Inhuman Swill : March 2001
            

[from my ongoing memoir]

There was one group we tried not to tangle with, though: our archenemies, the Jehovah's Witlesses—er, Witnesses. If we were dogs, then the Jay-Dubs were cats. If we were water, they were fire. If we were Superman, they were Lex Luthor. We did not get along. I think the antipathy stemmed mostly from the fact that people were always mistaking one of us for the other when we knocked at their doors. In fact, I recall once later on my mission when I had just been transferred to a new area. My new companion and I were walking down a quiet, shady street doing callbacks on a sunny spring day when suddenly he stiffened and went pale.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"See that guy a few houses down, out watering his lawn?" asked my companion.

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Chapter 43: "Shazzmatazz"

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Bringing the grand total to 859 ms pages. Shoot me now.

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So there I was, just working on yet another redesign of the Sesame Workshop site, when I stumbled across this parenting article.

It describes me perfectly, and it was odd to hear myself described and potential explanations for why I am that way put forward. Of course, I haven't been paralyzed by shyness for a long time, but it does still get in the way of my social interactions sometimes, especially when I'm otherwise under a lot of stress. Weird.

Maybe some of the suggestions in the article for teaching kids to overcome shyness will work for me now.

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[Looks like marriage is in the air. For more info on what the heck is going on here, click here.]

The modern church has plenty of embarrassing historical specters hanging around, but few haunt it the way polygamy does. The church has tried to distance itself from the practice in the past century, but with mixed results. If you ask most Mormons today whether or not they believe it's proper to practice polygamy, they'll tell you no. But if you ask them whether or not it's a correct principle, they'll say yes.

In fact, the practice of polygamy is an excommunicable offense, and has been for many decades. This has not always been the case, however—polygamy was once, deservedly (and still is, erroneously), the chief distinguishing characteristic of Mormonism in the minds of most Americans—and many Saints believe it may not always be the case in the future. They look forward to the day when the moral and political climate in the United States and other nations has cooled enough to permit the church to reinstitute the practice—though the more reasonable of these don't expect it to happen until Christ's Millennial reign on Earth. (Note that I specified "the more reasonable.")

So, what is polygamy, and how did the practice arise?

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Foreign orals

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Hey, everybody pop over to my friend lightningrod's journal and pester him to write about the oral exams he recently took in Washington D.C. for the Foreign Service. I've heard it, and it's fascinating stuff. Let's get him to post it!

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The subject of the new chapter is, of course, in part, polygamy in the early Mormon church. This one was a long slog, and brings the stack to 835 ms pages.

I got email from my agent this morning. Sophie Harrison at Granta passed on the manuscript, saying:

Thanks for your note, and thank you for letting me see William Shunn's manuscript, which I've now read. It's an interesting story with an appealing narrator, and I've certainly never come across anything that gives such a clear insight into the Mormon philosophy and way of life. However — regretfully — I have to say that I don't think it's a book for the UK market; I suspect that it would be much more meaningful in a US context. But it's an intriguing book and I wish you and the author all the best for it.
Okay, girding up my loins for the next foray.
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...and this one to 801 pages.

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Two chapters born at pretty much the same time, strangely enough. This one brings the total to 778 pages...

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Why I hate headhunters

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They call it Monster.com for a reason . . .


From: Ed O'Reilly
To: bill@shunn.net
Subject: outstanding
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2001 13:48:14 -0500

Good morning,

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Chapter 39: "Great Falls"

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Boy, where has the weekend gone? Just finished another chapter of the memoir, and the count stands at 770 ms pages.

My agent's gonna fuckin' kill me.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

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that even a
missionary
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William Shunn

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