Genre: Memoir
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 235
Challenges:
Support Your Local Library Challenge #39

Even before I became a fan of the HBO series Big Love, I had a fascination with and curiosity about polygamous sects and in particular the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) recently led by the now infamous Warren Jeffs. Most books about the subject (both fiction and non-fiction) focus on the women and their experiences. I was intrigued by this book because it’s from the male perspective.

Brent Jeffs is Warren’s nephew and a grandson of the long time “prophet” of the FLDS Rulon Jeffs. As a grandson of Rulon Jeffs, he could have been in a position of privilege in the group, but circumstances led to his uncle Warren’s becoming a powerful and charismatic leader of the group and Brent’s family being ostracized. Brent’s story is interesting because it’s a window into a closed community. He talks about what it’s like to grow up in a family with three Moms who aren’t exactly the happy sister-wives the FLDS would like outsiders to think they are. In addition to the insight into a polygamous lifestyle, the book delves into the more disturbing aspects of this particular group. The stories of underage girls being married to older men have been well publicized. What has not been so public is what happens to the boys who are forced out of the group in order for the other men to have more wives.

These “lost boys” often end up leaving the group with little or no experience with the outside world. They’re alone, overwhelmed and undereducated.

I expected Brent’s story to be primarily about these boys, but in actuality it’s more about his entire family’s ostracism both individually and as a family. It’s also about Warren Jeffs as a sexual predator of young boys as well as underage girls.

Although the book was interesting, I didn’t find it to be very well written. At times it seems to be a series of random recollections with a hard to follow timeline. All in all it was just OK.

Rating: 2/5