Brent W. Jeffs; Maia Szalavitz Lost Boy

ISBN 13: 9780767931779

Lost Boy

3.85 avg rating
( 3,049 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780767931779: Lost Boy
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

In the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), girls can become valuable property as plural wives, but boys are expendable, even a liability. In this powerful and heartbreaking account, former FLDS member Brent Jeffs reveals both the terror and the love he experienced growing up on his prophet’s compound—and the harsh exile existence that so many boys face once they have been expelled by the sect.

Brent Jeffs is the nephew of Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the FLDS. The son of a prominent family in the church, Brent could have grown up to have multiple wives of his own and significant power in the 10,000-strong community. But he knew that behind the group’s pious public image—women in chaste dresses carrying babies on their hips—lay a much darker reality. So he walked away, and was the first to file a sexual-abuse lawsuit against his uncle. Now Brent shares his courageous story and that of many other young men who have become “lost boys” when they leave the FLDS, either by choice or by expulsion.

Brent experienced firsthand the absolute power that church leaders wield—the kind of power that corrupts and perverts those who will do anything to maintain it. Once young men no longer belong to the church, they are cast out into a world for which they are utterly unprepared. More often than not, they succumb to the temptations of alcohol and other drugs.

Tragically, Brent lost two of his brothers in this struggle, one to suicide, the other to overdose. In this book he shows that lost boys can triumph and that abuse and trauma can be overcome, and he hopes that readers will be inspired to help former FLDS members find their way in the world.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

BRENT W. JEFFS spent his entire childhood in the Jeffs compound as nephew of Warren Jeffs and grandson of Rulon Jeffs, the Mormon fundamentalist group’s former prophet, who had dozens of wives and more than sixty children. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a beautiful wife and daughter.

MAIA SZALAVITZ is the author and coauthor of several books, including Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Elle, and is a Senior Fellow at stats.org, a media watchdog group. She lives in New York City.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

O N E
Heaven or Hell

Every child believes he’s special. But when you are number ten of twenty, with three “ sister- mothers”–two of whom are full- blooded sisters–and a grandfather whom thousands of people believe speaks directly to God, it can be hard to figure out what “special” really means.

All told, I have roughly sixty- five aunts and uncles on my dad’s side and twenty- two on my mom’s–with probably thousands of cousins. In families as large as mine, even keeping track of your own siblings–let
alone cousins and aunts and uncles–is difficult.

As a grandson of Rulon Jeffs and nephew of Warren Jeffs, it once seemed that I was destined for high honor in the FLDS. My family had what our church called “royal blood.” We were direct descendants of our prophet through my father’s line. My mother, too, is the child of a prophet, who split from our group in 1978 to lead his own polygamous sect.

When I was little, my family was favored, in the church’s elite. I was assured that there was a place for me in the highest realms of heaven and at least three wives for me right here on earth once I attained the Melchizedek priesthood. I was in a chosen family in a chosen people, visiting sacred land near end times. I would one day become a god, ruling over my own spinning world.

So why would I ever abandon such status and rank? In the world of the FLDS, things are not always what they seem. The shiny, smiling surfaces often hide a world of rot and pain. And even royal blood and
being born male can’t protect you from sudden changes in its convoluted power structure.

Outsiders tend to think our form of polygamy must be a great deal for us men. You get sexual variety without guilt: in fact, you are commanded by God to have multiple partners and the women are expected
to go along with it. Indeed, they are supposed to be happy about doing so and obediently serve you. This is the only way for all of you to get to the highest realms of heaven.

To many men, that sounds like heaven right there, without any need for the afterlife part. They focus on the sex–fantasizing about a harem of young, beautiful women, all at their beck and call. They don’t think
about the responsibility–or the balancing act needed to keep all of those women happy, or even just to minimize their complaints. During the one full year I attended public school, the few guys who befriended
me rather than ridiculing me were fascinated by it all.

But while it might seem good in theory, in practice, at least in my experience, it’s actually a recipe for misery for everyone involved. In the FLDS anyway, polygamy and its power structure continuously produce a constant, exhausting struggle for attention and resources.

In families as large as mine, it simply isn’t possible for all of the women and children to get their needs met. Just making sure the children are fed, clothed, and physically accounted for is an ongoing challenge. Simply keeping dozens of children physically safe is close to impossible.

I’d estimate that maybe one in five FLDS families has lost a child early in life, frequently from accidents that better supervision could have prevented. And that number doesn’t include deaths related to the
genetic disorder that runs in our church–which handicaps and often kills children very early in life but which many members refuse to see as a result of marriages among closely related families.

For the father, even though he’s at the top of the heap in his own family, he must constantly disappoint, reject, ignore, and/or fail to satisfy at least some wives and kids. There’s only so much of his time and
attention to go around, and supporting such a large family takes many hours, too. At home, if one person has your ear, someone else doesn’t. Yes to one wife is no to the others. And, if a man wants more wives, he will have to engage in his own highly competitive fight for status and influence with the higher- ups in the church.

Then there’s the math problem: half of all children born are boys, of course. For some men to have many wives, others are either going to have to leave, recruit new women into polygamy (a difficult task, unsurprisingly–and one rarely attempted by the FLDS), or go unmarried.

Consequently, being born a boy in the FLDS is not the privileged position it first seems to be. Unless you are willing to kowtow to the leaders and attempt perfect obedience with constantly changing demands
and hierarchies, you are likely either to be expelled or to have a hard time getting even one wife, let alone the required three. Just on the numbers alone, you will need a lot of luck to avoid losing everything as
you hit manhood. Being born into the right family like I was is a good start–however, it may not be enough.

Once people get over their titillation and harem fantasies, and think through these issues, they start wondering why anyone stays. “How can you believe such strange things?” they ask. “Why didn’t you leave years earlier?” “And how could those parents marry their teenage daughters off to old men, abandon their sons, or give up their wives and children at Warren’s command?”

The answer is tangled in family loyalties, family history, and a church that has become expert at using these bonds to move beliefs into brainwashing.
On my father’s side, I come from around six generations of polygamy. My mother’s history is similar. Our families have lived polygamy since Joseph Smith first introduced “the principle” of “celestial marriage” in 1843–and the same is true for most members. One reason we stay is that this is the only life we know. Another is that leaving involves giving up contact with basically every single family member and friend you have–sometimes, everyone you know, period.

And, too, there’s the fact that you have been kept ignorant of the way the rest of the world works: you have been indoctrinated nearly every single day of your life to believe that all other peoples are evil, wish to harm you, and are damned by God, unchosen.

It’s weird, but even if you truly don’t believe what they have told you, some part of you remains frightened that they may be right and that fear–and your fear of losing everyone you love–is at the heart of what traps people. Then there’s the weight of family history and tradition.

My great- grandfather, David W. Jeffs, was born in 1873 and baptized in the Mormon Church when polygamy was officially part of the religion. Founder Joseph Smith had begun practicing polygamy before
he preached it. The identity of his second wife is disputed because the ceremony took place in secret, without even the knowledge of his first wife, who vigorously opposed the whole idea.

As Smith’s biographer Fawn Brodie wrote, Joseph Smith “believed in the good life . . . ‘Man is that he might have joy’ had been one of his first significant pronouncements in the Book of Mormon.”1 The
prophet’s belief in the rightness of things that gave him joy meant that he couldn’t see having more than one wife as sinful. That just didn’t make sense to him. Of course, a prophet couldn’t have mistresses. And so, “celestial marriage” was born. It is not known how many wives Joseph Smith had–but the number is believed to be around fifty.

Joseph Smith’s revelation on plural wives was grounded in the Old Testament, and in our church it is sometimes called the Law of Sarah, who was Abraham’s first wife. The Jewish patriarchs and kings of the Old Testament were polygamous. While the rest of Christianity accepts the New Testament and rejects polygamy, fundamentalist Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon supersedes the New Testament in the way that the New Testament updates the Old.

Joseph Smith’s 1843 revelation on polygamy was personally directed at his resistant first wife. He was tired of hiding his other wives from her and everyone else and wanted it all out in the open. He wrote that God told him, “I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith,” to “receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph” and “cleave unto my servant Joseph and to none else . . . if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed.”2

Believing this to be a true revelation, Emma complied. Still, she didn’t hesitate to expel from her home the women she believed her husband was favoring–and, according to some, she once demanded her
own “spiritual husbands” as fair play. Needless to say, a revelation making this practice into gospel was never received by Joseph Smith.

The rest of the doctrine on plural marriage is written this way: “If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and
have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery . . . and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him.”3 Given Emma’s strenuous objections, clearly, Joseph Smith had a very flexible definition of consent. Unfortunately, that probably had a great influence on the fundamentalist church.

And oddly, despite the prohibition against marrying those who “have vowed to another man,” many of the first Mormon plural wives also had other husbands. Some had left their spouses to join the church and were essentially separated. But others were married first to other Mormon men, then to leaders like Joseph Smith who decided that they wanted those particular women for themselves. Being lower in the
church hierarchy, many men accepted this–some even saw it as an...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780767931786: Lost Boy: The True Story of One Man's Exile from a Polygamist Cult and His Brave Journey to Reclaim His Life

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0767931785 ISBN 13:  9780767931786
Publisher: Broadway Books, 2010
Softcover

9781615238125: Lost Boy

New Yo..., 2009
Softcover

9781741669336: Lost Boy

Bantam, 2009
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Brent W. Jeffs; Maia Szalavitz
Published by Broadway Books (2009)
ISBN 10: 0767931777 ISBN 13: 9780767931779
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Broadway Books, 2009. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0767931777

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 18.05
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.27
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Brent W. Jeffs, Maia Szalavitz
Published by Broadway (2009)
ISBN 10: 0767931777 ISBN 13: 9780767931779
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Broadway, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0767931777

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 17.82
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Jeffs, Brent W. and Szalavitz, Maia
ISBN 10: 0767931777 ISBN 13: 9780767931779
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
SPHINX BOOKSTORE
(OTTAWA, ON, Canada)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Hardcover. Condition: New. NEW. Seller Inventory # CAT P 57

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 33.17
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 16.00
From Canada to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Jeffs, Brent W.; Szalavitz, Maia
Published by Broadway Books
ISBN 10: 0767931777 ISBN 13: 9780767931779
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Cloud 9 Books
(Wellington, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Broadway Books. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0767931777 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0333624

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 59.99
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Brent W. Jeffs
Published by Broadway Books (2009)
ISBN 10: 0767931777 ISBN 13: 9780767931779
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books Express
(Portsmouth, NH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Broadway Books, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0767931777n

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 101.66
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds