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Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Lisa Pulitzer , Elissa Wall , Rene Raudman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 2 2008
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 and vivid 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 and inspirational 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, which eventually pushed her to spend nights sleeping in her truck rather than face the tormentor in her bed.

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. In Stolen Innocence, she delves into the difficult months on the outside that led her to come forward against him, working with prosecutors on one of the biggest criminal cases in Utah's history, so that other girls still inside the church might be spared her cruel fate.

More than a tale of survival and freedom, Stolen Innocence is the story of one heroic woman who stood up for what was right and reclaimed her life.

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Review

"The juxtaposition of Raudman's narrative equanimity and the young girl's shocking experiences creates an arresting audio experience." ---AudioFile

From the Back Cover

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 and vivid 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 and inspirational 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, which eventually pushed her to spend nights sleeping in her truck rather than face the tormentor in her bed.

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. In Stolen Innocence, she delves into the difficult months on the outside that led her to come forward against him, working with prosecutors on one of the biggest criminal cases in Utah's history, so that other girls still inside the church might be spared her cruel fate.

More than a tale of survival and freedom, Stolen Innocence is the story of one heroic woman who stood up for what was right and reclaimed her life.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stolen Innocence - Elissa's journey into Adulthood March 20 2012
By Angel
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After reading both Escape and Triumph, I needed one more taste, a different persepctive of how someone grew up in this community. Elissa Wall provided that for me. She writes beautifully and painfully details day after day what it was like being married to someone she hated. Never giving in to the brainwashing around her telling her that how she is feeling is wrong, Elissa stands up to her husband and her community to justify how she feels. Her wedding day is described in such painful detail that I could imagine being in the room with her. I cried with her. I was constantly taken by how she managed to stay out at nights - not to persue a wicked lifestyle, but to perserve her soul and sanity by not being raped over and over again. Elissa said she needed to grow up first before being married, and ultimately, in the end that's what happened.

The only issue I had with the book is the small writing in a small book format, but you quickly overcome that as you are wrapped up in her story. It's an excellent read and the way she protects herself and takes a stand for what she beleives in, is truly inspiring. I'm glad she got out and made a life for herself - and I'm glad she shared her story with the world.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book Feb. 4 2009
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. It's hard to believe that this type of abuse still goes on today. It's fascinating and infuriating to hear an insider's account of her life in a society where they have almost no control over their own lives. Organized religion gone bad again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A page-turner and eye-opener June 15 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Stolen Innocence

After a friend recommended me the book, I opened Stolen Innocence, Elissa Wall's story of living in the FLDS, with the notion the book was going to be something difficult to read. However I was surprised by how quickly I was absorbed in her world. Elissa carefully sets the mood and the groundwork of her life leaving you hooked until the very end.

Not only was it captivating but it was eye-opening to know such things still take place in the here and now. To realize that I had been living a happy life while she was raped and abused by her "husband" at the tender age of 14 is a wake-up call. We can all take influence by Elissa's courage to stand up and put a man behind bars when it didn't seem likely he'd ever be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read March 6 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A different view of the polygamous lifestyle, this book being written more recently, she had a lot more dealings with Warren Jeffs. It really gives an in depth view of poly marriages, and how much power the FLDS has over families. Seeing how the church forces the will of a few key people on the majority of the members, and condones abuse and rape is shocking.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars must read book July 20 2008
Format:Hardcover
Wow this book was a book everyone should read. Elissa wall had a very hard child hood. at age 14 when i was enjoying school and playing this little girl was married
and abused. I think this book is a real eye opener. elisa
is a very strong girl to get out and get help. i hope that there is a follow up to this next year speaking about how she lives raising her children and be with her
real husband.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GIMME THAT OLD TIME RELIGION... March 16 2009
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I recently became intrigued by the patriarchal Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and the strange metamorphosis it has undergone by virtue of the twisted and skewed leadership of Warren Jeffs, an unprincipled and greedy man whose love of power seemed to have no bounds. Always a strange subculture because a central tenet of its beliefs was polygamy, under Warren Jeffs the FLDS seemed to go to new lengths in its extremism.

This is the story of one of those FLDS women, Elissa Wall, who tells the story of growing up in a polygamous household, where her mother was her father's second wife, and she was but one of her father's twenty-two children. She speaks of the complexity of polygamous families and the underlying tensions in her own home between family members, tensions that became exacerbated when her father took on a third wife, culminating in the tearing asunder of her family under the guidance of Warren Jeffs.

The author attended the Alpha Academy, which was a school run by the FLDS for children of the FLDS, in which the principal at the time was Warren Jeffs. So, the author lived her entire life being indoctrinated in FLDS beliefs and way of life. Meanwhile the tensions at home were such that her mother was eventually told by Warren Jeffs to leave her husband and take her children to live in Hildale, Arizona, an FLDS enclave, with Fred Jessop, who lived with his fifteen wives and children in a forty-five bedroom home. The author's mother would eventually become one of Jessop's wives. Shortly thereafter, when the author turned fourteen, she would receive the most devastating news of her life, when she was ordered to marry her first cousin, Alan Steed, whom she detested.
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent March 9 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very interesting and well written. Gives a portray of what it must be like inside a very closed and male dominated society.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Testimony of Strength Dec 14 2013
By JanSooCan TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most powerful books that I've read this year. (the others being Ripple and I, Run both by E. L. Farris).
This story is riviting and the courage shown by this young woman is remarkable. It is inspirational. Reading it will change people's lives.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars At times heart-wrenching
Thoroughly interesting story, both informative and heart-wrenching.
Published 29 days ago by Shirley MacKenzie
4.0 out of 5 stars Brave Elissa
As a survivor of abuse, I found parts difficult to read. I kept reading because I wanted Elissa to get a happy ending. She seems like a nice person & I admired her courage.
Published 11 months ago by Jacqueline Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into the FLDS world
Although this book can be quite dark at times, I gave this book a five star rating based on the true honestly of Elissa and how well she tells her story. Read more
Published 11 months ago by ilovecats
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I found the book a good read, not exactly what I was expecting.
I thought it was a little lenghty, building to the end.
Too much detail.
Published 11 months ago by V. oberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
A very hard book to read but I couldn't put it down. Sometimes it is sad to see the real world.
Published 11 months ago by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opener...must read
This book explicitly explains about the hardships and exposes the truths about living in a polygamy relationship and the religious beliefs to support it. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Natalie McBride
5.0 out of 5 stars Discussed with those older men
I love reading these types of books. It's discussing that older men can control these women or young children(girls) for their own sexual needs and use their religion to do it. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Lorraine
5.0 out of 5 stars Stolen Innocence
I chose this rating because I felt the circumstances and the writing and the courage of Elissa Wall deserved it. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Muffins
5.0 out of 5 stars an eye opener
found it hard to believe but was disproven when I check the fats. You cannot put it down and it circulates like mad.
Published 21 months ago by judyevelyn
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT
This is a must read! Very hard to put down, and to believe this happend. Very well written.
The book truly opens your eyes to the world around us.
Published on March 6 2012 by Shannon
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