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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (16,527 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Carolyn Jessop, Laura Palmer Narrator: Alison Fraser Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9780739354582
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The dramatic first-person account of life inside an ultra-fundamentalist American religious sect, and one woman’s courageous flight to freedom with her eight children.

When she was eighteen years old, Carolyn Jessop was coerced into an arranged marriage with a total stranger: a man thirty-two years her senior. Merril Jessop already had three wives. But arranged plural marriages were an integral part of Carolyn’s heritage: She was born into and raised in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), the radical offshoot of the Mormon Church that had settled in small communities along the Arizona-Utah border. Over the next fifteen years, Carolyn had eight children and withstood her husband’s psychological abuse and the watchful eyes of his other wives who were locked in a constant battle for supremacy.

Carolyn’s every move was dictated by her husband’s whims. He decided where she lived and how her children would be treated. He controlled the money she earned as a school teacher. He chose when they had sex; Carolyn could only refuse—at her peril. For in the FLDS, a wife’s compliance with her husband determined how much status both she and her children held in the family. Carolyn was miserable for years and wanted out, but she knew that if she tried to leave and got caught, her children would be taken away from her. No woman in the country had ever escaped from the FLDS and managed to get her children out, too. But in 2003, Carolyn chose freedom over fear and fled her home with her eight children. She had $20 to her name.

Escape exposes a world tantamount to a prison camp, created by religious fanatics who, in the name of God, deprive their followers the right to make choices, force women to be totally subservient to men, and brainwash children in church-run schools. Against this background, Carolyn Jessop’s flight takes on an extraordinary, inspiring power. Not only did she manage a daring escape from a brutal environment, she became the first woman ever granted full custody of her children in a contested suit involving the FLDS. And in 2006, her reports to the Utah attorney general on church abuses formed a crucial part of the case that led to the arrest of their notorious leader, Warren Jeffs.

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Quotes & Awards

  • "Escape provides an astonishing look behind the tightly drawn curtains of the FLDS Church, one of the most secretive religious groups in the United States. The story Carolyn Jessop tells is so weird and shocking that one hesitates to believe a sect like this, with 10,000 polygamous followers, could really exist in 21st-century America. But Jessop’s courageous, heart-wrenching account is absolutely factual. This riveting book reminds us that truth can indeed be much, much stranger than fiction. Jon Krakauer, Author of Under the Banner of Heaven, Into Thin Air, and Into the Wild
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aspag | 2/15/2014

    " Fascinating! Couldn't put it down "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Idamae Wallace | 2/14/2014

    " This woman is strong! I am amazed at all the things she and most others inside the FLDS cult endure. She is a survivor. While reading her autobiography, I felt all of her emotions while she described what she went through in the FLDS cult. I am looking forward to reading her new book "Triumph" which is about her life after she left the FLDS. I recommend this book. It was horrifically enlightening. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannon | 2/13/2014

    " I thought I knew some about the FLDS cult before reading this....boy was I wrong! This book opened my eyes. The courage of Carolyn is astounding. This is an important book that give awareness to horrible "religion". I am so glad that I read it. I LOVED it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lawn | 2/6/2014

    " i loved reading about what happened before and during warren jeffs "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria Hernandez | 2/6/2014

    " An insight into an unbelievable way of life ... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anput | 1/9/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book, and in a way, feel badly about that. Reading what she went through and what other women continue to go through was horrific. I can't even imagine a life like that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natalie | 1/8/2014

    " Yikes. I read it, but I am not sure I can recommend it. It is a true story of a women that escaped a religious cult (The FLDS). I found it disturbing the way the men were so power hungry and were able to brainwash their followers by saying God told them to. It was scary. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Anderson | 1/2/2014

    " The story Carolyn wrote was very nlightening about the role of a multiple wife in Fundamentalist Mormon society. It made me think of how these women are imprisoned by the males in the society. I will remember it forever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mirjam | 12/28/2013

    " How lucky am I after reading this woman's story to be able to live the way I do. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renee Yesso | 12/25/2013

    " Completely crazy to hear about being on the inside of the FLDS. It truly shocked me, even though I knew it was bad. The author was strong and courageous, and I am glad that she told her story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brittnee | 12/11/2013

    " If you ever think you have it rough, read this book. This woman's life-holy crap. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amelia | 12/6/2013

    " Oh, I am thoroughly disturbed. I could not put this book down, I think I'm glad that I read it. I don't know what to say, except that this religion needs to be stopped... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vanessa | 11/13/2013

    " Didnt want the book to end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kasi | 11/12/2013

    " This is by far the best book about life in the FLDS I have read. Looking forward to reading her follow up book, Triumph. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Whitney | 11/12/2013

    " I really enjoyed reading this account of life in an FLDS community. So interesting and truly horrifying at times! The writing, for me, was a little bit tedious. A lot of "telling" and sometimes unnecessary details. But, overall, a truly one-of-a-kind account of a devastating lifestyle! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jesse | 10/30/2013

    " After reading "When Men Became Gods", I knew I wanted to follow it up with "Escape". Carolyn Jessop wrote straight from the heart, and it quickly became a book I didn't want to put down. The book was filled with emotion,but was also very informative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allyson | 8/5/2013

    " Loved it! It is amazing to see what other people have endured. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marjorie Seward | 7/26/2013

    " It's hard to realize what one can go through when trying to do what one is taught when growing up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie | 6/20/2013

    " Amazing and engaging. It is incredible to read about what this woman lived through and overcame. I would give this more stars, if I could. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melkee | 3/18/2013

    " I understand how harrowing Carolyn Jessop's experience was, but it is pretty much like any other book written by former FDLS women: lots of abuse and very little hope. At times, I was basically just skimming waiting for more interesting parts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diana | 7/1/2012

    " A film book really. Esse livro realmente parece que estamos ''lendo'' um filme! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 4/30/2012

    " This book was absolutely gripping. It made me very grate for the Christian upbringing I had. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann Marie | 3/2/2012

    " By no means literary genius, but I could not put it down. Fascinating story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie Stoll | 2/18/2012

    " A very well written book about a an amazing woman. I could feel the pain coming from the pages of the book. I couldn't help but rejoice and want to celebrate the ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amber | 1/23/2012

    " The true story of a women who escaped from the polygamist FLDS church. It's hard to believe a such a backward, misogynistic community/ society can exist in the modern, democratic US. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jodi | 1/3/2012

    " This book was really interesting to read, although it was difficult to read about the abuse she, and others, went through. I feel like I have a better grasp of what the FLDS people believe, and all they went through under Warren Jeffs power. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sha'tia Safford | 8/15/2011

    " I loved this book. This is my favorite book of the summer about a woman in the FLDS group that escapes and wins the first custody battle of here children from and FLDS father. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 6/23/2011

    " Credible first person account of a woman's escape from the polygamist cult that Warren Jeffs leads. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cetta | 6/15/2011

    " Another FLDS story. I don't know how she had the strength, but this author got out with 8 children. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 6/12/2011

    " Fascinating subject material, and an inspiring story, but the writing style wasn't that engaging. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lawn | 6/11/2011

    " i loved reading about what happened before and during warren jeffs "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jami | 6/10/2011

    " Very interesting book about life in the FLDS. At times infuriating and unbelievable, and at other times heart-breaking and poignant, this book is the story of a very strong woman who ultimately makes painful and courageous choices for the well-being of her children. It was hard to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maralee | 6/9/2011

    " Interesting read, had no idea how bad the FDLS treated their women. Was so glad to see author get out of such a horrible situation! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 6/5/2011

    " Yep - fascinated by the fundamentalist Mormons. "

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About the Author
Author Carolyn Jessop

Carolyn Jessop was born in 1968 and raised in the largest community of the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints in the United States. She spent seventeen years in a polygamous marriage to one of the most powerful men in the FLDS community, before escaping. She lives in Utah with her children.