"In this collection of Mormon short stories, a disaffected young woman burns her temple clothes while dancing to an old pop song. A teenage boy worried about the future of the planet prays for God to send a devastating plague on humans. An eager polygamist endures a miserable wedding night with his multiple wives. A government assassin tries to incorporate Blood Atonement into his work. A youth outing reenacting the Mormon Handcart trek goes terribly wrong. A rebellious college graduate gets a tattoo on her back--of the Plan of Salvation. A zealous restaurant worker devises a horrifying plan to force customers to obey the Word of Wisdom. Millions of Latter-day Saints apostatize by joining the Republican religion." Back cover.
"These sixteen stories reveal Mormons with serious problems their church can't always help solve. A young girl has to fight the Klan in 1960's Mississippi. A betrayed husband demands the return of the kidney he donated to his wife. A young gay man is outed by his dying mother. A woman desperately hopes her husband dies of natural causes before his suicide attempt is successful. A teenage girl is shot by the young ward she is babysitting. These accounts may all be about Mormons, but they don't tell the faith-promoting stories one hears at church. They tell the tales of real people the Church simply can't acknowledge." Back cover.
"In this collection of Mormon short stories, the LDS Church issues a survey about sexual orientation but neglects to allow "gay" as an answer. A young couple find them selves hopelessly trapped in the temple. An anotomically male, inwardly female transgender feels guilty for holding the priesthood as a woman. A bishop's wife organizes a sex-boycott among leaders' wives until until the Church agrees to ordain women -- Noah explains God's childhood secret that was the real impetus behind the flood. A lesbian has a hysteroctomy to protest the Church's ban on same-sex families. A man redecorates his house with Mormon art as a surprise for his husband. A Jewish transgender tries to get a job with Deseret Book." WorldCat
"Gay Mormons certainly have their challenges. In these stories, a repressed man seeks a medicinal cure for homosexuality. A homophobic scientist comes up with a novel theory for why the dinosaurs became extinct. The victim of a gay bashing becomes a serial killer of right-wing preachers. A group of gay men start living the United Order, a Mormon form of socialism. A man who needs a heart transplant is abandoned by his parents for his gay lifestyle. Mormons say they hate the sin of homosexuality but love the sinner. In these stories, the sinners aren't always very loveable, but the sins themselves are always fascinating." author's website
"In these sympathetic but subversive stories, Mormons have their faith tested in ways both subtle and severe.
Most of the characters in Townsend’s latest take on the less-holy side of Latter-day sainthood are devout Mormons coping with realities—and unrealities—that cast their religious strictures in an unsettling light. At the more lurid end of the spectrum, a family finds that their LDS lifestyle uniquely equips them to survive a zombie apocalypse; a reporter hypes the exploits of a masked crime fighter dressed in Mormon Temple robes; a bride is struck down at the altar by a mysterious serial killer; and a straight-laced man has a thrilling sadomasochistic encounter in a dentist’s chair. Other tales feature quieter but still nerve-wracking intrusions: a husband loses his wife to an auto accident and reflects on the forbidden desires roiling their relationship; a family breadwinner struggling with bills risks divine retribution by cutting back on his tithing; the contrast between his boring existence and fantasies of heaven makes a middle-aged man long for death. The pre-eminent documenter of alternative Mormon lifestyles, Townsend (The Mormon Victorian Society, 2013, etc.) continues exploring the tension between religious belonging and repression; his characters are steeped in the highly organized, tightknit social life and elaborate rituals and theology of the church, but they chafe against its constraints on expression and sexuality. His normally understated critique of Mormon sexism, homophobia and reaction occasionally grows strident: In one schematic tale, a terrorist bombing prods a right-wing Mormon into patly repudiating his conservative principles, while in the title story, a woman’s questioning of church doctrine—“Wasn’t sugarcoating Church history just a way of making it more palatable?”—slips into soapboxing. Still, Townsend has a deep understanding of his characters, and his limpid prose, dry humor and well-grounded (occasionally magical) realism make their spiritual conundrums both compelling and entertaining." Kirkus Reviews
"A gay quilting club in Salt Lake tries to win a contest using pornographic designs. A man tries to rebuild his life after being shot in the face by the wife of a man with whom he's having an affair. A college student becomes a false prophet to save his friends from disaster. A gay couple rejected by biological family painstakingly creates a new "chosen" family. "Johnny Townsend's stories are a gay 'Portnoy's Complaint' of Mormonism. Salacious, sweet, sad, insightful, insulting, religiously ethnic, quirky-faithful, and funny." (D. Michael Quinn, "Same-Sex Dynamics Among 19th-Century Americans: A Mormon Example")" author's website