Escape - Carolyn Jessop & Laura Palmer


By Carolyn Jessop & Laura Palmer

  • Release Date: 2007-10-16
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 239 Ratings)
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The dramatic first-person account of life inside an ultra-fundamentalist American religious sect, and one woman’s courageous flight to freedom with her eight children.

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 that had settled in small communities along the Arizona-Utah border. 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’s every move was dictated by her husband’s whims. He decided where she lived and how her children would be treated. He controlled the money she earned as a school teacher. He chose when they had sex; Carolyn could only refuse at her own peril. For in the FLDS, a wife’s compliance with her husband determined how much status both she and her children held in the family. 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. No woman in the country had ever escaped from the FLDS and managed to get her children out, too. But 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 their followers the right to make choices, force women to be totally subservient to men, and brainwash children in church-run schools. Against this background, Carolyn Jessop’s flight takes on an extraordinary, inspiring power. Not only did she 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 of their notorious leader, Warren Jeffs.


  • Gripping tale of survival

    By EnvyKisses
    Like most people, I had heard of polygamists but never in detail. My most popular idea of polygamy was a bit glorified by tv shows like Sister Wives that aim to entertain. Escape was completely something else. This is the raw, heart wrenching, stranger than fiction story of Carolyn Jessop. Born into a polygamist cult and forced to marry as a teenager to a man three times her age. An old man she did not love who repeatedly raped her, kept her pregnant despite her own health, intimated and abused her. Even harder to grasp, was the stories of the children in the polygamist cult. Children were not allowed to be hugged, kissed, or treated with any kind of affection. They were not allowed to play, cry, laugh, or just be children. They were physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. The monstrosities described in this book left me feeling angry that more hasn't been done to get these hundreds of children the help they need. I learned a great deal of Polygamy as a religion, it's history, and it's culture. Escape was a rare glimpse into a world that I am thankful not to belong in. Carolyn provides a first hand account of the FLDS and the infamous Warren Jeffs that will give you chills. This book was a good read and well written. The pages flowed easily and I even found myself awake most nights reading it. The general message of Carolyn's story is one of empowerment, courage, and freedom.

    By 33 year old wife and mom
    Wow! What this woman went through. And what all members of polygamy go through is heartbreaking! Such an inspiring story of courage and hope. She is an amazing woman! GREAT read! I couldn't put it down.
  • From Terror to Triumph

    By go4grlz
    This is another warning of how unquestioned power can mentally and physically destroy hundreds of innocent, trusting victims. However the invincible nature of Carolyn's spirit gives hope to all who dare.
  • Escape

    By Shelly
    One of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. It literally was hard for me to put the book down to go do other things that had to be done! I learned so much about this Mormon cult. So proud of you for breaking free from it!
  • Wonderful, Horrifying Story

    By K-K-K-K
    I could not stop reading. This book was amazing. The things that go on FLDS are absolutely horrifying. Her story gave me so much appreciation for my family and everything I have.
  • Wow

    By Alaska me!
    To read of such oppressions occurring in a country built on freedom is shocking. We fight for humanitarian rights over seas and are oblivious to our home country being violated. I pray that all whom are subjected can find strength. And I know in my heart that the oppressors will never find their "celestial heaven" falsely created by their "prophet". A must read. --signed. A believer. A Christian with an open heart and mind.
  • Great book

    By A210angel
    Excellent book! Captivating and at times disturbing. An amazing story about strength and determination. Couldn't put it down.
  • Best book ever

    By Mstag731
    An amazing story of survival and triumph from an extraordinary woman capable of the impossible. I had to put the book down at some points because it was so intense. I'm convinced the reason Harrison was so sick is because of the toxic environment he was in. A good read for anyone in a situation they feel they can't survive. Carolyn Jessop is a surviver.
  • Inspirational!!

    By HavasuChick
    What an inspiring book about courage, spirit and undying love for your children. As a mom I was moved to tears reading her struggles to protect her kids, fight for their health and protect them! I can't imagine having to worry about such horrors with my own kids. I'm so glad Carolyn persevered and followed her heart and didn't go with what she was taught. That's a great message to teach our kids. Follow your heart!! Thank you for sharing your story! I hope every bring blessings to you Carolyn....You've earned it!!
  • Escape

    By Savana snooki
    Excellent! I couldn't put it down.