BCC Press Announces: The Burning Book: A Jewish-Mormon Memoir

BCC Press is proud to announce the publication of The Burning Book: A Jewish-Mormon Memoir, by Jason Olson and James Goldberg—the true story of Jason Olson’s conversion from Judaism to Mormonism and his life spent reconciling the two cultures and religions into something beautiful, coherent, and whole. Along with the amazing James Goldberg, one of the Mormon world’s premier novelists and poets, Olson weaves a remarkable story of faith and change that makes room for everybody.

Olson was born to a Jewish mother and a Christian father, both of whom agree to raise him in the Jewish faith. As a teenager, he makes friends with several Latter-day Saints, who give him a copy of the Book of Mormon, which he reads and believes to be scripture. But believing in the divinity of the Book of Mormon did not make Jason feel any less Jewish. “My religious conversion hadn’t changed who my mother was, hadn’t changed my ancestral connection to dream of a return to Israel,” he notes, when he describes his desire to take a trip to Israel sponsored by the Birthright Foundation. “Longing for a continued connection to my people and history, I decided to apply” (79). The Foundation, however, determines that he is not eligible for the trip.

He is, however, eligible to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a mission to Morristown, New Jersey, to serve in an area with “one of the highest concentrations of Jews in the US” (83). After his mission, he attended BYU, where he studied Hebrew, and to Brandeis, where he studied Judaism, and to Israel, where he received citizenship and continued to worship as a Latter-day Saint. At the end of the book, Jason describes his difficult decision to give up his Israeli citizenship in order to become a chaplain in the United States Navy, where he served people of all faiths and practices.

In the end, Jason Olson’s memoir is about faith in a large and loving God who makes room for Jews and Latter-day Saints, Protestants and Catholics, Muslims and Buddhists, and everybody else. His profound love for this God, and for all of the different ways that people seek and find divinity in their lives, will inspire readers across the religious spectrum.

As a special treat, BCC Press will host a virtual Zoom Launch event this Thursday, June 2, at 7:00 PM Mountain Daylight Time. Just click on this and enjoy: https://rb.gy/JQ2LSU. And, just in case the Kindle and paperback versions are not enough, the audiobook will be available late next week.

And, of course, here is the free sample, from Chapter Two of The Burning Book, when Jason first discovers the Book of Mormon—and almost burns it.

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