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  • Writer's pictureMax Sinsheimer

SOLD! Lust Behind the Mormon Curtain (by Steve Cuno)

I wrote an early draft of this message, announcing the last of my 2020 deals, on Tuesday afternoon, and ended it by saying "Now, let's see what's in store for 2021!" I did include a jokey caveat that there was no need for 2021 to top 2020; nevertheless I am deeply sorry for my role in Wednesday's events. I think I'd better just put this out there before I do any more damage to this country.

So, I'm pleased to announce that Lust Behind the Mormon Curtain, by Steve Cuno, will be published by Pitchstone Publishing, the leading publisher of books for the secular humanist market. It introduces readers to the non-trafficked, non-pimped male and female prostitutes, Asian massage parlor workers, and johns who stimulate Salt Lake City’s surprisingly robust sex trade. It opens with the story of Eva, a Mormon Sunday school teacher who, while moonlighting as a call girl, unwittingly schedules a rendezvous with her Church leader. From there readers travel back in time through a sordid history the Church does its best to bury, and then forward again to a comprehensive understanding of the sex trade in Salt Lake City through the eyes of its participants (male and female sex workers, johns) and its watchdogs (church and police). The final chapters make a strong case for legally permissible indoor prostitution and lay out steps the Mormon Church can take to relieve the psychological distress of their followers.

Lust Behind the Mormon Curtain reveals a dark underside to the Church’s carefully cultivated image of wholesomeness and family values. Sexual sin ranks as the third most heinous sin Mormons can commit. It’s grounds for disfellowshipment, in which church privileges are temporarily suspended, or excommunication, in which membership is revoked. That’s remarkable for a Church whose founder left behind some 30-50 widows, not all of age, not all single, and not all willingly wed. Lust Behind the Mormon Curtain contextualizes the psychosexual pickle followers often find themselves in by showing how it is strongly rooted in Mormonism’s historical and doctrinal obsession with sex.

Steve is an experienced advertising writer, the humor columnist for Free Inquiry magazine, and the as-told-to author of Joanne Hanks’s bestselling memoir "It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass: Confessions of an ex-Mormon, ex-polygamist, ex-wife. He is also a former Mormon who learned to speak French so he could spend two years as a missionary telling French Canadians in their own language that they ought to convert. When he left the Church after twenty years, he took his in-depth knowledge of its doctrine and history with him.

Congrats to Steve and to his editor at Pitchstone, Kurt Volkan! Here's the official Publishers Marketplace deal memo:

This is about sex, my last deal (Just Dope) was about drugs... quick, somebody send me a rock and roll manuscript!

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