Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Reality of Spirits

I have to be honest. This book, Dispirited, really frustrated because there were things I loved and things I hated.

  • Sometimes the voice and language was captivating
  • But there was too much ethereal explanation at times
  • It was outside the box. New. Innovative. Exploratory. Unpredictable.
  • Sometimes the dialogue was so unnatural, it hurt.
  • It dealt and explored issues (such as spirits vs. bodies) that Latter-day Saints aren't always willing to dive into.
  • Zared was an unbelievable character. The fact that he pretended to be good and might even refrain from certain evil acts (you know, like killing Cathy and making it look like an accident), just so he could wait til he was 18 and be free, was a little silly. His actions were obviously what worked for the plot and not what the embodiment of evil would actually do.

So long story short, I had mixed feelings about this book as I'm sure most Latter-days would. But whether I love or hate the story, or agree with Perkins' view of spirits, I love that she took the time to explore the ideas of spirits. Latter-day Saints believe in spirits, but we like to keep the safely locked away in another dimension or something and pretend they don't affect our lives or aren't around us. The thing is I believe we have connections with people whether they have a body right now or not.

My sister Karen got married five months after our sister Vicky passed away. Karen and Vicky were best friends, and it seemed unfathomable that Vicky wouldn't be there for the wedding.

Karen got married in the temple, and I was too young to be there, but I never forgot the whispers and the adult talk that took place.

Vicky was there, they said. They could feel her.

The sealer performing the ceremony kept stopping to comment about how special this particular sealing was, they said.

My nine-year-old latched onto that experience, so when I got married I wanted more than anything for my sister Vicky to be there. I cried and I prayed and I hoped with all my might she would be. Even before, I was praying for that. But in the temple I didn't think about her or any other guests. My mind was too numb and excited and happy and scared and really just not in that little room. So, I didn't get any big visitation in the temple. And frankly if I did, I probably wouldn't be willing to share it. But afterward the ceremony and the pictures, my new husband drove me straight to the Sugar City Cemetary. One of my favorite places. We sat and talked to Vicky, and I felt what I also do there. Simple peace. No fireworks, no whistles, no ghosts. But as we sat there, we decided Vicky must have been at the wedding. She must been have been. So I believe she was.

In all the faults I found in Dispirited (and I might just be cranky from lack of sleep, and therefore, extra cynical), I couldn't help but love that nine-year-old boy who went off in search of his mother's spirit.


  1. haha! I love your voice in this post. (So, I guess I'm saying I'm glad you're tired and a little cynical, but I'm not really). Anyway, I agree. Some things I was totally engaged in, but as you pointed out (you're list nailed it by the way), other aspects were lazily done. Interestingly though, I can identify with the wedding story you told, because my husband's grandfather was at our wedding. And some people felt it very strongly, while I was too overwhelmed to be much more than overwhelmed. But I also believe that he was there.

  2. I am in total agreement with Natalie. Hey, this is honest, real stuff, and that's what we want to portray in these posts, right? Like Natalie said, you nailed it.