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The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in a Polygamous Mormon Sect Hardcover – Mar 25 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada; Canadian First edition (March 25 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307355888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307355881
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #624,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Comparing a group to the Taliban is heavy stuff. But in her gripping Secret Lives of Saints, Vancouver Sun journalist Daphne Bramham has plenty of strong words for the polygamous Mormons of Bountiful, B.C.; Hildale, Utah; and Colorado City, Arizona. She characterizes followers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) as extortionists, misogynists, racists, child abusers, and pedophiles. Not for nothing did American FLDS leader Warren Jeffs occupy a spot opposite Osama bin Laden on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List before his capture outside Las Vegas in 2006: he would eventually be found guilty of two counts of rape as an accomplice. Meanwhile, Winston Blackmore, the so-called Bishop of Bountiful, has publicly admitted to having sex with minors, but has yet to be charged. Bramham demonstrates that only a few watchful reporters, prosecutors, and escaped former-FLDS members seem especially outraged about the questionable practices of the FLDS. "How is it," she asks, "that two nations, so clear-sighted in recognizing human rights atrocities in other countries … have been so blind to the human rights violations committed against their own women and children?"

How, indeed. Bramham provides a brief history of Mormonism, following the divide at the end of the 19th century when "the mainstream church renounced polygamy [and] dissidents splintered off and continued to practice plural marriage." As Bramham shows, the one man/multiple wives equation is enormously problematic, resulting in acute poverty, subjugation, and--most troublingly--teenage brides bequeathed to geriatrics in the name of procreation. Clearly, such practices have to stop. While this story has been told before--notably by Jon Krakauer in Under the Banner of Heaven and in various high-profile TV exposés--Bramham adds new voices and the Canadian perspective to this troubling tale. Moreover, she makes readers angry--and when it comes to prompting change, anger trumps ambivalence every time. --Kim Hughes

About the Author

Daphne Bramham has been a columnist at the Vancouver Sun since 2000 and has won numerous awards for her writing, including a National Newspaper Award. She was named Commentator of the Year by the Jack Webster Foundation in 2005 and was honoured by the non-profit group Beyond Borders for a series of columns on the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 13 2008
Format: Hardcover
Vancouver Sun journalist, Daphne Bramham, has done a first-rate job in exposing the dark, dirty secrets of the Blackmore polygamist activities at Bountiful over the last half century. Based on her findings, this colony is anything but an innocent experiment in alternative living involving patriarchal leadeship that indulges in the innocent pursuits of love through a harem of vestal virgins. What Bramham describes about the FLDS(Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints)operations both in Bountiful and down in Colorado City is enough to make one wonder why big government has taken so long to intervene and lay charges against Warren Jeff, the present leader of the movement, and Winston Blackmore, its Canadian head. The list of reported sex offences by these two men, as covered of US and Canadian law, are so legion as to cause a public outcry, which is now only being acted on by Texas and Utah officials. Statutory rape, rape of a minor, polygamy, kidnapping and unlawful restraint are just a few charges that Warren Jeffs has just been convicted of while Blackmore continues to thumb his nose at the authorities this side of the border. The book elaborates on the founding 'principle' of the movement - the male calling to honor God's request to liberate the countless disembodied pre-existing spirits - and how it came to set up in both the US and Canada. As the Bountiful Community has expanded over the years, a number of serious problems have set in: rivalries between family lines that included the male patriarchs openly feuding, the enabling wives feeling jealous and oppressed, and whole generations of children invariably losing touch with parents.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cairo on June 17 2008
Format: Hardcover
Well done, Daphne Bramham! Finally, a journalist who gives a damn enough to expose the disgustingly sexist and corrupt system that exists within the polygamous Mormon sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I couldn't agree more with Ms. Bramham's statement that while Canadian troops are currently in Afghanistan, in part to defend that country's women and children's rights, everyone seems to tolerate the tyranny imposed on women and children by the FLDS on North American soil. As a Canadian, I'm furious.
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Format: Paperback
I had read several other books about the FLDS (Escape, Stolen Innocence)which are personal accounts of several women's experiences in this cult and was fascinated by their stories. This author is not part of the FLDS, so brings an unbiased perspective. She has been very thorough in her research and gives a detailed account of the practices that are happening in the name of religious beliefs. She has done an excellent job of portraying the leaders for what they are: power hungry, obsessed with sex, hypocrites. The treatment of wives, young girls and boys is horrific and it's time for law officers to enforce the laws of our land rather than turn a blind eye to what is going on in Bountiful and areas of the US. This is a very informative book and well written - certainly worth the read.
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Format: Paperback
I can't add too much to what others have already said. I have read 'Keep sweet', 'Stolen innocence', and 'The witness wore red' so far and this book is -in my opinion- the most well rounded. She gives information on various women, about happenings in(mostly)Canada and the US, the leaders on both sides and lots more. If you are interested in learning about the FLDS - this is the book to start with. It will give you a foundation and understanding that none of the other books will. I will continue to read the books by others who have left as I believe that buying a book so they get a few royalties is the least I can do. I encourage others to do the same. They are all incredible stories.
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