Carol Lynn Pearson
Carol Lynn Wright Pearson (born September 27, 1939) is an American poet, author, screenwriter, and playwright. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Pearson is best known for the book Goodbye, I Love You, a memoir of her marriage to a gay man who died of AIDS in 1984. She frequently addresses the topics of LGBT acceptance and the role of Mormon women.
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A fourth-generation Mormon, Pearson was born in Salt Lake City to Lelland Rider Wright and Emeline Sirrine Wright. They would settle in Provo, where Pearson attended Brigham Young High School. Her mother died of breast cancer when Carol Lynn was fifteen. Carol Lynn studied music and theater at Brigham Young University, where she won the award for Best Actress two years in a row.
Pearson married actor, musician, and songwriter Gerald Neils Pearson (1942–1984), whom she had met in a college production of The Skin of Our Teeth, on September 9, 1966 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The two were devout Mormons who both descended from several generations of Latter-day Saints. They were married for 12 years and had four children together, settling in Provo, Utah.
Gerald had told Carol Lynn while they were engaged that he had had sexual relationships with men, but had left that phase of his life behind. Mormon authorities also assured the couple that marriage would turn Gerald into a heterosexual.[according to whom?] However, he eventually confronted his homosexuality and after a move to California prompted by his desire to explore this side of himself, they separated and were divorced in 1978. He returned to live with her and their children after being diagnosed with AIDS in 1984, and she cared for him until his death. Her book Goodbye, I Love You is about their life together.
Since then, Pearson has become an unofficial spokesperson for acceptance of gay people by their Mormon families, as well as a stronger leadership role for women in the Mormon community. Many of her works address these issues, and she speaks on these and related subjects around the country. She notes, "I love the Mormon community ... and I have a unique opportunity to build bridges."
Pearson's daughter Emily (b. 1968) is an actress and writer who is the author of Dancing With Crazy (2011), a memoir of her life and family. Pearson's elder son John (b. 1969) is a professional caricaturist and one of the original animators of the Simpsons; younger son Aaron Pearson (b. 1971) is a rock musician. Her youngest child, Katharine Sirrine "Katy" Pearson Adams (1975–1999), died of a brain tumor at the age of 23. Actor and playwright Steven Fales is her former son-in-law. She has four grandchildren.
Pearson is a longtime resident of Walnut Creek, California.
Pearson is probably best known for her memoir Goodbye, I Love You and the LDS musical My Turn On Earth. Her play Facing East, about a Mormon family dealing with the suicide of a gay son, opened Off Broadway on May 29, 2007. She also wrote One On The Seesaw, a lighthearted book about raising a family as a single parent.
Pearson's first book was the poetry collection, Beginnings, published in 1969. Her other works include:
- The Search (1970)
- The Order is Love (1971)
- Daughters of Light (1973)
- Cipher in the Snow (screenplay) 1973
- The Growing Season (1976)
- The Flight and the Nest (1977)
- A Widening View (1983)
- Blow Out the Wishbone (1985)
- Goodbye, I Love You: The Story of a Wife, Her Homosexual Husband, and a Love Honored For Time And All Eternity (1987) ISBN 1-55517-984-3
- Lasting Peace (1990)
- Mother Wove the Morning (1992)
- Women I Have Known and Been (1993)
- Picture Windows: A Carol Lynn Pearson Collection (1996)
- Morning Glory Mother (1997)
- The Lesson: A Fable For Our Times (1998)
- What Love Is (1999)
- Fuzzy Red Bathrobe: Questions From the Heart For Mothers and Daughters (2000)
- Girlfriend, You Are the Best! (2001)
- Day-Old Child And Other Celebrations of Motherhood (2001)
- Will You Still Be My Daughter? A Fable For Our Times (2001)
- A Strong Man: A Fable For Our Times (2001)
- The Gift: A Fable For Our Times (2001)
- Consider the Butterfly: Transforming Your Life Through Meaningful Coincidence (2002)
- A Christmas Thief (2003) ISBN 978-1-59955-184-5
- The Modern Magi (2003)
- The Christmas Moment (2005) ISBN 1-55517-869-3
- Beginnings and Beyond (2005) ISBN 1-55517-870-7
- The Model Mormon Mother's Notebook (2005) ISBN 1-55517-858-8
- The Runaway Mother (2006) ISBN 1-55517-927-4
- A Stranger For Christmas (2007) ISBN 978-1-59955-088-6
- In Love Again and Always: Love Poems by Carol Lynn Pearson (2007) ISBN 978-1-59955-042-8
- The Dance (2007) ISBN 978-1-59955-097-8
- Summer of Truth (2007) ISBN 978-1-59955-046-6
- No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones (2007)
- Priceless Moments: Snapshots of Motherhood (2008) ISBN 9781599551425
- The Sweet, Still Waters of Home: Inspiration for Mothers from the twenty-third Psalm (2011) ISBN 978-1-59955-802-8
- Winn, Steven. "Mormon author Carol Lynn Pearson tries to separate church and hate." San Francisco Chronicle, August 18, 2007. Retrieved January 27, 2008.
- imdb.com "Emily Pearson"
- Playbill News: Facing East, Drama of a Shaken Mormon Family, Continues to 17 June in NYC
- Carol Lynn Pearson at the MLCA Database
- Carol Lynn Pearson – Mormon Author, Poet, Playwright, Feminist, and Philosopher Interview on Mormon Stories
- Official Website
- A 30 May 2007 article in Playbill: "Facing East, Drama of a Shaken Mormon Family"
- Mormon Stories Podcast Interview: 173-177: Carol Lynn Pearson – Mormon Author, Poet, Playwright, Feminist, and Philosopher