‘Mormon Land’: Son, editor reflect on what D. Michael Quinn’s candid memoir reveals about his homosexuality and LDS beliefs

Turns out, the “September Six” scholar was as dedicated to telling the truth about his own complicated history as he wanted the LDS Church to be about its problematic past.

(Tribune file photo) D. Michael Quinn at the Church History Library in 2013. Quinn's posthumous memoir has been published.

What most Latter-day Saint historians and other scholars know about D. Michael Quinn is that he was, by all accounts, a remarkable researcher who could assemble disparate dots into a colorful mosaic.

They may know that he was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of the “September Six” for his discussion of post-Manifesto polygamy and other controversial topics or that he was an expert in the faith’s financial dealings and hierarchy. But now, nearly three years after his death at age 77, the public will hear for the first time of his inner struggles as a gay man in the church that for most of his life preached that homosexuality was a sin.

Signature Books has now published Quinn’s heartbreaking autobiography, titled “Chosen Path: A Memoir,” described as a “relentlessly episodic” look at the deeply personal agonies and ecstasies of his life and work, while offering his perspective on significant church events that occurred while he was writing about Mormonism. Three themes are thread through his entries: his relationship with himself as a closeted gay man, with his oft-absent and secretive father, and with his church.

On this week’s show, Moshe Quinn, his son, who wrote a foreword, and Barbara Jones Brown, who edited the volume Quinn gleaned from his multiple journals, discuss the revelations in his memoir.

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