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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 | [Elissa Wall, Lisa Pulitzer]

Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs

In September 2007, 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 14. This harrowing 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, Wall tells the incredible story of how she emerged from the confines of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and helped bring one of America's most notorious criminals to justice.
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Publisher's Summary

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 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 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. 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.

©2008 Elissa Wall; (P)2008 Tantor

What Members Say

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3.9 (344 )
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  •  
    Christine Parowan, UT, USA 06-14-08
    Christine Parowan, UT, USA 06-14-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Chris from Cedar City, UT USA"

    I thought the book was fascinating and gave great insight into the mindset of the FLDS. So little is known about this religion and culture, and the thing that was quite shocking was the lack of personal freedom. If you didn't know better, you would have thought it was written by a person born in a third world country, certainly not the USA. It is gratifying to know that light has been shed on some practices of the FLDS and that maybe the underage marriages and abuse might not go unnoticed and unpunished.
    My one criticism of this audio book was the narration. The narrator was hard to listen to because of the constant whine in her voice that after a few chapters became extremely annoying. I know she probably was trying to portray the fear and emotions Elissa was feeling but to be perfectly blunt, it was dreadful. The narrator of Escape by Carolynn Jessup was much better.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorri Broda 10-21-08
    Lorri Broda 10-21-08 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't get past the narration"

    The narrator of this book is so bad she actually corrupts the story. Add the bad acting to the nerve pinching tone and of her voice and you have an audio book that's very hard to get through. Forget about listening for extended periods of time. The book itself is filled with enormous gaps of information and huge leaps of circumstance. The young woman relating her story just, understandably, doesn't have the ability to give us the big picture - and many details are lacking. For instance, how did her sisters feel about marrying men 3 times their age? She's let go after being accused of stealing... completely glossed over. I think the book would have been more informative, factual and interesting had it been written by a investigative reporter rather than as a first hand biography. And, had it not been ruined by the narrator.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Dillsburg, PA, USA 07-08-08
    Elizabeth Dillsburg, PA, USA 07-08-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Story, Bad Reader"

    Unfortunately, I could barely stand the reader. She sounds as though she is reading to a 1st grader. Too bad, because the story is very interesting.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie Studio City, CA, USA 10-08-09
    Katie Studio City, CA, USA 10-08-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Oh, that narrator!"

    Like all the other reviewers, I find the content of this book to be quite interesting, but the narration gets unbearable in places. I can't even imagine what the narrator was thinking--it's like a badly-acted play. This is NOT an audiobook for people who are trying to figure out whether they like listening to books or not--it could turn someone off the medium for life! That said, if you can get past it, the book itself isn't bad.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Bountiful, UT, United States 06-09-08
    Julie Bountiful, UT, United States 06-09-08 Member Since 2002
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    "Incredible!"

    This book is well written. It gives an amazing insight into the mindset of the followers of Warren Jeffs. My heart goes out to these young girls who are torn between their loyalties to their families and their right to make their own choices in life. After listening to this book, I am very relieved that Warren Jeffs is finally behind bars. Hurray for Elissa Wall and her incredible courage to stand up for justice.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carla Roseland, VA, USA 08-09-08
    Carla Roseland, VA, USA 08-09-08 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent story, poor narration"

    I agree with the other reviews; this narrator made me feel as if I were back in elementary school, and the librarian was reading to us from a picture-book. The story, however, was compelling, and very well-written.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly Hospel Indianapolis, IN United States 09-14-10
    Holly Hospel Indianapolis, IN United States 09-14-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Narration style distracts from story"

    This is a fascinating memoir about mind control, abuse, Stockholm syndrome, and learned helplessness and the enormous amount of courage it takes to break away. What makes it difficult to listen to is the narrator's stylized 13 year old voice that over dramatizes every sentence. The story does not need the extra drama and the narration is distracting rather than enhancing.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book Lover The Rocky Mountains, USA 06-26-08
    Book Lover The Rocky Mountains, USA 06-26-08 Member Since 2003
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    "Good overall"

    This book was very interesting and I was saddened by all that the author went through in her life. I learned a lot about a group of people that I am so unfamiliar with.
    I have to say that the narrator of this book seems to be whining through most of the book. There were a couple of times I laughed out loud at her narration and I feel that a different narrator would have greatly improved this audiobook.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NewSouthernBelle Atlanta, GA USA 06-26-12
    NewSouthernBelle Atlanta, GA USA 06-26-12
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    "Eye Opening"
    Any additional comments?

    I found this story crazy, wild, awful but so eye-opening and interesting. It just blew me away.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Oklahoma City, OK, USA 08-13-08
    Lori Oklahoma City, OK, USA 08-13-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting and Insightful"

    I truly enjoyed hearing Elissa Wall's story of survival and victory over a seemingly untouchable individual and his followers. I have given "Stolen Innocence" 4 stars instead of 5 due to the narration. At times her voice was quite irritating. Overall, it is a great book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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