The Hero’s Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon, by Carol Lynn Pearson: A Book Review

Dec 24, 12 The Hero’s Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon, by Carol Lynn Pearson:   A Book Review

The first time I read “The Hero’s Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon” by Carol Lynn Pearson, I was sitting in the chapel of my ward building, waiting for a meeting to start. I’d been in somewhat of a bad mood for most of the day and I started reading it to avoid talking to anyone.

The book is a beautifully-written allegory based on The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell, which suggests that each person is a hero and must travel along a path of challenges and transformation in order to find peace within the dichotomy of religion and homosexuality.

I know many gay and lesbian Mormons who are traveling this same path. I started reading the book, excited to gain better perspective on their journey, but by the end of the book, I realized the book was for me as well.

It is a difficult realization to find that your tribe is different than you, whether it is because you are gay or lesbian or even liberal or feminist. Many times we are pulled toward a belief that doesn’t fit in the with culture of the Mormon church, or even chafes at the doctrine. It is a scary place to be, and yet to ignore these pullings would call into question one’s own integrity.

In my own struggles as a liberal, feminist LDS woman, I have often felt like an outsider. I’ve tried to distance myself from both. I’ve tried to reject one or the other. And yet, I continue to remain in both worlds.

I do not presume to say that my struggle with liberalism or feminism come even close to the struggles of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. I only recognized that perhaps my own leanings are my own hero’s call, and that I have much to learn about my worth as a child of God as I read and re-read Carol Lynn Pearson’s beautiful words.

The book is not a how-to for how to remain LDS and still be gay or lesbian. Carol Lynn Pearson is using the imagery of Joseph Campbell to show that gay and lesbian Mormons must fight a difficult battle, and that there is worth in returning to the tribe of Mormonism. The story is a reminder that we are God’s beautiful children and must battle the voices that tell us otherwise because “the Spirit of God abandons no one.”

The book is a very quick read. I was able to finish the book in under a half hour and by the end, I was moved to tears and my bad mood had lifted.

Sister Pearson

I strongly encourage anyone who can who wants a better understanding of the difficulties of being a gay or lesbian in the Mormon church to read The Hero’s Journey of the Gay and Lesbian Mormon” by Carol Lynn Pearson. It is my belief that you’ll not only gain a greater understanding of the valiant and complex battle that each one of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters faces, but that you’ll understand that you, too, have the journey of a hero in front of you. This book is an excellent guide.


To purchase a copy of Sister Pearson’s book, please click here.

If you are interested, click here to listen to a podcast in which Sister Pearson talks about her new book.

Click here to visit the LDS Church’s new website,

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Bio: Jerilyn Hassell Pool was born and raised in Southern Oregon, the eldest of 8 children. She is the mother of five children, ages 4 to 20. She has been married for nearly 22 years. She is the Primary chorister in her ward and is active in feminist and LGBTQ communities as a Mormon advocate for inclusion and acceptance. She works from home as a freelance web and print designer.

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  1. Camille /

    I’ve added that to me “to read” list. Thank you for the review!

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  2. A great little book, and a great review! Thanks Jerilyn

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  3. Sounds like a good, worth-while read. Thanks for the review and the recommendation!

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  4. This was a great review Jerilyn… while I’m no longer active in the church and don’t have any plans of returning (I’ve rediscovered my spiritual side again away from the mormon churchas)as a lesbian, return missionary, etc. this certainly sounds like an interesting book to check out.

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  5. I’ve never been to before and didn’t know what to expect (I came via a link to this article). I’m glad I came. This is an excellent article and I’m enjoying the site.

    Jerilyn, I’ve now clicked on and read everything you’ve written here, so now I need MORE please!

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  6. Thanks Jerilyn, you should lend me the book, that is something I have wanted to know more about!

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