I just finished reading “Is He Nuts?” by Dennis Schleicher.
Quick Take: Dennis Schleicher, an openly gay many, tells his story of joining the Church of Jesus Christ. A very different book than similar ones I’ve read, but I thoroughly enjoyed his story.
This is the 4th book I’ve read about gay members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (See below for links to the other 3 reviews). This one is quite different from the other three…
· The other books were 50/50 autobiographical/teaching. “Is He Nuts?” is closer to 95/5.
· The other authors were born in the church, whereas Dennis joined later in life.
· The other authors grew up in loving Mormon families who were largely supportive when they “came out.” For the most part, Dennis’s experience was quite the opposite.
· The other books focused on the challenge of staying in a church where at times they did not feel fully accepted. Dennis writes about why a gay man would ever choose to join the same church.
My top two takeaways from “Is He Nuts?” are:
1. After Dennis’s first time attending an LDS church, he says: “I stood with the sisters at the back of the chapel, feeling like I’d crashed a family reunion…. I was greeted nonstop by everyone who walked past us. … It seemed like I met the entire ward in less than ten minutes. I was overwhelmed. But loved. LOVED.”
Wow! We as members of the church can learn so much from this. One of the predominant ways we feel the spirit of God is through the love of others. So when new people come to worship with us, it is essential we show them love. If they feel loved and accepted it will be hard not to feel the spirit.
2. “I wish I had realized sooner that developing a buddy system is crucial….” As Dennis describes his journey to Jesus Christ there are many difficult times where it would have easy to give up. Instead, each of those times he called someone he trusts and they helped him through. What a great reminder that we cannot make it through this life on our own. So, if you don’t have a “buddy”, find one. If you know someone without a “buddy”, offer to be there’s. We all need someone we can rely on when things get tough.
The strength of Dennis’s testimony is evident in his writing, while at the same time he is very open in the fact that he, nor the church, has all the answers. “Is He Nuts?” is a fun read. Dennis is obviously a naturally enthusiastic person and that comes through in his writing. His enthusiasm for the gospel of Jesus Christ, missionary work, the people he loves, and life, in general, is infectious.
Two thumbs up.
Similarly themed books I’ve reviewed:
“Without the Mask” by Charlie Bird
“That We May Be One” by Tom Christofferson
“A Walk in My Shoes” by Ben Schilaty
Some of My Favourite Quotes: