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Contradictory and inconsistent
on 11 January 2014
This book is the autobiography of Elissa Wall who was born and raised in the FLDS Church, the most conservative branch of Mormonism.
At the age of 14 Elissa was forced to marry her first cousin, Allen Steed, whom she utterly detested.
The book, which is divided in three parts, is way too long and the narrative is quite repetitive.
The first part is about Elissa's childhood, the second one describes her marriage and relationship to Allen, the third part is about her legal case against Warren Jeffs.
It is not my intention to be insensitive for the author's terrible experience or justify Warren Jeffs' despicable actions, but I cannot ignore the many contraditions in Elissa's story.
The author labels Warren Jeffs as the main catalyst of the doctrines he taught, when he simply follows standard Mormon doctrines as taught in their standard works.
Mormon women are property of the priesthood, and inferior in term of conjugal fidelity and spirituality in every Mormon cult.
Likewise, racism is not Jeffs' invention, but a standard Mormon doctrine preached by early LDS leaders, in line with their racist book, the Book of Mormon.
I would like to present the main incongruences that I have found throughout the book.
On page 72 Elissa wrote: "Over the years, the prophet [Rulon] had gradually put Warren in a position of authority over people. 'Warren speaks for me' is the phrase that I heard many times from Uncle's Rulon lips".
Few pages after, on page 76, she wrote this sentence: "Warren led us to see him as a figure head, and by the time of the stroke, people already knew that if they couldn't approach Rulon, Warren would be the new person to talk to".
The author continually points out how women in the cult do not have any freedom and chance to leave, when, at the age of 16 she got a driving license, had a job and saved money, owned a truck and slept countless nights out, went to Oregon and Canada by herself leaving her husband home.
She also had, along with many other members in the cult, contacts with her former FLDS relatives who offered help and support.
Elissa portrays her mom as a victim by constantly writing that she was raised in the cult, brainwashed and incapable to make her own decisions without the leaders' approval.
Then on page 118 Elissa wrote (after her mom had blindy obeyed to the leaders' instructions): " Audrey [her father's first wife] had also been directed to leave, but she bravely refused and remained in the home by my father's side".
Other women, deluded by the Church and its teachings, made the wise choice to leave: Jane Blackmore (page 237), Natalie (page 330), Teressa (page 364), Megan (page 291).
This indisputable evidence, makes me believe that the adults who choose to stay , including Elissa's mom, are responsible for their own decisions and for the subsequent negative consequences.
On page 222 the author describes how her sister Kassandra left the cult.
Once again, I find it strange that in a situation where Warren Jeffs allegedly knew everyone's personal business, he did not notice that Elissa had been helping Kassandra for weeks, by moving all her staff from Rulon's house.
I would like to conclude my review by saying that I find it inconsistent that the author allowed to a mainstream Mormon bishop to celebrate her marriage to Lamont.
The mainstream Mormon bishop reveres and believes in a "prophet" and founder who mistreated a 14 year old girl, in the same way Jeffs mistreated the author.
Personally I would suggest to avoid this book and, rather, I would encourage everyone to read "Wife n. 19" by Ann Eliza Young instead.