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August 2013
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thebostonreader [userpic]
19. Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall

I have a rather morbid fascination with the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) Church. It blows my mind that there can be people with such vastly different views on life in the same country as me, not to mention the way everyone but especially women and girls are treated in the sect is horrible. This is the memoir of Elissa Wall, who grew up in the FLDS church, and believed its teachings but had a bright mind and asked too many questions, and was married off at 14 when she started to get to uppity. On top of that, the man chosen for her was her 19-year-old cousin who had bullied her and was the only person in the community she couldn't stand.

Ms. Wall eventually became the main witness in the court case that sent Warren Jeffs to prison for accessory to rape, for having orchestrated her marriage and disregarding all her pleas, first that she didn't want to get married in the first place, and later that her husband was hurting her. The same thing happened to many other girls, but she was the one who came forward. Unfortunately, although Ms. Wall is happily married now to someone else and living outside the FLDS community, many other folks are still enmeshed in the sect, which really is a cult. The people are brainwashed to believe that if they don't follow the Prophet's dictates, they will be cast out of the community and will not go to Heaven with their families. Over the years they have been more and more cut off from the outside world, most of them now living in walled compounds and continually expecting the return of Jesus on Earth. The author's bravery in the face of all that is pretty astounding.