Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs

Stolen Innocence: My Story Of Growing Up In A Polygamous Sect, Becoming A Teenage Bride, And Breaking Free Of Warren Jeffs - Elissa Wall, Lisa Pulitzer With the recent interest in "Polygamy USA," it seemed like a good time to obtain this book from the library. Elissa Wall's memoir details the split of the Centennial Park group from the Jeffs group at Short Creek (something from which the Centennial Park folk seem very eager to distances themselves, with great protests of "we're not like that").This is Elissa Wall's memoir of how she was forced to marry her loathsome first cousin at the age of 14. Not only did she protest that she did not want to marry him, but she went to the "prophets," Rulon and Warren Jeffs, repeatedly to report the marital rape and physical abuse she was experiencing. Neither prophet was willing to "release" her from the marriage.Of course, part of the problem was that she had no vocabulary to describe rape; she didn't even know what sex was when she got married and had to have an older sister (married to Rulon) explain that this was "marital relations."Eventually, Wall took several jobs so that she would never have to be home with her husband. It is during this time that she begins to question her loyalty to Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints (FLDS); she is staying only in hopes of keeping her youngest sisters from being forced into early marriages as she and so many others were.Wall was one of the first to testify against Jeffs after his arrest in Nevada, and was also one of the people on the ground in El Dorado, Texas, when another of Jeffs' compounds was raided (if you missed that story in the news, I don't know where you were ...). Law enforcement hoped that Wall's experience as a former member would convince some of the women to tell their stories to her.This is a brave memoir about horrific abuse perpetrated in the name of religion. The dangers to women caused by polygynous cults like the FLDS are well-known; it was sometimes painful to see the false consciousness that Wall experienced (this is a phenomenon in which the victims of abuse are so accustomed to or expecting of said abuse that they don't even realize it's happening to them). However, I applaud her bravery in telling her story.