Synopses & Reviews
Praise for Church of Lies
"Flora Jessop's story is raw, courageous, riveting, and a real eye-opener. Once you start reading, you can't put it down. Church of Lies is one more compelling reason why polygamy should not be decriminalized."
—John R. Llewellyn, author, Polygamy's Rape of Rachael Strong: Protected Environment for Predators
"This is an important book that sheds light on an ultra-authoritarian secretive community in our midst. Flora Jessop spares no punches in telling her story and describing life in the FLDS, especially the hazards for women and children. But no matter how cruel and oppressive the setting, Jessop was able to break free and help others do the same. A must-read for anyone interested in children's rights, victims' rights, and just plain human decency."
—Janja Lalich, PhD, author, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships; coauthor with Margaret Singer, Cults in our Midst
"Risking her life, Flora Jessop has become a folk hero for her defense of countless victims of abuses perpetrated within the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints community. Her own struggle to free herself of its constraints is remarkable; her advocacy for those who are attempting to leave is inspirational."
—Dr. Stephen A. Kent, professor, Department of Sociology andInterdisciplinary Program in Religious Studies, University of Alberta
"Alternating between grit and childlike innocence, Flora Jessop's story is both difficult to read and impossible to put down. She reveals the truth about the secret fundamentalist Mormon FLDS for all to see and skillfully exposes the real dangers that lurk within this twisted religious system."
—Natalie R. Collins, author, Wives and Sisters and Behind Closed Doors
From the Preface:
"My name is Flora Jessop. I've been called apostate, vigilante, and crazy bitch, and maybe I am. But some people call me a hero, and I'd like to think they're right too. If I am a hero, maybe it's because every time I can play a part in saving a child or a woman from a life of servitude and degradation, I'm saving a little piece of me, too.
I was one of twenty-eight children born to my dad and his three wives. Indoctrinated to believe that the outside world was evil, and that I resided among the righteous, I was destined to marry a man chosen for me by the Prophet. I would then live in harmony with my sister-wives, bear many children, and obey and serve my future husband in this life and throughout eternity. But my innocence didn't last long. While still a child, I understood that the church of the righteous was nothing but a church of lies.
When I was eight years old my father sexually molested me for the first time, raping me when I was twelve. I tried to kill myself. Beaten, molested, taunted, and abused by family members alleging they only wanted to save my soul became a daily routine, I ran from this abuse more than once in my early teens--even attempting to cross the desert on foot. My family hunted me down. I thought government agencies would provide me safety if I reported my father. Instead, police and social services colluded with the FLDS to return me to my family and I ended up back inside polygamy, right where I started."
Flora goes on from there to tell the dramatic true story of how she ultimately escaped and has been fighting against frustrating obstacles with hard fought successes in rescuing women and children from the FLDS. It's a story you can't put down.
Jessop describes her life in the polygamous FLDS sect and tells the dramatic true story of how she ultimately escaped and has been fighting to rescue women and children from the abuse and degradation.
Church of Lies
"My name is Flora Jessop. I've been called apostate, vigilante, and crazy bitch, and maybe I am. But some people call me a hero, and I'd like to think they're right too. If I am a hero, maybe it's because . . . every time I can play a part in saving a child or a woman from a life of servitude and degradation, I'm saving a little piece of me, too."From the Introduction
Church of Lies is a stranger-than-fiction story that is torn from today's headlines. It recounts Flora Jessop's painful journey: she was held captive and repeatedly abused, both physically and sexually, only to flee her "family" and find herself addicted to drugs, working as a topless dancer, and involved with violent men. Ultimately, her story is one of redemption. Flora had an awakening that led her to become an outspoken advocate for women and children who are still suffering in polygamist communities.
Church of Lies not only tells the heartbreaking personal story of a courageous woman but also exposes the FLDS for what it isa renegade and abusive cult. Flora says it this way:
"I understood that there were others beside myself who needed helpthousands of children and women were suffering in polygamy, just as I had. Condemned to a life of ignorance, brainwashing, and brutality; treated like property; producing as many as sixteen children; dying prematurely, all used up . . . I was so damn mad, I decided I would spend the rest of my life saving every last one of them. Rescuing a teenager from polygamy is like taking someone straight from hell and delivering her to heaven. So far, I've saved a few. But I'm far from done with my journey."
About the Author
"For those who might feel polygamy is harmless, I suggest they read the just published book, "Church of Lies," by Flora Jessop and Paul T. Brown….Hers is not a pretty story,…But it merits reading as its core message is credible and valid." —The Examiner
, February 21-23, 2009
"Church of Lies… is a compelling and heartbreaking -- but hopeful -- read." (Kansas City Star)
It is difficult for any person not affiliated with a group like the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) to imagine the motivation for living in such a system. Jessop grew up within the strictures of the FLDS cult, subjected to its forced marriages and rampant sexual abuse. Her story is a harrowing but inspiring account of one woman’s determination to break free. She relates in rather stark terms the horror of growing up in the polygamous community, the many pleasures she was denied as a child as her elders pursued a pseudo-holiness, forbidding the joys of childhood but engaging in horrible acts of pedophilia. Following her own liberation, she has worked tirelessly and fearlessly to liberate those who want out of the group. Readers will be repelled at some of what Jessop has to say, but in the end, they will be heartened by her efforts to free others in the grip of the FLDS leadership. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, December 15, 2008)
Table of Contents
Introduction: My Name Is Flora Jessop.
Part One: Pligville.
1. The End of Innocence.
2. Home Sweet Home.
3. The Rape.
4. The Great Escape.
5. Little Runaway.
6. The Prisoner.
Part Two: Apostate.
8. Gone for Good.
9. No Boundaries.
10. The End of the Road.
12. No One’s Property.
Part Three: Outlaw.
15. Lost and Found.
17. Rescuing the Fawns.
18. Running Away Again.
20. No Sympathy for the Devil.
Part Four: No More Pain.
21. Fighting On.
About the Authors.