Crimes of "Religion"

Carolyn Jessop

     ... former member of the radical polygamist FLDS cult. Ms. Jessop, working with the Utah attorney general on church abuses, was crucial to the arrest, conviction and sentencing of FLDS leader, Warren Jeffs. Ms. Jessop’s memoir Escape traces her life, born into the sixth generation of polygamists and forced at 18 to become the 4th wife of a 50 year old man who fathered her 8 children in 15 years. She is the first woman to be given full custody of her children in a contested suit involving the closed world of the FLDS, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, an off-shoot of the Mormon church. Ms. Jessop now actively campaigns in defense of women and children still trapped in polygamy nationwide, including boys ejected from polygamist cults totally unprepared for the larger world, and for active enforcement of anti-polygamy laws.

Audio Preview of Carolyn Jessop

Polygamy is a crime that breeds more crime, preys on women and children, and destroys men as well, according to Carolyn Jessop. She escaped from an offshoot of the Mormon Church -- the radical polygamous cult FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints) -- before helping put FLDS leader Warren Jeffs behind bars. “Look past the religion and look at facts,” she urges.

“The Mormon Church wants to regulate morality for outsiders, especially in some areas, but when it comes to polygamy, they want to leave that alone and pretend that it does not exist,” she says. Despite polygamy being illegal in the United States, she says it’s spreading rapidly.

“Whenever a state starts coming down on these groups, starts putting laws in place that apply to the human rights violations and the child abuse, they pack up and move to another state that's unaware. These polygamist communities have gotten really strong, deep roots right inside of a very strong Mormon community. In the West, ‘Live and Let Live,” especially if it's related to religion, creates an enormous amount of protection for a lot of crime, because it's done under the name of religion.

“There are around ten thousand in the FLDS, but around eighty thousand polygamists in the State of Utah alone. Because (polygamy)’s so prominent in Utah and Arizona and into Idaho, for the last fifty years the authorities have said, ‘Okay, we'll just ignore it,’ I'm saying, No! You cannot ignore this, because there are people who are having their lives destroyed. If you're in this country, people have rights.”

Federal legislation and law-enforcement are long past due.

“There are so many federal crimes being committed in these societies. (Women are) nothing more than a commodity. You very much are owned. With arranged marriages, somebody can assign you to a man, and then at the drop of a hat take you away from that man and reassign you to another. You have no power over who you are going to be sleeping with from one night to the next. Before I left, one woman said she felt like she was a priesthead prostitute.

“Children are (their father’s) property. In many ways, things going on are nothing more than legalized child abuse. We're talking broken bones. Sexual abuse. Under-age marriages.|Children deprived of an education. Significant crimes.

“Every time a man takes an additional wife, you have to get rid of the excess male population to perpetuate the lifestyle. It's very common for boys to be sent away, excommunicated. Many are functionally illiterate, some even cannot read on a first grade level.”

Generational mind control puts everyone at risk, she says, describing two elements within the Mormon Church responsible for it not taking a stand.

“The polygamists are an incredible embarrassment to the Mormon Church. It's like me going public that I’m the sixth generation of polygamists. Three of those generations were in the Mormon Church. In many ways they want to deny the fact that polygamy ever was a part of that religion.

“The other element is you have people who are staunch, strict members of the Mormon Church and they have it in their heritage. They feel a sense of obligation towards it, a sense of reverence, a sense that once it was our religion, one day we may live it again.

“People need to contact their Congressmen, ask why is this being allowed. But first of all, they need to be aware of the facts.”


[This Program was recorded January 20, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.]

audio content:                                                                                               

Conversation 1
Conversation 2
Conversation 3
Conversation 4
Conversation 5
Conversation 6


Crimes in the Name of Religion


Carolyn Jessop escaped with her eight children after living the first 35 years of her life as a member of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. Power, not religion, is the driver; abuse and criminal conduct the consequences of this cult's beliefs.

Power Not Polygamy

Property Not People


Bullies and abusers use "God" to support and sustain their reigns of terror. Power, ego and abuse are the de facto core values of these bogus religions. Carolyn Jessop escaped from one such cult.



Full Program (in 6 easily digestible parts):         




Related Links:


Escape is published by Broadway Books.

Jason Berry and the late Gerald Renner documented abuses of religion similar to those described in Escape in their book Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II.  Subsequently Mr. Berry has produced a film documentary on the same subject, updated to include the current Pope, Benedict XVI.


James Carse's The Religious Case Against Belief argues that belief systems, such as that of the FLDS, are antagonistic to true religion.

Ms. Jessop mentions the vital work of the Southern Poverty Law Center and their attention to the FLDS in the 6th segment of this program.


And, here's a little background information on Paula Gordon and Bill Russell, the Program co-hosts.



Immense courage was required for Carolyn Jessop to act on behalf of her children, her own integrity, and in the hope of freeing other women and children from the predation of the FLDS, the Fundamentalist (Church of Jesus Christ of the) Latter Day Saints which shares the Mormons’ heritage. She has joined the slender ranks of our personal heroes and we are deeply appreciative.

In addition to calling on the federal government to address the urgent realities of polygamy in a growing number of states, Ms. Jessop is also is eager for people to join her in advocating thorough investigations of hate crimes she says FLDS members are committing against non-FLDS members living in their communities. Organizations that address hate crimes include the Southern Poverty Law Center, which put the KKK out of business.


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