Who would have thought that a book of short stories (or rather memoir, but who’s being that precise?) regarding “growing up Mormon” would find its way into print? Paul Harvey offers a review of just such a book at the Religion in American History Blog. The book, written by an English professor (which might stand as a strike against) is
The Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks. Harvey describes the book like this:
The Book of Mormon Girl is a book of stories, taking us through childhood scenes (where she was a “root beer among Cokes” in Southern California), adolescent struggles, and then on to college, where, rather than (as she expected) meeting her long-awaited husband, she ended up tearing up her diploma in protest. She then tells about her “years in exile” from the Church, and her more recent (partial) reconciliation with her past and her faith. I’m not going to try to describe the stories; you just have to read them in her original and very powerful voice.
A single clip from the pages should suggest this as a book with a unique voice and point of view as Brooks compares her religious upbringing with Evangelicals.
Did they go to church at six a.m. every morning before school like Mormon kids did? . . . Had they drilled the stories and teachings of four – that’s right, four—books of scripture into their heads. No, just one, just the Bible.
Had they carefully sealed up tins of rice and textured vegetable protein against the great and final days? Were they ready to live through the end times? No, while they dreamed of being transported up into the clouds like Star Trek, we were ready to live out the nuclear winter that would follow the second coming of Christ, to rebuild a kingdom from the charred timbers of leveled forests.
Those born agains could never do what we did. Cross the plains. Track down and baptize our dead ancestors by the millions. Fan out all over the globe two by two, knocking doors. Precision coordinate 15,000 teen-aged dancers. What it all came down to was this: those born-agains were soft.