Chapters 30-31 Summary
Jubal is troubled by the life Mike and Jill are living. While they frequently come home, they do not stay long. Mike joined the Union Theological Seminary but was attacked by theologians as well as atheists. He joined the army as “Private Mike” but lasted only three weeks. On his last day on the parade ground, Mike caused the commanding general and his staff to be buried hip deep in horse manure. Jubal regrets that Mike has acquired a sense of humor.
Their latest venture has caused Jubal the most concern. Mike has become “The Reverend Doctor Valentine M. Smith,” founder and pastor of the Church of all Worlds. Ben Caxton arrives, and Jubal shows him the home's latest additions, including a galley for his statuary. Ben thinks most of the sculptures are hideous, but he is impressed by the sculpture and the inherent symbolism of the Little Mermaid—not quite fish, not quite human.
Jubal tells Ben that Dorcas is marrying Mahmoud. The other two girls are pregnant. Duke the mechanic has left, leaving only Larry the gardener, but Jubal dismisses them as the prospective fathers. He says the girls are too smug, so the father must of course be Mike. Ben gives Jubal some details about Mike’s church, from where he has just come. Mike is primarily teaching the attendees the Martian language. Ben mentions that Patty, the tattooed lady, is there as well.
Ben is perplexed by Mike’s home, which he shares with twenty of his followers. He meets Patty, who is not wearing clothes. She invites him to shed his as well, but he resists. Soon, he feels comfortable enough to strip down to his underwear, but his inhibitions prevent his taking off more. He learns the setup of the house, which is a type of Martian communism. A bowl of money is by the door for anyone to take as they leave the house. Ben catches the end of a church service, a service in which Jill is the personification of Mother Eve, complete with a snake that belongs to Patty. Jill tells him of the peace and equality of Mike’s church. She and Dawn Ardent are the high priestesses. Mike changed their appearances so that they look remarkably similar. Ben becomes more comfortable with the setting and eventually makes love with Dawn as a ceremony of “grokking” another water brother.