Monday, June 7, 2010

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

What to say about this book other than scary???? Seriously, this is one of those books that makes me thank my lucky stars for everything that I have including my parents, family, and the life that I was born into. Sometimes it is as simple as that. And books like this make me remember to appreciate what I have.

This is Carolyn Jessop's memoir of growing up and living in the FLDS (otherwise known as Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). The FLDS is a closed off religious group that keep to themselves and their community and are an offshoot of the Morman church. At 18, Carolyn was told that she was meant to marry Merril Jessop and become his third wife. He was thirty-two years older than she was. Carolyn's marriage was an unhappy one that was basically a power struggle between all of Merril's wives with Carolyn caught up in the mix even when she didn't want to be. It would take years before Carolyn would begin to realize that the religion and life that she grew up with might not be the life that she truly wanted. And it would take everything Carolyn had to escape.

Wow! That is all I had to say after reading this one. I can't even begin to imagine all of the things that this woman has had to is just too much. First of all, being told who you are going to marry, having no choice or say in the matter, it is almost too difficult to fathom. And how sad to go into a marriage and know that you may never love the person you are married to. Carolyn's marriage was a constant struggle from the beginning. All of Merril's wives were constantly competing for his attention which just made me a bit sick. Sex and the number of children that a woman had gave them status within their marriage. In other words, the more kids you had in comparison to the other wives gave a woman a better standing in this society and within her "family". Pretty scary in my opinion. Carolyn had no say in the life that she led and was constantly told what she could or couldn't do. And when Warren Jeffs came to power, things in the FLDS got even worse. Carolyn is very frank in the book and shares the reasons why she was content with living there for so long. I mean she grew up thinking that all of this was normal, was taught that the "outside world" was evil and meant for an apocalypse, and that she was one of the "chosen ones" by God. It took her a really long time before she began to think differently and realize that she wanted something else for her and her children. I must say that I think that Carolyn Jessop is an amazing woman!

All in all, one of those books that really makes you think. About the life you live and the freedoms that we have. Because not everyone has these freedoms so for me this kind of book makes me appreciate my everyday life just a little bit more.
Disclosure- Checked out from my local library.
*I read this book for the following challenges:
Women Unbound Challenge
Social Justice Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
Support Your Library Reading Challenge
New Author Challenge
"E" Title for A-Z Challenge (personal)


  1. Whats worse is the independents that out number the FLDS who take young girls in a rural and rather invisible setting. Elizabeth Smart fell into that category by Brian David Mitchell. The rural states of Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Utah could do much more!

    Thank goodness Merrill was indicted in Texas, but the FLDS and her story are a tip of a much larger iceberg.


  2. WOW, I don't think I could get through this one, I have a hard time with people being forced into things because of their culture, umbringing etc.

    We are blessed and have to remember to appreciate, great point.

  3. fincenMIB- After reading this I'm definitely interested in reading more on this subject. And I've got to admit that I didn't even connect this with Elizabeth Smart...interesting!

    Marce- It was a difficult book for me to read only in the fact that it was SO different from me and the culture that I've grown up with. Very interesting though!

  4. Books like this seriously disturb me. I mean I know that life is all that some people have ever known but how could that be all right?

  5. It is frightening, isn't it? I remember when one of the fundamentalist sects in Texas was infiltrated and there was a huge battle about custody--can't remember if this was part of that?

    It must have taken so much courage for Jessop to break away--it would be tough not really knowing any other life but deciding that the life you know isn't what you want to life.

  6. Hi I have an award for you over at

  7. Ladytink- It is a VERY disturbing subject...

    Trish- I believe that this was all a part of that. Crazy isn't it?? And yes, I think that she was very courageous especially to fight for all of her kids.

    Shari- Thank you so much! I'm VERY bad at passing these on but I really appreciate it and I promise to try :)


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