I, however, have always been interested in Mormons. I met my first Mormon when I was about thirteen. I remember going to her house and seeing the picture of the Temple in Salt Lake and the strange pastel rendering of Jesus, thinking her Mom was too young for her dad, and wondering why she had so many siblings. She (her name was Jessica) told me the story of Joseph Smith and how he had found the gold plates, about the angel Moroni, and how everyone thinks Mormons have multiple wives but "real Mormons almost never do."
Which brings me, of course to Big Love .
I feel the same way about Mormons and Big Love as I do about Virginia Woolf and The Hours . But wait, let me backtrack.
My lovely friend L. happens to be a Mormon. She and I met when we found out we were both on our way to Indiana University back in the day, and lived in the same dorm once there. We were both Voice Majors. (L. stuck with her major, like a trooper, I gave-up and went the English major-route). One day, I cornered L. in her dorm room and asked the tough questions. I wanted to know about Mormonism.
"Is it true that you guys can't drink hot liquids?"
"What? Where did you hear that?"
"Well, you can't have coffee . . ."
"I can't drink caffeine. That doesn't mean I can't have hot liquid! You see me drink herbal tea all the time!"
"Oh, yeah, I guess that is true."
She went on to give me a short run down of the history, and the texts "the Quad," and marriage ceremonies. I have to admit, L., that the whole
But all this is really beside the point. Talking to L. made me realize I had no idea what Mormons believed. I felt fairly confident after speaking to her that I did.
Enter, "Under the Banner of Heaven."
Now, this is the book that everyone cites in a conversation where you reveal that you love Mormons. It goes something like this:
"I don't know what to think about that new HBO show."
"What, Big Love? It's great! I love Mormons!"
"WHAT. How can you love Mormons? They're a cult! It's a cult! They hate women and gay people! They force fourteen year olds to marry their fathers!"
"Wait, wait, wait. Are you talking about the FLDS?"
"No! I'm talking about MORMONISM. Haven't you read "Under the Banner of Heaven?"
"Well, no, but isn't that about the FLD--"
"YOU SHOULD READ IT."
So finally, last week, I read "Under the Banner of Heaven."
TO BE CONTINUED