cover image Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself

Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself

Linda A. Curtis. She Writes, $16.95 trade paper (256) ISBN 978-1-63152-328-1

In this emotional memoir, Curtis writes of being raised by a devout Jehovah’s Witness mother, marrying within the faith, and eventually deciding to leave. From a young age, Curtis would crisscross her neighborhood on a weekly basis to proselytize and convert. Her mother was a devoted believer in “the Truth” (a term Curtis references often, to claustrophobic effect) and raised her three children within the faith, but Curtis’s father was not a Jehovah’s Witness—an incongruity that caused confusion throughout her life. Her inner conflict came to a head one Sunday when Curtis knocked on the door of an executive at the bank where she worked (a man she deeply respected for taking time off from work to be with his dying father) and suddenly realized how partisan and divisive her sermon sounded in the face of his grief. Curtis uses that encounter to trace back through her life, turning over moments from her past where she questioned her upbringing and relating stories of disconnect when she felt the fear of being “disfellowshipped” by her congregation if she didn’t fall in line. In the end, Curtis questions her marriage, her commitment to the Truth, and her entire way of living. This is a moving portrait of one woman’s life as a Jehovah’s Witness and her painful but liberating realization that she must give up her faith. (Apr.)