HOUSTON, Texas – In her latest book, All My Knotted-up Life: A Memoir, author and Bible teacher Beth Moore delivers a compelling self-portrait filled with unexpected twists and turns with the final destination being God's enduring love and faithfulness.
CBN News sat down with the prominent Christian leader at her Living Proof ministry headquarters in Houston, Texas. The interview came just days after the sudden loss of her brother Wayne who appears on the cover of her new book along with her other siblings.
"I just looked up to him, and just loved him so, so much," Moore said during the interview. "We are reeling. But I had gotten him an advance copy of the memoir and it just moved me so much to know that he got to see himself through my eyes in those pages."
The title All My Knotted-up Life parallels Moore's difficult childhood in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
"Why did you feel the need to be so vulnerable and so open about some issues?" CBN News asked her.
"What I have said before is I always try to be transparent in what I shared, but I just get to be a little more specific this time around," Moore explained.
Over the years Moore has often talked about surviving childhood sexual abuse. But for the first time she reveals her father as her abuser.
"I'm not sure anything impacts your life more than your protector being your perpetrator," she said. "In other words, my father was the person on earth that I could trust the least. My home was not safe."
Growing up, it was a secret that weighed heavily upon Moore.
"Normally there is a sense of threat, like he would not have said, 'You better not ever tell this' – but he did say over and over was that 'we had to protect my mom because she was not stable.' So, he used that. So, there was like, 'I'm not only going to split up my entire family but I'm going to cause my mother to kill herself.' All of this, it's so much for a child to deal with."
Moore told CBN News that her father's active participation in their local church made living with her abuse even harder.
"I got to watch him just prance up and down those aisles and teach his classes and usher and the confusion of that," she said. "The very fact that within those walls I believed my Sunday school teachers over what I was seeing at home to me is a testimony of God's grace."
It was a grace Moore would need in an even greater way later in life in her constant struggle with the bad memories.
"I definitely had a death wish, definitely, definitely, without a doubt," she said. "It seemed to me at several points in my life this is the only way out. I was fearful of the Lord to take my own life. But I did wish that he would take it."
The Bible teacher also shared about challenges with her husband's mental illness and how it shaped her marriage of 45 years.
"The thing about what Keith had dealt with severe PTSD, and then bi-polar, is that you never knew when there was going to be a sudden episode," said Moore.
As she reflected on those dark days, she saw hope as her anchor.
"I never knew what was coming before the sun came up, and neither did he," she commented. "We had no idea what that day was going to hold. It might be wonderful. It might be before the sun set it might be frightful."
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"I guess the best thing that has come out of it for me and for us is that you talk about a woman casting herself on Jesus," she added.
While Moore credits God with holding her family together, she quickly points out the role therapy has played in the healing.
"Support is a necessity, be it therapist, be it a small group, whatever it is there has to be. There is such a sense of being locked in it anyway that there has to be a way to be around others and communicate with others," she said.
Moore has also seen her share of public controversies in recent years.
In 2016, she tweeted about the sexual abuse scandal involving then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. The backlash from churches was swift.
"She writes in her memoir, 'Daily I received word that my Bible studies were being pulled out of more churches. Some were boxed up and sent back to us. I was told some of them were burned.'"
"It affected me and family profoundly, profoundly," Moore said during the interview with CBN News. "The whole face of the ministry changed dramatically as far as the group that had been our primary ministry demographic was just – I mean it was just shaken to the core."
For years Moore's teachings had been a feature of the Southern Baptist Convention, the denomination she had been a part of her entire life. It was there that she was baptized and began her love of scripture.
In 2021, she found herself increasingly at odds with SBC leadership over issues ranging from women's roles in ministry, racial justice and more specifically its failure to care for sexual abuse victims.
"We've been taught somehow that the right thing to do is shelter the abuser to the degree that we have somehow distorted a doctrine of grace that we then are not protecting the abused," Moore said.
She eventually made the decision to leave, saying that not all members of the denomination were at fault.
"It was a very public and specific contention of people," she said. "That was like a death that will probably take me a lifetime for whatever's left to process. These are people I have and do love very much."
When asked how she has been able to minister to thousands while fighting her own personal battles, Moore is quick to point to God's mercy and goodness as the source of her strength.
"I can't go back and make a thousand decisions differently, which I wish I could do. I can't rewrite it. It's just what it is. But I can see to it that the grace the Lord has poured on me is not in vain. That is my hope," said Moore.
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