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Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond

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Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond

Current Status:
In Season
Deborah Laake
Philosophy and Religion, Women's Studies, Biography, Memoir

We gave it a B

Strange flapping long johns, mysterious handshakes, ritual blessings of body parts. Whether or not you’ve ever been curious about why Mormons don’t drink coffee, the church ”secrets” promised in Deborah Laake’s title don’t disappoint. For breaking her vows and revealing sacred temple marriage rites, she was promptly excommunicated by the church’s High Council — an all-male cadre — who were appalled by her flip mockery. Beginning as a giddy, marriage-obsessed coed at Brigham Young University ”unruffled by any stirrings of individualism,” Laake paged longingly through Vogue pattern books of bridal gowns. When her first love dumped her because she wasn’t spiritual enough, she launched into a series of tortured relationships, having been taught that only through a man — and marriage — could she reach the higher realms of heaven. Three divorces, a suicide attempt, and a stay in a psychiatric hospital later, she found the courage to write, ”As I anticipated a future without a husband, I couldn’t imagine it without a hymen.” Laake’s wacky sexual secrets go on and on in Secret Ceremonies; her church secrets, while fascinating, don’t go far enough. But her daring in entwining the two is riveting. B