Way Below the Angels: The Pretty Clearly Troubled But Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary

Craig Harline (Author)

Product Details

William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Publish Date
August 14, 2014
6.0 X 1.1 X 9.1 inches | 1.15 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Craig Harline is the author of Sunday: A History of theFirst Day from Babylonia to the Super Bowl andConversions: Two Family Stories from the Reformationand Modern America, which was named one of2011's Top Ten Books in Religion by PublishersWeekly. He teaches European history at BrighamYoung University. Learn more about him at craigharline.com.


BYU Studies Quarterly
"Under Harline's care the typical missionary tale turns platitudes into perspective and demonstrates with humor that the most vital soul God wants us to save is our own. . . . Worth reading--twice."

"Harline has a gift for sensing the most universal of missionary experiences and capturing them with humor and insight."

Stone Campbell Journal
"A thoroughly engaging . . . challenging perspective of Mormon missionary life."

Jana Riess
-- author of Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor
"How could a memoir that primarily deals with religion and rejection be so flippin' hilarious? Craig Harline's experiences as a Mormon missionary in Belgium in the mid-1970s are ingeniously funny, but they also point to important issues -- how religious people deal with apparent failure and navigate grown-up faith after childish certainties have proven inadequate."

Carlos Eire
-- author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy
"An incandescent and searingly honest memoir. . . . Earthy and spiritual all at once, Harline's eloquent account of his travails brims over with good humor and transcends confessional boundaries. Taking the reader from door to door, step by redeeming step, this pilgrim's journal ultimately reveals as much about the human condition as it does about the inner workings of Mormon foreign missions."

Randall Balmer
-- author of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America
"Witty, poignant, and tender. The characters are unforgettable, and Harline's rendering of his interactions with them is luminous. . . . Utterly riveting and delightful."

-- Booklist
"By turns amusing and tender, an unvarnished and introspective reflection, humanizing a little-understood religion."

-- Kirkus Reviews
"Displays a fine mix of pathos and hilarity. . . . A touchingly human memoir."

-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Delightful. . . . Readers will laugh out loud at Harline's misadventures. But this tale is, at heart, a reflection on how life doesn't always follow the rules set out by statisticians and spiritual advisers, and how growing up away from home can be profoundly unsettling. A thoughtful, wonderful read."

J. Spencer Fluhman
-- author of "A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America
"Harline tells his tale with such candor and warmth that the words spill beyond the boundaries of his own tradition. His story's Mormon particulars will fascinate readers of various stripes, but religious readers across traditions will see themselves in this sweet -- and often comical -- human soul's reach to comprehend God's work in a broken world."

Sam Cardon
-- Emmy Award-winning composer
"Way Below the Angels is perhaps the most authentic and honest account ever written by a practicing Mormon of the unvarnished Mormon experience. In one moment hilariously funny and in the next heartbreakingly revealing, Craig Harline's story of his journey of self-discovery is filled with insight, humor, wit, and erudition. . . . All readers will learn something, most importantly, about themselves."

Russell Arben Fox
-- By Common Consent
"A beautiful, hilarious, and haunting book. . . . The best, most thoughtful, funniest and truest recreation of missionary life -- especially the internal life of a missionary -- that I've ever read. . . . This is a great book."

Julie Smith
-- Times and Seasons
"You can read an (excellent) book like Unbroken and think: that was amazing, and it has nothing to do with my life. But you read Way Below the Angels and think: this is me -- a kicked-over anthill on the inside, even when things are really not all that bad on the outside. . . . Harline provides an unusual kind of balm in the form of an epically raw and genuine account of his mission."

-- Hearts and Minds
"You know this has to be a good book for the editors of one of the most storied and prestigious religious publishers in America to offer it as one of their biggest titles of the season. No, this guy doesn't convert to Protestantism, and there is no grand conclusion, but, wow, does he write well -- colorfully and creatively . . . as he ponders the role of religion in his life, and in our culture. And did I mention he's a good writer?"