Leaving the Witness

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

As someone who grew up evangelical and let the dogma of my childhood religion behind, I'm always interested in stories of people who have left cults.. Descriptions of the author's attempts to proselytize in a country where such activity is banned is a stark reminder of the arrogance of religious fundamentalism. The author, like others enmeshed in cults, operated under the assumption that her faith gave her permission to break what she perceived to be unjust laws. I appreciate the author's willingness to explore the subject and to recognize her own failures within the broader context of the cult. Although the book gets off to a slow start, it's an interesting read for those who are interested in the daily life of Jehovahs Witnesses.
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Moving and interesting. I couldn’t put this down and found Amber easy to relate to - even though I have never been in a situation like hers. I am glad she chose to tell her story.
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"Leaving the Witness" is a fascinating look into the workings of a multi-million member cult, and their underground activities in a country where they are banned - an aspect of their work that many even current members know little about.

The culture shock the author experiences leads her to innocently shedding her Western assumptions and biases in order to preach more effectively, only to find that some of her beliefs may be among these assumptions she must leave behind.

Amber's writing is easy to sink into - relatable, funny, and sometimes sad. She is exactly the type of person you would want to meet for coffee with to talk about the end of the world.

A powerful story of a woman who could only find freedom in losing her religion, and how she must eventually come to terms with personal tragedy without the false hope of religion to guide her.

Ideal for readers that enjoyed Tara Westover's, "Educated".
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I thought the book was going to be the all-too-common story of someone involved in a cult who then managed, with the predictable difficulty, to break away and start a new life. No spoiler in that, because the title says as much. If it had only been that, the book still would have been a very informative and well-written memoir. 

The end of the book hit me like a stab in the heart.  I found myself wishing that the author did in fact have a shred of remaining faith to comfort her. Being an atheist myself, I was again reminded of the deep need within us for hope and answers, but Scorah doesn't desperately grasp at spiritual comfort from a being whose proof of existence is not supported.  

What kind of loving god, indeed...My heart hurts terribly for what she experienced and must carry with her for the rest of her life.  I can never begin to understand the pain she will always feel.
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Book Court - Where I'm the Judge and Jury

CHARGE (What is the author trying to say?): To describe leaving the Jehovah Witness lifestyle.

FACTS: Amber and her husband traveled to China as Jehovah Witness missionaries. Their marriage was over but their religion bound them together. “I was not allowed to leave him, so perhaps if I left enough places with him, it would suffice.” She had given up a career, education, financial security, and close personal relationships to save souls from destruction. They arrived in China in 2–5 where her religion had been banned since the 1950’s. Because of this, they were freed from the strict requirements of multiple weekly meetings, continual study, avoidance of worldly people, etc. In Communist China they actually found freedom. The book spends a lot of time talking about the founding of the Jehovah Witness religion and how the author’s family became involved. Though I expected an abrupt climatic break, the author’s “enlightenment” was much more subtle. How does she replace her religion. Her choices are rather disturbing.

VERDICT (Was the author successful?): Hung jury. I started out being sympathetic to her plight, but was very disappointed with her in the end.

#LeavingTheWitness #NetGalley
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Amber Scorah shares with us her life as a third generation Jehovah’s Witness  a religion with its own laws it’s a closed off from the world religion .Amber has lived her life knocking on people’s doors trying to convert them.Whie overseas on a mission she starts questioning her religion and when she leaves it she is shunned by all in the Witneses.Amber is such a gifted writer draws us in to her emotional decision and her break for freedom for life. Highly recommend @ netgalley @penguinviking
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