Join us now for today’s Mormon Stories Podcast episode as we interview ex-Jehovah’s Witness Amber Scorah about her new book: “Leaving the Witness: Exiting Religion and Finding a Life.” Building off of our previous interview with former Jehovah’s Witness, Lloyd Evans, we continue to discover the parallels between the JW Movement and Mormonism, particularly surrounding the struggle to form a new identity after leaving the religion. In this interview Amber shares her experience—from the book’s abstract:

“Amber’s loss of faith culminated in her own personal apocalypse, the only kind of ending possible for a Jehovah’s Witness.

Shunned by family and friends as an apostate, Amber was alone in Shanghai and thrown into a world she had only known from the periphery–with no education or support system. A coming of age story of a woman already in her thirties, this unforgettable memoir examines what it’s like to start one’s life over again with an entirely new identity. It follows Scorah to New York City, where a personal tragedy forces her to look for new ways to find meaning in the absence of religion. With compelling, spare prose, Leaving the Witness traces the bittersweet process of starting over, when everything one’s life was built around is gone.”


Download MP3


  1. Old Dog June 18, 2019 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    What an articulate, intelligent, open. honest, lovable, delightful woman. Your energy and enthusiasm for life is inspirational. Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Best wishes to you in all you do.

  2. Jim Beilfuss June 23, 2019 at 5:27 am - Reply

    Charming interview! I am glad you were able to get out of your fundamentalist religion and I enjoyed hearing you share your experiences in your book – what experiences to have. I hope you are free to enjoy life in spite of no longer having “all the answers”. Good luck!

  3. Dan June 24, 2019 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    I haven’t listened to this episode yet, but I loved your interview on NPR today so I decided I better come find your Mormon Stories episode too. Can’t wait to listen.

  4. Wesley Craig June 25, 2019 at 10:37 am - Reply

    What a great, great interview! And so relevant to Mormons who have made similar decisions. Immediately after hearing this interview I bought Amber’s book. Read it in two days. Then gave my copy to a non-Mormon Chinese friend about the same age as Amber who was born in China and came to this country with no college degree. Coincidently the same day I gave her the book she graduated from college with a Masters degree in Accounting.

  5. JASH June 25, 2019 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    I have listened to this podcast along with the interview that Amber did with Terry Gross…. What an impressive young woman.Her story is so relevant to the LDS community since so many of the characteristics she describes are common to both groups. Although I have never been LDS, my husband was a member until his resignation many years ago. We experienced his family’s shunning and the ways that they diminished us over the years for our lack of membership . The low value placed on women’s input was one of the situations that often estranged us from LDS family since I was a lifelong feminist. It was always difficult to be seen as ‘less than’ simply because we weren’t active LDS and did not accept their world view toward others. Amber has been open and courageous in her narrative and I applaud her honesty and the way in which she has takenpersonal responsibility for her life choices which are impressively moral ones. May her future bring her great joy and may she know that her story resonates for many and is comforting as well.

  6. Janeen Thompson June 27, 2019 at 12:25 am - Reply

    John you did a nice interview with Amber. The way you summarized the commonalities of our two faiths was insightful. I found her story to be inspiring . Leaving the jehovah’s witness religion seems much harder than leaving Mormonism, requiring a lot of courage and lacking the same organized “ex” community for support. I was also inspired by her attitude about the loss of her child and how she turned tragedy into something productive. I hope we hear more from her.

  7. Cory Jorgensen July 5, 2019 at 8:49 am - Reply

    These are some of my favorite interviews. Would really enjoy hearing more stories from other faiths with parallels to Mormonism. Also, John: I think you are thinking about writing a book. I think it would be good!

  8. Ryan July 23, 2019 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Just listening to this interview after starting the book. I’ve found the cultural explanations about China informative and helpful. I can see how your podcast was a success for people curious to know about how the country works. I’ve done a lot of studying on the JWs and always chat with them whenever they knock. Not because I’m interested in any religion, but because the religion’s voodoo to convince the members to do things is fascinating.

    Some years ago, a pair of them knocked on my door and I spoke to them for nearly an hour. Following that, I read the book Jehovah’s Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement written by a sociologist, Andrew Holden. I wanted something objective and scholastic. I marked up the book with lots and lots of questions in anticipation of them returning. I had told them not to not mistake my friendliness for interest or spirituality, but they came back anyway. When they came, I told them, “Great! I’ve got some questions for you!” I went through just some of my basic questions. My favorite looks from them was when I asked if trained linguists in Greek or Hebrew translated their Bible and when I made the point that earthquakes are the result of the warming, cooling, and movement of the Earth’s crust and not because of a punishing, supernatural god. There was one of them, however, that seemed to be open to my questions/perspectives to the chagrin of the other. They didn’t come back, but it seemed there were cracks with the one. I wish I could have another conversation with her…

    Reading your book helps close some holes in my understanding of the JWs processes. Cheers to you in carving your own path.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.