Escape. By Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer. New York: Broadway Books, 2007. 413 pp. Cloth, $24.95.
The author, Carolyn Jessop, tells an amazing story of her escape, both physically and spiritually, from a polygamous cult, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (S).
At age 18 she was given in marriage to a 50-year-old man, Merril Jessop, who already had three wives. She had eight children by him over the next 17 years. During this time her husband accumulated more wives.
The author endured lots of abuse from her husband and from her “sister wives” during her 17 years of marriage. After she escaped with her children, she had to fight a tremendous battle to keep her children, and her sanity.
While there is no evidence in the book that the author has come to faith in Christ, this book is well worth reading for many reasons. It is a book about marriage and parenting. It is an overcomer story. And it gives clues about how to help reach a person locked into a cult mentality.
Carolyn Jessop’s former husband Merril Jessop is now the head of the FLDS group in Texas that is at Yearning for Zion ranch. Former head of the FLDS, a man much discussed in the book, and one with whom the author had several tumultuous encounters, Warren Jeffs, is now in prison after being on the FBI’s ten most wanted list.
I highly recommend this book. It is well written and hard to put down. On a recent flight back from Tampa to Dallas I was reading the book as my wife was napping next to me. She awoke and started reading over my shoulder. After a page or two Sharon took the book from me and proceeded to read it during the rest of the flight and then till midnight after we got home. She loved it. You will too.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society