The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice

Rebecca Musser with M. Bridget Cook. Grand Central, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4555-2785-4
Those lulled into a vague tolerance for polygamy as depicted on reality TV will be shocked by the author's harrowing account of her years growing up in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Musser's story is filled with familiar elements: young women in prairie girl clothing; a cloistered compound called Short Creek where men could safely live with their dozens of wives; and a prophet—Rulon Jeffs, who orders Musser to be his 19th wife when she is eighteen and he is in eighties. Rulon's demands on his young bride and her subsequent escape from the FLDS form the backbone of the first half of the book. After Rulon's son Warren takes over, Musser is compelled by her conscience to help law enforcement uncover, investigate, and prosecute the men of the FLDS for bigamy, underage marriage, and statutory rape—including crimes committed against her own sisters. Musser and coauthor Cook have a complex story to tell with an at times overwhelming cast of characters. Overall, they manage to portray these events in an authentic yet suspenseful manner—just try to put this book down when Musser is shown the horrifying "temple" that Jeffs was building in Texas at the time of his arrest. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/26/2013
Release date: 09/10/2013
Compact Disc - 12 pages - 978-1-4789-2458-6
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4555-2784-7
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-4555-2783-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-7998-2
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