Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Had the opportunity to meet Carolyn Jessop last night. I had invited her to the store to do a reading and signing. She escaped from the FLDS Colorado City/Hildale group of polygamists four years ago and has just come out with a book about her experience living among that group of people. She was married to Merril Jessop as his fourth wife. This was/is the group that claims Warren Jeffs as their prophet.
This is a very good and fast read. The event last night was sobering. Carolyn escaped from Colorado City in the middle of the night with all eight of her children with $20 in her pocket. In four years she has succeeded in winning full custody of all eight of her children and writing the most vivid portrayal of FLDS polygamy that I have seen.
Jessop calls this group a cult. She was a fourth or fifth generation member of this society and it seems her childhood was good. But she was married to a very powerful and manipulative man who saw her as his property. She said that when Warren Jeffs became prophet things really spiraled downward in Colorado City. Now, the core members of the group are hiding out in closed compounds like YFZ in Texas.
Strangely, Jessop's oldest daughter always wanted to go back to Colorado City. When she turned eighteen just this July 2nd, she left on July 4th to return.
I have thought alot about polygamy this week. And, about our own upbringing. How we spent our formative years on a farm with a very large family, who wanted to live their own higher order. How far were we away from fundamentalism? I look fondly upon those times on the farm out in Thatcher, where I was until I was eight. But, talk to someone like Marjean about her experience living in the basement underneath Bob and Fawn in the same house in Canada and you might find surprising similarities.