Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Christopher Cokinos


Christopher Cokinos


Jennifer Sinor


Charles Waugh


This thesis engages readers in a story about contemporary Mormonism. It is a novel that follows a fictional Mormon man engaged in a quirky summer job: door-to-door sales. The Mormon characters in this novel encounter a collapsing Florida housing market that stalls their efforts at peddling pesticide, while the main character experiences serious doubts in his personal religious faith.

Though Mormons are a small fraction of the United States’ population, they have drawn considerable interest from the American public in recent years, in large part due to the success of the 2011 musical The Book of Mormon and the 2008 and 2012 presidential bids of Mitt Romney (who is a Mormon).

The national conversation about Mormonism indicates great interest in the religion, but there has been very little dialogue between the Mormon Church and this interested public. The true nature of Mormonism is that of any religion: official spiritual doctrines put forward by the Church compete with every adherent’s personal practice of these doctrines, and among adherents one finds a broad range of ideologies.

I believe that it is the Mormon people’s role to bring the complexity of their religion and their culture into this national conversation, and, having been raised Mormon, I aim to do just that with this novel. The expansive form of a novel provides the depth and breadth necessary to convey the complexity and the contradictions encompassed by Mormonism, and the plot in this novel carries readers through those complexities while engaging them with an interesting story. If readers, having completed the novel, feel less confident of simplistic views of Mormonism, I’ll have succeeded in my aims to communicate the complexity of this American religion to the public.




This work made publicly available electronically on May 11, 2012.