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4.5 out of 5 stars
Stolen Innocence
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2009
My husband brought this book in a book sale and when I read the back cover I was really interested. From the very first pages I was hooked and couldn't put it down - I've never finished a book so quickly. It certainly opens your eyes, its unbelievable to think that this kind of thing still goes on in todays society. I have great admiration for Elissa Wall for having the courage to get out of the FLDS church at such a young age and after everything she went through. A complete page turner and I thoroughly recommend it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book on the back of reading "The Nineteenth Wife" and I have to tell you that although shocked by what I read, it held me captive for several days while I took every opportunity I could to read it! (I have small children and don't get much time to myself - otherwise it would have been a book I'd finished in a day!!) It was a fascinating read, and I still can't believe it actually continues today. I was really drawn to the young lady who has written the story and am so relieved that she has escaped from her hideous marriage and insane religious cult!!! I'm a Christian and just couldn't get my head round some of the religious doctrine that was dictated by the "prophet" Warren Jeffs. It really is quite frightening.

I thoroughly recommend this book and have recommended it to several members of my book club, who also read "The Nineteenth Wife". I also bought "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop who is related to Elissa Wall through the polygamous marriage network, and I'm reading it at the moment!!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2008
Having read the Banner of Heaven I was hoping to read this book and get more feelings of what it was like for someone who went through day to day issues and upheavals under the control of Warren Jeffs.
Absolutely inspirational book and is right at the top of my recommendations. This books offers an in depth look into what the life of someone in this sect is like. My heart and best wishes go out to Elisa.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2009
A highly significant addition to polygamist horror stories, as the author was directly responsible for the [unfortunately too short, 10 years] incarceration of Warren Jeffs, the current head of the FLDS. I found a photo on the Net of the author at 14 - she looked more like 10 - taken just months before her Jeffs-forced marriage. A graphic account of the trap into which FLDS women are tied, hand, foot and mind. Should be read in conjunction with Escape and Shattered Lives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2009
Like Caroline Jessop's book, Elissa's story is heartbreaking and promising all at the same time. Elissa was 14 years old when she was forced into marriage with her 19 year old cousin whom she could not stand. Elissa talks about her life and the people in the community and how she got out. She gives a great insight into how the community functions and how they are so susceptible to being victimised. I came away from this book with a greater understanding of the FLDS and even some empathy for it. Elissa tells her story of tragedy but without any bitterness or resentment and makes sure that the reader knows that the average FLDS person is just trying to be a better person.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2009
It is shocking how brainwashed people can be living in todays fast and well informed world. It makes the actions that this young women took all the more brave. It is truly shameful what happened to this girl. Thank goodness the American government made this shameful so called leader accountable for what he has put children/people in his grip through. It reminds me of some of the recent court cases for members of the catholic church.
No one is more vunerable than a child - and nothing as evil as organisations that take advantage of them.
This book explains well the authors thinking throughout her ordeal - i finished it in just a couple of days
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 October 2012
I'd never even heard of the FLDS when a friend of mine recommended this book to me. From the off I found myself alternately fascinated, intrigued and repulsed by what I read. Elissa Wall has opened her heart and shared with us the painful story of her experience at being raised in what is essentially a religious cult and forced into marriage to her cousin at the tender age of 14. She suffered at the hands of her husband and the powers that be for years until she was finally strong enough to make the break and start a new life with her lover. She is an incredibly strong woman to have endured so much so young. Reading this has peaked my interest in the FLDS and I have since acquired some other books in a similar vein. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys true life stories or reading about religious cults.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2009
Superb highly recommended read from Elissa Wall. Wow - what a brave young lady to take the self professed prophet Warren Jeffs to court to answer the very serious charges against him. I have read many books dealing with cult religions but this is the best one so far and although it is a long read the reader will be engaged for the whole read.

Elissa is to be commended for bringing her story to the public arena.

Buy it - you won't be disappointed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2011
This is truly book worth reading, it's skillfully written and informative while touching at the same time. It shows the abuse of women in FLDS without demonizing people practising the religion. Stolen Innocence helps understanding FLDS way of life and tells the fascinating survival story of Elissa Wall.
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