Life After the Cult--a Survivor's Lessons

Book - 2010
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The author of The New York Times bestseller Escape returns with a moving and inspirational tale of her life after she heroically fled the cult she'd been raised in, her hard-won new identity and happiness, and her determination to win justice for the crimes committed against her family.
In 2003, Carolyn Jessop, 35, a lifelong member of the extremist Mormon sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), gathered up her eight children, including her profoundly disabled four-year-old son, and escaped in the middle of the night to freedom. Jessop detailed the story of her harrowing flight and the shocking conditions that sparked it in her 2007 memoir, Escape . Reveling in her newfound identity as a bestselling author, a devoted mom, and a loving companion to the wonderful man in her life, Jessop thought she had put her past firmly behind her. 
            Then, on April 3, 2008, it came roaring back in full view of millions of television viewers across America. On that date, the state of Texas, acting on a tip from a young girl who'd called a hotline alleging abuse, staged a surprise raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a sprawling, 1700-acre compound near Eldorado, Texas, to which the jailed  FLDS  "prophet" Warren Jeffs had relocated his sect's most "worthy" members three years earlier. The ranch was being run by Merril Jessop, Carolyn's ex-husband and one of the cult's most powerful leaders. As a mesmerized nation watched the crisis unfold, Jessop once more was drawn into the fray, this time as an expert called upon to help authorities understand the customs and beliefs of the extremist religious sect with which they were dealing.
            In Triumph , Jessop tells the real, and even more harrowing, story behind the raid and sets the public straight on much of the damaging misinformation that flooded the media in its aftermath. She recounts the setbacks (the tragic decision of the Supreme Court of Texas to allow the children in state custody to return to their parents) as well as the successes (the fact that evidence seized in the raid is the basis for the string of criminal trials of FLDS leaders that began in October 2009 and will continue throughout 2010), all while weaving in details of her own life since the publication of her first book. These include her budding role as a social critic and her struggle to make peace with her eldest daughter's heartbreaking decision to return to the cult. 
            In the book's second half, Jessop shares with readers the sources of the strength that allowed her not only to survive and eventually break free of FLDS mind control, but also to flourish in her new life. The tools of her transformation range from powerful female role models (grandmothers on both sides) to Curves fitness clubs (a secret indulgence that put her in touch with her body) to her college education (rare among FLDS women). With her characteristic honesty and steadfast sense of justice, Jessop, a trained educator who taught elementary school for seven years, shares her strong opinions on such controversial topics as homeschooling and the need for the court system to hold "deadbeat dads" accountable. (Among Jessop's recent victories is a court decision that ordered her ex-husband to pay years of back child support.) An extraordinary woman who has overcome countless challenges and tragedies in her life, Jessop shows us in this book how, in spite of everything, she has triumphed-and how you can, too, no matter what adversity you face.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307590701
Characteristics: v, 270 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Palmer, Laura


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Jul 26, 2015

Following up on her first book about the FLDS, the author goes into much more detail about how the "church" is really a front for organized crime; and how Texas dropped the ball in 2008 when it unsuccessfully seized more than 400 children from the YFZ compound. Demoralizing but still optimistic.

Dec 05, 2014

The story of Carolyn's life after cult is worth reading. However, her writing style is quite simplistic and somewhat detached which sometimes makes it difficult to really get into, even for nonfiction. Overall, I'm glad I read it, but if the writing style were more sympathetic and not so detached, it would have taken me a day or two to read rather than a bit over a week of running to other books for better pacing/emotional pull/etc.

Jan 13, 2011

not as good as her first book. she speaks more of those things that helped her move ahead, personal growth. And she spoke alot about the child apprehension in Texas of over 400 children from Warren Jeffs' compound. Her first book was much more personal and interesting.

Oct 21, 2010

excellent book, well written, a great evening read - I learned a lot by reading this.


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