Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stolen Innocence

I realize with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I did not write about the other book that made my reading in December so emotional.

The full title of the book is Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall. Quite a long title, and quite a thick book. However, it was hard for me to break free of this book to take care of my family and holiday responsibilities.

Elissa Wall is still very young - she looks like a teenager in the most recent picture of her in the book. Yet, she's been through so much in those few years - one reason why I was emotional when I read this book.

Her autobiography is quite detailed, giving the background of her parents and the religion in which she grew up. She tells about following the prophet, the conflicts that arose in a house with several wives and over a dozen children, and the stress following the prophet brought to their family. Included in the middle of the book is several pages of pictures of Elissa's childhood, her family and her wedding day and the trial in which she testified.

One of the things that made me so emotional was her struggle against the world in which she grew up - yet it was the only world she knew. She honestly tells of her struggles to avoid her arranged marriage, to find her missing siblings, and to leave the community in which she grew up. Her story made me realize more fully how important and vital a broad education is for children. It also made me realize that the ability to ask questions and to investigate answers is also so important for children - for adults. Otherwise our world is so small and limiting.

If I could say anything to Elissa personally, it would be: "I applaud you for your courage - your courage to break free, your courage to testify in court, and your courage to tell the world your very personal story which you shared with so few people before you wrote this book. Thank you for sharing of yourself, for keeping hope alive for your younger sisters, for helping me to see the world from your perspective. You have enriched my life."

Emotions worth feeling, a book worth reading.

1 comment:

Molly Sabourin said...

Hey, it worked! You are now on my blog page. Good. I actually read a book about Elissa as well maybe a year ago or so. It is unbelievable what she endured. I hope you're having a relaxing weekend!!