Weeks’ debut memoir chronicles both the geographical and spiritual journey of a female priest who arrived at faith through doubt.
With her mother and older sister, Marta Sutton Weeks left Buenos Aires for Utah when she was only a toddler. Her maternal family history was rooted in Mormonism in a town just outside Salt Lake City, and Weeks’ great-grandfather had been a polygamist and contemporary of Brigham Young, although by the time Weeks’ family returned to Utah, they had largely abandoned religion. Weeks was fascinated by religion’s role in her community, but it wasn’t until she met her husband that she was baptized into her in-laws’ Episcopalian faith. After marriage, college, adventures involving her in-laws’ work in petroleum and raising her family, Weeks began taking theology classes at a theology center. Eventually, nearing 60, she went to seminary in Austin, Texas. Her religious studies took her around the world, only to deliver her back to a grueling set of exams and more self-doubt. In this memoir, her treatment of doubt—the impetus behind both her religious education and her practices as an ordained Episcopalian priest—helps this deeply reflective memoir transcend mere narrative. Weeks doesn’t preach; in fact, she deftly explores the role of uncertainty in her attraction to the Episcopal Church as well as its progressive policies that allow women and gays to be ordained. Her own husband’s agnosticism, which informs much of Weeks’ ministering, is also used to characterize her marriage, an endearing union in which they’re alternately at odds with and supportive of ideological mindsets. In an effort to be thorough and historically accurate, Weeks occasionally digresses into irrelevant material about other people’s backgrounds, and the inclusion of her mother’s and sister’s writing detracts from the fluidity of Weeks’ simple, melodic prose. But the perspective Weeks brings to her spiritual journey and to the allure and repulsion of religion is worth it.
A searching outlook and meditative tone that will satisfy the faithful and doubtful alike.