cover image Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life

Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life

Amber Scorah. Viking, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2254-0

In her impressive debut, Scorah recounts her years as a Jehovah’s Witness in China, her decision to leave the faith, and her ongoing spiritual questioning. In 2005, Scorah and her husband left Vancouver for Taipei before volunteering to move to Shanghai, where being a Jehovah’s Witness could get them deported. There, they worked as English teachers and private tutors, covertly preaching their doctrines of impending apocalypse to Chinese citizens and expats they meet. Eventually, Scorah found a job working on a podcast, and through her work and interactions with a man she met online, she began to question her religion. After revealing the intimate friendship to her husband, Scorah decided she needed to leave him and was shunned by her family and friends. Scorah’s prose is straightforward, and she has a winning sense of humor about how much she’s changed: “We gave up any hope of a career all for the sake of saving these people, and goddammit—no pun intended—we were very concerned about their destruction.” Scorah provides a rare glimpse into the insular world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and her accounts of expat life and leaving her faith should give this candid memoir wide appeal. (June)