Monday, October 29, 2012

(145)The Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks

The Book of Mormon Girl 

, Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Pages: 240

Here is a funny story for you.  I recently started a new job, here in Utah, where I work with mostly men.  After I was hired the "Big Boss" had a meeting with the guys and threatened them to "behave" around me because they thought I was a "Super Mo" (their words, not mine).  So why did they believe I was a devout Mormon, I don't know.  Maybe because of the way I dressed (professionally) or the way I carried myself (with confidence) or maybe because the way I spoke (obviously well read).  But when one of the guys was brave enough to ask if I was offended by profanity, I laughed my ass off and said "HELL NO!" .  Needless to say, things lightened up around the office and I often still chuckle at the thought that they thought I was easily offended.   I understand the caution of the bosses, being here in the Mormon Corridor, his odds were pretty good that I was a devout Mormon, but I am not.

Even though I am not Mormon, I find that the religion permeates every aspect of living in Utah and my Step-Daughter is a practicing member, so it is on the fringe of my life. Because of that I am cautiously curious as to why the Church's members are so very loyal and unquestioning of "Authority".  I say cautiously curious because even though I believe wholeheartedly in God, I find myself increasingly adverse to any kind of organized religion and I am afraid of "Beetlejuicing" people (of any religion)who want to share why their ways are the only ways to Believe.

So on a beautiful Sunday morning I sat on the deck enjoying a hot mug of coffee,  this view,  and read
The Book of Mormon Girl.  From what I could tell, (theology aside) Joanna's childhood growing up as in a devout Mormon household was not all that different than mine growing up in a devout Catholic household.  Our entire childhoods revolved around church and church activities, from Youth rallies to Church camps, we had a lot in common.  She grew up longing to go to BYU where she would be surrounded by her "kind" (for me is it was Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa).  She even idolized famous people, like Marie Osmond,  because she was a good Mormon role model. (For YEARS I thought JFK was the greatest President ever just because he was Catholic).  So I found myself relating to a lot of what she was writing.  Most of the book was happy childhood memories and experiences that many of us have had ourselves.  The last third of the book, though, was about her time at BYU and discovering her feminist side and the turmoil that exploration caused, but really it was not as in-depth as I had hoped it would be.   The last couple of chapters were about Prop8 and her involvement in campaigning heavily against the Church's stance and the emotional war it caused within her.  (Sidenote: SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad I did not live in Utah at that time!!) 

Bottom line, if you like reading memoirs in general, you would probably enjoy The Book of Mormon Girl. It is a quick, yet fairly uneventful read.   I know that to the author and probably other Mormons, her crisis of faith was earth shattering. I am sure many people find it admirable that she still takes her children to a Mormon church, but I am not one of those people.  I do not find it admirable or courageous to continue to financially support any organization that directly opposes what you believe to be right. But this I believe, Joanna Brooks has the right to believe what she wants, practice what she wants, teach her children what she wants and participate when she wants.  That is her right, to believe otherwise - well it just would not be right.


Anonymous said...

great review, Charlotte. Since I spent a few days with you in Utah, and had several good discussion on this subject, I enjoyed your observations. I must say, regretfully, that I most likely will not read this book. But I will recommend "Zoo" by James Patterson. It's funny and scary. Hope to see you soon. Linda

Sara Bell said...

Very interesting! I saw this one at Target the other day and was curious about it so I'm glad you reviewed it! I just don't know.
People ask me all the time if I am Mormon (I don't drink soda and wear a lot of modest dresses, so perhaps that's why?) but I honestly know so little about it. I know nearly everything there is to know about FLDS, hardly anything at all about LDS.

Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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