After having read Jessop’s book, I get a better understanding of this one. What’s different about it though is the author of this one was married by Jeffs at the age of 14 to a cousin who was abusive to her at a previous time when the prophet ordered Wall’s dad to repent from afar because he couldn’t control his family. “Control” in the FLDS meant not being able to keep the women “sweet” and obedient and their children likewise. Elissa and her siblings were forced to live on the ranch of an uncle who had an abusive son who Elissa was later forced to marry.
Like Caroline Jessop, Elissa Wall had plural mothers. They didn’t get along. It created havoc and disharmony in the home and Wall’s biological mother went to the prophet Rulon Jeffs for help. Jeffs was incapacitated from a stroke and his son Warren ordered her to leave for a while and allow Wall’s dad to repent and work toward the prophet’s good graces to let his other family come back. They were able to return but with the stipulation that her dad could control the family.
Another eruption broke out, leading Elissa’s mother to once again call the prophet for guidence. This one lead to Wall’s mother being “reassigned” to another man. In the meantime, Warren Jeffs had taken control of the sect and was putting out new proclamations from the lord which included no more public school because they were contaminated by the outside influences—-you know, like science, history, and the arts.
Another thing that both books mention is the rift in the community during the 80’s in which women were being assigned to men in marriage by more than one councilman and/or the prophet. This lead to the prophet at that time, named Uncle Roy, to declare that assignments of marriage should only be proclaimed by the prophet. The council elders and a percentage of the community disagreed and this lead to the split. The ones that sided with the council elders were banished from the community and formed their own. Both communities were forbidden to have close contact with each other and the families who sided with the councilmen were called apostates.
As Wall points out, leaving all the decisions and power to one man can be a very dangerous thing.
to be continued…