The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith by Joanna Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads: Every Mormon girl has a story to tell. This groundbreaking memoir brings you into one of America’s most fascinating but least understood religious traditions. With humor, tenderness, and honesty, The Book of Mormon Girl reveals what it’s like to grow up in a world where angels stand at our bedsides and ancestors know our names, where Coca-Cola is forbidden fruit and Marie Osmond is a style icon. This 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.
My thoughts: This is a quick read that both irritated me and touched me. First of all, it is not anti Mormon propaganda nor is it pro Mormon propaganda. It is simply Joanna 's story.
Joanna and grew to in the same tome period. I shared the stories of lore and cautionary tales and enjoyed hearing them again. I was irritated by the details give to the mundane like the film from the childhood. Every scene and word spoken which I found more than was needed. Also, there was too much flowery descriptors that seemed forced. On the other hand, the meat of her story lacked specifics, although I suspect she didn't want to make allegations that might not be supported and I respected that.
Ultimately, Joanna joins the rest of the women who are a little more open minded and question a few of the stances of the church along with the way certain other ideas are carried out. The problem with the LDS church is that is so often an ALL or NOTHING climate. Joanna makes the conscious choice to return to church and refuses to be that all or nothing woman. Understanding the Plan of Salvation, Joanna makes conscious choices to exercise her free will.
What I loved about this book is that Joanna is not the only middle aged woman who see herself on the fringes. In fact, last week I made an offer to a couple of friends to join me for lunch for our "fringe" group. It is important to note that "fringe" groups are a new trend. Although not popular, there is a greater tolerance for those of us who want to practice our free will and find out for ourselves.
Although I find part of the book to move a little too slowly, it was while reading this book that I had my great epiphany. Like Joanna, I felt uncomfortable with taking a stand for or against gay marriage. Okay, I'm exaggerating. Joanna turned tail and ran to the other camp. I was simply unprepared and have felt resentment for someone high up in the church hierarchy marrying our church with Proposition #8. I feel judged for the stance that was taken by whoever it was that began it all. It's not that I don't agree with the LDS faith. I also don't agree with the other side of the argument. I was not nor am I ready now to take a stand on the issue. Both sides have valid arguments that I support. And that is where my epiphany hit me.
There are those who feel compelled to act. Like a wise woman once said, and I paraphrase this, the burden to judge is too heavy. Our only obligation to our fellow man is to love them. I feel no obligation to point out their sexual sins. Callous as it sounds, I just don't care. Not only that, but I don't have to. I am consciously choosing to lay down that burden of judgment and love my friends, cousins, and whoever for the people they are; souls worthy of God's love.
So I thank you, Joanna. I also thank you for bringing a practice that is becoming more prevalent in the LDS church. There is a growing number who are more unorthodox yet we have no desire to throw away what is good about the religion and the organizations. We simply want to use our free will to ask questions and get answers. We are feeling more secure in knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us.
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