Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life (Unabridged‪)‬

    • 4.5 • 30 Ratings
    • $12.99

    • $12.99

Publisher Description

"À la Tara Westover's Educated, Scorah's pensive, ultimately liberating memoir chronicles her formative years as a Jehovah's Witness...and captures the bewilderment of belief and the bliss of self-discovery."--O, The Oprah Magazine, Named one of "The Best Books by Women of Summer 2019"

"Scorah's book, the bravery of which cannot be overstated, is an earnest one, fueled by a plucky humor and a can-do spirit that endears. Her tale, though an exploration of extremity, is highly readable and warm."--The New York Times Book 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.

Biographies & Memoirs
Amber Scorah
hr min
June 4
Penguin Audio

Customer Reviews

NDG25 ,

Great voice, on the page and recorded

Amber’s incredible. What a gripping story told with such intimacy and daring. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

AndroErnie ,

I finished it in three days. i couldn't stop!

Growing up a Jehovah’s Witness is a part of my history that inspires curiosity in my current/former friends. No birthdays? No christmas? No Harry Potter?? Always laughs at the few oddities they knew about the religion i was raised in. Never a desire (or ability) to understand what it's really like to be eight y.o. and told every day that the world is ending "soon", "tomorrow", "the next hour". it's even harder for them to understand what life after leaving a cult is like. More than a decade later and i'm still struggling to do the intense healing that follows.

This book popped up on my Twitter feed after being liked by another exJW. I immediately purchased, but waited for a while to listen. i wasn't sure if i was ready to dive back in to this world. i wasn't sure if I could handle the painful reminders. I took a camping trip deep into the woods and away from technology or communication from the outside world, sat with the discomfort and fear i'd been feeling, and left days later feeling safer in my body than i ever had as a child.

Upon getting back to the city, i decided it was time. I took a deep breath, pressed play, and began to listen to Amber's story. I found myself feeling like i'd reconnected with an old friend. She described so perfectly what life was like growing up in a cult, raised by parents who enforced its rigid rules while they themselves skirted them, flirting with life outside the kingdom hall and recoiling in the swift and agonizing punishment that followed... There was so much more than i expected to hear or relate to. It was comforting, hopeful, and heartbreaking.

Thank you, Amber, from the scared kid who saw armageddon in every sunset, and the sunset-loving adult they grew up to be.

JonnyBee ,


Interesting, sad, funny, witty, kinda sexy, tragic, triumphant and well written as it is read (on the audiobook) Not an anti Jobo book as such, more of a straight forward, honest and frank autobiography. I haven’t been in that Cult(ure) for over 35 years now, but the descriptions of sitting in the Kingdom Hall transported me back better than a time machine. I love this lady and wish her every happiness and success in anything and everything she does.

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