Mother & David had grown up on opposite sides of the township of Wells, Pennsylvania—Mother with a large family we never saw, David on a dairy farm, raised by relatives who had long since passed on.
When David came, he was like a mysterious stranger—a man without a past—whose life began with us. It was as if he was made just for me.
Life was largely happenstance. We were all one person removed from our destiny—one marriage proposal away from happiness or heartache.
I’d never known any grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins. It had all began with Mother, & the two men in her life. Now, I wanted more.
As the elders spoke of their large families, being one of many, rather than one of two, I found myself yearning for siblings never conceived.
I was jealous of the other families who fed the elders, wondering if any of them had a pretty girl who baked them cookies.
Salvation, to the elders, was a process of conversion, rather than a defining moment. There was no saved—only being saved over & over again.
Till I met Elder Roberts, I couldn’t imagine being intimate with a boy, but loving someone else while he was away would destroy his love for me.
Elder Johnson seemed more comfortable discussing heavenly things than earthly things. They were all like this.
The influence of the Mormon Church in our lives, whether or not we clung to it, had fundamentally changed us all.
Logline for Because of Mindy Wiley: An Irish-Catholic girl coming of age in the Deep South during the New Millennium finds her family splintered when two Mormon missionaries come to her door, their presence and promise unearthing long-buried family secrets, which lead to her excommunication and exile.