Jeanette 's Reviews > The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker
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Jan 01, 10

bookshelves: biography-memoir, giggles, nonfiction, philosophy-theology
Recommended to Jeanette by: Powell's
Read in December, 2009

This story is a years-long crisis of faith disguised as a ditzy dating chronicle. I can't rate it any higher because the author spends far too much time obsessing about looks and kissing(huge eye-roll here). I can't rate it any lower because it is quite well written and edited, easy to read, at times hilarious, and has moments of great honesty and clarity.

Elna Baker is a New York City stand-up comic, and also a practicing (sort of) Mormon. She is an exuberant, open, adventuresome young lady. Goofy she may be. Immature, no question. But her heart and mind are far too expansive and tolerant to be governed by the narrow teachings of Mormonism. Her dearest friend in all the world is a gay male (seriously frowned upon by her church); and the most decent, humanitarian boyfriend she ever had was an atheist (a "perfect relationship," she calls it).

Baker's questioning and confusion are still present at the end of the book. I hope she'll learn to appreciate and embrace her boldest self and permanently refuse to be subdued by the Mormon patriarchy.

If you read nothing else in the book, at least read the chapter called "You Will Meet a Beautiful Woman Tonight." In this chapter, she decides to attend yet another Mormon Halloween Dance, this time dressed as a fortune cookie. She makes her own elaborate costume, which begins to fold in on itself on the way to the dance. It ends up looking very much like...ahem...something other than a fortune cookie!!
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Erin (new)

Erin Hmmm...I'll be awaiting your review! This sounds like it could either be really good or really bad.


Jeanette Erin wrote: "This sounds like it could either be really good or really bad."

Precisely what I thought after reading a few reviews, Erin. Some of the reviews say you have to be Mormon to get a lot of the jokes and concerns. I'm about as un-Mormon as a person could be, but I went to university in Utah, so I have some insider knowledge. We'll see...




message 3: by Erin (new)

Erin Hmm...depending on how much you get, maybe I'll just recommend this to my neighbor who IS a Mormon.


Jeanette Erin wrote: "Hmm...depending on how much you get, maybe I'll just recommend this to my neighbor who IS a Mormon."
Maybe you'd better find out first what sort of Mormon she is. It seems to be getting mixed ratings from actual church members. She may find it offensive if she can't laugh at her religion.




message 5: by Erin (new)

Erin Good advice. I think she can laugh at her religion, but to be honest, I really don't know that for sure.


message 6: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Good grief, it must be difficult to be a New York stand up comic and a Morman! This woman sounds refreshingly honest....


Jeanette Caroline wrote: "Good grief, it must be difficult to be a New York stand up comic and a Morman! This woman sounds refreshingly honest...."

Yes, she's definitely open and honest. Some might call it oversharing. I spent a lot of years living among the Mormons, so the book was especially interesting to me.


message 8: by Caroline (last edited Apr 21, 2014 01:25AM) (new)

Caroline Now I want to come round to your house, and have a long chat with you over a mug of coffee, about what it is like living among the Mormons. I see that like me you have read Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. I also watched a 4 hour documentary series on the Mormons. The book I felt was more about rabid fundamentalists, than having anything to do with your average Mormon, but even so, I find it absolutely extraordinary that people can be loyal to such a belief system, especially one that was conjured up so recently.

I think as human beings we do have the most amazing capacity to believe strange things, be they personal superstitions or religious fundamentalist ideas.


Jeanette Caroline wrote: The book I felt was more about rabid fundamentalists, than having anything to do with your average Mormon, but even so, I find it absolutely extraordinary that people can be loyal to such a belief system, especially one that was conjured up so recently.

I think as human beings we do have the most amazing capacity to believe strange things, be they personal superstitions or religious fundamentalist ideas.


The mainstream Mormons are of course not as freaky as the FLDS, but they still delude themselves with some pretty weird beliefs. What's so interesting is that the beliefs are ingrained in them from infancy, so they can't even comprehend how they appear to non-members. If you want to read a good book about the bloody history of the Mormon church, I recommend No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie. Most of the Mormons I knew were very good people at heart, just deluded. And they tried hard to ignore the truth about the history of their religion.


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