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From her days of feeling like "a root beer amongst the coca-colas" (a reference to the tricks she used to avoid forbidden foods at birthday parties as a child), Joanna 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, faith, and an emphasis on service. With Marie Osmond as her only celebrity role model and plenty of Sunday School teachers to fill in the rest of the details, Joanna felt warmly embraced by the faith that was such an integral part of her family. But as she grew older, Joanna began to wrestle with certain tenets of her faith. She was challenged by the Church's stance on homosexuality, on women's rights, and other issues that she felt passionately about. In 1993, when the Church excommunicated a group of feminists for speaking out about an LDS controversy, Joanna found herself on a search for how to live honestly 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. Today, Joanna is again a practicing Mormon, and she is also an outspoken advocate for causes that she believes in. Her journey through her faith explores a side of the religion that is rarely put on display; in Joanna's hands, the experience of being a Mormon--without polygamy, without fundamentalism--unfolds in fascinating detail. For a faith so often characterized by its secrecy, Joanna Brooks is a welcome and necessary advocate and guide.
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