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Stolen Innocence Hardcover – May 13, 2008

530 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Wall’s story couldn’t be more timely. Her descriptions of the polygamous sect’s rigidity are shocking, but what’s most fascinating is the immensely likeable author’s struggle to reconcile her longing for happiness with her terror of it’s consequences.” (People)

From the Back Cover

In September 2007, a packed courtroom in St. George, Utah, sat hushed as Elissa Wall, the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, gave captivating testimony of how Jeffs forced her to marry her first cousin at age fourteen. This harrowing and vivid account proved to be the most compelling evidence against Jeffs, showing the harsh realities of this closed community and the lengths to which Jeffs went in order to control the sect's women.

Now, in this courageous memoir, Elissa Wall tells the incredible and inspirational story of how she emerged from the confines of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and helped bring one of America's most notorious criminals to justice. Offering a child's perspective on life in the FLDS, Wall discusses her tumultuous youth, explaining how her family's turbulent past intersected with her strong will and identified her as a girl who needed to be controlled through marriage. Detailing how Warren Jeffs's influence over the church twisted its already rigid beliefs in dangerous new directions, Wall portrays the inescapable mind-set and unrelenting pressure that forced her to wed despite her repeated protests that she was too young.

Once she was married, Wall's childhood shattered as she was obligated to follow Jeffs's directives and submit to her husband in "mind, body, and soul." With little money and no knowledge of the outside world, she was trapped and forced to endure the pain and abuse of her loveless relationship, which eventually pushed her to spend nights sleeping in her truck rather than face the tormentor in her bed.

Yet even in those bleak times, she retained a sliver of hope that one day she would find a way out, and one snowy night that came in the form of a rugged stranger named Lamont Barlow. Their chance encounter set in motion a friendship and eventual romance that gave her the strength she needed to break free from her past and sever the chains of the church.

But though she was out of the FLDS, Wall would still have to face Jeffs—this time in court. In Stolen Innocence, she delves into the difficult months on the outside that led her to come forward against him, working with prosecutors on one of the biggest criminal cases in Utah's history, so that other girls still inside the church might be spared her cruel fate.

More than a tale of survival and freedom, Stolen Innocence is the story of one heroic woman who stood up for what was right and reclaimed her life.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 438 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061628018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739496343
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (530 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Courtney Rabideau on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Like Carolyn Jessop's book Escape Elissa Wall describes her life in the FLDS or Fundamentalist Church of Later Day Saints.

Elissa spent much of her childhood with her parents, her 12 siblings and 10 step-siblings in Salt Lake City, Utah. When she was 9 however Warren Jeffs (the son of the prophet Rulon) had her father banished and her mother "given" to leader Fred Jessop. Elissa did not have an easy time because her step-sisters would make fun of her and her siblings. When she was 14 Fred told the family that three of the daughters of the home would be married soon. Elissa did not realize that she would be one of them and when she found out that she was to marry her 18 year old first cousin Allen Steed she was mad.

During the time between the announcement that she was to be married and the marriage itself she tried to get Warren and Rulon Jeffs to change their minds and give her more time. They did not and at 14 she was married to Allen. Over the next 3 years she did her best to be a good wife, but Allen's abuse and sexual advances hurt her very deeply. She would spend much of her time living in her car or spending the night at her mothers house, so that she would not have to go home.

One night when she was 17 she was going to a space that she used to sleep in her truck when her tires blow and she started to have a miscarriage. She was in the mud trying to change her tire when she met Lamont Barlow a fellow member of the FLDS. This meeting changed their lives. At first they were just friends, but shortly after he left the FLDS they became romantically involved and Elissa became pregnant.

When Elissa was pregnant with her baby she left the FLDS and shortly afterwards was encouraged by her sisters who had also left the FLDS to file a suit against Allan, Warren Jeffs, and the FLDS which is detailed in the book.

This is a very powerful, well written book.
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170 of 196 people found the following review helpful By JGC on June 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read "Stolen Innocence" right after Escape and both were equally fascinating and equally riveting. But then I got to thinking. Which story is more catastrophic? I thought about this for a very long time because I couldn't really decide; each was such a vulgar and violent story of an FLDS bride. After second thought though I've come to the conclusion that "Stolen Innocence" is even more horrendous and hurtful (if you've read "Escape" then you'll know that this new book is truly tragic.)

You know, in my life I've read about many ugly vulgarities. Sometimes I really think that humanity is dead and our fellow (wo)man doesn't care about each other. But the book "Stolen Innocence" is genuinely the most repugnant and vicious story that I've ever read. Because of that, the book was also one of the most fascinating and detailed autobiographies that I've read.

Most of "Stolen Innocence" was all about the systematic and thought-out rape and sexual abuse of a minor. Ms. Elissa Wall was married off to a grown-man at the young age of only 14! The author describes how she begged everyone who would listen to at least give her "2 more years."

Once she was married she was the repeated victim of severe rape and sexual abuse at the hands of her 20 year-old husband, who, by the way, was also her biological cousin. And, I have to ask, what kind of sorry excuse, what kind of waste of human life would do such a thing to a little girl? Even wild animals aren't this barbaric and cruel. In great detail the author also courageously details how she begged her husband not to rape her.

However, Elissa was raped repeatedly because this cult, the FLDS, only considers girls their property!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Heather Bartlett on May 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a first person account of a stifling, controlling and sometimes horrifying and criminal community of Mormon fundamentalists.

The Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints is rooted in fear of the "end of times", which always seems to be just around the bend. As we discover in the book, the "religion" or cult is very controlling of women, holding their salvation over their heads for ransom. This utter devotion by some of the women leaves many of the children who hit their teens and feel something is wrong - out in the cold, literally. My anger at Elissa's mother was raging at times. I wanted to shake her shoulders at times. I couldn't sacrafice my children to starvation, rape and other dangers just so I could be rewarded in the next life - and this women had FOURTEEN kids to mess up with - and she did with most of them, in my opinion. Elissa tried to take a forgiving Zen-like approach to the outrage anybody should feel towards her mother, but I am less forgiving I suppose.

I bought this book on a Friday and finsihed by early Sunday afternoon. I couldn't put it down I was in such disbelief at the torments that Elissa faced and how boldy they objectified, controlled and used women. It's archaic to say the least. Elissa's inner moral compass kept telling her somthing was wrong and she should follow her heart, and she did. That's something we have in common.

The co-author probably had a lot to do with how well written the book was since Elissa didn't get much of an education.

You did get the distinct impression she was telling her side of the story and I was nearly cheering out loud that she finally had a voice.

The author is also now helping others who want to escape this oppressive and controlling way of life.
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