by Martha Beck
I have long been a fan of Martha Beck's writing, she has a great way of reaching her reader, and her wicked sense of humour is what I most adore about her. I am currently reading her latest book "Finding Your Way in a Wild New World" and it is just as great as the other ones I have read some of, Finding your North Star and Steering by Starlight. She is a trained sociologist and a Harvard graduate, so combining her scholarly training with her humanness and humour, makes for a very delightful read.
I stumbled across this book somehow online, and since I have always had a fascination with the Mormon religion and the mysteries surrounding it, I knew I would like it. And I did.
Here many of the bizarre dogma of the religion are blatantly published, and not from lack of fear of reprisal. Any ex-mormon who outs their secrets, like the one where they believe that God lives in a planet called Kolob (however, if you try to research this online you will come up with a he-said/she-said scenario - which is very frustrating). And that Joseph Smith translated ancient egyptian hieroglyphics into what is now known as the Book of Abraham. (this was later disputed when the Rosetti Stone was discovered, and after decades of studying it, the code for deciphering hieroglyphs was revealed). It turns out that what Joseph Smith claimed to translate into the mormon text, is a version of the book of the dead. Again, this is a fact, but I am pretty sure that any devout mormons reading this might have a thing or two to say about this unfolding of events.
I could go on and on, but will not, because this is what I found most fascinating about this book and I don't want to give too much away.
Martha's father, as it turns out, was a high ranking apologist in the church and much revered by its members. In her book, her claims of abuse at his hands was widely poo-pooed and she was made out by her family and other church members to be a raving lunatic. Well, who wouldn't be? Raised in that house!
The only criticism I have of this particular book of hers is that she had a tendency to use a lot of REALLY HARD WORDS. I know this may sound kind of childish, but what I mean is I thank God I had a dictionary in my kindle, or I would have probably given up on it already. The thing is she must have mentioned about 87 times that she went to Harvard, and she used these unbelievably difficult words that even in the context of the sentence I still had no idea what the hell they meant. And what was most annoying was that she COULD have used a more common word easily in its place, and save me the clicking. Let me give you some examples:
- filial - Of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter (she used this one a lot)
- ignominious - deserving or causing public disgrace
- noblesse oblige - nobility obliges
- ostensibly- apparently or purportedly but perhaps not actually.
- vociferous - vehement (okay, seriously, WHY could she just not say VEHEMENT - she says vehemently)
- amorphous - having no definite form
- obstreperous - noisy; difficult to control.
- amanuenses - a literary or artistic assistant
- stentorian - basically means someone in ther 70's.
- lugubrious - looking or sounding sad or dismal
- commodious - roomy and comfortable (I guess "roomy" was just to NOT HARVARD enough)
- perspicacity- keenness of mental perception (okay, this word just look impossible to pronounce, AM I RIGHT??!!)
- vertiginous - causing vertigo
Wow, seeing them all listed like that makes me realize that that IS a lot of big words, and maybe I'm not really just an idiot.
And not to mention Greek Mythology references up the ying-yang, like "Damocles' Sword of Mormon".
So, all in all, a very interesting account of a daughter of a famous mormon leaving the church, and a bit of the history of mormonism to boot.
For more about Martha Beck, her books and her coaching visit Martha Beck.com.