Baptizing the dead



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Baptizing the Dead is a collection of creative nonfiction essays. At the heart of the collection are two events: the drowning of four people in a cave on Y Mountain in 2006, and the suicide of Stephen Krommenhoek. However, not all of the essays are about these events directly. Each essay was written to stand alone, in a distinctive form that developed from the content. However, though the form varies from essay to essay, taken together, the book is a coming-of-age story about growing up in Pleasant Grove, Utah. My project is unique in that I adopt the perspective of a simultaneous insider and outsider—someone with enough distance to see the region from the outside, yet without having fully separated from Utah’s religious culture. This perspective allows me access to the rich nomenclature and culture of Mormonism, without the burden of having to be overly defensive or explanatory. Furthermore, this perspective gives me the flexibility to explore the peculiar geography and culture in the state of Utah, but not with an interest in faith-affirming narrative or local color so much as local humanity as influenced by social, cultural, and geographical setting.

This dissertation won 1st Place in the Texas Tech University Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Award, Humanities/Fine Arts, 2015.

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Nonfiction Essays