Escape by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer: Book Review

Jul 23, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Books & Tales, Every Other Book, Karen Lewis

by Karen Lewis

Escape, by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer, is a fascinating true story. Carolyn was brought up in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a sect separated from and renounced by the Mormon Church. The main base of the FLDS took place in Colorado City, Arizona where Carolyn spent most of her life.

Carolyn was born into a polygamist cult. At the age of eighteen, she was forced to marry a fifty year old stranger called Meril Jessop. Meril had been a lifelong member of the church. His father and grandfathers were previously high rank officials. Carolyn became the fourth wife out of his eventual thirteen wives. She had eight children in fifteen years. This is a truly moving factual story of a woman who showed great courage, bravery and strength of character. She shares and exposes what life was really like behind the closed doors of a polygamist cult.

Carolyn lived in an abusive, tormenting environment with Meril’s other wives. The cult forced women to be completely submissive to what their husbands wanted and desired. They had no choice. The cult also brainwashed them into thinking that the only way to heaven was to please their husband. When Carolyn realized the cult’s hypocrisy she was on a mission to escape from what she felt was nothing but a prison camp. Throughout the story you can detect Carolyn’s strong independent, intelligent streak, accompanied by her will to have a better life for herself and her children. One of her children was handicapped and on a feeding tube which she took into consideration when planning her escape. Her character certainly showed a great deal of persistence to battle through to the end no matter what came up against her.

Escape is a fantastic story. This was one book I could not put down. When someone asked me what I was reading I was very much compelled to share with joy and enthusiasm what the story was about. It is certainly a page turner and a must read. I believe that some of the experiences Carolyn went through would provoke a reaction in the reader. After reading Escape I will definitely be reading her second book to see how life turned out down the line.


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Karen Lewis is a contributor to our Ministry Musings section, she & her husband are currently serving as missionaries in Mexico where they are leading the planting of a new church in the town of Puerto Peñasco. Learn more of their ministry at her blog, Beyond The Horizon.

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