Bonnie Morse's Reviews > Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs

Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall
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Aug 20, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: oddlittlecat, people-be-crazy, radical-women, religion
Read from August 20 to 24, 2012

Stolen Innocence is one of the best books I've read so far on the subject of the FLDS. Forced at the age of 14 into a marriage she didn't want to a first cousin she'd hated all her short life, Elissa Wall fought for her freedom with maturity and grace for the next four years. Her trial, recorded here in detail, was the first of many against the Short Creek FLDS and it's "prophet" Warren Jeffs. Convicted on two counts of accessory to rape for forcing her to marry, both underage and against her will, Jeffs is now in prison largely thanks to this brave young woman and her determination to see justice served.

No one who hasn't lived it can really understand the power and pressure of the FLDS (not to be confused with mainstream Mormons), but this book more than most gives a thorough and nuanced view of the life, including praise for the good people she knew growing up. Unlike the story of Flora Jessop, which was one of grinding poverty and non-stop sexual abuse, Wall's early childhood was borderline normal. Even happy by FLDS standards. But when the "prophet" ordered her family separated and her mother placed in marriage with another man, it was the beginning of the end for Elissa. The unquestioning obedience to any and all irrational decisions of the "prophet" is at the heart of the FLDS religion and it's this frightening way of life that Wall exposes so clearly to anyone who cares to learn.
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