Rated Reads

Who’s at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries

by Dan Harrington

Rated: None

So-called “cold contacting” is difficult in any field; people are simply uncomfortable approaching or being approached by perfect strangers. When a level of recognition is added to this concept, the difficulty factor is often multiplied. Dan Harrington’s work goes a long, long way to help people on both sides of this challenge understand it quite a bit better.

Most people around the world have come to understand that a pair of well-groomed young men in white shirts and ties are representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a.k.a. the Mormons. The author certainly had, and until he was able to sell his editor on a piece about these young men serving in Augusta, Maine, he avoided them at every opportunity. Once he had their permission to write about them and their work, however, he found that his assumptions were a long way from the facts.

Overall, Harrington spent just over a year with the elders of Augusta, and came to know many of the local church members during that period. He spent a lot of time studying the doctrines and attending services, mainly because he found these young men to be so different from his initial expectations.

Although short, this is a very personal and insightful book. One gets the feeling that the author wants nothing more than for others to be less judgmental toward people of a different faith (regardless of that faith), and he is willing to bare his soul to the world to achieve it.  He does not sugarcoat anything: the tenets of the LDS faith, his personal issues, the personalities of the elders, and the behavior of various individuals he meets along his journey. It is a very well-written and honest display of religious curiosity and learning.

Rated: None. Perfectly clean read.

— Reviewed by Craig Smith

Craig Smith is chief medical officer of Tacoma Cat Hospital. In addition to providing book reviews on Rated Reads, he podcasts about feline health issues through iTunes and www.tacomacat.com.

One Response to Who’s at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries

  1. Greg says:

    I thought I would give an uptade on what I am doing. Although still attracted to doing something for the 1632 series, I am buried in my non fiction account on the Escape of the Jews from Germany and unoccupied France through Spain and Portugal to the United States. At this point in time I have 317 pages that discuss, among other things, antecedents of the migration, the role of FDR and Franco and the German connection. What I have found out is that between June 1940 and June 1942 more than 13,000 Jews took this route to the United States, traveling on Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, American and Japanese ships to the United States. Most of the movement was between June 1940 and January 1942 and involved Spanish, Portuguese, and American ships. Using especially the records of the passengers that arrived in New York and US State Department (both in the US National Archives but at different repositories), I have found more than 30 voyages taking emigrants to the New World. Neither Franco nor FDR knew, at that time, why this emigration took place, other than the German government wanted to expel the Jews. The movement of a large percentage of these emigrants was directly from Germany to Spanish ports and Spanish ships to the New World. But the majority of Jews going to the New World came from unoccupied France and consisted, in order, of German Jews, Polish Jews, Russian Jews and French/Belgium Jews. The movement of Jews directly from Germany, took place between November 1940 and October 1941 when it suddenly stopped. We now know, from German records, that Hitler considered a program of extermination in the summer of 1941 and began it on October 25 with the halting of the movement West. Implementation began in February 1942 and finally included the Jews in Un Occupied France in July 1942. I had to stop research about four months ago in order to review the data collected so far and, separately, prepare for moving to another location. We, me and my wife, will transfer elsewhere in Baltimore county in March. After that I will return to my research. This means (1) collecting relevant data from five other New York newspapers of the (1940/1942) period. So far I have only looked at one. (2) look at other sources (e.g. the tombstone of my Grandfather who apparently made this voyage in 1940 and soon after died, books at the Library of Congress that may shed more light on FDR and Franco and their role in this emigration). To summarize, I have a book manuscript that discusses this subject in detail but what I lack in more information on the role FDR and Franco in making it possible. In short already have a good book on what did happened and I need to know more on exactly on the roles of the principals in making it happen. I will keep you informed as I learn more. Larry Feldman

  • Who’s at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries
  • by Dan Harrington
  • Rated: None
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: