New and expanded edition of The Book of Mormon Girl out 8/7! Thank you, and help please.

Dear AMG friends:

I hope you’ll forgive a break from the regular programming for just a few days.

Because on August 7, a new and expanded edition of The Book of Mormon Girl:  A Memoir of an American Faith published by the Free Press / Simon & Schuster will hit the shelves of bookstores nationwide.

I’m writing to express deep thanks to all of you who supported the first self-published edition of The Book of Mormon Girl.  So many of you wrote reviews, told friends about it, read it, wrote me with your thoughts.  Thank you.  What you’ll find in the new and expanded edition is almost two chapters worth of new up-to-the-minute material, book club and readers’ guides, and some significant revisions too.

I hope you’ll like it.

I wrote this book for the New York City editor who told me a few years ago that “the whole Mormon thing” was too “weird” to write about.  If it’s still okay to say out loud that Mormonism too “weird,” I thought, then we need to keep telling our story—our stories—of faith, love, humor, heartbreak, and humanity, until the world sees us as human beings.

And I wrote this book for all the Mormons who feel it’s too difficult or dangerous to talk about our questions and struggles and heartbreaks with this amazingly compelling faith.  Too many Mormons live their questions without companionship or encouragement. I wanted to help change that.

After I self-published The Book of Mormon Girl, I heard from readers who told me that the story I told helped them feel less alone and more encouraged to keep the faith:

The Book of Mormon Girl made me feel less alone, and most importantly, made me feel like I can be myself at church and don’t necessarily need to run away and sit on the sidelines of Mormonism.”–Tawnya in Salt Lake City, Utah

“Thank you so much for every courageous and loving page of your book! I could not put it down and read it in a day. I laughed, cried, snorted, and sobbed and felt like my story was being told. Thank you for speaking up and for being true to you and giving Mormon girls like me and my daughters hope and peace in following our hearts.”–Alyson in Arizona

“We loved The Book of Mormon Girl, and we lent it to a dear friend of ours in the ward who had been struggling for a long while. Upon returning it to us the next week, she said, “I feel for the first time that I can continue to be a part of this church.”–John in Washington, D.C.

It’s a story that’s connecting with non-Mormon audiences and reviewers too.

Let me share with you some early reviews and blurbs:

“In this enchanting memoir, Brooks…re-creates with enormous feeling the sense of belonging inculcated by the community of kindly, well-intentioned Latter Day Saints… [and] chronicles her painful years of ‘exile’…. Throughout this heartfelt work she remains braced and true to herself.” —Publishers Weekly

“Oh wow. I doubledare 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, New York Times-bestselling 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

You will be able to find The Book of Mormon Girl at Barnes & Noble, Target, Salt Lake City-area Smith’s, Deseret Book, and indy booksellers.

If you liked the first edition, or if you like the heartfelt, honest writing you find at this blog, I’m asking for your help.

Can you post a review to your blog or Facebook page?  Facebook, tweet out or pin up some BOMG-related media, like this video? Host a BOMG reading, party, or book club meeting?  (I may be able to Skype in, or I may be travelling to a city near you this fall.)  Ask your local bookseller or library to stock BOMG, or host an event? Hand the book to a friend?

The reason I put my story out there was because I believe that there need to be more books by and about Mormons on the shelf of your local bookseller–beyond Under the Banner of Heaven and ghostwritten polygamy escape memoirs.

And I put my story out there because I believe good things happen when we are brave enough to tell our stories with an open heart.

Creating and sharing book has already been an amazing adventure.  If its message resonates with you, I’d be grateful for your help.

Sincerely,

Joanna

PS.  Tune into the Daily Show this Thursday night.  I’ll be talking BOMG with Jon Stewart.  Couldn’t be more thrilled.

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “New and expanded edition of The Book of Mormon Girl out 8/7! Thank you, and help please.

  1. Lauren B

    Very excited about this! I’ve been telling everyone my experience and feelings of the book. Hoping to find it in Logan, UT on Tuesday.

  2. Hi,

    Will it be available as ebook for readers outside the states?

  3. frenchiebabe

    I will add it to my Facebook book club.

  4. Sue

    As a semi-lapsed Reform Jew who is married to an even more lapsed Mormon, I stumbled across your website and have enjoyed it immensely as both a learning tool and a means of communication from i perceive as a kindred spirit. In the context of the tragedy in WI today and in the current overall political climate, I want to say thank you for serving both roles for me personally. I also read somewhere recently that our country’s motto was E Pluribus Unum until it was changed to In God We Trust sometime in the 1950s. Don’t you think it would be good to change it back as a way of possibly drawing us all back together again? I’ll try to remember to catch you on the Daily Show. It’s one of my favorites because of John Stewart’s attitude toward all these issues so I might remember to flip over to it in the midst of my Olympics viewing!

  5. Ask the millions of people that leave as a result of confusion, betrayal, heartbreak, ignorance, carelessness, and even insanity or who commit suicide because they can not live up to perfect standards. Mormons are not human beings. They are robots. They have no choice, but to do what the leaders say, or to be looked upon as filth. Neither do they love conditionally.

  6. Bless your heart. I admire your bravery and honesty. Someday I want to write about my Mormon life. Sending prayers your way…

  7. Yael Ridberg

    Mazal Tov! Can’t wait to see you with Jon and to read the book :). Rabbi Yael

  8. We are definitely going to read this for our book club! And I will review it on my blog! I also write a book review column for my local paper and I would love to feature it in my column! Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  9. Rosie Foster

    Thank you Joanna for opening my eyes. Never really expressed my thoughts about women in the church, it’s good to know that I’m not so bad after all.

  10. Kelly Porter

    Your book hit my Kindle at 12:01am on 8/7 and I couldn’t wait to start reading! I have such a sense of where you come from and who you are from how you write. I am not a believer in any particular religion, but you inspire me to explore my spiritual side. Thank you for sharing your strength and stories.

  11. Dolly

    Will be buying it today and reviewing it on my Goodreads wall. I’m a big fan already Joanna. I am more brave everyday as my intuitive thoughts are given a voice from places like AMG and BCC.

  12. Mair

    Can’t wait to read BOMG with my husband and friends!
    And I’m more than a little jealous of your interview with Jon Stewart. When he goes in to shake your hand can you swoop in for a hug and steal a little kiss. Please do it for the rest of us Mormon girls who crush on liberal Jewish New Yorkers.

  13. Todd

    Very impressive appearance on the Daily Show! Congratulations and best wishes!

  14. stayquirkymyfriends

    Great job on The Daily Show – I am intrigued and can’t wait to read your book. Its so nice to hear a different side of the Mormon experience – your comments about and support of the gay community within the Mormon community were quite refreshing! Congrats on your success!

  15. I’m browsing through my copy of this week’s “New Yorker” this morning and came across Gopnik’s book review of 4 new scholarly histories of the Church. Sure enough, 170 words before he even mentions the Four he’s quoting “The Book of Mormon Girl”. For all those who only read the first few sentences he’s already slipped in Joanna Brooks. He does it again three pages later. Now it’s an Olympic sport: will Joanna spring up again before the finish line? I’ll have to keep reading. Only five more pages.

  16. Jill

    Saw John Stewart last night, read your book today. Very thoughtful and enlightening. I will propose for our next book club. Best wishes!

  17. I bought the kindle version of your book after seeing John Stewart last night. I was exhausted, but decided to read at least a chapter before bed and I could not put it down! In you I have found a kindred spirit, and I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for writing such an inspiring book that made me feel that I was not so alone. Thank you.

  18. Nancy Amorette Kohl

    Thank you for your book and website. I’d heard of you and seen the blog a few months ago, so when I saw you on Jon Stewart I was fascinated to watch. I was so impressed by both what you had to say and his respectful treatment of it and you. It makes me so hopeful that our stories CAN be told. I immediately downloaded the book and read it straight through, w/ a few pauses for tears (I usually cry in Church, too) and writing my own thoughts.

    I was at BYU a decade before you, and, while I love it dearly, also experienced some of the pain that happens when image becomes more important than substance. It involved my dearest friend being kicked out of school mid-semester for a rule he hadn’t known about, as well as being told he couldn’t perform in the play I was directing, in which he was the lead. It was a Special Project, for which I paid all costs and was the only one getting school credit, but because it was on-campus and a student production, he was forbidden. When I went to the Standards Office to ask them why the rule was not known, their answer was that they didn’t want the school’s image damaged by people knowing the issue existed. When I told the man I knew of many students breaking other rules, yet staying in school because they were less honest than my friend and hadn’t confessed to their Bishops, his response was to whip out a notebook and ask for names. I walked out, and after finishing my show I walked away from the Y with a stack of Incompletes. Though I later returned to retake some of the classes, I couldn’t bring myself to do the last 2. It just hurt too much to take my mind back.

    But BYU and the Church have SO much beauty within them, too. Over time I’ve come to realize the man in Standards was a human, making his own mistakes. As are we all. I was raised in Utah, so most of the heroes AND most of the villains in my stories are Mormon. And, as you express so beautifully, they deserve to be told. In my college playwriting class they had just finished reading my one-act, with generally favorable reviews all around, when someone said: “Wow, that’s really good. What a shame it can never be produced.” Shocked, I asked why. “Because Mormons won’t like that some of the Mormon characters do bad things, and Non-Mormons won’t want to watch Mormon characters at all.”

    That play disappeared into a file somewhere, and though I’ve continued to tell my stories, they have been veiled in references only I understand within the subtext of plays I direct, essays I write, and even Relief Society lessons I teach. But inside I felt the frustration and anger. Because I know some dang good stories. Mormon stories. Some inspirational, some shameful. All human.

    It saddens me that any in the Church should think of intellectuals as the enemy, because they have always been a part of it. The early pioneers did NOT all start out as farmers. Many were well educated academics. That’s part of the marvel of their story. They LEARNED to be self-sufficient in practical matters, but schools, choirs, and theatres were always part of the package. Early Mormons started the Little Theatre movement in the country at The Bowring Theatre in Salt Lake. ZCMI was the first department store. Women, like Maude Adams, were allowed to perform on stage in an era when most thought of actresses as harlots. Eliza R. Snow and women like her were licensed physicians, and writers, when men held those professions almost exclusively. The intellectuals and artists were always there. My own mother and grandmother were poets and journalists; Mormon AND rebellious. Nurtured and occasionally hurt by the same tradition. Maybe with more people like you I will someday be as brave as they.

  19. salticid

    Dear Mormon Girl – why do you lie?

    No one believes Mormons are gay-friendly — why do you pretend that they do? Is it the same-old LIE to yourself mentality, until it becomes true BS that drives many to their deaths? HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE DO WANT TO KILL? Just wondering…

    • This is important, so I want to clarify. When I speak publicly about the small but growing number of Mormons who are seeking to build bridges and understanding around gay issues in the LDS community, I do so not to foster the impression that the LDS Church is “gay friendly.” It is a very, very difficult place to be gay. But there are Mormons with loving hearts who can be pivotal points of support for gay people already within our community, including young people. For decades, these Mormons have stayed in the shadows. Many are afraid to be “out” about their feelings at church. When I put myself out there, it is to encourage others to be less afraid. It is the best way I can figure to contribute to a change in hearts.

  20. Is the current Kindle version the new edition?

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