NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER• The dramatic true story of one woman’s life inside the ultra-fundamentalist American religious sect featured in Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey—and her courageous flight to freedom with her eight children
With a new epilogue by the author • “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. A courageous, heart-wrenching account.”—Jon Krakauer
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. 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 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. 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 the followers the right to make choices, brainwash children in church-run schools, and force women to be totally subservient to men. Against this background, Carolyn’s flight takes on an extraordinary, inspiring power.
Not only did Carolyn 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, and later the conviction and sentence, of their notorious leader, Warren Jeffs.
About the Author
Carolyn Jessop was born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a group splintered from and renounced by the Mormon Church, and spent most of her life in Colorado City, Arizona, the main base of the FLDS. Since leaving the group in 2003, she has lived in West Jordon, Utah, with her eight children.
Laura Palmer is the author of Shrapnel in the Heart and collaborated on five other books, including To Catch a Predator with NBC's Chris Hansen. She lives in New York City.
“Though Jessop’s circumstances were unusual—and particularly harrowing—her memoir will appeal to many women who have left abusive relationships.”—Kirkus Reviews “Riveting, compulsive reading.”—Elle