Ryan McIlvain grew up Mormon, doing his mission in South America. He resigned from the church in his mid-twenties. I loved his admission of making decisions by asking, "What is the secular thing to do?" You can read excerpts and listen to the entire interview on the NPR website.
Now he's drawn on his own experience and his own doubts to create a novel depicting a pair of Mormon missionaries. Jasmine Elist's article for the L.A. Times is part book review and part interview.
"And I thought: Jesus Christ, if you knew the small, daily inner turmoils that these young men — or young women, as the case may be — were confronting, you wouldn’t kick them off campus. You would offer to buy them an ice cream cone, or something." --Ryan McIlvain, on Mormon missionariesI love that Ryan's speech is still unapologetically peppered with Bible phrases and lines from hymns. It's nice to think that all the years spent absorbing ancient prose and 19th-century poetry were not a waste, but an investment that might one day produce uniquely rare and delicate fruit.