As well as a novella, I’ve published a short story for an Amazon writing contest. If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, it’s FREE; it’s also FREE for the next five days (as part of a promotion). Here is the synopsis for “Out of Eden”: How did Cain meet his wife? Where was the Land of Nod? Did Cain ever find grace? “Out of Eden” is a shaggy god story that answers these questions while leading one to question what might have been. A shaggy god story is a science fiction story that attempts to explain biblical concepts with science fiction tropes. https://www.amazon.com/Out-Eden-Sarah-Richards-ebook/dp/B0B38WB5SK/ref=sr_1_1?crid=P[…]den+sarah+richards&qid=1655532985&sprefix=%2Caps%2C214&sr=8-1
Like the Fifties,
marriage was the answer to an unexpected pregnancy,
even as adoption was the only answer to an unwelcome one.
A nonmember marrying his pregnant lover
was considered taking responsibility,
but Tony saw adoption as his way of shirking that responsibility.
He would give up a piece of himself—
a piece of his future—
to preserve the elevated status he held in the eyes of his parents.
He could give his child to LDS parents,
only for them to fall out with the Church,
& go another way,
& for the Mormons,
any other way would never be as good as their way.
If his mother ever discovered that Tony had broken the law of chastity,
it would dash her world of crystal palaces & marble temples to pieces.
I prayed it wouldn’t get out that I was seen walking with Tony
or I’d become a pariah in the Church.
Kath was only given a pass for liking him
because she was the only black person in the ward
& they didn’t want to alienate her,
for the Mormons collected minorities like others collected dolls.
As Moses’s mother had placed her son in a basket to protect him,
with the faith that whoever found him would raise him well,
Tony would let his child go off into the Deseret sunset.
He raised his head then,
not looking at me but out there,
as if the answer were written on the wind.
And then he murmured:
“Just as a man rejects his calling to serve a mission,
and is responsible for all the souls he could have saved had he gone,
I will be responsible for all those I bring into the world.”
I wanted to tell him that he was doing the right thing,
although I knew that would be no comfort to him,
for it would be known that he had done the wrong thing
for which he would now have to do the right thing.
In the eyes of the Church,
the act of fornication would never be made right,
regardless of the result,
however precious that result might be.
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.
How did Cain meet his wife? Where was the Land of Nod? Did Cain ever find grace? “Out of Eden” is a shaggy god story that answers these questions while leading one to question what might have been.
For they had supposed He was
John the Baptist,
but people did not return,
only to die countless times
as recycled souls;
they passed from this life once—
to live forever.
She did not find her future in the stars,
nor her fortune in the earth,
but her faith in the One
who parted the two.
When he was a boy,
he enjoyed his boyhood,
learning from his dad
what it was to be a man.
When he sowed seeds of legitimacy,
rather than wild oats,
he traded in his Xbox
for a toolbox,
& showed his daughter
how men should treat her
by how he treated her mother.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
—St. Paul, First Corinthians
Pride was frowned upon in the Church,
for when God had spoken from Heaven after Jesus’s baptism,
He had not said,
“Behold my Son, in whom I am proud,”
but “Behold my Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
However, Donna smiled upon herself—
on being the most liberal Mormon
with a temple recommend,
as she was known for having NCMO (non-committal making-out) sessions at her house.
Though a part of me admired her tinkling the brass,
I realized that she was probably still
the most conservative person outside the Church:
She had found the place where she could stand out,
even as I had found the place where I could blend in.
As I looked in the mirror at my modest self,
feeling like a woman worth more than many rubies,
I realized that the Church,
with all its traditions, structure, & rules,
notwithstanding the one about falling in love with missionaries,
was made for me.
Because Sister Wiley was a lifetime member,
she would be believed over a convert any day,
for a convert had been born into the world,
rather than born into the covenant,
Converts were basically immigrants,
though no one stopped to consider that because converts
had chosen the Mormon Church,
their choice had been an informed one.
Institute was the Mormon version of a youth group
for the YSA’s (Young Single Adults),
except the purpose wasn’t to become closer to Jesus
but to find an eternal companion.
Jesus just happened to be part of the package,
for at the center of Mormon life was the nuclear family,
& the brethren had stated they couldn’t go below their average
of at least one temple marriage a month.
Institute was a meat market,
displaying the finest cuts of the missionary cloth.
The lure for me wasn’t the prospect of Tony Schafer & his ilk,
but a new ping pong table & refreshments
& the chance to beat Tony at the game,
for I craved friendship & inclusion,
To beat the unbeatable Tony,
who fancied himself at table tennis in an air-conditioned room
rather than on the tennis courts in the Deep South summer,
would make me a heroine
because men like Tony—
men of the Mormon patriarchy—
would be unable to abide a woman beating him in anything.
Banging him, however, was another story.
Kath looked like a South African queen
with her Rapunzel-like hair that exceeded the whiteness of the sun,
in her fancy,
saw her outer whiteness as the inclusion of all colors
& her blackness within as the exclusion of them.
I was colorblind,
but I was not blind,
& knew that even as one side would try to forget her heritage,
the other would never let her.
Service was at the heart of Mormon charity,
even as helping the poor was at the heart of Catholic charity.
As Brother Startzel regaled us with anecdotes about his service as an Air Force pilot
& his grandmother’s service as a WAVE in World War II,
I thought as David did: that military service was not Christian service,
for you served your country with the former
& your God through His children with the latter.
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.
When the Cock Crowed for the Fourth Time