Mutant Message Down Under

I don’t mind lending books to people, but I do expect them to be returned. A friend from work once lost one of my books and was a gentleman when he bought me a new copy to replace it. (Thanks, Ross.) My mom couldn’t remember when I lent her the book, Mutant Message Down Under, to read when she went with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on their tour. I was sure it was a great book and she would love reading it. But the book disappeared and she didn’t remember me handing it to her, even though I could tell her which room we were standing in. One day, at least a year later, the book suddenly appeared on the couch in her bedroom. As much as I wanted her to read the book, I decided to take it back. It is now on MY bookshelf again.

Bella told me about this book while we were waiting in port to board our cruise ship. I had brought one book with me (America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It) and a day and a half into our 5-day cruise, I had finished it. I asked Bella about her book and she lent it to me. She gave me a brief background, something along the lines of, “The author self-published it and was eventually forced to publish it as fiction because she couldn’t PROVE that it had happened.” After a little internet searching today, I found that Bella was somewhat correct. Marlo Morgan sold 370,000 copies with her self-published book. When she published it with HarperCollins, she called it a work of fiction to protect the identities of her Aboriginal guides and conceal the sacred locations she had traveled to.

Morgan’s spiritual journey has created a lot of controversy because of her choice to not prove the authenticity of her story and still insist that it was factual. Some have assumed this has been a PR stunt, others agree with her claim to protect the anonymity of others. Although I am still fairly skeptical, I tend to lean towards the later because of my Mormon faith–some of her claims can only be explained, in my opinion, through some of the religious doctrine I have studied. But even if you read the book as a work of fiction, it provides a mythical adventure that gets the reader to think about the priorities and the direction of our western culture.

Due to the controversial nature of this book, their are ample reviews out there that cover both sides of the argument. (Here’s a good one.) Because of that, I won’t go into it, but instead, suggest the book as an interesting read. It’s a good book if you liked The Alchemist, Wherever You Go There You Are, and The Four Agreements. And I liked it because I could take my religious beliefs and apply them to interpreting the messages within the text.

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