Prisoner of Zion, by Scott Carrier – Review

Prisoner of Zion: Muslims, Mormons and Other MisadventuresPrisoner of Zion: Muslims, Mormons and Other Misadventures by Scott Carrier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As we hone our strategy and niche at Torrey House Press (THP), I am thinking a lot about the West, and the land, and what it means to live in such a beautiful, crazy place. Wallace Stegner spoke of the “geography of hope” and of a culture to match the scenery. Sometime I think, given the predominate culture in Utah, that THP should move to some place like Berkeley where there may be more than one progressive thinker to buy our books. Utah is amongst the reddest of states politically and as such anti-environmentalism is a required political plank for the rank and file here. My heck, as we say, we earmark $300,000 of taxpayer treasure to anti-wolf lobbyists every year even though there is not one known wolf in the entire state. What we really worry about, according to those lobbyists, is MEXICAN wolves. But we are dead last in the nation for per capita education funding. We are anti-immigration, anti-environment, anti-womens’ health, pro gun and pro war. The word Taliban often comes to mind.

So it is with a hoot of delight and recognition that I read Scott Carrier say, “It doesn’t bother me that Mormons believe God grew up as a human being on a planet circling a sun called Kolob. I’m not upset when they tell me He came to Earth in a physical body and had sex with the Virgin Mary. These beliefs, as Jefferson said, can neither pick my pocket nor break my bones.” Carrier says he does have a problem with one belief, ” . . . that Mormons are God’s chosen people and He gave this land to them. This is Zionism, and I’m against it, wherever it occurs, because it is nothing but a lie used to justify taking land and liberty from other people.” He adds that he respects the thinking of his liberal, open minded Mormon friends, as do I, and of which there are plenty, and that they are slow to judge others. Who is this guy? I’m only on page 8 and he’s got me.

Carrier goes on to examine why he loves living in Utah anyway. As do I. The next chapter starts with him examining the reason he wants to go to Afghanistan right after 9-11. “I don’t believe the news. The news is selling war and we’re buying it. We’re the richest nation on the planet and Afghanistan is the poorest nation on the planet. It’s not war, it’s a business, a trap, and we are walking right into it.” This guy is good, I think. He’s off to Afghanistan where he sees Taliban for himself. He ends up bringing a young man back as a student to Utah County. In the end, lives are changed. Mine was, just sitting in my armchair reading this book.  -Mark Bailey

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About Torrey House Press

Torrey House Press is an independent nonprofit publisher promoting environmental conservation through literature.   We believe that culture is changed through conversation and that lively contemporary literature is the cutting edge of social change. By building and engaging community in the conversation of conservation, we make our contribution to, as Wallace Stegner hoped for, a “society to match the scenery." THP books are distributed by Consortium Books Sales and Distribution, a subsidiary of The Perseus Books Group.
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5 Responses to Prisoner of Zion, by Scott Carrier – Review

  1. Sold. But then, I don’t live in Utah, so how much help is that?

  2. Scott Abbott says:

    The moment I knew this was a truly uncommon book was when Scott Carrier turned his scalpel on himself and found the will to control another person in himself as well as in the Mormons and the Muslims. It’s a brutally honest scene when he breaks his girlfriend’s cellphone and reveals that he too is a prisoner of zion.
    Here’s my first response to the book:

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