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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Mormon Mentions: Michael Perry

Ahhh, polygamy ... if it wasn't for those crazy fundamentalists, we Mormons would never get mentioned in modern literature at all ... Here's another funny reference, this one taken from Michael Perry's memoir, Coop:

"I admit there are times while traveling in certain circles that I take some perverse joy in letting slip that I was raised in an 'obscure fundamentalist Christian sect' because for some disinclined folks the phrase conjures a wild-eyed tribe of charismatic Bible-wingers hoarding automatic weapons and diesel fuel within a walled compound. When I reveal that I am no longer a member, there is the underlying inference that I escaped under cover of darkness and must forevermore avoid Utah. Sadly for the sake of cocktail talk, ours was a pretty low-key operation. No speaking in tongues, no Holy Rolling, and grape juice for communion. We kids went to public schools, our parents worked regular jobs, and at first glance the only thing you might notice was that our mothers wore dresses and stacked all their hair up in a bun. Mom did wear high-top construction boots with her maxi skirts, so that was a little off beat" (78). [Quote taken from an uncorrected proof - it may have been altered in the final book.]

Just for the record, the group with which Perry worshipped was not made up of polygamists, disaffected Mormons, or anything of the sort. It consisted of hardworking Wisconsin farm families devoted to strict principles of living. What I love about Perry's depiction of his unconventional religion is his ability to snicker at its zaniness without dissing its precepts or mocking the believers. He insists that those faithful to "The Truth" were humble, God-fearing, Christian people dedicated to living lives of righteous simplicity.

It's a funny quote, nonetheless.

1 comment:

  1. I too enjoyed that quote while reading Coop. Subtle, yet not so subtle! I loved Coop and it was fun to learn about his interesting religious upbringing which seemed just a touch familiar.


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