Many years ago, I've seen reports on a group called "FLDS", and their prophet, Warren Jeffs. I remember Oprah talking to a group of girls looking like something out of House on a Prairie, who said how their one goal in life was to get married. Having been a student of Gender Studies, and chosen religions as my focus, I was saddened by how these girls were brainwashed into thinking that was all they were good for. I wanted to get married and have children all my life myself. However, I also wanted other things, and was ever so glad that I had options, opportunities unlike most women before me, and a lot of women even now.
Mormons had been a special interest to me, since they were a major focus of my thesis paper that served as the conclusion of my university studies. I've learned a lot about their beliefs, and it always fascinated me how people could believe so much in something that had been so obviously constructed as a fraud.
I had been looking at books connected to getting out of religions, when Amazon brought up this book as something that would interest me. I decided to download a sample. Once the sample finished, I eagerly downloaded the whole book. I was fascinated by the story. I have always been curious about people who lived different lives than mine, and a girl growing up in a religious sect that for the most part lived in the 19th century, was about as different as possible.
At the start of the story we learn that at fourteen she was forced to marry her first cousin, Allen, whom she disliked for some reason. However, the story then takes us back to a much earlier time, even to before her parents were even married. It was a very interesting look into the workings of polygamous households, the FLDS, prophets, religious schools, all sorts of things. In a way, the marriage itself was just the cherry on the top.
In a way, life in the FLDS must have its good sides. Close community, keeping together is something that I've never had much experience of. However, the religion, and the whole make-up is just ripe for abuse. It wasn't so bad with the previous prophet, but only because the previous prophet wasn't such a bad man. He wasn't good either, but he sometimes tried. That's the problem with closed sects. All the people brain-washed to surrender their critical thinking, their scepticism, their rationality to a religion, a man, are just waiting to be exploited.
This sadly, is the same with all religion, but not exclusive to them. Ideologies aside from religion can have the same impact. That is why we should always keep our wits about us, and employ critical thinking to everything.
I must admit, I kind of hoped she would become an atheist. True, with all the things that had happened to her, Elissa probably needed her faith to support her hope of a better life. However, I feel a bit that she had placed in the hands of an outsider the very deeds she had done, and others as well. For it was humans that helped her get out. Her friends and family that supported her, and above all, it was her strength that lead her to not take the easy way and just submit, but to stand up for herself and her sisters. She sees a god in there, somewhere. All I see is good people. In the end, that is all we really have, each other.
Cross-posted at http://unapologetic-reviews.blogspot.com, where you can find more reviews.