I Have Killed Many Men

The missionaries are in a well-kept home in Alta Dena at the request of the mission president. He had called the young man to tell him that Kevin’s wife had asked for her husband to be taught, but he should not be pushed. The mission president had said, “It’s a delicate situation. Her husband isContinue reading “I Have Killed Many Men”

The Neighborhood Dealer with the Uzi

The door swings open. An Armenian man in his mid-40s smiles and lets them in without a word. He is wearing alligator skin loafers, white jeans, and a black silk button-down shirt. A pair of sunglasses sits on the top of his head. The young man and Elder Judd sit on a plush couch. “I’mContinue reading “The Neighborhood Dealer with the Uzi”

Smite Their Enemies, Lord Jesus

They were asked into the house with barely an introduction. It is a black family with two parents and at least six kids. They are faithful people who believe the scriptures ardently, respect what the elders are doing, but are satisfied to continue with their church and not learn about the Book of Mormon. ElderContinue reading “Smite Their Enemies, Lord Jesus”

A Mission Christmas Eve

The young man and Elder Judd have just loaded their zone’s Christmas packages in the trunk of their Corolla and bid the AP’s a Merry Christmas. The young man’s pager buzzes—Elders Kailiponi and Matsuzaka, 911. They drive to a Circle K and stop at a pay phone. “This is Elder Laws.” “Hey, it’s Elder Kailiponi.Continue reading “A Mission Christmas Eve”

In the Streets Without No Heart

It is just past 11 am when they knock a door at the end of a cul-de-sac just off Lake Avenue. The young man can hear voices and a lot of movement on the other side of the door. The door opens to reveal a young black man, his eyes full of tears and red.Continue reading “In the Streets Without No Heart”

How About Nuclear Fusion?

Armen is looking at the young man with a sly smile. He is in his mid fifties, and he has passed his baptismal interview. “I’m going to tell you a secret about Armenians.” They are sitting in Armen’s den in Glendale, CA, where more Armenians live than any other place except their homeland. “Sure, goContinue reading “How About Nuclear Fusion?”

Green Light

Near dusk, they knock a door halfway down the street. The woman says nothing but immediately waves them in. She motions to the couch and the young man and his companion sit. “Do you guys have any more videos you could leave me?” “Did missionaries give you some of our videos?” “Yeah, you guys did.”Continue reading “Green Light”

They Won’t Kill Me if I’m with You

The young man and Elder Johnson tap on the door, and a young Latino waves them in quickly. “You didn’t see no one else out there, did you?” he says. “No,” says the young man, as he sits down on the couch. “Why? What’s up, Anthony?” Anthony peeks out the window, which is covered byContinue reading “They Won’t Kill Me if I’m with You”

I’m a OG

It is dusk in the snake pit. The door opens, and the man immediately lets them in, motioning them to a card table in the kitchen. He is probably mid-twenties, black, trim, and wearing dreds and a white muscle shirt. “Always good to see people who represent the Lord.” They chit chat a few minutes,Continue reading “I’m a OG”

I Know Just How You Feel

November 19, 1996 Dear Gordon, We got your letter and I wanted to throw my arms around you. I know just how you felt, and I hope you have learned already that it does get better. When I reached Tokyo to start my mission, I had been on and off airplanes for about 18 hours.Continue reading “I Know Just How You Feel”