I was a little hesitant about listening to a nonfiction historical biography, but Alison Weir is a favorite historian/author of mine.
She delivered with this masterpiece!
Simon Prebble delivered a perfect performance, I am not always a big fan of Simon Prebble, but he really is excellent in this narration.
This book shocked me. Carolyn Jessop is truly an extraordinary woman. Brave and intelligent and a loving mother. Her story is shocking and compelling. America must act to stop polygamy in our states. The lifestyle is a terribly destructive cycle, and there are so many children that it astonishes me. Uneducated brainwashed children with no future. It's so disgusting. I can't understand why our government is not more active.
The LDS or mainstream Mormons definitely are marred by the amount of polygamist sects that continue in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, etc. In fact, I have trouble seeing the Mormon religion as anything but a cult. Joseph Smith, founder of Church of Mormons, and Brigham Young, the famous leader who brought them to Salt Lake, absolutely believed in and preached that polygamy was the way to god. Both had polygamous marriages. I'm not sure when Mormons stopped practicing polygamy, but it is a strong value of their scriptures. This is bizarre. FLDS undermines the entire idea of the Mormons as a religion, making the whole thing seem like a creepy cult. As long as this continues, Mormons will always be seen with apprehension. Their common practice of sweeping it under the rug and ignoring the polygamist sects makes it worse, not better.
I hope that women like Carolyn Jessop continue telling their stories. We need to support these women and stop this sick CYCLE of sex, control, manipulation and domination. How on earth is this happening in the US in the 21st century?????
*** REALLY enjoyed the interview with Carolyn at the end of the book. Hearing her own voice made her that much more compelling.
Upon finishing this book, I couldn't understand why I didn't already know more about this shocking tragedy. I realize that the suicides occurred before I was born (Im 33) , but so did the Charles Manson murders- and I grew up knowing all about that story and its victims. Anyway...
Knowing just a little about this story, I was transfixed with this book. It is so well written and well read! Kudos to the author for the ability to be empathetic, but also straightforward and cutting when necessary. The reader definitely gets to make up his own mind about various individuals involved, i.e. the members who were forced to leave family including their children behind when escaping.
The thing that was most surprising to me is that Jonestown was a movement for socialism, and not actually a religious cult. Jones started as a religious minister, but dropped all pretense of religion after a while. He forbade bibles and told the group that he was god. His message was not religious or spiritual, but economical. They killed themselves for socialism! ?????
I was shocked and disgusted after listening to a book about Scientology recently. Compared to Jonestown, Scientology barely registers on the radar! I have so much trouble understanding individuals who fall prey to men like Jim Jones or L Ron Hubbard. Both men had similar personality types, marked by the ability to charm and move people, and also by a growing and bizarre paranoia and isolation. Though I must add that Jones was just a really bad man, through and through. Why do people get caught up in cults? There was an obvious point where Jones had gone nuts, and yet these people followed him still. For years, the members lived in squalor and starved. Many lived in fear, and rightly so.
The final chapter of the saga, the circumstances before the mass suicide, was the most shocking. I knew about the suicides and forced suicides, but not about the slaughter of nonmembers.
I haven't read a more interesting book in a long time. I will definitely read more by Julia Scheeres. Also the narrator Robin Miles was excellent.