Monday, January 17, 2011
My Review of "Who's At The Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries" By Dan Harrington
Experience the gospel in a new perspective while witnessing Dan Harrington's spiritual journey. Not just another tale of conversion, Dan reverently reveals the Mormon religion through a non-member's eyes as he reflects upon his experiences with missionaries and Church members, forges new friendships, and finds an unexpected common ground of faith. Find out who's at the door and see what can happen when you open it.
I really wasn't sure what to expect when I read this book. Would this book be the typical conversion story that so many others have already written? I have to tell you, that no, this is not your typical conversion story. In fact, this is not a conversion story at all. This instead is a story of gaining knowledge of other religions, acceptance of differences in thought and beliefs and friendships made from people from varied upbringings.
This book is very well written. Dan is a professional freelance writer and it shows. You are captured on the first page and drawn into the story immediately. I never had the opportunity to serve a mission, so this book was so fascinating for me. I was able to see what it is like to actually go out and find people to share the gospel with. The reader is also able to experience
the role of the investigator, who invites the missionaries in for the very first time.
Dan is very honest about his experiences with the missionaries and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. I love to read memoirs and gain knowledge from others and what they experience. Dan went in full steam to learn about the missionaries and what they do. I thought it was wonderful that he went out tracting ( when missionaries go knocking from door to door to meet people) with the Elders. That really was one of my favorite chapters.
In chapter eight Dan tells of his interview with the captain of the local chapter of the Salvation Army. Most people just see them as the bell ringers at Christmas time with the red kettles. Dan pointed out,that most people don't realize that the Salvation Army is not just a charity, but it is also a church. He says how in the interview Captain Downs kept getting phone calls. They were from the police and the homeless shelter. A family had just lost their home in a fire and the shelter was full. Captain Downs explains how they would put the family in a motel for the night. I have to say that this impressed me so much!
One thing that Dan says at the end of the book is very profound:
"This tale is meant to be a human interest story. Battles over doctrine can be found everywhere, but a church is always more that its ideas or its ideals. It's also the people. "
This book IS about people: Dan, the missionaries, LDS members, and people of other faiths. I learned so much from this book and I know that you will too. It is funny at times and serious in other moments. It will make you think of life, religion and how accepting you are of others. It will also bring forward the fact, of how much your life will be enriched, when you open your door and your heart to others different from you and your faith. Thank you Dan, for presenting an avenue of awareness,that so many of us need in our lives.
If you would like to read the first 15 pages of "Who's at the Door?" go here. Let me warn you though, once you start reading this book, you will want to finish it.
When Dan Harrington was 8 years old, he tried to interview a talking Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Santa's Village in New Hampshire. With captivating questions such as "Exactly what Reindeer games do you play?" and "What's Santa's favorite cookie?" he drove a teenage employee crazy enough to say that Rudolph was sleepy and had to go to bed.
Harrington became a professional freelance writer many years later in 2007. His work has appeared in publications such as Village Soup, The Kennebec Journal, Inside Pro Wrestling/The Wrestler, Portland Magazine, and LDS Church News. He has written about everything from missionaries to extreme sports to law enforcement. He lives in central Maine.
Please go visit Dan at his blog and become a follower. He has some great posts there. You can also follow him on facebook.
I want to thank Cedar Fort for the review copy of this wonderful book. In no way did this influence the review given to the book. It is all Dan's fault for writing such a fantastic book.