The MTC: Set Apart

The MTC: Set Apart
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The MTC: Set Apart
Author Benson Y. Parkinson
Murray, Utah: Aspen Books, 1995

The MTC: Set Apart

Reviewer Robert M. Hogge

This engaging novel of missionary life at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo is written for a faithful, educated IDS audience. Parkinson's purpose is to describe missionary life both realistically and artistically through the actions, conversations, and reminiscences of four elders at the MTC: Harvey Wilberg, a bumbling but good-natured teller of childish jokes, an Iowan with a childlike heart; Cordell (Corry) Anthon, an athlete from Salt Lake City, a natural leader with the power to draw people to him or push them away; Malan Rignell, a quietly witty peacemaker from a ranch in New Mexico, clumsy in company but a calming center for others; and Phil Jeppsen, an Australian convert of one year, a scholar and thinker, one who has a great love for the rigors of the MTC but shies away from interacting with others. These four elders have been set apart for their missions. But will they be able to come together at the MTC? With a tone of gentle parody, Parkinson makes fun of his missionaries, who often do not see clearly (one nearly leaves the MTC; another is almost sent home), but he doesn't condemn them. The novel assumes an audience that appreciates rich language, symbolism (a compelling discourse about the Provo Temple on Independence Day), and allusion (a subtle retelling of the stories of Jonah, Corianton, and Jacob). The novel demands a sequel, and Parkinson is at work on it now, the second in a planned trilogy describing the whole mission experience.

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