The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott - FAQ's

Commonly asked questions


about MY BOOK


Michael Oborn



Q: Describe the book in one sentence. 

A: Church historian puts life in peril when attempting to publish a lost revelation.

Q: Who is Matthew Alcott?

A: Matt Alcott’s life is over. While doing research in the bombproof archives in Little Cotton Wood Canyon just outside of Salt Lake City Matthew Alcott discovered an 1844 revelation given to Joseph Smith that no one has seen. Matt’s discovery triggered events that cost him his marriage, his job, his family, and almost his life. The only thing that makes sense is to disappear. He drives aimlessly across country using only cash. Finally broke and drunk he coasts into the small hamlet of Resurrection Corner, New York where he meets new friends, a bar owner who helps him quit drinking, and God help him Cate Lynn Sudani.

Q: How did Matt become a drunk?

A: He is excommunicated from his church. Excommunication is a social execution. You are shunned by all the people you have known and loved all your life. Over time this kind of social violence takes a toll on you. Learning to live in the real world when you have had no experience is not easy. You can hold down a job, but you still have identity issues. All the compass points have changed. Unless a person has experienced this kind of censure empathy is difficult. It is extremely stressful. Eventually Matthew found himself looking down the barrel of his father’s shotgun. That is when he discovered alcoholic beverages. In short booze saved Matthew’s life.

Q: Is Matthew naive about women?

A: No. He was down right stupid. When he leaves the church his wife, who was to be his first wife in eternity, wants a divorce. Being a male member of the church it is he who must grant the divorce. Raised in northern Utah he believed that in eternity he would have many wives and children. Women are taught their place is to support their husbands and take care of the home and the babies. Mormon women who seek careers are frowned on and are discouraged from working outside the home. Matthew’s first wife was a Mormon. When he meets Cate Lynn who is not Mormon he is completely confused.

Q: Who is Cate Lynn Sudani?

A: Cate Lynn is a resident of the small hamlet of Resurrection Corner, NY who doesn’t like the smelly drunk stranger who ambled into her town. While she is not very good with decimals and cooking dinner she has an uncanny empathic ability to see behind the masks people wear.

Q: What is The One Hump Bar?

A: It is the hub of the community where the town council meets; AA meetings are held; the best coffee in two counties is served; all secrets are exposed, all problems dealt with, and where booze and conversation flows freely.

Q: Who is James J?

A: James J Flannery, owner of The One Hump Bar, is the unofficial mayor of Resurrection Corner; Speaker at AA and NA conventions; champion of the common sense philosophers, and owner of a restored 1949 classic Harley Davidson Motorcycle with knuckle headers and ape hangers. In addition to being Matt’s sponsor in AA he is the man who made that famous statement, “There are two great religions native to American soil, the Mormon Church and the Harley-Davidson motorcycle.”

Q: With regard to this project, what accomplishment, are you happiest about? 

A: I didn’t die before I finished the damn thing. 

Q: What's the best part of being an author? 

A: On days I don't write, my friend, Megan, calls me Michael Cranky Pants. Writing is about discovering things inside we didn't know were there. It's liberating and pulls at us. I'm an addict.

Q: What's the hardest thing about writing?

A: There are many things. One that I feel is important is being aware of the images we project of ourselves in contrast to the self-pictures we hold of ourselves. We humans become adept at masking our inner selves from others. As a writer I think it is important to keep this in mind.

Q: What did you learn writing this story?

A:  It was impossible to write this story without the subordination of women coming into play. I knew there would be subplots I didn’t know what they would be when I started. So when the servitude of women kept surfacing over and over I just let it play out. (What we do not seem capable of realizing is that men will never be whole until our partner in life is of equal relevance in life.

Q: Why have women allowed the inequality to exist for so long?

A: Don’t know. History looks like this. The first woman gained a seat in congress in 1917. This means a congress of, for, and by men designed a nation of, for, and by men. In 2013 there were 101 women in congress. When there are 220 women in the House and 50 in the Senate our constitution will be safer because finally the people will be equally represented.

Q: Where did the idea for the story come from?

A: The human mind looks for patterns. Things fall into place. Not all at once. You read about people and events and they start to fit into interesting little slots in your head. A Mormon scholar named Michael Quinn was working in the historical records of the church. When he commenced publishing his research the church fathers did not think it appropriate for the membership, the faithful. They excommunicated him. Quinn did not wish to be excommunicated. It is a violent experience. Another man Roger Anderson wrote a book, The Faith that Failed: A Biblical Examination of Mormonism. This book had been printed and was ready to hit the shelves when Roger was suddenly cut off from all communication with the publisher. Eventually Roger sued and won. He never found out what happened to the hard copies, the books themselves. They disappeared. 

Q: You make the statement that people think they know what Mormonism is about, but nothing could be further from the truth. What do you mean?

A: Non-Mormons and actually most Mormons are unaware of the real meaning and consequences of Mormon beliefs. I don't want to give away the plot, but I can mention a few things. Subordination of women. It's the underlying motivations, the behavioral cause and effect of and from those beliefs, that is disturbing. Mormonism started as a small religious community practicing polygamy in the mountain regions of Utah. Today it is one of the largest religious denominations in America. After Catholicism it's the largest sect in ten US States. A continuously revolving missionary system guarantees its growth. Today a different pattern is evolving. The Church is hemorrhaging members.

Q: What is the Quorum of the Council of Fifty?

A: In 1843 Joseph Smith was conferred with the title, King over Israel and destined to become the next President of the United States by a secret brotherhood of High Priests known as The Quorum of The Council of Fifty. This quorum was designed by Smith to govern the world during the millennium, which would follow Christ’s return. It is comprised, of the fifty wealthiest men holding the Melchizedek priesthood in the Church

Q: I’m told you were once a Mormon Missionary. 

A: Kudos. Did your homework. The two year Mormon Mission is a Right of passage for Mormon boys. As I look back it was a great experience and taught me much of what I needed to write this story, perseverance not being the least. 

Q: What is the strangest experience you have had when doing author readings in homes and public libraries? 

A: People’s reactions. I did and author reading in home of a friend. After a non-Mormon said, “I find what you said about Mormons hard to believe.” Another person, an ex-Mormon lady, gave me a monster hug and said, “I didn’t know anyone could make it understandable.”

All of the above is telling about the story. My book shows the story.