Fresh Courage Take
New Directions by Mormon Women
Jamie Zvirzdin, editor
Foreword by Joanna Brooks
Dutch Binding / 200 pages / 978-1-56085-240-7 / $22.95 / July 28, 2015
The twelve essays in this anthology provide a refreshing array of female perspectives, personalities, and circumstances. Along with an introduction by Jamie Zvirzdin, the essays invite readers to recognize and own their personal struggles, gifts, faults, and desires and to accept where they stand on the spectrum of humanity. Fresh Courage Take demonstrates that the road to heaven is not a conveyor belt powered by a checklist of religious obligations, cooked casseroles, and a collection of children. If anything, it is a complex network of interchanges and decisions … including long, often solitary paths.
The authors span a wide range of views and situations in life: politically conservative to progressive, single to married with many children, highly educated to working-class, stay-at-home moms to the professionally successful, of European or African heritage, religiously orthodox to heterodox. In short, they define, from their diversity, what being a Mormon woman means and what type of path they feel they must take to be true to themselves and their beliefs.
Authors include Carli Anderson, Rachael Decker Bailey, Erika Ball, Rachel Brown, Karen Critchfield, Ashley Mae Hoiland, Sylvia Lankford, Marcee Monroe, Brooke Stoneman, Camille Strate Fairbanks, Colleen Whitley, and Jamie Zvirzdin.
Foreword by Joanna Brooks, professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University and author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith.
Jamie Zvirzdin is a science editor and freelance writer. She received an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. She grew up in Sandy, Utah. Find her on Twitter @jamiezvirzdin.
Advance praise for Fresh Courage Take.
“The state of grace proposed by these essays promises a more equitable, fair, and just world, safe for our daughters to live in, where women wear feminism as common ground and where men share the richness that results. I loved this collection of essays.”
—Martha Bradley Evans, Associate Academic Vice President, University of Utah; author of Four Zinas: A Story of Mothers and Daughters on the Mormon Frontier
“It’s critical for women to be able to share their stories and find empowerment, within their own lives and the lives of others, by relating personal experiences. There is a power and strength in being able to connect with the lives of others, and that’s why this book is so important. It is the work of lifting up other women through the amplification of one’s own experiences.”
—Lindsay Hansen Park, assistant director, Sunstone Education Foundation; host, Feminist Mormon Housewives podcast
“If you want to get a sense of where Mormon women are today, this collection of essays, Fresh Courage Take, might be a good place to start. Here you will find the voices of modern LDS women questioning not so much their religion as how to navigate their longings, desires, strengths, and dilemmas within the faith. Whether the subject is motherhood, nurturing one’s intelligence fully, or remaining single and childless in a culture that celebrates neither, these Mormon women, in the end, like Buddhist women and those of other faiths, extoll the joys and challenges of our times, and give voice to their search for a rich and harmonious life.”
—Judith Freeman, author of The Chinchilla Farm and Red Water
“Not being Mormon—although I have worked in Mormon history for the last 25 years—I didn’t think Fresh Courage Take would hold much interest for me. I was wrong. I was surprised at the open honesty of the writers of the essays in the book, who in their struggles have dealt with both general cultural issues and specific beliefs or accepted mores of their religion. Each has found a place for herself in the LDS Church in spite of not always meeting the idealized role of womanhood that the church promotes. I admire the courage of these women and their willingness to write so candidly about their trials and experiences. I think this will be an important book for many LDS women—and perhaps non-LDS women as well—in their own striving to find a place that works for them.” —Polly Aird, author of Mormon Convert, Mormon Defector: A Scottish Immigrant in the American West, 1848–1861.
Mormon Women Gather to Discuss Issues