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Extended Audio Sample Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith Audiobook, by Martha Beck Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,871 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Martha Beck Narrator: Bernadette Dunne Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2005 ISBN: 9781415923580
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Martha Beck’s riveting memoir teaches us more about love, spirituality, trauma, truth telling, and hope than all the self-help books combined. It is 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
  • A courageous, touching, and beautifully written spiritual journey of the heart. I applaud Martha’s candidness and perseverance in her steadfast pursuit of the power of love. Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Positive Energy and Dr. Judith Orloff’s Guide to Intuitive Healing
  • Very sad. Very brave. Very true. Martha Beck has written a universal story for anyone who has confronted physical and spiritual abuse and freed themselves from the tenacious grip of patriarchy. Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge and The Open Space of Democracy
  • Leaving the Saints is a brave book. Martha Beck shares her journey out of religion and into faith and healing with heartbreaking candor, softened by wit and uplifted by a deep spiritual longing. Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Falina Lloyd | 2/19/2014

    " This book was very interesting to say the least. It's an amazing biography of the authors life experiences and how she came to love and believe in herself and God. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 2/16/2014

    " I'm always fascinated by religious fundamentalism, and so getting the inside scoop on the Mormon religion from a dissenter was a real hoot. Wow! It reads more like a tell-all than a memoire, and I had been afraid of just the opposite. A good read, if a little wordy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 2/13/2014

    " very good book, but very hard to read. Too much sexual abuse, I almost didn't finish it, but I'm glad I did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim Willemsen Wolffe | 2/10/2014

    " Martha Beck's personal story of healing her past and finding her true self "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jody | 1/27/2014

    " Marth Beck writes well, so all her books have that to offer. The subject matter here was of great interest to me. It's a great story about her spiritual journey and a look into the Mormon faith. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marsmannix | 1/25/2014

    " Read in 2 sittings. Funny, well-paced. I never thought anyaone could write about abuse and use humor, but some of her phrases just made me laugh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Heidebrecht | 1/21/2014

    " Can't get this story out of my mind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim (gtkim) | 1/17/2014

    " I would actually give this book 3.5 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie Jem | 1/17/2014

    " Although this book deals with all kinds of painful issues, I couldn't put it down. Martha Beck deals with her personal tragedies with clarity and humor. I would recommend her books to readers of Anne Lamott's nonfiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Cathcart | 1/2/2014

    " Beck is an amazing storyteller. Loved Expecting Adam, and Leaving the Saints did not disappoint. Beck weaves memoir and Mormon church insight flawlessly making for an amazing page turner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen Apocalypse | 12/22/2013

    " Loved this book. Martha Beck is a fabulous writer, and I found the stuff on Mormonism fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaye | 12/17/2013

    " While the narrator doesn't seem very reliable, she is a good writer. I wasn't particularly engaged in her personal story of abuse, but the structure and customs of the Mormon church are fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 12/4/2013

    " I have so much love for Martha Beck. Everything I've ever read by her blows my mind: Finding Your North Star, Expecting Adam, her columns in Oprah, this book. Amazing. Brave. Intelligent. Funny. Open-hearted. She is a role model and hero for living with integrity, and living well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janelle | 7/28/2013

    " Very interesting... had a great discussion at book club about this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Iliana | 5/26/2013

    " While the style of the book was a bit emotional, this Harvard-trained sociologist does convey her point well. My real interest in the book lies in the discussion of her research, and in the historical facts surrounding the church. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barry | 3/19/2013

    " I don't know how much stock to put into 'recovered memories', which really forms the basis for this book which details disturbing memories of the authors father, famed Mormon intellectual Hugh Nibley, brought out through therapy. Very disturbing if true. Equally disturbing if not true. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dianna | 12/13/2012

    " My curiosity about the Mormons abounds. Here is another look into that very interesting faith. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peggy Hess Greenawalt | 6/29/2012

    " Interesting and worth a great discussion in a group. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandon | 6/17/2012

    " This book was quite a slam on Martha Beck's father, and probably the most famous Mormon apologist of all time--Hugh Nibley--ouch! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela | 4/13/2012

    " Excellent, excellent book that reads like my home movies. I know these characters, have heard their voices. Helped me immensely, and started a very important conversation with one of my sisters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 12/3/2011

    " I love Martha Beck. She writes in a way that is accessible to all, while not 'dumbing us down'. I find her humor to be quite enjoyable as well. Of course, this is a serious subject matter about how she made her journey out of Mormonism. Quite a compelling story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Valerie | 10/4/2011

    " For such a heart wrenching account of her past her tone is surprisingly light. An excellently told story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 korey | 9/28/2011

    " Good read about a woman who's father is very prominent in the LDS church and the abuse she lived through as a child. It has a lot of good insight into some LDS beliefs and ceremonies. Pretty trippy, let me tell you! It's worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole Lemke | 8/17/2011

    " Interesting stuff on Mormonism. As with Expecting Adam, I could have done without the author telling me how smart she is every 5 pages or so! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 5/11/2011

    " A truly chilling story about the Mormon faith and this one woman's personal journey. This book is disturbing and makes you reassess your opinions on religion, Mormonism in particular. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Merissa | 4/11/2011

    " Jerry Springer-esque
    post-religious pulp fiction
    “Bee-tee-dubs – we’re gay!”
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alexgarrity | 3/25/2011

    " Eye opening look into life as a Mormon woman, mother, and wife. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laine | 3/4/2011

    " In a way, this book reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love. As far as spiritual journey memoirs go, I liked it better! It was sad and powerful and very well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renne | 2/19/2011

    " Equal parts fascinating, horrifying and absurd. I loved Expecting Adam but this was even better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Malerie | 12/28/2010

    " Moving, disturbing, encouraging, and unexpectedly funny. Martha is blatantly frank and her honesty carries the story through her own grasping for truth. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephen | 12/23/2010

    " Entertaining. The wire-tapping black helicopters were especially humorous. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzan | 11/17/2010

    " Great book. Well written, touching and loving portal of growing beyond the messes life sends our way. I will have to read this again as I think the wisdom in this book will deserve repeating. "

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About the Author
Life coach Martha Beck writes a monthly column, “Beck on Call,” for O: The Oprah Magazine. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Expecting Adam as well as Finding Your Own North Star and The Joy Diet. She lives with her family in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more about her at marthabeck.com, and join the discussion at leavingthesaints.com.
About the Narrator

Bernadette Dunne is the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. She studied at the Royal National Theatre in London and the Studio Theater in Washington, DC, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and off Broadway. She lives in Brooklyn.