Escape Author:Carolyn Jessop, Laura Palmer The dramatic first-person account of life inside an ultra-fundamentalist American religious sect, and one woman’s courageous flight to freedom with her eight children. — When she was eighteen years old, Carolyn Jessop was coerced into an arranged marriage with a total stranger: a man thirty-two years her senior. Merril Jessop already had th... more »ree wives. But arranged plural marriages were an integral part of Carolyn’s heritage: She was born into and raised in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), the radical offshoot of the Mormon Church that had settled in small communities along the Arizona-Utah border. Over the next fifteen years, Carolyn had eight children and withstood her husband’s psychological abuse and the watchful eyes of his other wives who were locked in a constant battle for supremacy.
Carolyn’s every move was dictated by her husband’s whims. He decided where she lived and how her children would be treated. He controlled the money she earned as a school teacher. He chose when they had sex; Carolyn could only refuse—at her peril. For in the FLDS, a wife’s compliance with her husband determined how much status both she and her children held in the family. Carolyn was miserable for years and wanted out, but she knew that if she tried to leave and got caught, her children would be taken away from her. No woman in the country had ever escaped from the FLDS and managed to get her children out, too. But in 2003, Carolyn chose freedom over fear and fled her home with her eight children. She had $20 to her name.
Escape exposes a world tantamount to a prison camp, created by religious fanatics who, in the name of God, deprive their followers the right to make choices, force women to be totally subservient to men, and brainwash children in church-run schools. Against this background, Carolyn Jessop’s flight takes on an extraordinary, inspiring power. Not only did she manage a daring escape from a brutal environment, she became the first woman ever granted full custody of her children in a contested suit involving the FLDS. And in 2006, her reports to the Utah attorney general on church abuses formed a crucial part of the case that led to the arrest of their notorious leader, Warren Jeffs.« less
The subject matter of this book made it one of the most difficult and yet most compelling to read I have ever encountered. It is almost impossible to believe that there are so many women and children in this country being "brain-washed" and so controlled in the name of religion. Women and children who are living daily with emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Abuse that would never be tolerated by most women. Denying food to children in order to punish the mother, sleep deprived children forced to endure long hours of middle of the night prayer, beatings by the other "mothers" in the home. Hard to read and yet at the same time, a hard to put down book.
The suffering that Carolyn endured reduced me to tears and yet made me cheer for her, for the courage she had to reject a lifetime of teachings in order to protect her children.
Carolyn Jessop's book gives readers an interesting view inside Warren Jeff's cult. It tells of a world where women and children are seen as property and how people can be brainwashed when they are isolated from the rest of society. Jessop is a very courageous woman. Excellent book!
An excellent book by an amazing woman who managed to keep her sense of self and her sanity under miserable conditions of life, to fight back in her own way against the unfairness and sheer hatefulness of her husband and some of her "sister wives" and others in the family, see through and cleverly deal with Warren Jeffs, and eventually escape from the polygamous community, taking her eight children with her. It is amazing what she had to go through to get proper medical treatment for one of her children who had a life-threatening illness, with her husband (amazingly) hindering all her efforts, but she accomplished that, too.
Jessops, although justifiably angry (and I was angry, too, reading of her trials), does not come across as at all petty and bitter, but as a person of ability and character.
Suspenseful, harrowing tale of one woman's desperate escape from an abusive polygamous cult. Captivating and shocking. Hard to believe that the community of Colorado City, AZ, and the FLDS exist within our national borders. I could not put this book down.
This was a great story of strength from a woman who has suffered more than anyone I know. Married to a man of 51 when she was only 18, Carolyn Jessop became the fourth wife of a polygamist in the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).
I applaud and commend Ms. Jessop for the bravery that she showed when she literally ran away from everything she had once believed in to protect and save her eight children.
This is a truly inspiring story that anyone will do well to read, but it will appeal especially to those who have been, or still are, members of any type of religious cult.
This is a fascinating but sad story of how polygamists abuse, control and manipulate women and families. It is not well written, in that they repeat some facts so many times that you feel they are beating you over the head, but other than that, An informative and good read.
If you are a student of social psychology, this is a must read. It reminded me of "Every Secret Thing" by Patty Hearst which I read in college while taking a social psychology course. The methods of isolation, deprivation, indoctrination and exploitation could not be more clearly illustrated. A heart-wrenching and unimaginable atrocity on the soil of the "land of the free."