Bad Mormon A memoir

Heather Gay

Book - 2023

"Straight off the slopes and into the spotlight, Heather Gay is known to dish God's honest truth. Whether as a businesswoman, mother, or television personality, Heather is unafraid to blaze a new trail; even if at the isolation of her family, friends, and church. Heather was born and bred Mormon. Growing up in Utah, not even the snow-capped mountains could draw attention from the state's most prominent resident: the Mormon Church. Between attending orthodox services, embarking on an eighteen-month mission, attending Brigham Young University, and marrying into a "royal" family, Heather was the definition of a "good Mormon." However, when the doting wife's husband unexpectedly filed for divorce, she was... left out in the cold by her church and her community. In this funny, brash, and unbelievably vulnerable book, Bad Mormon recounts Heather's experiences as a single mother to three girls, navigating life post-divorce and post-Mormonism. It follows Heather's early days as a young girl in the church, through to her disavowal of the Mormon faith and success in both business and television. The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star documents the challenges of raising strong women despite feeling broken, and teases out the complicated relationship between duty to self and duty to God. Bad Mormon works to reconcile cultural and religious beliefs, with shifting ideologies about the world and its inhabitants. And Heather is its charming narrator. Hers is a story of honesty and transparency in a community where skeletons line the closets. Heather Gay is anything but shy, and it shows in her work. It's a story about finding healing after heartbreak and accomplishment after abandonment-from a woman unafraid of holding anything back"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 289.3092/Gay Checked In
2nd Floor 289.3092/Gay Checked In
New York : Gallery Books 2023.
Main Author
Heather Gay (author)
First Gallery Books hardcover edition
Physical Description
xii, 287 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Prologue
  • Bad daughter. Feels like home ; Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto ; Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies ; I'm a puzzle, I must figure out where all my pieces fit ; Nightswimming ; Rise and shout, the cougars are out ; Your life, little girl, is an empty page
  • Bad missionary. Love is a temple ; Called to serve Him, heavenly king of glory ; Le chaleur humaine ; I got so high that I saw Jesus ; My heart will go on
  • Bad wife. Lost on you ; Secure yourself to Heaven ; God gave me you ; Which part is mine? ; I'm harboring a fugitive, defector of a kind ; Somewhere that's green ; Put your shoulder to the wheel, push along ; If you loved me, why'd you leave me
  • Bad Mormon. I can breathe for the first time ; There must be fifty ways to leave your lover ; The hill I'm walking up is getting good and steep ; Looking for Heaven, found the devil in me ; In my life, I love you more
  • Bad ass. All of these lines across my face ; Only girl (in the world) ; A diva is a female version of a hustla ; Started from the bottom, now we're here ; I think life chose me after all
  • Epilogue.
Review by Booklist Review

When Gay, one of the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, was a little girl, she tells readers in her memoir, she decided to explore the world beyond her parents' house, but when the gate crashed closed behind her, she panicked and ran home. Thereafter, she reports, she tried to tamp down her more brazen instincts and be a good Mormon woman ("keep sweet, pray, and obey") but she was forever bucking the church's authority. Finally, after graduating from Brigham Young University and completing a mission trip to France, she met a good Mormon husband. But even after three children, a good Mormon marriage was not for her, and they divorced. The last chapters are devoted to her involvement in RHOSLC, and she spills plenty of tea on the casting process and her real feelings about her castmates. Frank, funny, and irreverent, Bad Mormon captures the spirit of the woman millions have come to love/hate on TV. Even those unfamiliar with the show will be fascinated by her detailed descriptions of temple rituals, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her misadventures on the road to attempting to be good.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is a TV sensation, and Gay is the breakout star, so expect a lot of interest in her story of her religious journey.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this spicy debut, Gay, a fan favorite on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, recounts her life and how it was changed by being cast in the reality show. Born in Carmel, Calif., to devout Mormon parents, Gay moved with her family to Utah before her freshman year at Brigham Young University. For most of her adulthood, Gay writes, she didn't question her faith, but after her decades-long marriage ended in divorce, she felt isolated from her community and realized how Mormonism encouraged its followers to "suffer silently." When Gay was asked to join the Real Housewives franchise, though, it was a "rebirth": "For the first time in my life, someone wanted me for all that I brought to the table." By the show's second season, Gay had left the church and formed bonds with new friends and supporters. Gay's narrative is by turns cheeky ("In the name of the Father, the Son, and Andy Cohen") and reflective ("There is real sorrow for the lost years and a general heaviness that weighs on my heart when I think of the past"), and even when discussing her struggles, she writes with self-deprecating humor. Real Housewives disciples will relish these unfiltered revelations. Agent: Steve Troha, Folio Literary. (Feb.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

A star of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City and cofounder of innovative cosmetic medical practice Beauty Lab + Laser, Gay relates how her picture-perfect life as a committed Mormon was upended when her husband filed for divorce. Then she explains putting her life together after her breakup with both husband and Mormonism while contemplating how to raise strong women and negotiating the difficult balance between duty to self and duty to God. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A reality TV personality recounts an upbringing in a religion that she finally rejected. "Everything in my life confirmed my identity, my faith, and my future. Until it didn't." It's a simple declaration but hard won. Gay grew up in a Mormon family so deeply rooted in the faith that they were enrolled as "born in the covenant," meaning that her parents were married in the temple. ("Born in the covenant: Mormon flex," she writes with typically arch humor.) Her family wasn't necessarily doctrinaire, but they were undoubtedly observant, while Gay was a born questioner and explorer. A prevailing metaphor comes early on when, forbidden to leave her yard as a very young girl, she opens the gate and is locked out, portending things to come. After typical adolescent experimentation, she was haunted by the thought that her parents would believe her to be "a bad seed." The author structures her life story according to all the ways she failed, sometimes in her eyes but mostly in the eyes of others: bad daughter, bad missionary, bad wife, bad Mormon. As she reveals without sensationalism, it was her husband who failed, and it was the church that demanded that women accept subservient status and sexual violence. "We are taught to say no to a lot of things outside of our faith," she writes, "but inside the faith, we are told only to bow our heads and say yes." Eventually, a fellow Mormon woman advised her, with regard to that bad marriage, to "run, and don't look back." So she did, becoming the "bad ass" of the last part of her book, when she joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City and renounced the church "in the name of the Father, the Son, and Andy Cohen." A thoughtful, smart, and funny handbook for apostates. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.