I realize it has been an EXTREMELY long time since I have posted on my blog. I hope to justify whatever reasons I have for it in another post, but I felt very compelled to write this particular post as soon as possible.
Since I haven't updated my reading list in what seems like a decade, you wouldn't know that I have steamrolled through numerous books since July and am now reading EXPECTING ADAM by Martha Beck. You can read more about the book by clicking HERE.
Martha Beck (according to the back of the book) is "a writer, life coach, and columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine." She also has 3 Harvard degrees, a handful of best-seller books, and 3 children. While she currently lives in Arizona, Beck is originally from Provo, Utah. Upon her mentioning this in the book, I felt immediately bonded to her under the assumption she was Mormon (like me) and shared the same values that I have as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As I read on, I realized my naive assumption couldn't have been further from the truth...
You see, Martha grew up in Provo and was a member of the LDS church. Somewhere along the line, however, Martha left the church... and decided to write a book about it (ah, freedom of speech at its finest!); apparently, that heart-warming best-seller is called LEAVING THE SAINTS: HOW I LOST THE MORMONS AND FOUND MY FAITH. (Side Note: If only I had paid closer attention to the back page of the book where this tid-bit was advertised before buying Expecting Adam, I would have saved myself a lot of grief and money.) Now, I have not read more than a blurb about Beck's book LEAVING THE SAINTS, nor do I intend to. She makes it very clear she desires no continued affiliation with the church or the people of Utah by referring to both as a "bubble" of "religious fanatics" quite often. And, so, after I finish this book, I don't desire to have any continued affiliation with her either.
However, what compelled me to write this post so abruptly is not the irony of Ms. Beck calling herself a "life coach" when she willingly abandoned the tools/ability the LDS church provides to actually UNDERSTAND and FULFILL the meaning of life as intended by our Heavenly Father... but instead, my desire to write this post stems from a happening in one of the chapters. In chapter 11 of this book, Beck and her toddler daughter are saved from their apartment stairwell when a downstairs refrigerator catches fire. During their decent from the 10th floor, a pregnant Beck is overwhelmed from smoke inhalation and no longer has the strength to continue on. Miraculously, she feels the strong grip of a firefighter who leads her to safety into a nearby parking lot. Afterwards, Beck searches for the man who saved her, but cannot find him among the many firefighters that were called to the scene that day. The following day, Beck sees a classmate's copy of the Boston Herald that displays Beck and her daughter front and center, emerging from the smoke-filled building. Oddly enough, they are alone. The man that Beck felt and testified of helping her out of the building at that exact moment is not there - he never existed!
At this moment, I smiled in my mind because I was thinking, "Finally. Now she will recognize the protection and influence of angels and of the Spirit in her life. She can't possibly continue to deny it now!" I read on to the beginning of the 12th chapter and begun to see excerpts like "paranormal assistance," "the 'Something' that helped me down the staircase," and "supernatural beings and protectors." If Matt had not been quietly researching .22 revolvers next to me in bed, I would have threw the book across the room and utterly LOST it. Instead I politely discussed it with him and continued to read.
In the opening paragraphs of chapter 12, Beck doesn't abandon her "anti-Mormon" writing style and continues to project her misunderstood ideas and values (the same ideas and values, I assume, she teaches to the idiotic saps that PAY for her "life coach" experience) onto the reader. Below are a few of my favorite quotes by dear Martha Beck"
"How many times a day does some poor hapless human REALLY NEED a good supernatural protector and fail to get one? People are tortured and killed and raped and pillaged on a daily basis, and if there are angels in the vicinity, they apparently just sit around watching - wringing their ectoplasmic little hands, perhaps, but letting nature take its course."
NOTE: I can only imagine what happened in Beck's early life that lead her to be so cynical and hopeless in her faith and in her faith of angels, but I hope she is able to find peace.
Oh, and here is my favorite excerpt... pay special attention to the bolded statements:
"A great deal of human energy, including mine, has been spent trying to figure out why some people get help from angels and some get lobotomized by flying debris from freak wheat-threshing accidents. Religious people always seem to have simple formulas to explain this. If you're very, very good, say the formulas, you can avoid the gods' disfavor and court their assistance. If you sacrifice a goat, you will be blessed. If it's the wrong goat - say, one with a gimpy foot - you will be smitten with a pox. If you join the right church, you will live long and prosper; if you leave it, you are consigned to eternal misery. Believe me, you don't grow up in Utah without hearing a great deal of this sort of reasoning. But none of the causal connections I have heard preached by any religion fits the facts as I see them. All I can say for sure is that whatever supernatural beings are operating around us, they are working from a priority list that is different than mine."
All I can say to that, Martha Beck, is THANK GOODNESS they are working from a priority list different from yours! I'm sure you must be exhausted from pondering the meaning of life and divine intervention with your 3 Harvard degrees in sociology of gender, but, honey... what you're trying to answer for the world here isn't part of your job description. There is someone else WAY more equipped to answering our questions and He WILL answer them... to those who are willing and able to accept and listen to Him. Let me make it easy for you: Study the scriptures - the Bible, the Book of Mormon, etc. Pray in faith. Go back to the church which you abandoned and simply LISTEN. Ignorance isn't bliss. You will receive answers; I can PROMISE you that. How do I know this so surely? Because I was there before, right in your shoes. I doubted and scoffed at the idea that these so-called "supernatural beings" existed and that there was a Heavenly Father that loved me and knew me. But, surprisingly enough, I didn't need a mortal life coach to see the plan which these "paranormal beings" have for me, I needed to truly know and love them all in return: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - the greatest "life coaches" of all. The blessings that have been given to me and brought to my attention since accepting their existence and their love and the LDS church are absolutely astonishing, and I hope and pray that my loved ones who have not yet accepted all of these things will one day be able to also. And I also pray that Martha Beck will be able to accept these truths and love again.
Needless to say, this book is and will be difficult to continue to trudge through now with Beck the "all-knowing" life coach spewing her opinions on how religion (or lack thereof) SHOULD be, but I am dedicated to reading the remaining knowledge that she does have on other subjects, such as pregnancy, child birth, and raising a disabled kid.