Monday, January 3, 2011

Who's at the Door: Book Review

Who's at the Door: A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries by Dan Harrington

Dan is a friend of mine now, for the last month or two-and while I love talking shop with other authors, I wasn't sure at first I was terribly interested in his memoir just because in Utah land we get an awful lot of LDS (Mormon) conversion stories.

Just speaking for myself, I'm tired of hearing them. Unless your dead fathers ghost came and talked to you or you found a Book of Mormon while scuba diving, read it and converted (this really happened to the coolest, grouchiest old WW2 frogman I ever knew).
There are just too many other books begging for me to read them. I don't feel a drive to read how someone came to the faith I happen to share with them-and yes I am not exactly Mr. Fellowship-I'd rather hole up in my office and write than go to ward parties.

BUT I was interested in Dan's memoir because he did not convert. It kinda threw something different into the mix. Dan is Catholic and I have noted down through the years that generally the religious non-LDS people I get along best with are Catholic too. Coincidence? Maybe.

In any case this is the beginning of Dan's journey getting to know a peculiar culture. (I don't deny we are weirdos-we are supposed to be a peculiar people) He paints a vivid picture of the revolving missionaries that came into his life (and he into theirs). It was easy for me to visualize a lot of the exchanges and at some points I even wished I was there to join in.

Ultimately in the memoir despite some missionaries best efforts, Dan decided he wasn't going to join the LDS church. Some doctrinal disputes and questions-and THAT'S FINE-this isn't a grudge match or debate, this is about people finding common ground and learning something new about each other-becoming friends and brothers and that's what matters in the long haul.

It does give a different outlook to what is typically the kind of book that only an LDS person would buy/read. That Dan is still outside the Mormon faith gives a new vista on religious understanding and perspective.

All the best to Dan and his writing endeavours. You can order his book Here.


Dan said...

David, thanks for the review. I appreciate your honesty, and I'm glad you saw that a big part of the story was about what it's like to welcome strangers into your life.

I really wanted friendship to be central to the story rather than solely focusing on faith.

David J. West said...

No problem Dan, it was brisk enjoyable read.

Th. said...



Charles Gramlich said...

There is certainly so much demand on one's reading time that you have to limit the claims on esoteric connections. This sounds pretty good, though. will have to look into it.

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