With TexASS and FloriDUH leading the charge, the United States is once again having to confront the reality of a very vocal minority seeking to control what information and knowledge children have access to in the public areas of libraries and schools.
In a recent study, it was determined that TexASS has banned more than 800 books in 22 school districts, closely followed by FloriDUH at 566 books banned across 21 districts. As an advocate of our constitutional right to freedom of speech (which to me implies freedom to read what I want), and as one who believes the decision to monitor a child’s reading lies in the hands of the parents, I am vehemently against banning books. Furthermore, history has shown us that banning books is a tool of fascism, albeit an ineffective means of control.
That being said, I am proud to be an author whose books have been banned! WHY? Because the first thing thinking adults do when we learn of a book that’s been banned, is to go out and buy, and then read it! We want to know what the fuss is about, while also giving the finger to those who attempt to control our access to information.
To my knowledge, my books have not been banned by any school districts or libraries. Instead, they have been condemned and therefore banned by the Catholic Church! Could there possibly be a better endorsement than to have one’s book banned by the great and powerful Catholic Church!? As a recovering Catholic, I consider this to be the best of all possible endorsements.
The presiding bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, for example, once told a friend and colleague that all of my books and anything I have created is forbidden to be used in his diocese. I laughed when I learned of this. Then I wept for my friend who had spent a year attempting to get permission to teach my Authentic Freedom curriculum at her local parish. The bishop strung her along for a year before dropping this bomb. Apparently, the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her parish priest as a child wasn’t enough of a trauma. The bishop decided to heap on a bit more. (IMO, there’s a special place in hell for men like this!)
If the Church is willing to ban Authentic Freedom (a phrase inspired by Pope John Paul II himself!) for challenging the concept of original sin and providing people with the tools (inspired by the Catholic Contemplative tradition) to be free of the fears and compulsions that keep them from knowing they are LOVE, then you can bet they have banned my novel, Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene.
Song of the Beloved shares the fictional (based in canonical and non-canonical scripture) story of Mary, called Magdalene, and places her in her rightful role as devoted student, companion, and partner to Jesus (yep – that Jesus!). Mary, once healed of her childhood trauma, is depicted as an eager learner, and empowered leader in her own right, and the one Jesus ordained to continue his ministry. I may have also suggested that they might have been married and (ahem) had sex. Yeah….the Church would definitely ban this book if they’d read it.
Then there’s Only One – the Secret Teachings of Mary Magdalene, which among other things, proposes that Mary, called Magdalene may have had a hand in facilitating Jesus’ resurrection – as Jesus had done in raising Lazarus. Definitely blasphemy!
Finally, there is Christouch. Christouch is my response to the United States Council of Catholic Bishop’s prohibition statement against Reiki. This prohibition was executed directly in response to my work (and other Catholic women like me) as a Reiki practitioner and inspired by the local diocese’s decision to lead the charge. In Christouch, I lay out the scriptural foundations of healing in the way that Jesus did, and the command he issued to his apostles to go out and heal. Christouch further provides a protocol for embracing that call to be a vessel of God’s healing and the foundational knowledge to further that calling. Christouch directly confronts the Catholic Church’s contention that only priests can be a vessel of healing through the laying on of hands. To this I say: READ YOUR SCRIPTURE!
In short, I believe we are gifted with a brain to reason and discern our own truth and to exercise that truth regardless of what institutional authorities might suggest otherwise. In my case, I say, “go ahead and ban my books, it just makes people want to read them.”
Lauri Ann Lumby
is a writer, author, educator, and mentor who has supported individuals in their journey toward self-actualization for over twenty-five years. Out of the Shadows is Lauri’s most recent and eleventh published work.
You can reach Lauri directly at email@example.com.