Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Prophet's Prey

I don't read very much non-fiction, preferring instead to escape into other worlds created by inventive authors. But with Prophet's Prey, it's almost like fiction, so bizarre and other-worldly are the inhabitants of Brower's take on the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. Secluded and powerful, the leaders of the FLDS have wielded the ultimate power over lives and taken the very best of their followers for themselves. Brower, a private investigator, brings this secretive world to light with his no-nonsense style and his account of the downfall of church leader Warren Jeffs in 2008.

I admit to being fascinated with the psychology that would allow people to blindly follow such a blatantly didactic leader, and Brower is quick to point out the faults of all the FLDS leaders. His intimate knowledge, based on his investigations that began with one ousted member and swept into the very core of the FLDS, illuminates a closed door world where young girls are snatched up for plural marriage with much older men and young boys are banished from the community for trumped up charges (but in reality so that the older men can take whomever they want from among the young girls). Brower writes so that one can understand why people still cling to this faith even with its wickedness; being Mormon himself, he is quick to point out the differences in the FLDS and the LDS, though he understands both denominations.

Brower's storyline features a good deal of jumping around in a timeline, going back and forth to show how Jeffs achieved his position of ultimate power and giving back stories to some of the followers he worked for. While it's understandable as to why he'd write that way, it occasionally gets annoying. I was also eager to get to the "meat" of the story--how Jeffs was ultimately taken down, and that takes a good while to get to. But other than those small problems, this is a highly readable story of a world most of us cannot begin to fathom.


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