A short excerpt from Marth Beck’s book Leaving the Saints: one child’s story of survival and hope discussing, from Martha’s perspective, Hugh Nibley’s reaction to learning that she had left the LDS faith. Pages 252 to 254:

That visit comes to mind again in the hotel room, ten years later, just after I drop my regrettably casual comment concerning my own apostasy. My father still looks so shocked that I realize that family and friends must have somehow protected him from the knowledge that I actually left Mormonism.

“Well,” he says, finally catching his breath. “This will never do. You’ll regret it, I’ll tell you that. You’ll get hit by a ton of bricks for abandoning the Gospel.”

“You could be right,” I say mildly. So far, abandoning the Gospel has brought me out of pain and isolation into happiness and love, but I can’t be empirically sure whether his statement is true or false; it is scientifically indeterminable.

“There are penalties for that kind of thing,” says my father.

“Could be,” I say again. This response does not appear to be making my father feel better. He seems anxious and angry, unsure how to proceed with someone outside the system in which he is revered.

“Well,” he mutters under his breath, “that’s how you can tell the Church is true—people leave it, but they can’t leave it alone. Always attacking, always lashing out, because you can’t get away from the fact that it’s the Lord’s work.”

He used to say this kind of thing often in speeches, even when I was a child. It occurred to me at a fairly young age that according to this logic, Frederick Douglass and Elie Wiesel could have believed that slavery and the Holocaust were God’s work, too—after all, they just kept on talking, talking, talking about these systems, even after they’d left them behind. It’s one of my father’s favorite rhetorical techniques, the old double bind: if you profess that the Mormon Church is true, that’s because you know it’s true; if you profess that it isn’t true, that, too, is because you know it’s true.

“Could be,” I repeat blandly.

My father is now thoroughly upset. “You’ve kept me from my work long enough,” he says to Diane. “Let’s end this foolishness now.”

Diane looks at me, and I shake my head. It’s the same head shake Rachel gave me one day in her office, when I’d been racked by nightmares for weeks, and my father had just been given yet another award for his righteousness. “I want to at least fight him!” I almost shouted during my private session. “It’s not fair that he can just get away with it. How can he just get away with it?”

“He hasn’t,” said Rachel. “He’s earned everything he’s been given by the Church—just think what your life would be like if you’d been willing to do what he’s done.”

“Oh, God,” I’d said, blinking away angry tears. “He’s in hell, isn’t he?”

That was when Rachel shook her head. “I don’t even know where he is,” she said. “I can’t even imagine it.”

So now, even with Diane looking as though she wishes I’d put up more of a fight, I decide to stop struggling against what is. My father’s core belief is that he is always right, and mine is that I may always, in any circumstances, be wrong. That’s as close to tying us back together, as close to the same religion, as my father and I are likely to get.