When Benton Sage returns from his mission to Ethiopia, he doesn't exactly get a welcome party. In fact, his family is pretty cold about his homecoming, and Reverend Hughes says that they won't be sending him on any more missions soon.
This is pretty bad news for Benton since he is terrified of
disappointing his father, who's got some serious religious fervor.
Benton's let his dad down twice before: He tripped up during
a scriptural reading at church when he was ten, and he invited a girl named
Susie—who was a harlot for having previous boyfriends—to the homecoming dance when
he was sixteen.
Benton ended up not going to homecoming and his dad told him
that he was proud of him, which was all that Benton had ever wanted in life.
But now he's disappointed his father again, and no one in
his family will talk to him since it's clear that he's failed in his calling as
a missionary. Way harsh.