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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
In this moving debut memoir, the nephew of a Mormon sect leader chronicles life in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and what came after. Among a 10,000-member Mormon community, Jeffs grew up with three mothers, more than a dozen siblings, and a deep fear of the world outside of the church. Within the secretive community, Jeffs was taught that purity came from special attention to dress, hard work, generosity and, most importantly, obedience to one's elders (especially his uncle, the prophet Warren Jeffs). The focus of this fast-paced memoir is the sexual abuse Jeffs and his brothers endured at the hands of their relatives during church and school functions, for which he would file a class-action lawsuit in 2004. Jeffs's descent into depression proves the beginning of the end for his relationship with the church and, consequently, with much of his family. Jeffs outlines the core beliefs of the Church, along with the oppressive ends to which they were used, and the heartbreaking fate of those church members expelled into a society they were raised to see as evil and corrupt. This hard-to-put-down, tightly woven account pulls back the curtain on what's become a perennial news story, while illustrating the impiety of absolute power and the delicacy of innocence.
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