Good things happen when you tell your story.

There were tears.
Of course.
Big hugs to everyone who filled the chairs (and the stairs and the balcony) at wonderful Sam Weller’s Books in Salt Lake City.  Thanks to Meg who drove from *POCATELLO, IDAHO* just to be there.  Thanks for lining up to share your thoughts and stories with me, and letting me give knuckles to your kids.  Young Mormon kids sitting through an hour-long book reading?  Amazing. That reverence training sure pays off!
I wanted to share two letters from readers of The Book of Mormon Girl.  This one is from Anna, a non-Mormon reader: “I picked up a copy of your book in Barnes in Noble the other day and started to read it on a whim. I was so captivated by it that I came back the next day to read more of it.
 Before I read your book, I knew a fair amount about the LDS church but after reading your story and watching a few of your videos, I have found myself far more accepting to the nuances of the Mormon faith. Although I’m not Mormon, I could relate to your longing to discover more about oneself and one’s faith. Your book and your story have provided both inspiration and encouragement to me in the midst of my own faith journey.”
Thank you, Anna.  I am glad this book helped you see Mormonism with more warmth and understanding.  And I hope it provides you strength and courage as you walk your own path in this life.
And this, from a fellow BYU alum, living in Utah:
“I was walking through Costco when I stumbled upon your book.  I worried that it was going to be one of those books where the author thinks she is smarter than you because she got out of the church. I picked it up and bought it. [Reading it,] I felt proud of the way you represented strong women, the way you were true to the conflicting feelings being a member of the church presents. It is a great book – I went back to Costco and bought 5 more copies to give to friends and family.

Just wanted to let you know you have a sister in the gospel rooting for you – you represented us well. Keep fighting the good fight.”
Thank you.  I am rooting for you too.  I am rooting for all of us–Mormons in this moment when our beloved faith is under scrutiny, and we are putting ourselves and our fellow Church members under scrutiny too–may we all have courage and full hearts and tell our stories with hope, confidence, and loyalty.
And I am rooting for anyone who is on a spiritual journey.  Strength for your travels.


Filed under social connectedness

6 responses to “Good things happen when you tell your story.

  1. It was a lovely evening, thanks for providing the reason to gather together. Plus, when I got home I was able to see you on national television (Rock Center) too. That doesn’t happen too often! I finished the book in the wee hours of the morning…not exactly good for sleep but totally worth it.

  2. Nice post. Thanks for sharing the letters. Saw you on Rock Center’s show Mormon In America last night. Hope to read your book someday. I am liberal and believe strongly in women’s rights, although I’m not sure that I would describe myself as feminist.

  3. Your work is a splendid gift to us. Thank you.

  4. It was a pleasure to meet you Joanna. In my imagination, I was going to say something hilarious and witty, so that we could share a laugh together – but all I managed to come up with was “hi.”

    I hope that memories of being in a crowded place, full of supporters, blocks out the crappy energy from negative people.

  5. sammie

    I was at Sam Weller’s last Thursday as well and I was both enriched (a favorite mormon word) by your story and stirred up to write my own, tell my own in a honest and respectful way including my hopes and struggles. Then the very next evening I sat in a lecture given by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich who talked about the undeniable importance of voices particularly of women’s experiences and ideas and the precious writings of LDS past that have been found in unlikely places. I think I need to write. You have given me a good model of how to write about my loves and discontents when I write about my issues of faith and mormonism.

    It was great to be with a crowd that could talk about their struggles with the culture and the faith without getting into little gloomy groups of whiners and victims as has been a lot of my experience when I find places to voice my issues. I want places and people who are about spiritual growth through the struggle and not stagnation in the problem though for some issues I need to hear and be heard a lot as I work! Thank you all you kind strugglers.

  6. Cydney Yerushalmi

    I just finished reading The Book of Mormon Girl, and it touched many things that were familiar to me. I grew up Jewish on Long Island, before many Jews lived there. We couldn’t buy a house in Manhassett because there were restrictive covenants in a Levitt community (Levitt was a Jew). The huge Mormon crowd at the Rose Bowl made me remember what it felt like to be in Israel; the one place on earth where if someone didn’t like me, it was because I wasn’t likeable, not because I was Jewish.

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