Mother’s plan for Jean-Pierre’s life had not gone well. At a certain stage in her spiritual odyssey, she had decided that her beloved son would do well as a Presbyterian pastor. He’d balked at the idea, insisting that he was on his own quest. This, he said, had started while he was preparing for the rite of confirmation featured in that version of Christianity. He had shared with me the secrets that he’d spent short stints as a Buddhist monk, a Taoist, a late-to-the-game Hare Krishna, an unwholesome mix of American cults, an adherent of several of the apocalyptic sects that periodically raise their horrid heads, and a Muslim—peace-loving, he insisted. And these were only the ones he’d told me about. In our last pre-Summum conversation, he’d confided that his current goal was to become a Hindu guru meditating in a mountaintop cave while, I supposed, muttering sacred words and enjoying the view.
But Mother was not one to be deterred. Though neither she nor Father knew the extent of Jean-Pierre’s spiritual odyssey, they knew he was perpetually numbered among the unemployed. This did not go down smoothly with Father, who, despite Mother’s pleadings, abruptly cut his younger son’s financial strings. Jean-Pierre’s conversion to a Utah cult, he raged as he paced the house, was the tipping point.