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Beyond the Threshold A Life in Opus Dei: The True, Unfinished Story Paperback – July 1, 1998

3.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A former numerary, or full member, of Opus Dei, a personal prelature within Roman Catholicism, Tapia offers in almost crushing detail a chronicle of her 20 years with the prelature. She does not hesitate to assert that its methods and structures resemble a cult and that fanaticism and zealotry abound. However, her work has problems. For non-Catholics, terms like personal prelature and secular institution remain without clear definition. In addition, Tapia's interior life remains a mystery; she fails to convey how such a secretive, cultlike sect, disliked and mistrusted by those closest to her, moved her to renounce family and friends for nearly 20 years. Tapia does provide the externals, offering only bare snippets regarding Opus Dei's ability to incorporate her "very flesh and spirit." Readers seeking enlightenment on the needs and motivations of cult followers will be disappointed. An optional purchase at best.?Sandra Collins, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Lib.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; Revised edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826410960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826410962
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,246,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For anyone that has been a "numerary" member of Opus Dei, the facts that the author describes constitute no surprise. In different countries, in different times, the story of strong psychological pressure and manipulation on potential recruits and on members has been repeating itself for decades now. The very detailed description of places, names, and practices, has made me so vividly recall the asphyxiating atmosphere that I once lived when recruited by Opus Dei at the age of fourteen. The book reflects the great fraud of the Opus Dei praxis which consists in presenting to the catholic people the attractive message of being a way to help them live their faith from within the society as citizens and professionals; however, once inside, the numerary member gradually becomes just a component of the recruiting machinery of Opus Dei. Without physical violence but via tremendous though subtle psychological pressure, the member gradually abdicates his/her own will and renounces to making his/her own decisions even on very small details of his/her life. Once the mind of a person has been manipulated to make him/her convinced that "the will of God is transmitted to him through the directors of Opus Dei", the degree of control over that person is complete. The book very well describes this process which is common to all "numerary"" members. The last part, describing the last stay of the author in the Opus Dei headquarters in Rome, is very impressive and demythify the figure of the founder of Opus Dei but does not constitute the key argument against the Work.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
The book is for many people an eyeopener for other it is a scandal. However no matter who is reading it, certain traits and problems in Opus Dei must be admitted- both by the devotes and the opposition. I have no personal experiences brought out from that organisation. I have never been a subject for recruitment by Opus Dei. My knowledge is from what I read about them, from other people associated in different degrees with Opus Dei and from my own observation. Quite much of what is described in this book coincides with my own humble experience of this organisation.
The personal experiences described by the former Opus Dei member- Maria del Carmen-Tapia- are shaking and frightening. When reading through the pages I consulted a manual on sects, considering the overall methods used in OD. I think, provided that del Carmen-Tapia's descriptions are accurate, one can define OD as a certain kind of sect with brain-washing, degradation of personality, very excessive cult of the guru (read Msgr. Escriva) and diminishing of personal freedom among certain class of members- the numeraries. Everything that of course is done under disguise or sacrifice for the sake of the organisation, the higher truths and goals it claims to fulfill. This organisation seem also to be very secret with well defined security levels. Someone referred to Opus Dei as catholic freemasonry. I do not think this kind of comparision is qualifying. Nevertheless information from upper levels is portioned out down according to certain criteria. Secrecy is also kept laterally. Everything that is fine, every organisation must have certain levels of integrity and "business" secrets. The problem seem to be that these secrets are mostly futile things, not worth keeping a secretive attitude toward.
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Format: Hardcover
I was a numerary of the Opus Dei in Spain for two years 1977-1978. I was recruited at the age of 19 while attending the University of Barcelona Spanish Studies course for foreigners. My parents who lived in the United States had to threaten with legal action before the Opus Dei allowed me to see them. The book brought back floods of memories. All the aspects of life within the Opus Dei that I had shared in common with Carmen, she had described absolutely accurately. I was alone in a foreign land and they took advantage of my vulnerability to take over my life. Luckily I my parents managed to get me out by hijacking me in London. Carmen has done the world a great service by exposing this terrible organization. I am still a daily Mass going Catholic, and now a medical school student. I was so glad to read that she had not lost her faith over her terrible ordeal. It's never too late to start over!
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Format: Paperback
Thanks to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, I was inspired to read up on Opus Dei so that I could formulate my own opinions about it. I didn't know which book on Opus Dei to begin with and ended up purchasing this one because it was written by a woman who actually was an Opus Dei numerary.

Although this book didn't tell me in great detail about the whole history of Opus Dei, i.e., why and how it was established..etc., it did provide me with insight into the organization's functions, its many contradictions, its view of and treatment of Opus Dei women (compared to Opus Dei men) during its formation period, the type of people it sought to recruit, the founder's view of the Catholic Church...etc.

I gave it 4 stars since there aren't many books on Opus Dei women (correct me if I'm wrong) and I appreciate the author's effort in writing this book. Also, it's the first book I've read on Opus Dei and therefore, I cannot really say anything negative about the information contained in the book since I still do not know enough about the Founder, his principles (the Way), what inspired him to begin this organization, what the organization really stands for and the good it has done/produced, if any, to be able to make a proper evaluation of its content. It lacks the 5th star because some of the information was repetitive. Also, the book made references to Christian terms, practices...etc which would make it hard for someone who is not familiar with the religion, its practices and prayers...etc. to comprehend, although the lack of comprehension of such references does not take away from the information the author intended to provide. Further, the book makes several references to Spanish history during the author's time.
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