Carolyn Jessop, Laura Palmer

Created on Tuesday, December 20, 2011.
Filed under

A woman’s escape with her eight children from a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints compound and her abusive husband and sister wives. Very difficult to read in parts, a very powerful book.


“That afternoon the principal, Alvin Barlow, heard a ruckus coming from a sixth-grade classroom. He didn’t know that this was a planned party, nor did he ask. He stormed into the party and began slapping students across the room and kicking them to the ground. The students in the row closest to the door were his first targets and got the worst of his wrath. Linda watched one girl get her head slammed into her desk. The principal was halfway down the second row of students before he asked the teacher if he’d given the students permission to misbehave. The teacher lied and said he had not. He feared what the principal would do to him if he knew the party was originally his idea.”


“It was only much later that I would learn that I was part of a business deal, a way for Merril to get back into my father’s good graces after my father filed a lawsuit against him. But at that time, my father truly believed that the prophet, Uncle Roy, had received a revelation from God that I was to become Merril’s wife. My father was so brainwashed that he couldn’t see the obvious, and I was years away from connecting those dots myself.”


“I told Merril that I thought Barbara knew a lot more about what her son needed than I did. Merril continued, “That will change. Barbara and I decided last night that it would be good for you to learn how to care for Jackson on your own without interference from either one of us.” I was angry. How could they be so cruel both to Jackson and to me?”


“Minutes later, I heard Danny crying. “Mommy, why did you hit me? Why did you hit me, Mommy?” Barbara had been away from her children for an entire week and now, after just a few minutes, was slapping her son for missing her.”


“Audrey told me about a time when Faunita had stood up to Merril about Barbara’s bullying. Merril locked her in the upstairs of the house and locked everyone else downstairs. Audrey and the other children heard Faunita screaming as Merril beat her. The next morning, Faunita was covered with bruises. She told Audrey, “Your father did this to me. He beat me with a mop.” Audrey screamed, “I hate him! I hate him.” Faunita grabbed her and said, “Don’t you ever say that about your father. He is a good man.” There were many more times, Audrey said, when Merril beat her mother; some were so bad that Faunita couldn’t see or hear for three days.”


“I knew Merril was terribly angry at me for sparking the insurrection. I also knew that he held grudges and when the right moment came he’d lash out at me. I wasn’t proud of what I’d done. We had been reduced to fighting for food. I thought it was completely hypocritical that Merril would let a large family like ours go hungry while he and Barbara were indulging themselves in Page.”


“FLDS members are usually not allowed near water because it’s considered the devil’s domain. We’re taught that if you put yourself in a place where the devil has sole power, he can take your life. But this belief was often ignored. People swam in the FLDS, but only completely clothed. If your body is covered, swimming is considered daring, but not evil or wrong.”


“The changes Warren Jeffs mandated were obeyed because it was believed he was the voice of the prophet, Uncle Rulon. People did not resist the more oppressive policies he advocated. Instead, it was widely believed that we were being called to a higher way of living the gospel. This wasn’t oppression, this was grace. God was giving us a new and better way of being more faithful to him via the prophet and his mouthpiece, Warren Jeffs.”


“For thirty-two years, I’d believed that every person on the outside of the FLDS community was evil. It was not lost on me that the only people willing to fight for Harrison’s life and help him survive were outsiders. But doctors and nurses weren’t the only ones who were kind. A social worker at the hospital came by to make sure I had money for meals and had a change of clothes. Merril never asked me if I had enough money to survive while I was in Phoenix. I’m sure he thought that as long as I was in rebellion, I was on my own.”

That's all there is, there isn't any more.
© Desi Quintans, 2002 – 2022.