I just finished reading “Without the Mask” by Charlie Bird.
Quick Take: Quick read. Lots of stories. Another strong voice for those wanting to understand what it’s like to be gay and a member of the church. But I felt it was more of a primer on the subject.
Charlie Bird gained fame as the BYU Cougars mascot “Cosmo the Cougar”. He wore the Cosmo suit from 2015 – 2018 and viral videos of his dance moves earned him ESPN’s top mascot moment of all time in 2017. In 2019, Charlie “came out” to the world through his op-ed piece “Everyone loved me as Cosmo the Cougar, but would they love who I was behind the mask?” In 2020, he expanded his story in the book, “Without the Mask.”
Alternating between memoir and teaching chapters, Bird shares how he has learned to balance being gay and being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Overall a good read. Lots of stories, doesn’t come across as preachy, will tug on your heartstrings, and leaves you feeling hopeful.
My only complaint is that it is thin on some of the questions gay members of the church would probably have liked him to address. But, in all fairness, he did write this only a year after really “coming out”, so he has just begun his journey.
I would recommend this book for anyone hoping to be more compassionate to those who feel on the outside.
Some of My Favourite Quotes: