A moat can work to keep bad guys out of one's sanctuary, but it can also act like a prison, trapping good people inside, and the stench from its fetid waters can often prove unbearable. In these tales of the trapped faithful, a woman is shunned when a hacker fakes her apostasy from the Mormon Church. A young missionary can't get permission to see a doctor about the lump on his testicle until he can convince his mission president he isn't masturbating. A lesbian couple wonder if their desperate financial situation is a punishment from God. A disillusioned man tries to train himself to stop praying. A teenage girl impersonates her brother so she can perform baptisms for the dead in the temple. Two gay missionaries in Italy fall in love. The stories in this collection show that while fences may be good at keeping people out who want to come in, they are also quite effective at keeping people in who want to get out.
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About the Author
Johnny Townsend earned an MFA in fiction writing from Louisiana State University. He has published stories and essays in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Humanist, The Progressive, Glimmer Train, and in many other publications. His collections of unorthodox Mormon short stories have been named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. He has written one non-fiction book, an account of the arson at the UpStairs Lounge, where 32 people died in a French Quarter gay bar on Gay Pride Day in 1973. He is also an associate producer for the documentary “Upstairs Inferno.”