The Gospel of Bethany is charged with spiritual and erotic themes that delve deep into how God and religion are experienced by strong and enigmatic women.
KINDLE & PAPER BACK
“Have I told you who I’m named after?”
“No, I don’t believe you have.”
“Are you ready for this?”
Jude wondered why he needed to be ready for something like this, but he answered with the tone of someone who fully understood that something important was at stake here.
“Yes… yes, I am.”
“I was named after Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young. Diantha was her middle name. Huntington was her maiden name. Jacobs was the surname of her first husband, Henry. Her second husband was Joseph, and after Joseph was martyred, she was married to Brigham Young. But you see, she was never divorced from Henry. She was married to Henry and Joseph, then to Henry and Brigham.”
“You mean she was Joseph’s second wife even though she was still married.”
“No, I don’t mean that at all.”
There was an awkward silence. It was clear that Jude here had not described this properly.
“What I mean is Joseph was her second husband, even though she was still married to her first.”
More awkward silence.
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
“No. You see polygyny, I see polyandry. I see a woman who is married to more than one man in nineteenth century America. And what I like most about this is that she and Henry continued to be very close, and even had children.”
“Yes, I guess I do see the difference.”
“Yes, it’s where you choose to place the focus.”
“Well, everyone is focused on Joseph, but I think Zina was way ahead of Joseph here. Joseph was a prophet for his age. Zina was a prophetess for a future generation, perhaps for ours.”
“In what sense?”
“Well, Joseph had this thing where he would have women sealed to him, either in time or for eternity, or for both. No one really knows how many were sealed to him. Perhaps thirty, perhaps more. I always wondered when the moment will arrive for a woman to do this. Would you like to be sealed to me?”
“I’m not really sure what that means.”
“Lower your head.”
“By virtue of the holy priesthood and the authority vested in me, I pronounce you, Jude Marsini, mine for time and for all eternity; and I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection, with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed in glory, immortality, and eternal life.”
Jude felt a sudden warm flash. He reached to Zina’s hand as though he was afraid that he was about to fall.
“Close your eyes.”
Again, Jude complied. Her lips touched his almost instantly. The kiss lasted a few seconds, but she moved down, kissing him over his shirt until she reached his waist. He felt her unbuckle his belt and pull down his pants and boxers; the Calvin Klein boxers he became attached to ever since he came across a large billboard in Princeton, the Calvin Klein boxers he had so far never removed in the presence of another man or woman. Jude was a virgin, a fact he didn’t enjoy thinking about. Until her hands touched his skin, he had not realized he was fully erect. In fact, he didn’t fully realize this until her lips made contact with him. First, she kissed gently. No one had ever done this to him, and never had he allowed such an image to cross his mind. He felt both of her hands on his lower back, and then he felt her take him in fully inside her mouth. His body jerked, and he came instantly. Her lips tightened around him. Everything that flowed out of him remained inside of her. She waited until the tension in his body eased, then she raised herself towards him. The first thing she noticed were his eyes, they were wet with tears.