Join us for our August LDS Living Book Club Pick: ‘Without the Mask’


In February 2019, Charlie Bird wrote a guest opinion piece for Deseret News in which he revealed two parts of his identity: he was the Cosmo the Cougar who starred in viral dance videos with Brigham Young University’s Cougarettes, and he was gay.

Now, a year and a half later, Bird is sharing more of his story in his new book, Without the Mask: Coming Out and Coming Into God’s Light.

In the preface to the book, Bird writes a letter to the reader and shares:

I aim to write the book I wish I would have had when I was fourteen—when I was confused, scared, and felt entirely unlovable. I want to write the book I needed when I was eighteen, when I felt defeated, broken, and completely alone. I want to write the book I wish I had when I was twenty-one, when the only future I could see was bleak and hopeless, and the book I searched for when I was twenty-four, when I saw few role models and felt I was the only person in the world walking the largely uncharted territory of being openly gay and active in my church. I want to write a book that might help a dad better understand his son, or give peace to a mother who has been crying herself to sleep at night. I want to write a book for the youth leader who isn’t sure how to create a safe space for LGBTQ youth while still teaching true gospel principles, and for the bishop who doesn’t know how to support families that are day by day breaking apart. I hope reading my experiences will spark healing, bridge gaps of understanding, and inspire hope. I pray that for someone, this will be the book I never had.

This month, LDS Living Book Club will dive into Bird’s new book with special giveaways and videos with the author throughout all of August!

 You may also like: Embracing the man behind the mask: How being Cosmo the Cougar led one man to accept God's will—and himself

What This Month Holds

  • An eBook giveaway
  • Weekly videos with insights from the author
  • Ask Me Anything Q&A with the author

Stay tuned to the LDS Living Book Club Instagram for details!

About LDS Living Book Club

Each month the LDS Living staff chooses a new book to read with our followers. Joining is easy! Simply follow @ldslivingbookclub on Instagram for reading reminders and details about our live Q&A with the author.

About the Book

In Without the Mask, Bird reflects on how his identity has strengthened his testimony and how he views his sexual orientation in conjunction with his faith in Jesus Christ. Alternating between memoir and teaching chapters, Bird's touching and authentic prose chronicles his decision to openly share that he is gay while remaining active in his faith. Highlighting the challenges Bird has faced along the way, the book also shares the blessings he's learned to recognize through his sexual orientation. Bird feels deeply the importance of maintaining a relationship with God and hopes this message will "spark healing, bridge gaps of understanding, and inspire hope" for other LGBTQ readers and those who love them. Without the Mask is available now at

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