Book Review: Sealed by Katie Langston
When I was a kid growing up in Maine, I used to take church very seriously. It seemed like everyone around me wanted me to take church seriously, but with the frustrated expectation that kids and teens generally didn’t. As a sensitive kid trying to earn love and approval in my family and community, I internalized rigid messages about obedience and perfection, all the while feeling like I was doing what was expected of me.
In Sealed: An Unexpected Journey into the Heart of Grace, released earlier this week, Mormon feminist Katie Langston tells the story of her own faith journey. She also took the messages about faith and belief seriously from the time she was a child and ended up in a cycle of shame and desperate prayers for forgiveness, always feeling that her worthiness and hope for salvation were in question. As a child, Katie asked her mother if families could really be together forever.
“We can, sweeting, we can,” she said, her response both reassuring and disorienting. It was a daunting contingency, but I loved my parents desperately, so I was determined to keep our sealing secure. I only had an inkling then how difficult it would prove to be.Sealed, p. 6
Katie’s spiritual autobiography tells a compelling story of faith throughout her life, beginning and traveling through Mormonism and eventually ending up in a different Christian tradition. Unlike other Mormon exit stories, this is much more than a journey from ‘in’ to ‘out,’ from belief to unbelief. Katie wrestles over time with her understanding of God, what God needs from her, and her discovery of God’s grace in her life. Her journey is both unique and relatable and touches on sensitive issues of bodies and sexuality in a forthright way.
If you are wrestling with the fact that the church you attend does not speak to the connection you feel with God, this is the book for you.
Buy on Amazon.
Katie Langston, Sealed: An Unexpected Journey into the Heart of Grace (Thornbush Press, 2021).