Leaving the Saints: One Child's Story of Survival and Hope. Martha Beck

Leaving the Saints One Child s Story of Survival and Hope Martha Beck In a thoughtful moving and ultimately inspiring memoir Martha Beck chronicles her difficult decision to leave behind her Mormon childhood and upbringing and reveals her lifetime struggle to overcom

  • Title: Leaving the Saints: One Child's Story of Survival and Hope. Martha Beck
  • Author: Martha N. Beck
  • ISBN: 9780749950910
  • Page: 247
  • Format: Paperback
  • In a thoughtful, moving and ultimately inspiring memoir, Martha Beck chronicles her difficult decision to leave behind her Mormon childhood and upbringing, and reveals her lifetime struggle to overcome a dark secret buried in her childhood.

    One thought on “Leaving the Saints: One Child's Story of Survival and Hope. Martha Beck”

    1. I'm sitting here typing and untyping (that would be known as deleting, I guess), which is what happens when there's something important and true and hard for me to write.Of all the books I've read about living well after having been violated sexually as a child, this one is best. Martha Beck and I both come from religious fundamentalist families; we both come from families that were and are highly dysfunctional. She has been branded a liar for remembering what happened to her; I have been called [...]

    2. In Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith, Martha Beck recounts her experiences in the Mormon church. As the daughter of a highly respected Mormon apologist, the Mormon faith played a foundational role in Beck’s life. She left Utah to study at Harvard, then moved back to teach part time at Brigham Young University while completing her doctoral dissertation in sociology. She returned in part because she found the Mormon community to be more accepting of her young son with [...]

    3. Both stars are for the quality of writing. Martha Beck is a very funny and good writer. I might even add one more star for controversy, as Martha's husband, John, has given her a 1-star review (and a surprising revelation: they're divorced). As far as anti-Mormon books go, I've read much better. Reading this novel is an exercise in unreliable narration, which may sound like criticism but in my world it's something that I thoroughly enjoy. Anyway. Here's John's review. Caveat Emptor:"675 of 841 [...]

    4. To know, first off: I am a fully active Mormon. Someone suggested I read this book because Martha's experiences reminded this person of my own experiences in the church. We will leave it there. Review follows. I picked up and put down Leaving the Saints on the same day. I got about 30 pages into it. Here are some of my very limited opinions on the book.1 - The pursuit of truth (and anything else, really) if not tempered with tolerance, love, and respect is almost worthless. I think, reading from [...]

    5. This was a tough book to get throughAt times I was very sorry I picked it up and started it. Why did I start it? Because I read and was fascinated with Martha Beck's "Expecting Adam" and even more so after finishing the story and realizing that I actually knew of the parents she speaks of so much in telling the tale of her pregnancy of her 2nd child.A boy known to have Down Syndrome before he was born. I've never forgotten some of the amazing spiritual experiences she recounts in Expecting Adam [...]

    6. I’m a little miffed at this author. This is Hugh Nibley’s daughter (the famous Mormon scholar and apologist) who accused him of sexual abuse, left the LDS church and now is a lesbian somewhere. I’m mad, because the first half of the book she really had me going. I couldn’t imagine that she would make something so bizarre and awful up as what she was telling, and as she told her story of going from a faithful Mormon BYU professor to apostate spiritual guru I even found that I identified w [...]

    7. This book had a long history for me. Years ago I read Expecting Adam and loved it. A friend I loaned it to was skeptical however, and did some research. In retrospect that must have been about the time Leaving the Saints was hitting the Mormon community like a flaming bag full of poo. There were plenty of people to be found online claiming that Martha Beck was a compulsive liar who'd made up half of the details in a book she explicitly labeled a true story (Expecting Adam), and that much of the [...]

    8. I started this book two days ago, and completed it just last night. This book is an amazing story of the daughter of the most prominent Mormon (LDS) apologist, Hugh Nibley. She discusses some of the horrific events of her childhood, her strained relationship with her father, and her tenure as a professor at BYU. It is important to note that this is not a trashy anti-mormon book, although some LDS members will certainly perceive it that way. It is not an expose of Mormon temple rituals, nor is it [...]

    9. Martha Beck was an atheist-inclined grad student when miraculous happenings during her second pregnancy reawakened her interest in spirituality. After moving back to her hometown of Provo, she embraced her childhood religion in effort to deepen this newfound faith. She writes with lucidity and humor about how she instead discovered the dark side of the Mormon church, including fundamental beliefs that contradict known fact, a culture that stifled intellectual exploration, and a suspected relatio [...]

    10. She's a fun writer--little twists of language and imagery that creates a wonderful voice. She brings up an important topic: child abuse perpetuated by unexpected persons, especially the ostensibly pious. My concern? Unreliable narrator. She stereotypes the Mormon community just as she stereotyped the Harvard community in her previous book --if I remember correctly, almost every Harvard character was intellectually insecure, overly demanding, rather cruel, and a bit out-of-sync with reality. In t [...]

    11. We ran across this book in the bowels of a used book store in New York (Strands) and were surprised to find it was just published in 2005.Not to be read by the faint of heart or one who has a shakey testimony.She wants to document that she was abused by her famous father at the age of 5. the family fireworks that followed her acusations were horrendous, with accusations against her also. She claims that her father's footnotes are mostly false (Hugh Nibley). she left the church, her family, and c [...]

    12. This book was not what I expected. I can't say as I entirely followed all the spiritual experiences, but Beck is an excellent writer, and it was a much deeper treatment of Mormon beliefs and culture than in "Secret Ceremonies".I found out that the author and her husband subsequently divorced and both indicate that they are actually homosexuals. It gets stranger because prior to leaving the Mormon church they authored a book together about how to suppress one's homosexual tendencies.

    13. Even though I highly doubt much of the content of this book, I found it extremely entertaining and enjoyable to read. I took a class from her brother-in-law who would occasionally mention this book and how hurtful it had been to him personally. Aside from the main point, of her having been molested by Hugh Nibley as a child, he felt the majority of the books details did not reflect actual events and were unnecessarily hurtful. All of her siblings were interviewed together on public radio, severa [...]

    14. I read it about the same time I read John Krakauer's book "Under the Banner of Heaven", so a comparison of the two always stands out in my mind. Under the Banner of Heaven gives us a look at the beginnings of the FLDS (and LDS) church and also some information about some current FLDS sects. But it's written from the perspective of an outsider looking in. This book is written from "an outsider's perspective" who used to be an "insider". I find it sad that the author of this book has undergone muc [...]

    15. Fiction. The definition of memoir is consistently debatable. But according to her husband at the time this is probably along the lines of a million little pieces fiction masquerading as memior.

    16. The author was raised in a strict Mormon home in Provo, Utah, her father one of the church's high authorities. When their son is born with Down syndrome, Martha and her husband leave their graduate programs at Harvard to return to the supportive Mormon community that raised them. The years that follow (which are the years covered by this book) are tumultuous as Martha begins to recognize how the church silences dissidents and begins to confront her own history of sexual abuse by her father. I fo [...]

    17. I really and truly enjoyed this book. It was funny as hell, and I really related to her struggle to leave the faith that she was raised in. I feel like a learned a lot about Mormonism, the good things like the kindness and charity, and the bad things like the cracked out history and the desire to treat women (particularly those who have been abused) like shit. For what it is worth, I believe her stories of sexual abuse wholeheartedly since they are very similar to the stories of many other abuse [...]

    18. Beck is another gutsy lady who had the courage to stand up for herself and think for herself. Her experience with being ostracized from the Mormon church says more about the church than her. I admire her for speaking out against what she thought was wrong.

    19. I understand the personal struggle any person can have when wrestling with the challenges of leaving their religion of origin. However, I take issue with calling out the legitimacy of any religion based on the behavior of one or two clergy men. Additionally, Beck exaggerates the extent in which the L.D.S. church will go to "protect itself" to such an extreme that it is hard to believe any of the other accounts in her story. This story felt irresponsible and sensational. This is highly problemati [...]

    20. I seem to be reading all of Martha Beck's books now. This one really tests her sense of humor as she describes some horrific childhood memories that resurfaced as she was conducting sociological research at BYU, made even more horrifying by the fact that the Mormon church tried to suppress not just her personal story but her academic work. It's like Communist China up Utah way, strangely, and I learned a lot about the Mormon church, good and bad, from the POV of an apostate. She went through hel [...]

    21. Ok, the author of this book is a totally annoying hippie dippy LOON. I kind of wanted to punch her, more than once. She acts like all Mormons are exactly the same and horrible terrible people who only care about what "The Church" thinks about them. My mother and Aunt ex-communicated themselves from the Mormon church when they were in their early 20s, do my Mormon grandmother and grandfather ignore them and act like they aren't a part of the family? Of course not! My husband ex-communicated himse [...]

    22. The wonderfully written story of a woman who bravely left the Mormon Church because of many reasons, including sexual abuse. I hadn't realized what a complete package Mormonism is. Since she left it, neither her 7 siblings nor her parents have had any meaningful contact with her. (Maybe saying hi at a funeral.)That must be painful. But she stayed true to her feelings and her truth. Many intellectuals who taught at BYU were told to completely water down their teaching to the point of idiocy. She [...]

    23. This is a hard book to review. The writing is very good, especially about Beck's spiritual experiences, which may come across to some (which even she acknowledges) as "woo woo," but still read as true. She also is very funny and self-deprecating. The veracity of her story of being abused as a child has been challenged by her family. I have no idea whether or not it's true, but believe she believes it is. It is horrific and disturbing to read (cost me some hours of sleep one night), and her writi [...]

    24. I am just not sure what I think about this book. I read Expecting Adam and really liked it. But this one? I'm not so sure. I still love the author's funny, irreverent way of telling stories and her fact-bound, critical review of her faith. But I found her almost . . . annoying? Everything was always so dramatic and extreme with her, that I even found myself disbelieving some of her story, which then made me feel guilty. And what happened to Adam and her other kids while all these events were hap [...]

    25. I picked this book up at my library for two reasons, one being, that I don't know a lot about Mormonism, and two, it looked like an interesting memoir of someone's critical look at their faith. The author copes with her own sexual abuse, and other abusive aspects of fundamentalism, and the pain that they cause. She also thoughtfully critiques the scholarship behind many Mormon claims and comes to believe that the foundation is very shaky. She eventually chooses to reject Mormonism. I relate, bec [...]

    26. Having read the thought provoking Under the Banner of Heaven, I was not sure what to expect. But Krakauer is viewing it from outside. Martha Beck's view is from the core and it is very personal. Having left Utah for an academic life in the Ivy League East, we find out why she goes back and what awaits her. At times gut-wrenching, it gives a chilling portrait of what she finds both at BYU and in her personal history. Highly recommended.

    27. I'm sure this was situational, but I thought this book was a marvel. I was visiting Salt Lake City for the first time, staying not two blocks from the Mormon church headquarters (incl Temple Square) while I attended a conference at the convention center. For whatever reasons, I felt like the air was thick with *something* that made me feel vaguely yet definitely uncomfortable, and QUESTIONS kept arising to interrupt my conversations with my husband, who had lived there for two years while studyi [...]

    28. Martha Beck was raised as “Mormon royalty,” in the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, married in a Temple Ceremony and educated as a sociologist at Harvard University. She and her husband returned to Provo, Utah after the birth of their Down syndrome son. In her fragile condition, Beck felt she would receive the comfort and support she craved from her family and church community. Leaving the Saints describes Beck’s subsequent disenchantment with the church and its rules and r [...]

    29. Beck's book tells the story of growing up Mormon and of sexual abuse; which, according to her, were pretty closely related. Because of this book, I have a clearer sense of what it feels like to grow up in powerful religiosity and how that life could gradually force you to become someone you weren't meant to be. Beck's humor is Anne Lamott-esque; quick witted and unexpected sarcasm in the midst of difficult and painful topics. I loved that about her. I also loved her honesty; her struggle with fo [...]

    30. Here we have a woman who - among other things - believed that God communicated with her during her pregnancy, via the Downs syndrome child she was carrying. She claims her father, a famous Mormon apologist, sexually abused her as a child, despite the denial of her eight siblings and both her parents. The memories of abuse came to her through "regression therapy" — previously she had never mentioned it. This is the therapy that lies behind the (false) Satanic Ritual Abuse allegations in the 198 [...]

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