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Wife No. 19

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  796 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
The story of a life in bondage, being a complete expose of Mormonism, and revealing the sorrows, sacrifices and sufferings of women in polygamy, by Brigham Young's apostate wife. Born and reared in the midst of the Mormon people, it was inevitable that Mrs. Young would accept their practices and beliefs. After breaking away from the Mormon faith, she endeavored to expose e ...more
Paperback, 628 pages
Published March 10th 2003 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1875)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,308)
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Mar 02, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
After reading The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff, I had to read this book. Ebershoff's book is a novel which parallels the stories of a modern-day fictional 19th wife of a polygamist and the historical 19th wife of Brigham Young, who divorced him and became an ardent foe of polygamy. She wrote a memoir in 1875 titled The 19th Wife. You can buy it, or download it in pdf form from Ebershoff's website (that is what I did). The downside to that is that you have to read it on the computer, and it's 600 ...more
Apr 06, 2008 LeGrand rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people wanting to take a closer look at early mormonism and polygamy
This book was a tad disturbing for me. I wouldn't say this book is anti-mormon.. but i would say that it paints a picture of life as a "saint" during the days of joseph and brigham in quite an unflattering/honest/painful/disturbing way.

I really struggled with this book because i genuinely believe the author is telling the truth about her life and the lives of early mormon saints. i have read books by d. michael quinn that also portray early mormonism as problematic but somehow this books had a m
Amelia Chameleon
Sep 09, 2014 Amelia Chameleon rated it it was amazing
The Kindle edition the book suffers from some major formatting problems. My guess is that large portions of this book were converted to digital text using OCR, which can often misread type so there are a LOT of instances of incorrect words and commas were all over the place (again, probably due to dust on the page). I appreciate the volunteers who assisted with the translation, so this isn't intended as a criticism, but know if you're reading it you'll need some patience.

The story overall is fas
Apr 15, 2014 Afton rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. It's like the LDS version of the FLDS "The Witness Wore Red". Ann Eliza Young grew to hate polygamy and Brigham Young, but she loved and respected most Mormons she'd grown up among - particularly her own sister wives and all of the women she so pitied who were living as polygamous wives. Ann Eliza genuinely suffered because of polygamy and she was not afraid to share the stories that were happening all around her as she was growing up in the earliest days of Utah's settlement. Most ...more
Feb 22, 2010 Melissa rated it it was ok
I decided to read this after beginning The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. I was bothered that he chose to use his own words to tell Ann Eliza's story, and I wanted to see how it compared to her own narrative. He has a PDF of Wife No. 19 available for download on his site, so I decided to read it online. After reading it for myself, I understand why he chose to "re-write" her memoirs. Her account is long, quite wordy, often redundant, and extremely biased. I don't think she ever mentions Brigham Y ...more
Sep 24, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Really interesting.

Ever talked to a person who is very bitter against the religion they grew up in? Ever listen to rants about hypocrisy, corruption, and plain evil found in the church their parents desperately want them to be a part of?

Yeah Ann Eliza was defiantly pissed off at the Mormon church in her day.
There is a lot of hyperbole here, she spares no insult or comparison when describing the evils of her husband and his influence over the church. Everything from calling him a devil, murder
John Barbour
Jun 12, 2013 John Barbour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mormonism
This was a fascinating story written in 1875 by a wife of Brigham Young. She was technically the 19th wife but in reality she was probably more like the 52nd. It is written from a Christian perspective. She came out of the darkness of Mormonism and embraced the true gospel. Feminists try to claim her but in reality she was a woman who had been set free from not only polygamist bondage but bondage to a false religion that kept her mind captive. She wanted to tell her story to the world and see ot ...more
May 07, 2008 Lori rated it it was amazing
This is an autobiography of Brigham Young's plural wife Ann Eliza Webb, who left Utah and devoted the rest of her life to educating the public about the misery of living polygamy.
Her 19th century story of escaping polygamy parallels the autobiographies of the women who escape the FLDS today.

Interestingly, Ann's writings will be found in church publications as a witness to certain events. Apparently LDS historians find her to be a reliable source for those events that support the church's positio
Jun 08, 2011 Marlyanne rated it it was ok
I just finished reading this book tonight. It was a free downloadable from

I actually became interested in this when I saw the made for TV movie the 19th wife and wanted to read the truth behind the idea of the movie. This book is even mentioned in the movie.
I found it interesting. I have often wondered what the mindset of the women were in polygamous relationships.I discovered that they were raised with these values in the same way baptists are raised to
Lauren Campbell
Mar 06, 2013 Lauren Campbell rated it really liked it
I used this book for my NHD project and found it very helpful. This book is by Ann Eliza Young who was Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS Church's, 19th wife. She writes about how her mother and father got into Mormonism, and how her mom was religiously persecuted for joining the new religion. She also writes about being born into Mormonism, and she writes about her life in polygamy leading to her leaving the Mormon church.

I would recomend this book to people interested in reading ab
Jun 30, 2013 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I feel that that Ann Eliza may have been a bit bitter when she wrote this book, and I read this with that in mind. However, this book jived with other books I have read about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. They seemed to have had "revelations" to ensure their needs were met no matter the cost to others. The picture of Brigham Young as a pompous, self-serving ignorant lout agrees with other histories I have read. Ann is quoted as a witness in other Mormon documents, so obviously she was a reliab ...more
James F
Feb 04, 2015 James F rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, religion, mormon, utah
The Utah State Library book discussion for September is on The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice on the Warren Jeffs FLDS cult. As background, in addition to some other books on the FLDS (e.g. Escape by Carolyn Jessop) I decided to read this account by the original 19th wife, who escaped from her prophet-husband Brigham Young in the nineteenth century heyday of polygamy in Utah.

Ann Eliza Young was writing a frankly polemical book against the Mormon Ch
Oct 23, 2014 Jude rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this book offered for free on Amazon and because I have known people who became Mormons, I was interested to hear the views of someone who lived through the early days of the church.
You might safely say that after having grown up within the Mormon community and seen and experienced it at close hand, Ann Eliza was deeply affected by her experiences. Once she had safely escaped the clutches of the Mormons she spent her time giving lectures on the plight of Mormon women forced into polygamy.
Feb 27, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Wife No. 19 was originally published in 1875. Ann Eliza Young was Brigham Young’s 19th wife. The book is an expose of Mormonism and the life of bondage that the practice of polygamy forced women to endure.

I thought this book would be an interesting read because polygamy has, in recent years, become a topic open for discussion. On one hand there are TV shows like “Sister Wives” portraying polygamy as a valid lifestyle. On the other hand we have stories of Warren Jeffs and his absolute dictatorshi
Rebekah Rodda
Aug 28, 2016 Rebekah Rodda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
A horror story that claims to be a true account of early mormonism by Brigham Young's 19th wife, Ann-Eliza Young. It is her story in her words - so the way she writes is old-fashioned as befits her era. Her story starts innocuously enough but by the end you can not believe what you have read. Her parents began their mormon journey right from the beginning with Joseph Smith. This is not a neutral book, nor one that claims to be objective. She is a women who feels herself very wronged by mormonism ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
This book gave a fascinating first-hand account of the Mormon religion and its early days under Joseph Smith and then under Brigham Young. The author was the 19th wife of Brigham Young and due to his neglect and evil practices, she left the Mormon faith and filed for divorce from Young. She then set out on a lecture-circuit in the United States to speak against the Mormon church and specifically, its practices of polygamy. Some parts of the book were very repetitive and tedious. I found myself, ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Kimberly rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, 2014
I read this book online while in the midst of reading The 19th Wife, in order to get a complete perspective on the life of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young. This book can be found online and read for free, but it's a long one!

Ann Eliza's pain in apparent in her book, as she struggles with her faith and her unhappiness. While there are certainly biases in this book, I believe that Ann Eliza is telling the truth as she sees it, and was truly doing what she felt was right. I actually
Matthew Timion
Apr 25, 2014 Matthew Timion rated it liked it
Shelves: mormonism
I decided to read this after reading "The 19th Wife," which contained a lot of Ann Eliza Young's story in it.

I found I was partially distracted by the changes the author of "The 19th Wife" made to her story as I read "Wife No. 19."

The entire story is presented in a very one-sided, yet believable, way. If you want to read about early Utah Mormonism (Brighamite) and polygamy prior to the railroad connecting Utah to the "Gentile World," I suggest this book.

The story does seem to jump around a bit
Feb 23, 2014 Jake rated it liked it
Very interesting read. Some rare material on the Mormon temple rituals of the time and on Blood Atonement deaths in early Utah. She spent a lot of effort painting Brigham Young as a tyrant and offers a cynical view of Young's use of tithing funds and abuses of power. The author is obviously trying to expose the negative aspect of early Utah Mormonism, but it does not come across as an anti-Mormon expose. She seems sincere and generally writes well. Good information for students of early Utah Mor ...more
Mar 09, 2014 Bridget rated it it was ok
This was an interesting book, but difficult to read simply because the author (Ann Eliza) is very angry, bitter and unable to be objective for the majority of her book. It took me awhile to get through this one simply because it is such a downer. While she gives accounts of actual events, she reports how she viewed them and embellishes them with her opinion ( basically she only reports/focuses on negatives of her whole life) making it difficult to really separate facts from exaggerations. While ...more
Last year I read a bunch of books about the horrors of the FLDS, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They are an offshoot of Mormonism that still believes in polygamy. While watching a movie about them this book was mentioned and I thought I'd check it out.

The horrors of the early day Mormon church are staggering. I can't imagine many would embrace Mormonism if they knew the truth about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

While I was reading this book I read some of the re
Jan 06, 2015 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wife #19

It's hard to comprehend that anyone could follow either Joseph Smith or Brigham Young and not see or know what these two men were all about. Greed, power, ruler and millions of innocent people actually follow and worship them as god. And this still goes on today in the Mormon religion. If they could only see that it's not religion but a Relationship with God through the shed blood of Jesus that saves us. It breaks your heart to know what these people endured and lived.
Sep 10, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This particular version of the original 1875 text has a number of typos (due to, I assume, the Kindle version), but it is easy to get beyond that. At once the reader of this volume is gripped, shocked, repulsed, and often horrified at the vile and wicked acts of the early founders of Mormonism. It is said that, in this time period, the two largest issues facing the Republican Party under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln, were slavery and the polygamy of the Mormons in the Utah Territo ...more
Aug 16, 2012 Casey rated it liked it
I love primary sources! With Ann Eliza, you get a peak into the Mormon faith during its early development. I liked how she "backtracked" and introduced us to her parents background and how they came into the faith, as they were actively involved during Mormonism in Joseph Smith's time period. I felt like I was reading a story from a periodical magazine, as the book would shift from experience to experience. She describes past Mormon leaders as driven by greed, none the more than Brigham Young hi ...more
Shane Moore
Jan 27, 2015 Shane Moore rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was characteristic of anti-polygamy memoirs at the time of its publication. Similar efforts were cited as the primary reason for the rise of organized public opposition to Mormon polygamy in the mid-1800's.

Even by contemporary standards, the writing is stilted and dull. An aggressive editor could easily cut out 95% of the text, and still retain everything of real interest to a modern reader.

For the most part, this book is an impassioned series of first, second, and thirdhand stories ab
Dec 09, 2012 Jenifer rated it liked it
This is not a "faithful history" of Mormonism, in fact, the old cliche of "Hell hath no fury . . ." came to mind repeatedly as I read this memoir. An embittered tale of settling in early Utah under the Polygamous system for which Mormons are famous. It is clear the 19th wife (and later divorced) of Brigham Young has some harsh feelings and an agenda. While I don't doubt her sincerity in retelling some of her experiences, a quick internet search will reveal that some of the events and situations ...more
Feb 02, 2015 Dawn rated it liked it
Interesting to read after having read a fiction book based on polygamy in Utah Mormons. Ann Eliza "escaped" from Brigham Young's version of the faith as she tells it.

She is not kind.

She blames the men, and classifies the women as victims all.

She exposes corruption, neglect of wives and children, greed, and the murders of "Gentiles" and Mormons who crossed Young.

I don't know much about today's LDS but this is a terrible history (as Ann Eliza tells it) to carry on your back.

Not particularly well
May 29, 2014 Trina rated it really liked it
Highly informational and shocking. I thought it was well written, and considering the usual style of writing for that era, it was not too hard to read. Just a little long winded at times but the subject matter was so compelling that I recommend it as a must read. Includes so many unbelievable facts about the disreputable history of Mormon leaders.
Dec 08, 2015 Roxanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Ann Eliza Young who was the 19th or 52nd wife of Brigham Young. She states how awful the wives lives are and that the men are using religion to have sex slaves and brainwash the women. She filed for divorce and left and for the rest of her life she traveled the US to speak against this practice.
Katie Nairne
Sep 11, 2014 Katie Nairne rated it really liked it
Some elements of the book get a bit repetitive, but the parts about Young's own life are particularly interesting. Thought it would be good to read before reading the novel "The 19th Wife". Clarified certain elements of early Mormonism that I'd studied already and led me to further research.
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Ann Eliza Young (September 13, 1844–1925) also known as Ann Eliza Webb Dee Young Denning was one of Brigham Young's fifty-five wives and later a critic of polygamy. She spoke out against the suppression of women and was an advocate for women's rights during the 19th century.
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“Oh sober-minded reader, never sneer at such fantasies. In the quiet of your mind, when the deep night is at it's blackest, are you always so certain of what is real?” 0 likes
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