Book of Mormon Girl goes to the Daily Show! Inside Edition.

I was sitting at the kitchen table in my pajamas when the call came from my publisher in New York:  The! Daily! Show! Wants! To! Talk! To! You! About! Your! New!  Book!

“Wha? Wha? Wha?” I breathed into the phone.  I went all numb and tingly.

“Are you okay?” the press publicist asked me.

“Yeah,” I said, eventually composing myself.  “Talking to smart funny Jewish guys—this I think I can do.”

“Oh no,” my husband said, looking stricken.  “What if I go into a-fib”—that’s atrial fibrillation, a benign heart condition he has—“when we get there? What if I ruin everything?”

Anxiety–it’s like the Jewish champagne.  Something to celebrate?  Pop the cork and let the neuroses bubble up!

Six days later, we are in New York City.  I’ve studied the Daily Show set and bought a new red dress in a classic Diane Von Furstenberg wrap style to match.  Husband is with me, and we both keep pinching ourselves to snap out of the unreality of the situation.  THE DAILY SHOW!  JON STEWART!  The MAN!

Thursday morning, we scoot about town on various book-related appointments and errands, and as the clock ticks closer to five o’clock, I feel the nausea beginning to descend.  I usually prep quite extensively for any radio or television I do, and I have a pre-interview with a producer that helps me anticipate what the show will be asking, but this time was different.  On the phone, the producer told me, “I really have no idea what he is going to ask.”  In my head, I run through the important notes I’d like to hit and think about ways to avoid the most unproductive avenues of discussion as well.   My dear friend Claire reminds me not to put too much pressure on myself.  “You’re human, dear.  Be human!”  She’s right.  And nothing else is sticking.  Back in the hotel room, I try to handwrite out a few main points to get my head focused.  But the focus does not happen.

Husband David is getting ready too, and I ask him to put some music on. He’s always bringing the good stuff to the family equation, especially food, sports, laughter, and music.  That’s his department.  (Nagging, to-do lists, homework, chores, and urgency—that’s my department.)  He dials his iPhone to some early Dr. Dre and Snoop songs we both love, and that helps me channel my nervous energy into a better place.  We bounce our heads to the hip-hop, smiling totally crazy luck we’ve found ourselves in. THE DAILY SHOW! JON STEWART!

At 5:15 we get into the car and go to the Daily Show studio on the far Westside of Manhattan.  As we pull up, we see the lines of people in front for tickets.  “Last night they got to see Chris Rock,” I joked to my husband.  “And tonight it’s like—who?  Joanna who? Book of Mormon what? Poor suckers!”

We enter the studio at a little side door and head for the green room.  (That’s what they call the place you sit and get nervous before the show—whatever show it is.  Rarely is the room actually green.)  The Daily Show has the nicest green room I have ever seen.  There is a couch and television and cute vases and a stylish coffee table with a giant bowl of candy on it.  There is a schwag bag waiting for me with beauty product samples, gourmet bite-sized cupcakes, and Daily Show gear. And my name is in a frame by the door.  I stand in front of the sign and make a goofy face. David takes a picture.

In the room, the press publicist and my editor are waiting with me and David.  I work with some truly lovely people at the Free Press, and my editor Leah had made the bad Mormon dessert—the strawberry jello pretzel dessert with the recipe at the back of my book—to celebrate.  We settle in, and I start pounding mini Reese’s peanut butter cups from the giant candy bowl.

The producer comes in and greets us.  I thank her for the chance to be on the show.  She says, “Jon really liked your book.”  Which makes me, of course, stoked.  And I tell her that in studying the Daily Show website prepping for the show, I notice that he regularly has on women authors from underrepresented backgrounds to talk about their serious books, and how I saw that pattern, and I knew it reflected a conscious effort, and how much that means to me.  The producer tells me they do really try to get women guests—it’s a priority for them.  And that it can be hard to find women who write non-fiction on the kinds of subjects they cover, but they try.  So, take heart, brainy women—there is a place in popular culture for us.  And it is the awesomest place–The Daily Show.

The producer turns on the television and excuses herself.  The clock says 6 o’clock.  The opening graphics for the show roll, and we think for a moment we might not get to meet Jon Stewart.  That on this night, of all nights, he is too busy to come back and see us.  Alas!  But then, from the end of the hallway, I hear that unmistakeable voice singing a boisterous “HAVA NAGILA HAVA NAGILA HAVA . . .”  and clapping along.

Oh. My. Heart.

He is short—but not as short as you may have heard.  He’s about 5’7” or 5’8”.  About the same height as my husband.  Which I’ve always thought to be the perfect height, but I’m biased. And 5’3”.

He is also very intense, but in a powerfully good, generous, funny, and deeply intelligent way.  He was in the green room exactly the mensch you see on your television screen.

He gives us a huge hello, shakes hands with everyone—me last.

“I bring greetings from the Mormon feminists of America,” I said, “who adore you, and they send these pioneer bonnets as a token of their adoration!”

And I handed him the bonnets made by feministmormonhouswives.org founder Lisa in festive star of David and Hannukah fabrics–with ironed on Feminist Mormon Housewives labels–and he chuckled and smiled and examined them with appreciation.  And then I handed him the bonnet made in a fetching blue wool by Reese Dixon.  “This one,” I said, “My friend Tresa made to match your handsome suit.”

He was delighted.

And then he spied the bad Mormon dessert on the table.

“What is this?”

“It’s a bad Mormon dessert,” my editor explained.  “Strawberry jello pretzel pie.”

“I want to taste that!”

I started fishing around to set him up with a spoon and a plate and he took a big bite of the Jello-Cool-Whip concoction and says, “That’s not bad at all!  I like that!”

Someone jokes about the Jello-Cool-Whip Mormon thing, and David vocalized his usual complaints about the yucky goyishness of the food, to which Mr. Stewart replied, “And you think kasha varnishkas are any better?”

I, for the record, really like kasha varnishkas.

And I like Jon Stewart.

He recommends a Romanian restaurant in town where there is real live schmaltz on the tables.  He and my husband pose with the pie.  He and I pose with the bonnets. There are photographs.

Then he starts monologuing to us about religion:  “You know, it gets inside you like a resin, and it never comes out.  It always makes you feel different.  More responsible. When I was a kid, my neighbors were all Italians and at Passover I’d go to school with my hardboiled egg and my matzah in a bag and Johnny so-and-so would be eating pizza and he’s ask, ‘Why you eating crackers for lunch?’ and I’d say,” he put on a forlorn and quizzical voice, “’my ancestors were slaves?’ And years later I’m sitting in college getting ready to light a bong and feeling so guilty inside and why? I’d say to myself,” he reassumed that forlorn and quizzical voice, “’my ancestors were slaves?’”

Genius.  There were some more friendly words about how much he liked the book, and some talk about 1980s Mormon end-times tuff, and then BAM he was off to start the show.

We watched the first segment from the green room—oh heavens—he really took it to Mitt Romney.  Jon Stewart was on tonight!  Amazing timing.  Amazing energy. He was just ripping giant holes in the ridiculousness of the 2012 campaign, especially the bickering of the last few weeks.  But I was in a panic, seeing that intense energy.  What if I had to come in and pick up the pieces for poor Mitt?  I left the green room and started pacing the hall, trying to do yoga breathing, trying to find my stillness, and praying my “please-give-me-the-right-words-to-say-and-let-me-not-screw-up-too-bad” prayer.  I like to think of myself as a normally sort of calm person, but I gotta say, I was in a bit of a spell.  David came out to check on me and make sure I was okay.  “I can’t watch right now,” I told him.

The second segment was a wild little story about “Redneck Olympics” in Maine, that included a bawdy detail or two.  Note to self—David and I thought—call his parents back at home and tell them not to let the girls watch segment two!

Then, it was my turn.  The producer materialized at the door, smiling.  The make-up lady put one more dash of powder on my face and we started down the long and winding hallways through the Daily Show offices and sets.  Halfway to the stage, we encountered a dog—the Daily Show is the dog-friendliest workplace in the world, they say, with lots of staffers bringing their dogs to work.  Here was this darling black terrier-border collie mix, just standing there in the hallway, and being a dog person, I gave it a big pet and tried to absorb that canine calm.  We continued on down the hallway, and as we rounded the corner I saw the red and blue lights of the set, and heard and felt the energy of the crowd.  He had a big rocking Nickleback (I think) song pumping, and the energy was intense and masculine.  It was nice to have a crowd there.  I lecture to 200-person halls all the time on my day job, and I enjoy the give and take of the energy.  It’s so much better being able to feel and read that energy than being in an oddly quiet studio with a host and a camera, and cameramen counting down, and invisible television beams shooting out across the miles.  Too quiet!  I like human crowds better.

And so BAM! He’s back from break, and he’s reading my short bio!  And all of the sudden, I’m walking across the stage with a big smile and taking my seat at his desk. There are about 215 people in the audience, including a posse of Mormon friends, and as I walk out I am trying to look out at the audience for my friends.  The energy is so positive and enthusiastic, I want to wave and make goofy peace signs and say, “What is up, everyone!  CAN YOU BELIEVE A REGULAR MORMON GIRL IS DOING HER THING ON THE DAILY SHOW! This is just CRAZY!”  But instead I concentrated on making it to the chair. I did not trip!  I did not hurl!  Hallejullah!

And what happens next I don’t really remember, except being right there and saying to myself, “Yes, this is Jon Stewart, and I AM ACTUALLY TALKING TO HIM ABOUT A BOOK I WROTE.”  Wow.  Just wow.

I also remember registering the energy in that chair as being way, way, way more intense than any energy I have experienced elsewhere in the little bit of radio or television I’ve done. It was like having 1000 laser beams on you.  DUDE IS INTENSE.  In a very good way.  He’s just brilliant.  He knows the narrative arc he wants to achieve, the argument he wants to frame, and he knows how to do it in exactly the right time frame for the episode, with timing and jokes, and energy.  BAM.  Super, super impressive.

It took a question or two for me to warm up.  And some of the best stuff happened in the web section.  We covered all the important stuff:  Word of Wisdom, Joseph Smith story, gay Mormons, dance festivals, food storage, and Mitt Romney. . . .and more.

Watch the aired television segment here.  And be sure to watch part two—the web exclusive–here.

Can you believe how supportive he was of The Book of Mormon Girl?  Again, what a mensch. So generous. And when it was over, he leaned across the desk to me and said, “You know, the point is to demystify.  Demystify African-Americans.  Demystify Jews.  And that’s what you’re helping do with this book for Mormons.” He patted the book appreciatively.  Yes, I thought, I hope people can see us as human beings.  I love the mystery of faith, but its humanity is just as important.

I shook his hand. And smiled and walked back off stage, with lots of energetic cheers from the audience, and this time I did wave, I think.  I felt full of smiles and I thought of that sound a gymnast’s feet make when they strike the mat squarely after a good routine.  I was quite relieved.

Everyone was extremely nice as I walked back down the halls—the dog was standing in the exact same spot, and I gave it a quick pat of appreciation for chilling me out.  I met my smiling husband and editor and press publicist, and then it was time to gather our schwag and head out into the muggy warm Manhattan night, where I met my dear friends Russ, Travis, and Eric at the stage door exit.  All smiles.  All around.

Big old thank yous the folks at the Daily Show and all my friends who were pulling for me—especially my Mormon feminist posse, who I know were pulling deep.  Gratitude!  And enjoy the book.  Good things can happen when we tell our stories.

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62 Comments

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62 responses to “Book of Mormon Girl goes to the Daily Show! Inside Edition.

  1. Neal

    Loved it! You did great. Hats off to anyone who can do what you did without having a stroke, aneurism or fatal heart attack! If I had been on the show, Jon would have been giving the audience a live demonstration on how to perform CPR. :)

    P.S. I loved the red dress. And I thought the turquiose jewelry looked really great with it. Good call.

    • Rick Lindsay

      I’m glad you’re such a big fan of Jon Stewart; maybe you can have your children sit through one of his obscenity laced tirades sometime. I know, that attraction to the great and spacious building is very tempting isn’t it. The burden you carry must be immense; I mean after all you speak for all of us in the LDS community that don’t seek the publicity and notoriety of the secular world. Enjoy it while it lasts; in the end truth will prevail and then all you will really have is your “15 minutes of fame”. Oh, and your peep patrol as listed below. Peace Out.

      • Doug

        Always a trick to figure out who those people are in the great and spacious building pointing their fingers. Looks like you are pretty good at pointing yours.

      • The Prophet may speak for the church, but nobody can speak for the entire LDS community– that’s kind of the point here, Rick. To be a member of a widely marginalized faith, and then on top of it, to be mocked by one of our own? Nothing could be more isolating. I’m not sure what untruth you perceived or what “truth isn’t prevailing” in Joanna’s words or works… but now that you’ve dealt out the chastisement, how about that increase of love that’s supposed to follow? (D&C 121:43) We’re a very diverse faith, and we all have the capacity to embrace that diversity, and yet be one. (D&C 35:2)

      • stephanie

        Rick Lindsay, you are the very epitome of everything that is wrong with many people in the Mormon church. Shame on you for criticising this good woman who is a great role model for LDS women and people in general. She is not a fame seeker, Jon Stewart sought her out because she is an intelligent woman who has very good ideas about life and the church. The daily show isn’t for children and yes, Jon Stewart is very colorful at times, but he is also highly educated and at the core, he does indeed respect Mormons for theif beliefs and brought her on the show as an equal. Go back to your small bubble of G rated movies and caffiene free soda, and worry about your own life.

      • The Daily Show is for adults. TDS has always been for adults. Jon Stewart’s children are too young to watch, and so he and his wife don’t let them. For that matter, Stephen Colbert’s children are also too young to watch his show, so he and his wife don’t let them, either. Jon is one of the most intelligent hosts in the business; he actually takes the time to read the books that his guests have written, and prepare intelligent questions and comments. Joanna has never claimed to speak for the entire LDS community, so being snarky is neither attractive nor correct. Joanna gave a wonderful interview; she came across as warm, friendly, informed and open-minded. You might take a leaf from her book.

        Based on your post, I’d say you’re not old enough for The Daily Show, either. Namaste.

      • Anna

        Say what you like Rick Lindsay but Joanna Brooks is the reason I feel I can stay Mormon and raise my kids Mormon. She may not speak to/for you. But she does speak to/for me. Thanks Joanna.

  2. Just saw your big day on Jon’s show…what a triumph! Thanks for demystifying…I feel well represented. :)

  3. NDM

    In my opinion, Joanna, you generated more good will for the Church in ten minutes than the Church’s public relations department has in ten years. And that is not a criticism of the public relations department. Way to knock one out of the park!

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience, that sounds like both a dream come true, and a big deal. I’m impressed, and totally pleased. Thank you!

  5. It was a magnificent interview, Joanna. Well done! I thought it might just be an excuse to talk about Mitt Romney, but it was clear that Jon really wanted to talk about the book — a wonderful testimonial! Thanks for sharing the rest of the experience.

  6. I loved the interview! You did superbly well. I jumped forward in my seat when he said that Mitt Romney is the first Mormon presidential candidate–what about Joseph Smith? Alas, that probably would have just made things awkward.

    Good work!

    • Sara

      I think he probably meant the first presidential candidate to clinch a party’s nomination. Even Mitt’s dad ran for president (some random detail I remember from his 2008 campaign).

  7. Dawn Marie

    I listened to both of the segments and you did great! And Jon seemed to be wholly engaged, good for him, and yes, now I see, he IS intense like you said. Again, thank you for your work and the message you bring to dispel some of the myths and to humanize the community of Mormons. You are much appreciated by me!

  8. That was fabulous Joanna. I loved the commentary and your clips were great. Thumbs up to you and Stewart for a classy, funny, all-around good-time interview.

  9. Very happy for you and can’t wait to get a copy of the book. Just a quick clairifiction. The dessert you referred to is an American Mormon dessert. No one else in the church makes it but you guys.

  10. Hilarious Mormon/Jewish insider edition–this is exactly all the stuff I wanted to know. Thanks!

  11. Pulling so deep. It was a beautiful moment, Joanna. I think the most beautiful of this very Mormon moment. Thank you. And thank you for recounting it here. So lovely. I am weeping. Over the Daily Show. So silly, but so true.

  12. Joanna, you’re the Mensch! Absolutely Excellent way to represent Mormon humanity! Thanks!

  13. Good work, Joanna! (Good works) You looked happy, calm, confident and beautiful. Your voice is making a difference for a lot of us folks. And thank you for sharing this behind.the.scenes. It’s so much fun to hear about the details. You are a generous soul.

  14. Kevin Barney

    You were simply wonderful, Joanna. Well done!

  15. You were awesome! Poised, graceful, funny, articulate – you made me proud :) I bet you feel like a rockstar (you should!)

  16. YASHER KOACH! Also Mazal Tov. I saw the show and you were great. And Jon is right: demystifying and humanizing is the way to go. BTW, you never know which comment is going to “ding,” but when you said that his wariness about others was the most Mormon thing about Mitt Romney, it dinged. So thank you for humanizing him a little more for me.

  17. Madge

    Thanks for sharing all the behind-the-scenes details, Joanna. You did such a fantastic job and I’m thrilled for you and the success of your book. Mazel tov!

  18. I’m so happy I saw the link to this post. I just watched both parts of your interview and I can’t wait to read your book. I’m someone who has kind of written off “Mormons” as being a religion and culture I will never understand and you’ve enlightened me. I love Jon Stewart and appreciate your recounting of your experience here. I always learn from his show and his interviews.
    Also, you did a GREAT job. You looked beautiful. The dress was perfect and your wisdom, intelligence, kindness and generousity of spirit were clear to see.
    good luck with your book and thank you for sharing your story!!

  19. lisamiddlemas

    This is exactly how I pictured Jon Stewart to be…so brilliant, funny and intense. Thank you so much for sharing these deets!!! Loved it.

    Kinda sad you didn’t get to meet Wyatt, Samantha, Jason, Jessica or John . . . but we can’t have everything! Har.

    Great job, Joanna. Your work as a pioneer for us unorthodox types gives me great hope that someday we may be fully accepted by the mainstream church. Realistically, this won’t fully happen for several generations. Our generation has the hardest job to navigate, and therefore I think it is absolutely understandable for unorthodox or non-believers to leave the church in order to maintain their peace in life. Someday, we can all lay claim to our heritage, like Jon does.

    • Traci

      You were perfect! Even my sweet Atheist/Used-to-be-Mormon husband said it was a proud moment for Mormons. And thank you for posting about the true experience with Jon Stewart. I love him!

    • Maggie Cathey

      Joanna- I discovered who you were this year–I have been so upset that I have different views from all my Mormon friends, yet I come from Mormon apostle pioneer stock. Thanks so much for sharing your stories–I saw one of your lectures on video. You have given me much hope.
      My brother-in-law has told my husband and I that we will not go to the Celestial Kingdom because we are Independent and Democrat. I have served as a Republican in my local Town Council until the neoconsevatives came in and took over. My grandfather was a Rep. legislator in Idaho, my dad a Rep. but he left the Rep. Party also.
      If it were not for me finding that there are other Mormons who feel as we do I might have left the church.
      You did great on your show an I admire your courage.

      • Maggie: You tell Brother-in-law that James E. Faust was a Democrat, who served in the House of Representatives as such. Member of the First Presidency not going to the Celestial Kingdom? Oh, the cognitive dissonance of this modern conservatism. Keep the faith– I stand with you.

      • William Clayton

        @Bill Hooper
        I agree wholeheartedly that the notion that Democrats and Independents will not make it to the Celestial Kingdom is asinine. But to be precise James E. Faust served in the Utah House of Representatives in 1949. The Democratic party of the Truman-era and in that state bears precious little resemblance to the circus tent of special interests that is the Democratic party today.

  20. Cc

    Thanks for taking all the tummy flip flops required to do your marvelous mission in life! May we all Brave On! Thanks to you and all who strengthen you!

  21. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. A great example of what we all should do after a memorable experience. You were outstanding on the show.

  22. Being a Progressive Mormon in rural Utah, I feel like the diet coke among the rootbeers. But, in reading your book and hearing your voice, I feel like I am not alone out there in the LDS community.

  23. Mark and I watched last night and loved the Jew giving tips to the Mormon–old-timer to baby–on how to be a crazy, persecuted religion. You had a great combo of candor and positive spin. Congrats!

  24. Joanna, thanks for your book, and thanks for your strong performance in the Daily Show. I’ve been following Jon’s Indecision coverage since pretty much th 2000 election. And for a year now, I think I’ve watched every single episode.

    And Jon is pretty well read, he knows lots of stuff–not just the face of the operation, but brings big brains, too. His analyses are often so good, and he uses humour to make it sound less serious and boring, thus helping even non-geeks to understand. Brainy people do get it, it’s the non-nerds, those who are a good target for populism, for whom we need to demystify, make more palatable.

    And back to your own performance Thursday night: You did good, seeing that you’re not on national TV every week, even every year, right? Wait, was this your first time? :)

  25. kelly mccann

    Joanna-
    On behalf of feminist Mormon girls everywhere who would like their own personal time with Jon Stewart, THANK YOU for representing so well. You were graceful and smart and funny. I admire your bravery and chutzpah- putting it all out there and creating a new space for us to be. Loved it all and love you!

  26. I’m glad you mentioned your dress. It was a great dress.:)

  27. Zac

    Hey everybody! You can also view Joanna’s interview with Don Imus on Imus in the Morning by going to the Fox Business News website http://www.foxbusiness.com. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and under ‘SHOWS’ click on Imus in the Morning to find the interview.

    Imus was very gracious and supportive of Joanna. Imus has always spoken well of Mormons on his radio program.

  28. Deryl Lamb

    Very poised. Way to articulate the progressive Mormon voice. Way to demystify!

  29. Joanna, you were awesome. You looked great, you sounded great, you were poised, intelligent and funny. Thanks for representing all of us Mormon feminists, and congrats on doing such a wonderful job.

  30. Great interview. Congratulations. Also, thanks for the shout out to gay Mormons.

    I’ve had dinner a number of times at that that Romanian restaurant that Stewart recommended to you and like it a a lot. These days the schmaltz on the table is cut with olive oil, but it’s the thought that counts.

    LDS Newsroom went out of their way to trash you a while ago; I wonder if they’re going to take back all the mean things they said. :- ) They couldn’t buy the kind of positive PR that your appearance on the Daily Show produced.

  31. Meg Radunich

    Joanna — you are such a role model to me. You always play it just right. Great job!! :)

  32. heatherawsumb

    So disappointed that I can’t watch the clip since I live outside the U.S. Sounds like a great success though. Congrats!

  33. Michelle Ralston

    I really enjoyed the interview and I want to get the book now! Reminding me of my childhood and the wonderful memories that keep me going! Thanks for being so brave.

  34. I thought you handled the interview very well. And I agree that you did more to boost the world view of the LDS church than has been done in a long time.

    I have always semi-liked Jon Stewart, but your post made me realize how much I appreciate his open-mindedness toward all groups/faiths! It’s true that he always seems respectful.

  35. K Anderson

    I loved your behind-the-scenes look . . . what a great moment. I loved the interview, too! Congrats!!

    Sincerely,
    A Huntsman Mormon

  36. JP

    Thought your interview was very good. you didn’t seem nervouse and you were engaging and intriguing. So much so that is bought your book. It made me sad. I don’t agree with the choices you’ve made but my eyes were opened to what YW growing up in the church may be experiencing, feeling or thinking. I grew up the same time as you and attended BYU the same time. I can relate to all of the experiences in your book but of course didn’t have the same thoughts or anxieties. I’ve asked my wife to read the book to see how much she relates. She grew up in So. Cal as an LDS girl and was even at the same dance festival performing the “Rock Around the Clock”. Even though we are on different sides of some topics and I feel sorry for the termoil you have experienced I did gain something from your experience that you shared in your book. I hope you find or have found the peace and happiness you are looking for.

  37. Becca Johnson

    Thank you Joanna, for scripting my life with such eloquence. :) As I attempt to find cohesion between my own beliefs, some quite conservative and others liberal, I find comfort knowing many others are on a similar journey of their own. Once again you made me proud with your presence on the show. You exude class!

  38. Gina Kershaw

    Joanna – just watched your segment through a link on Design Mom. I LOVED it!! As I told Design Mom, I had a silly smile on my face the entire time because I could totally relate to your comments. Thank you for your courage in writing this book, I am going to purchase a copy as soon as I finish this note.

    I recently wrote a book about my life as a Mormon criminal defense attorney. It is called “Mormon Mom among Murderers.” As I anticipate its release, I wonder what was I thinking??? Of course, I am completely nervous about how it will be received. I took courage from reading about you and then watching you on “The Daily Show.” Thank you so much for putting your story out there! :)

  39. Natsy

    Joanna – You were so fabulous! You looked beauitful, you were poised and confident. I had a five-year-old moment where I thought “I want to be just like her when I grow up!” Thanks for being you and willing to share your story.

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  41. Jody

    You were amazing. Simply amazing. And Jon–when he said to you “the point is to demystify” it hit me like a ton of bricks. I hope to help demysitify autism on my son’s behalf. Thanks so much for putting your story out there!

  42. Anette JohnsonM.D.

    Joanna, Saw you on John Stewart, got your book from Amazon and read it yesterday and today. As an ex Seventh Day Adventist, now liberal agnostic Episcopalian, old woman doctor I can only say: Congratulations, congratulations. All of the conservative churches have the “strong” woman problem. My hairdresser once sent me to a born again meeting in Mission Viejo were the pastor started in on Mormons. It’s one of my prouder moments that I got up and walked out. But I miss my childhood friends and their families because I refuse to live in a negative place about my childhood religion. You so aptly described the tremendous warm family circle that a strong faith gives children. I have missed it for many years. You are a poet who can kindly show us what we do when we exclude each other. Thank you, and you didn’t look one bit nervous on John Stuart!

  43. Heather Wimmer

    As an othodox-ish Mormon girl who shared BYU time with you, I’d like to say I wish we had actually known each other then. I like you a lot. You did a great job with both the book and the show. Thank you for reminding us how big God is and how loving and how gracious. We saints tend to sometimes forget that in our insular way.

  44. You did a great job! I knew you would. Jon Stewart is one of the most intelligent interviewers on TV, if not *the* most. He’s also extremely fair. If you’re trying to pose or deceive, he will cut right through it, but if, as in your case, you have a genuine story and a reasonable perspective, he will help you share it.

    The synergy that happens when another intelligent, well spoken person is on as his guest is definitely cool to watch. You did us proud. :-)

  45. E

    You’re doing a lot of good in letting everyone know there’s many different shades within the Mormon church, hopefully that message continues to get out there, but goodness you and your cronies need to stop trying to make it sound like the “liberal” “Harry Reid” Mormons are the smarter ones.
    It’s nauseating and at times laughable, and it diminishes the objectives you’re trying to accomplish.

    You come across as divisive by falling back on the liberal “crutch”, put that to the side and we may all progress forward and contribute to the changes we’d like to see.

    • Any time somebody takes a stand to defend their position, and do it intelligently, should they also worry that they’ve lumped together their idealogical opponents into a larger group people who argue less intelligently? Let cite specific instances that are objectionable, and give everyone a chance to react to whatever it is, or at least admit to ourselves that we can’t reasonably be called to task for vague offenses committed by people who just happen to agree with us on maybe five percent of our total worldview.

  46. You rocked this interview Mormon Girl!! Way to go!

  47. Em

    I loved it!! I am a huge fan of the Daily Show, and was pleased to see how complimentary Jon was of you and your book. Makes me love him even more!! Thank you for representing mormons in such a lovely, intelligent way.

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