I Spoke to You with Silence: Essays from Queer Mormons of Marginalized Genders

Univ. of Utah. Jul. 2022. 288p. ed. by Kerry Spencer Pray & Jenn Lee Smith. ISBN 9781647690793. pap. $24.95. REL
Each of the 39 short personal essays in this affecting collection are unique documents that examine the role of religion (in this case the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in the lives of cisgender, trans, nonbinary, and intersex queer people. The essay authors include trans women, asexual binary men, and middle-aged lesbians coming out later in life; they include practicing Mormons and ex-Mormons. What makes these stories so striking is that they are told from a place that many would see as oppressive; officially, the Church of Latter-day Saints only supports a binary gender interpretation of the human experience. The essays are grouped into four sections (“Essays on Identity”; “Essays on Relationships”; “Essays on Shame, Suicide, and the Closet”; “Essays on the Church”), each sensitively introduced by Spencer Pray, Lee Smith, or Taylor Petrey (editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought), providing context for these crucial documents. The writers’ courage in speaking frankly about their experiences of Mormonism makes this a good text for anyone who seeks to throw off the shackles of the gender binary.
VERDICT Highly recommended for general readers of gender studies and religious studies. This book deserves a broad readership.
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