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I first learned of the FLDS church a few years ago when I read "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer. I was horrified, and have followed the developing story and Jeffs trial ever since. I snagged this audiobook as soon as I noticed it, and worked my way through it very quickly.
This story is told in the first person by Sam Brower (narrated by Jonah Cummings, who does an awesome job), a private investigator working hard to break down and expose the incredible evil taking place in the world of the FLDS. The story is an interesting look into the innerworkings of a sad religious, a lunatic religious leader, legions of followers, poor unfortunate children, and how a private investigator goes about infiltrating this mess.
This is not an easy book to listen to. It's depressing and frustrating. It's hard enough to hear about the atrocities happening within the FLDS church, and even harder to hear about how difficult it is to get the government to intervene.
The only complaint I have is that the timeline of the story jumps around quite a bit. There are lots of characters in this book, and it's hard to keep them all straight. On top of this the author jumps back and forth in time frequently, and it can be easy to get lost at times. A fairly minor complaint, but I can't help but this this would be a stronger story if told in a more linear fashion.
27 of 27 people found this review helpful
I picked this up after reading “The 19th Wife” to get more information about the modern-day fundamentalist Mormon sects that continue to practice polygamy today. There are a variety of books to choose from, but I picked this one because I was particularly interested in finding out what had become of the fundamentalist compound in Texas that was investigated by the FBI in 2008. About all I could recall from the episode was dozens of women in prairie-style dresses, along with hundreds of children, being taken into state custody because of alleged child abuse at the fundamentalist compound.
This book more than delivered what I was looking for. Brower is a private investigator and a Mormon who was working in Utah when he heard about a family, members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), who had been kicked out of their home by their “prophet,” Warren Jeffs. Thus began Brower’s involvement in multiple investigations into the crimes perpetrated by this psychopath in the name of God. Brower had a ringside seat investigating and helping prosecute those responsible for these crimes, which include not only child abuse, rape and underage marriage but also racketeering, defrauding the US Government via entitlement schemes, and much more.
This book is not for the faint of heart. I was shocked at how cavalierly many government officials, including law enforcement, treated the crimes that were occurring under their noses. The ultimate fate of all those children we saw on television? Every single one was returned to the cult, where the girls will be forced to wed men three times their age and the boys will be abandoned (too many boys=too much competition for young brides). At least Warren Jeffs, a pedophile and megalomaniac, is serving a life sentence, but he still has followers, and that is what makes the whole thing so disturbing.
I listened to this as an audio book read by Jonah Cummings. About halfway through, I decided to speed up and turned my player to 1.5 speed. I am glad I did so. The book was gripping, but Cummings’ delivery was just too slow.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful