This has felt like the most Aha! moment. As a millennial Mormon… it’s been tough. I LOVE the church. I LOVE the gospel. It’s weird that you know your whole life that they’re two separate things ~in theory, and then you reach a certain stage of life or have a few key experiences that demonstrate so clearly how separate they actually are. Culture vs. Creed. Doctrine vs. Policy. Two-Piece vs. One-Piece.
Things happen like your brother coming out, friends leaving the church, policies changing, answers to prayers, or lack thereof. Things like looking in your child’s eyes and realizing that YOU are responsible for teaching them about Jesus Christ, and YOU are supposed to be in a place that is far more firm than the shifting sands under your feet.
And maybe you feel a little scared, because you thought you did everything right. You thought you had a strong testimony. And now you’re not so sure, but you want to be. I guess that’s really the most important part. For all my fear and doubt and wondering, my feet have not strayed from the path. But I’ve also felt that chilling loneliness that says I have more in common with my friends who have left than the absolutely certain members down the row from me in Gospel Doctrine. And there is clearly something wrong with me for having concerns and doubts and suggestions about the way we do things.
And then I picked up a book called One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly. It’s poetry by Ashley Mae Hoiland about her spiritual journey, from her youth to adulthood to motherhood. It’s about learning to see, to fly, beyond the basic and limited views we get only from raw doctrine and Church culture. Unlike anti-Mormons or ultra progressive Mormons, Ashley does this from a position of firm foundation in the church. I didn’t realize how desperately I needed to hear that there were others who had questions. Others who once felt firm and then found themselves shaken. Others who chose to acknowledge doubt, but refused to let it move them.
I couldn’t stop, and can’t stop won’t stop, talking about that book and immediately began searching for other books to help me in this new spiritual journey. I was looking for books that helped me feel ok about my questions and doubts, books that strengthened my faith and kept me securely planted in the soil of the gospel. Because you guys? Being a Millennial Mormon is no joke. I want to be strong. I want to be sure. I want to be ready to teach my daughters the beauty and safety and simplicity I enjoy in this church. I want to be able to encounter scary or hard or confusing things without feeling like I’ll lose my bearings. I want to be firm.
I floated the idea of a Millennial Mormon Book Club to a few of my close friends, who were basically already serving the purpose. We texted quotes and screenshots and thoughts from our spiritual reads all the time! Why not book club it up?!! That’s the most Danica thing of all time, am I right? So when I in turn shared the idea on Twitter, requesting recommendations I was absolutely overwhelmed by the response.
I got lists on lists from Millennial Mormons of all walks and backgrounds. Many people wanted to participate, so it really made me start to question my original plan of an intimate group. I’m still not sure how I could organize or pull this off, but I have such a good feeling about it. We’ll figure it out somehow. For now I want to share our book list, in case you might also be looking for some spiritual edification to supplement your scripture study. 🙂
Some of these are decidedly Mormon. Some qualify as “doctrine,” some are narratives. Some are simply incredible treatises on religion in general. Many are pieces of Mormon history that are forgotten or less-known. But all were suggested because they benefited the reader spiritually.
Millennial Mormon Book Club
- One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly
- Letters to a Young Mormon
- Mother’s Milk
- The Screwtape Letters
- Mere Christianity
- Lighten Up/everything by Chieko Okazaki
- Tattoos on the Heart
- Eve and the Choice Made in Eden
- Women and the Priesthood
- Mormon Feminism
- Third Wheel
- Navigating Mormon Faith Crisis
- A House Full of Females
- Rough Stone Rolling
- Grace is Not God’s Backup Plan
- Dance of the Dissident Daughter
- Mormon Women Portraits & Conversations
- Sacred Symbols
- What Saint Paul Really Said
- Women at Church
- At the Pulpit
- Worth the Wrestle
- The God Who Weeps
- Why I Stay
- Crucible of Doubt
- Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons
- As Iron Sharpens Iron
- The Cost of Discipleship
- Jesus and the Disinherited
- The Yoga of Christ (essay)
- The Prodigal God
And that’s only the beginning. We’re here. We’re feminists, we love the gays, we want more representation from women and PoC, we want to change the harmful conversations about modesty and chastity, and we are still so super Mormon! It feels pretty awesome to know that it’s possible, and that we’re not alone. We’re ready to read and improve and talk and grow and make this church a more Christlike, loving, and inclusive place. And to create a pre-Nursery Nursery. Well that’s more my own personal vendetta, but I suddenly had a platform to talk about the church and it got away from me.
If you have other suggestions for awesome spiritual books you’ve read please let me know so I can add them to our list. I’m not exactly sure how we’ll set this up, but at the very least – here’s a list. Load up those library hold lists and let’s get to it.