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Stolen Innocence Audiobook

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

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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

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (624 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer Halifax, NS, Canada 10-01-09
    Jennifer Halifax, NS, Canada 10-01-09
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    "Great Book, Terrible Narration"

    The story is interesting, disturbing and compelling. Elissa Wall's portrait of growing up in the smothering confines of the FLDS is fascinating and horrifying.

    I agree with the other reviews, though, that the book is spoiled by the narration. The narrator has a terrible cadence and rhythm -- she reads as if she is looking at only a few words at a time and is completely unfamiliar with whatever is coming next on the page. Her harration is so poor it's distracting. She pauses to take a breath in all the wrong places and creates phrases where there should be continuity. She does sound like a first grade teacher reading picture books to young children. This is the first narrator I have ever encountered whose work I absolutely will not purchase again.

    Her high and breathy voice is appropriate for the revelations about Elissa's childhood, but she has no emotional range and all the characters sound the same. She also mispronounces words in places, which is even more irritating. This book would be absolutely first rate with a different narrator.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ericka 10-18-17
    Ericka 10-18-17 Member Since 2017
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    "good book/irritating narrative voice"

    The narrator's voice was very distracting from the actual story. It took me almost half into the book to not be irritated by it. I did enjoy the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn C. Mills Pacific Grove, CA United States 09-21-17
    Shawn C. Mills Pacific Grove, CA United States 09-21-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Historically correct"

    A accurate record of the facts of the case all collected and laid out in a very readable and concise manner that brings the reader into a part of our collective culture that many people are unaware of. A good read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marsha L. Woerner Chicago area 08-01-17
    Marsha L. Woerner Chicago area 08-01-17 Member Since 2005
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    "Amazing effects of brainwashing and the strength to overcome it"
    What did you love best about Stolen Innocence?

    The strength, courage, and self respect displayed in her quest to right the wrongs inflicted on her and her family – as well as her overall community!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Stolen Innocence?

    When Warren Jeffs flat out contradicted the supposed prophet's decision!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Wow! Very enlightening about the whole Warren Jeffs situation and the degradation and dismissal the girls had to endure. It concentrated on a somewhat different aspect than what was emphasized in the media here in the Midwest. It would appear that the major criticism was NOT the multiple wives issue; and it was not specifically that Warren Jeffs himself forced young girls to marry him. It was more that overall control over the entire group. He DID force young girls to marry, but not specifically to marry him. And subtle brainwashing was a great part of his control.
    I did find it interesting that those who ended up leaving the cult, (mostly men to a great extent because it's not sustainable to have equal numbers of men and women in a society in which each man is granted many women) did not give up the underlying religion of Mormonism – or theology in general. And I suppose that as an outsider looking in, I am being unfair to judge, but how, after years of having someone claim to be a "profit" spreading the word of "God", people can still believe in and trust that "God" boggles my mind!
    But I thought the book was good. It reacted out how totally ensconced a group can be in amazingly horrid and self-deprecating cults and beliefs. Lisi, the main character and writer, displayed great strength and bravery in getting out and in trying to protect her younger sisters. Heavy sigh and great amounts of hope!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana 06-20-17
    Dana 06-20-17
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    "What a strong, brave girl!"
    What other book might you compare Stolen Innocence to and why?

    I have read other books about the FLDS, and this one was a bit different in that her childhood was actually happy. It was refreshing to see that not all FLDS parents beat and rape their children like I've heard in other books.


    What does Renée Raudman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I loved her narration! She brought Elissa to life in certain moments where she felt so afraid or sad. In parts it made me cry!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had tears in my eyes several times in the book!


    Any additional comments?

    This book was well written and I loved hearing how Elissa has triumphed in her life. It makes me want to get involved myself to help these girls!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-29-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Powerful and Moving!"

    Great detail about the suffering caused by Warren Jeffs. Jail is too good for this monster! Engrossing story of human triumph told so well that you can feel you're there. Awful narration. Almost couldn't stand to listen to the narrator's attempts at a little girl's voice but the story made it worth enduring. Please rerecord with a better narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianna Jones 04-10-17 Member Since 2013
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    "such an amazing book!"

    I couldn't put this book down. what this young lady had happen to her should never happen to anyone. God bless her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. L. Sapp North Carolina 03-22-17
    E. L. Sapp North Carolina 03-22-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Heartwrenching Story, Poor Reader"

    The story is amazing. Any book that causes me to feel fear, anger, and joy for the author is a good one, and this one made me feel all that and more. Obviously, I knew how it ended (I remember reading about the raid in Texas that she discusses in the Epilogue), but that didn't make me wonder how we would get to that point.

    The reader, however, left a great deal to be desired. As others have said, I suspect the reader used a childish tone to simulate the child-author. (The author is in her 20s when the book is written, but much of the book takes place when she is a child.) Sadly, though, it just sounds cheap.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret 10-29-16
    Margaret 10-29-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great"

    sure gave me something to think about. God bless her for helping others. THANK YOU

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kacie Moss 09-30-16
    Kacie Moss 09-30-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Hang in there."

    This was a little slow to start! When I first began listening I was bored and so I stopped listening for a while. When I came back to it I found the plot picked up and it was actually really good! All I can say is hang in there it will get better and then you can't stop!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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