Inside the Investigation that Brought Down Warren Jeffs

Book review: Prophet’s Prey, by Sam Brower (Amazon / Book Depository) Private investigator Sam Brower found something unusual in Ross Chatwin, a former member of the the insular Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Chatwin’s case, and Brower’s investigation into the religious sect that had excommunicated him, piqued his curiosity like no other investigation had. The FLDS is a fundamentalist Mormon offshoot with near-cultlike operations, … Continue reading Inside the Investigation that Brought Down Warren Jeffs

Childhood Scenes from the Tent Revival Circuit

Book review: Holy Ghost Girl, by Donna M. Johnson (Amazon / Book Depository) [The tent] gathered and sheltered us from a world that told us we were too poor, too white trash, too black, too uneducated, too much of everything that didn’t matter and not enough of anything that did. Society, or at least the respectable chunk of it, saw the tent and those of … Continue reading Childhood Scenes from the Tent Revival Circuit

Pain and Consequences for the Second Generation of the Children of God

Book review: Jesus Freaks, by Don Lattin (Amazon / Book Depository) This was an okay book, but nowhere near a great one, and I’d say there are multiple reasons not to read it. One of them being that Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” will be stuck in your head nonstop for the duration of reading it. I kid! (that song’s the best) but we need something … Continue reading Pain and Consequences for the Second Generation of the Children of God

The Prophet’s Daughter Tells Her Story

Book review: Breaking Free, by Rachel Jeffs (Amazon / Book Depository) I am not a victim, and I do not want anyone’s sympathy. I wrote this book to help others who have suffered from similar experiences, whether in the FLDS church, or in thrall to some other circumstance beyond their control. I want people to know that it is possible not only to overcome their … Continue reading The Prophet’s Daughter Tells Her Story

One Woman’s Story of Life in the FLDS

Book review: Escape, by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer (Amazon / Book Depository) Instead of playing hide-and-seek as children, we played Apocalypse. When I saw that Rachel Jeffs, daughter of Warren Jeffs of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was releasing a memoir, Breaking Free, I figured I should tackle some of the other FLDS memoirs I’ve had on my reading list before getting any new ones. … Continue reading One Woman’s Story of Life in the FLDS

A Family’s Life After A Cult

Book review: In the Days of Rain, by Rebecca Stott “No one would guess that I was raised in a Christian fundamentalist cult or that my father and grandfather were ministering brothers in one of the most reclusive and savage Protestant sects in British history.” Rebecca Stott is the daughter of Roger Stott, a minister turned defector of the Exclusive Brethren, England’s branch of a separatist Christian … Continue reading A Family’s Life After A Cult

Snakes in the Church

Book review: Salvation on Sand Mountain, by Dennis Covington “Snake handling didn’t originate back in the hills somewhere. It started when people came down from the hills to discover they were surrounded by a hostile and spiritually dead culture.” At some point last year, I read an article, I think either about a preacher getting arrested or else bitten and killed, and I learned about the Southern Pentecostal groups that … Continue reading Snakes in the Church

A Demagogue With Eerie Resonance Today

Book review: The Road to Jonestown, by Jeff Guinn Amazon Bestselling investigative journalist Jeff Guinn writes a comprehensive biography of Jim Jones and his infamous Peoples Temple cult, drawing heavily on interviews with former members and a wealth of Temple and FBI documents. Beginning with Jones’ parents and childhood in small-town Lynn, Indiana, and progressing via sections divided by the Temple’s successive locations in the United States and Guyana, the … Continue reading A Demagogue With Eerie Resonance Today

A Childhood in Polygamy

Book review: The Polygamist’s Daughter, by Anna LeBaron with Leslie Wilson (Amazon / Book Depository) Anna LeBaron is a daughter of Ervil LeBaron, the notorious polygamist Mormon cult leader whose sprawling family (she opens the prologue with, “At age nine, I had forty-nine siblings”) underwent a vicious divide as Ervil ordered the murders of those who questioned his leadership or defected from the cult. Much of the family … Continue reading A Childhood in Polygamy

Stirring Up Trouble for Scientology

Book review: Troublemaker, by Leah Remini (Amazon / Book Depository) I love Scientology. NOT LIKE THAT! I don’t want to get put on some list, like their never-ending mailing list. But I’m obsessed with knowing about this cult masquerading as a religion. I’m a total SP! (That’s Scientololingo for a Suppressive Person, someone who hates on them.) Going Clear is an absolute must-read; in fact, it should be probably … Continue reading Stirring Up Trouble for Scientology

How a World Meets Its End

Book review: At the End of the World, by Lawrence Millman (Amazon / Book Depository) In the winter of 1941, when most of the world was concerned with the Second World War raging in Europe, a different drama was unfolding on the remote Belcher Islands of Canada’s Hudson Bay. In a religious frenzy, three Inuit became convinced that two of them were the reincarnations of … Continue reading How a World Meets Its End

Children of the Cult

Book review: The Sound of Gravel, by Ruth Wariner (Amazon / Book Depository) After reading and watching Going Clear last year, Lawrence Wright’s detailed expose on Scientology, I’ve been fixated on reading about extremist religions, especially those verging on the cultish. Seeing Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous around the same time further fueled this: I loved seeing him use his trademark cynicism coupled with hard, like-it-or-not-styled facts to debunk religious mythology across the … Continue reading Children of the Cult