Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Unique Perspective on the FLDS

Taya Cook Okerlund, author of Hurricane Coltrane

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons as we are called, haven't practiced polygamy for 120 years.

But we know people who do.  Our theological cousins, the ones who wear braids and long dresses and are married to Warren Jeffs and his clan, are oftened featured in the news.  That is the FLDS, or the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  (Then there are the RLDS, too, an altogether different church that *doesn't* practice polygamy, but also believes in The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith).  Confusing?  Impenetrable?

Thanks to a new book, Hurricane Coltrane, authored by dear friend and law school roommate Taya Cook Okerlund, the relationship and theological differences between the LDS and FLDS has been made plain in an enjoyable, easy-but-still-mentally-stimulating read.

Taya, a native of Hurricane (pronounced "Hurricun" for the uninitiated), drew on her own experience, extensive interviews, and investigative research to penetrate the closed, cult society of polygamist compound culture characteristic of the FLDS--a mystery even to those who live in close proximity and share some basic theology--and embedded it into a storyline that will engage any reader.

Hurricane Coltrane is a probing, light-hearted brush on a very sensitive and timely topic written in a heart-felt, captivating manner.  I would call Taya a cross between Jane Austen and Stephenie Meyer.  The character study and development were subtle yet revealing - of the author herself, of society, and of small town American and southern Utah.  At the same time, the pace of the novel was more in keeping with the age.  I didn't want to put it down, and would often read as a I helped my babe to sleep while sick or jet lagged  (thank you, Kindle for iPad).

Taya's research allowed her to compellingly speak truth to fiction.  Although targeted to a young adult audience, I thought the book ageless and timeless in its prose and depth of human understanding.  I look forward to the sequel!

On a personal and mothering note, Taya has been writing in her spare time while mothering her daughter and battling severe health challenges, which she blogs about here.   I find how she writes--both on the blog and in her novel--reflective of the depths she has reached through both challenges.


Small Wonders

* The other morning while staying in Belmont, MA, the car alarm of another co-sleeper in our friend's home went off incessantly, waking the entire home and undoubted neighbors.  We looked around in frustration for the cause or how to turn the alarm off.  After several minutes, we found that Gideon had found the car keys on the island where he was eating and gleefully was pressing the panic button over and over.  The turkey.
* We have now moved to our temporary home in New Hampshire - post pending - and thought we should teach Gideon how to say the name of our new home.  He waltzed into our new apartment and said, "Hey! New Hampshire!"  Once he had announced himself to the apartment, he leaned out the window and did the same.
* G has become quite adept at ordering french fries.  When we are at a restaurant - any restaurant (he did this to my chagrin at a nice Indian place the other day) - he will tell the server or teller "Fwench Fwies peese!" and expect them to snap to it.
* G can chew gum for hours and then hand it to us to throw away.  He never swallows it or gets it anywhere.
* Esther took her first few forward crawling strides today - grateful she waited till we were safely ensconced in a carpeted home and that Lance and I were both there to see it!  She is also standing up a bit with help and can go from lying down to sitting and back to lying down.  Recently, she has started sitting up in her sleep.  Once she is upright, she is confused and starts crying.  When she is ready to wake, I'll find her happily sitting in her sleep area, waiting for me.
* E has been pretty sick - for weeks.  She has been throwing up at random, but generally at least once in 48 hours.  Although I am desperate to get to the bottom of it, she is happy at all other times, almost instantly after throwing up.  It makes it hard for doctors to be convinced that she is ill!

One of the homes we are looking at come complete with a toy tractor and trailer - did they know we were coming?

House shopping in the woods

Baby gets a front row seat.

Wading in the Contoocook River - it's warm!


  1. Have you ever heard of EOE (Eosinophilic esophagitis)? One of the initial symptoms is consistent, repetitious vomiting, often without other accompanying symptoms. It is a fairly new disease as far as its recognition, but it may be worth looking at (and ruling out) as a potential explanation.

    Best of luck!!

  2. Hi! I hadn't, but just looked it up - I would consider it, but she's definitely gained two pounds since this all started. Keeping my fingers crossed it is as easy as food sensitivities. Have had her off gluten, corn, and all dairy besides her bottle (the formula I'm using is for lactose-sensitive babies, though) and she seems to be doing much better - time will tell. Thanks for the tip, though. I'll keep an eye out for it if this persists!