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 facing divorce demands the return of the kidney he donated to his wife. A young gay man is forced out of the closet 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.

Circumventing the paragons espoused by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Townsend (Marginal Mormons, 2012, etc.) returns with a collection of short stories that consider the imperfect, silenced majority of Mormons, who may in fact be its best hope.

Beyond an enigmatic cadre often in the national spotlight, there are regular Mormons; they’re anything but easy to define, but Townsend portrays the less publicized lives they lead. In “The Removal of Debra,” college student Gary receives important advice from his ailing mother, who, after receiving a terminal diagnosis, has been consumed by regret. To God’s own glorification, she implores Gary, pursue authenticity over obedience. “An Igneous Gravestone” also champions instinctual morality over doctrinal conformity, as its protagonist dares to defy his tyrannical mother in the name of preserving a healthy family. Read more