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Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Lisa Pulitzer, Elissa Wall

Narrated By: Renée Raudman

Publisher: Tantor Media

Date: June 2008

Duration: 16 hours 0 minutes


In September 2007, a packed courtroom in St. George, Utah, sat hushed as Elissa Wall, the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, gave captivating testimony of how Jeffs forced her to marry her first cousin at age fourteen. This harrowing and vivid account proved to be the most compelling evidence against Jeffs, showing the harsh realities of this closed community and the lengths to which Jeffs went in order to control the sect's women.

Now, in this courageous memoir, Elissa Wall tells the incredible and inspirational story of how she emerged from the confines of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and helped bring one of America's most notorious criminals to justice. Offering a child's perspective on life in the FLDS, Wall discusses her tumultuous youth, explaining how her family's turbulent past intersected with her strong will and identified her as a girl who needed to be controlled through marriage. Detailing how Warren Jeffs's influence over the church twisted its already rigid beliefs in dangerous new directions, Wall portrays the inescapable mind-set and unrelenting pressure that forced her to wed despite her repeated protests that she was too young.

Once she was married, Wall's childhood shattered as she was obligated to follow Jeffs's directives and submit to her husband in 'mind, body, and soul.' With little money and no knowledge of the outside world, she was trapped and forced to endure the pain and abuse of her loveless relationship, which eventually pushed her to spend nights sleeping in her truck rather than face the tormentor in her bed.

Yet even in those bleak times, she retained a sliver of hope that one day she would find a way out, and one snowy night that came in the form of a rugged stranger named Lamont Barlow. Their chance encounter set in motion a friendship and eventual romance that gave her the strength she needed to break free from her past and sever the chains of the church.

But though she was out of the FLDS, Wall would still have to face Jeffs-this time in court. In Stolen Innocence, she delves into the difficult months on the outside that led her to come forward against him, working with prosecutors on one of the biggest criminal cases in Utah's history, so that other girls still inside the church might be spared her cruel fate.

More than a tale of survival and freedom, Stolen Innocence is the story of one heroic woman who stood up for what was right and reclaimed her life.


  • Shannon E

    Definitely an interesting and entertaining read! I agree with other's though that the narrator was a bit much. She was overly sappy/emotional and it made it difficult at times to listen. It was like a grown woman talking in a little girl's voice. I would still say the book is worth it though!

  • Kimberly Eisner

    I enjoyed the story, but the narrators voice really got under my skin. I couldn't finish the book.

  • Susan Griffith

    Very good book. The narrator is good but her tone changes for other voices made listening (for me) less pleasurable.

  • Limor Yakoni-Blum

    This book provides a great opportunity to look into the life of the FLDS, Elissa's story is inspiring and well written.

  • Paperback Reader

    Interesting story of growing up in religious sect. It is difficult to imagine how one cannot 'get away' from their life.

  • fred

    It is appalling to learn how from birth these young girls are brainwashed. Thank goodness this one had the guts to testify and put one of the chief perpetrators behind bars. It is apparent that she had great difficulty bringing herself to take this necessary action because of the loss of family ties and all the threats that are used to keep people quiet. Bravo!

  • kathleen

    I love to read story like this one. To see someone rise above all the bad things in their lives and still be loving and kind is truly a wonderful thing.

  • Anonymous

    I am fascinated by other cultures and the FLDS is no exception. Elissa's story is heartbreaking, but her strength shines through. I would sit in my car long after reaching my destination to keep listening. That is the mark of a GREAT audiobook!!

  • Amy

    Since the most current "raid" back in August 2008 on the FLDS polygamist group, I had wanted to read/learn more about the belief system and lifestyle of these people. Elissa's story is heartbreaking and absolutely inspiring. I have step-family members who are Jehovah's Witnesses and I'm fascinated to learn more about cults and the way people are controlled and influenced by them. I applaud Elissa to have the courage to break through and share her story with everyone.

Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs

by Lisa Pulitzer, Elissa Wall

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Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs, Lisa Pulitzer, Elissa Wall