A Kind of Koan

One of my favorite things anyone has ever written about Mormonism is this little section from "The White Album" by Joan Didion, which I had to look up recently:

I recall a conversation I had in 1970 with the manager of a motel in which I was staying near Pendleton, Oregon. I had been doing a piece for Life about the storage of VX and GB nerve gas at an Army arsenal in Umatilla County, and now I was done, and trying to check out of the motel. During the course of checking out, I was asked this question by the manager, who was a Mormon: If you can't believe you're going to heaven in your own body and on a first-name basis with all the members of your family, then what's the point of dying? At that time I believed that my basic affective controls were no longer intact, but now I present this to you as a more cogent question than it might at first appear, a basic koan of the period.

It always cracks me up.


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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on February 23, 2011 9:11 PM.

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