Once You Go In - Memoir from author Carly Gelsinger

“A deeply moving, searingly honest memoir of a young woman's emergence from a radical Pentecostal sect. Gelsinger tells her tale without animosity or self-pity, but with kindness and grace. ”

– Maggie Rowe, author of Sin Bravely

Her Pentecostal experience is so bizarre …

Carly Gelsinger’s coming-of-age memoir is reminiscent of Judy Blume’s 'Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?', only this time our heroine prays for transformation by the Holy Spirit!  At times, her Pentecostal experience is so bizarre, you will be convinced you're reading fiction, but her adolescent journey is all too real.  Carly exposes the truth about religious life, in that some things don’t instantly change with the laying on of hands. Transformation takes time, patience and sometimes, a little bit of rebellious faith.

— Jennifer Knapp, singer-songwriter, author of Facing the Music, and founder of Inside Out Faith

Being a teenager is uncomfortable, desperate, and terrifying

Being a teenager is uncomfortable, desperate, and terrifying under the best circumstances; only much later can we look back and see the humor and magic of our most awkward years. The same is true of out-grown religion. We need space and time to integrate, recover, and laugh at the absurdity of it all. Carly Gelsinger does this with wisdom and candor: by exploring her past, she gives us permission to journey within our own.

— Reba Riley, author of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome

Most profound pieces of storytelling I have ever encountered

I have read a lot of memoirs, but Carly Gelsinger’s Once You Go In is one of the most profound pieces of storytelling I have ever encountered. It is the story of a young California girl who finds her way into a fundamentalist Pentecostal church and needs about a decade to find her way out again. The memoir unfolds slowly, as the naiveté of the young protagonist about where she is and what is happening to her dawns only very gradually. In the last third of the book we find ourselves cheering for Carly, hoping for her escape, for her rescue from those who were sure they knew where rescue could be found―in their own ignorant, exhausting, and, finally, very sad version of American Christianity. I cannot recommend this memoir highly enough, especially for those still trying to understand, or escape from, American fundamentalism.

— Dr. David Gushee, author of Still Christian and president of the American Academy of Religion