Summarized by Kent Larsen
Deborah Laake, Author Of Controversial Temple Tell-All, dies
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 9Feb00 P2
By John Stanley: The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- Deborah Laake, a former Phoenix journalist who
wrote an expose of her life as an LDS Church member and disclosed in
a book information about the LDS Temple ceremony, died on Sunday in
South Carolina of an apparent suicide. Laake had battled breast
cancer since 1994 and was being treated for depression. She was 47.
Laake was known for being brutally honest, and won numerous
journalism awards for her prose. "Other journalists talk about truth,
but Laake was dedicated to it," said Michael Lacey, executive editor
of Phoenix New Times. "In many ways, her writing served as a beacon
to other journalists to show how timid they are."
But while arizona television personality Jana Bommersbach agreed that
her writing was excellent, she said Laake suffered, "Laake was a very
talented writer who was also a troubled soul."
Laake was raised a member of the LDS Church, and married in the
Temple, but later divorced. In 1981 she was hired as a journalist for
Phoenix's New Times, an alternative weekly. Her writing soon gained
acclaim, such as a special award from the Columbia School of
Journalism in 1983 for a story titled "Wormboys," a memoir of dating
experiences in which she argued that the American male had lost his
manliness. In 1998 she was awarded the Arizona Press Club's top
prize, the Virg Hill Print Journalist of the Year Award.
But Laake jumped to national attention with her 1993 book, "Secret
Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond."
The book stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 16 weeks.
The shockingly candid account of her upbringing and temple marriage
angered many Church members, and Laake was excommunicated soon after
the book was published.