

Despite the fact that Warren Jeffs is behind bars, almost no
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Staci
Jul 25, 2013 Staci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading The 19th Wife, Amazon told me to read this next. Okay, I will.

Finished it now:
I loved it. This is a true story about a mind-blowing amount of corruption and criminal activity happening right here in the US of A, under the banner of religious freedom. It reads like a crazy, made-up account of a criminal madman.

The victims of the FLDS are lucky to have folks like Sam Brower on their side. He clearly can't be bullied, which is one of the main tactics of the FLDS thugs.

ALSO - I got cu
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Leslie
Nov 03, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I have this strange fascination with the FLDS faith and have read several books written by those who have escaped this oppressive group. This book was written by the private investigator who was involved in finding Warren Jeffs. The book is not terribly well-written but it does offer an incredible look into the inner workings of the leadership of the religion - and that look is almost too much to even be believable. It makes my heart ache to think of the women and children who are suffering each ...more
Jennifer
Jul 06, 2016 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Brower is a member of the mainstream LDS church who has worked to help people victimized by a strange offshoot of that religion led by now-convicted felon Warren Jeffs. While Brower does display some arrogance, his attitude doesn't compare to that of the leaders of Jeff's FLDS, men who have managed to create and perpetuate a society built on insularity and fear. While some of those men find their own undoing by following Jeffs, the main victims in the book are the women and young men who are bor ...more
J
Nov 01, 2015 J rated it it was ok
Didn't particularly enjoy how the perspective kept flipping. Many bits of the story were left hanging which is probably the nature of the FLDS beast. For some reason, I found the switching from historical to current event story telling to be rather difficult to follow (even though the style wasn't so dissimilar to Under the Banner of Heaven).
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Any decent non sensentionalist books on FLDS out there? 2 16 Feb 10, 2015 01:15PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: prophet's prey 1 3 May 10, 2012 07:25AM  
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  • Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement
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  • The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in a Polygamous Mormon Sect
  • Daughter of the Saints: Growing Up in Polygamy
  • God's Brothel: The Extortion of Sex for Salvation
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  • Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple
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  • Prophet of Death: The Mormon Blood-Atonement Killings
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  • I Fired God: My Life Inside---and Escape from---the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult
  • In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith
  • Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement

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“To the narcissistic sociopath, a sexual experience is not about sex; it's about having complete control over his victims. They satisfy their sick compulsions by preying on vulnerable victims who they feel can most easily be manipulated and are least likely to expose their crimes. Warren needed the FLDS even more than the rebel religion needed a leader. His specialized psychosis was dependent on a unique religious hook that just would not work in the general population. In the outside world, he would never have been able to convince anyone to take him seriously. But with the FLDS predilection for blind religious obedience and submission to authority, he had the willing, captive audience that he needed, like a scientist needs labs rats.” 3 likes
“I believe that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior when it comes to religious fanaticism.” 1 likes
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