Book Review: Sealed by Katie Langston

Book cover of "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).

Nancy Ross
Nancy Ross
Nancy Ross is an associate professor Utah Tech University, where she has been teaching for 16 years. Her Ph D is in art history, but her current research focuses on the history and sociology of religion. She recently co-edited a book with Sara K.S. Hanks titled "Where We Must Stand: Ten Years of Feminist Mormon Housewives" (2018) and has just co-edited “Shades of Becoming: Poems of Transition” with Kristen R. Shill. She is an ordained elder in Community of Christ and pastor of the Southern Utah congregation and works for the Pacific Southwest International Mission Center as an Emerging Church Practitioner.


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