Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: Who's at the Door: A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries by Dan Harrington

Today, my friends, you are in for a treat. I'm delighted to share with you the new book, Who's at the Door: A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries by Dan Harrington. Before you roll your eyes and think, "conversion story" and switch to check out another blog - let me tell you, there is no baptism. Dan Harrington is a man who finds comfort and peace in attending mass at his local Catholic church. 

So why did a member of the Catholic church write a book about meeting the LDS missionaries?

Aha! Right there is the question that makes you want to keep reading and find out more about this book.


I'm going to be honest with you and tell you right up front that Who's at the Door was a heartwarming, funny, and insightful book that I totally loved. Here's some more info from the back cover blurb (then I'll get into my review!):


"Can you tell me what a prophet is?"

The question came from one of the two young men sitting on my clay colored sofa. Dressed in white shirts, black slacks, and conservative ties, they were easy to identify even without the name tags--Mormons. 

Right now, thousands of people across the world are meeting with the more than 50,000 Latter-day Saint missionaries. You've seen these young "elders" on the streets, in your neighborhood, and even outside your home. But have you ever wondered who they are? Dan Harrington did.

Who's at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries is one man's experience with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Maine. Not just another tale of conversion, this book is about seeing life from a new perspective, gaining respect for another faith, and finding friends in unlikely places. Find out who's at the door and what can happen when you open it.

My Review

So, you already know I loved this book. Now I'm going to tell you why. It isn't just because it's heartwarming, or that I laughed along with him as I remembered my own questions when I met with the missionaries. No, it's because of this one simple truth Dan learned from his Catholic priest. 

When Dan went to his church to search for answers, he talked to his priest and told him he was learning about the LDS church. And his priest gave such a wise and loving answer I wish more people understood and embraced. He said:

There's room for everyone at God's table.


I absolutely 100% agree with this wise Catholic priest. Dan also goes on to make a good point. Most people are not theologians. When they are searching for a church, they want to find somewhere they feel loved, comforted, and welcome. They also want to be able to embrace the teachings of the church, but some of the first impressions they have of if a particular congregation will fit or not, is how welcome and friendly the members are.

Many of my dear friends - and almost all of my family - are not members of my church. They have all at one point or another during their lives gone searching for a new church congregation. Just this past year, two of my girlfriends and their family's went "church hopping" (their words, not mine) until they found a new congregation where their children actually wanted to attend. Their new congregation makes them happy because they've met new friends, really enjoy their pastor, and most of all - their daughters are excited to attend Sunday School. 

Something that I enjoy about living in Kansas is that while my friends belong to many different churches - each of which have some different beliefs or traditions - but that we all love God and embrace each other for our love and devotion to our Heavenly Father. We don't put labels on each other. Instead, we love and respect each other. 


And that is something Dan Harrington shows so well in Who's at the Door. He shows that there's more than just a suit, tie, and name tag to those two young men knocking on your door. They are real people who share similar growing up experiences as you and your children. The difference is that you're meeting them during a time when they have chosen to take a two year break from college to serve a mission for their church - to teach people that they are beloved children of God.


Dan also talks about how his appreciation of God and his gospel grew from taking his life-long teachings from the Catholic church, and the teachings from the LDS church. He gained a new perspective on his life and purpose on Earth, and even though he chose not to join the LDS church, he has made life-long friends with all the different missionaries he met with and members of the local LDS congregation. 


Who's at the Door is an excellent example of looking past the names on the signs in front of your local churches and instead respecting and supporting each other. I will always remember that wise phrase: There's room for everyone at God's table.

Learn more about Dan Harrington at his blog
Who's at the Door: A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


 

5 comments:

Renae W. Mackley said...

A life lesson told as a story--sounds great. Thanks for introducing me to the book.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

sounds like an absolutely excellent book! thanks for sharing!

Rebecca Talley said...

I just finished it and will be reviewing it as well. I loved his candor and honesty. Great review!

kbrebes said...

Wonderful!

Dan said...

Danyelle, thank you for the wonderful review, and I'm even happier that the words of the priest resonated with you.

Having friends of various faiths can be challenging at times, but it helps to know that we all want the same things and have the same hope in the same God.

Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.