978-0-307-33599-9 / 0307335992

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

by Beck, Martha

Publisher:Broadway Books



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About the book:

When graduate student Martha Becks 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, Becks disenchantment resurfaced when censorship from the church heavily influenced the curriculum at Brigham Young University where she taught part-time. More disturbing was Becks 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

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