Camille's Reviews > Church of Lies

Church of Lies by Flora Jessop
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Mar 19, 12

bookshelves: memoir, polygamy, religion, nonfiction, cults, 3-and-a-half-stars, rated-r, 18-and-older, adult, christian
Read from March 12 to 15, 2012

Church of Lies by Flora Jessop


Polygamist memoirs are something of a hobby of mine. I find them fascinating and heartbreaking and compelling.

So, I checked out Church of Lies by Flora Jessop from my local public library.

Flora Jessop was born into the polygamy and raised in the twin polygamist cities of Colorado City and Hilldale, one on each side of the Utah/Arizona border.

Before I continue on, I want to give my readers the disclaimer that adult themes were present in this book as some pretty vile things happened to Flora by male relatives. I won't be recounting explicit details, but if knowing about any of what happened to her is too much for you, please stop reading now!

From the age of 8 years old, Flora Jessop was molested by her own biological father. Young and naive she had no idea that what was happening to her was wrong, just that she should submit to her father as her priesthood head, and that she didn't enjoy what he did to her.

At the age of 12 he began raping her.

Flora Jessop wanted to die.

And so, she attempted to commit suicide to find a way out, feeling it was her only escape route from the horrible life she was born into...

By the grace of God, Flora was saved, though she wouldn't realize it until later.

She attempted to run away several times, and finally after escaping to Vegas and then returning, Flora's father laid down a choice: get married, or go to a mental hospital.

She chose the option of marrying, and married her first cousin at 18. While he was a much kinder man, she tasted her first bits of freedom and within 3 weeks he took her to Vegas and she left the FLDS for the last time.

The horrors of her life were not close to over yet. Convinced she was already going to hell, Flora partied harder and harder, alcohol, drugs, cocaine, and a series of unsavory men.

And that's when she finally had the realization that she wasn't going to hell, she had been born there. Finally, after having a daughter and working as a topless dancer she turned her life around, and got better.

She also met an amazing man who loved and supported her despite her turbulent past. And now that she was healing, she began her current work, crusading to save other women and children from the FLDS. She recounts her work trying to rescue young women and children from the cult, and tells both stories of success, and stories where the women are so brainwashed and damaged, that they eventually return to the FLDS.

She continues her work today trying to help all the women and children she can, sometimes using rather unconventional methods.

I have to say that this book was more graphic with details of abuse than prior memoirs I have read. Whilst other women who have written memoirs were also molested and raped, Flora is unafraid to go into more detail which both disgusted me, and tore my heart apart as a reader. I was simultaneously in disbelief about what she went through, and disgusted that men could do that to young women.

As a result, I will warn my readers that due to the language, content, and themes, this book definitely is

RATED R

Unlike an erotica novel though, it's not unnecessary adult themes, it's just a recounting of the horrors she survived.

My only criticism would be that her writing style leaves something to desire, but I cannot really fault her for that as she was forced to leave school as a young teenager and had no higher education since. Honestly though it can be a little harder to grasp her writing style it is amazing that she is able to convey everything that happened to her so well with such a weak educational background. However, it is clear she is an intelligent strong woman who has survived horrors must of us can't even have nightmares about.

What I also found to be amazing about Flora is her personal journey with God. When she first left the FLDS she had a complete and total bitterness against God that is so understandable considering the lies she was raised on in the FLDS. For a long time she was bitter, angry and almost hateful towards the idea of God because it was so hard for her to let go of the horrors she had been subjected to, falsely claimed to be in the name of God...

But by the end of the book, due to a strong, patient mother-in-law, Flora rediscovers church, and God and has begun a relationship with the loving, caring, and wonderful God that the rest of us know and love. It is truly a testament to a loving God that someone who suffered so much could find a way to have love for God.

All-in-all 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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