May 22nd, 2008
06:05 PM ET

Waves of Horror: Former FLDS member reacts

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/23/book.292.320.jessop.jpg caption="Carolyn Jessop is a former FLDS Member and Co-Author of Escape" width=292 height=320]

Carolyn Jessop
Former FLDS Member

I was shocked when I heard the news of the Texas Appellate Court ruling this afternoon.
Waves of horror washed over me at first as I thought that the children might have to be immediately returned. But that's not going to happen. This ruling will be appealed. It's not a knockout punch, but the FLDS obviously gained some ground today.

If those children go back to the complete, unsupervised control of the FLDS at the Yearning for Zion Ranch it would be like throwing gasoline on a fire that's already burning out of control. It would send a message that the FLDS can get away with any level of crime which would reinforce what society, through its inaction over the years, has reinforced for a very long time. The pattern in the FLDS is, from my experience, that once its leaders can get away with one level of crime they move on to the next.

I know from my conversations with those close to this case that Texas authorities feel they have found a system of abuse within the Eldorado compound. Remember the dozens of babies that were left unattended in a nursery? Or the news this week that 100 kids didn't match up with any parents in the compound? There will be more information about the physical and sexual abuse of these children when criminal charges are filed. A lot of evidence was taken out in the raid that investigators are still piecing together.

I've also been told that in many cases the feeling is that the children now in custody are making steady, if not great gains, in their foster placements. Returning the children to the compound when they are just beginning to feel safe and stable would be catastrophic.

A lot of feelings came rushing back to me this afternoon. Until I won full custody of my children, I felt like the legal system was set-up to protect the perpetrators and not their victims. I didn't feel that I could get protection for my kids.

As I wrote in Escape, there were times on weekend visitations their father would force my children to fast and pray for my death. I don't know if I have ever endured a more shattering experience.
Merril Jessop, my ex-husband, is now the most powerful man in the FLDS and running the compound in Texas.

Filed under: Carolyn Jessop • FLDS update • Polygamy
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. cassandra

    I had not meant to sound as if I was making disparaging remarks about foster homes. I think foster homes are usually great places in the right situation. What I had meant was that these kids are a very unique situation and are probably suffering from a lot of emotional trauma. Because of their belief system they are probably afraid they are doomed to hell. I simply meant that in this case foster care may be more harmful to their pshychological state than if they were to remain at home while the courts determined their fate.

    May 24, 2008 at 12:11 am |
  2. Carol Rivera

    Carolyn, I think you are one brave woman. I recently lived in Utah for 4 years and was never so happy as the day I moved back to California. I felt I was in a thrid world country. The authorities turn their heads on child abuse and abuse of women. They let the FLDS rape the welfare system and refuse to fund their programs for their disabled. They are not a part of society. I think the FLDS as Americans should be made to file birth, death and marriage certificates the same as the rest of society. I am concerned for all the disabled children that must be born into such a culture.

    May 23, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  3. Kathy

    Virtually anyone can create religion. It is a matter of principles and beliefs. A majority of people gravitate toward identifying in one form or another to some type of lifestyle, many of which, are based upon morals, biblical & other religious sacred book interpretations. I think most humans are weak and need a way to explain the world around them, mostly if they are in need, and turn toward religion(in whatever form) to satisfy this.

    May 23, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  4. Laura Marie

    Carolyn, I am so glad there are people like you who can speak out based on REAL experience on behalf of these children. Can I ask you WHY WHY WHY are so many people named Jessop? Are people marrying their cousins and relatives in these communities? I have only heard about 3 or 4 last names at the most. I am sure there are more..but??
    Best to you and keep talking out!!!

    May 23, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  5. John


    Those were excellent descriptions and explanations! Thank you for posting them.

    Polygamy itself is not and should not be the issue.

    May 23, 2008 at 7:30 pm |
  6. Michelle in CA

    Legality aside, is it in the best interests of these children to be in this environment...especially considering the fact polygamy is considered illegal in the U.S. and the children are taught to lie about their parent's relationship? Personally, I feel a man should not have 100 children as it seems they might view procreation as one would a breeding program. Another thing to consider is, if the compound is in reality a breeding facility and there are children who are not genetically related to anyone in the compound, are these children being brought in from the outside as new blood for the breeding program. If I was one of the "wives" I would be questioning whether I want to return to a life where I may be considered by the male members in the same way a farmer would view a breeding animal. Would I want that for my children?

    May 23, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  7. KarenD

    Let me define the types/aspects of marriage a little better.

    Legal marriage: Let's say you are not religious and want to get married or you want to get married immediately for benefits or other reasons and will have a religious marriage performed later. You go to the appropriate government agency, fill out the paperwork, take any blood tests if required, get a license, take it to a judge, and he signs off. You are now married in the eyes of the law. Socially, a legal marriage is generally accepted as valid. A religion such as the Catholic Church can decide that in the eyes their god that this marriage is not valid and refuse to accept it.

    Religious marriage: Many ordained spiritual leaders of various religions are legally empowered to sign the legal documents so that a marriage they perform is both religiously and legally valid. If a religious leader has not been empowered by the state, then any marriage they perform is only religiously valid. So hypthetically, if I am a High Priestess of the Purple Turnip Coven and I perform a marriage of two of my coven members, the marriage is only valid among those who respect our religion. If my coven members want to be legally recognized as being married, they have to get a legal marriage in addition to the religious marriage.

    Social marriage: Two people live together and present themselves as a married couple and are generally accepted as being married, but sometimes they have neither the legal or religious documentation proving it. This is the basis of a "common law marriage". Socially, legal marriages are almost always recognized as valid and most religious marriages are considered valid.

    So, a marriage can have one or more of these aspects: legal, religious, or social. The vast majority of marriages in the US are either legal/religious/social, or they are legal/social. Still, there are some which are religious/social or just legal, just religious, or just social.

    May 23, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  8. cj,ca

    I don't know why but this story and especially this book absolutely drive me crazy.

    This is just an opportunity for Carolyn to make money by exploiting her association with the FLDS, and to get revenge against people she obviously hates. I doubt that she had to escape from anything. I'm sure they showed her the door without hesitation.

    I can't imagine people being so gullible and believing her claims, even after the whole case in Texas fell apart.

    The members of the FLDS had a perfect opportunity to leave after this raid. They had their chance and they stayed. If they were being physically, sexually, and mentally abused, wouldn't they have been running out in droves? Wouldn't any parent whose child was in danger jump at the opportunity to save their children? Wouldn't there be obvious physical signs of abuse on these women and children?

    This is all a bunch of crap! Do you think the Texas authorities wanted the case to fall apart? Do you think they wanted to look like idiots? Of course not. They must have gone through everything trying to find any shred of evidence to defend their raid on the compound. There isn't any. Just as there isn't a proof of any of her claims either.

    Good grief, people – open your eyes. You are being played for suckers and poor, victim Carolyn is laughing all the way to the bank.

    May 23, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  9. KarenD

    "The marriages at FLDS are not valid. " – Lilarose

    Only in the legal aspect. In the religious and social aspects they are quite valid.

    May 23, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  10. Vinnie

    Sometimes I'd like to give the polygamist women a good shaking, and yet I have compassion for them, too. They stay because they are true believers that their only hope for salvation is from their husband(s). From the books I've read, the only time women left was when they realized that polygamy wasn't God's true will. For example, in the LeBaron cult, the "prophet" (Joel LeBaron) died, though he had prophecied that he would live until Jesus returned. That shattered the faith of many and allowed them to leave the cult. In the case of the FLDS, the changes that Jeffs made (like forcing out boys and men) made many men and women realize that he was just an extremely ungodly man. Carolyn's mother was one who left the FLDS over Warren Jeffs.

    If only all the members of the FLDS could be shown all the falsehoods and manipulations of Joseph Smith and could realize he, too, was "non-prophet".

    As for Ann, your comments are despicable.

    May 23, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  11. Sukie


    If you are going to express your thoughts about the FLDS "religion," please learn something about it. You mention you don't know much about it. The internet is full of information and it has been out there for a long time.

    Learn about "cults," also.

    About foster kids, we fostered two little girls who came in off the street (mother was in state prison, father was a drunk–they lived in a car). We ended up adopting them. It was two years of pure hell to get them in a private adoption, but we did it. They live in Australia now and have daughters of their own.

    Please don't make disparaging remarks about foster parents. MOST of them are terrific! Considering the FLDS kids don't even have toys, I would say these kids are FAR BETTER OFF wherever they are in Texas. If they gain nothing else from this experience, at least they will know there is a world out here, yes it has its problems, but they will have a chance to decide for themselves what their future will be besides being labor slaves and sex slaves to one of the most oppressive "churches" in the WORLD.

    May 23, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  12. Alex Varga

    As I read through many of the posted comments, I often see age old notions of "Freedom of Religion," "Religious Persecution" and "Freedom of Choice," coming to the forefront. Of course, "Cults" have notoriously used these arguments to justify their existence. Other identifiable actions in a Cult, such a "brainwashing" and "child molestation" seem to be of lesser importance except for those who are involved in trying to stop both that deviant conduct in any society. I'm certain every bad thing Carolyn Jessop speaks about at the FLDS compound actually exists, but is actually practiced by but a few. Most of the "others" are the sheep and the alleged "Shepherd", Warren Jeffs, if the man responsible for all the acts within the walls of that compound. Its is not their religious beliefs that I object to. Its is the deviance they take part in as I am certain that the Lord Jesus Christ would never and under no circumstance permit a child to be hurt physically or mentally, just for the sexually gratification of a sick mind.

    May 23, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  13. Sukie

    For Ann–I can't believe I am actually reading such garbage that you directed at Carolyn.

    I lived in the west when the Rajannesh Whatever-His-Name-Was took over an Oregon desert town and exerted mind control over most who showed up there–and took all their life's possessions.

    Meanwhile he, like Warren Jeffs, who is bisexual, drove around in fancy cars and lived a life of luxury.

    There is one woman that Carolyn was sister-wife to, and I won't mention her name but she is still in the compound. She is the "axis of evil" in the FLDS, and I have no doubt in my mind that she has much to say about which girls just entering puberty are given away to the old men. I would not doubt she is at least in the next room when these children are raped following their "marriages."

    Where you are coming from, I dunno. To the FLDS women, start acting like WOMEN and GROW UP! The pioneer days are over, ladies! At least give your kids crayons to play with!

    May 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  14. Lilarose in Oregon

    God Bless You, Carolyn!!!

    I saw yesterday a young mother who swears she is 18 and just had her second child.

    But when she had her first child, wasn't she underage? Why wouldn't that be chargeable offense?

    The marriages at FLDS are not valid.

    Are the children being educated according to the rules and regulations of the State of Texas? Even if they are "home-schooled" or schooled at some kind of FLDS facility?

    May 23, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  15. Cassandra

    I don't believe that the state can charge these people with polygamy because they are not "married" in a legal sense. From what I understand from Carolyn's book, as well as Elissa Wall's book Stolen Innocence, the marraiges these people have are not legally binding. Rather they are "spiritual" marraiges, so I don't think the state can intervene with this issue.

    As for the children, I have been thinking long and hard about this issue for a while now, and while I see the point of view of those who want to protect the children and leave them in foster care, I also see the need for the legal system to move in a careful manner. Government doens't have a right to barge into homes and take 460+ children away as if they belonged to one family. As one FLDS member put it, it would be like living in a gated community, reporting child abuse on the part of your neighbor, and having CPS taking everyone's child away because they were a part of the community. Personally, I feel that foster homes and being in state custody is a worse fate for these children than being released to their parents until all the legalities can be sorted out.

    While I may not agree with the FLDS teachings, and may not fully understand their belief system, I do believe we as Americans have the right to practice religion freely. These people are very committed to their beliefs, and I think that we should let them belive as they wish.

    May 23, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  16. Edsan antonio

    Are there two laws in the USA for protecting children? Are there two marriage laws? When an adult woman or man, married or not, lives in the United States they are subject to the laws of the nation. If they have children they are subject to the laws of the nation. These people argue by saying they do not accept the laws. Their rejection does not constitute any right to ignore the laws.
    If their are children involved, there must be free access to these children by competant authorities NOT associated with the cult in order to determine that they are protected. History of the cult has showed that they are not willing to do live within the laws of the country. I have no sympathy for the adults of this cult.
    The Amish religion is very familiar to me. and I have great respect for in the practice of their family life and religion. The Amish live apart but very much connected to the larger community of citizens. They are honest people. They protect their children.
    This FLDScult from the west is using religion to cover up for their own abuse of freedom in this country. They have lived dishonestly in all of their "comunities."

    May 23, 2008 at 1:49 pm |
  17. CFT


    I read your book and could not put it down. I know someone close to me, and her children, who tried to get away from a very dominating, abusive, isolating man. She was only partly successful due to CPS type county employees and judges who liked the "stable" man in contrast to the woman who appeared to be damaged goods and a little flaky after years of isolation and control.

    Cults who worhsip men in place of God end up being all about sex. I think the Branch Davidians had some of the same issues of minor marriages and taking over wives.

    I do not approve of what CPS did as there appeared to be no immediate threat of harm but rather only long term harm. I hope that some objective standard is applied to the children regardless of the so called religion of their parents. Polygamy appears to be against the law for a reason. I hope that some standards of medical care, academic acheivement, and requirements to take care of minor boys can be enforced somehow.

    May 23, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  18. KS

    let's face we've become quit the society, we make laws for a very few without real consideration regarding the aftermath, we judge situations on what people might do and then proceed to punish for what seems like an endless time. Things sure seem alot different when the news and policies center on only on a small ratio considering our population. Think on it, know wonder we're in such a mess.......

    May 23, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  19. KarenD

    "I find it surprising that the Court would approve of polygamy. Isn’t it against the law?" – Lion


    "I really don’t understand why the states don’t prosecute these people for polygamy – its against the law, right?" – Annie Kate

    It depends on the state. I'd have to dig through Texas state law.

    There is no federal laws against polygamy and in some states it is technically permissable, so long as only one wife is the "legal" wife.

    Here is some of the confusion:

    1. Literally, "bigamy" means "two spouses" or "two marriages" and "polygamy" means "multiple spouses".

    2. There are three different types or aspects of marriage: legal, social, and religious.

    Legally, bigamy means more than one LEGAL marriage. Bigamy is illegal in all 50 states.

    Most polygamists only have one LEGAL spouse, the others are religious or social spouses. In such cases, unless a state has laws against co-habitation, or unless the state recognizes common law marriages and one or more of the parties files for it, then polygamy can indeed be permissable.

    I am a polygamist. In our family, only one of the two wives are legally married to our husband. The state has no laws against co-habitation and does not recognize common law marriage. So, legally our polygamy is permissable.

    Does that help clear things up?

    May 23, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
  20. Maerzie

    I don't know which news program this was on last night, but it was about the girl who says she has a birth certificate to prove she is at least 18 and she is claiming that family services wouldn't let her see her child(ren?)

    Did anyone else pay attention to the body language she was shouting? I'm sure she covered her mouth numerous times, which is body language saying that she is LYING!! Body language is more honest than words.


    May 23, 2008 at 12:16 pm |
  21. Patrice

    I finished reading your incredible story yesterday just about the time I heard the news report of the latest court ruling. I was stunned, and immediately disbelief stepped in. Surely intelligent, caring people couldn't be disregarding the body of information and abandoning all those children.
    I think it is the responsibility of the American people to make a unified outcry to every legislator, newspaper, internet forum and every other means of communication at their disposal.
    "Child by child we build our nation"
    Children are our country's most valuable asset and it is imperative that we all do whatever we can to ensure that their needs for an abuse-free beginning are met. How can someone realize their full potential when they are burdened by the miseries of childhood abuse and neglect, and the symptoms of PTSD?
    I strongly urge everyone to speak out in any way they can to support Texas in protecting these children, our children.

    May 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  22. Patrice

    I finished reading your incredible story yesterday just about the time I heard the news report of the latest court ruling. I was stunned, and immediately disbelief stepped in. Surely intelligent, caring people couldn't be disregarding the body of information and abandoning all those children.
    I think it is the responsibility of the American people to make a unified outcry to every legislator, newspaper, internet forum and every other means of communication at their disposal.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:44 am |
  23. Mike in NYC

    Bryan wrote:

    "To many people, a man marrying multiple women and having hoards [sic] of children is unnatural and immoral."

    If you leave out the "marrying" part, our urban areas are filled with cases like that. They cost the taxpayers billions every year, not to mention the social costs that echo down the generations.

    Personally, polygyny isn’t my style, but there’s a lot of selective outrage going on here.

    May 23, 2008 at 10:52 am |
  24. daslbenson

    Please, please continue to speak up, don't let up! My prayers are with you, continue to tell the truth. The Lord has given you a mouth and ears all around you hear.

    Don't give up, please.

    Whatever is hidden, that will be revealed. Your story and Mrs. Wall's story along with countless others are making an impact on how our system deals with cults and "freedoms."

    God bless you!

    May 23, 2008 at 9:42 am |
  25. Wren

    Annie Kate,
    I think the reason that these people are not arrested for polygamy is probably because they are not going to the state to ask for second, third and fourth marriage certificates. They are married in the eyes of their church, but do not legally marry more than one person. There is no law against having children with other people than the one you are married to.

    If you and your husband brought another woman into your home, she had a child by your husband, and you all three had a little "ceremony" to marry yourselves together but never go down to the courthouse and fill out any papers, you are not breaking any law.

    Just my guess, but that's what I think.

    May 23, 2008 at 2:17 am |
  26. Carol, California

    Yes, Annie Kate – Jeffs was convicted in a court of law and O.J. was acquitted in a court of law. Do you also believe that OJ is innocent?

    Our legal system depends on jurors, regular people, who do not always listen to the facts with an open mind. Jeffs conviction, in my opinion, does not back up Carolyn's story at all.

    May 22, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  27. Bryan

    For the federal government to give the thumbs up to polygamy and a thumbs down to same-sex marriage is just blatant discrimination.

    Somehow, having 2 Moms or 2 Dads just doesn't seem as unnatural as compared to celebrating Mother's Day at the FDLS compound. It reminds me of the harems of the Middle East,, and the oppresison of women into subservient roles. Yikes, does that mean a polygamist President can have 9 First Ladies? Eeeewww.

    May 22, 2008 at 11:44 pm |
  28. Bounds, Marion, NC


    I also am a victim of sexual abuse and brainwashing. You have my 100% support. Religious beliefs and the Bible are always a breeding ground for narcissism and often used to justify sexual abuse.

    The court ruling today was shocking to me, as well. Grooming, the next generation starts at birth and somehow people just do not understand.

    Best Wishes,


    May 22, 2008 at 11:34 pm |
  29. Kay Green

    If these children are sent back it will only get worse for the children. The boys are already very aggressive at 6-8 years of age. This is a cult hiding behind a religion. These men are basically running a prostitute ring with the addition of having children to raise their own empire. It's been done for years and unless the government continues to persue this, this sect will continue to live their lives and will continue abuse in every way to the women and male and female children. These women don't know how to think for themselves. They don't even hug on their children. They nurse the child they birth for a year and then someone else helps raise the children while the young mother becomes pregnant again. This sect is deep with problems.

    May 22, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  30. Annie Kate

    I really don't understand why the states don't prosecute these people for polygamy – its against the law, right?

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 22, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  31. Bryan

    This brings up an interesting point.

    To many people, a man marrying multiple women and having hoards of children is unnatural and immoral. This is allowed because it is "santioned by these peoples' church", and it is allowed by the state and federal government. So why does the federal government not allow marriage between same-sex couples who choose to get married by their church??? This case is yet another reason why the violation of Church and State, as evident by the various legislation which bans gay marriage in the majority of states across the country. It's a violation of civil rights and unconstitutional no matter how you look at it...and the Supreme Court of the state of California recognized that last week.

    May 22, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  32. Christopher Estep

    Because, other than that one law (which, because polygamy is part of religious tenets of the breakaway sects such as the FLDS, as it was of the original Mormons, and thus appears to fall under the freedom-of-religion clause of the Constitution of the United States, is on shaky ground), these communities are, by and large, MORE law-abiding than other groups in their respective states, possibly? Either the freedom-of-religion clause of the Constitution means what it says (which cuts the ground out from under all laws banning polygamy), or all religions must pass through the eye of the legal needle (in which case freedom of religion means what the state says it means, and the Constitution's freedom-of-religion clause means exactly nothing). No religion is exempted, by name, or by practice, from the Constitution's freedom-of-religion clause. (That includes not only the original Mormons and the FLDS, but even the Hare Krishnas, the Church of Scientologists, Islam in all its forms, and, like it or not, the Branch Davidians.) I am not a member of the FLDS, or even married (or have children); therefore, the issue right now is of little direct personal interest to me. However, because the issue touches directly on the issue of religious freedom in the post-9/11 United States, it is an important barometer on where the line gets drawn between freedom of religion and the rule of law, and because I am an American, and native-born, this is of extremely critical importance to me!

    May 22, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  33. Lion

    I find it surprising that the Court would approve of polygamy. Isn't it against the law?

    May 22, 2008 at 10:38 pm |
  34. Lili

    It just seems that when people worship man instead of God you end up with a cult that has sex with children. Here is just a few:

    Children of God
    Spiral of Friends Church
    House of Yahwea
    Hosanna Church
    The Lord of Our Righteousness

    We are so disgusted when we hear of them. Why is the FLDS so different? Why are so many non believers defending them?

    Do you really think the FLDS are so good and wholesome when their prophet is a convicted rapist and his followers still listen to him?

    May 22, 2008 at 10:37 pm |
  35. jes

    I am from Canada & the fact that this incest is going on under the very nose of the police & RCMP in BC almost makes me puke! I saw on CBC a program about (1) one male residing in BC that has fathered approx. 100 children. This is against the law & the authorities choose to turn a blind eye. Shame on all of us!!!

    May 22, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  36. Annie Kate


    I read your book and it helped me understand the FLDS and the importance of this case. The fact that Warren Jeffs was convicted of arranging underage marriages of young girls buttresses your story even though some of the commenters don't seem to see it that way.

    I hope the decision is overturned and these children are helped to have a full and happy life – a difference can be made for these children and a helping hand extended – upholding the CPS actions could mean all the difference in the world to these children's futures.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 22, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  37. Lili

    If you read the Bishop's list there are 3 girls listed as spiritual wives to much older men. It also appears that these people were grooming the younger girls only to become multiple wives, also illegal at any age. Why is this not seen as putting these children at risk.

    May 22, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  38. jes

    PLEASE, PLEASE, CPS of Texas appeal this decision. The court decision is wrong. It is the RESPONSIBILTY of CPS & Texas authorities to protect the children before they become brain dead zombie like the females that gave birth to them. Stop this incest!!!

    May 22, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  39. Mari, Salt Lake City

    This whole thing is a tragedy. What I wonder about is why Utah & Arizona turn a blind eye to polygamy? Hmmmmmm.

    May 22, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  40. Spider

    These poor children have been taken out of their familiar and happy existence. These loving mothers have been deprived of the company of their children for too long. Think about the fathers too. There may be things done to them and decisions made for them that some of use don't agree with, but they haven't complained. Put them back were they have been.

    In fact, put the 42 year old woman back in the cellar in Europe, where her Daddy raped her for 24 years. She never complained.

    May 22, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  41. xtina, chicago

    Just because Carolyn experienced abuse doesn't mean that every person in the FLDS community did. It 's not American to round up children like this unless the police have evidence, so I agree that it's wrong to proceed with taking away children from their parents simply on hearsay or simply because there were isolated cases of abuse . The police and our justice system operates on facts. I get the impression that the "authorities" and the public have their own preconceptions of the FLDS church and community and that these images and assumptions caused people to crucify them and caused people to jump to conclusions.

    May 22, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  42. Seah ohio

    Someone like Carolyn should appeal to the courts.

    How can they send them back if they have proof many were already harmed.

    God be with those Children.

    May 22, 2008 at 8:22 pm |
  43. LawnBott

    I am curious, these children have been away for 6 weeks. Yet they all want to go back. The women have had ample time to run, yet the CPS has not brought one mother, one young girl, or anyone else front and center to stand up against what is going on.

    Anyone who has been investigated will tell you there are no atheists in foxholes and you have no friends when you are being investigated. Lifelong friends will turn on you for even if they are not being prosecuted.

    Yet, here, 460+ children and countless women have not lodged one complaint. You may say they are being brainwashed, or it could be they are true believers. I may not approve of their lifestyle, but they seem content. To that I say live and let live.

    The only abuse anyone has proof of so far is by the State. I am glad I have the right to live in my own stupid ways with my own stupid beliefs. They may be stupid, but they are my choices and they are right for me.

    May 22, 2008 at 8:08 pm |
  44. C, Ca

    Oh jeez, here we go again.

    Afraid this ruling may cut into the book profits?

    May 22, 2008 at 7:38 pm |
  45. Ann


    I don't believe your drivel for a second. You are a master manipulator. Your only goal right now is to sell books and make money. So you didn't like the FLDS and you got out. Boo Hoo, I don't give a crap. Truthfully I think you're a spoiled brat, but whatever. Go on and on about your tortured life and whatnot. The Court of Appeals did the RIGHT thing today, and your rants about how terrible it is will fall on deaf ears. Leave these people alone, you're out of their church, you made your decision. But you don't have the right to take away their decision to stay in. Now get off your butt and do something productive with that pathetic life of yours.

    May 22, 2008 at 7:21 pm |
  46. Kathie,Ontario. Canada

    Why aren't the women who have escaped this cult and the 'lost boys'
    who were tossed out by this farce of religion banning together to
    make a united front to help stop the abuses this group is getting
    away with? The people who know what goes on there the best ,
    the lucky ones who escaped need to go before congress and let
    it be known exactly what these people are all about. It's a disgrace
    that they won an appeal . Once again the rights of the abusers
    come before the defenseless victims. Shame on the cults women
    who want their children brought back into this life of abuse. They
    don't deserve to call themselves mothers.

    May 22, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  47. Mary Oklahoma

    This person has made a bundle of money from telling her story,. She may or may not be telling the truth. I don't know or care.
    These children and parents were treated by the state of Texas with less repect than known terrorists. These families will always remember this as a very horrible time in their lives. Hopefully, all of this will be settled and the families are together again with peace and love in their lives.
    I don't believe child abuse should be allowed but the authorities had no real proof of abuse before the raid. Under their theory of possible abuse, what child is 100% safe all the time????????

    May 22, 2008 at 7:16 pm |
  48. Judy Stage

    Carolyn, I read you book, "Escape", in two days. I could not put it down. This ruling today probably follows the letter of the law but I have no faith in the Texas legal system. Historically it sucks! Perhaps the state did not prove its case but any judge who sends these children back to the disgusting life style of the FLDS needs his or her head examined. You describe, in your book, the combative relationships of the women in this cult which, in itself ,makes me shudder. How could you possibly raise well-adjusted children in this environment? I hope that CPS has good mental health advocates who can prove their case.

    May 22, 2008 at 7:08 pm |
  49. Christina, Windber, PA

    I can't tell you how much I admire your strength and courage. I am about 3/4 of the way through your book. Last night I read about your son's health problems and the numerous trips to the hospital. I can't imagine living in a home where you had to ask your husband's permission to call an ambulance for your son. I don't know how you lived through that. I guess we can do the unimaginable when it comes to being there for our children and fighting for their well-being. So many hard decisions have to made when someone is sick, and it must be even harder to have it all on your shoulders.

    I apologize if this is a little off topic from your blog entry, but I haven't gotten to the part yet where you were fighting for custody. I wish you great luck and God Bless!

    May 22, 2008 at 6:56 pm |
  50. Jean V

    I am praying for your long and happy life. I hope one prayer of mine will be worth 10,000 prayers of the perverted baggage you were married to, Merril Jessop.

    I am also praying that the courts of Texas come to their senses and work with the Texas authorities to shut down this dangerous cult once and for all. That they have been enabled for so many decades to hide behind a screen of "religion" is appalling to me.

    Since when does "religion" excuse child abuse, child rape, child abandonment (of minor boys), or any other crime?

    "Religion" is no defense in this case, any more than "religion" would excuse the crimes of any other group of madmen. Did "religion" make what happened in Jonestown OK? Did "religion" make what Osama bin Laden did OK?

    "Religion" is NOT an excuse for criminal behavior. It's high time that U.S. authorities and U.S. courts stopped pandering to the FLDS and ended this dangrous cult's control over the bodies and minds of innocent children.

    Thank you for your courage and honesty. Without you, more children would be facing abuse at the hands of the men and women who have been poisoned by the perverted brainwashing of the FLDS. Enough. Not one more child should be endangered or brainwashed by this cult. Not. One. More. Child.

    May 22, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
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