NIBLEY FAMILY RESPONSE TO MARTHA BECK’S
“LEAVING THE SAINTS”
SALT LAKE CITY ( February 22, 2005 ) – In response to the allegations in our sister Martha Beck’s book “Leaving the Saints,” we – all seven of Martha’s siblings – release the following statement:
Knowing our sister and the circumstances of our home, we agree that Martha Beck’s portrayal of our family in “Leaving the Saints” is false. We are saddened by the book’s countless errors, falsehoods, contradictions, and gross distortions. She misrepresents our family history, the basic facts of our lives, our family culture, the works of our father Hugh Nibley, and the basic principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She also omits critical facts including her own previous writings, her and her husband’s search for their sexual identities, and the tortuous process -- including self-hypnosis -- by which she achieved her “recovered memories.”
Martha’s most egregious accusation – that our father molested her over several years and the family covered up the crime – is not true. While salacious accusations sell books, the reader should know that in this case it simply did not happen. These allegations dishonor real abuse survivors who lose credibility and suffer increased anguish when false accusations are exposed.
Martha is a masterful storyteller, and throughout her writing career she has dramatically altered her beliefs and positions in order to focus on different audiences and market segments. Now, apparently to sell books, Martha has once again resorted to using storytelling in the place of research, discredited pop psychology for science, and fantasy instead of fact. In her book Martha calls for the highest standards of scholarship and social science professionalism, yet sadly her own writing is closer to tabloid journalism, failing to come anywhere close to the standards she claims to espouse.
Our family has received many inquiries about an e-mail campaign aimed at keeping Martha from promoting her book, particularly on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” While we appreciate the support this effort demonstrates, we want to clarify that this is not being done at the request of the Nibley family. It has never been Hugh Nibley’s style to try to shut down a discussion in the face of controversy, and this case is no exception. Rather than trying to get Martha barred from speaking out, we would ask Oprah – or any other media outlet – to grant the family a fair and equal opportunity to respond.
While Martha claims to have been shut out by her family, our doors and our hearts have always been open to her and remain so. We love our sister and are very concerned for her at this time. We fear this is another instance of the self-destructive behavior that has haunted Martha throughout her life. No one in our family has any desire to choose sides between our father and our sister; however, intellectual honesty is a fundamental value of the Nibley family, and sadly we do not see that tradition reflected in “Leaving the Saints.”
Christina Nibley Mincek
Zina Nibley Petersen
“I helped raise Martha. I cared for her as a child and have tried to support her in every way possible throughout her life. Martha has always lived life as a melodrama, bouncing from one form of self-destructive behavior to another,” said Christina Nibley Mincek, an attorney who has studied and written on sexual violence.” Her accusation that our family would in any way tolerate a crime as hideous as the sexual abuse of a child is probably just another sad attempt by Martha to claim the limelight and make herself the hero/victim in one of her fanciful stories.”
“Martha and I have remained close and I often spend holidays with her,” said Rebecca Nibley. “During that time [the period when “Leaving the Saints” takes place], she encouraged me to get my own recovered memories of being abused. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t remember anything untoward concerning my father’s behavior toward me, and I can’t validate any of Martha’s claims. I love Martha dearly and hope she knows I am there for her under any and all circumstances.”
“She was my big sister and I idolized her, and still admire her in many ways. We shared a bunk bed during the entire time Martha says she was being abused,” said Zina Nibley Petersen, Ph.D. “We shared everything -- clothes, friends, secrets. I don’t believe for a minute that during that whole time, she was being molested by our father. I’m shocked that her editors would release this book without checking even the most basic facts.”