The prize-winning author’s Mormonism and literary prose distinguish this book among spiritual memoirs. In a series of thought-provoking, personal essays, Phyllis Barber provides an engaging account of how she left her original Mormon faith and eventually returned to it decades later. Her journey began in the 1990s. In search of spiritual healing and a deeper understanding of the Divine, she traveled widely and participated with people of many different persuasions, including Southern Baptists (both African-American and Caucasian); Tibetan Buddhist monks in Tibet and North India; shamans in Peru and Ecuador; goddess worshipers in the Yucatan; and members of mega-church congregations, an Islamic society, and Gurdjieff study groups. Along the way she discovered the ancient wisdom preserved by religions and spiritual practices around the world, and the parallel life we all live with the Unseen. Her twenty-year hiatus from Mormonism transformed her in powerful ways. When she decided to return to her original religion, she was a much different human being and more of a mystic than someone given to a particular dogma. Her clarity and unflinching honesty will encourage others to continue with their own personal odysseys.
A powerful review of To the Mountain in 15 Bytes magazine.
“If you keep the Sabbath going to church, smuggle this book into the pew with you. If you keep it staying home, let Phyllis Barber be your guide. These plaintive essays stride and soar, spanning continents and realms of consciousness with honesty, humility, and humor. Barber reminds us that an aching spiritual curiosity drew seekers to Mormonism in the first place, and that the same aching curiosity may drive each of us onward still. I am grateful for this wise fellow traveler and the gift of her luminous prose.”
—Joanna Brooks, author , The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith
“Phyllis Barber’s sensitive, lyrical recounting of her spiritual journey within and beyond Mormonism will resonate with anyone who has ever suspected the Divine of being greater than we can imagine.”
—Jana Riess, author of The Twible and Flunking Sainthood
“Phyllis Barber sought and found sacred mountains in both spectacular and everyday settings, all the while carrying a bundle of gifts and heartbreaks uniquely her own. In her particularity of Mormon-ness, adventurousness, open-heartedness, and as a soul creative to its core, her brave confessions unite and inspire us all. Whatever our bundle, we too can find harmony with and solace in The Other.”
—Dan Wotherspoon, Ph.D., host of Mormon Matters podcast and editor emeritus of Sunstone magazine.
“To the Mountain is an amazing story of commitment to the spiritual path. Unattached to the outcome, Phyllis Barber treads ever forward on the spiral to spiritual consciousness, attracting people and experiences that catapult her light years ahead of the masses. A great read, an illuminating story, a surprise ending!”
—Jan Phillips, author, No Ordinary Time, The Art of Original Thinking and Marry Your Muse.
"To travel the spirited world with Phyllis Barber in To the Mountain is to dance and sing and play Chopin with the abandon born of a radiance as real as a lithe body and inquisitive mind. Her arrivals and exchanges make the personal universal, a skill reserved for the most competent storyteller. To travel with her is to fall in love with life in its most wrenching, soaring, basic offerings."
—Emma Lou Thayne, author, The Place of Knowing
“In her lovely, deeply personal account of her very uncommon spiritual journey, Phyllis Barber gives hope to all who would claim the promise: Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find. She is a genuine pilgrim on the way. May her journey be blessed, as she has blessed.”
—Scott Cairns, author, Slow Pilgrim