Mormon Stories #903: Q&A with Tara Westover – Author of "Educated"

33 thoughts on “Mormon Stories #903: Q&A with Tara Westover – Author of "Educated"

  1. Why doesn't someone tell her that it looks like she is chewing on food and clearing it from her mouth the whole interview. She is truly lovely and impressive, but the mouth thing is annoying.

  2. Sometimes, just by chance, a person says something that makes your thoughts suddenly brake – bingo! That is the answer I have been looking for. I read the book, I felt many parallels to my own life, but it was this talk that gave me a gift.

  3. I grow as a person and as an intellectual every time I read or hear Tara. She is so bright and such a tremendous vessel of discovery. And her aunts??!! Tears!!! So amazing, this journey…for Tara and for all that listen.

  4. What a great interview with a competent moderator. Such a pleasure to listen to, especially that some of the people asking questions were the family of the interviewee. That was surprising!

  5. I am so impressed with her depth and eloquence! I think that I am going to break down and buy her book today (it's on hold with the library and a long waiting list).

  6. I'm shocked…just shocked…that nobody would stop the interview and say to this amazing women…"Obviously you are tired and sick…go home and get into bed and feel better!" …but no…they wanted a moment at her expense.

  7. Tara says 'He's a bit paranoid" !!!.. that is the understatement of the century..correction "father was batshit crazy, deluded, feckless, reckless, negligent with our health". "We would get injured quite a bit" another understatement, correction "some of us almost died, at his hands, we suffered horrific, horrendous pain, wounds, burns, accident at his neglectful hands, which could have been avoided" down playing this is NOT normal. The fathers words calling women "whores" was visited on the sons, on to the entire family in tirade after tirade their entire lives. The son then used this on his own sister, calling her a whore – she was a young girl. Another sadist in the making by a sadist. Fractured men incapable of being in this world without hurting others who shine and bring light. Downplaying ANY of this is beyond comprehension. Let call it what it is. No cotton-wooling this. The father inflicted his rage, his paranoia, his delusions, his extremism from his own multitude of inadequacies onto his own long-suffering  family.

  8. Well done Tara to have gotten away. However you must not glamorize a scintilla of what was foisted on you by your manic father. Tara you start of saying  "because my father had 'some kind of' radical beliefs" some kind of?!??! thats an understatement, the truth is that ' father was batshit crazy, a sadistic, tyrant who endangered the lives of his own children, his own wife, he was a fractured sadist, who visited his distorted manic views of the world onto his long-suffering wife and his own children, time and time again with his outrageous, reckless, feckless irresponsible, criminal actions. I am half way through reading this book, it is wonderful. For Tara to have come through and survived life at the hands of a feckless, reckless father is a testament to her own inner strength. I am appalled at his blatant disregard for his children’s safety on a daily basis. They were injured maimed beyond normal comprehension, shocking. Due to his negligence his children were injured and harmed over and over again- directly related to his neglect. His wife suffered enormously in her day to day living as his doormat dealing with his outbursts, not to mention the numerous accidents he created that she had to tend to – taking its toll on her health. The car accident when Tara was 14 – due to his impetuousness, his highs, his lows, endangering his family daily. His fecklessness endangering others who lost fingers, were wounded or hurt on the job, it was almost that he delighted in sending another victim that he created (purposely) to his wife so that he could again prove that she could heal. His blatant disregard for others safety was absurd, it was almost as though he got pleasure from hurting others. The scene where he was insisting that a young girl – Tara, his own daughter, operate a machine that could very likely injure , maim or worse – even kill her was appallingly sadistic. He knew that the machine could challenge his own grown son – a man, yet he wanted his daughter to operate it?!?! Mind-boggling. He was sadistic in his nature. He deprived his children, brow beat them, held them down, stifled them, they know it, he knows it. He was deluded beyond normality. Wonderful that she survived. Lets not glamorize the sadistic nature of the father here, who caused so much mayhem in the family, he inflicted much harm on his own family, and extended family. He chastised and badgered his own children year in, year out, with his deluded tirades. A fractured man with a fractured sexuality that he heaped his unhealthy fracturing/failings onto his long-suffering wife and children. Shameful of him. Good she got away, I hope they all did. I continue to read it..

  9. I am so in awe of this woman. To see the strength she had to find to separate herself from such a violent family, and to yet be willing to see them from a safe distance with love still. It would be so easy for her to shut them out, to swim in hatred. I think her book is an amazingly useful tool in understanding what a person goes through when they separate from familial abuse, especially as a child. I'm also Mormon and see in her so many examples of Christlike love and forgiveness. Of fearlessly telling the truth and getting safe while also being willing to see what she loves in her family. She seems to have found freedom. I'm sure she has a long road ahead of her. I just finished reading her book and just feel so relieved that she seems to be surviving well. I'm so grateful for that roommate and bishop she had at BYU who helped her get the grant to be able to afford school without working for her father. For me that really seemed to be the turning point that allowed her to escape. So grateful they both perservered in helping her! I'm rooting for Tara to have a wonderful future.

  10. What a healthy, self-possessed young woman. I just love that she refuses to ratify John’s Gospel of Outrage, no matter how many times he tries to box her into it. Though it’s crystal clear to we listeners, I doubt he realizes how thoroughly he was schooled by Ms Westover in this interview. Unfortunately, neither he nor his minions of Mormon Stories black-and-white thinkers will learn anything from her, which is too bad.

  11. Religion was the first attempt at Science. It made sense for Sapiens to try to make sense of their world in a way that helped add order and justification to the way things seemed to be as well as offer a blueprint of how men & women were to behave which allowed cooperation in large groups. Who knew that it would take over 2.000 years for humans to begin to outwardly question various religious "truths" without the fear of death or persecution in more advanced & open thinking societies. While the author states that the book isn't purposely discrediting the Mormon religion or religion in general, the book successfully allows the reader to see how religious fanaticism lends itself to magical thinking without an ability of questioning factual evidences or PROOF of a set of belief systems. An education helps to navigate real truths backed by scientific tested beliefs. When we are educated in academia, we humans are less vulnerable to oppression, poverty, and rationalized abuse.

  12. This was absolutely wonderful – an informative discussion expanding on what was written in this extraordinary book. Thank you!

  13. Fabled Creature

    It is so hard to decide what to do ….. what is right ………

    we are raised with the words of the prophet hanging in out hearts. …. the desire to serve our lord and god …. prayers that seem to go no further that the ceiling ….. begging our god for answers

    the words that hold heavy in my heart are " in the last days there will be a great falling away from the church "

    I was shocked when my nieces told me that their mother told them that I hate Mormons ….. a culture I identified myself as being a part of
    As I read the bible my thoughts become even more confused it feels like finger nails on a chalkboard

    I don't know what to think about god or religious beliefs

    I agree and have often thought I am trapped in Stockholm syndrome in many ways

    it feels like standing and slowly sinking into a bogg that pickles the soul and destroys the bones

    if you have the strength to stand up and speak up as your vision becomes clear …… you lose your family ….. your friends ….. Possibly even your job …… you become that person in the community that people point at and talk about

    not to mention you become precived as being allied with the devil and the host of hell
    all this confusion. …. it feels like the slippery slope we are warned about to keep us in check

  14. This journey is beautifully written by a strong person with a definite sense of self. I even love the way she healed. I wouldn’t change a thing. This book is a treasure

  15. Why is it hard to leave? Because the good is real too. I love how she says to use anger when needed but not to live with it.

  16. Excellent interview, and a must watch for anyone who has read "Educated". I applaud Dr. Westover for speaking HER PERSONAL TRUTH. She acknowledges that it is a slow unfolding process of evaluating & understanding her past. In five or ten years, I hope that she writes another autobiography about the next chapter in her relatively brand new adventure of experiencing true freedom. Bravo, Dr. Westover, well done!

  17. It's just me asking what is she eating all this interview? Is she constantly chewing her gums? Some nervous thing?

  18. Spot On!! Things won't get better until women are represented at a higher level everywhere…subjegation is not a female destiny. It's contrary to human development. It's constructed within cultural dynamics…not only in the Mormon Church throughout the rest of the world.
    Looking forward to reading your book.

  19. Rant warning. I completely disagree. You don't have to look at the nice things your kidnapper did to you. It's called trauma bonding. Many abuse victims keep needing to see the good in the person who abused them. I did this for years. It's ok to say they're bad!! Joseph Smith was a liar. You can't say he did a lot of good as he manipulated people from reality, because anything 'good' in that reality wasn't good! Oh my God I can't stand the hero-izing of liars and abusers, because they were doing some 'good' to the people they held captive with their lies!

    This is called Stockholm syndrome. Every murderer has a good side, even serial killers can appear to be good sometimes, but even their 'good' is all an agenda driven by an inner mind frame of gaining power over others. The Mob are usually family men. Still bad.
    Some things ARE black and white. Many abuse victims seem to need to do this even when they get away. I think they are so used to reframing what was done to them into the storyline they were fed by the perpetrator of the abuse. Living with a perp who is also in a caretaker role, is confusing. It's really hard to rewrite them in your mind as all bad.
    You carry some confusion with you. Until you can see the perp as being motivated by power, and you still confuse it with them being sometimes motivated by good, caring intentions, you will stay confused. You will stay blurred in your view of them. You will have a hard time leaving the abusive relationship because abusers know that if they keep you confused, they can keep you controlled.
    This is why the Church can't have cultural Mormons. It's a power organization. These men have spent their lives climbing the ladder to get to the power.
    They aren't going to give it up. People who are motivated by power do not give up their power for a better way. That's why we have wars. You don't sit down and reason with them.
    People who have been trapped in Mormonism have such a hard time seeing it as all bad. They have a hard time seeing anything as all bad. They are trusting and good, so it's really hard to see their abusers as a whole differently motivated individual who doesn't care at all about them no matter how good a snapshot they can take. When you are trapped in a lie, your whole life is a lie, in context, there aren't good things inside the liar just because you managed to find some good in your world while trapped inside.
    I will never understand anybody who knows Mormonism isn't true but wants to hang around and be a cultural Mormon. I can't stand a lie. It creeps me out. Joseph Smith stole much of my life and many of my choices from me while I was under the umbrella of his lies. I did good things, he did not one good thing, except steal my reality. Not one.

  20. It's too bad that when we discover enough lies to jump out of something that we find to be an overall problem or to be bad in general, that we often are blind to the false parts which make us blind to some truths still within it. This blindness makes us susceptible to jumping from the frying pan into the fire, one cult to the next (secular cults too) so that we are still ensnared in the next dogmatic agenda replacing the first.

    Education, media, medical, etc can be blinding and we may even worship these too as nearly infallible. Cutlish ideas and demands creep in with their 2 Great Commandments:
    1- Obey!
    2- Don't Question!
    ("By their fruits…")

    Too bad Tara's dad's or mom's views of natural medicine included some cultish teachings and demands which can blind us to the many truths within it.

    Zealotry on any front backfires.

    I used to be zealously into the church and zealously dedicated to modern FDA/AMA/CDC approved medicine which is ironically and cultishly prescribed by the LDS brethren too. While I was still an uber member I had some opportunities to see wholesome herbs and foods heal, cure and prevent better than modern medicine did or possibly could. I found that modern approved ("Anointed") medicine had left me high and dry too, only "managing" my downhill trip to make the best of it (red flag).

    I then had to start asking more questions to find truths verses perceived truths to sort even further than "all good" vs "all bad." Finding the truth of LDS-worshipped Medicine and Word of Wisdom is the straw/brick that cracked my LDS shelf.

    Though modern medicine does have a few areas and times when they shine, I could not deny 2 simple questions in regards to the vast bulk and foundation of modern medicine, health and healing:
    1- How can a growing arsenal of refined and Synthetic Poisons regenerate our bodies, detoxify, rebuild and heal our failing bodies and minds from illnesses, diseases, accidents, etc.?
    2- How can NO Liability/Accountability make vaccines safer and more effective? If they are so wonderful, why do they need to be Forced AND have that Super VIP Free Pass on Liability?
    (Zealot religions and govts do this, and use scare tactics and false promises to the Sheeple of Ewe-topia, esp in Ewe-tah.) Its takes some strong cognitive dissonance to twist this enough to be fine with it too.

    Try the NO Accountability Free Pass experiment on your kids, spouse, parents, employer, employees, church leaders or politicians and let me know how that goes with them running wild over you with no boundaries and you paying for anything they demand or break…

    I think we always have to be willing to reevaluate truths or parts of those truths and parts of those lies to revise our perceptions to being overall more accurate to reality.

    Nobody gets a Super VIP Free Pass, despite their Authority, Anointing, Degree etc.! Nobody!

  21. We give up freedom of self for safety from questioning. It takes courage to live outside of that. Kudos to Tara for doing so.

  22. Its interesting how the abusive family fights so hard to keep you in it. Two acquaintances and a family member berated me for distancing myself from my abusive family after my mother contacted them about my leaving. I distanced myself from those people too. I never went back to my family and don't regret it 50+ yrs on. Thanks for posting this Q&A; it helped me with that difficult memory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *