“Repression and naïveté is a dangerous combination.”
This is the story of my journey out of religion, away from domestic violence and into being alive.
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Above the Clouds – A Journey of Courage, Hope and Revelation is a creative non-fiction work focused on the author’s experience of growing up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, landing in a marriage riddled with domestic violence and her gut-wrenching journey to leave both worlds. With humor, explicit detail and heart-wrenching honesty, the author presents intimate details of her sheltered life as a Mormon and her eventual departure from that religion, her awakening to sexuality, the terror of living with domestic violence and the race to survive, as well as the loneliness of obesity and the undeniable power of the human spirit.
The author had spent her life on an endless search for love and truth from sources outside of her. She was raised in a religion which taught all answers came from a God who was, seemingly, quite rigid. Continually dissatisfied and, eventually, horribly abused, she sought answers and sanctuary everywhere but where she would find them – within. She had no idea what self-love meant, for she believed love was something generated outside of her. She had no idea what true emotion was, because that was also something that happened to her. She had no idea how to live unless there was someone there telling her who she was, what she liked, which way she should go and when.
Without a stable foundation of self-knowing, it is easy to blame life, religion and childhood for the disaster areas of your life. It’s common to blame others for not giving you enough love or treating you with the respect you rightly deserve. It becomes a never-ending pattern of seeking for something outside of you to fill that which is missing inside. This destructive pattern allows for waves of abuse/peace/abuse until you uncover new information, or learn from someone who has experienced something similar so you are able to effectively change your course.
After an event with her former husband that nearly resulted in her death, which is shared in Above the Clouds with terrifying clarity, she took a hold of herself and decided it was time to know for herself who she truly was. It was time to understand what love and honesty meant. She began to realize her relationship with God – and her own self – had nothing to do with the religion that seemed to be hindering her progress. While realizing her journey was different from that of her family and friends, she also knew that what she had been taught to be true all of her life suddenly didn’t make sense. After staring into the faces of Satan and God at separate times, she knew she was meant for greatness and would never find it wallowing in the mess that had become her life.
Her first step to recovery was to take responsibility for her life. There came a point where she needed to stop blaming anyone and everyone else for where she was and get busy living. She also realized her relationship with herself greatly influenced her relationship with others. By taking small, certain steps, the progress was slow but has become longstanding.
Above the Clouds offers ideas on how to go about creating change for a healthier, safer life, while discovering and embracing who you are at the core. Anyone, if they are willing to look at themselves, can experience the same healing, safety and audacity in their life. If they so choose, they too can pull themselves out of repression and violence and into truth and love. As the author writes in the opening, may this book touch your heart for the higher good.
What others are saying:
“...I am intrigued by the fact that a Mormon upbringing can produce so many similarities in total strangers. I grew up in Holladay and yet it appears that so many of our beliefs about life and love etc. are mirrored. I feel afraid about that fact, and I am wondering how different life could be for young women in this valley if some of these myths were blown wide open. I am imagining that your book is an avenue to do just that. I really appreciate your writing style.” -Heather Seals, owner Fawn, Salt Lake City, Utah
“Thank you. You have entertained me. You have ebbed and flowed a passage of time, on paper. You made me cry, laugh, and feel your emotion, positive and negative. Your book has caused me to think - for at least the moment - that maybe I can leave a footprint, or a handprint, in the sand where thousands have trod before, in the same direction to create a stronger path of where I need to be, instead of fighting that path. [You have] the ability to make me look at myself - not that you're trying to - and make me more self-aware. Not in a vain way, just more aware. Your story... is about being aware. YOU are a life force to be encountered, and how "blessed be" the rest of us who do.” -Roy West, Toronto, Canada
"As I read Above the Clouds, I realize that Angie is not telling her own story. She is brilliantly and courageously telling the story that so desperately needs to be told, the story that lies deep inside so many women." -Rev. Annie Benjamin, Minister, Healer, Author To Know Me is to Love Me
“You are an incredibly gifted writer. Wow!” -Tiffany Berg, Mrs. Utah, United States 2007, author How Tough Moms Succeed In Tough Times
"This well-written autobiography presents very personal topics in a compelling way. Angie is a natural writer whose excellence shines through, creating a work you can read in one day." - Gay Hendricks, Ph.D. http://www.hendricks.com/ Author of Five Wishes; Co-Author (with Dr. Kathlyn Hendricks) of Conscious Loving