Blog | The Accidental Terrorist

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The Mormon Bishop Challenge: Marry a same-sex couple

Is there a religious equivalent to the term "civil disobedience"? As in, a term for defying one's church leaders when you find their edicts unjust or immoral? Something more warm-sounding than "heresy"? Oh, well. For lack of a better term,...  read

Books and reviewers and blurbs, oh my!

I've been making Stamps.com work overtime as I mail out a ton of advance reading copies of The Accidental Terrorist, and it's beginning to pay off. My little book—okay, okay, it's not so little—is attracting some crucial early bits of...  read

Mormon underwear is about to get its closeup

Not many people outside of Utah may be aware of it, but a controversy is brewing—and it has to do with Mormon underwear. Specifically, it has to do with the portrayal of Mormon underwear on network television. As reported by...  read

My prescient and fiery memoir cover shoot

We had no idea that what we were really doing was a cover shoot for my memoir. It was the late summer of 1987. I was stationed with my assigned mission companion, Elder Tim Bishop, in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. We...  read

The Falcon and the Snowman and me

In 1985, I was a far bigger fan of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny than just about any other musician. The album that infected me was 1982's Offramp, which sounded unlike anything else I'd ever heard. I became a hardcore consumer...  read

Send your missionary a margarita!

In a message exchange a few months ago, a friend and former colleague from my missionary days reminded me of a funny story from 1988 involving the elder who was then my companion. I didn't immediately recall the incident, but...  read

Our memories remind us, maybe mine is not so bad

I've always believed that I have a pretty good memory—in particular, that I can recall formative events and conversations from years or even decades ago in reasonably good detail. When I started work on my memoir The Accidental Terrorist, I...  read

My first R-rated movie

Reading this edition of "The Big Question" at Hitfix.com got me thinking about the first R-rated movie I ever saw. The film itself—a Michael Douglas thriller called The Star Chamber—was not so memorable, but the circumstances around my viewing of...  read

Supercalifornication; or, how a hooker came between me and Oingo Boingo

The following story is an outtake from my memoir The Accidental Terrorist. The names of most of the other participants, including relatives, have been changed to offer some small measure of concealment. When I was eighteen, my father and I...  read

Le mot juiced

I read the following essay, which appears in somewhat different form in the epilogue to The Accidental Terrorist, in the Essay Fiesta series at The Book Cellar in Chicago, on December 21, 2009. There is no worse feeling than, five...  read
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The Accidental Terrorist: Order Your Copy Now!

About the Book

What happens when an ambivalent young Mormon missionary is pushed to the limit in a challenge to prove his faith? Hint: the outcome is explosive. The Accidental Terrorist is the long-awaited memoir from Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author William Shunn, based on his popular podcast. Available now from Sinister Regard!