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The Book of Mormon Girl

The Book of Mormon Girl

A Memoir of an American Faith

  • reading group guide
From her days of feeling like “a root beer among the Cokes”—Coca-Cola being a forbidden fruit for Mormon girls like her—Joanna Brooks always understood that being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set her apart from others. But, in her eyes, that made her special; the devout LDS home she grew up in was filled with love, spirituality, and an emphasis on service. With Marie Osmond as her celebrity role model and plenty of Sunday School teachers to fill in the rest of the details, Joanna felt warmly embraced by the community that was such an integral part of her family. But as she grew older, Joanna began to wrestle with some tenets of her religion, including the Church’s stance on women’s rights and homosexuality. In 1993, when the Church excommunicated a group of feminists for speaking out about an LDS controversy, Joanna found herself searching for a way to live by the leadings of her heart and the faith she loved.

The Book of Mormon Girl is a story about leaving behind the innocence of childhood belief and embracing the complications and heartbreaks that come to every adult life of faith. Joanna’s journey through her faith explores a side of the religion that is rarely put on display: its humanity, its tenderness, its humor, its internal struggles. In Joanna’s hands, the everyday experience of being a Mormon—without polygamy, without fundamentalism—unfolds in fascinating detail. With its revelations about a faith so often misunderstood and characterized by secrecy, The Book of Mormon Girl is a welcome advocate and necessary guide.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451699685 | 
  • August 2012
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Book of Mormon Girl

In THE BOOK OF MORMON GIRL, Joanna Brooks writes a story about growing up and embracing the complications and heartbreak that come to every adult life of faith.

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Book of Mormon Girl includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Joanna Brooks. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. .


Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. What did you learn about Mormonism from this book? What assumptions or stereotypes about Mormons did you have before reading? How did this book cause you to reflect on your assumptions? What surprised you? What new insights did you gain? What questions do you now have about the faith?

2. Joanna describes how as a young girl, her religion’s rules made her feel special, like “a root beer among the Coca-Colas.” Were there things in your childhood that separated you from your peers? How did it feel to be different? Did you enjoy the feeling of being unique?

3. Marie Osmond was an important figure in Joanna’s childhood because she was one of the very few celebrities from a similar background. Who were your celebrity role models growing up, and why?

4. When you were a child, how did you think about faith? How have your ideas or beliefs changed over time? Do you have a faith or spiritual practice now? How does it guide you?

5. When see more

About the Author

Joanna Brooks
Photograph by Ashley Duchene

Joanna Brooks

Joanna Brooks is a national voice on Mormon life and politics, an award-winning scholar of religion and American culture, and the author or editor of five books. She has been featured on American Public Media’s On Being;NPR’s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation; BBC’s Americana, Interfaith Voices, and Radio West;and in TheNew York Times, TheWashington Post, the CNN Belief Blog, and the Huffington Post. She is senior correspondent for the online magazine ReligionDispatches.organd offers answers to seekers of all stripes at her own site AskMormonGirl.com. Follow @askmormongirl on Twitter, or visit her at JoannaBrooks.org.

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