"Shannon's story will captivate you. Her brave, brilliant, and beautiful narrative smashes the myth of biblical womanhood, and her courage will help women trapped in purity culture find hope for a better life."
The Woman They Wanted
Shattering the Illusion of the Good Christian Wife
Available August 29, 2023
"No one is coming to rescue me. I am going to have to rescue me."
As a twenty-three-year-old singer and the soon-to-be wife of youth pastor Joshua Harris, nothing in Shannon Harris's secular upbringing prepared her to enter the world of conservative Christianity. Soon Joshua's bestselling book I Kissed Dating Goodbye helped inspire a national purity movement, and Shannon's identity became "pastor's wife."
The Woman They Wanted recounts Shannon's remarkable experience inside Big Church--where she was asked to live within a narrow definition of womanhood for almost two decades--and her subsequent journey out of that world and into a more authentic version of herself. Entering conservative American Christianity was like being drawn out to sea, she writes, inexorable and all consuming. Slowly, her worldview was narrowed, her motivations questioned, her behavior examined, until she had been whittled down to an idealized version of femininity envisioned as an extension of her husband and the church. This decidedly patriarchal world, perpetuated even by the other women, began to feel like a slow death. However, when Sovereign Grace Ministries fell apart due to leadership conflicts and Shannon found herself outside church circles for the first time in years, she heard her intuition calling to her again. As she began to shake off the fog of depression and confusion, that voice grew louder. In honoring it, she awakened to the realities in which she had been trapped and found her truest self.
Singular and compelling, The Woman They Wanted will inspire women looking to reestablish connection with themselves, their inner wisdom, and their purpose.