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Way Below the Angels
The Pretty Clearly Troubled but Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary
HARDCOVER; Published: 8/14/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7150-3
281 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
In Stock
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DESCRIPTION
Revealing retrospective firsthand account of one Mormon's mission experience

When Craig Harline set off on his two-year Mormon mission to Belgium in the 1970s, he had big dreams of doing miracles, converting the masses, and coming home a hero. What he found instead was a lot of rain and cold, one-sentence conversations with irritated people, and silly squabbles with fellow missionaries.

From being kicked — literally — out of someone's home to getting into arguments about what God really wanted from Donny Osmond, Harline faced a range of experiences that nothing, including his own missionary training, had prepared him for. He also found a wealth of friendships with fellow Mormons as well as unconverted locals and, along the way, gained insights that would shape the rest of his life.

Part religious history, part coming-of-age story, part witty spiritual memoir, this book takes readers beyond the stereotypical white shirts and name tags to reveal just how unpredictable, funny, and poignant the missionary life can be.

REVIEWS
Jana Riess
— author of Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor
"How could a memoir that primarily deals with religion and rejection be so flippin' hilarious? Craig Harline's experiences as a Mormon missionary in Belgium in the mid-1970s are ingeniously funny, but they also point to important issues — how religious people deal with apparent failure and navigate grown-up faith after childish certainties have proven inadequate."
Carlos Eire
— author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy
"An incandescent and searingly honest memoir. . . . Earthy and spiritual all at once, Harline's eloquent account of his travails brims over with good humor and transcends confessional boundaries. Taking the reader from door to door, step by redeeming step, this pilgrim's journal ultimately reveals as much about the human condition as it does about the inner workings of Mormon foreign missions."
Randall Balmer
— author of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America
"Witty, poignant, and tender. The characters are unforgettable, and Harline's rendering of his interactions with them is luminous. . . . Utterly riveting and delightful."
— Booklist
"By turns amusing and tender, an unvarnished and introspective reflection, humanizing a little-understood religion."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Displays a fine mix of pathos and hilarity. . . . A touchingly human memoir."
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Delightful. . . . Readers will laugh out loud at Harline's misadventures. But this tale is, at heart, a reflection on how life doesn't always follow the rules set out by statisticians and spiritual advisers, and how growing up away from home can be profoundly unsettling. A thoughtful, wonderful read."
J. Spencer Fluhman
— author of "A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America
"Harline tells his tale with such candor and warmth that the words spill beyond the boundaries of his own tradition. His story's Mormon particulars will fascinate readers of various stripes, but religious readers across traditions will see themselves in this sweet — and often comical — human soul's reach to comprehend God's work in a broken world."
Sam Cardon
— Emmy Award-winning composer
"Way Below the Angels is perhaps the most authentic and honest account ever written by a practicing Mormon of the unvarnished Mormon experience. In one moment hilariously funny and in the next heartbreakingly revealing, Craig Harline's story of his journey of self-discovery is filled with insight, humor, wit, and erudition. . . . All readers will learn something, most importantly, about themselves."

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