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Excerpt: ‘Triumph’ by Carolyn Jessop – Jessop Writes About Life After the Polygamist Sect
May 6, 2010 In “Triumph,” Carolyn Jessop writes about growing up in a polygamist sect and her April 2003 escape from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Carolyn Jessop reflects on her life in a polygamist sect and how it changed her. Jessop, 42, begins her story on April 3, 2008, when the church’s Texas ranch was raided by law enforcement officials and she watched hundreds of children, some her own stepchildren, involved in a case that would unfold in the spotlight of the national media….
Kathy Mankin and her husband, Randy, publish The Eldorado Success, the local newspaper in Eldorado, Texas, the town nearest to the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a $20 million compound spread across seventeen hundred acres in West Texas. The YFZ Ranch is owned and operated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the polygamous Mormon cult in which I’d spent my entire life until fleeing in April 2003. My ex-husband, Merril Jessop, had been running the ranch since becoming one of the highest- ranking men in the FLDS in 2006.
Kathy and Randy had been covering the FLDS since 2003, when the ranch was bought under false pretenses as a corporate retreat and lodge. On March 24, 2004, with the headline “Corporate Retreat or Prophet’s Refuge?” the Mankins broke the news to the residents of Eldorado—a town of roughly two thousand residents, thirteen churches, three restaurants, and an aging motel—that their new neighbors were members of an extreme polygamous sect….
The Texas Supreme Court decision that was reached six weeks later described the reception CPS got at the ranch: “When the Department arrived at the YFZ Ranch, it was treated cordially and allowed access to children, but those children repeatedly ‘pled the Fifth’ in response to questions about their identity, would not identify their birth dates or parentage, refused to answer questions about who lived in their homes and lied about their names—sometimes several times. Answers from parents were similarly inconsistent: One mother first claimed that four children were hers, and then later avowed that they were not. Furthermore, the Department arrived to discover that a shredder had been used to destroy documents just before its arrival.”….Law enforcement officers who accompanied CPS onto the ranch noticed pregnant young girls being herded from one house to another on the compound. A lawyer involved with the case later told me that the state always suspected that it never got all the children from the ranch because some had been whisked away….
As for CPS, along with not being equipped to handle all the children who were removed from the ranch, it never found the Sarah Barlow who’d made the call. Suspicion was building that the call was a hoax. All the same, evidence suggested that the YFZ Ranch was a hotbed of child abuse. As this evidence was presented to Judge Walther, she ordered more and more children removed.
By Monday, April 7, Judge Walther had ordered 401 children into temporary protective custody based on a determination of significant risk of harm. In addition, 133 women had now left the compound. The men, meanwhile, were told to remain on the ranch while the investigation continued.
….One of the major reasons I fled the FLDS was because fourteen-year-old girls were routinely forced to marry and my daughter Betty was thirteen at the time….
With Warren Jeffs’s 2006 arrest and conviction (he’s now serving two five years-to-life sentences for being an accomplice to rape), his followers became more convinced than ever that he was being persecuted like Jesus Christ, just as he’d predicted. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Books/triumph-life-cult-survivors-lessons-carolyn-jessop/story?id=10564744
Trauma-Induced Changes to Genes May Lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
ScienceDaily (May 5, 2010) — A study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health suggests that traumatic experiences “biologically embed” themselves in select genes, altering their functions and leading to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)….
Previous studies have found that lifetime experiences may alter the activity of specific genes by changing their methylation patterns. Methylated genes are generally inactive, while unmethylated genes are generally active….
The analysis found that participants with PTSD had six to seven times more unmethylated genes than unaffected participants, and most of the unmethylated genes were involved in the immune system.
The observed methylation changes in the immune system genes were reflected in the PTSD participants’ immune systems: levels of antibodies to a herpes virus were high in PTSD patients, indicative of a compromised immune system.
While people who experience severe trauma will exhibit a normal stress response, in PTSD, the stress response system becomes deregulated and chronically overactive causing compromised immune functioning. PTSD has long been linked to increased risk of numerous physical health problems — including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This paper suggests why PTSD is so strongly associated with physical health problems — trauma exposure causes epigenetic changes in immune system genes and thus, compromised immune functioning putting individuals at risk for a host of disorders.
“Our findings show that PTSD may be associated with epigenetic changes in immune-system genes. If this is the case, these clusters could provide clues to our understanding of how a traumatic event changes gene expression, thus altering immune function and resulting in other possible physiologic alterations,” says Dr. Galea.
M. Uddin, A. E. Aiello, D. E. Wildman, K. C. Koenen, G. Pawelec, R. de los Santos, E. Goldmann, S. Galea. Epigenetic and immune function profiles associated with posttraumatic stress disorder. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0910794107 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504102124.htm
Catholics returned convicted priest to Sierra Leone where he had preyed on boys Carley Petesch and Michelle Faul, The Associated Press 6/05/2010 MAKANKA, Sierra Leone – A rutted red dirt track leads to the “bar,” a couple of homemade wood benches in the shade of an old tree dripping with wild mangoes. Within easy reach, there’s a yellow plastic jerry can of the fiery palm wine the American priest loved.
A 40-year-old schoolteacher now charges that Rev. James Tully gave the palm wine to teenage boys to make them more susceptible to his advances. This faraway corner of West Africa — with no electricity or piped water — is where the Roman Catholic Church sent Tully, twice. The teacher told The Associated Press that Tully abused him and other boys repeatedly during his first stint in Sierra Leone, from 1979 to 1985. After a conviction in the U.S. for giving minors alcohol and groping them, the church sent Tully back to Sierra Leone for a second stint from 1994 to 1998. Tully’s story is an example of how the church transferred abusive priests from country to country, in a scandal now emerging worldwide. But it also shows the deep reluctance to come out against a Catholic priest in many parts of Africa. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/life/home_family/catholics-returned-convicted-priest-to-sierra-leone-where-he-had-preyed-on-boys-92999779.html