Teaching Religious Skepticism »« Skepticism, Religion, and Strawmen

“Elders: A Novel”, Ryan McIlvain on Atheists Talk

Ryan McIlvain is a former Mormon missionary whose missionary work presented challenges to his faith that ultimately led him away from Mormonism. He is also a recent first-time novelist who took “Write what you know” to heart, capturing that experience in the recently released Elders: A Novel. From the publisher’s description:

Elder McLeod—outspoken, surly, a brash American—is nearing the end of his mission in Brazil. For nearly two years he has spent his days studying the Bible and the Book of Mormon, knocking on doors, teaching missionary lessons—“experimenting on the word.” His new partner is Elder Passos, a devout, ambitious Brazilian who found salvation and solace in the church after his mother’s early death. The two men are at first suspicious of each other, and their work together is frustrating, fruitless. That changes when a beautiful woman and her husband offer the missionaries a chance to be heard, to put all of their practice to good use, to test the mettle of their faith.  But before they can bring the couple to baptism, they must confront their own long-held beliefs and doubts, and the simmering tensions at the heart of their friendship.

McIlvain joins us this Sunday to talk about the novel and about his experiences.

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