Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith

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9780609609910: Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith

Leaving the Saints is an unforgettable memoir about one woman’s spiritual quest and journey toward faith. As “Mormon royalty” within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Martha Beck was raised in a home frequented by the Church’s high elders—known as the apostles—and her existence was framed by their strict code of conduct. Wearing her sacred garments, she married in a secret temple ceremony—but only after two Mormon leaders ascertained that her “past contained no flirtation with serious sins, such as committing murder or drinking coffee.” She went to church faithfully with the other brothers and sisters of her ward. When her son was born with Down syndrome, she and her husband left their graduate programs at Harvard to return to Provo, Utah, where they knew the supportive Mormon community would embrace them.

However, soon after Martha began teaching at Brigham Young University, she began to see firsthand the Church’s ruthlessness as it silenced dissidents and masked truths that contradicted its published beliefs. Most troubling of all, she was forced to face her history of sexual abuse by one of the Church’s most prominent authorities. This book chronicles her difficult decision to sever her relationship with the faith that had cradled her for so long and to confront and forgive the person who betrayed her so deeply.

This beautifully written, inspiring memoir explores the powerful yearning toward faith. It offers a rare glimpse inside one of the world’s most secretive religions while telling a profoundly moving story of personal courage, survival, and the transformative power of spirituality.

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Review:

When graduate student Martha Beck’s son Adam was born with Down syndrome, she and her husband left the chilly halls of Harvard for Utah and the warm, accepting embrace of the Mormon community. Determined to assimilate back into her childhood faith after years of atheism, Beck’s disenchantment resurfaced when censorship from the church heavily influenced the curriculum at Brigham Young University where she taught part-time. More disturbing was Beck’s eventual belief that her father, a virtual celebrity in the Mormon Church, had sexually molested her as a child.

Beck frames her narrative around a conversation with her aged father, dipping in and out of stories of her childhood, marriage, third pregnancy, and teaching. She contrasts her perceptions of the leadership of the institutional church as controlling and patriarchal with stories of the warmth and generosity of her Mormon community. Beck unfolds her search for identity, forgiveness, and a personal faith in competent prose, punctuated with surprising dark humor and glimpses into her anorexia, suicidal obsessions, and alleged abuse. Although she leaves readers with many unanswered questions after the last page is turned, one thing is clear: Beck believes that "no matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth." --Cindy Crosby

About the Author:

Life coach Martha Beck writes a monthly column, “Beck on Call,” for O: The Oprah Magazine. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Expecting Adam as well as Finding Your Own North Star and The Joy Diet. She lives with her family in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more about her at marthabeck.com, and join the discussion at leavingthesaints.com.

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Book Description Crown, 2005. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "Martha Beck's riveting memoir teaches us more about love, spirituality, trauma, truth telling, and hope than all the self-help books combined. It is one of the bravest, most achingly honest books I've read in years. Leaving the Saints is a priceless gift." Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger "A courageous, touching, and beautifully written spiritual journey of the heart. I applaud Martha's candidness and perseverance in her steadfast pursuit of the power of love." Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Positive Energy and Dr. Judith Orloff's Guide to Intuitive Healing "Very sad. Very brave. Very true. Martha Beck has written a universal story for anyone who has confronted physical and spiritual abuse and freed themselves from the tenacious grip of patriarchy." Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge and The Open Space of Democracy "Leaving the Saints is a brave book. Martha Beck shares her journey out of religion and into faith and healing with heartbreaking candor, softened by wit and uplifted by a deep spiritual longing." Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0609609912

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