Still going with this Scribd trial subscription, so far, it’s better than KindleUnlimited.
I’ve seen Elissa’s book around before, but I’ve never read it. I’ve read books by some of the other people she used to live near in the FLDS cities of Hildale and Colorado City. Elissa’s story is the story that helped put Warren Jeffs in prison. Without Elissa, Warren might still be out in the public officiating and facilitating some pretty awful things.
Elissa grew up a member of the FLDS church, but her life did not change quite so drastically until she was about thirteen or so. At one point it was declared that her father was not worthy to have his family, so Elissa, her mother, and her siblings by that mother left and went to the twin cities with Fred Jessop. The Jessop family was often surrounding the prophet and making major decisions in the FLDS church, as far as I know the Jessop family is still a controlling factor to the FLDS.
Elissa’s growing up time was as normal as the growing up life of any FLDS child could be, but at fourteen everything changed. Elissa was told that she would be married. She was surprised that other girls had been passed over in favor of her, but she knew girls who had been deemed to question authority were married off really young, but usually not at fourteen. Elissa protests the decision and even gets members of her family to protest the decision, but it doesn’t do any good. Elissa has to get married because it’s her way into heaven. The man she is going to marry is her first cousin. Elissa hates all the wedding arrangements and chooses not to willingly participate. The wedding is not legal in any sense of the matter.
After the wedding, Elissa finds out what sex is through rape. She is told to submit herself to her husband mind, body, and soul. Her life is awful. She tries to seek guidance from her mother, but her mother is too deep into the religion to give her much real advice on the issue. She suffers miscarriage after miscarriage. At one point Elissa goes through a still birth.
She gets job on top of job to keep away from her husband. Finally, she leaves with the help of her new boyfriend Lamont. She is able to start a family with Lamont and get away from her former life. It becomes apparent that Elissa will have to go to court against Warren Jeffs. He is eventually placed on the FBI’s most wanted list. Elissa’s case will help put him in jail. Warren is ultimately jailed for facilitating rape. This paves the way for other charges against Warren, and eventually against Allen, Elissa’s former husband.
Elissa is able to start life as a normal person with her young family. She hopes to make a fund for women and children trying to escape the life of the FLDS.
What I liked
I have read other FLDS memoirs before. It’s a strange society. It’s interesting to learn about them, but it’s strange. They’re a secretive society and it’s always neat to learn about secretive societies.
I am over the moon glad that Elissa got out. In all honesty, the FLDS lifestyle is not a lifestyle for women. It’s not. There are those who praise it, but it’s not good for women at all, especially young women. I really hope that Elissa is able to move on with her life and her family. I hope she gets to go to college and find a place for herself in the world. The life she was living was no life for any person to live.
Nothing is new about Elissa’s life to me. I’ve read FLDS memoirs before and I know what she was going through. If this is the first time you’ve read something like this, it might be extremely interesting to you to learn about how they live their lives.
What I didn’t like
There is a genetic disorder that has a high prevalence among the FLDS people and it causes lots of childhood disability, but also miscarriages and stillbirths. There is a good chance that this was why Elissa was miscarrying all of her cousin’s babies. This was her first cousin, by blood. There was a big chance some kind of inbreeding was going to cause problems. This is never mentioned in Elissa’s book, but it should have been. It could be that Elissa didn’t know about it, but Lisa Pulitzer, the ghost writer, should have. Elissa states that perhaps a RH factor issue could have been causing her miscarriages, which could also be true.
I know some of the FLDS people still revere Warren Jeffs as their prophet, but honestly, he’s just about the snakiest man alive. I hope he never gets out of jail. With just the charges from Elissa, he will most likely be in prison his entire life. He doesn’t need to be back out. He forced young girls into marriage. Lots of people have said he raped them, not to mention all that misappropriation of funds. He was found with tithing checks of his people, none of those checks were going towards tithing.
You may look at this whole thing as weird, but you have to be open to the idea of this being a person’s religion. The people who broke off and founded the FLDS church or “the work” as it used to be called when it was first branched off believed highly in it. They sacrificed a lot to keep practicing how they believed their religion should be practiced. Somewhere along the line, someone perverted their religion. It became women in prairie dresses and complete submission. Let me tell you, in the days of polygamy for the mainstream Mormon church, that wasn’t the deal. There might have been a few prairie dresses, but the women were more self-sufficient and learned than the FLDS women today. I know, personally, a woman whose great-grandmother lived in a polygamous relationship in the early Mormon church. She, the grandmother, became a doctor, and this was at a time when they’re weren’t many women doctors. Something like that would be unheard of among the FLDS church. Women are supposed to get married and have babies, not be doctors, at least according to the FLDS practices these days.
I feel sorry for all these people. I don’t agree with their religion, but I feel bad for them because someone took something that they felt was beautiful and turned it into young girls being forced into marriages and high rates of child abuse.
Elissa is starting at a negative in her life. If you consider us as normal people starting at zero when we leave the homes of our parents to become adults, Elissa started in the red because she didn’t know how to be an adult on the outside with the rest of us. She has to learn the culture of real life and also the responsibilities of real life. The FLDS women may have it very hard in some aspects, but they’re very sheltered in others.
Warren Jeffs is a nasty person. I admire Elissa for being able to be the first to stand up in front of so many people against him.
childhood marriage, elissa wall, FLDS, forced marriage, jane doe, polygamous sects, polygamy, Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall, stolen innocense, underage marriage, warren jeffs, warren jeffs sentencing
Memoir, Non-Fiction, Pulitzer-Lisa, social commentary, True strange Happenings, Wall-Elissa