Something New & MORE

Yesterday, my blog post included some thoughts about the “Mighty Change of Heart.” Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I love conversion stories. I have always had incredible admiration for those who are willing to make the leap and join the church.

For about seven years I collected conversion stories from readers and posted them once a year on the blog as part of what I deemed “International Hug a Convert Day.” (If you are curious, look for the link “Conversion Stories,” at the top of this page.)

One of those stories is from Monique Luetkemeyer. She was an early, avid MMM blog reader from almost the very beginning. Over the years I met her “in real life,” and we became friends.

After a few years I learned how to pronounce her last name. Monique always had stories about her life that were rather shocking for a lifelong member of the Church. It was fascinating.

I was sitting next to Monique at a writing conference in a class about writing memoirs. I thought about her wild stories, and did the expected thing: I keep elbowing her. Apparently, the Spirit was elbowing her as well. Between the two of us, she got the message and began the arduous task of dissecting her life and writing it down.

Along the way, it became clear that her story was a little too “gritty,” to be published by a standard LDS publisher. Non-LDS publishers simply aren’t interested in LDS conversion stories. She went the rounds of traditional publishing submissions, and it didn’t look good.

But the book was remarkable. My EC, daughter, and some friends had the opportunity to read an early draft and we were gobsmacked. It was powerful and difficult to read. BUT, as it was a conversion story, you already know how it ends.

I have always been bugged that every couple of years someone publishes a memoir that gets huge national attention that goes this direction: Born and raised in the church, lives a miserable life, leaves the church, finds incredible happiness.

Monique’s story goes the opposite direction. It is redeeming.

Enter Me: I felt like this book needs to be published. Having published two of my own books, I thought, “Hey, I can do this!” If the normal publishing channels won’t get this story out there, I can.

So, I set up a new business venture – a new boutique publishing house. Tah-dah!

My first release? Monique’s memoir.

I am ridiculously proud to be associated with the creation of this new book, and I am happy to announce that today it is available for pre-sale.

I do need to give you a warning, as some are more sensitive to others. This book does have some rough edges, as did her life. There is some profanity, some discussion of sexuality, sexual and physical abuse, and some rough stuff. If it were a movie, I would give it a hard PG-13 rating. Even so,I am completely comfortable supporting this book- rough edges and all. You’ve been warned.

You will also note that Monique is using her maiden name as her pen name. Thankfully. šŸ˜‰

The book is available right now! Please give it a look. It is powerful and wonderful. It will enhance both your empathy and your testimony.

Here is the link to purchase:

If you need more convincing, please check out Monique’s website at MoniqueBerish.com. There are reviews and a sample chapter to give you a taste.

Monique was also a guest on the great Latter-day Lives podcast, with the fabulous Shawn Rapier. Here is the link. Give it a listen and you can get to know her a little better.

I’m sure a lot of you already know Monique through social media. You might know her now, but you have no idea how she got to where she is now.

That “Mighty Change of Heart,” is a real thing. A wonderful, real thing.

About the author

Comments

  1. Ordered! So excited to read it. I agree with the ā€œnational attentionā€ books. Congratulations on your new side hustle too!

  2. It always amazes me that so many people are afraid of rough edges. I grew up, just north of “Zion.” Most of my adult life we lived “in the mission field” on 3 different continents. My kids had quite the eye-opening when we moved back to “Zion,” a place they had only visited until they were teens.
    I have also always been surprised when we would get invited to a wedding in “Zion” and the parents would express their appreciation that we had no problem attending non-temple wedding receptions where the term “mixed drinks” meant something other than cranberry juice and sprite. It was a celebration of their child’s happiness (even if it was only temporal), not a secondary display of pride in child rearing.
    I have often wished that every sin had it’s own scent, like smoking and drinking does. Can you imagine the stench in sacrament meeting? (when we get to go again) or would the chapel be an example of extreme social distancing with so few people present?

    When I walk into church, and see the former meth-head blessing the sacrament, the mother of 3 with a tattoo sleeve and pink hair (and temple appropriate dress) leading primary singing time, I can’t help but think….”if these people can find the gospel and give up the world, then my family members who have strayed a little…have a chance!”

    rough edges tell us that their conversion is the real thing, not just a convenient vessel to social prominence. And they usually have good examples to teach the youth, about what to avoid…AND….how much it is worth it to come back if they err.

  3. I want to order the book. When I went to the checkout page, it said to enter a “coupon code” if I had one. What is this about? How do I get the coupon code?

  4. This story sounds like a must read! So. I just clicked on The Missing Story post because of the picture. Is your sister named Susan? Did you grow up in Bountiful??

      1. I grew up in the Bountiful 17th and 45th wards in the Bountiful East Stake, just south of St. Olaf’s Church. Susan is my age and we might have even been in Kindergarten or 1st grade together. We go way back!

          1. I know you lived on Davis Blvd! My maiden name is Gilmore. We were on the corner of 350 East and 1900 South. That was a great area to grow up!

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