Carol was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ(Restored), which by some accounts has disbanded, but Carol proves that it is alive and well in her book. The Church was part of a bigger offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and then the Church broke off of that offshoot and formed their own small church. The Church Carol attended never grew to any large amount, but there were enough members in it to form a congregation and also be subject to brainwashing and abuse by the prophet of the church.
The first prophet of the Church was Carol’s husband, whom she was forced to “marry” when she was around seventeen years old. The other wives were much younger, ten to fifteen years old. The prophet already had one legal wife, so none of the other wives were legal.
Unlike other polygamous offshoots of the LDS church, this church is in Canada. The Church ultimately ended up buying an old ski resort and holding their services there. Carol recounts tales of horror, especially when the Prophet dies and one of his sons takes his place. The son is mean and abusive. He physically abuses people, makes them work for slave labor, takes away their basic human rights. No one leaves, because they’re brain washed. Carol’s younger son is the first one who leaves the church. Carol later follows.
She isn’t sure what to expect when she leaves, but she knows it’s better than being confined to her apartment and being subject to mental and physical abuse. Carol has to leave her older son behind, whom is still there as far as I know. Carol does find a life on the outside. It was not easy for her to find a job. She eventually meets the man she would marry and with him Carol is able to build a normal life.
What I liked
I had never even heard of Carol’s church before this book. I knew there were various polygamous offshoots of the LDS church, but Carol’s was not one that I knew about, although I did know that there was at least one other congregation of a fundamentalist LDS sect in Canada.
Carol’s book apparently revived this church inside of the media. People had thought it had gone defunct, but it’s still alive and well, if you can call having only around 40 members alive and well.
What I didn’t like
This is bull crap! The very idea that someone would treat other people this way is reprehensible. Almost every single fundamentalist offshoot of the LDS church is like this. Almost every single one has marriage of underage girls, polygamy, brain washing, and various forms of abuse. I wish I could run out and gather all of them up and say, “It’s not supposed to be this way,” but we can’t because there is a thing called freedom of religion. No matter how crazy it may sound, as long as they’re not breaking laws, they must be allowed to practice how they choose.
Ultimately, there are laws broken and many of the leaders of these sects to suffer trial and imprisonment for the laws they broke, a la Warren Jeffs. The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ (Restored) are no exception, two of them are currently in trial or awaiting trial for a large list of charges.
Look, people, take a hint, polygamous offshoots of the LDS church don’t really work. It seems to breed brainwashing and abuse. For freedom of religion’s sake, I wish it didn’t. I have never once read a book about a polygamous fundamentalist offshoot of the LDS church that talks about how happy everyone is, even the book I read about the Brown family of TLC’s Sister Wives was not a happy book, although, they’re essentially a best-case scenario.
Speaking about all of this in a larger sense, when an offshoot of a religion acts bad it makes the original religion look bad, but it also makes all religion look bad. People encounter sects like the one in this book, or others, and they think that because this religion is bad that all religions might be that way. This turns people off of religion, but it also puts eyes on religion that could do a lot of damage. For example, let’s say there were multiple religions just like the one in this book all in the spotlight at the same time for underage marriages and abuse. Let’s say the government is tired of dealing with these things and inserts its foot into religion. While it may be true that there are certain rights the people have, it doesn’t mean that the government can’t decide to take those rights away. Freedom of religion could be a thing of the past if this happened. The government could say you could only worship Jesus, or only worship Buddha, or whomever it pleased, and if you believed otherwise, you would have to do it in secret and illegally.
There are, of course, other problems with that scenario, but this is a post about a book, not a hypothetical integration of church and state, so we’ll leave them be for now.
If you suspect that something is very wrong, get out.
Do you think anyone in Carol’s religion is happy?
Do you think religion is supposed to be a happy thing?