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Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in…

Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a… (2008)

by Elissa Wall

Other authors: Lisa Pulitzer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
919569,547 (3.8)42
  1. 20
    Escape by Carolyn Jessop (dara85)
  2. 20
    Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer (itbgc)
  3. 00
    The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice by Rebecca Musser (twhite13)
    twhite13: The Witness Wore Red is the story of Elissa's sister, called Cassandra in Stolen Innocence. This book was written several years later and delves into the Yearning for Zion ranch and the criminal trials of Warren Jeffs.
  4. 00
    Church of Lies by Flora Jessop (itbgc)

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» See also 42 mentions

English (54)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  All (56)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Wow... Just wow. I read this book a year ago and it has never left me. It is beyond inspiring how Elissa endured what she went through and stood up for what she believed in...who she knew she was called to be. Then to vulnerably shared such raw emotions with the world in an effort to inspire and bring to light such a prevalent, hidden-from-view source of evil and brokenness. Amazing. ( )
  Danielle_Fields | Apr 3, 2018 |
I read this book out of curiosity for a local but isolated culture. Elissa Wall grew up in a community driven for a rather contrived concept of heaven and redemption. Marriage shaped the way of life for many of the believers. While my religious upbringing does not amount to the extremes of the FLDS church, I can relate to how religion can create a logical blind spot. It was a frustrating experience to realize how many people around Wall could have done something to get her out of an undesirable situation but did not due to a combination of fear and faith. At the same time, it is hard to point fingers as many FLDS members would not know how to live the "worldly" way and leaving was unthinkable with salvation at risk. Wall herself illustrated many of those fears in her account. That aside, I found several aspects of this sect that fascinated me. While members minimized exposure to the outside world, special occasions called for eating out at chain restaurants in urbanized areas or hotel getaways. Many members also had regular phone access. This surprised me to a degree considering the lengths they went to hide polygamy and underage marriages. Overall it is a interesting perspective on religious control. ( )
  Anamie | Nov 26, 2017 |
I guess the title says it all. It is amazing to me how brainwashed people can get! Of course she grew up in LDS so she didn't know any different. She was sheltered. She never had any sex education at all. ( )
  camplakejewel | Sep 20, 2017 |
A sad story with a good ending. The woman who wrote this book lived in a polygamous Mormon community and experienced many traumatic family experiences before being forced to marry a cousin when she is about 15. She eventually leaves the husband and the community (including her mother and a younger sister), and brings legal charges against the leader of the community. I knew a lot about the practices of the Fundamentalist Mormons from reading Under the Banner of Heaven, which is wonderfuly BTW, but it is interesting to hear the story from the perspective of someone who grew up a believer and eventually became disillusioned. Unfortunately, the audio book is read by a woman whose voice really annoyed me. Too melodramatic for my taste. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
4.5 stars

Elissa Wall grew up as an FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, the polygamous sect of the Mormons) member. As she grew up, she watched many of her older siblings either leave or be kicked out of the FLDS. When she was 14-years old, she was forced to marry her first cousin, Allen – a man she loathed. She begged from the start to get out of the marriage, both because she was too young and he was her cousin. “Prophet” (or the mouthpiece for the current prophet, ailing Roulon Jeffs – Warren’s father) Warren Jeffs didn’t listen or care. She continued to try to be released from this awful marriage as Allen continually abused her.

I’ve read a few books about the FLDS. This is another horrifying story, as Warren Jeffs took power from his father and things got worse and worse for the members, in addition to young Elissa. It seems that it’s hard enough for victims of abuse to come forward; there is so much additional pressure for FLDS in that they first need to get away - for many, against the wishes of their families and other loved ones, and of course, against their church and religious beliefs. I listened to the audio and thought the narrator did a good job. ( )
  LibraryCin | Nov 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wall, Elissaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pulitzer, Lisasecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holleman, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Sherrie and Ally; you remind me every day of what I'm fighting for.

And to the memory of Daleen Bateman Barlow, my mother-in-law, who was one of the first to find the courage to stand up for herself and her children.
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I clutched the delicate silk nightgown and embroidered robe of my bridal gown as I hurried to the bathroom.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061734969, Mass Market Paperback)

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 that Jeffs went to in order to control the women in it. Now, in this courageous memoir, Elissa Wall tells her incredible and inspirational story of her time in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), detailing how she emerged from its confines to help bring one of America's most notorious criminals to justice.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061628018, Hardcover)

This is the shocking, timely, and inspirational memoir of Elissa Wall, the former member of the FLDS polygamist sect whose powerful courtroom testimony helped convict controversial sect leader Warren Jeffs in September 2007. Detailing how Jeffs forced her into an unwanted marriage at age 14, Elissa speaks candidly about the horrifying reality she faced as a young teenager in a devastating marriage to a man five years her senior. But what began as tragic tale of forced marriage quickly descended into madness, as Elissa's troubled relationship spiraled out of control before her vows were even spoken.The end result of the union was a nightmare of rape and abuse that Elissa suffered at the hands of her Church-appointed husband and in the name of God. Offering an unfettered glimpse into the world of the FLDS she explains how the confines of her dangerous marriage and surroundings left her with few options. Pushed out of her home by abuse, she began living in her car to avoid the crushing realities of her situation. And yet somehow, in face of this bleak reality, she never gave up on the hope that she would some day find a way out. But though Elissa won her freedom from the FLDS, she had yet to earn her victory, and here she illustrates how she used her newfound freedom to put Warren Jeffs behind bars.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:53 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Describes the author's childhood in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, her forced marriage to her abusive cousin at fourteen, how she managed to break free, and her testimony against the sect's leader, Warren Jeffs.

» see all 8 descriptions

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