(Somewhat) New Ex-Mormon Books!
Hey everyone! I love writing book reviews, but I have been so busy with my comic book and my new job that I have really not had time to do it. So I’d like to at least gather up here a list of Mormon-related books that I’ve learned of lately:
In Polygamy’s Shadow, by Maggie Rayner
Set in the 1950s and 60s on the West Coast of British Columbia, In Polygamy’s Shadow: From a Mormon Childhood to a Life of Choice chronicles Maggie’s personal struggle to keep herself from being devoured by the Mormon church and her parents’ unrelenting loyalty to it. She questions why her family eats food from a garbage dump while her father rises in the church hierarchy and her parents pay tithing on every dollar that comes into the household. She fears for her future when polygamists from Bountiful visit her congregation on the hunt for young brides.
Religious Rehab: A memoir, by Todd Maxwell Preston
Finally, late one afternoon, I found myself down to my last dollar-fifty. That fact brought reality starkly into focus. Life needed to stop for me. I walked clumsily towards the bridge, crying, laughing, trying to hide my avalanche of pain. The sun beat on my back. I could feel perspiration trickling down my spine. The blasting of horns and the noisy traffic stopped. Everything slowed, like a giant hand had reached down and hit a switch, and my life unraveled across an imaginary screen. The giant steel beams blocked my vision – I looked down at the Hudson and could not make out a single ripple. But all I had to do was fall; I didn’t even need to jump. I just had to fall and falling was something I was good at. I closed my burning eyes and visualized my plunge and poetically felt justice in ending my life. It felt magical and ethereal, as though it was my destiny.
You’re Not Alone: Exit Journeys of Former Mormons, by Jessica Bradshaw
It can be terrifying to acknowledge your doubts, let alone to confront the aftermath of discovering your religion was not what it claimed. Knowing that, the author reached out to a few other former Mormons and asked them to share their journeys in a “chicken-soup-for-the-ex-Mormon-soul”-style compilation. This collection of 23 exit stories represents those willing and eager to remind other brave, honest souls confronting their cognitive dissonance, fears, and doubts that they’re NOT alone, that others have been there, and we all think about, cope, and struggle with it in different ways.
Weeping, Wailing, and Gnashing of Teeth, by Johnny Townsend
On Judgment Day, several Mormon apostates face being thrust into Outer Darkness for their sins. With all of humanity watching, they are forced to confess their stories of rejecting the witness of the Holy Ghost. As they tell the world what led them to abandon the Church, there is much “weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth,” as foretold by the prophets of old. But their punishment is so shocking that even the Devil himself is left speechless at the verdict.
Mormon Bitch: Illusions of Hope: Book One, by Mollie Hope Stewart
Ordinary believers that trusted the Mormon Church until its lack of intellectual and spiritual freedom overwhelmed them. This first-hand fictional account deriving from twenty years of journals tells of the subtle brainwashing beginning in Mollie’s happy-go-lucky childhood; then of her learning to question superstition and dogma, and of her learning to trust science, evidence, and reason. And, as she describes it, of her eventually learning to think for herself, rather than always waiting to be told what to do.
The All Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man: A memoir. by Dan Pearce
Brought to you by the author of the widely-acclaimed Single Dad Laughing blog, The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man will make you laugh as often as it makes you squirm (in all the right ways) as Dan shares his sidesplitting life stories, moments of incredible stupidity, colossal mistakes, and the awesome (albeit sometimes strange) lessons learned through it all.
If anyone would like to write a review of any of these books for Main Street Plaza, that would be great! Also, if you’ve read any of these books, feel free to give your impressions in comments and/or add your own book suggestions!
Here’s a review of You’re Not Alone.