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For week ended February 13, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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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.


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Secret Ceremonies More about "Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond" at

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