I think I came across this book as someone mentioned it on a Dateline or 60 Minutes special on the FLDS; that’s the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I’m pretty fascinated with religious extremism and cults, so whenever there’s a program on television on this topic, I game to watch.
Sam Brower was one of the private investigators that spent the better part of a decade investigating Warren Jeffs, the infamous leader of the FLDS. This gave Brower a unique perspective, and access to tons of information. Also an interesting layer of perspective is that Brower himself is a Mormon. I think he did a decent job of keeping his bias in check. Besides the fact that Jeffs is a hands-down nut job, and a pedophile, there’s very little that the FLDS has in common with mainstream Mormonism. Brower did point out the differences (and they are huge) between regular, plain-old Mormonism, and the extreme FLDS. Thinking that all mormons are forcing young girls into marriage, wearing prairie dresses, and buttoning the top most button on their collared shirts, is like saying that all Baptists are hate-spewing, ignorant jerks protesting military funerals. Its not even close.
Again, I’ll mention that Brower had access to a TON of information, and the book was chock full of details. I remember when the Jeffs compound was raided by authorities and families were torn apart, but I didn’t hear much about the aftermath, or the “beforemath,” for that matter. So in that respect this book was great for getting a ton of the details and filling in gaps in my knowledge and understanding of the events.
However, the writing was repetitive and disorganized. I don’t blame Brower, particularly, though. Having that much information to organize into some salient, nice-flowing chapters is NOT easy. I know, I’ve been there before. Mostly, I think Brower needed a better editor.
If you’re looking for some information on the FLDS, I’d say check this book out, but only if you’ve got some patience to wade through the less-than-stellar narration. Research and detail get five stars, though!