Review: Stolen Innocence, by Elissa Wall

Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs, by Elissa Wall with Lisa Pulitzer

The raid on the FLDS Church’s YFZ ranch in Texas has changed the landscape of the FLDS story. Now that FLDS members are speaking out about their own lives, we’re starting to see things get a little more balanced. At least for the moment, the anti-FLDS crowd has to share the microphone with the FLDS themselves.

But this book is Elissa Wall’s turn at the microphone. And since Elissa is the person whose experience as a child bride resulted in the imprisonment of the FLDS prophet, Warren Jeffs, you can count on polarized opinions. People seem to love her or hate her. FLDS members, some of whom will read this review, probably see Elissa (or at least her work to imprison Warren and sue the church and UEP) as a tool of Satan. People on the outside see Elissa as a child bride and rape victim.

However, no one would say that Elissa Wall had a happy teenage experience. Her memories of childhood in a home with three mothers are bleak, with inter-wife rivalries and jealousy. Let’s be honest: polygamy is almost always a hard life of sacrifice and challenge, even when it works. That’s why its believers call it a higher law. They would say that greater challenges lead to greater blessings. But for Elissa, there were few blessings.

The most intriguing character in the book is Elissa’s mother, Sharon Steed. Her story couldn’t be a bigger downer, and I repeatedly wished I was reading her biography written by one of the great authors (if only such a title existed). Her life, as accounted in this book, is filled with heartbreak and loss even as she remains faithful to her religion. Troubles in the home result in various shuffles in her plural marriage. One wife and her children are removed from the home, then brought back while another is shuffled out. The kids endure countless separations The Wall family struggles to stay together, believing that if they just keep trying heavenly blessings await.

As Elissa’s older siblings grow up, many become disillusioned with the faith and leave for the outside world, and contact with them usually ends at that point. These family breakups are very hard on Elissa as a child, but I sense they caused immense pain for Sharon.

The sad thing throughout is to watch Sharon, as portrayed here. She is apparently a true believer, but her life is constantly beset with woe. Eventually she and her children are reassigned to Fred Jessop, who she later marries.

Uncle Fred is the one who, according to court testimony, set up the fateful marriage between 14-year-old Elissa and her cousin Allen Steed.

Looking at the trial, I always wondered why Warren Jeffs was the only one charged with crimes related to pushing this marriage ahead and trying to keep it together. Allen, the alleged rapist himself, was only charged after Jeffs’ trial. Others pushing the marriage forward were Elissa’s own family, especially her mother. From Elissa’s account of the wedding day:

“Do you, Sister Elissa, take Brother Allen, by the right hand, and give yourself to him to be his lawful and wedded wife for time and all eternity?” Warren repeated in a voice that made the question sound like a command. Even as the silence grew unbearable, I still couldn’t bring myself to formulate the words. Suddenly, I felt my fingers being crushed by my Mom’s death grip. It shocked me into the moment, reminding me that I had no choice but to respond. “Okay,” I said, almost in a whisper. “I do.”

The marriage between Allen and Elissa was doomed to failure. Never mind that she remembers him teasing her as a child, calling her “Tubba Tubba.” But there were bigger issues. Elissa knew nothing whatsoever about sex.

It felt like we were having marital relations all the time, at least once or twice a week.

And I don’t think Allen knew much more. Even put in the best possible light, this relationship was ugly.

“This is going to be the exact same thing all over again,” I blurted out. “All your promises, they mean nothing. Nothing has changed.”

“I’m doing it out of love,” Allen declared. Everything he did was a contradiction, and before I knew it he was playing the guilt card again. As he continued to put his hands all over me, I just froze.

“Okay, fine,” I uttered. “Get it over with.”

I covered the Warren Jeffs trial, so much of the book was a repeat for me. But Elissa offers bits of commentary. Some of it doesn’t quite reconcile for an objective reader. If you are in one camp or another (FLDS or anti-FLDS), you probably already reject or accept her entire book. But for someone in the middle, trying to see all sides, I had questions. For example, Elissa attacks Jennie Pipkin for being a tool of the defense without realizing that she’s filling a similar role for the prosecution.

“If a wife rules over her husband, is that considered a bad thing?”
“No,” she (Pipkin) answered firmly. “I do what I want whether we agree or not.”
Her statement shocked me. She was outwardly defying so many teachings of the FLDS in a desperate attempt to prove a point for the defense.

That one was especially confusing, since it comes after many pages that describe Elissa breaking so many rules of the FLDS lifestyle against her husband’s wishes, and not getting into much trouble over any of it. She’s rocking out to Bon Jovi, watching television, sneaking around, partying, and spending nights sleeping in her truck. None of that behavior seems to get her in much trouble, though Pipken testifying in court that she can can do what she wants is labeled a shocking statement.

At another point in the trial, Elissa recounts mouthing the word, “hi” to a defense witness on the stand. Even if they had once been friends, this act seems a little bizarre to me considering that the intent of Elissa’s own testimony was to imprison the defense witness’s spiritual leader and prophet. Not to mention her lawsuits targeting the community.

Elissa sometimes comes across as naive. But to be clear, that naivety may not be her own fault. Elissa Wall is a product of her upbringing, and that raises serious questions about parenting, education, faith, and who we choose as our spiritual leaders. Her situation, which may or may not be common in the FLDS church, is a troubling mark on the reputation of Warren Jeffs and his followers. Here she recounts her last meeting with her mother, who remains a member of the FLDS church:

My sister stared over me at Mom. “I don’t feel like you have the power to stop something from happening to those girls. I don’t feel like you have the power to protect them.”

“Yes, I do,” Mom insisted. It was sad to hear her trying to convince herself of that. I knew how much she loved those girls, and that she would never want any harm to come to them. But the ominous sight of the white truck with the tinted windows was an ugly reminder of what lengths these people would go to keep a hold on their followers.

“No you don’t,” Kassandra (Becky Musser) shot back. “You didn’t have it when it happened to Lesie (Elissa), and you won’t have it when it happens to those girls.”

“Well, that’s just something I’ll just have to put on a shelf,” Mom said, referring to her inability to halt my marriage to Allen. It seemed that no difficult conversation with Mom had ever been complete without this line.

“I’d rather see you die than fight the priesthood,” Mom said. Her words were a hard slap on the face. Everything Mom had ever done had been influenced by her loyalty to the church above all else, but to hear her phrase it in such indisputable terms was upsetting.

Sharon, I’m dying to read your story. And those of so many others.

0 responses

  1. Trent,
    As an outsider, and you seem to be an unbiased one, you do well with things like this. I can tell you the truth. I know, I was in that “story”, most of it. I know the characters of that “story”.
    I do wonder, the “Stolen Innocents” Elissa Wall talks about, was it Lamont’s? Elissa was not innocent. I know! Elissa was going to beer parties and having sex with Lamont while she was married to Allen. She got pregnant with Lamont’s baby, not Allen’s.
    She wrote a very interesting story, but, it is so full of lies that I was sick! All of the family that has read even parts of it are sick!
    She was always in her own story world, even when she was little. But she was loved just as much or more than any of the children. She was Sharon’s daughter, that meant she did NO wrong!
    Sharon was no saint either. Unlike Elissa would have you think. Everyone had their troubles, and nobody wanted to take the blame. Sharon had daughters that convinced her she should be married to the Prophet. She deserved better that what she had. So, they made it happen. Only she didn’t marry who she wanted, she was unhappy, married to uncle Fred. She always wanted to have fame, like her daughters, married to the prophet.
    Elissa was so very happy with Allen. She was told she couldn’t have any relations with Allen until she was 18, legal age when she would get married. She kept telling her mother she wanted to be with Allen. Sharon would get very angry with Elissa and tell her no, she was to young. Becky was the one that made Elissa change her mind about Allen, Uncle Warren, and this religion.
    See what I mean? The story isn’t true. Allen loved Elissa so very much. He would NEVER hurt her. Now she wants him behind bars along with the most innocent man on earth, Warren Jeffs.
    I would hate to be in her shoes when she meets her maker. She will be judged for how she judged. No one forced her to stay. We were all very grateful when she finally left. She raced through town with her music pounding. She was drunk a lot of the time. It was sad to see her leave, but if thats what she wanted, let her have it!
    We didn’t chase after her and tell stories about her. We let her choose her life. I only wish she had done the same for all of us.

  2. Oregonian Avatar

    Wow, the previous post by “Me,” sounds like someone who has also been brainwashed by his religious captors. It’s so sad to me that people don’t have the ability to see through what is being done to them. How sad to live one’s life having no freedom to think for yourself or pursue one’s own passion. I feel terrible for the children like Elissa and others and hope they realize that they can choose freedom of choice if they want.

    Organized religion is such a joke!!!

    Eugene, Oregon

  3. SRowe Avatar

    The FLDS is a cult – plain and simple. There are cults all across the world and each one believes their religion is supreme, and the FLDS is no different. Basically, their “followers” are brainwashed like all the other followers from all the other religions. The blogger identified as “M E” above is so far gone she can even see what went on with Elissa Wall. It’s really sad.

  4. You call me brainwashed…….Hopefully that means my mind is clean. : )

    I know what went on in Elissa Walls life, as I was there. She was molested at age 6 by a now “ex-member”. He was handled when it was found out.

    He was a young man that gained a lot of parents trust. Mostly because he had a good father. He molested his aunts that were also 4 & 5 yrs old. He tried with another one of Elissa’s older sisters, but she grew smart to him. That is when the truth came out, and he was handled. Sad, but true. He hurt a lot of little girls.

    Elissa was going to beer parties, drinking with Lamont. She was pregnant with Lamont’s baby when she left Allen.
    She was not so innocent as she would have you believe. She new the birds and the bees long before Allen or Lamont.

  5. What does Sharon have to say M E?
    Where is she where was she? WHAT kind of mom let her kid leave like the one she dumped on the road with a sign for colorado? WHAT happened to allie and sherry WHY cANT THE APEOPLE KNOW?

  6. I don’t usually commit about any matters when it comes to anyone’s religion. I know that some of the that have posted on this web site may think that I am crazy or out of my mind. But, there are so many different stories about the FLDS and other religions, that I can’t even make out why people are battling against each other and hurting feelings.

    The person that committed as “ME”, doesn’t seem to be angry, but disagrees with the general population’s opinion. It sounds like the person, “ME” lived to see what happened and witnessed what happened in the book “Stolen Innocence”. I am not committing no farther about that whole situation, because it isn’t my place too.

    A very good friend of mine mailed me the book “Stolen Innocence”, I read it and didn’t know what to think. I don’t practice FLDS religion, but I know some folks that do and they are nice people. Even though I am considered an “Outsider”, that doesn’t mean that I am evil to the folks that I know. I have been to their house, had dinner, played with their children, and went fishing with them as well. I don’t question the religion, but respect that they do exercise the FLDS religion and leave it at that.

    Mostly everyone reads the book “ Stolen Innocence”, and some believe that the FLDS religion is unethical and so on. The folks that I know, don’t let their children until they are proper age of the law. I have a personal friend that joined the FLDS and she is happy. Her husband and her converted not to long ago and they both love it. They are legally married, but have other wives that have married in spiritually. My friend was unable to have children, so the other wives have children, that my friend loves and helps to take care of the others. She has the big family that she wanted and to her it’s a blessing, not peer evil and crazy as some would think. That is all I will say about that.

    My question about the book and some other articles that I have read on the internet, is if all girls are forced to marry men way older than them, why was a 14 yr girl married to a 19 yr old. In the book it states that they were married for like 3 yrs and Allen only had the one wife. I thought that the priesthood had to have at least 3 wives ? And I thought that the women their own rooms as well, so the husband could have relations with the other wives privately, when they wanted too?

    I believe that some marriages go sour and maybe the one for elissa and Allen did. I wasn’t there and I wouldn’t know, but most of the folks I know that are with the FLDS are kind and level headed. This is only my opinion and what I think. Remember not everyone will like my opinion and that is ok, because anyone that responds to this post, is posting their opinion and feelings as well.


  7. Trudy Sayer Avatar
    Trudy Sayer

    I would love to speak with Elissa Wall. I have recently left a cult here in NM and am in the process of reading her book that a neighbor got me to try and help me. So if she is reading this and does not mind responding here is my email.

    Trudy Sayer

  8. Trudy Sayer Avatar
    Trudy Sayer

    I just read the post on here where in the person said that everyone that she new from the FLDS cult was very nice. That is what you call looking from the out side in not the inside looking out. I was in one and so I know where Elissa is comming from. I would like to tell her that I love her and to just hang in there no matter what people say. I love her book and would highly recomend it to anyone that has recently left a controlling group of any kind. It is very encouraging! !!!!!!

    Thank you so much for your book, Elissa!!!!!!!!!

  9. Shelly Avatar

    I feel that even if Elissa was partying and living a wild teenage life, she was doing what many, many TEENAGERS do when they are reaching out , crying out rather for help. Searching for a place to fit in and have a constant, consistent feeling of love and support. Her family was constantly being pulled apart and being reconstructed, by a few members being shipped off, or choosing to leave, and filling others roles by just changing someone you had lifelong called an uncle to now referring to him as father. Lots of heartache for sure there. Beyond that , with the molestation,, which I thought Elissa was unaware of from what the book said until a sister brought it up, I could be mistaken, but if it was at age 6, like me’s post reads above, Elissa would surely have to be aware of it and didn’t have the means to voice it but innately you know when something was wrong when you were a child. Especially when he is suddenly sent away and not spoken of highly. And from me’s comment concerning that, what suprises me the most is her statements concerning the molester. He was handled when it was found out……OKKKKKAAAAAYYYY but what about the children who were affected did they receive any support counseling. And not just a bunch of people praying over them, but a real opportunity to have their self-esteems brought back up by telling them it’s not their fault and they are safe now. And did the children get to talk it out and cry if they needed? Great, the guy was dealt with, and by the way, was the legal system involved so he could be put in jail or be but on a child molesters list so that the surrounding communities would be aware of his tendencies or to avoid getting the local law enforcement involved was he just sent out of the FLDS community. And back to my previous thought, he was dealt with but what about the children? Sounds like she had a very rocky childhood full of turmoil and that may lead some to act out to gain peoples attention and get some sound solid support. At fourteen, I was head over heels in love with my sweetheart, could have married him right then, if my parents didn’t think that finishing school and giving myself more time to meet other guys to possibly fall in love with in the next six to ten years was a better idea. Thank goodness for my parents. Now no matter Elissa’s state prior to Allen, any issues she was dealing with were surely not going to be solved by marrying her off at 14, she is still a baby, no clue what the world has to offer or who is out there to love. Supporting a 14 year old marrying a 19 year old man is a crime. That was no answer to solving her complicated life, drinking or no drinking, parties or no parties. And further if the union of a man and a woman in marriage is to reproduce, 14 year old with issues surely should not be put in the position of marriage and then the responsibility of motherhoold. I read the book and some of it made me go hold on wait a minute but for the most part I come out of it still saying to myself you can’t marry off a child at 14 and those who condoned it and let it be should be held responsible. And the FLDS is not under attack in all organized groups there are the fanattics who will take over and perform out of the ordinary tasks and because of the status they hold followers will be stunned but move along in compliance. And this will grow and grow into in a split in the large group because some of the followers are finding they don’t exactly like whats going on. And one side will veer one way and the other side the opposite.

  10. ME sounds like you need some good counseling!

  11. Honestly, in a case like this it’s impossible to tell who’s at fault. I neither condone or support the FLDS church, but it’s impossible for me to pass judgement until I have spoken with BOTH sides of the conflict. Yes, it is possible that Elissa’s book is full of lies and fabrications, but it is also just as possible that the FDLS church is a brainwashing cult who practices unholy rituals. It is also possible that Elissa’s situation was a rare incident full of misunderstanings. Until I have heard the entire story from both sides of the conflict personally; however, and completely understand ALL viewpoints, I will keep my true opinions to myself.

  12. I just officially read the very last sentence of Stolen Innocence and I LOVE this story for a number of reasons. In a silly way, one reason is because my name, Allyse (like UH-Lease or like “I’m getting A (new) LEASE on life), as uncommon as it isn’t too unlike Elissa. Naturally, whenever I find someone who has a strange name even slightly resembling my own I’m instantly intrigued. We even have the same pet name, Lesie, which is a name my own grandfather calls me. I can hear that name and think of the same things she does: happy moments with family; a single word that can affectionately bring a mile-wide smile to your face and bring back memories with those she still loves above anyone else. But these aren’t the only things we have in common. When I was the same age I was with the wrong kind of guy and because of my naivety I was raped, and then was told by him, with a valiant look in his eye, “I took your cherry; I can take your life just as easily.” To this very second I can’t type that phrase, say it, think it without my throat turning bone dry and feeling my tear ducts swell. It just comes with the territory. When I read her story it brought up a lot of tough memories, painful ones, and I can almost feel the same twist she felt in her stomach when she describes facing Warren Jeffs. That’s not easy; it will never be easy for her or for anyone, ever. Right then and there, in some way or another, Warren Jeffs was her demon, no one likes facing inner demons… You know, to think of it, I even know how she felt when she found Lamont. I, too, found my own guardian angel in my husband Brandon, and I won’t even begin to write about the things we heard when I married him 3 days after my 18th birthday. There are a lot of things about it that I couldn’t explain to anyone. I could never tell someone every reason for why I love this wonderful man or why when I was abused by my bad-boy boyfriend I didn’t speak a word to anyone about it until I met Brandon. I can’t explain why I went behind my parents back and married him, why I didn’t just invite them to the wedding and let them form their own conclusion. I do know that 90% of my answers would have something to do with just simply *not knowing* an answer. I know that sounds almost ignorant when you read it, but it’s true. I can’t tell you things between Brandon and myself because I can’t even begin to put my own finger on it; I didn’t say anything about my attacker because I didn’t know if he meant what he’d said to me; I didn’t deliver the ultimatum to my parents because I didn’t know how they would react, and that was frightening. Lack of knowledge has to be one of the most frightening things a human being can go up against. It’s more frightening than getting grounded, being raped, or facing Warren Jeffs. It’s the same fear that resides in someone when they’re walking in a dark ally and can’t see ahead of them, or having an internal fear of swimming in dark water. The unknown is probably subconsciously the #1 fear of almost each and every individual. So why are we so quick to throw stones at the FLDS? Yes, they do things COMPLETELY different than our ways today. Again, my own name alone is as different as any other name I’ve heard before, why shouldn’t I be chastised, or my mother be reprimanded for thinking the name up? I don’t personally feel that it was right for Elissa to have been married at such a young age, and I don’t feel it was right for her to have been taken advantage of in any way shape or form. That’s a given. But I know why people of the FLDS are so comfortable with the thought of her being married and given to a higher power. They know (“know”) that Elissa will have her place in their Kingdom, that she’ll be able to join them in Zion, and that she’ll live a long, healthy life and not have to carry another worry except for the mundane things that sprinkle their way into life. Women in the FLDS don’t have a say in things because they know life if easy and more relaxing if they just sit back and wait for a man to make a decision. I don’t mean this to seem condescending in any way. I mean it in that every person subconsciously wishes that they could go back to being a teenager and rely on good old mom and dad to take care of the bills and big responsibilities. It’s the same thing when it comes to women relying on their big, strong men and it’s the same thing with those big strong men relying on the Prophet. Someone always has someone else who’s bigger and bolder to fall back on, point a finger at and say “He did it!” It will go on like this until the end of time. This isn’t the only thing to understand when it comes to the FLDS. These people obviously don’t conform to our everyday way of living because of, yes, the big bad Prophet, the Spirit in the Sky, and because (duh-duhduhDUH!) they don’t WANT to. Here WE are raiding their homes; stealing their children, splitting up their families … This is their way of life! Now there SHOULD be MANY more opportunities for people to actually breathe in the community, maybe more than one Prophet would be a good change (though that would contradict everything) but in a nutshell these people really just want to be happy, be fruitful and multiply, and live their existence to their own code of man. Some people say “brain washed” but you can’t really be brain washed into believing something that you initially are choosing to believe, that’s just stupid. That’s like going to your own churches, listening to the preacher, going to church activities, eating out with your church leaders then yelling out to the community “They BRAIN WASHED me! OFFICERS! TAKE THEM AWAAAAYYYYY!!!!” Again, that’s just stupid. YES! They SHOULD be offered a second opinion in many, MANY things (like teenaged girls becoming brides!) but ultimately we’re, again, throwing stones at people for doing things differently than what we’re doing. We say “Well, they made them listen to Warren Jeff’s teachings um-teen times a day aaaaaand whenever there was a problem they had to take it up with the prophet or they were S.O.L aaaand they didn’t like their women, they made them wear itchy clothes, banned TV and music *gasp* and they didn’t let them touch boys.” First of all, do you want your daughter to be touching boys? For them to be watching those women on MTV shake what their mama (YOU!!!!) gave them, and to listen to rapper talking about women taking clothes off because of how “hot in herrrre” it is? I wouldn’t want to listen to that for the grammar alone … Second, my neighbor lets her kids stay out until 11:00 PM and swear at the top of their lungs and fire bottle rockets at 3 in the morning. I HATE it, but I surely wouldn’t want for the cops to go in and raid her house then tell everyone that they’re BRAIN WASHING their kids with EXPLOSIVES and EXPLICITS! It’s more common for us to accept things like kids back talking and people breaking the rules than to accept people obeying rules and following what they’re taught. What about women’s rights? What about a PERSON’S rights? Just because they don’t conform to our rebellion they have to have their children evacuated and be under surveillance for most of their days? No. Truthfully I don’t believe they should be breaking laws the way they are. The Bible does say “Give to Caesar what is owed to Caesar” and also “Above all obey the laws of the land” so yes, even those who follow doctrine should recognize that. It’s obvious that there are holes in the society that need to be patched but our ultimate outcry is really on the fact that aren’t just like us. When you read through this book you read about how happy Elissa was when she just bought her first pair of slacks. I was so happy for her too! To really feel that for the first time, how comfortable it must have been and how BREATHEABLE! No, I don’t feel that ultimately she was destroying herself by buying slacks. I’m happy she did it! Again, I touch on human rights. But eventually for Sharon it must have been like watching her child go from, let’s say, Cherry Pepsi to Vodka. I really like the feeling of being drunk, but a drunken teenag
    er is unacceptable in our society. Maybe I should move to Germany where they’ll give me a beer so long as I can reach over the bar… We sit here and we look at this family, this group of families, and we say “These people need LIBERATION! They need FREEDOM FROM THEIR OPRESSION!” And though it has a MUCH different spin on it, how can we look at 9/11 and not cry and not feel for those families who are ripped apart because of its destruction? For those people who are heroes, who reunited those families and mended the broken pieces, how can we not cheer them? I guarantee you that right now Iraq, who I remind you we’re at WAR with, they’re thinking just the same thing. Let’s liberate them… Let’s show them the truth, the right path… Let’s make a better world for our families. My brother has fought in Iraq and has just renewed his contract to the army for an additional two years and he does it for the same reasons all of those people testified against Elissa: to bring their families peace and what they feel is justice, to make sure they have the same shot at harmony as they had as a child. But for all of this, for everything I’ve written, I feel the same heroism in Elissa. No little girl should be touched in the way she was, should be harmed, should be hurt. Elissa Wall and Steve Wilkos (haha, nice name drop) both are heroes to me. For their strength in confrontation, for their endeavors in pursing criminal charges on those who have harmed another human soul, I will always have a kind word to give to them. In the long run, I think that deeply this is all Elissa wanted. Want for another human being, for their family, children, friends, and neighbors to wake up smiling and fall asleep relaxed in the state of mind that they’ll be smiling again in the morning; to be able to go check on their children, but while they’re walking toward them know in the back of their mind that they’re just fine. That’s why we have people in the world fighting, like Elissa has for her children and her sisters, like Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the people like himself, like many soldiers are fighting today for us. It’s a passion that I admire in every person, every warrior, who lives among us with this sort of fight in them. In small ways I see it in those who are in the FLDS today fighting for their peace, people in an otherwise meek world. In the end, it’s different strokes for different folks. We have no right now to judge, only to face reality for what it is, what it TRULY is and not what our perception of it is. We have the right to stand up for what it ours. This is a battle of wills where in the end there were many victories.

  13. I have just finished the book, I can’t imagine the strength this woman has had to find to write this book. But I am very greatful we have a legal system that helps find the truth. maybe ME should consider this,

  14. I have just finished this book. It was well written and very diplomatic on Elissa’s part. The one true concern is a child should always have an avenue to turn to when she needs help.
    If a person is quite happy in the religion, fine they can choose to stay. If a person is not, they should have the right to leave. And when it comes to consent of sex, an individual always should have the right to chose. No matter what the circumstances.

    Regarding the comments about Elissa being a liar about her wrongdoings, she openly admits to sex with Lamont and participating in what other teens were doing. It is odd that the previous statements feel that she was hiding all this, when it is quite clear in the book.

    I did not grow up with any religion, and I too felt trapped with my parents attempts to discipline me, but absolutely nothing compares to the complete loss of hope and despair that a Young girl in Elissa’s sitution must endure. Unacceptable. I live near Bountiful. I hope that somehow, these girl’s have access to help.
    Elissa, please add an email address or organization mention in your book, as to where people can go to offer help. We are out here, and we can help, with loving arms.

  15. I just want to say that I just finished the book, and I am in total disbelief. I am 26 and have two little girls, there is no way on this earth I would ever let them be violated the way Elissa was. I am certain that everything Elissa has said is true, you just don’t make up stuff like that
    She was a child…A CHILD!!!!
    Shame on anyone who stood back and did nothing to protect her or any other young women in that religion.
    I am sure that there is much happiness among people in that religion, I am not saying anything against anyone for their beliefs, but common sense would tell you that what happened to Elissa is wrong.
    Elissa I pray for you and your family, and I also hope that someday you will be reunited with your mother and sisters
    Your book has touched my heart, and I thank you for standing up for whats right, and standing up for women.
    Lamont you melted my heart in the book, like a knight in shining armour you saved Elissa, just as she saved you, and God did bring the two of you together for a reason..
    God bless you and your family!!!

  16. mrsbarrett Avatar

    to “ME”…
    Excuse me, but you are talking about a FOURTEEN year old girl!! You talk as if she was not acting appropriately. She was acting like a normal teen especially one who is severly oppressed. WHAT 14 yr old girl wants to be married? Even if she “thought’ she did, I bet reality hit pretty quick. I have known a couple girls in my life time who got married at 14 with all the stars in their eyes but being a child, it of course did not last. Thats impossible. I feel sorry for Allen but he must be very ignorant to even take on a 14 yr old child. Men should know better. If they want a mature marriagable woman they need to wait past their twenties. Elissa needed time to grow up and if this is what she wanted, then she was a naive girl who made a big mistake and realized it. And it was still wrong to ALLOW, let alone force a girl that young to get married! If my daughter came to me and said she wanted to get married even at 16 I would slap her upside her head!! Im GLAD she met LaMont when she did and was old enough at that point to know what she wanted. Arranged marriages are not healthy and dont make for happy families. I dont believe that Allen was abusive. I think Elissa may have embellished there a little. But I dont believe for a minute that Jeffs told them not to have sex til shes 18…ookaaaaayyy… so what is this 21 year old guy supposed to do in the mean time??? for the next 4 years???? Isnt that what marriage is all about? Didnt they get married to pro-create? Jeffs deserves what he got. Allen should NOT have been prosecuted. This whole thing is a mess. Im just glad that the FLDS now knows they are not above the law or below the radar. Im glad they will be on their toes now about under age marriage and molestation as well. I think they got a little big for their britches. They ARE still in America after all!!!!

  17. I cant believe that me said that, your religion is a cult it should be banished and all the people like Warren Jeffs needs to be killed if you all were so godly you would read the bible and actually understand it the bible says,God says..dont suffer my little children for i will suffer you.No 14 year old should be married to a 19 year old i think the polymous families and religion is a joke and when you ALL meet GOD THE MAKER OF THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING YOU ALL WILL BE SO STUNNED THAT YOU ARE ALL GOING TO HELL!!!I HOPE WARREN JEFFS DIES IN JAIL NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN AND ALL YOU “FATHERS AND BROTHERS WHO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUNG CHILDREN BECAUSE OF ALL YOUR SICK DEMONIC BELIEFS NEED TO BE BEHEADED!!I AM DIRECTING MY COMMENT TO ME BECAUSE YOU SEEM NOT TO UNDERSTAND ONCE YOUR UNDER 18 YOUR A MINOR AND IF YOU THINK ITS OKAY FOR A 26 50 60 YEAR OLD MAN TO HAVE 18 WIVES WHO ARE ALL UNDERAGE AND IF YOU THINK FAMILY MARRING FAMILY IS OKAY YOU ARE A SICK PERSON!!

  18. I love following heroes episodes, it came from boring into a fine tv series now. After watching first few eps, Was like, its another xmen copy. Now its really fun to watch, I really hope new episoded will be aired sooner.

  19. Thanks for taking the time on this, I was looking everywhere for something similar, but this has proven to be just as helpful.

  20. I am an outsider. I am not against polygamy. I am not against religion of any kind. However when a child is forced into a marriage with her first cousin and repeatedly asked for help there is something wrong. That is what this was all about. I was in a religious cult as a young woman and left. I was also raped by men I thought I could trust God bless Elissa. Thank you for your courage.