Monday, June 8, 2015

Ex Mormon lit part III:

In June of 2013, I wrote a blog post that consisted of a list of books I've read about Mormonism.  I had read so many that I had to start another list, mainly because it was taking forever for the first list to load.  At the time I wrote both of those posts, I was writing book reviews on  I linked most of the reviews to where I had reviewed them on Epinions.

Unfortunately, Epinions went belly up last year, so I have started putting my book reviews on this blog.  I have been trying to relocate the old Epinions reviews, but it's a long process.  I had written almost 2000 reviews when Epinions croaked and many of those were book reviews.  Though I downloaded all of the reviews and saved them to a hard drive, my external hard drive died yesterday after an impressive seven year lifespan.  The upshot is I may or may not be able to find and repost all of the reviews I wrote back in the day.  If you click on an Epinions link and it turns out to be dead, I apologize.  I have tried to include very brief synopses of each item listed for those who would rather not read a lengthy review.

Since the second list is also getting too long, I'm starting a new post here.  The links that appear on this page and later ExMormon lit posts should be good as long as this blog is active, since from now on I will be putting my book reviews on this blog.

Books about people who leave Mormonism

Jessica Bradshaw (who has also published as Regina Samuelson), compiled a book of stories by people who have left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The book,
You're Not Alone: Exit Journeys of Former Mormons, is an illuminating look at exMormons' experiences as they explore life beyond the church.  

Stories about homosexual Mormons

Alex Cooper's Saving Alex is a book about a teenaged girl whose parents forced her to live with strangers to help her get over "same sex attraction".  This book made my blood boil.  It's worth a read if you ever wanted an example of some of the damaging attitudes and beliefs Mormons have toward homosexuals.

Missionary stories

I could probably post William Shunn's hilarious The Accidental Terrorist: Confessions of a Reluctant Missionary under "true crime", since Shunn did commit a crime during his mission.  But really, his book is more about being a missionary and the missionary experience than being a criminal.  I highly recommend this book, especially to those who love hilarious writing.

Books about true crime

Shanna Hogan writes a very compelling book about sociopathic Dr. Martin MacNeill, a Utah physician, lawyer, former Mormon bishop, and murderer.  MacNeill's case is fascinating and well worth reading about, if only to show readers that people can appear to be amazing on the surface, yet still have a black soul lurking beneath that impressive exterior.

James Kostelniuk writes a harrowing story about the Jehovah's Witnesses and how they played a part in the murders of his ex wife and two kids.  Wolves Among Sheep is a fascinating and horrifying read.  Though this story is about the JWs, ex Mormons may see some disturbing parallels.

Books about the Jehovah's Witnesses

William Coburn writes about what it's like to grow up a Jehovah's Witness.  Coburn is now a husband, father, and Christian who makes his living as a technical recruiter and public speaker.  He is also a master of tae kwon do.  His book about being a JW in the 70s and 80s is shocking and fascinating.  Though Jehovah's Witnesses have different beliefs than Mormons do, some of their group behaviors and dynamics are similar.  May be interesting reading for exMormons.

Brock Talon's Escape From Paradise is another account of what it's like to grow up in the Jehovah's Witnesses.   I think this book may be interesting for exMormons for the same reason I recommend William Coburn's book.  Brock Talon's account may have an edge because he has a sense of humor and his writing comes across as a bit more "worldly" and snarky.  I get the sense that he was more successful integrating than Coburn may have been.

Journey to God's House is another great book by Brock Talon.  This time, he writes about what it was like to live and work at Bethel, the world headquarters for the Jehovah's Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York.  Talon is delightfully snarky and frank.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.  While I've never been to the Missionary Training Center, Talon's description of Bethel reminds me a bit of what I've read about the MTC, only people who go there apparently stay indefinitely.  Sounds horrible, if you ask me.

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