Between the Lines discussion

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Nonfiction Book Discussions > Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Triumphing over Warren Jeffs

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I just started this book. I grew up in Utah and we all thought that the Polygamous Sects were different. But so far I think they are beyond. I feel so bad for all those poor children that are stuck in these homes without freedom, education. I am only halfway through but it is sad to think that there are actually people in America that have little to no rights. Very shocking.


Emily Sounds interesting. Did you ever see the show Big Love on HBO?


Christina I both read the book and saw some episodes of Big Love.
I found the book very scary - how can these men keep so many women and children under control? How can anybody live like this?


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I just wanted to add my review: Elissa was very brave to be able to leave the polygamous "cult" and share her story. I do hope that this story can reach out to others that are living in oppressed environments.

First, in my reading I would say that the FLDS is clearly a cult that is oppressing the women and children and some of the adult males. Clearly there is a leader, who has complete control over the entire community; financially, educationally, spiritually, and physically. Mr. Jeffs clearly has issues and his control over the FLDS members is very sad, he has emotionally blackmailed these poor people and allowed horrific crimes to take place.

Secondly, I think it is very sad for the children to be brought up in such an oppressive culture. Especially with minor children being married off to older men and expected to have "sex". The abuse in this culture seems to be very high and statistically I would not be shocked if it was higher then out of their culture. It's breeding grounds for verbal, physical and sexual abuse. The abuse seems to be encouraged by the leader "prophet".

Thirdly, the religion that FLDS broke away from does not teach the principles that were expressed in the book. They have taken concepts from scriptures including the Bible and twisted them to fit the needs of their culture.

Very eye opening book. Shocking that this would take place in modern times.


Christina Even though she's been brainwashed to believe this her entire life, I have a hard time understanding Elissa's mother. Seeing her boys being sent away and living very hard times and seeing her girls escape and having her grand children, how can she not start to question it all and at least want to keep in touch with them?


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I do too! Especially since she was on the list to testify against her daughter. HEr mother lost so many children. Yet so faithful. Why?


Petra Xtra Crunchy (PetraX) Its the fear of God that does it. If you instil into people at a very young age that heaven is an infinitely wonderful place and that hell is - also infinitely - to be dreaded, and that there is but one way to get to heaven, a way God himself has made known, then people will follow it.
Brainwashing is what ALL religions do to a greater or lesser extent. Otherwise why would each laugh at the others myths and legends yet call our own 'the truth'?
Religions operate on reward and punishment and the FLDS is only unusual in that it is a Western religion. The Saudi form of Wahabi Islam is even more restrictive and brutal to women but causes less horror because its 'over there' rather than 'here', among us.


Kipahni | 45 comments Well I don't know about FLDS reasoning, but the reason here (in Egypt) men take multiple wives because it is a sign of status. Woman agree to have "sister" wives because it shows their husband is (and them) as wealthy, a huge majority of woman get married here for security (ie status and money).
I read a similiar book to that about a girl that grew up in a polygamous sect where her father had 14 other wives. I think Petra is right by saying that if you put it in context of religious duty or fear of damnation, people will do about anything


message 9: by Sue (last edited Apr 18, 2009 02:47PM) (new)

Sue Kipahni wrote Well I don't know about FLDS reasoning, but the reason here (in Egypt) men take multiple wives because it is a sign of status.

If I remember correctly the FLDS reasoning is the same, status, plus the more wives and children they have on earth the bigger the kingdom after death. That's why they have to kick the younger men out, the older members need all the women for themselves.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I think it is very interesting but I can't imagine trying to keep up with more then one spouse.


Beth Knight (zazaknittycat) One is more than enough!


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I love having NONE but when I had ONE it was too much! I could not and would not ever do two!


Christina As I remember it, in the FLDS, a man had to have three wives to secure both himself and the women a spot in heaven...
And I agree - one spouse is more than enough!


message 14: by Lorena (last edited Apr 19, 2009 06:04PM) (new)

Lorena (LorenaLilian) I think that the truly remarkable and demoralizing thing is that in this age and time we still have places where a woman's only hope for a secure future is marrying some sort of ... guy ... what ever happened to education and self empowerment? But I guess if the masses don't know any better there would only be a few in the bunch that question these set of ridiculous rules and stipulations.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Christina: yes they have to have at least three wives, but it sounded like it's better if you have more. There was one person who had about ten wives. OH!


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

They oppress the children and women. They teach them so they don't know about the world. Women, children and younger men are completely issolated and oppressed they are taught that this is what God wants. They are taught that we "outsiders" are evil. It is so sad at how deep the brainwashing goes.


Petra Xtra Crunchy (PetraX) Apart from anything else, imagine having to wear only one hairstyle and only or two approved styles of dress for the rest of your life. That's oppression in itself.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Sometimes that wear jeans under their dresses. But that would be oppression. Plus they are cut off from our world, no books. I would not survive!


Petra Xtra Crunchy (PetraX) Jeans under dresses and they could take off their dresses in the house? Like Saudis with their fancy clothes underneath the burkhas?



message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

NO they couldn't. I don't understand the Jean thing. But in Salt Lake City, they wear the Jeans under the dresses. I never really asked. I did know a girl who was married to Warren Jeffs. She never liked to talk about her lifestyle or beliefs. Her and the other wives all did the jeans under the dresses.


Terra (TerraMae) This sounds very interesting, I might have to add it to my collection


message 22: by Petra Xtra Crunchy (last edited Apr 27, 2009 05:00PM) (new)

Petra Xtra Crunchy (PetraX) Being a woman in the FLDS doesn't sound much better than being a woman in Saudi Arabia.

Tell me some more about the FLDS, Emilee. Its interesting to know the reality and the details, like jeans, that you don't read of.


Kipahni | 45 comments They probably wear jeans there the same reason why they might wear jeans Here in egypt under their skirts. Because some of the girls here can't have skin from ankle wrist showing.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

You might be right Kipahni.

One of the compounds which was referred to in the book was about 1/4 of a mile from my home growing up. Each mother had a color they picked and all their children wore clothes in that color. Like the first wife would pick Pink. then all the girls would wear the long pioneer type dress in pink the boys wore usually grey or blue pants with a pink shirt. I remember hiking near their compound and when they were out in the yard you would see groups of children in their colors playing together.

I always wondered why the authorities never arrested them. Growing up in Utah, we all knew that they were FLDS but nothing. My mom says that when she drives by the compound they are still living there.

also another interesting tid bit is that they also hide their wifes. Some of them will own like 4 or 5 houses and put 1-2 wives with all the wives children in a home. Set it up to look like they are renting the home as single parents. Then the wives collect welfare. This I think should be a crime because the husbands are actually making money and can afford to take care of the wives but to try to hide the wives so they don't get in trouble with the government they instead scam the tax paying citizens out of our money and have the non-working wives collect walfare.

I would not doubt that this is being looked into I would at least hope so.

I haven't lived in Utah for 7 1/2 years but the FLDS were very interesting culturally speaking. They did not like talking to outsiders at all.

When I use to be a cashier at Costco they would come through to buy food. They would not say hi. It was very interesting we had to ring all the wives up seperately. And let me tell you they bought a ton of food monthly.


Petra Xtra Crunchy (PetraX) That was very interesting, Emilee. I came across this http://jezebel.com/5191185/oprah-asks... from last month, about the racism of the FLDS. I thought that racist organizations couldn't benefit from government moneys, but I might be wrong on that.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Wow! that was very intersesting. Thanks for sharing Petra!

And they said in the video clip that the poof hair was a current style. While I am over 30 and for the last almost 4 decades they have been doing the poof.


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