Monday, July 07, 2014

Mormon Mentions: Gabrielle Zevin

If you're not sure what a Mormon is, let alone a Mormon Mention, allow me to explain:  My name is Susan and I'm a Mormon (you've seen the commercials, right?).  As a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church), I'm naturally concerned with how my religion is portrayed in the media.  Because this blog is about books, every time I see a reference to Mormonism in a book written by someone who is not a member of my church, I highlight it here.  Then, I offer my opinion—my insider's view—of what the author is saying.  It's my chance to correct misconceptions, expound on principles of the Gospel, and even to laugh at my (sometimes) crazy Mormon culture. 

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On the very last page of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Gabrielle Zevin describes a sales rep named Jacob Gardner like this:  "He even walks like he has a calling.  He could be mistaken for a missionary.  In point of fact, he was raised Mormon, but this is another story" (258). 

- If there's one thing we Mormons are known for throughout the world, it's our missionary program.  While many senior couples and older single women serve missions for the LDS church, the majority of its proselyting force are men and women between the ages of 18 and 21.  Despite the fact that these young people are spending 18 to 24 months away from their families, friends, educations, careers, etc., they are well-known for their enthusiasm and zeal.  LDS missionaries love teaching and testifying of Christ through both their words and their deeds.   That kind of passion gets noticed, hence Zevin's description of Jacob Gardner's zest for literature being missionary-like in its fervor.  

To learn more about missionary work—including why members of the LDS church serve missions, what they teach, and what day-to-day missionary life is like—please visit LDS.org.   

(Book image is from Barnes & Noble; missionary photos are from the LDS Media Library)

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