Fannie Flagg’s Heavenly Mother


To the best of my meager knowledge (and please prove me wrong in the comments), very little Mormon literature has engaged with a Heavenly Mother character. Examples exist of course, but much like our in-church discourse, she doesn’t get to be very interesting in her occasional cameo.

On a series of roadtrips this week, my wife and I listened to Fannie Flagg’s Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven on cd. Flagg’s an engaging reader and her town of characters is an explosive, joyous mess of personalities and relationships only slightly better organized than real life.

The action follows Mrs Elner Shimfissle as she dies and goes to heaven simultaneous to her family’s and friends’ shock and sadness.

Her predeceased sister takes her to meet the goddess character who appears to Elner in the form of an old friend, Dorothy. Which confuses Elner, until Dorothy explains:

“No, the Dorothy Smith that you knew was the real Dorothy Smith. I’m just speaking to you in her likeness, sort of a look-alike. We always like to use a familiar form, one you would feel comfortable with: we certainly don’t want to scare anybody. You’re not scared, are you?” *

Elner is not, just confused; but even that can be remedied by the homebaked cake Dorothy has in the oven. Continue reading “Fannie Flagg’s Heavenly Mother”