Meet me at Weller’s Books this Thursday–and lovely letters from readers

Howdy, everyone!

This Thursday, August 23, I’ll be visiting Salt Lake City to do a 7 p.m. reading at Weller’s Books in Trolley Square.   Come say hello and share your own Mormon girl (and boy) stories.  Whoever recounts the most memorable object lesson ever will win his or her own copy of . . . . The Marie Osmond Guide to Beauty Health & Style.  That’s right!  Your own vintage edition of the book I studied the heck out of when I was twelve years old and trying to get a grip on Mormon womanhood. Thanks to the good people at Weller’s for having me.  Can’t wait to see you there.

And I wanted to share snippets of lovely letters from readers of The Book of Mormon Girl.   I’ve gotten quite a few of them in the last two weeks, from non-Mormon readers who tell me they’ve worked with Mormons all their lives but have never “gotten” us until they read the book.  And from Mormon readers who say that my story has helped them feel “less alone” or “like I didn’t have to be ashamed” of their unorthodox Mormon path.  I’ve also gotten great mail from more traditional believing Mormon folks who say “I may disagree with some of your actions but you gave me a great deal to think about the young women of this church.”  Which is awesome.  Because this is a story that welcomes everyone at the table:  Mormon or non-Mormon, believer or not, in or out, good or bad.  This is a story about holding onto what you love and being brave.  (I’ll stop before I start sounding like my own video. Which you should check out.)

The letter that stands out the most to me this week is from a woman we’ll call “B.”  B read the book last week.  And then this happened:

“Saturday morning, on my way to my sister’s house to can plums, I was forcibly struck that I needed to sponsor a woman missionary. The prompting was so strong that I called my friend and asked her to ask her Bishop who needed help. And of course, there was a young woman in the ward who lacked just the amount I could contribute. But this is not a typical Holy Ghost story. . . .”

Because “B” is not even active in the Church.  She has stepped away, over concern with women’s issues.  But she’s not giving up.  Read on:

“To change from the inside takes leadership, and Mormon missions build leaders. So I am supporting a young woman to leave her family for about two years and spread the gospel in Missouri. I intend to support more woman missionaries and to start a campaign for other people to support more woman missionaries. Young men of the church are expected to go on a mission as a matter of course, while women are expected to marry young….. I seek to build stronger female leadership in the church. Missions build leadership skills and develop more understanding of the human condition. If you believe that stronger women leaders are what the church needs and if you think that building leaders is essential to this process, than maybe sending more women on missions is going to be part of that goal.”
B doesn’t feel she can but she still has love for the Mormon faith and “Relief Society and church suppers . . . canning and quilting and being in Road Shows and speaking in public and all the things that mean being a Book of Mormon Girl.”
And she’s voting for hope.  By supporting a young woman.  Who may be a leader.  Someday.
Thank you, B.  Thank you, all, for reading The Book of Mormon Girl.  Look forward to meeting some of you this week.
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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Meet me at Weller’s Books this Thursday–and lovely letters from readers

  1. Thanks for sharing that letter. I never thought of my mission as building me toward leadership in the church, but I can see how others see it that way.

    I fully support any women that want to serve a mission, of course. And it is always helpful to financially support missionaries. However, I don’t think that a mission is required for good woman leaders in the church. I know so so many great female presidents of ward and stake organizations in the church that never served missions.

    I do agree that some of the girls that marry young just don’t seem qualified and ready for any sort of leadership position. I have had many frustrating young-married visiting teaching companions, den co-leaders, and primary co-teachers who were constantly frustrating me with their lack of dedication. But, they can learn and grow if they choose.

    It seems to me that for every 1 young married that seems to not get it yet, there is 1 who impresses me with their involvement, knowledge and dedication! And that is a ratio that I believe can be seen across the board for all ages and genders in the church.

  2. Carole

    I love this letter from B! There is so much that young women gain from missionary service! Not only do they develop leadership skills and a deeper understanding of the human condition (as B insightfully points out), they can also develop a habit of gospel scholarship and a confidence in their ability to answer the hard questions (both their own and others’) through study and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, rather than relying on the expertise of other people. There is so much ambiguity in LDS doctrine, particularly regarding women, that these skills are absolutely vital.

    I realize that women can gain those skills without the mission experience (Mormon Girl is a fantastic example of this), but I gained them as a missionary.

  3. Dr. Robert M. Flynn

    It’s too bad that I just got this and we missed your reading, my wife and I would have liked to have met you. Thank you for all you are doing to open the dialogue of diversity within Mormonism. There are so many good and faithful Saints who don’t fit the mold or question the staus quo who are finally finding a voice and support. I believe this movement will continue to expand and will evoke positive (and necissarry) change within the church. I believe that you and others like yourself are doing the work that the church can’t do and reaching those that they can not reach. Thank you

  4. I guess leadership could be a side effect, chances are that the independence and reliance on the spirit it teaches you would be viewed as leadership qualities. It’s definitely a good thing, and totally can mold you into whatever the Lord’s purpose is… leadership could be part of that.

    Thank you for sharing :)

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