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Review: The Witness Wore Red

December 12, 2013

The Witness Wore Red

Becky Musser grew up truly believing the teachings of her church, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS).  Her mother was her father’s second and less favored wife but, overall, Rebecca enjoyed her childhood.  She loved learning and excelled at the FLDS school.  Like other FLDS women, she was urged to “stay sweet,” and did her best to do just that.

When Becky was 19, she was forced to become the 19th wife of the 85 year old Prophet, Rulon Jeffs.  Her life changed drastically and she started to see some things that tested her faith.  When Becky’s husband passed away, Warren Jeffs won the ensuing power struggle and became the new Prophet and leader of the church.  He was dictatorial and mean and when he insisted Becky marry him, she made a daring escape.

The Witness Wore Red, by Rebecca Musser with M. Bridget Cook, is Becky’s story and I found it fascinating and felt a range of emotions as I read it.  She details her life in the FLDS and is honest about her struggles in transitioning to a life away from the church and her family.   Musser tried to help others trapped by the church and testified against Warren Jeffs in court, wearing red in defiance of one of his pronouncements.  She was also an adviser for law enforcement conducting the raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas and she shares details of it.

Musser writes about the treatment of women by the FLDS and says they are really modern day slaves.  She has started an organization to help oppressed women, particularly victims of human trafficking and sexual slavery.

I listened to the audio version of The Witness Wore Red, which is read by the author and I was pleasantly surprised at what a good job she did.  I was engrossed in this book from the very start.  The audio version is on 12 CDs and lasts approximately 14 hours.  There are photos on the last CD.  I talked about this book a lot as I read it and recommend it to anyone interested in memoirs, polygamy, or cults.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
21 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2013 7:30 am

    This one would make me too mad!

  2. December 12, 2013 8:22 am

    Whew, this sounds good. I need to go back and look now, is this the same woman featured in the book The 19th Wife. Now I can not ever recall if that was non fiction…. maybe it was historical fiction… egads… you have me thinking 😉

  3. Athira permalink
    December 12, 2013 9:32 am

    It’s wonderful that Becky moved away from it all as she grew up, even though she followed the teachings as a child. I would be interested in reading this one – I’ve read plenty on this topic and it never stops to horrify me.

  4. talesofwhimsy permalink
    December 12, 2013 9:45 am

    Sounds fascinating.

  5. December 12, 2013 11:32 am

    I didn’t have an interest in this book but now I think I want to.

  6. December 12, 2013 12:51 pm

    Wow, this sounds riveting! Excellent review and trailer.

  7. December 12, 2013 1:35 pm

    Sounds fascinating…something I wouldn’t be able to stop listening to once I got started!

  8. December 12, 2013 1:38 pm

    I usually don’t like to read these kind of novels but you got me real curious about this one.

  9. December 12, 2013 1:55 pm

    I bet this would be really interesting!

  10. December 12, 2013 3:15 pm

    This was definitely an interesting read. I also read the book by her sister which was good as well.

  11. December 12, 2013 3:24 pm

    I think this is one I would like–very emotional. I am glad you liked it.

  12. Patty permalink
    December 12, 2013 6:47 pm

    Sounds intense!

  13. December 12, 2013 8:26 pm

    This sounds like a good one – I loved Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven about FLDS and would love to read more about it. For those who like expose type books about religion – Going Clear by Lawrence Wright (about Scientology) is also really good.

  14. December 12, 2013 10:03 pm

    Wow, what a story! I love reading non-fiction that gives me insight into completely different walks of life, so I might check this one out.

  15. December 12, 2013 10:46 pm

    This kind of story makes me mad. In this day and age and in the States for this to happen is too much to even assimilate. I can understand in cultures where women are oppressed and suppresed but its too much to handle.

  16. December 13, 2013 4:08 pm

    This book sounds fascinating. Becky Musser is a courageous woman. She also sounds thoughtful, caring and very sweet. I can’t imagine how different life must have felt for her after escaping from Warren Jeffs compound. Thank you for posting about this book, Kathy. I’m going to research it and put it on my tbr list

  17. December 14, 2013 10:29 am

    I find this type of story both scary and fascinating. Thanks for your review, I am adding this to my audio wishlist.

  18. December 14, 2013 5:30 pm

    This does sound like a riveting read. Will have to give it a listen sometime.

  19. December 15, 2013 8:58 am

    I saw this woman’s story on TV, Dateline or something. Horrible way of life!

  20. December 15, 2013 3:59 pm

    Seems to me I’ve heard this story before on some news show like 20/20 or Dateline. The whole thing fascinated me and your review makes me want to read the book as I’m sure it’s more detailed.

  21. December 18, 2013 10:37 pm

    I have a hard time with these stories. I get so angry at the men, sure, but I often feel disappointed in the women. How can you perpetuate this way of life? It upsets me.

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