It also reveals step by step, how she came to reject the beliefs of the sect. When she decided that her only option was to escape, the book describes her meticulous planning and her willingness to seize the moment. The book also reveals the determination of the sect to control and suppress dissent in its ranks. After Carolyn Jessop escaped with her eight children, the book describes her challenges in evading sect members who went looking for her and the children, how she won legal custody of her children, how she coped with post-traumatic stress and how she helped the children to adapt to life in the wider community.
|Published (Last):||24 May 2007|
|PDF File Size:||12.53 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||5.50 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Jun 20, Laura Debenham rated it liked it I sat up til 2 A. It was an intense experience. It made me grieve for the inequities in my own culture between men and women along with the fear that holds me down. Having lived near Colorado City, reading this book made me look back on my experience living in St.
George, Utah with new eyes. There had been a girl in my Spanish class who wore the "plig" uniform and did her hair in the dippidy-doo flip.
She was ostracized by most I sat up til 2 A. She was ostracized by most of the students but I determined to make friends with her. At first she was curt and guarded but eventually she opened up enough to have a casual friendship. We often walked to or from class together and I learned about her family. She had several younger siblings and spoke of them with love. When I married over a year later I gave my entire stuffed animal collection to Veronica for her little brother and sisters.
She was so grateful that her eyes misted over and I somehow knew stuffed animals were a foreign item in her world. She and her family made a beautiful hand-stitched quilt for my wedding gift. I still have it 24 years later. They sewed an image of the St. George Temple onto a silky pink background. I have tried my best to keep it out of the reach of dirty little hands over the years. It is the only wedding gift in tact and I think of Veronica whenever I see it.
I wondered if Veronica was the third or fourth wife to some old guy or was she sent to college because she was plain and would likely never marry. As an adult I lived in St. George for three years between and I saw polygamists at Wal-Mart every time I went there.
I was disturbed by my own reaction to them. Having lived all over the U. I was aware of how limited the perspective of people who stayed in one place their whole lives can be. Yet I still looked at them as "lesser" individuals. Because I was so disturbed by my own inner hateful response to this people, I decided to learn more about them.
I met a woman who had written a book and was actively helping girls escape. She was selling her books at a booth at the county fair. She was putting her life on the line by speaking out and I was impressed. I wrote a speech on her service and invited her to attend the toastmasters meeting when I gave the presentation.
I called her the "Harriet Tubman" of Colorado City. In my speech I compared the polygamists with the Jews of Europe during the Nazi era. It had been many years since my friendship with Veronica and I had to overcome my own feelings of inadequacy as a woman to not judge them for living in such a bizarre culture. It was after recognizing their value as individuals that I started up conversations with the women I saw in Wal-Mart.
I was aware they had been told that the rest of us were "evil" but I knew they were just struggling mothers like the rest of us. I began greeting them with a smile and "hello". I still avoided the men completely, even gave them the evil eye if my teenaged daughters were with me.
I came up with ways of starting conversations with the women. At first she balked but we ended up having a regular conversation and she gave me advice on dealing with the childhood illness. Often, if I was in an isle and a Colorado City woman was nearby I would comment on products that were sold and probably sounded like a bad commercial as I searched for ways to reach out and connect.
My goal was to help these women recognize that the rest of us were human too. Whenever I saw the little polygamist boys working on construction sights I would call the phone number advertized on trucks and signs and complain to whoever answered that there are child labor laws and I would report children working to the police if I saw it again. I was especially repulsed by the "lost boys" and grieved over the stories of male prostitution and drug use.
This book brought home the reality and horror of being brainwashed and the dangers of living in a completely controlled environment. Did Carolyn ever abuse her children or the other wives kids? It seems likely that she would, coming from such an abusive mother, but she paints herself in a favorable light, as is expected. I was amazed at her determination to get educated and her ability to recognize that it was the only way out.
I was so saddened at the end when her daughter returns to the cult and would love to know the rest of the story. It also made me think of Veronica and wonder where and how she is.
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 three wives. 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 own peril. 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.
Polygamy Survivor Carolyn Jessop
Subsequently, she sued for custody of her children, and in became "the first woman ever granted full custody of her children in a contested suit involving the FLDS. It was published by the Broadway division of Random House. She is a sixth-generation descendant of a polygamous family, all of whom were faithful members of the FLDS church. Jessop describes her relationship to her parents as emotionally distant, with her father dominating her mother, and her mother taking out her anger on the children with such regularity that the children soon devised a strategy to get their beatings "out of the way" in the mornings. She spent most of her childhood in Colorado City, Arizona. She graduated from high school at the age of
After all, her own father had three wives by the time she was in fourth grade. Last month, the FLDS was in the news when its leader, Warren Jeffs, was found guilty of being an accessory to rape for forcing a year-old girl in the group to marry her year-old cousin. Jessop, 38, tells her extraordinary story in a riveting new book, Escape Broadway. How did you feel? Carolyn Jessop: I was shocked.