Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That's When My Nightmare Began

Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That's When My Nightmare Began

by Alex Cooper, Joanna Brooks


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Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That's When My Nightmare Began by Alex Cooper, Joanna Brooks

When Alex Cooper was fifteen years old, life was pretty ordinary in her sleepy suburban town and nice Mormon family. At church and at home, Alex was taught that God had a plan for everyone. But something was gnawing at her that made her feel different. These feelings exploded when she met Yvette, a girl who made Alex feel alive in a new way, and with whom Alex would quickly fall in love.

Alex knew she was holding a secret that could shatter her family, her church community, and her life. Yet when this secret couldn’t be hidden any longer, she told her parents that she was gay, and the nightmare began. She was driven from her home in Southern California to Utah, where, against her will, her parents handed her over to fellow Mormons who promised to save Alex from her homosexuality.

For eight harrowing months, Alex was held captive in an unlicensed “residential treatment program” modeled on the many “therapeutic” boot camps scattered across Utah. Alex was physically and verbally abused, and many days she was forced to stand facing a wall wearing a heavy backpack full of rocks. Her captors used faith to punish and terrorize her. With the help of a dedicated legal team in Salt Lake City, Alex eventually escaped and made legal history in Utah by winning the right to live under the law’s protection as an openly gay teenager.

Alex is not alone; the headlines continue to splash stories about gay conversion therapy and rehabilitation centers that promise to “save” teenagers from their sexuality. Saving Alex is a courageous memoir that tells Alex’s story in the hopes that it will bring awareness and justice to this important issue. A bold, inspiring story of one girl’s fight for freedom, acceptance, and truth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062374608
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 560,851
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Alex Cooper made legal history in Utah by winning the right to live under the law’s protection as an openly gay teenager. Now twenty-one, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

Joanna Brooks is an author and recognized expert on Mormonism and gender and LGBT issues, and Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs at San Diego State University.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Dead Bud 1

1 Families Are Forever 3

2 Cracks in the Plan 8

3 Just This One Girl 16

4 Opening Up 23

5 "Get Out. Just Go!" 35

6 Welcome to Utah 44

7 I'm Going to Be Here a Long Time 51

8 "You Think You're Gay, but That Is Not How God Made You" 68

9 Free to Choose 79

10 The Burden of Homosexuality 86

11 Invisible 93

12 Giving In 122

13 Going Back to School 145

14 Can't Take Another Day 164

15 Safe 177

16 Going Home 193

17 Standing Strong 217

18 Moving On 230

19 Sharing My Story 238

Acknowledgments 247

Resources for Families 248

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Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That's When My Nightmare Began 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Laura_at_125Pages More than 1 year ago
Original review @ Saving Alex is subtitled When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That’s When My Nightmare Began and that pretty much sums up the book. Now that may sound flippant, but it is not meant to be. The subtitle sets up a harrowing tale of what happens when people attempt to change an innate part of another. The life of Alex Cooper took on a frightening turn when, after coming out to her conservative and religious parents, they sign guardianship over to a couple who claim they can “fix” her. What follows is eight months of abuse, deprivation, and attempted brain washing. Alex Cooper has dealt with a lot in her young life. Being able to put it in writing, I imagine, has to be cathartic for her. She has a strong voice which comes across in her writing. A few areas lacked the emotion in the rest of the book, and that may be due to the co-writer, or to her suppressing some feelings, which is natural. Other than these few scenes emotion coursed through the book. The beginning was a bit slow but the information delivered helped move the story in the second part. I have heard of reconditioning centers and understood the concept, but have never heard from a person who lived through it. The idea that someone would think they can change an integral part of another is abhorrent to me and the fact that young people have to go through this makes me shudder. I am glad that this experience has made Alex Cooper a strong and thoughtful young women, but wonder about the damage caused to others. Memoirs like Saving Alex are so important, as they help demystify procedures that we may not think of too closely. I am glad I had a chance to read Saving Alex as it made me even more firm in my knowledge that a person’s sexual orientation is not a choice, as anyone would choose differently under such harsh circumstances. I wish the best for Alex and hope that the process of writing this book has helped her heal and move on. I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Well written and, although very horrific and sad when talking about the abuse, it gives a voice and hope to others in similar circumstances. Well done!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Alex Cooper has given us an unflinching look at her painful journey as a gay teenager in a conservative family of faith. This is an important book that will inspire and educate gay teens and their families.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The one thing that should have happened in Alexandra Cooper’s life was that her abusers should have gone on trial and been sentenced for the abuse they inflicted on her. But that didn’t happen. As far as Cooper’s life being a story of triumph, courage, or hope, it is a complete sham. The State of Utah correctly identified her as an “ungovernable child.” She described herself as a “difficult child” but she was much worse than that. She admittedly argued with her parents frequently but she also used drugs, took off from home anytime, anywhere, with anyone she wanted. She did not show any respect to her parents. As a teenager living in their home, instead of following their rules, she wanted to make her own. Cooper was an egotistical, self-centered brat! The LGBTQ organizations and the National Center for Lesbian Rights are so beguiled by anyone identifying as gay, they refuse to see the truth about this woman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've never reviewed a book on here before, but Alex' story totally captivated me. I was pulled in right from the start, and couldn't put it down - the fact that she could be plucked out of her normal life and placed in the care of abusive strangers striving to change something about her that is not meant to be changed was horrifying. The apathy of the people around her within the town of St. George was also appalling - religion should never supersede someone's basic rights as a human being, I can't believe so many people turned a blind eye when they saw a child suffering. I wish Alex didn't have to go through what she did, but I think she's an incredibly strong and courageous woman, and her fight will certainly help give a voice and legal rights to others who may have otherwise suffered the same fate, with worse outcomes. Thank you to Alex for having the strength to tell her story - it moved me at my core.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book about a morman teen who was sent to live with an abusive family for being gay, Alex Cooper is an amazing woman of strength and courage!