Leaving the Saints
How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith
By Martha Beck
(Three Rivers Press (CA), Paperback, 9780307335999, 336pp.)
Publication Date: April 25, 2006
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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 in an existence framed by the strictest code of conduct. As an adult, she moved to the east coast, outside of her Mormon enclave for the first time in her life. When her son was born with Down syndrome, Martha and her husband left their graduate programs at Harvard to return to Utah, where they knew the supportive Mormon community would embrace them.
But when she was hired to teach at Brigham Young University, Martha was troubled by the way the Church’s elders 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. The New York Times bestseller Leaving the Saints chronicles Martha’s 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.
Leaving the Saints 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.
“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
“Few have such fascinating tales—or the literary chops and emotional range with which to tell them—as Martha Beck. . . . That Beck can write so eloquently about [her break from the church] without bitterness is a gift worth its weight in gold plates.” —Ralph Frammolino, Los Angeles Times
“Trying to get your truth out against a wall of resistance? Looking for a spiritual bonus in the struggle? Your struggle is Beck’s, and Leaving the Saints tells it consolingly well.” —Detroit News and Free Press