Monday, April 14, 2008


This “Escape” has nothing to do with personal ads, pina coladas or walks in the rain.

I’ve been devouring news coverage about the FLDS raid in Texas. Certainly, this isn’t the first I have heard about this religious sect or polygamy for that matter. This is the first time I’ve taken such interest in learning more about it, though.

I guess I can blame that on HBO’s “Big Love”. Do you all watch that show? To me, it’s like Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New York City”. Both shows are like a train wreck, but I can’t stop watching no matter how bad it gets.

I can’t imagine anyone wanting to live that lifestyle, but I wasn’t raised that way. The people in the Texas FLDS were born into that and that’s what they’ve been taught from infancy is the right and chosen way to live. I can't necessarily argue with that. It's pretty much true of all of us.

While I do support religious freedoms, I do not support turning the other way on child and spousal abuse, statutory rape, welfare fraud, denial of education, medical treatments and personal freedoms and Lord only knows what else, because it’s happening in a deemed religious community.

That's what the news wants us to believe, anyway, and I know there's usually more to the story. In order to learn more about the subject, I went and picked up Carolyn Jessop’s book, Escape. She was the fourth wife of Merril Jessop, who is now one of the leaders of the Texas FLDS compound.

Carolyn wanted to attend college, and she was one of the few that did, but first she was awoken at 2 AM and told she was going to become wife #4 of a 50 year old man. She was 18.

After years of suffering emotional abuse, she realized her children were being physically abused by some of the other wives and children in the house. She had had enough and in the middle of one night when her husband was away, she packed her eight children in a van and escaped, deciding that if she would go to hell because of her actions, it couldn’t be worse than living like that.

That’s the long story short. Her story is captivating and provides an eagle eye view into her life of polygamy and how horrific it had become under Warren Jeffs.

I can’t say that things like Carolyn describe are happening in every polygamist household. In fact, I saw an interview on the news with people who do live that lifestyle and they do seem very happy and well adjusted. One woman said her sister wives were her closest friends and that she feels sorry for people in traditional monogamous relationships because we do not have the committed relationships that they have.

Seriously, I couldn’t do it, nor would I want to. As terrible as this may sound, I look at that and see a complete lack of commitment.

I guess it depends on one's definition. All I know is if I had to share my husband with eight other women, I’d definitely have to be committed. To a mental hospital.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.


Anne said...

Thanks for summing up the book so I don't have to read it since I don't have the time and never will.

It's really hard for me to accept that there isn't a certain amount of brainwashing going on in the "happy polygamous families," just like in Islam where some women "happily" go around veiled and make sure their daughters are circumcised/mutilated. I recently saw a show on footbinding on National Geographic and I think people can be talked into anything with enough peer or social pressure. (Lots of examples come to mind, including Nazi Germany.)

Forcing teenaged girls to marry men old enough to be their fathers or grandfathers is criminal and should be treated as such.

Sassy Mama Bear said...

Thanks for the info on the book, I will have to look into that. We have watched Big Love, and I know that lifestyle would never be for me.

Hannah said...

Sounds like an interesting book!

I couldn't deal with that lifestyle either. I hope she and the children are doing well now.

Di said...

Another interesting book on the subject is Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer (who wrote Into Thin Air.) If there were other wives around, I could just see us rolling our eyes in commiseration when the husband did something stupid and getting nothing done because we were giggling and gossiping all day. I think it's unfortunate that the Mormon faith is denigrated by the extremes of its adherents.

Crystal said...

That was interesting!

Sharing my husband?? Oh HELL no. I don't see that as commitment either.

Ick. Sorry. I could not be best friends with a woman sleeping with MY husband. Again I say, HELL no.

The Rock Chick said...

anne: I agree, but it really was a very good book! You should give it a try!

di: oh, I'm going to check that one out! I don't know why I find this so fascinating. I'm actually repulsed by it, but I want to know why, I guess.

crystal: really, are you sure? you sound a little indecisive....LOL