RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY

Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life

Viking. Jun. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9780735222540. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780735222564. REL
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Scorah, an essayist and editor for Scholastic, pens a debut chronicling her experiences as a Jehovah’s Witness. The author describes her tumultuous beginnings, from an unstable home life with an alcoholic father to being ostracized as a teen for an inappropriate relationship. Along the way, she offers valuable insight into the psychosocial structure of Witness life. Scorah, influenced heavily by extended family pressure, fails to flee the institution and, instead, embraces its safety through a convenient marriage and travel to China as a missionary. Scorah finds Witnessing in China to be secretive and isolating, yet she thrives after finding employment as a podcaster. Her religious convictions falter after an involved online correspondence with a fan intensifies. Life unravels, and Scorah walks away from her loveless marriage and the Jehovah’s Witnesses community, apologetically. The author’s life slowly evolves, but not without further heartbreak. Scorah’s closing pages fast forward to the unimaginable—the tragic death of her infant son and the pain of trying to find solace when one’s faith has gone quiet.
VERDICT A compelling story offering insight into the Jehovah’s Witnesses, their mission work, and the hardships a former believer faces as an apostate.

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