Hugh Nibley/Abuse charges/Beck husband reaction

John C. Beck Review

Posted at

Discrepancies, 8 May 2005

I've been asked by many people to give my views on this book since I am one of only five people actually named in the book: three of them are my children and too young at the time to comment on the veracity of the book; the other named person is Martha and her view is expressed in 320 pages.
Before you read my comments, you should understand that Martha and I are divorced and have not lived as husband and wife for over ten years. Martha may argue that I am writing this review out of spite. I am not. Without my consent, I am made to feel like an accomplice in her accusations and her anger; I'm not comfortable with how that makes me look to my friends and family. By dint of her profession, she has a national audience ready to believe in her story. Others who are described (often unflatteringly) in this book have little or no access to the court of public opinion.
Let me describe two topics in the book that bother me the most: the way my parents were portrayed and the "Mormon Response" to my leaving the church.
One of the most hurtful discrepancies in the book is the way she describes my parents. She reports that my mother and father came to our house the day after my appearance on television (not true, it was a couple of days later) and in the midst of much small talk Martha inferred that my parents were telling me that they still loved me. Here's how it really went. My mother walked in the door gave me a hug before she even had her coat off and with tears in her eyes said "I don't agree with your decision, but you are my son and I want you to know that I will always love you." It was one of the most touching and important moments in my life. I will always love and respect my mother for her forthrightness and willingness to so openly forgive me even though I had done something so hurtful to her.
My experience of the Mormon response to my leaving the church is also rather different from the one I read in this book. While I left the church even before Martha (and arguably more publicly), I personally never received one threatening phone call or note. I never even saw any of Martha's. While I remember Martha talking about one crank phone call, she received; I do not remember that the caller threatened to "dis-member" us. Nor did Martha show or talk to me about the copy of a "blood red" Antichrist note she writes about receiving. I never took any precautions against such "threats" because I never heard about them. Perhaps she did receive them, but said nothing to me about them.
When I did leave the church, I did it for principally spiritual reasons. I was never ostracized by my friends or colleagues. Two of my close friends at that time were sons of top Mormon officials-they remain colleagues to this day. I had many discussions with Mormon co-workers, family members, and even old high school friends in the days and months that followed the public disclosure that I had "left the church." People wanted to understand, but none of them shunned me. Neighbors were sometimes socially uncomfortable and didn't know how to react to me when I wasn't going to church on Sundays; some of them expressed their differences of opinion with my decision. But I still have many, many Mormon friends.

Further Reading

FAIR Wiki articles

Hugh Nibley wiki articles