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Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith | [Martha Beck]

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2005 Martha Beck; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The book is full of Beck's laugh-out-loud hyperbolic wit and exquisitely written insights." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (220 )
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4.4 (42 )
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4.3 (39 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sheila Gilbert, AZ, USA 07-03-05
    Sheila Gilbert, AZ, USA 07-03-05 Member Since 2003
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    "Decide for yourself"

    I found this to be a riveting story and as a third generation Utah Mormon I found her depiction of Mormon culture to be right on. I was raised in Utah, graduated from BYU and served a mission for the LDS Church, and in my opinion, Martha Beck is just telling it like it is. Anyone wanting a glimpse inside the faith will find her account interesting and perhaps disturbing, but just because you don't like the message why shoot the messenger? I found her personal revelations believable and backed up with strong physical evidence despite family denials. I think people should listen to her well written story and decide for themselves.

    34 of 49 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen United States 07-11-13
    Karen United States 07-11-13
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    "Beautifully Done"
    What did you love best about Leaving the Saints?

    The author's openness about her life story and the sweet tenderness the author expresses toward her family, including her father.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Leaving the Saints?

    The dialogue with her father when she tries to understand him and find a way to connect with him by using Shakespeare, among others.


    What about Bernadette Dunne’s performance did you like?

    Everything.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, quite a shock to be brought back to some of my own reactions when I realized what my memories meant over 30 years ago. I've lived with the understanding for decades, but was surprised at how powerfully the feelings could still be triggered.


    Any additional comments?

    I disagree with the reviewers who state that she was harsh and cruel with Mormons and her family. My impression from reading the book is that she deeply loves and appreciates Mormons and her family and was especially kind and loving with her father, in spite of great trauma inflicted by him. She appears to have worked to understand where he came from so that she could relate with him as intimately as he would allow. Confronting a 90-year old man is not necessarily cruel depending on how it is done. It had the potential to set him free and that seemed to be her motivation, in addition to wanting a healed relationship with him.I've worked with many survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Many find that it is not healthy for them to continue in relationship with their abuser if that person refuses to acknowledge the truth. It is a sad but sometimes necessary split.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Optimistic skeptic Victor, NY USA 01-03-08
    Optimistic skeptic Victor, NY USA 01-03-08 Member Since 2003

    Terry McArdle

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Why the split in ratings?"

    I found the book enlightening and a little scary. Riveting story, effective and engaging narration. In short, exactly what I seek in a recorded book.

    I'm also not a Mormon. As a reader/listener of this book without an ax to grind, I wonder about the negative reviews I saw here. Was there a separate agenda? Hard to say, but worth consideration.

    Order the book and decide for yourself.

    18 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Art Greensboro, nc 05-16-06
    Art Greensboro, nc 05-16-06 Member Since 2003
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    "Amen!"

    I thought this book was fantastic. Brilliantly written and expertly read I found it hard to put it aside. As a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who has begun to seriously question the authenticity of the organization, I found several parallels between my experiences and those of Mrs. Beck. Like the author, my doubts began when I experienced the endowment and marriage rituals in the temple. Also, as time went on I began to realize that the church was organized and run more like a giant corporation whose purpose was to create and sustain a false image rather than a self-sustaining religious organization based on truth. It can be argued that the LDS church was founded with lies and is sustained by lies, hence the great ongoing efforts required by its leaders to sustain it's momentum. This message comes across clearly in this book.

    If you are considering becoming a member of the LDS church or if you are currently a member who wants to experience a non-church endorsed viewpoint I highly recommend this book. Also, I would recommend "No Man Knows my History" by Fawn S. Brodie.

    29 of 45 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia C. Alexandria, VA, USA 12-12-07
    Cynthia C. Alexandria, VA, USA 12-12-07
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    "Fascinating"

    This is one of my favorite topics and only one of many books I've read. I admire this author and her dealing with some difficult personal and spiritual dilemnas.

    13 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer N. Las Vegas, NV, USA 03-08-09
    Jennifer N. Las Vegas, NV, USA 03-08-09
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    "Beautiful, Inspiring"

    This is a beautifully told, love-filled story. It is exactly what being a beautiful human being can strive for, having a real human life while dealing with the true cruelties of existence. I was touched by Ms. Beck's story. I was raised Mormon and am no longer a member, however it has lifted so many veils of confusion I still sensed but could not explain about where I came from and why my parents were who they were. I feel like I am now part of what is probably Beck's invisible circle of comrads. i'd love to thank her in person for leaving me feeling full of love and understanding for myself, my parents and mormons, and in fact, all people.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-20-05
    06-20-05 Member Since 2003
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    "Honest and guttsy"

    Martha Beck's personal story was gripping and fascinating. I suppose she will be shunned by her family for her honest account, but it needed to be told. I admired her exploration and objectivity in discussing secret family matters. Thank you for writing when most people would have stuffed it in their emotions.

    16 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Homestead, FL, USA 06-11-09
    Andrea Homestead, FL, USA 06-11-09
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    "Review by a non-Mormon"

    If I were a devout Mormon woman, I would be seething over this book. However, I am not a Mormon and still feel quite upset with the way this author takes her "dirty laundry" out for the whole world to read. She implies that the Mormon church is the one that made her father (supposedly) abuse her. I can't think of any religion that has a perfect history. This lady takes things too far. She is sarcastic and is constantly reminding the listener that she has a Ph.D., as though this legitimizes her claims. I feel sorry for her family. She does the craziest things (like chopping down trees in the middle of the night), while her husband and small children are neglected. If Mormon men were so horrible, why did her own Mormon husband put up with her antics? I wanted to listen to this book before visiting Utah to learn something about the "Saints." Instead of siding with her, I think I actually disagree with her. Who knew? Her 9O yr. old father shouldn't have had to put up with all her accusations at that age. It sounds almost evil of her. Her diatribe pleads with the listener that abuse victims should be open about their history, even if it took place decades ago. As the daughter of an abused mother, I wish she never had told me what happened to her in her youth. It never helped me, it only made me angry, and it didn't help my mom either. She grew more depressed in her older years by reminiscing about her horrible childhood. Get the therapy and then REALLY forget about it, I say! Don't live in the past, Martha!! Live, let live and enjoy what you have in the moment.

    29 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Ogden, UT, USA 03-21-05
    Jason Ogden, UT, USA 03-21-05
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    "Superb FICTIONAL account"

    One star for the effort.
    I became skeptical when her "repressed memories" were discovered. How many psychologists lost their licenses to practice or are in prison for this "diagnosis?" These "repressed memory" cases in the 1990s were debunked by qualified Psychologists shortly after they became vogue and ruined hundreds of innocent peoples lives.
    I'm no expert in theology but this is an apparently another in a long list of intellectuals who is incapable of living the tenets of her religion and, rather than simply choosing another direction in life, has chosen to twist truths and cry "poor me" in an attempt to discredit the organization.
    Come on Ms. Beck, move on and write something constructive.

    30 of 59 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Markus Calgary, AB, Canada 04-11-14
    Markus Calgary, AB, Canada 04-11-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Powerful insight into the Mormon religion"
    If you could sum up Leaving the Saints in three words, what would they be?

    Vulnerable - Powerful - Valuable


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author shares both her personal story as well as facts about the Mormon religion. She does so in a great way that is insightful and entertaining.
    While she is brutally honest about the abuse she experienced in her childhood, she seems to be fair in her depiction of Mormon doctrine and practice.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 34 results PREVIOUS124NEXT
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  • Lee-Anne
    bodmin, United Kingdom
    1/16/13
    Overall
    "spiritual and psycohological autobiography"

    I knew nothing about Mormonism or Martha Beck before listening to this audiobook, though I've since gathered that she is well known in the US - unsurprisingly with notoriety in the Mormon world. I chose it out of interest in the spiritual autobiography of which the subtitle indicates.
    What the title doesn't indicate is that the book is as much about sexual abuse as it is about religion and faith. Had I known this I wouldn't have chosen it, but though I was shocked and upset by the content on this subject, I'm glad I listened to this book because it's not just about surviving abuse and the consequences of a traumatic childhood, nor just about the (also disturbing) inner workings and foundations of the Mormon church, but is very much about finding the paths of healing, grace, courage, forgiveness, love, and truth.
    I think Martha and I would have to part company on some of the New Age-y aspects of spirituality that the synopses of some of her more current books indicate, nevertheless, I found this book spiritually uplifting and challenging and I'm glad I listened to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • CD
    London
    4/16/11
    Overall
    "An interesting and well written book"

    This book is very interesting and for someone who knew almost nothing about the Mormon religion, it was fascinating to hear about it and my attention was captured all the way through. I would discourage anyone considering reading this book from reading the whole synopsis as it gives to much away - it spoils some of the shock and surprise and that is a pity.
    The book is wonderfully narrated and that makes it probably an easier book to listen to rather than read since the author tries to explain some complex religious ideas and discusses her very intense thoughts. There is a lovely thread of humour that runs through the book and I would recommend this book to people who are looking for an eye opening read that is very well written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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