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Secret Ceremonies: Diary of a Mormon by…
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Secret Ceremonies: Diary of a Mormon (edition 1993)

by Deborah Laake

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250566,536 (2.81)4
Member:JFDausman
Title:Secret Ceremonies: Diary of a Mormon
Authors:Deborah Laake
Info:Dove Entertainment Inc (1993), Audio Cassette
Collections:Your library
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Secret Ceremonies by Deborah Laake

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Showing 5 of 5
Badly written. The author was extremely childish and naive throughout, and comes across as a very flat, one sided character. It's hard to believe anyone was actually that simple in how she thought - I'm sure the author was trying to just oversimplify the events of her life, but it didn't come across that way.

I didn't really learn anything new about Mormonism either, which is why I read the book, and could not like Laake as a person, which made for a dreadful book. ( )
  anastaciaknits | Oct 29, 2016 |
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. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 I wrote about this book:

Read this in a couple of hours. I was shocked to learn that the author had commited suicide a couple of years after this book was published.

It was a very interesting read. Not the best of writing but an interesting view on the Mormoms church.
( )
  Marlene-NL | Apr 12, 2013 |
Disturbing account of Deborah Laake's young womanhood in the Mormon Church and her direct experience with the role of women in that church. It should be understood that this is Laake's very personal account and may be offensive to some readers. ( )
  turtlesleap | Feb 23, 2012 |
Laake's story of her young adulthood as a Mormon is very easy to read although the content is somewhat disturbing. Her religious aspirations to be pleasing to God found their earthly home in bad marriages which assured her way into heaven and damning her when they failed. In spite of oaths that would require bodily harm if she shared any information about the secret ceremonies, Laake allows her readers to join her in the Temple ceremonies which bound her to her first husband in this life and the afterlife.

In the introduction, the author says that many times she gave up on writing this book. Finally, I think it was cathartic for her to tell her story - the years of turmoil in the Mormon religion. I was surprised that polygamy was not the main issue here. However, it was very interesting to think that, even without the dreaded polygamy, Mormon females remain in a position of inferiority and submission. ( )
1 vote LibrarysCat | Jan 15, 2008 |
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Dedication
This book is for B.,
whose generosity launched it.
It is also for Elisa Petrini,
who enlarged it.
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When I left home for college, I knew I was the sort of girl to whom romantic things had always happened and always would.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
From the heart of America's most mysterious sect, one woman has dared to break the silence..."
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Secret Ceremonies is the story of the awakening of Deborah Laake, who came of age in the early seventies in a manner that would have appeared out-of-step but certainly not tumultuous to an outsider. At a time when her generation was protesting a war and transforming national headlines into a saga of campus violence, she was instead a typical Mormon girl who experienced her college years at peaceful Brigham Young University as the fulfillment of all her dreams. She.received good grades there, was attractive and popular and devout - but most of all she found The One, the man who declared that his claim to her was a matter of divine revelation. The role of dutiful wife and mother was the one she believed she was made for, and thus she was married in the sacred chambers of a Mormon temple while still in her teens, participating in angel-inspired ceremonies of special handshakes and voodoo of which much of the world is still unaware.From there 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. Her husband was a man whom she had never loved, whom she nonetheless believed God had chosen for her, but with whom she couldn't force herself to remain. Divorced by age twenty, she had failed at marriage, the only task that mattered, and gradually she realized that she was being punished. Barred.from the Mormon temple by church authorities, even threatened with excommunication, she found her depression deepening. Trying to live up to the church's expectations of her, she married again, unaware that the result would be a spiral of mental illness that would propel her into a hospital ward of unabashed psychotics, the likes of whom she'd never imagined. There, among the truly unconventional, she somehow recognized a modern world beckoning to her from beyond the.closed patriarchal society that had always sheltered her yet kept her from true maturity. Always lyrical and often unexpectedly funny, Secret Ceremonies is a compassionate but brutally honest insider's look at modern Mormon society. It describes the mystery of the rituals, the beauty and rigor of the theology, and the traditions of one of the world's fastest-growing Christian churches. It is also a complex rite-of-passage story, a tale of the war between religious faith.and personal integrity. As a book that states the unspeakable - the official and unofficial secret ceremonies that underlie the lives of Mormon wives - it is a triumphant act of self-affirmation.… (more)

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