Todd Landry couldn’t have been more stereotypical. He had the perfect family with more children than the national average; a heritage replete with pioneer ancestry; and a house in Gilbert, Ariz. But nine months ago, on a night that continues to haunt his dreams, Todd’s wife died unexpectedly—and suddenly everything changed.
Now, Todd is seeing Dr. Melvin Schenk, a psychiatrist not of Todd’s faith who requires his patient to blog regularly as a way to escape crippling depression and an aversion to therapy.
“The Reluctant Blogger” is available in bookstores and on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and BooksAndThings.com.
Right after I returned home from my mission, I enrolled for the fall semester at Arizona State University.
The night before classes were to begin, I participated in a yearly rite of passage for young single Latter-day Saints everywhere. In China, it’s referred to as the matchmaking ceremony. In Tempe, Arizona, we call it the LDS Institute opening social.
The night was hot and sticky. August nights in Tempe always are. Despite waiting until dusk, the temperature was still above 100 degrees as hundreds of Mormon students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine descended on Riverview Park three miles from ASU campus.
Officially, we’d all assembled for hamburgers and ice cream, but everyone there knew the food was the undercard. This was the first opportunity to scope out the year’s new models of the opposite sex. I’ve always thought this annual convergence of hormones and hair spray would make for a perfect Discovery Channel documentary.
Commentator (British accent of course): The freshman boy is by far the most aggressive. You can see how he fearlessly attempts to flirt with the females of the herd. However, his inability to gain attention is mystifying to him. Slick lines and smooth moves that achieved great levels of success just months ago in his adolescent nesting ground no longer seem to have any effect here in the harsh, real-world environs. What he does not now understand is that he lacks the designation of having served as a missionary. Not holding this “returned missionary” status removes all interest on the part of the females in the herd. Occasionally, a female not ready for the commitment of courtship will take pity on the young male. Yet this token interest never lasts long. Cutting off affection serves to enforce the herd’s underlying message that the returned missionary designation is required for mating.