Posted by: Brenda Kula | January 2, 2008


I am now reading the book "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop. This is the true story of a woman born into a radical polygamist cult, who eventually escaped with her eight children in the dead of night in 2003. She had $20 in her pocket. At age 18 she was "arranged" to be married to Merril Jessop, a man more than thirty years her senior, who already had three other wives. Carolyn was born into the FDLS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), and when she left this life where women are totally subservient to men in the name of God, she made history as the first woman to escape and take her children with her. In 2006, she reported the church abuses to the Utah Attorney General, and this led to the arrest of the leader, Warren Jeffs, of which we’ve heard aplenty recently. His name was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, and he was charged as an accomplice to rape in Utah, amongst other charges.   

Reading this book is really eye-opening, as these women were taught as children things people like me have no real comprehension of. This woman was 35 years old and had eight children in 15 years. These people are essentially brainwashed, in my opinion. I cannot fathom what it must have been like to break away from all that you know and stumble into a foreign world, hoping there are kind people out there instead of the devils we’ve been portrayed as, with all those kids in tow. One of which is very disabled.

Thankfully there were indeed benevolent people out there who took her into the fold, so to speak, and nurtured her family, and they are now in the midst of healing. One daughter, unfortunately, went back. Apparently she could not escape the teachings of her childhood, and blend into her mother’s brave new world.

I first heard about this book a few weeks ago while listening to NPR in my car. National Public Radio is my favorite voice on the radio, and they were interviewing Carolyn Jessop. I found her story so compelling I immediately went home and ordered the book from

If you’re at all curious, give it a read. Her story, though I’m not finished reading it yet and look forward to sitting down with a cup of coffee and continuing her saga, will both fascinate and sadden you at the same time.



  1. Sounds like a great book. I think I’ll go get it tomorrow. I’m twiddling my thumbs trying to figure out what to do while my current home is on the market. I don’t start my new job till the first or second week of March. I usually read a good book in just few days. I get so in to it. This one sounds like that kind of book.

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