God’s Brothel by Andrea Moore-Emmett

Subtitled “The Extortion of Sex for Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and the Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped”, this book actually has nothing to do with polygamy practiced by other Christian Fundamentalist groups and everything to do with the eleven fundamentalist offshoots of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“At age 16, Carmen struggled with the priesthood issue [decision to allow blacks in the priesthood] in the same way many others did, asking, “If God is the same today, yesterday and forever, then this policy change is wrong. And is this is wrong to change, the same is true for the polygamy issue.” (pg. 101).

Moore-Emmett interview women who founded Tapestry Against Polygamy, but her profiles of eighteen women who escaped polygamy really one skim the surface of the evils of this religious tennant. Only a few pages are dedicated to each woman and therefore not as though as other books I have read on the issue or by women who have left polygamous groups. More of a shock-and-awe approach to the issue; every kind of despicable act — pedophilia, rape, domestic violence, incest — is thrown into the reader’s face.

She does, however, bring up some aspects of Mormon polygamy that I did not know. For the longest time the Utah NOW chapter defended the right of polygamy for those women who choose to live that lifestyle, never mind that children in these situations don’t have a choice. The American Civil Liberties Union on both a national and state level defends the rights of people to practice polygamy never mind “the ACLU chose[s] to ignore the civil and human rights violations against thousands of women and children involved in polygamy” (pg. 36).

Overall, the book is not very well-written and does not offer the depth I was looking for that has been provided in other books I’ve read about the issue. The author also seems to harbor a basis towards the LDS Church because she places blame for Elizabeth Smart’s acquisition to her abductors on her LDS upbringing. I do appreciate, though, her decision to discuss the positions of both Utah’s NOW chapter and the national ACLU because it’s certainly something I’m interested in researching.

Book Mentioned:

  • Moore-Emmett, Andrea. God’s Brothel: The Extortion of Sex for Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and the Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped. San Francisco, CA.: Pince-Nez, 2004. Print. 238 pgs. ISBN: 1930074131. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Pince-Nez Press. Retrieved: August 15, 2010.
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One thought on “God’s Brothel by Andrea Moore-Emmett

  1. This sounds like a really interesting read but too bad it wasn’t well-written. Ugh! I hope you’re able to find a book about this subject that meets your expectations. 😀

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