prophet's prey // book #36

So before I get into this short book review, I have to say that I did read other book between this and my last one, Love Wins. The book I read in the middle is called Three Cups of Deceit, by my favorite author of all time - Jon Krakauer (link below). Some might argue that it was not an official book, because it is only like 100 pages long, but I am making this life list and I get to decide what qualifies and what doesn’t. So Krakauer’s latest mini-book makes the cut. It was incredible, riveting, shocking, and classic Krakauer. He’s just so good at what he does - and to further the point, I’ll say this: don’t piss off Jon Krakauer. He will totally get you back by writing an amazing book exposing all the bad stuff you’ve ever thought you got away with.And now, back to the point:

Prophet’s Prey was incredible. The book doesn’t officially release until October of this year but I scored an advance reading copy at this years BookExpo America, which was held last week in New York, and which I shot for a magazine that my brother writes for. Sidenote: any book fanatics out there should definitely attend next year, there are tons of free books for the taking and a huge autograph area where you can brush shoulders with lots of big name authors. It’s pretty cool.

Anyway, Prophet’s Prey is a fascinating piece of investigative journalism by Private Investigator Sam Brower that digs deep into the insanity of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (otherwise known as the FLDS), not to be confused with the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (otherwise known as the LDS or mainstream Mormonism). The FLDS crew is simply a sad cult of people that were literally all born into the faith and really never had any hope of a normal American life. The people that followed David Koresh or Jim Jones to their demise made foolish decisions to join up at some point in their life whereas FLDS people have literally never known of the outside world, not to mention any laws that would clearly prohibit them from doing what they do.

Long story short, the FLDS is run by the maniacal self-proclaimed “prophet” Warren Steed Jeffs, who runs every aspect of the lives of his 10,000+ followers with absolute control. Make one misstep, and you’re gone. Kicked out forever, never allowed to speak to your family ever again, and everything you own is taken from you in one fell swoop. The cult believes that the only way to salvation is to practice the principle of “plural marriage,” where a man must take on multiple wives - the more the better. In addition to that, they must adhere to an insanely strict behavioral code and always told by the psychopath leader whom they call “Uncle Warren” to always “keep sweet,” no matter what.

The “prophet” hand picks young FLDS girls to marry the men whenever he deems them ready, often at the tender age of only twelve or thirteen years old. Many young boys, called “lost boys,” are run out of town simply to boost the male-to-female ratio so more of the men can take more poor girls as underage brides, raping and abusing them as a part of daily life. It is not uncommon for an FLDS man to have more that ten or fifteen “wives.”

So the book is a detailed account of the authors seven year investigation into this mind-blowing cult that I find totally fascinating - in a really weird way. I just can’t believe stuff like this happens in this world, not to mention right here in America - in the twenty-first century. I will definitely be picking up the official release of the book in October, which will have an up-to-the-minute account of Brower’s investigation, including, hopefully, an update on “Uncle Warren’s” criminal trials in Texas (he is currently awaiting trial in a west Texas jail).

Insane.

As always, here is my updated list of all the books I’ve ever read:

(Double sidenote: (1) Jon Krakauer appears as a character in the book who assists the author in his investigation (which was totally awesome to read) because of (2) his in depth knowledge of the FLDS from his own investigation several years ago, detailed in his book Under the Banner of Heaven - book #22 on my list.)

All the books I’ve ever read in my life, in chronological order.

  1. Superman: Doomsday & Beyond – Louise Simonson
  2. The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
  3. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  4. Wild at Heart – John Eldredge
  5. Waking the Dead – John Eldredge
  6. Dangerous Wonder – Michael Yacconelli
  7. Messy Spirituality – Michael Yacconelli
  8. Run Like an Antelope: On The Road With Phish – Sean Gibbon
  9. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  10. Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
  11. Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller
  12. Through Painted Deserts – Donald Miller
  13. Searching For God Knows What – Donald Miller
  14. Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell
  15. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kyosaki
  16. What Jesus Meant – Gary Wills
  17. No Shortcuts to the Top – Ed Viesturs
  18. Into The Wild – Jon Krakauer
  19. To Own a Dragon – Donald Miller
  20. No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green – Melody Green
  21. Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men & Mountains – Jon Krakauer
  22. Under The Banner of Heaven – Jon Krakauer
  23. Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome
  24. Born on a Blue Day – Daniel Tammet
  25. The Survivors Club – Ben Sherwood
  26. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  27. Bringing Down The House – Ben Mezrich
  28. Rigged – Ben Mezrich
  29. Busting Vegas – Ben Mezrich
  30. The Accidental Billionaires – Ben Mezrich
  31. Where Men Win Glory - Jon Krakauer
  32. A Million Miles In A Thousand Years - Donald Miller
  33. Zeitoun - Dave Eggers
  34. Love Wins - Rob Bell
  35. Three Cups of Deceit - Jon Krakauer
  36. Prophet’s Prey - Sam Brower