Adele Park's Review of Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower
Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower is one of the most riveting books I've ever read http://www.prophetsprey.com.
I've been fascinated by the polygamist sect living in Colorado City/Hilldale ever since I moved to Southern Utah. It seems incredible to me that this Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) can commit so many atrocities against their own people with few, if any repercussions.
While it's true that FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is now serving a life sentence in Texas for the sexual assault of two children, he wasn't brought to justice until many years after his numerous crimes. In addition to raping and molesting countless boys and girls, Jeffs proved himself to be a criminal with an unusual taste for cruelty. Brower's book goes into explicit detail about the heinous acts Jeffs committed against his family and community.
The saga involving the Jeffs reign as leader of the FLDS occurred over a very long period of time. Bower brilliantly describes what he uncovered during a seven year investigation into the activities of this group. The story involves a wide range of victims, locations and circumstances. It would be easy to get confused by all the moving parts, but Bower lays out the story on a chronological time line which the reader can readily follow.
One of the important points Bower makes throughout his book is the the issue of complicity. How is it that the FLDS can operate in the open, breaking countless laws and still not be held accountable? As a voter in Utah, I have watched three Attorney Generals do little, if anything, to protect the victims in the tragedy that is continuing to this day in Colorado City/Hilldale. Brower's account of the Child Protective Services Department in Texas was especially appalling. After raiding the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas, the agency took custody of 463 children which they believed were being abused. Even though 18 underage girls were pregnant as the result of spiritual unions with much older adults, the CPS of Texas returned these children to the cult.
Brower's book also details the numerous court proceedings involving Jeffs and his followers. To the shock of many, justice wasn't always served. Jeffs was convicted in Utah of being an accomplice to rape in 2007, only to have his case thrown out on a technicality three years later. Fortunately, Jeffs was extradited to Texas before he was freed, and subsequently convicted on two counts involving the rape of a child.
Sadly, even though Jeffs is still in jail, he continues in his capacity as the leader of an estimated 10-thousand FLDS members. It's shocking that the people who have been victimized by this man continue to acknowledge him as their prophet.
I have read many books on the subject of polygamy, but somehow Brower's book escaped me until it was turned into a film which debuted at the Sundance Festival this year http://www.sundance.org/projects/prophet-s-prey
I have awarded Sam Brower and Prophet's Prey five stars on my Goodreads Page
I commend Brower not only for his excellent and detailed account of the FLDS activities, but also for his efforts to try and make the perpetrators accountable for their actions.
Here's where you can buy your own copy of Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower: