My Book Club just finished reading an astonishing book that reminded me how very blessed I am!
Escape, by Carolyn Jessop, recounts the real-life story of a woman born into the 6th generation of a polygamous family in the cult-like culture of the FLDS in Colorado City, Arizona. At age 18, she was forced to marry a 50 year old man she had never met, becoming his 4th wife. She recounts horrid experiences of abuse she both witnessed and was forced to endure , the unending power-struggle amongst sister-wives and the devastating oppression of the community because of their fanatical religious leadership. Seventeen horrible years later, she became the first woman to ever escape the FLDS with all eight of her children. And although she was hunted down like prey and her children treated as pawns in a battle for supremacy, she was eventually granted full-custody in a precedent-setting court case. Ultimately, she escaped and actually won! She now lives in West Jordan, Utah and she and her children are still adjusting to life on the "outside". It is an inspiring journey of one's ability to overcome even the most impossible adversity by choosing freedom over fear.
I was in both shock and horror as I read this amazing, and often disturbing, account. Part of me wanted to believe things like this only happened long ago and far away. And yet, this is just a few hundred miles from where I live and still goes on today!
I am reminded how grateful I am for several things... First, my freedom and opportunities, especially as a woman. So many throughout history and around the world are deprived of their independence and agency.
Second, the principle of constant, continuing, divine guidance as an individual. I am thankful that my faith, not only allows, but encourages me to ask for personal revelation, rather than expecting me to follow blindly.
Finally, I am immensely grateful for a humble and faithful husband who LOVES me, despite my imperfections, recognizes and respects my strengths, and does not engage in physical, psychological or emotional abuse of me or my children. He is a wonderful and dedicated father who is adored by all of our boys... and by his # 1 girl... ME! I love you, Matt, and truly appreciate all you do and all you are to me.
This woman's tragic tale broke my heart and opened my eyes to the blessings all around me, everyday, and I am recommitting myself to seeing them and enjoying them more fully!