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Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond
Secret Ceremonies A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond Author:Deborah Laake At a time when her generation was protesting a war and transforming national headlines into a saga of campus violence, Deborah Laake was a typical Mormon girl...at peaceful Brigham Young University, she was attractive, popular and devout and received good grades. More importantly, she found The One, the man who declared that his claim to her was... more » a matter of divine revelation. Married while still in her teens, her life - a picture-perfect one according to the Mormon standards by which she was raised - became an out-of-kilter dream from which she feared she'd never rouse.« less
R. S. reviewed Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond on
Helpful Score: 9
This is a rare opportunity to see inside the LDS and get not only a description of the ceremonies and practices but the restrictive lives some young women experience. Clearly, the author, as a lapsed Mormon, represents that life differently than a believer would â IF a believer would discuss anything. But the fact that there exists an institution for overwhelmed women in need of hospitalization suggests that Deborah Laake's experience isn't unique.
The transition from starry eyed devotee to troubled soul looking for help within the LDS world to a humiliated divorcee to her eventual steps outside the LDS world make for good reading.
Suzanne reviewed Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond on
Helpful Score: 8
Very interesting peek at what goes on within the cult-like, patriarchial LDS world. Note: (The author has since passed away (suicide) after her excommunication and subsequent bout with cancer.) A similar, more contemporary memoir is Martha Beck's LEAVING THE SAINTS. Both authors are very brave to expose both the hypocrisy and the secrecy of the Mormon religion.
This non-fiction autobiography purports to be an expose of the Mormon religion, but is really just an expose of one woman's unhappy life.
I haven't learned anything I didn't know about Mormonism from this book, but I have learned more details than I really ever needed to know about a stranger's sex life!
The book isn't very well written, either, but it has the same weird appeal as that of a daytime talk show, where you can't really figure out WHY the guests want to reveal these sordid and intimate details of their lives to the general public.
And Laake does pretty much admit that the messes she gets herself into are her own fault... she's just pretty spineless. For example, she marries a guy she doesn't love - but it wasn't an arranged marriage or anything - the guy pursued her, she didn't have the guts to break up with him or tell him no, and she *assumes* that her family would want her to marry him. Of course, the marriage doesn't go well. But it wasn't her church that got her into the mess. After the divorce (which her family supports her through), yes, church elders treat her pretty badly. But you know what? No one's forcing her to go to counseling with male elders who are weirdly obsessed with the details of her sex life. No one's even forcing her to be a Mormon!
In the end, the moral you can take away from the story is that trying to live your life by what you *think* are other people's expectations for you will only make you miserable. Reading Laake's story, I keep wanting to say "Stick up for yourself!" and "Get over it!"
But, I read on salon.com that a while after this book became a bestseller, she committed suicide. While I disagree with many aspects of Mormonism (and of pretty much all religions - I'm an equal-opportunity atheist!), I don't think the religion she was brought up in was really responsible for her unhappiness in life. After all, plenty of people leave a religion without letting it ruin their life! The problem was her personal inability to decide what *she* wanted from life, and to go out and find it.
An eye-opening account of what goes on inside the Mormon Temple. Deborah Laake writes with real candor.....how many women could bring themselves to discuss masturbation with their fathers, let alone write a book in which the praises of self-gratification are loudly sung? (I loved her father's respnse, by the way. Talk about your cool dads!)
Although I think it's sad that the author eventually lost a faith that she once cherished, I did enjoy the book.
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. It talks about some of the secret ceremonies (hence the title) and practices of the Mormon church. It was particularly interesting to me since I live about 1/4 of a mile from the Mormon church in Mesa which is where some of the book takes place. It demystifies some of the rituals.
However, about halfway through the book the author starts talking about her psychological problems and that's primarily what the rest of the book is about. She lost me about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through the book. I would rather have heard more about the practices of the Mormon church then her visits to the psych wards.
A fairly engaging read.