Today I am interviewing Allison Pittman, a published author who lives in San Antonio, Texas. Set in Utah in 1850, Allison’s new novel, For Time & Eternity, is about the Mormons, and with the popularity of Mormon, Glenn Beck, right now, it’s very timely.
Allison, welcome. I read For Time & Eternity, and I recommend it. It’s not only interesting, it’s groundbreaking. But first, tell us a little about Allison Pittman.
My debut in Christian fiction came with my Crossroads of Grace series—three novels that tell the stories of three women whose lives intersect one winter in a Wyoming brothel. My fourth novel, Stealing Home, is a finalist for the ACFW Carol award, and I also have a work of non-fiction called Saturdays with Stella—the spiritual lessons I learned when I took my dog to obedience school. Readers can find out more at my website, www.allisonpittman.com.
Thanks Allison. The prologue for your novel, For Time & Eternity, is quite unusual. It suggests that there really was a Camilla Fox and that she was written about in the Ladies Home Journal magazine in 1886. Please tell us what is fact and what is fiction.
Oh, Camilla Deardon Fox is an entirely fictional character—as are all of the characters in the book, with the exception of the brief appearances of Brigham Young himself. The events of the story are inventions of my mind, but the historical backdrop—the early Mormon settlement in Deseret (Utah)—is based on historical research.
The Book of Mormon was written years after the Old and New Testaments were written, and in the case of the Old Testament, thousands of years. Yet I found nothing in either Testament to indicate that a final prophet was to appear with revelations contrary to the teachings of Jesus and the Bible. Please comment on Mormonism as another gospel.
A: Well, of course we know that Joseph Smith was not the Antichrist—he was a religious opportunist, taking advantage of the sweeping spiritual fervor taking place at the time. The Book of Mormon, while being the record of Smith’s revelation is only one of the sacred texts for the LDS church, along with The Doctrine and the Covenants—a more legalistic compilation of doctrine. The LDS church teaches that God’s Word changes over time, based on new revelations given to new prophets. Yet, when we read the Bible, we see that the message of God—the doctrine of Jesus Christ as the ultimate redeemer—stays constant Genesis through Revelation.
In your book, you described celestial marriages that take place in the temple at Salt Lake Utah, and that these marriages will continue in Heaven, producing celestial children. But Jesus teaches that there will be no marriages in Heaven other than the marriage of the church to Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord and King—that former married couples will live as brother and sister. Tell us about the celestial marriages that apparently take place at the temple in Salt Lake and their implications.
I wanted to focus on this idea of celestial marriage, because it is this idea of eternal family that draws the character of Nathan Fox to the Mormon faith. In fact, since the latter half of the 20th century, the idea of “family” is what the LDS church has used to attract new members.
In your novel, For Time & Eternity, you say that the Mormons wear green aprons during their celestial marriage ceremonies. Can you tell us more about Mormon beliefs in this area?
A: I want to be careful to be as accurate as possible in my portrayal of LDS practices, even though many are secretive and hidden from non LDS people. This is just one example of a symbolic ritual, and while it might not seem to be the most egregious misrepresentation of scripture, it does speak to the core of the falseness of their belief.
Thanks Allison for a most informative interview. Come back soon. To find all Allison’s books in bookstores and online, write Allison Pittman in the search slot.