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Leaving the Saints Audiobook

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

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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

3.5 (270 )
5 star
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4.4 (84 )
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4.4 (80 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    J. Wilson 04-06-09
    J. Wilson 04-06-09
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    "A review from a non Mormon who hated this book."

    I'm not sure why I listened all the way through this mess of a book. It is full of new age woo, and Martha is no more reasonable (and probably less trustworthy) than your average Mormon who thinks that Joseph had the Book of Mormon translated directly from gods gold plates. I highly doubt that Martha was abused by her father no matter how much she "believes". This book is about 95% Martha's self obsessed drivel and about 5% interesting info about the Mormons and her Mormon life. Pass, and save yourself hours of your life and a few bucks to boot.

    24 of 46 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie slc, utah 03-03-16
    Melanie slc, utah 03-03-16

    mk

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Martha Beck is a treasure"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Because it deals with faith transitions and truths within the LDS faith


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

    I laughed when her husband was leaving the church and the stake president said that all his power, priesthood and blessings were being taken away--however--you can still pay your tithing and receive those blessings--also her findings on incest within the Provo area and her research outside of Happy Valley


    What does Bernadette Dunne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Nothing--would have loved it if Martha read it herself


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes--In fact couldn't stop--listened at home on my Echo as well


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend..best book I have read and listened to in the last six months. Beautifully written and forthright

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nurture Learners and Able Observers 11-04-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Inconvenient truths."
    What did you love best about Leaving the Saints?

    This woman's courage. Dedication to the truth.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Her ability to confront an inconvenient truth.


    What about Bernadette Dunne’s performance did you like?

    Natural reader.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many spooky moments.


    Any additional comments?

    Hard for me to confront the people that left reviews here, volunteering to add to her burdens. Every time we knock a woman in the dirt, we all die a little. Some folk are ruthless and even offended by a woman's honest story, this is very spooky.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    THERESA SANTO 04-22-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A must read!"

    This was such an amazing story. It spoke to me and was very healing! Loved it and I admire her courage. Thank you for having a voice for those who haven't found theirs yet!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sally 07-26-14
    sally 07-26-14 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Very interesting"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Too many parts to limit it down to only one being the best. I found this to be very eye opening, interesting and 'attention keeping'. Having come from the religion in my childhood made it even more intriguing and it actually brought comfort to me to learn the things I questioned were not on my own observations.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a great read/listen to add to my goal on becoming educated on many spectrums of many different religious beliefs. In no way do my high reviews make a statement of judgement who have chose this particular religion as their true path the happiness. Live and let live. But also be open minded and respectful of all diversity.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 11-19-13
    Sarah Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 11-19-13 Member Since 2016
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    "A little meh."

    A lot of this story was about the author’s spiritual journey, love, forgiveness, peace and self-control. She seems to be the “perfect” person, stifling anger, judgment and bittnerness. I found myself both in awe and disbelief at the same time. She was almost TOO perfect a person. After a while all that got old. I enjoy biographical works like this and “Beyond Belief” by Jenna Miscavige Hill was a better read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen United States 07-11-13
    Karen United States 07-11-13 Member Since 2015
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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 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 05-19-05
    Scott 05-19-05
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    "Artful & Insightful"

    Leaving the Saints is a PERSONAL account of the author's experiences. It doesn't attempt to give the reader a comprehensive view of the LDS religion or people. As a personal memoir, it is funny and insightful. I grew up among the "Saints" in Utah and Beck's insights are consistent with my experiences. Many of those criticizing the book have obviously not read it. I recommend you read this book before you condemn it, and certainly before you write a public review of it.

    16 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Shreveport, LA, United States 06-04-05
    J Shreveport, LA, United States 06-04-05 Member Since 2004
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    "Who's next on Martha's List?"

    I had to get this book just to see for myself; Ms Beck accuses her father of the most vial and evil things a man could do to his child. I had to investigate her story.

    In her initial chapter, she writes several times of her total confusion, total doubt and totally not knowing the truth and then tries to convince the world of the truth in her words. Who in their right mind would follow a woman who admittedly lied about her faith and trust in God over and over, and in the same breath repeatedly admits she can?t separate truth from fiction? She's not credible.

    I listened to her story only because of who she was in the LDS community. Forget that she's lost her pathway in the Church and that someday, when truth matters, rather than her popularity and money, the forgiveness of the earthly father, whom she so evilly abused with these lies and accusations may be important enough for her to finally tell the real story.

    You'll find some truth about the Mormons mixed with these stories but it is all twisted up with her story-telling so don't take anything to the bank on Mormons.

    Since she's published her book, her ENTIRE family has publically stated that her story is total fiction. Which is where I'd have to put my trust.

    Some of her stories are "funny" but when you measure them up against the harm she did to her family and most of all her father, in his final years, it's only sad story. My hat's off to her family for keeping the cork on this bottle until now, but given what she's done to dear old dad ... each of them had better look out too.

    20 of 41 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Milena La Puente, CA, USA 04-14-06
    Milena La Puente, CA, USA 04-14-06
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    "Loved it!"

    I loved the way the story is narrated. The author makes sure she does not sound biased by telling you both sides of the story and by reasoning and understanding what takes a person or a community to x or y act. I love the idea of telling a few secrets from the church to us outsiders. I believe this religion is too old fashion by hiding secrets about rituals, censuring, threatening, and by stubbornly not accepting facts found by scientists.

    I could not believe that in America, there are those who live a life similar to the Muslim community in the Middle East.

    Kudos and thank you to the author!

    11 of 24 people found this review helpful

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