Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life

Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life Review

A riveting memoir of losing faith and finding freedom while a covert missionary in one of the world's most restrictive countries.

A third-generation Jehovah's Witness, Amber Scorah had devoted her life to sounding God's warning of impending Armageddon. She volunteered to take the message to China, where the preaching she did was illegal and could result in her expulsion or worse. Here, she had some distance from her community for the first time. Immersion in a foreign language and culture--and a whole new way of thinking--turned her world upside down, and eventually led her to lose all that she had been sure was true.

As a proselytizer in Shanghai, using fake names and secret codes to evade the authorities' notice, Scorah discreetly looked for targets in public parks and stores. To support herself, she found work at a Chinese language learning podcast, hiding her real purpose from her coworkers. Now with a creative outlet, getting to know worldly people for the first time, she began to understand that there were other ways of seeing the world and living a fulfilling life. When one of these relationships became an "escape hatch," Scorah's loss of faith culminated in her own personal apocalypse, the only kind of ending possible for a Jehovah's Witness.

Shunned by family and friends as an apostate, Scorah was alone in Shanghai and thrown into a world she had only known from the periphery--with no education or support system. A coming of age story of a woman already in her thirties, this unforgettable memoir examines what it's like to start one's life over again with an entirely new identity. It follows Scorah to New York City, where a personal tragedy forces her to look for new ways to find meaning in the absence of religion. With compelling, spare prose, Leaving the Witness traces the bittersweet process of starting over, when everything one's life was built around is gone.

Title:Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life

    Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life Reviews

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    I have a feeling this memoir is on the cusp of something really big. If my review is the first you are hearing of it, I think you will be hearing about it again. And again. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Amber ...

  • Canadian

    Amber Scorah’s memoir about leaving one of the most controlling and restrictive of religious organizations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses— a movement that Canadian academic M. James Penton characteriz...

  • Jen

    Never would have guessed that in a book about Jehovah's Witnesses that I would also find a mini historical look back at the beginning of the podcast era AND Alanis Morissette's breakout album "Jagged ...

  • Krista

    If not for all that had happened here, I would not have left my religion. I would certainly still be a Jehovah's Witness had I not come to this country and learned its ways. Perhaps I would have been...

  • Mehrsa

    This was a really interesting memoir, but there were a lot of threads that did not come together for me. She's introspective about leaving her faith, but she is not as introspective about her "loveles...

  • Don Campbell

    I was not raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but at the age of 18 I became convinced that they had “the Truth.” But, college, my friends (especially THAT girl), and my mother’s hopes for my...

  • Laurel

    Fantastic. A MUST READ for any former member of a cult or high demand religion. Honestly, so deeply mirrored my experience of leaving that it was a bit triggering, and also incredibly meaningful to me...

  • Laney

    I was hoping this would be more like Troublemaker by Leah Remini, which totally blew my mind about all things Scientology. But I guess Jehovah’s Witnesses are not quite as outrageous as Scientologis...

  • Molly

    I requested and received an ARC of this book from the publisher. All Amber Scorah knew was life as a Jehovah's Witness. Brought into the church at a young age by her grandmother, Amber conceived of th...

  • Natali

    I was raised a Jehovah's Witness and left the religion when I was 19. Reading this book felt like someone plucked all the thoughts that I had back then but never had the courage to articulate. One exa...