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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tara Westover, a unique story

Por mayli2017

The movement of the Latter Day Saints is a denomination formed by a group of Christian churches split from the so-called Church of Christ, founded by the American Joseph Smith in 1830.The basis of his doctrine is the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the collection called Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of great price, although this last work is rejected by the Church Remnant of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The movement is informally known as Mormonism and its members as "Mormons," although they themselves prefer to call themselves "Latter-day Saints."The main churches of the movement are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Community of Christ, and the Churches of Christ of Bickertonite and Temple Ground. These churches are characterized by practicing or having practiced certain particular doctrines foreign to the other Christian denominations, such as polygamy, eternal marriage, the baptism of the dead and the so-called "black doctrine".

It is not common for a person to have a PhD in one of the most prestigious study centers in the world such as the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, without having ever attended school or having any type of school certification. But the story of Tara Westover seems more like a story than a book about modern life in the United States.

The girl grew up in a rural area of Idaho, in a family following the survivalism, a movement of individuals or groups actively preparing to survive a possible future disruption of political or social order and thought that the schools were part of a government plan to brainwash people. His father accumulated a collection of arms and supplies for when the end of civilization came and to protect himself from any attempt by the state to intervene in their lives. Even when its members were injured in several traffic accidents, the family avoided going to hospitals because they were sure that the doctors were agents of an evil state.

Westover's family followed a fundamentalist interpretation of the Latter-day Saint movement, which is guided by the teachings of the Book of Mormon, controlled their lives and any contact they had with the outside world. Westover recalls that his father feared possible incursions or raids by federal agents and for that reason, he bought powerful weapons, capable of shooting down a helicopter.

In that context, she never went to school and his childhood was spent riding in the mountains and working in a scrap yard. The fact that her parents claimed to be educated at home was no more than a screen to isolate her from any teaching from abroad. But at that time it did not seem strange to him not to attend school like the other children.

Speaking to BBC in Cambridge, Westover said that at that time she believed that others were wrong and their parents were right. She lived convinced that it was the rest who were brainwashed and not her. Westover, who is now 31 years old, relates her childhood in the book "Educated", which will be published this month, where she tells how she was forced to self-educate, because the first time she attended formal classes was at age 17, when he entered the university. His mother and brother taught him to read and write, but he had never learned anything about history, geography, literature or anything that had to do with the outside world. The young woman only had access to books and publications related to her family's beliefs.

But at the same time, his parents instilled in him that anyone could learn what he wanted if he wanted to. So, one day he decided to buy textbooks secretly and devote himself to studying methodically night after night until he got the knowledge necessary to pass the entrance exams to the university. But when he finally arrived in the classroom, he lived in a permanent state of fear. Little by little, she began to adapt, to acquire new knowledge and to prove to herself that she was capable of facing the challenge.

This is how he spent time at Harvard University, in Massachusetts, USA, and later entered the University of Cambridge, England. There he obtained a PhD at age 27, without ever having graduated from high school. She is currently separated from her parents and her religion. And he recognizes that leaving his beliefs behind was a traumatic experience. About his book, he says that the most difficult thing to relate was not to do with family fights or the restrictions imposed on him, but to write about the positive things, about the things that I lost, the laughter of his mother is one of them.