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Stolen Innocence: My story of growing up in a polygamous sect, becoming a teenage bride, and breaking free

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Stolen Innocence: My story of growing up in a polygamous sect, becoming a teenage bride, and breaking free
Elissa Wall

A tale of survival and freedom, Stolen Innocence is the story of one heroic woman who stood up for what was right and reclaimed her life.In September 2007, a packed courtroom in St. George, Utah, sat hushed as Elissa Wall, the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, gave captivating testimony of how Jeffs forced her to marry her first cousin at the age of fourteen. This harrowing and vivid account proved to be the most compelling evidence against Jeffs, showing the harsh realities of the lengths to which Jeffs went in order to control the sect's women.Now, in this courageous memoir, Elissa Wall tells the incredible and inspirational story of how she emerged from the confines of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and helped bring one of America's most notorious criminals to justice. Offering a child's perspective on life in the FLDS, Wall discusses her tumultuous youth, and explains how Warren Jeffs's influence over the church twisted its already rigid beliefs in dangerous new directions.Once she was married, Wall's childhood shattered as she was obligated to follow Jeffs's directives and submit to her husband in "mind, body, and soul." With little money and no knowledge of the outside world, she was trapped and forced to endure the pain and abuse of her loveless relationship, which eventually pushed her to spend nights sleeping in her truck rather than face the tormentor in her bed.

STOLEN INNOCENCE

MY STORY

of growing up

IN A POLYGAMOUS SECT,

BECOMING A TEENAGE BRIDE,

AND BREAKING FREE

ELISSA WELL

WITH LISA PULITZER

This is my story. The events described are based upon my

recollections and are true. I have changed the names of some

individuals to protect their privacy.

CONTENTS

Prologue

PART ONE

1 A New Mother

2 Growing Up and Keeping Sweet

3 Good Priesthood Children

4 In Light and Truth

5 The Rise of Warren

6 Out of Control

7 Reassignment

8 Preparing for Zion

9 A Revelation Is Made

10 The Celestial Law

11 The Word of the Prophet

12 Man and Wife

13 All Alone

PART TWO

14 Survival Begins

15 The Destruction Is Upon Us

16 Death Comes to Short Creek

17 False Prophet

18 Refuge in Canada

19 Nowhere to Run

20 A Pair of Headlights

21 Promise Not to Tell

22 A Story Like Mine

23 Love at Last

24 Choosing My Future

PART THREE

25 New Beginnings

26 Coming Forward

27 Captured

28 Facing Warren

29 The Trial Begins

30 The End Is in Sight

31 I Am Free

Epilogue

Author’s Note

Acknowledgments

Copyright (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

PROLOGUE: (#ub8f1bce4-2e37-58a9-8da4-bbcb7fbced16)

A TEENAGE BRIDE (#ub8f1bce4-2e37-58a9-8da4-bbcb7fbced16)

I clutched the delicate silk nightgown and embroidered robe of my bridal gown as I hurried to the bathroom. Though it was just a few feet from my bedroom, the bathroom seemed like a sanctuary, the one place I could be alone. With a turn of the lock, I slid to my knees and leaned my back against the door—for the moment I was safe. Over the past several days, I’d cried myself out of tears, and now I felt strangely numb, unable to cope with what was going on.

When I’d awoken that morning, I was a fourteen-year-old girl hoping for the miracle of divine intervention; my prayers, however, had gone unanswered. With no other choice, I’d submitted to the will of our prophet and had married my nineteen-year-old first cousin. As a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), I’d been raised to believe that marriages were arranged through a revelation from God, and that these revelations were delivered through our prophet, who was the Lord’s mouthpiece on earth. As a faithful follower, I’d embraced this principle and believed in it wholeheartedly, never imagining that at fourteen, a revelation would be made about me.

Ever since that revelation, I’d spent every last ounce of energy begging the prophet and his counsels to grant me more time or select a different man for me to marry. Not only was my new husband my first cousin, we had never gotten along, and I was having trouble believing that God would want me to marry someone I loathed. But my repeated pleas and desperate attempts to stop the marriage had failed, and that morning, I’d been driven across the Utah border to a motel in Nevada, where I was sealed for marriage in a secret wedding ceremony performed by our prophet’s son, Warren Jeffs.

Now, with the lock on the bathroom door securely fastened, I felt the full weight of the day for the first time. As I lay sprawled out on the cold tiles of the floor, I was uncertain I would be able to muster the courage to join my new husband in the bedroom. I ran my fingers along the expertly sewn long nightgown and pink satin robe that my mother had given me in honor of my wedding. So much tedious work had gone into the delicately embroidered flowers scattered across the robe’s lapel. I knew I was supposed to feel exalted. Marriage was meant to be the highest honor an FLDS girl could receive, and I was devastated to admit to myself that I didn’t feel that way.
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