6 Stories Of Escape And Redemption – From High-Profile Kidnapping Memoirs To Tales Of Escape From Polygamist Cults



Escape By Carolyn Jessop and Laura Palmer

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This is a first person account of Carolyn Jessop’s experience growing up as a polygamist in the FLDS and being married to a man three times her age. Her stories of abuse and torment as the fourth wife of Meryl Jessop and as the mother of their eight children, are equal parts enlightening and heartbreaking. The recounting of her harrowing escape from the sect and of the life she has built for herself since, will truly inspire you.

My Story By Elizabeth A. Smart And Chris Stewart

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I just finished Elizabeth Smart’s memoir about her kidnapping at the hands of a duo of religious fanatic wannabes by the names of Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. Even more dramatic than the account of how Elizabeth was taken from her bed as an 14-year-old innocent Mormon girl in the middle of the night, are the levels of abuse she experienced at the hands of her captors. Through nine traumatic months, Elizabeth demonstrated incredible strength and presence of mind, keeping her hope for salvation and herself alive through her faith.


Favorite Wife: Escape From Polygamy By Susan Ray Schmidt

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The polygamist sect that Susan Ray Schmidt was brought up in was, if possible, even more extreme than the FLDS. At only fifteen, Susan is informed by church elder Verlan LeBaron that he has had a revelation informing him that she is to become his sixth wife. Before Susan’s eventual escape many years later, the story first takes her through pregnancies, privations, jealousies, poverty, breaks within the church’s leadership and even a move from Mexico to Nicaragua. This story would be unbelievable if it weren’t that it actually happened. Of interest, Verlan’s first wife Irene also wrote her own memoir, Shattered Dreams.

Finding Me: A Decade Of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings By Michelle Knight With Michelle Burford

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Everyone remembers the day when three girls were saved from years of captivity in Cleveland at the hands of the monster Ariel Castro. This is Michelle Knight’s account of her experiences during that decade. It is one of the more horrific kidnapping memoirs I’ve read, with graphic details of the torture Michelle suffered through. Not for the faint of heart, but filled with inspiring redemption in Michelle’s success in turning her life around and becoming a symbol of resilience after her ordeal.


Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier By Tom Kizzia

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At first Papa Pilgrim (Robert Hale=, his wife and their fifteen children seem the epitome of a hard-working, pious Christian family. Tom Kizzia soon starts to separate fact from fiction, though, as he figures out that Papa Pilgrim is essentially a sociopath whose primary intention in moving his large family to Alaska is to be able to continue to emotionally and sexually abuse his children in isolation. Amid battles with government authorities, increasingly erratic behavior on the part of Hale and a courageous testimony from his first-born daughter Elishaba, you’ll be hoping Hale gets what is coming to him.

A Stolen Life: A Memoir By Jaycee Duggard

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Like Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Duggard was kidnapped when she was only 11 years old. Like Michelle Knight, her captivity lasted for many years – 18 in fact. Jaycee’s experience at the hands of her captor Phillip Garrido differs however in that her memoir is heavily based on the journals she was allowed to keep throughout her captivity, as well as by the fact that Jaycee gave birth to two innocent children as a result of her sexual abuse. Her daughters were already 11 and 15 respectively when they were all finally freed.

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  8 comments for “6 Stories Of Escape And Redemption – From High-Profile Kidnapping Memoirs To Tales Of Escape From Polygamist Cults

  1. Kellie Meyer
    October 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    just some notes: Elizabeth was 14 when she was kidnapped, not 11. And in the Jaycee Dugard book summary, you put Elizabeth had 2 children.
    but other than that, thank you for the list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 18, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks Kellie! These were my early days of blogging and clearly I wasn’t proofreading sufficiently. I’ve made the edits!


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