Leaving the Saints

  • by Martha Beck
  • Narrated by Bernadette Dunne
  • 12 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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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What the Critics Say

"The book is full of Beck's laugh-out-loud hyperbolic wit and exquisitely written insights." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

spiritual and psycohological autobiography

I knew nothing about Mormonism or Martha Beck before listening to this audiobook, though I've since gathered that she is well known in the US - unsurprisingly with notoriety in the Mormon world. I chose it out of interest in the spiritual autobiography of which the subtitle indicates.
What the title doesn't indicate is that the book is as much about sexual abuse as it is about religion and faith. Had I known this I wouldn't have chosen it, but though I was shocked and upset by the content on this subject, I'm glad I listened to this book because it's not just about surviving abuse and the consequences of a traumatic childhood, nor just about the (also disturbing) inner workings and foundations of the Mormon church, but is very much about finding the paths of healing, grace, courage, forgiveness, love, and truth.
I think Martha and I would have to part company on some of the New Age-y aspects of spirituality that the synopses of some of her more current books indicate, nevertheless, I found this book spiritually uplifting and challenging and I'm glad I listened to it.
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- Lee-Anne

An interesting and well written book

This book is very interesting and for someone who knew almost nothing about the Mormon religion, it was fascinating to hear about it and my attention was captured all the way through. I would discourage anyone considering reading this book from reading the whole synopsis as it gives to much away - it spoils some of the shock and surprise and that is a pity.
The book is wonderfully narrated and that makes it probably an easier book to listen to rather than read since the author tries to explain some complex religious ideas and discusses her very intense thoughts. There is a lovely thread of humour that runs through the book and I would recommend this book to people who are looking for an eye opening read that is very well written.
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- CD

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-03-2005
  • Publisher: Books on Tape