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The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  3,999 ratings  ·  527 reviews
Rebecca Musser grew up in fear, concealing her family's polygamous lifestyle from the "dangerous" outside world. Covered head-to-toe in strict, modest clothing, she received a rigorous education at Alta Academy, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' school headed by Warren Jeffs. Always seeking to be an obedient Priesthood girl, in her teens she b ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2013)
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I've just finished this. I tend to believe it in it's entirety and it completes her sister, Elissa Wall's book Stolen Innocence. The author's brother, Cole, who also left the FLDS has written his own desperate book saying, "It wasn't like that, it really wasn't". However, even if only half the abuse was true, it would still be horrifying. Further even if only Warren Jeffs tape of his abusing his new 12 year old wife, 'training' her in front of witnesses and other wives, teaching her how to behav ...more
This book made me so mad!! The leaders of the FLDS church are the worst kind of evil, hypocritical, selfish low-lifes. My heart ached for the women and female children who are abused physically, emotionally and sexually. They are brainwashed into believing that their entire existence is worthwhile only as far as they are able to please the men. Anytime the supposed "prophet" got something wrong - a prophecy that wasn't fulfilled, etc. - he blamed it on the people saying they weren't righteous en ...more
A long and richly detailed account of a woman born into a polygamous cult, and her story of how she escaped! It's well written and sheds a lot of light onto a very mysterious culture. I know much more about the background of the FLDS after reading, and still I am impressed at the amount of respect Rebecca Musser continues to have for her people, despite the fact that many friends and family members have shunned her.

She does a great job of convincing the reader that the average members of the ch
This book has the interesting POV of being written by both the member with the highest and lowest social status. As the 19th wife of the leader of the FLDS, Rebecca Musser never wanted for food, clothing, or shelter (as a wife). She also clearly had access to wealth as she went horseback riding, hiking, ATV-riding, and went back and forth between Utah and Arizona courtesy of a Lear jet. Many members of the community showed her deference and she had a great deal of relative freedom.

On the other h
Erin Krol gustafson
I have read just about every book there is to read about the FLDS. Rebecca's book gives insight into what it's like inside the Prophet's home as well as additional insight into the Texas raid. What strikes me the most is the respect and love with which Rebecca holds her "people" despite the abuse she sustained within the culture. She's able to separate the truly bad from those who are born and indoctrinated into this craziness and know nothing else. Rebecca's most interesting insight, I believe, ...more
I feel guilty I didn't like this book more than I did. I'm always a little weary when autobiographies or personal retelling of events contain so much dialogue. Did she really remember those conversations? I doubt it - at least not word for word.

The book is barely interesting, and Musser and her co-author get very wordy in some places. I've been on the waiting list for this book at the library since it was released, and it certainly didn't match my expectations. I appreciate Musser leaving the FL
Ever since the raid on the YFZ ranch in Eldorado, Tx brought the FLDS into the spotlight, I have been interested in and reading books about this group. This book, "The Witness Wore Red" tells Rebecca Musser's story. She was raised in the FLDS and at age 18 was married to Rulon Jeffs, their Prophet, who at the time was 85 years old. After Rulon's death, when his son Warren Jeffs told Becky that he would marry her either to himself or someone else and that he would "break" her, she fled from the g ...more
Catherine Richmond
What a powerful - and disturbing - true story!

I never want to hear the word "sweet" again. This cult forced women to be "sweet" - compliant, silent, obedient. But being sweet is not being holy. Jesus respected women and answered their questions. He never demanded "sweet" of us.

And don't ever get between a woman and her Lord. This cult set up one megalomaniac pervert as a prophet next to God - that's spiritual abuse. Jesus had some harsh words for those who do this - it would be better for them
Fascinating story, and Becky Musser was really brave to tell it (and to live it!), but I had some problems with the book. I'm not a nonfiction reader AT ALL, and as much as I want to read memoirs and autobiographies, I never like them. A couple of problems for me. I have a really lousy memory myself, but I can't imagine that the details remembered in this book, without a journal or diary to refer to, could be remembered truly. Also, I realize that Ms. Musser is not a writer, but she did have hel ...more
Cindy Garza
Oddly, the whole thing seemed to work while Rulon Jeffs, the paterfamilias, was alive, but his son then got a little greedy with the wives and the proclamations, and the widowed author had had enough and eloped with somebody else. She doesn't reflect much about why it still goes on, except to state the obvious, that it seems normal when you're raised that way. Or why she needed another man to help her escape from the whole thing.
This could have been an interesting look at how the FLDS culture o
It's easy for me to give this book 5+ stars because I could relate to so many of the details throughout it based on similar childhood and early adulthood.

I don't even know where to begin with a full review for this book right now. I'll have to give it some more thought before I lay it all out. But for now, at least I can say that this author is an amazingly strong woman and more importantly a genuine human being. That goes a long way, at least, in MY book.
“The Witness Wore Red” tells the story of Rebecca Musser who was born, married into, and escaped polygamy. After her escape “Becky” makes it her mission to bring down polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and the network of individuals who caused her and other young women and girls so much pain.

Becky appears to be a very brave woman, and I have nothing but respect for her accomplishments. However…

1. The degree of direct quotation and detail is not realistic for a memoir. Unless she carried a tape reco
Melanie Rigney
I liked the author's voice. She did a nice job of showing the conflict she felt about leaving a life that was by turns abusive and happy for a new world. I also liked that the book wasn't particularly salacious... and didn't present that all her problems were solved once she left. I also appreciate your passion for fighting human trafficking.
Today’s nonfiction post is on The Witness Wore Red: The 19th wife who brought polygamous cult leaders to justice by Rebecca Musser and M. Bridget Cook. It is 340 and is published by Grand Central Publishing. The cover has two pictures on it on top one of Rulon Jeffs with his many other -wives wives and Rebecca colored in red and on bottom with her standing wearing red as she is going to testify against Warren Jeffs. The intended reader is someone who is interested in this case, cults in America, ...more
I consider myself an avid reader. It is rare that a week goes by that I don't read at least one book. This is by far the best non-fiction book I've read in years. It was well thought out and very nicely written.

It's not divided into parts, but it does have three distincts sections to me:
- Growing up in the FLDS
- Escaping to the "real world"
- Civic involvement post FLDS

A few people have questioned the truthfulness of this book and one reviewer called it "tablod" or "salacious" and I completely di
Reading this book was like not being able to look away from a train wreck. I've always been a little curious about the FLDS community, wondering what could make them live the way they do. After reading the book it seems that for many of the men, the answer is obvious. (And in many cases over the last decade, illegal.) I think for the women & children the answer is more complicated--that what started as a genuine belief in the correctness of the doctrine was made stronger by the use of fear t ...more
Callie Rose Tyler
This was interesting and also horrifying. My only criticism is that it went on just a hair too long.

The first half of the book is absolutely riveting as the author recounts growing up in an abusive FLDS Polygamist family. Her father's first wife was a grade A villain. The intricacies of the 'religion' where fascinating and the author does a great job of showing her growth through out the book. At the beginning she is just a girl. She is controlled by her father, his first wife, and as she gets
I read "Stolen Innocence" a couple of years ago, and as I was listening to this audiobook, there were pieces that sounded familiar. It was only about halfway through that I realized that Rebecca Musser and Elissa Wall were sisters. While they were both good books, and both cover many of the same incidents, I think The Witness Wore Red is the stronger book of the two (Possibly because Musser was older and had more distance from her experiences when she wrote her book than Wall did)

Anyway, it's a
I had been interested in reading about Mormons earlier this year and picked up Jon Krakauer's book, which was too much about the fundamentalist polygamous sect compared to what I was interested in at the time.

This book, by Becky Musser, who left the sect at age 27, tells of her upbringing and her break with the sect as well as much of her family. The first 150 pages talks about growing up and marrying Rulon Jeffs (Warren Jeffs's father) the 19th of over 40 wives. She then talks about her break
Havebooks Willread
In a word, it was disturbing.

As much as I might like to think I would never be a victim like this, I am also well aware that with different conditioning and upbringing, I might also allow myself--even worse, my daughter(s)--to be given as a child bride to a dirty old man. My inward cynicism which I try to keep pushed down is baited by stories like this, when dictatorial men rule with an iron fist and use religion to assuage their lust for power and sex--more and more sex, with younger and younge
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This story is haunting to say the least. I grew up in Utah and I can honestly say that I had only ever really heard whispers of the FLDS and didn't know what they were about until I read this book. It's terrifying to realize that someone like Warren Jeffs could obtain power over a group of people and then use that power to justify his own sick desires, meanwhile, those who could do something, stand by and do nothing because 'the prophet said'. I do aplaud the author's decision to let her mother ...more
Again, I didn't "really like" this book. It was horrifying and disturbing. I thought the writing was great, even though the material wasn't easy to read. One thing that stuck out to me was how torn Rebecca Musser was about testifying against her family and friends in the FLDS community. She has such love and compassion for her people and only wants what's best for them. I was also reminded of why it's important to question everything--our political and religious leaders should never have the fin ...more
Pat Brannon
A few weeks ago I watched an episode of Dr. Phil. A young lady named Rebecca Musser was his guest. Rebecca immediately drew me in with her allegations about the FLDS and the many years of mental and physical abuse and the brainwashing the women and children had endured over a period of years. Rulon & Warren Jeffs and numerous other FLDS men treated the female population as if they were less than human. Nobody should be expected to live under the disgusting sexual desires of ancient men all i ...more
Coral Rose
This was really good. Really disturbing, but good.

I thought that the best part of this was the perspectives on how women can be controlled by a religion. I think this should be required reading for anyone who says that women in oppressive religions should just leave. That doesn't account for the fact that if you have no education, are kept constantly pregnant or nursing, are kept captive by threats to your children or family, then you may not make the same choices that someone with a healthy su
This book was just amazing! I could NOT put it down! Rebecca Musser is an amazing, strong person who in some ways have been through hell and back and was able to make a life for herself over a road that many would not be able to travel.

She is an inspiration.

This book gives a whole new look into the FLDS and how totally screwed up (my opinion) it is. Granted I think that everyone will take something a little different from this book, but one thing that they will walk away with
Nikki Glassley
I love memoirs. I am fascinated by the Fundamentalist Mormon Church. Anything that combines the two? I'm IN!

Of the post-cult memoirs I've read (and I've read a good number...), this is truly one of the best. One of my biggest annoyances are the star characters believing that living the experiences, means they can write it because usually... they can't. And then it's bad and painful to read, but Rebecca Musser very obviously lets M. Bridget Cook take the lead on the writing here. It's very well w
Sitting outside of a classroom one night, I was vaguely eavesdropping on some classmates talking about various social justice stuff. Somehow, the topic of the FLDS came up, and one person asked the question along the lines of 'How is it that these people can do those horrible things to the women and girls in their society and have no consequences from our society?', to which the consensus seemed to be that it's because 'no one cares about little girls being victimized'. I had to stand up and lea ...more
Chris Demer
This book was hard to put down!
Rebecca Musser was raised in the strict, polygamous community of Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a fanatical branch of Mormons. As she grew up, she strove to follow the tenets of her strict (actually fanatical) religious community. She was one of many children of a second wife of a convert who had ambitions to move up in the hierarchy of the sect (cult). Educated in a school run by the FLDS, she spent most of her school years being brainwashed by the leaders of t
Patricia Douglas
Rebecca Musser takes the reader on a journey through what we wish is pure fiction and not her life. Rebecca grew up a prisoner of the Mormon sect of fundamentalists in which polygamy, slave labor, incest, rape, and abuse are commonplace, including the forced marriage of children as young as 12 to nasty 70 year old men. It's hard to read her book and not be totally judgmental, disgusted and plain shocked that people live this way. Born into this sect and living in their compounds, people are indo ...more
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Rebecca Musser is a highly sought-after motivational speaker and agent for social revolution. She empowers women around the world to escape from bondage in all its forms, because as she has said, “I was once owned, too.”

Born into the FLDS, an extreme, isolated, polygamist sect of the Mormon faith, as a teenager she was forced in marriage to the 85-year-old prophet; destined to be his 19th wife of
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“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” 1 likes
“Words are like feathers...can you see that? It is so easy for them to come out, and they scatter on the wind before you know it. But like feathers, our words are not easy to gather back up again. Once out of your mouth, you simply CANNOT take them all back.” 0 likes
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