Nineteen-year-old Bill Shunn is a man on a mission--a Mormon mission, that is, trolling for converts door-to-door a thousand miles from home. This riveting memoir--by turns hilarious, provocative, and thrilling--traces his accidental journey from that humble beginning to hunted fugitive and international terrorist.
A seventh-generation Mormon, steeped since birth in the gospel according to Joseph Smith, Shunn yearns to lose himself in the solace of sincere belief. But with his few close friendships, his dreams of writing, and his very life on hold, he can't help resenting the imposition of missionary service and the monastic lifestyle it demands.
When conflicts with his fellow "elders" spur him to an ill-fated flight for freedom, the stage is set for the ultimate showdown between obedience and agency. Like the charismatic prophet Smith--whose own incredible story casts eerie echoes through Shunn's--the young missionary will brave arrest and incarceration in a desperate bid to prove his worthiness, not just to those around him but to himself.
Now, with hard-won wisdom and compassion for his younger self, Shunn recounts the harrowing pilgrimage--rife with good intentions, noble ideals, and deep-seated insecurities--that pushed him to places stranger than any fiction. A gripping chronicle of slow-motion disaster that unfolds with the inevitability of Greek tragedy, The Accidental Terrorist is also a testament to individual triumph in the face of overwhelming authority.