“To those who abuse: the sin is yours, the crime is yours, and the shame is yours. To those who protect the perpetrators: blaming the victims only masks the evil within, making you as guilty as those who abuse. Stand up for the innocent or go down with the rest.”
― Flora Jessop, Church of Lies
When standing up to institutions of any kind, within or outside of Christianity – a huge level of courage, integrity and guts, are needed.
I admire women like Flora Jessop, and she is a great example of a strong woman, using the terrible abuse she endured, for good – to help others being abused, pro-actively and re-actively.
Flora Jessop Biography: (Wikipedia)
Jessop grew up in Colorado City, Arizona. She was raised in a polygamous family, with two mothers and twenty-seven siblings, all members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). When she was sixteen years old, after years of abuse, including being impregnated by her own father and being forced to marry her first cousin, Phillip Jessop, she fled her family and faith. After many years as a vagabond in Middle and Southwest America, Jessop gave birth to her first child, daughter Shauna.
Jessop moved to Phoenix, Arizona where she soon met a man named Tim and created a family unit with him and their daughters, Shauna and Megan. Tim’s mother, Carol, would eventually reintroduce Jessop to Christianity. Jessop’s divorce from her cousin Philip was finalized in 1995.
In February 2001, Jessop and Tim married at the Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. In April 2001, her younger sister Ruby was forced to marry her stepbrother, Haven Barlow. The ceremony, officiated by Warren Jeffs, would be the catalyst that turned Jessop into an advocate against child abuse in the FLDS community. She helped, in a large part, to create the Child Protection Project.
She is the cousin-by-marriage of Carolyn Jessop, another former FLDS member who wrote Escape, an autobiographical account of her upbringing in the polygamist sect and later flight from that community.
Jessop has been active since the early 2000s in anti-child abuse work particularly focusing on the plight of women and children in the FLDS. She founded an organization, “Help the Child Brides” (later dissolved) and later joined “Child Protection Project” with fellow activist Linda Walker.
Jessop is the author of a book, Church of Lies, telling her personal story.