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Stolen Innocence: My S...
Elissa Wall
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Stolen Innocence: My Story Of Growing Up In A Polygamous Sect, Becoming A Teenage Bride, And Breaking Free Of Warren Jeffs

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  20,962 Ratings  ·  1,845 Reviews
In this shocking, timely, and inspirational memoir, Elissa Wall details her life growing up in the polygamous Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints religious sect, being forced into an unwanted marriage at the age of 14, and her courage to testify against FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.--From publisher description.
798 pages
Published 2008 by William Morrow
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Petra Eggs
I read this to gain balance after reading Caroline Jessop's Escape. I found this book too full of self-pity and self-glory but with a paucity of background information on the FLDS. That isn't to say it isn't a good book - it is a chilling story well told and the book presents a much more rounded picture of life with its happy times as well as sad than Escape did.

Stolen Innocence reads quite strangely, but you can't put your finger on what is strange and why it is until you reach the last few cha
Mar 14, 2016 Elyse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read other books on polygamy, seen movies, and had a friend who grew up in a polygamous family in Utah. Many of the stories in this memoir are similar to others I've read:
...religious cult community...1 husband with many wives and children.
...The prophet determines when a marriage is to take place. Husband is encouraged to rape his wife.
...Sex is never talked about with girls until her wedding night- and then she is suppose to submit to her husband. covers the body -is very c
Carmaletta Hilton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2008 CJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-books
I've read everything I could get my hands on about the FLDS in the last couple of years. This is another book about a woman who left the religion after years of abuse - she was married at 14 to her first cousin. This cousin then spent years mentally and physically abusing her before she broke away.

Great insight into the FLDS group and why it's so hard for women to leave it.
I am easily obsessed with these stories of women oppressed by and then escaping from the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, an offshoot of the Mormon Church).

This is heavy shit!

The author was forced to get married to her first cousin when she was 14. (I think the husband was 19.) She was then forced to "perform her wifely" duty with him. Yikes! Bad news. Bad, bad news. The happy news it that she finally found true love and escaped from the oppressive religion.

I am for religious fr
Eva Leger
Jul 25, 2008 Eva Leger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in polygamy, anyone interested in non-fiction in general
Recommended to Eva by: found at Wal-Mart
Astonishing. I think, for me, this was even more astonishing than Carolyn Jessups book Escape which was my entrance into the polygamy. I knew only the definition of the word before reading Escape and have since been gathering almost everything I can find on the subject.
This was a real quick book- mainly because you really can't put it down. The emotion is so raw it's scary. I found myself feeling so many different things at so many different points in her life story. One thing I liked a lot is
Sep 02, 2008 Cam added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
I wanted to read this book after reading Carolyn Jessop's book on the same topic- living in polygamy. I think this adds more credit to Carolyn's account. I was wrapped up in this story and found myself crying when the verdict was read against Warren Jeffs. This girl has overcome a lot of challenges, and once again I've realized how blessed I am to enjoy so many freedoms.
Jun 02, 2010 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: Shana K.
As a religious person, I tend to approach the whole how-I-broke-out-of-my-crazy-abusive-religion memoir genre with some caution. I've read some pretty off-the-wall descriptions (mostly in fiction, though occasionally in books purporting to be non-fictional memoirs) of abuse and suffering perpetuated by people claiming to practice my religion. Generally, even when the experiences being described ring true, I think a critical reader can see that the psychological dysfunction is what's causing the ...more
Alissa Patrick
2.5 Stars

Eh. It was okay. I probably would have liked it more if it was shorter. This memoir did not have to be so long. The bare bones of the story was solid- a girl forced to marry at age 14 to her first cousin and the ensuing rape and abuse by her husband and her need to escape was just awful. My heart went out to her, but at times the book just dragged and was long-winded
Elissa Wall was a teenage bride in FLDS, and played a key role in the conviction of Warren Jeffs. She testified against him and this book is her story as she saw it. It was slightly interesting because even though I have read a number of polygamy memoirs, it is not often that a woman gets to take a hand in the actual conviction of their ex-prophet.

The author left a lot of things unexplained. For example, she would stay out of her home and spend nights in her truck in the middle of the desert al
May 15, 2008 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was predisposed to enjoy the book, considering that I’m pretty fascinated by fundamentalist Mormons. I can’t remember if this fascination started with Big Love or if it started with Under the Banner of Heaven. In fact, it might be more appropriate to say I’m pretty fascinated with extremists of any kind, really. (Which brings me to a tangent: did y’all ever see that BBC show where the host basically visited extremists and tried to understand why they believed the things that they believed? He ...more
Ingrid Lola
I greatly admire and respect Elissa Wall, but not her book... obviously written with the help of an amateur journalist. Yes, the story SEEMED interesting enough for me to pay $25, but wasn't worth it in the least. I guess it could be a good beach read... but check it out of the library, or at least wait for the paperback. This book is no work of art, and certainly wasn't life changing. The writing was laugh out loud terrible. I guess I have to give it to Elissa, though--she certainly had a tough ...more
Beth Young
Jul 06, 2008 Beth Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this so I could find out for myself what the FLDS church believed. I thought that they would have some similar beliefs with the LDS church of which I belong. There are really none except that they belive in The Book of Mormon. But, their interpretation of The Book of Mormon is so different than that of the LDS religion. The biggest difference is that the LDS religion is very pro-family and we are to supposed to support and love our families through all trials that we go through. ...more
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
I couldn't put this book down. Similar stories have been told before but this book is different from Escape by Carolyn Jessop in that Elissa was wed at 14 against her will and repeatedly raped as a child by her "husband" who was her first cousin. Although she continually tried to seek help, she was rebuffed at every turn. Then she had the strength at only 19 years old to begin to bring Warren Jeffs to justice. Although the writing was only fair, what I really appreciated about this book was that ...more
jenna nims
Feb 09, 2009 jenna nims rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-for-me
i don't really know what i thought of this book - i listened to the whole thing and i do know that the whininess of the narrators voice irritated me and i had to keep telling myself that it is a sad story but found that i kept wanting her to shut up and stop whining! i would have liked more background into the FLDS since I know nothing, I would have liked the author to show more spine - though she was in a way - since she left her marriage eventually, did things behind the groups back etc but th ...more
Well, if you ever want learn how to twist people's religious beliefs into holding ultimate power over them Warren Jeffs is your kind've guy.

This book is unbelievably depressing. Only knowing that it turns all right in the end is what got me through this book.

I've read a few books about the women in Iran and how their lives were restricted. I think the FLDS Morman church has nothing on them. It's almost the opposite, in Iran the law is against you. In the FLDS, the law is for you but has the abi
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Elissa Wall is the brave and tormented young lady responsible for putting the evil Warren Jeffs behind bars.

At the age of fourteen, Elissa was forced by Jeffs to marry her first cousin, Allen Steed. In the FLDS cult, they have what is called "placement marriage." The "prophet" assigns you a marriage partner, supposedly revealed to him by god. Ms. Wall repeatedly begged "Uncle Warren" to let her have two more years to grow up before marrying, but he refused her requests. Jeffs was convicted of "
Sep 19, 2008 Cody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
At first I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book. It is the story of a young girl growing up in the polygamous FLDS faith. Married at age 14 under duress she suffered much as a very young and naive bride. She eventually left the marriage and was instrumental in getting Warren Jeffs, the then prophet, sent to prison.

I have to admit that the more I read the more I enjoyed learning about her perspectives concerning the FLDS. I was appalled at the control that Warren Jeffs asserted over the
Sad story with a hopeful ending.
Terrible narrator.
Too long.
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*

** Spoiler Alert**

I was looking forward to this book after seeing news reports and documentaries on Warren Jeffs and the FDLS Church and my what a sad story this was! This book gives a great insight into the FLDS Church. Many things that occurred in this Polygamous sect was very shocking and sad. The beliefs of the men and women who are a part of this sect seemed to be brainwashed by Warren Jeffs. Many of the things he instilled upon these people was ridiculous and as an outsider it is very had
Jul 16, 2013 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m always interested in how upbringing and circumstances affect belief, and in Stolen Innocence Lisa Pulitzer has helped Elissa Wall write a fascinating account of her gradual transition from mildly rebellious believer to someone who would leave behind the only world she had ever known, even though she still worried her actions might cause her eternal damnation. Wall grew up in the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints, the polygamous sect Warren Jeffs, now jailed, led, but since her f ...more
Aug 02, 2016 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is one of the first books I have read regarding the FLDS community, although I have seen news stories and reports regarding it. This book is a chilling recount of Elissa Wall, being brought up under the rule of the Jeffs, first being Warren Jeffs father, Rulon, and when his health began to fail him, Warren took over. Elissa is forced into marriage at 14 to a man much older than her, her wishes and pleads for reconsideration ignored. She is then raped, abused emotionally and physically, unti ...more
Feb 24, 2009 Indra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely gripping read...more for the story than the writing. I could not help but like the narrator, who risked a great deal to come forward to try to help others as well as herself. She does a good job explaining the beliefs she was raised with and her story illustrates just what a hold the FLDS church has on many of its believers. Elissa Wall has a lot of strength, grace, and dignity...when she says she still cares about her loved ones and understands their internal struggles--even though ...more
May 27, 2009 Amber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an interesting read for me. I felt horrible for this poor girl and the life she was forced to have. I'm happy that she had the strength and support from members of family and Lamont to break free and to take a stand. I can't begin to imagine the horror that she lived for those years married to such a monster. A few reviews that I read tore her down a bit for "claiming" to have "tried" to make her marriage work when those reviewers didn't feel that she was kind enough to Allen. My person ...more
Megan Gery
The story Wall tells is beyond shocking, and I finished the book quickly. I couldn't shake the feeling though, that she was very liberal with her characterizations of key players. Elissa goes to great pains to justify her mothers' behavior (yes, I meant to place that apostrophe there), which is repugnant. And as hard as Elissa tried to vilify him, I just can't see Allen as a monster. To me he was also a victim who had been brainwashed into seeing his child bride as his property.

A quick read, frustrating on many levels. Ms. Wall does a good job of illustrating the apparently poisonous influence of Warren Jeffs on her entire community. Whether one approves of this social/religous structure or not, it seems clear that all it takes is one bad leader to bring it all down. One of the more pragmatic reasons not to get involved in something like this. In terms of her own family and her own choices, I got the sense there was more nuance to it than made the book.

Some may be sho
Aug 13, 2013 Tiffunee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this courageous memoir, Elissa Wall, the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, tells her inspirational story of how she emerged from the confines of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and helped bring one of America's most notorious criminals to justice.

Powerful, story. I am shocked and dismayed by the beliefs and teachings of FLDS. Those poor children, and brainwashed women.

This woman had a lot of courage and strength to break away from this life.
Nov 20, 2008 Monlka808 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is fascinating to me that Warren actually got away with everything this book talks about. It scares me and makes me realize how there really are 'cult like' religions. Very glad I wasn't born into a family like this one! It's sickening what these young girls had to experience, and by someone they are supposed to trust.
Ruth Turner
Although this story dragged a little at times it was an interesting read about a young girl growing up in the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church, her escape, and her resolve to have Warren Jeffs brought to justice on charges of child sexual assault.

Informative and well worth reading. It's a story that will stay with me for some time.

Sep 12, 2008 BookActivist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to BookActivist by: Jeannie Howard
This was an amazing book. It was very well written and I began to care deeply for this poor girl. It striked my interest in this subject and upset me deeply that our government and law enforcement is allowing this to happen.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Church of Lies
  • Lost Boy
  • Triumph
  • Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife
  • When Men Become Gods: Mormon Polygamist Warren Jeffs, His Cult of Fear, and the Women Who Fought Back
  • Daughter of the Saints: Growing Up in Polygamy
  • His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy
  • Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints
  • Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God Cult
  • God's Brothel: The Extortion of Sex for Salvation
  • Secrets and Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy
  • The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice
  • The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in a Polygamous Mormon Sect
  • Not Without My Sister
  • Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple
  • Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith
  • fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science
  • Daughters of Zion: A Family's Conversion to Polygamy

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“In the end, He's the only reason that I made it. Sometimes that's the only thing we have. Whether you call it God, or hope, or faith -whatever word you use- the fact is, I couldn't have survived if I hadn't believed in something. It was the one part of me that neither Warren nor Allen could touch, and no matter what happens, as long as I have that, I've won.” 7 likes
“We were taught to always put on a good face, even when things are going poorly. We were told to “keep sweet,” an admonition to be compliant and pleasant no matter the circumstance. Since we couldn’t reveal our angry words and feelings, they got bottled up inside, and often there was no communication at all.” 2 likes
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