Bibliophile: Reclaimed



by Ray Cook


Ray Cook describes his book as a journey ‘from lost to found’ and says writing was a cathartic exercise for him to deal with the clash between his sexuality and his religion. As a straight A student and ‘model Mormon boy’, he had to cover up his internal dilemma to live an authentic life. With obsessive compulsive tendencies and a need for perfectionism, he found himself descending into a self-sabotaging spiral. Desperate for a sense of belonging and learning from each disappointment, he set out to explore the world beyond the narrow confines of his upbringing. Driving to the big city to explore “thumping beats, strobe lights, sexy men” was exciting until Mormon punishment made his young life a misery.

First of all he tried playing the game of deception but while still a teenager, he learnt about the hypocrisy that surrounded him. When he realised that his sexuality wasn’t an issue with God and he began to rebel. After a ‘brutal inquisition’ by church leaders (all men), he was eventually excommunicated from the Mormon Church. Fortunately he had the courage and support to unlearn self-sabotaging beliefs and each short story in his collection is based around a lesson learned. Ray Cook hopes that he can offer some inspiration to readers who are searching to discover, love and accept themselves. “Regardless of circumstances, life is manageable and happiness is a choice”.

Lezly Herbert

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