Breaking Free: How I Escaped Polygamy, the FLDS Cult, and my Father, Warren Jeffs
Rachel Jeffs was born to a mother and a father. But she ended up with many more mothers by the time she’d grown up, thanks in part to her father, Warren Jeffs, and his speaking on behalf of the prophet. In Breaking Free, Jeffs explores the darker, somewhat discouraging side of living the ‘principle’ (aka polygamy in the FLDS church).
Born to Warren Jeffs, Rachel grew up almost as if she had royal blood. Her Grandfather was the Prophet–God on Earth. And when he passed away, her Father was the Prophet. And Rachel was most definitely her Father’s favorite child. He made sure, despite the multiple wives and the ever-growing number of children, to have ‘special’ time for her. Albeit confusing at first and then unwanted for many years.
Rachel’s family is broken up and taken into hiding while her Father is placed on the Most Wanted list for his treatment and sexual abuse of a teen member of the Church. At this time, she is married and already has children, but because she is a woman living within the polygamist sect, she has little to no rights.
Breaking Free details the good, the bad and the ugly things that happened to Rachel Jeffs in a conversational and sympathetic style. Rachel talks about being happy she was married off to one of the younger deacons in the Church, who seemed to care for her. However, when she starts telling her husband about the things her father did to her, she begins to get distanced from the rest of her family, as well as her husband and children.
With shows like ‘Big Love’ and ‘Sister Wives’ out there, I am interested in some aspects of a plural marriage. With that said, the patriarchy is much louder in this memoir than in others I’ve read (most notably, Carolyn Jessop’s books)–and it really shows just how twisted Warren Jeffs really is. I am happy that she was able to get away. And I am happy that her children have a semblance of a normal life, but at the same time, I am shocked that this happened, right under our very noses.