Reviews for All My Knotted-up Life

by Beth Moore

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In this illuminating memoir, Living Proof Ministries founder Moore (Chasing Vines) plumbs the spiritual and personal depths of her life. Born the fourth of five children, Moore grew up in the “bowels of Arkansas,” idolizing her older siblings and doing odd jobs at the movie theater her father managed. After the family moved to Houston when Moore was in her teens, she yearned for community and found it in church, inspiring a godly commitment that became the foundation of her life. Tracing her spiritual evolution, Moore recalls moments large and small: a moment in a bathroom during her college years when she spontaneously “sensed the Lord’s presence” intensely enough to make her “grip both sides of the sink”; and, at 18, dedicating herself to vocational church service in front of her congregation. Moore takes readers through her career, including teaching at Houston’s First Baptist Church and writing Bible studies; she also discusses her 2021 break with the Southern Baptist movement because of its hyper-conservative values and sexual abuse scandals.. Moore proves to be a consummate storyteller as she candidly charts her life’s ups and downs and shares insight into her career as a high-profile evangelical bible teacher. Moore’s fans will devour this. (Feb.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the year the author left the Southern Baptist movement. The review has also been updated to more accurately characterize the reasons she made that decision.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Living Proof Ministries founder Moore opens up about a range of topics, including her split with the Southern Baptist Church, in this memoir. Born in Wisconsin and raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in 1957, the author regularly attended the Southern Baptist Church from a young age. She describes in detail her immersion baptism at 9 years of age, remarking, “I’d been buried with Christ in baptism and raised…to walk in newness of life.” Moore’s upbringing is described with a veneer of normality, recalling family camping vacations in a Volkswagen bus. However, a darkness is evident when the author states, “No kind of good dad does what my dad did to me.” Her memoir approaches not only the horror of abuse, but also the early trauma of her mother’s deteriorating mental health. At 18, Moore experienced a distinct moment when she sensed “God’s presence” and felt a call to vocational Christian service. Milestones in Moore’s life include marrying and becoming a mother and founding Living Proof Ministries in 1994, dedicated to “encouraging women to know and love Jesus through the study of Scripture.” She attained celebrity status with her church and never shied away from expressing her opinions. The author candidly addresses the time she called out Donald Trump following the publication of the notorious Access Hollywood tape in 2016: “You think this kind of talk is okay?...Do you happen to know women who have had hands forced on them?” Moore also discusses how she handled backlashes and Twitter blow-ups, along with her motivations for ending her affiliation with the Southern Baptist Church.Moore’s memoir is punctuated with thoughtful statements that elucidate her understanding of life, as when she discusses the mentors that inspired her the most: “Each made a deep indentation, a bold point with a permanent marker. Draw lines connecting them, and they form a triangle that shaped my entire ministry life.” Such solemnity is offset with a generous dose of humor, such as when Moore recalls her baptism: “Even though this is what I’d come for, I was still a good bit surprised by the swiftness of the dunking.” In such moments, those familiar with Moore will recognize her oratorical energy in her writing. When examining her deteriorating relationship with the Baptist church, Moore remains candid and does not overlook self-scrutiny: “Something was happening to us. Something bad. Maybe it had been happening all along and I was too blind to see it. Too busy in my own world. Too privileged. Too partial. Too immersed.” Moore writes of abuse she faced as a child and does so with graceful prose: “Different slices of the same secrets are on our plates.” The author lays down her beliefs with bold clarity throughout: “I am pro-life as well. Not just antiabortion, but pro-life, across the board from conception to coffin or cremation.” Readers may not share Moore’s beliefs, but the one million Twitter followers she’s amassed will be eager to learn more about the life story that forged this well-known evangelist. The frank views expressed in this remembrance will divide opinion, but the quality of Moore’s writing is indisputable. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal
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Best-selling author/Bible teacher Moore's (Now That Faith Has Come) memoir begins with her early years in Arkansas and ends with her current life in Texas. In between, readers are treated to a bevy of interesting characters and a life filled with a multitude of experiences, joys, and heartaches. The author describes her initial relationship with and eventual disassociation from Lifeway Christian resources, the publisher of her Bible study materials. The book also explains Moore's reasons for leaving the Southern Baptist Convention. Readers witness her occasional questioning or simple acceptances of an ever-deepening relationship with God and His role in her life. Written with great attention to detail, this book also gives readers a descriptive view into what the author's life was like growing up in the South during the early and mid-1960s. VERDICT Highly recommended for those interested in Christian studies, gender issues, and social history.—Jacqueline Parascandola