Some Q & A with Sophia Stone:
1) What does the ornament on the cover stand for?
As a child I was taught that the only way I could experience true joy was by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in Mormonism. The ornament is symbolic of that joy. Or, more particularly, what I feared I'd lose if I ever stopped believing in The Church.
2) Why did you hid your faith struggles from those closest to you?
I was afraid my faithful Mormon family and friends would think me either prideful or influenced by Satan if I admitted to doubting The Church. There's a common phrase faithful Latter-day Saints use to explain away uncomfortable issue: "The Church is true. The people are not." Those who leave the church are often labeled as angry, easily offended, prideful, lazy, or deceived. There's no good reason to doubt, no good reason to question, no good reason to stop believing. Faith yields loyalty and obedience.
3) How do you build relationships with people who think you are broken?
Oh, man, I wish I knew. Honestly, it depends on how important their Mormonism is to their identity. Those who are capable of accepting my brokenness without trying to fix it are easier to have relationships with than those who work extra hard to fix me.
4) How has writing about your struggles helped you?
There's a saying that writing is cheaper than therapy and I can attest to that. There's no time limit on how long I can type away on my keyboard when I'm having a bad day. I don't have to worry about the paper judging me. Plus, it's helped me to put things into prospective.
5) What kinds of reactions have you had from your Mormon author friends?
This has been similar to my family response - lots of condemnation, lots of avoidance, lots of judgement, and lots of gratitude. Yes, I know, it seems odd that I'd hear gratitude from LDS author friends who are faithful to the church. But apparently there are people who struggle in silence, unable to tell a soul how they feel without losing those most dear to them. That's the reason the Disaffected Mormon Underground (DAMU) exists. It fills a palpable need.
6) Who should read your book?
Anyone who wants to understand Mormonism. Please don't misread that to mean my book is factually perfect. It's not. It's based on my experience, and everyone's reality is different. But I stand by my claim that people who leave Mormonism are often in an isolating place. It's hard for an orthodox believer to understand why anyone would leave. It's hard for those who've never been Mormon to understand why leaving is such a big deal. To both these groups, I'd say, "Please read this!" Understanding is vital.
Below is a little bit about Mormon Diaries, and what people are saying about it: