Friday, August 24, 2012

"This book is a loving, but very frank, tale of growing up Mormon, as well as a great insider's view of the modern day LDS," says Jackie

From her days of feeling like “a root beer among the Cokes”—Coca-Cola being a forbidden fruit for Mormon girls like her—Joanna Brooks always understood that being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set her apart from others. But, in her eyes, that made her special; the devout LDS home she grew up in was filled with love, spirituality, and an emphasis on service. With Marie Osmond as her celebrity role model and plenty of Sunday School teachers to fill in the rest of the details, Joanna felt warmly embraced by the community that was such an integral part of her family. But as she grew older, Joanna began to wrestle with some tenets of her religion, including the Church’s stance on women’s rights and homosexuality. In 1993, when the Church excommunicated a group of feminists for speaking out about an LDS controversy, Joanna found herself searching for a way to live by the leadings of her heart and the faith she loved.

The Book of Mormon Girl is a story about leaving behind the innocence of childhood belief and embracing the complications and heartbreaks that come to every adult life of faith. Joanna’s journey through her faith explores a side of the religion that is rarely put on display: its humanity, its tenderness, its humor, its internal struggles. In Joanna’s hands, the everyday experience of being a Mormon—without polygamy, without fundamentalism—unfolds in fascinating detail. With its revelations about a faith so often misunderstood and characterized by secrecy, The Book of Mormon Girl is a welcome advocate and necessary guide.

 Jackie says:
"This book is an interesting window into a famous but still very unknown religion: Mormonism.  Brooks, a national voice on Mormon life and politics who is an award-winning scholar of religion and American culture, talks with a refreshing openness about what it was like to grow up Mormon.  Her religion and the community that came with it was a source of great joy to her, then and now.  But she hit a major stumbling block when she became a young woman and embraced many feminist beliefs, which she did not find contrary to her religion, but the leaders of the church did.  She witnessed first hand the massive dismissal of many Brigham Young female professors, and the excommunication of scores of women from the church during a very troubled decade, causing rifts that still exist today.  Brooks was not excommunicated, but she is no longer allowed to participate in communion at her church, and is only allowed into certain activities run by the church now that she has married a Jewish man in addition to believing in women's rights.  But she powers on, trying to bolster the positives while struggling in whatever way she can to change the negatives.  This book is eye opening in several ways, and brings a welcome, balanced and timely perspective on a religion that is suddenly in the news more and more often."

1 comment:

Jackie said...

15.1semprobCorrection: I just heard from author Joanna Brooks. She was very sweet about the review, but would like everyone know that she is a full member of the Mormon Church still and as such can participate in the sacraments.

I misread or misremembered while writing my review, and for this I apologize.