Prof. Christopher T. Lewis explains how the newest book in a mystery series set in Utah inhabits very recent events in Mormon culture, such as fallout from the LDS Church’s controversial gay exclusion policy of November 2015.
In the latest installment of Mette Ivie Harrison’s Linda Wallheim novels, For Time and All Eternities, Lewis identifies some 40 contemporary references that average Mormons might find controversial, ranging from gay suicide to a series of church-published Gospel Topics essays about less faith-promoting versions of the sect's history.
Even the book's title — “For Time and All Eternities” — suggests the story is anchored
in “concrete, present-tense Mormonism,” Lewis says, as it borrows a phrase from Mormon
sealing rites, and then twists it to make eternity plural. “This alludes to the polygamous
scriptural foundation of eternal marriage, but also serves as a reminder that eternity
can’t be contained or constrained by prescriptive doctrines or policies,” Lewis says.
“For Linda, that ‘s’ opens up space in the celestial kingdom for both her nonbelieving
son and her gay son.”