Tag Archives: Escape

How far will you go to protect “the will of God?”

In the previous post, I put forth the idea that faithful WOFF members keep the true inside dynamics secret from the outside family members. Secrets are also kept from co-workers and any acquaintances. This should be no surprise even for a group of that size. Today, I want to add two more concepts that will help explain why and how this could happen and how a WOFF member sees this as perfectly normal and “the will of God.”

Several months ago, I wrote on the difference between “brainwashing” and “mind control.” The post was titled- WOFF Members are NOT Brainwashed- Really? – found here . The supporting text for this was found in Steven Hassan’s book, “Combatting Cult Mind Control” (Copyright©1988, 1990- by Steven Hassan, Park Street Press, ISBN-0-89281-311-3). In short, the idea was that in a case of brainwashing, the controllers are thought of as adversarial or “… typically coercive. The person knows at the outset that he is in the hands of the enemy. … Abusive mistreatment, even torture, is usually involved.” (page 55)

“Mind control, also called “thought reform”, is more subtle and sophisticated. Its perpetrators are regarded as friends or peers, so the person is much less defensive. He unwittingly participates by cooperating with his controllers and giving them private information that he does not know will be used against him…. Mind control involves little to no overt physical abuse. Instead, hypnotic processes are combined with group dynamics to create a potent indoctrination effect. The individual is deceived and manipulated – not directly threatened – into making the prescribed choices. On the whole, he responds positively to what is done to him.” (emphasis added- page 56)
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The Short Creek Effect

   Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer wrote “Escape” (Copyright©2007 by Visionary Classics, LLC, published by Broadway Books, ISBN 978-0-7679-2756-7). We have reviewed this book previously in a guest post written by Lahna Morakis. Honestly, I have had a copy for a while, but had not picked it up until recently. From the back cover, “ESCAPE provides an astonishing look behind the tightly drawn curtains of the FLDS church (Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints), one of the most secretive religious groups in the United States. The story Carolyn Jessop tells is so weird and shocking that one hesitates to believe a sect like this, with 10,000 polygamous followers, could really exist in twenty-first-century America. But, Jessop’s courageous, heart-wrenching account is absolutely factual. This riveting book reminds us that truth can indeed be much, much stranger than fiction.”  –Jon Krakauer, author of Under the Banner of Heaven, Into Thin Air, and Into the Wild.

   This book follows my other reads on this religious cult. I have read books by Flora Jessop “Church of Lies”, Brent Jeffs, “Lost Boy” and Elisa Walls, “Stolen Innocence”. We have reviewed each of these books as well as made several comparisons to the practices of Warren Jeffs, leader of FLDS and Jane Whaley, leader of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF).

   In “Escape”, Carolyn Jessop begins with her childhood memories in Salt Lake City, Utah. She tells of the influence of her Grandma and how this relationship shaped her outlook. “Listening to my grandmother talk, I felt like I was being rocked in a cradle of specialness. Grandma made me feel unique, but not in a traditional way. She taught me that I had been blessed by God with an opportunity to come into a family where the generations of women had sacrificed their feelings and given up things of this world to preserve the work of God and prove worthy of the celestial kingdom of God.” (page 19) With this book, as with the others, I will compare the memories and observations of the writers about their life in FLDS with my experience in WOFF.

  Continue reading The Short Creek Effect

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Reflections on “Escape” by Carolyn Jessop – from Lahna Morakis

    The book in reference is “Escape” by Carolyn Jessop. (Copyright©2007, author- Carolyn Jessop and Laura Palmer, published by Broadway Books NY, ISBN- 978-0-76792756-7) In case you may not be aware, Carolyn Jessop was married to Merril Jessop, a high ranking official in the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) until she had the courage to escape this polygamous and abusive cult.  I had this book on my shelf for several years, but did not read it until last week.  I realize now how timing is of such importance. I have had time to heal from my involvement with WOFF or so I thought. It has been my experience, once you are exposed to cult life and cult practices you never totally heal. The mind is like a computer storing information and there are triggers that set memories in motion. For me, it was reading this book. The similarities between the FLDS and Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) were/are uncanny.  Aside from the “prairie dresses” as I call them and the plural marriages, the premise for these two cults is the same. Remember, mind control is the basis for all cults. It is exercised in every and all aspects of a cult member’s life. It was interesting to learn that the FLDS started out much like WOFF, and just like WOFF, as time went on there were “new revelations” given to “leadership”. As a result, members were forced to relinquish more and more freedoms.  If they did not comply, they were shunned. Since I do not believe the average person can fathom exactly what that means, I’d like to share from my experiences of being shunned. 

     My background is Italian and Greek, both of which reflect a very tightly knit family unit. In 2007, a family reunion was planned in Tarpon Springs, Florida for all the people who were from the same island in Greece as my father.  My mother and father were elderly and could not travel alone; therefore I offered to take them. Because there would be dancing and music, and as a result of Jane Whaley’s counsel; my husband refused to take me to the airport, watch our dog for the week, pick me up when I returned or speak to me the entire time I was away. At that time, it was too early for me to realize where the “orders” were coming from. When a spouse shuns you to that degree, which is totally foreign to their nature, you know they are being controlled by someone or something else.

   Continue reading Reflections on “Escape” by Carolyn Jessop – from Lahna Morakis

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