Posts Tagged ‘carolyn jessop’

Jessop’s Escape and Fascinating Womanhood

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Fascinating Womanhood, nusses, FLDS, mormonsHarry Dean Stanton and wives in Big Love, a Hollywood fairy tale on the realities of polygamy

Carolyn Jessop’s book Escape (ISBN-13: 978-0767927574) which details her escape from polygamy and Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), mentions what we women here consider our Stepford Bible: Helen B. Andelin’s Fascinating Womanhood. Although Jessop’s account is bizarre, to say the least, one should note that Helen B. Andelin herself was a regular non-polygamous Mormon. (not to be confused with the FLDS).

In Escape, Jessop mentions a clique in her high school known as “The Nusses.” These are girls who believed in living the gospel according to Fascinating Womanhood. Jessop makes short work of these “artificially” feminine, submissive, and stupid girls, much the same way as most people make fun of Stepford Wives.

Although we don’t support polygamy and none of us at the organization are Mormons; to us, the Nusses are heroines in preserving the tradition we practice every day. They walked on tiptoes, spoke in soft girly voices, laughed in a subdued way and practiced perfect penmanship. They were also A students and teachers’ pets. Since many of the teachers were men – including Warren Jeffs substituting in on some classes – this means they were perfectly obedient to male authority. That gets an round of delighted applause from us!

And in all fairness, we disagree with Jessop’s assessment that Fascinating Womanhood is about manipulating men and husbands. We feel it isn’t. It’s about making a marriage work by accentuating masculine and feminine qualities, and restoring scriptural values to a union.

Here are a few of our favorite lines from Escape:

A woman’s only avenue to God is through her husband. We were raised to believe we could not receive direct revelations from God on our own. Whatever God had to communicate or reveal to a woman can only be transmitted through her husband.

Every woman in a plural marriage knows that her only power in life will come from her relationship to her husband….Pleasing him was a skill I was determined to master, no matter what it cost me at a personal level…..Sublimating my needs to his felt natural to me at twenty two. I knew this was how generations of women had live in my family.

This philosophy of “perfect obedience” produces perfect faith began sweeping through the community. We were told that every problem a woman faces was because she wasn’t being perfectly obedient to her husband. A wife’s goal was to be able to meet his every need without ever being asked. If she asked questions when her husband gave her an order, it was only because she still had contamination in her heart.

You can purchase the book at Amazon by clicking on this line.