A Novel by Irv Jacob
Have you ever seen two decent young men dressed in white shirts and ties riding bicycles down the street on a warm summer day? They're probably Mormon Missionaries. Damn near anywhere in the world you can find these well-dressed pairs riding their bikes around and knocking on doors.
One of the three principle characters in this story is a Mormon missionary, Jack Lincoln. He is a young man, coming of age, searching for answers and gaining maturity. This is a natural progression, a timeless story like so many others, but his is unique so it deserves to be preserved. All the elements of real life both exciting and contemplative are here: sex, mystery, intrigue, perversion, death, love, philosophy and hopefully entertainment. But there is more; there is a gradual and thoughtful presentation of the dilemma we all face.
Jack was not particularly outstanding or remarkable on the surface. He was just the boy down the street to those who knew him before, but after his mission his approach to life had changed completely. It is this very process of thinking and change that is most interesting, aside from any conclusions he reaches. His thinking characterizes some in his age who left their religion of birth and discovered other alternatives, for better or worse.
Lucky Murray, Jack's cousin and rambunctious alter ego, was from the other side of the tracks. He conducted a similar search for meaning through very different circumstances and with dramatically different consequences. Both Lucky and Jack challenge their upbringing and confront the most difficult questions of life with insufficient preparation.
There is a great deal of misinformation in the world, both pro and con, about Mormons and their religion. It is useful to use this opportunity to set the record straight. By tracing the threads of Jack's life as these weave into mature fabric, the constructive nature of the Mormon religion is revealed. Along the way the reader may learn something about religion in general.
Other religious organizations may not be as aggressive about spreading their teachings, but no other religion enlists so many young men and women to actively search for new converts. No other group of young people is more dedicated, more effective, more self-righteous or more persistent than the Mormon Missionaries. These are the "Saints," members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The third, and possibly the most sympathetic, character is Jack's girlfriend, Julie Goodfield. She is one of these Saints and probably the principle casualty of Jack's "progress." She waited dutifully and supportively, if not patiently as many young girls do. Her emotional battles are just as challenging as the exciting events that confront the boys.
It is a clumsy error to accept the assumption that all Mormon missionaries are alike because they have been directed to present that image. Not all missionaries have the same background or preparation. Each has a particular personality and a complex character. Not all new missionaries are equally enthusiastic about the approaching challenges. And, as we learn, they don't all have a firm conviction of the faith they proclaim.
The label "Mormon Missionary" purposefully obscures these differences. The similarities between missionaries becomes trivial, because these are the surface characteristics, well planned and well executed. The excitement lies in finding the differences. The most profound story is the individual thinking of a missionary such as Jack, contrasted to the lives of his closest associates.
Chapter 1 - SOLIPSISM (part 2)
Chapter 2 - THE DIALECTIC (part 2)
Chapter 3 - SPIRITUAL HERITAGE (part 2)
Chapter 4 - ETHNIC COURAGE (part 2)
Chapter 5 - CEREMONIAL CAKE (part 2)
Chapter 6 - FIRST DAYS (part 2)
Chapter 7 - SENIORITY (part 2) - (part 3)
Chapter 8 - MARKETING TECHNIQUES (part 2) - (part 3)
Chapter 9 - LONELY PIGEON (part 2) - (part 3)
Chapter 10 - SENSATIONAL EFFORT (part 2) - (part 3)
Chapter 11 - TURNING POINT (part 2) - (part 3)
Irv's other online "book"
is Frame of Reference.
Chapter 12 - ARTIST IN EXILE (part 2) - (part 3)
Chapter 13 - SEATED MUSKETEER (part 2) - (part 3) - (part 4)
Chapter 14 - CUBED RUBRIC (part 2) - (part 3)
Epilogue (part 2)