Ellyn's Reviews > Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith

Leaving the Saints by Martha N. Beck
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's review
Feb 22, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2005
Read in January, 2005

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 found this book to be a fascinating account of the author's journey towards faith and an interesting insider's view of the history and current state of the Mormon Church in America. The author is obviously extremely intelligent and well-spoken. Her experience of faith is hard for me to relate to because it's so outside the realm of my own experience, but I loved reading about it. Since reading this book, I have become aware that it is very controversial and that members of Martha's family have raised doubts about the truth of her accounts. I can't speak to whether her story is fact or fiction, but I do think that it's helpful to know some background on the author before reading it. In retrospect, I also wonder about the fairness of the author's portrayal of the Mormon Church. I still highly recommend this book, but I also recommend reading other writings about the Mormon Church from a variety of perspectives for the sake of balance.
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