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The daughter of Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed Prophet of the FLDS Church, takes you deep inside the secretive polygamist Mormon fundamentalist cult run by her family and how she escaped it....
"My name is Flora Jessop. I've been called apostate, vigilante, and crazy bitch, and maybe I am. But some people call me a hero, and I'd like to think they're right too"....
"My father had more than 50 children." So begins the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron....
Irene Spencer did as she felt God commanded in marrying her brother-in-law, Verlan LeBaron, becoming his second wife....
Despite considerable press coverage and a lengthy trial, the full story of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints has remained largely untold....
When she was 18 years old, Carolyn Jessop was coerced into an arranged marriage with a total stranger, a man 32 years her senior....
Life for Irene Spencer was a series of devastating disappointments and hardships....
In this powerful and heartbreaking account, former FLDS member Brent Jeffs reveals both the terror and the love he experienced growing up on his prophet's compound....
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....
The author of The New York Times best seller Escape returns with a moving and inspirational tale of her life after she heroically fled the cult shed been raised in....
At the core of this book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon fundamentalist brothers....
You've likely heard of the Westboro Baptist Church....
Tom Cruise and John Travolta say the Church of Scientology is a force for good. Others disagree....
The only book to examine the origins of Scientology's current leader, Ruthless tells the revealing story of David Miscavige's childhood and his path to the head seat of the Church of Scientology....
Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005....
The tales in I Will Find You will shock you like the best horror stories - divulging insights into the actions, motivations, and proclivities of nature's most dangerous species....
What do we really know about modern practicing polygamists - not fictional ones like the Henrickson family on HBO’s Big Love? We’ve seen the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the news, the underage brides in pioneer dresses on a Texas ranch. But the FLDS is just one of many groups that have broken with mainstream Mormonism to follow those parts of Joseph Smith’s doctrine disavowed by the LDS Church.
Gaining unprecedented access to these communities, journalist Sanjiv Bhattacharya reveals a shadow country teeming with small town messiahs, dark secrets, and stories both heartbreaking and strange. Polygamy’s dark side - incest, forced marriages, and physical abuse - is laid bare. But Bhattacharya also finds warmth in the fundamentalist diaspora and even finds himself taking an ideological stand for polygamy’s legalization.
More than just an exposé of Mormon polygamy, Secrets and Wives is the personal journey of a foreign atheist and liberal, a stranger in a strange land who grapples with hard questions about marriage, monogamy, and the very nature of faith.
If you could sum up Secrets and Wives in three words, what would they be?
If you have already kept up with the news stories and court cases of polygamy over the last ten years then you will probably find this book boring and tedious. I think this book would be an interesting read for people outside the USA.
Would you recommend Secrets and Wives to your friends? Why or why not?
I would recommend the print version over the audio version. If someone is not at all familiar with the different polygamous groups in the USA, this book might be interesting.
How could the performance have been better?
The narration was not good. I understand that the author is from the UK, but his attempts at Utah accents are just so bad they are comical. Definitely should have had someone else read the book if he was targeting an American audience.
What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?
I didn't really learn anything from this book that hasn't already been published in newspapers or magazines.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Secrets and Wives the most enjoyable?
The fact that the author hit the name on its polygamist head. I grew up with a family of LDS I cannot say any religion on this planet is as harmful to women esecially in America.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
A Church only A Man Could Love
Any additional comments?
Great book, no bias, no one sided thought, very informative.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
This book is an interesting travelogue of Sanjiv's interactions with some very colorful personalities within the various polygamous groups in Utah as well as those who have left (escaped) the culture. While the stories are fascinating at times, most of the experiences that Sanjiv chooses to focus on are full of abuse and neglect and are at their core quite depressing. Sanjiv lightens the mood through humorous jabs at his subjects, their towns, and especially their faith. I strongly prefer audio books to be professionally narrated (not performed by the author) but it really worked in this case. It is like Sanjiv is telling you all of these crazy experiences over dinner complete with his endearing British accent. 5 stars for the narration.<br/><br/>My problems with Sanjiv's book and the reason why I gave the story only 3 stars are twofold. First, he is obnoxiously dismissive and mocking of the Mormon religion. I am active LDS. It doesn't bother me at all if people disagree with the tenets of the faith or poke fun at the idiosyncrasies of Mormons as a subculture. I'm cool with that, I think that Mormons are funny too. But if Sanjiv is going to call Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon a fraud and mock them mercilessly throughout the book, he better do his homework. His "teardown" of the faith was religious amateur hour and a book this long deserved a little more rigor than that. He seems to have given no serious consideration to the other side of the argument at all. In the end, the tone of the book was that of a smug, liberal atheist from LA swooping in to mock and disparage religious conservatives in small town Utah. <br/><br/>My second problem with the book is that Sanjiv really drills in when he finds abuse, oddities and "dirt" but seems uninterested in the truly happy families. When he meets wonderful people at Centennial Park and The Rock he simply says that they are great and then he talks about the flies or Bollywood flicks and curry. After seeing all of the problems in polygamy, why didn't these examples spark more intellectual curiosity? What are these people doing right? Aren't the positive cases as intellectually interesting and deserving as the scandalous ones? Apparently not for Sanjiv who seems more interested in proving a point (polygamy is evil) than understanding a multi-faceted issue. Sanjiv likes incest, abuse, intrigue, and suspense. But throw a happy community in his path and he doesn't know what to do with it. The snarky atheist quickly runs out of questions. Uh...more banana bread, please? I do agree with Sanjiv that polygamy should be decriminalized, just don't expect him to be fair and balanced. <br/><br/>All that said, it was still worth the price of admission.
6 of 11 people found this review helpful
This book is very well written and wonderfully told aloud. Very humorous, but yet serious. Well done and most enjoyable!
At first I found the narration annoying, the author was attempting to almost caricature a woman's voice but as the story rolled on I no longer seemed to notice. Nothing ground breaking or sensational in the story but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I feel for the author, whos disappointment in the shut out from many of his subjects was unwarranted. He told the stories without too much judgement compared to most books of this kind and seemed to feel sorry for many people he met. As an atheist myself I believe that the brainwashing and naivety of his subjects is wrong on so many levels.
such a great read! loved the many different perspectives he gave from so many different communities
The author does his own research and presents a very unbiased look at the lesser known areas of polygamist Mormons. He has a good cadence as the reader. This book changed my view on polygamy in general and has a lot of great well researched information on mormonism and it's side cults.
I love to hear a writer narrate his/her own work as it's the most likely to reflect the intended meaning. Mr. B does a great job as a journalist collecting stories from all sides (including conflicting accounts of the same event) and trying to get to the kernel of truth. He doesn't just take anyone's word but tries to vet and re-vet. Sometimes the truth is hard to pin down so he presents the evidence he finds and lets you work it out. The story is told first-person on a very personal level with a lot of humor interjected, which helps you ingest what is, at times, deeply painful and troubling. At first I was put off by his lack of ear and imitations of Utah natives which came across in odd British working class accents, but once I got used to it I was able to listen past this. At times that was actually part of the humor, almost a Pythonesque-falsetto version of some female voices, but once you get really into the story you should be able to overlook that and get to the content. I enjoyed the book a lot and recommend it to anyone with an interest in religious fringe beliefs, American culture and history (yes, it is part of that), gender rights, Utah politics, marriage, and human beings escaping cultural handcuffs. I will listen to it again.
Sanjiv Bhattacharya does the impossible by keeping his cool around some of Joseph Smith's most delusional followers. That he pulls off as much as he does without being 'white and delightsome' makes this book even more amazing.
Bhattacharya's style is smart and humourous, tho' the humour isn't mean spirited even when it comes from the more frustratingly exhausting encounters with people who KNOW they are correct, evidence and science be damned.
Obviously, some tales are sadder/more horrendous than others, but Bhattacharya still manages to find some fundamentalists who are capable of treating him (and their children and each other) with decency and kindness and he repays these few in kind. His patience is, however, generally not rewarded and the bad treatment he receives from a SLC-based "journalist" who seems to be more of an "apologist" for the less savoury cults is very disheartening. Still, he keeps on track and ultimately delivers an excellent overview of the various mormon-based polygamy/fringe groups.
Would you listen to Secrets and Wives again? Why?
Maybe some sections. It was extremely well done but a little repeatitive.
What did you like best about this story?
The insight into modern polygamy vs historical polygamy.
What about Sanjiv Bhattacharya’s performance did you like?
Very, very charming and fun to listen to. His female voices were not great, but otherwise I thought he was great.
What about Sanjiv Bhattacharya’s performance did you like?
He had a great, relaxed style. He could have been telling the story to a group of friends late in the evening.
Any additional comments?
I notice on audible.com that Americans are not loving this! Fear not British listeners. My own experience, together with reviews on Amazon.co.uk, show that this is a cultural issue. This is due partly to the love of Jesus and Christianity harboured by the average American. Bhattacharya explores these disfuctional groups and individuals with typical British cynicism and dark humour. Think Louis Theroux! This approach seems to have offended many American listeners/readers. However, I feel sure that it would only serve to make the book more enjoyable for most Brits.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful