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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 (2008)

by Elissa Wall, Lisa Pulitzer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1776516,930 (3.81)44
Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML:

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.

.
… (more)
  1. 20
    Escape by Carolyn Jessop (dara85)
  2. 20
    Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer (itbgc)
  3. 10
    The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice by Rebecca Musser (twhite13, ijustgetbored)
    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.
    ijustgetbored: Elissa Wall and her sister Rebecca tell different-- but overlapping-- stories in their memoirs. Their stories are their own, but they recount many of the same events.
  4. 00
    Church of Lies by Flora Jessop (itbgc)
  5. 00
    Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Quite different views of Mormon life, but both books are compelling reads of young women who suffered through horrific lives under the control of domineering and manipulative men.
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» See also 44 mentions

English (63)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (65)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
Cults
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
A look into the experiences a child bride in the FLDS church. Somewhat interesting, though repetitive and too long (nearly 16 hours in audiobook format!). Writing style fairly simplistic. ( )
  CarolHicksCase | Mar 12, 2023 |
This book certainly opened my eyes to the goings on in the FLDS religion... Married at 14 years old... abused by her husband... the men have more than one wife... the list is endless but thank heavens Elissa lived to tell the story and had the courage to do so ( )
  TheReadingShed001 | Mar 1, 2023 |
This book certainly opened my eyes to the goings on in the FLDS religion... Married at 14 years old... abused by her husband... the men have more than one wife... the list is endless but thank heavens Elissa lived to tell the story and had the courage to do so ( )
  TheReadingShed01 | Feb 25, 2023 |
It's hard to pull yourself away from this story. An intriguing look inside the sect, yet a different perspective than that of the book Escape. ( )
  MBTC | Jul 9, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wall, Elissaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pulitzer, Lisamain 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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Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML:

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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