Home Christian News Beth Moore Tries to Untangle Her ‘All Knotted-Up Life’ in New Memoir

Beth Moore Tries to Untangle Her ‘All Knotted-Up Life’ in New Memoir

Beth Moore
"All My Knotted-up Life" is a new memoir by author Beth Moore. Courtesy Amazon, RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) — There’s a downside to going someplace where everyone knows your name.

Author and Bible teacher Beth Moore discovered that reality in the months after making a public break with the Southern Baptist Convention, which had been her spiritual home since childhood.

Whenever she and her husband, Keith, would visit a new church, the results were the same. People were welcoming. But they knew who she was — and would probably prefer if she went elsewhere. Once the very model of the modern evangelical woman, she was now a reminder of the denomination’s controversies surrounding Donald Trump, sexism, racism and the mistreatment of sexual abuse survivors.

When Moore would no longer remain silent about such things, she became too much trouble to have around. Even in church.

“I was a loaded presence,” she told RNS in a recent interview.

In her memoir, “All My Knotted-Up Life,” out this week from Tyndale, Moore recounts how the couple ended up at an Anglican church in Houston, largely at the suggestion of Keith Moore, who’d grown up Catholic and felt more at home in a liturgical tradition. When they walked in, the rector greeted them and asked their names.

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When she told him who she was, the rector brightened up.

“Oh,” he said, with a smile, “Like Beth Moore.” Then, having no idea who he was talking to, he added, “Come right in. We’re glad to have you.”

After the service, a handful of women who had gone through one of Moore’s best-selling Bible studies, gathered around her. They knew who she was and wanted Moore to know she was safe in that place and that there was plenty of room for her in the community.

“Can I simply ask if you’re OK,” Moore recalls one of the women saying.

In that moment of kindness, Moore says she felt seen and at home in the small congregation, which became her new church. She could just be herself, not defined by the controversies she’d been through.

“Never underestimate the power of a welcome,” she said.

The kindness of ordinary church people has long sustained Moore — providing a refuge and believing in her, even when she did not believe in herself.

Raised by an abusive father and a mother who struggled with mental illness, Moore has long said that church was a safe haven from the chaos of her home life. In her new memoir, Moore gives a glimpse into that troubled childhood and the faith — and people — who rescued her.

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Displaying the skills that made her a bestselling author, Moore tells her story with grace and humor and with charity toward the family that raised her, despite their many flaws and the pain they all experienced.