It was inspiring and uplifting. The last few chapters were the absolute best when she offers advice to young people based on what she learned from herIt was inspiring and uplifting. The last few chapters were the absolute best when she offers advice to young people based on what she learned from her mistakes. I am really impressed by this young woman by her courage, strength, dignity, and her ability to write with such eloquence. She has a beautiful heart as well as being beautiful on the outside....more
I just finished a harrowing and intensely mind-boggling book called "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop. It was incredibly intriguing. I never expected it to bI just finished a harrowing and intensely mind-boggling book called "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop. It was incredibly intriguing. I never expected it to be as shocking, insightful, and inspiring as it turned out to be. It made me want to DO SOMETHING about what I was reading. I checked it out and disappeared into our bedroom and read it cover to cover, barely able to put it down to cook food and use the bathroom.
I had heard about the polygamist raid in Texas when I was in college and was extremely fascinated. I know it may seem strange, but I was actually on the FLDS' side when it came to the point that the children were being stripped away from their families because of alleged accusations that were probably blown dramatically out of proportion. I felt sorry for the mothers, especially when I watched their interviews on the news. I think the cult is essentially evil and uses mind-control to exercise its power, but I felt that it was wrong for so many children to be taken away from their families, especially since there was no evidence of child abuse in the particular homes they were vacating. My friends at college felt differently and believed that it was a blessing the children were getting away from the cult which brainwashed them with lies.
In any case, I read the book, and now I must read all the books I can get my hands on about polygamy.
About the book: Carolyn grew up in the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in the days before Warren Jeffs took the group's extremism to the heights it's reached today. She excelled in high school, and after graduation, Carolyn went to her father to ask if she could go to college. She wanted to become a doctor, but didn’t dare tell him that specifically. The next day, her father told her that she could take college classes but she was to be married to a very powerful man in the community, Merril Jessop... in just two days. Her parents watched her like a hawk and wouldn't let her out of their sight because Carolyn's older sister had fled when she found out she was being forced to marry an old man. Merril Jessop was thirty two years her senior and already had three wives and fifty children. She was devastated. She later found out that the whole wedding was an arrangement made between her husband and her father to settle a pending legal dispute. To top it off, she wasn't even the daughter Merril wanted; he meant to ask for her younger, prettier sister Annette, but got their names mixed up.
Jessop spends much of the book describing what life was like living in the community. Women were property of their husbands and had no rights. They were given in marriage as young as fourteen and passed around as collateral in politics and power plays. "Our lives were currency for other people to spend," she says on page 164.
The sister wives were just plain awful to each other. Their mutual husband pitted them against each other, abused and manipulated them. He favored Barbara over the others and she made their lives a living hell and never let them forget that she was the favorite.
The women believed that their husband was the one who decided if she would go to heaven or not. Their only value was for sex and birthing babies. Women were repeatedly raped and abused but they couldn't go to the authorities because the local police were all FLDS.
When Jessop wrote a seventeen page letter to the leader, Warren Jeffs, describing the abuse her husband put her through, she was told that she shouldn't be so disobedient to her husband and then maybe he wouldn't abuse her anymore. This man we are talking about here was the school principal and regularly beat the kids. He killed animals in front of them and even their own pets. In one story, he ordered one of his wives to saw off the head of a cow while it was still alive in front of the children. It made a noise like a woman screaming. He also banned the color read because supposedly this was the color that Jesus would return to earth wearing and therefore it was forbidden for anyone else to wear or even own an object of that color.
I think that one of the saddest parts of this book is when Jessop's eldest daughter Betty turns eighteen and decides to go back to the FLDS community. Obviously, as she was the father's favorite of all his hundreds of kids, she would thrive and revel there. After I finished the book, the first thing I did after cooking dinner was go on the internet and google Betty's name to find out how she was doing and if she ever went back with her mother who escaped the religious tyranny. Saddly, I learned that she is still there and still very brainwashed. I am looking forward to her side of the story coming up in her autobiography....more