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The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith Paperback – August 7, 2012
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“Oh wow. I double dare you to read The Book of Mormon Girl in your book club. Bring a casserole and roll up your sleeves for an original, provocative argument about dissent in faith communities! Even if you’re not one of those fine believers who store up food for the Apocalypse, you’re likely to agree that Joanna Brooks has singlehandedly redefined the word courage. Prepare to be surprised.” –Rhoda Janzen, author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
"This gorgeously written, deeply intelligent memoir of an ordinary girlhood in an ordinary Mormon family is one of those most unusual and most valuable of personal stories, simultaneously sweeping and intimate, a book of both broad vision and precise detail. The Book of Mormon Girl is about one particular religious subculture, but it will resonate with anyone who cares about childhood and its echoes in the adult mind of a scholar who’s also a wise and innovative storyteller." --Jeff Sharlet, New York Times bestselling author of The Family and Sweet Heaven When I Die
“Laugh-out-loud funny and break-your-heart poignant. A triumph.”–Carol Lynn Pearson, author of No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones
"Joanna Brooks captures Mormonism in revealing but tender ways that are sure to resonate with insiders and outsiders alike. Mormonism may not yet have found its Chaim Potok, but it has its Joanna Brooks."--R. B. Scott, author of Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics
“A pathbreaking and utterly necessary memoir.”–Carolyn Forché, celebrated poet and human rights activist
“A compelling memoir of being found and lost and found again. Brooks is a contemporary Mormon pioneer.”–Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood and Mormonism for Dummies
“Disarming, funny, wrenching, and inspiring. This is a quietly fierce, authentic, and faithful voice, one that insists her religious tradition is young, and the next chapter yet to be written.”–Phillip Barlow, Ph.D., Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, Utah State University
"Enchanting...charming...throughout this heartfelt work [Joanna Brooks] remains braced and true to herself." --Publisher's Weekly
"The Book of Mormon Girl is a luminous ode to Brooks' passion for Mormonism, in spite of her church's rejection. It is a memoir written not just for herself, but for others who continue to pursue their faith in the face of abandonment because "No one should be left to feel like she is the only one broken and seeking." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A balanced, heartfelt memoir of honoring a faith and a heritage while challenging church teachings." --Shelf Awareness
About the Author
Joanna Brooks is a national voice on Mormon life and politics, an award-winning scholar of religion and American culture, and the author or editor of five books. She has been featured on American Public Media’s On Being; NPR’s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation; BBC’s Americana, Interfaith Voices, and Radio West; and in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the CNN Belief Blog, and the Huffington Post. She is senior correspondent for the online magazine ReligionDispatches.org and offers answers to seekers of all stripes at her own site AskMormonGirl.com. Follow @askmormongirl on Twitter, or visit her at JoannaBrooks.org.
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Joanna's journey was different than mine, and it is always interesting for me to hear about the thoughts and expierences of another. There were issues that made me think about things and events that I had not previously considered. I am a devout member of the LDS Church, my life experiences and my personality combined to strengthen my faith and love for the Church, so obviously I have a different outlook than the author. There were experiences shared that embarrased me about the conduct of the Church or its leaders (yes, most Mormons don't think that their leaders are infallable) and other experiences that even after consideration I could not find common ground with the author.
Overall it was an enlightining read, reading disperate views from your own is almost always enlightining to me. I found a deeper empathy not only the author but for all of those that struggle in the LDS faith. I have dear fieinds and family members that have the same struggles and challenges. I would read the book again. It was time well spent.
I rated the book 4 stars instead of 5 because, for me, there was a little bit too much of the "look at me, I am different" in the tone of the book. It is a part of many memoirs, and it is part of the memoir genre, I understand. It is sometimes interesting to me how people so many times want to fit in with all the other non-conformists.
In mormon culture, in my experience, questioning the church and the culture of Mormonism is not all that rare, and in many circles it is encouraged, by those bravest among us. Many question and leave the church, and many others question and then further embrace the church, although they may be changed by the experience. The questioning within the LDS church is not that rare or as uncommon as made to appear in the book, maybe it was downplayed in the story to make the author seem braver or more original, don't know but this part in the memoir seemed a bit forced to me, and I am part of this culture too.
I thank Joanna for writing the memoir, and I loved the line late in the book where she refers to mormonism as her "native language", I decided that I felt that too.