There’s a saying in Mormondom that goes something like this: “The Church is perfect, but the members are not.”
While I’m not willing to go so far as to say the Mormon Church is perfect, I do know for a fact that its members aren’t.
As humans and mortals, I can guarantee that Mormons suffer from the same foibles and vices as their “gentile” counterparts. Greed, avarice, addiction, gluttony, sloth, jealousy, duplicity, sexual deviancy, and just plain “unrighteousness” – all are part of the human experience and, therefore, part of the Mormon experience. So why should it be so horrible for Mormon literature to portray characters as such? Why should LDS members pretend that Mormonism is not vulnerable to the same follies, crimes, and sins that exist throughout the rest of humanity?
Yet this is a criticism of Saints in the Latter Days – a book that, if nothing else, abounds with the human condition. It seems that, because this book exposes faulty interpretations and implementation of Mormon doctrine by “unrighteous” characters, it is dismissed by at least one LDS book critic as meaningless.
I beg to differ. That is precisely why this book is valuable and consequential – because the practice of Mormonism is flawed and to suggest otherwise is to say that Mormons have broken their mortal coils and are, in themselves, divine.
This book, then, is not so much a statement on Mormonism as it is a statement on the interpretation and practice of Mormonism by flawed members. In fact, a central theme involves the abuse of power by individuals living and operating within the Church framework – a moral blemish exemplified by several characters, with special pertinence to Sen. P. Alma Pedersen. His abuses are egregious, yes, but serve to show how any person who is imbued with special priesthood powers which are bestowed upon them based solely on their male gender may be susceptible to irrational interpretations of doctrine to justify misuse of authority. In turn, the senator’s flawed brand of Mormonism has a domino effect on the cast, forcing other characters in the book into imperfect – and sometimes “unrighteous” – behaviors and actions.
The Mormon critic is apparently repulsed by the senator’s character – as he should be. That is the intended effect: to portray abuse of power as repugnant and urge proper use of authority by those who hold it. But, to merely write the senator off as a slimeball and, therefore, without meaning in a broader context is a shallow reading of the book.
I invite you to judge for yourself.
Saints in the Latter Days is available as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store at http://www.amazon.com/Saints-Latter-Days-ebook/dp/B004VGUDM4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1302693905&sr=1-1
Praise for Saints in the Latter Days:
“A very fun read into the magic minds and affairs of the strange mormon ideology. Worthy of a Stanley Kubrick production.” — J. Morton
“An excellent read into the hypocrisies and ironies of the Mormon church. The carefully crafted characters are weaved into a riveting story about the conflicts that emerge between ideology and practice in the Mormon way of life.” — T. McNulty