Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life
A third-generation Jehovah's Witness, Amber Scorah had devoted her life to sounding God's warning of impending Armageddon. She volunteered to take the message to China, where the preaching she did was illegal and could result in her expulsion or ...more
Amber Scorah is a third-generation Jehovah’s Witness. Her life is spent believing in Armageddon and spreading the word as a witness. Amber is so devout she moves to China to minister there, where it is illegal to do so.
To do what she did in Shanghai, Scorah had to use fake names and other measures to stay und ...more
Ironically, it was Scorah’s travelling with her Jehovah’s Witness husband as a “missionary pioneer” to China, the largest totalitarian co ...more
This book really checks so many boxes: it's a spy novel, an insider's look at a religious cult, in parts it's even a coming-of-age story. And all along, it's the memoir of one very strong woman. The journey Scorah has been on in life is truly incredible, and she courageously takes you w ...more
Commitment meant dropping out of college even though my education was fully paid for by means of a ...more
If not for all that had happened here, I would not have left my religion. I would certainly still be a Jehovah's Witness had I not come to this country and learned its ways. Perhaps I would have been happier. But no matter what it took to get here, to this breezy corner, or how alone I was among these 1.3 billion people, I felt ecstatic to be free, to have this life. I didn't know who to thank anymore, so I thanked the sky, the trees, the smiles, the sounds – the things I knew to be true.
One example: When she describes the mind-numbing ritual of district conventions, she says that she wished she had a baby so she had an excuse to get up and wander around. I ALWAYS thought that! I could not stop laughing about that shared commiseration!
This was a triggering but important book for me. I can ...more
In Leaving the Witness, Scorah recounts some of her childhood and teen years, but she focuses mainly on her time in China as a Jehovah’s Witness. She gives a lot of details about what she did as a Jehovah’s Witness in a foreign country. A lot. She reports on the found ...more
It was interesting to learn more about Jehovah’s Witnesses and what they believe, and it was interesting to hear the story of an American who was secretly preaching in China. But then the book just grew less interesting as it went along, an ...more
I was hooked by Leaving the Witness right off the bat. The book opens with author Amber Scorah arriving in Shanghai. To prepar ...more
All Amber Scorah knew was life as a Jehovah's Witness. Brought into the church at a young age by her grandmother, Amber conceived of the world as completely black and white, with JWs being the only people "inside the truth" and the only people who would live eternally. After a youthful indiscretion that almost got her kicked out of the church, she married a fellow JW and they embarked on a life in China as covert missionaries.
"We as humans seem to work the hardest to avoid our biggest gift: freedom of choice."
Leaving the Witness is the story of a woman who travels to Shanghai as a Jehovah's Witness missionary, only to discover the tight grip this cult religion had on her mind and slowly worm her way out. The first half mostly exists to set the stage, but the book starts to come alive as Amber comes alive, pushed by a stranger from the internet to re-examine and question her beliefs for the first time. She talks a ...more
Special snowflakes like this, desperate for attention, who were never IN an actual cult, but rather a legitimate religion they just decided they don't want to be part of, cheapen the experience of actual victims.
"I was an uneducated preacher" -- Amber Scorah.
Amber, this sounds like a 'you' problem. You were in a religious organization that gives free lessons in public speaking, Bible history, writing, reading, and several different languages. If you were too busy thinking up excuse ...more
So, this is kind of hard to review. First off, I'd like to be clear that it was really good. A very unique memoir in which I really can't find anything to fault. It covers her early life in the Jehovah's Witness world, & how she ended up in China, of all places. Then it moves into the even more engaging ways that being a secret missionary in an openly restrictive (oddly enough, not an oxymoron) country allowed her what she most...more
My only quibble was the pacing - I knew about her family tragedy, and when I found myself on page 253 of a 279 page book without it being introduced, I knew it was going to be glossed over, and it was. I wish that she'd either expanded that section, or addressed it in a later book. ...more
Although I keep it kind of quiet, I'm very anti-religion(s). I think most all of them have done far more harm to the world than good. I've read many books by Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and others that have helped crystallize and legitimize my thoughts. So the topic at the core of Leaving the Witness appealed to me strongly.
Although the ...more
CHARGE (What is the author trying to say?): To describe leaving the Jehovah Witness lifestyle.
FACTS: Amber and her husband traveled to China as Jehovah Witness missionaries. Their marriage was over but their religion bound them together. “I was not allowed to leave him, so perhaps if I left enough places with him, it would suffice.” She had given up a career, education, financial security, and close personal relationships to save souls from destruction. T ...more
Amber became a parental leave advocate after the loss of her son Karl on his first day in childcare, and was named one of the 100 most influential people in Brooklyn culture by Brooklyn Magazine.
Before coming to New York City, Amber lived in Shanghai, where ...more