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Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 13, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 576 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 13, 2008
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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 this courageous memoir, Elissa Wall, the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, tells her 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.

Detailing how Jeffs's influence over the church twisted its already rigid beliefs in dangerous new directions, Wall portrays the inescapable mind-set which forced her to wed her first cousin at age fourteen, pressured her to follow Jeffs's directives, and, once she married, encouraged her to submit to her husband in "mind, body, and soul." For over three years she suffered at the hands of her husband, until one snowy night when a chance encounter with a stranger set in motion a friendship that eventually gave her the strength to break free of the church and come forward against Jeffs, so that girls still inside 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.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (May 13, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 161683949X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616839499
  • ASIN: B001O9CDFG
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (576 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,973,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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