Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions

Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions

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by Cami Ostman
     
 

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Beyond Belief addresses what happens when women of extreme religions decide to walk away. Editors Susan Tive (a former Orthodox Jew) and Cami Ostman (a de-converted fundamentalist born-again Christian) have compiled a collection of powerful personal stories written by women of varying ages, races, and religious backgrounds who share one commonality: they

Overview

Beyond Belief addresses what happens when women of extreme religions decide to walk away. Editors Susan Tive (a former Orthodox Jew) and Cami Ostman (a de-converted fundamentalist born-again Christian) have compiled a collection of powerful personal stories written by women of varying ages, races, and religious backgrounds who share one commonality: they’ve all experienced and rejected extreme religions.

Covering a wide range of religious communities—including Evangelical, Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, Calvinist, Moonie, and Jehovah’s Witness—and containing contributions from authors like Julia Scheeres (Jesus Land), the stories in Beyond Belief reveal how these women became involved, what their lives were like, and why they came to the decision to eventually abandon their faiths. The authors shed a bright light on the rigid expectations and misogyny so often built into religious orthodoxy, yet they also explain the lure—why so many women are attracted to these lifestyles, what they find that’s beautiful about living a religious life, and why leaving can be not only very difficult but also bittersweet.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Named one of the Washington Post's Top 50 Notable Nonfiction Books of 2013

“These women share the terror they experienced because they dared to read Judy Blume, or disagreed that feminism is Satan’s tool, or had sex outside of marriage, or refused to believe that reciting verses from their holy scripture would solve every one of life’s problems. Their brave, aching stories reveal a new truth.”
Leora Tanenbaum, author of Taking Back God: American Women Rising Up for Religious Equality

“With a bold eye for the tragic and ridiculous, these spot-on testimonies by women cast a penetrating light on their pilgrimages to Planet Religion in search of meaning and sanctuary, trudging through the sloughs of inequity and weirdness to reach, with luck, the get-me-the-hell-out-of-here exit."
Tova Reich, author of My Holocaust

Library Journal
Freelance writers Ostman (Second Wind: One Woman's Midlife Quest To Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents) and Tive edit a collection of narratives by women practicing in various religions, from Islam to Mormonism, Catholicism, and various forms of Protestantism. In other words, the title may be misleading. These women are not writing of fringe sects or radical separatist faiths. Some were born and moved more deeply into their faith; others write of working their way through doubt to conversion to another spiritual practice. In "The Imperceptible Head Shake," Julia Sheeres describes how she began to doubt Christianity at age 13 after reading a passage in the Bible that sought to quiet women and allow men the ultimate authority. Huda Al-Marashi's "Beaten by Devotion" depicts a ritual for Muslim women that she at first approached with apprehension but that ultimately strengthened her religious faith. Mormon Caitlin Constantine's "Baptizing the Annas" details her thoughts as she went through a ritual in which she was baptized in the names of a dozen women named Anna from the 1600s so that they could receive their salvation. VERDICT These personal accounts of faith and doubt are distinct from such memoirs of escape as Lauren Drain's Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church, with Lisa Pulitzer. These are fascinating stories mostly from within the major faiths. Recommended for those who enjoy spiritual memoirs of seekers and practitioners within various devotions.—Annette Haldeman, Legislative Svcs. Lib., Maryland General Assembly, Annapolis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580054423
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/02/2013
Pages:
328
Sales rank:
386,382
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“These women share the terror they experienced because they dared to read Judy Blume, or disagreed that feminism is Satan’s tool, or had sex outside of marriage, or refused to believe that reciting verses from their holy scripture would solve every one of life’s problems. Their brave, aching stories reveal a new truth.”
Leora Tanenbaum, author of Taking Back God: American Women Rising Up for Religious Equality

“With a bold eye for the tragic and ridiculous, these spot-on testimonies by women cast a penetrating light on their pilgrimages to Planet Religion in search of meaning and sanctuary, trudging through the sloughs of inequity and weirdness to reach, with luck, the get-me-the-hell-out-of-here exit."
Tova Reich, author of My Holocaust

Meet the Author

Cami Ostman’s first book, Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents, was published by Seal Press. She is a weekly contributor to The Spirited Woman and has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine; Adventures Northwest; and Fitness magazine.

As a writer, editor, and researcher for more than 14 years, Susan Tive has worked on on several nonfiction titles, including Faith and Feminism and Rachel’s Bag, and on a variety of academic articles exploring psychology, feminism, and religion.

They both live in Bellingham, WA.

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Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book offers some wonderful snippets of insight into the lives of many women who have experienced religion in many different ways in their lives. While I commend the authors and editors on this idea of compilation, each story stops short. Just when I got interested in the story teller's journey, stop...no more. I want to know what happened! Did they actually leave their religion? Somtimes that wasn't even clear. Every great story has closure. These, unfortunately, had little or no closure and left me very dissatisfied as a reader.