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Extended Audio Sample Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith, 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: Martha Beck Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Pamela Morrison | 2/17/2014

    " I thought this book was awesome. And terrifying. And funny. And very uplifting as Beck, now an ex-Mormon, discovered...against all odds!...her own delicious connection to spirit. But alas, I guess she is damned to the Outer Darkness forever now. Oh, well... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Khoelterhoff | 2/16/2014

    " I just finished reading this and feel like my eyes have been opened to recovery in a new way. I keep quoting this book to my husband and feeling grateful all over again for the freedom that I know as my faith. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Susan | 2/15/2014

    " Well-written; however not worth the read. Self-indulgent and opinionated veering far from the truth at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by HBalikov | 2/13/2014

    " Having read the thought provoking Under the Banner of Heaven, I was not sure what to expect. But Krakauer is viewing it from outside. Martha Beck's view is from the core and it is very personal. Having left Utah for an academic life in the Ivy League East, we find out why she goes back and what awaits her. At times gut-wrenching, it gives a chilling portrait of what she finds both at BYU and in her personal history. Highly recommended. "

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