Saturday, January 10, 2015

Book Review: Beyond Belief - The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme - Susan Tive & Cami Osmtman

Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions - Susan Tive and Cami Ostman

This book is actually a series of essays by women from different religions. The compilers, Tive and Ostman, (who also contribute their own stories) are upfront over what constitutes an extreme religion. They allowed their storytellers to define it for themselves. So it isn't always the bizarre fundamentalists, the Moonies, or the cults that are represented here, it's also more mainstream churches, because each woman's definition was based on her own experience.

It seems that almost everyone is represented here. There are three LDS stories, a couple of Jehovah Witnesses, a Moonie, several Jews (of different sects), Baptists, Scientologists, various Christian sects, Muslims, a Catholic nun who worked with Mother Theresa and one Seventh Day Adventist story sounded so much like my own LDS experience it was eerie.

There was even one story from a woman who became addicted to a man, a "spiritual" leader.

One of the things they all seemed to have in common. The women tell how they came from a church that had "the one true gospel" and all else were wrong.

Again, something I have heard for years in my own Mormon faith.

And they all viewed their experiences as strange, constricting, and something to escape from at some point even if at the place where they tell their story they are full supporting participants.

It just goes to show that not only are religions have a lot in common in the good things, but in the bad things as well.

This is a fascinating look into other religions and cultures and beliefs that go with them. I have one of the writer's books waiting for me at the library, the one by the nun who worked with Mother Theresa and I will be following the writing of the other women.

Whether you are happily devoted to the religion of your choice, an atheist, or searching this is a fascinating read.

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