But then, the Mormons are expert at promoting their bizarre and tiresome rituals as warm and fuzzy spiritual experiences. Lieutenant Matt Ryan discovered that when he inadvertently found himself inside a Mormon temple endowment session--under the guise of Brother Zimmerman, whose temple recommend he'd borrowed. It's just part of my new novel, False Prophet. (Yes, this is more flagrant self-promotion for my book--did you think it wouldn't be?)
Excerpt from False Prophet:
A voice from the speakers said, “We are instructed to clothe you in the Robes of the Holy Aaronic Priesthood.” I heard, “place the robe on your right shoulder.” It lost me after that. I saw that my neighbors were removing their Dearfoams. I popped mine off too, with barely a tug at the overtaxed elastic, and rummaged through my clothing for a robe. I found a long skinny scarf, what appeared to be a hat, and a folded square of white cotton. I figured it for the robe.
“Need help, Brother Zimmerman?” (actually Ryan.)
I looked up to see Brother Booze and a handful of others standing and staring down at me.
“Nope, I got it,” I replied, and jumped to my feet.
What they called a robe looked more like one of those sexy drapes that actresses wear in movies set in ancient Greece. It fastened with those annoying little hospital gown strings that I never could properly tie. When I at last completed the task, I looked around to see that the entire room was now fully accessorized and seated. Brother Booze leapt to my aid.
“Where are the rest of your temple clothes?” he whistled.
Indeed, where had they gone? The young red-haired man on my right collected them from underneath his seat. He stood, handed my hat to Brother Booze then tied the long white scarf around my waist. Booze placed what looked like a baker’s cap on my head, and came around behind to tie yet another string, this time connecting my hat to the shoulder of my robe. I stood still and stiff, aware that every eye was on me.
Brother Red Hair searched under his seat again then mimed, “Where is it?”
“Your apron?” Booze whispered.
“The green thing?”
“I’m still wearing it.”
Booze and Red Hair hiked up my skirt on either side. I flashed back to the pained expression of my fellow kindergartner, Rhonda Tressler, after I’d performed what I thought was a harmless playground prank. Brother Booze removed my apron and motioned for me to tie it around the outside of my clothes. Then the three of us sank gratefully into our seats. Red Hair pointed at my feet.
“Brother Zimmerman, you need to put your slippers on,” said Brother Booze.
Right. The Dearfoams. I guess I could manage that on my own. I found the left one in front of me on the floor and then felt around for the other. Shit. It must have traveled. If only the goddamned elastic wasn’t so tight. I dropped to my knees, searched under my seat, and those around me. I thought I spotted it, but when I touched the toe it moved. This was getting me nowhere. I climbed back into my seat and aimed a desperate look at the officiator.
He cleared his throat. “Will the brethren in the room kindly check around their chairs for a stray slipper?”
The room roiled with the bobbing of white caps, until a polite whisper of discovery came from behind, and the shoe floated hand over hand in my direction.“Thank you, brothers,” I murmurred before returning it to my foot and facing the altar.
The officiator sent me a withering look and motioned to Brother Booze. Booze glanced over, grabbed the baker’s hat that dangled from my shoulder, and put it back on my head.
I smiled up at the guy at the altar. He nodded, sighed, and depressed the button that activated the voice of God.
Click here to order False Prophet--and check out its first 5 star review from Mikayla Anne Pratt!