My first exposure to Elliott Smith was on my mission, from an extremely music-savvy companion who just happened to have a copy of From a Basement on the Hill (I’ll refrain from relating his name, just in case our mission president is reading). I loved the album, but when I got home and read more about Elliott Smith, his story was just too painful for me to get into much of his other work, especially when combined with my inevitable post-mission blues.
Over the weekend, though, I caught a sentence on his Wikipedia page that piqued my interest, and I went on to read a section from his biography. In Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing by Benjamin Nugent, the author mentions that Elliott Smith spent a number of years in his early childhood in the RLDS church (now the Community of Christ). His mother, Bunny, married his stepfather, Charles Welch, in 1973, when Elliott (then Steven) was almost four years old, and the wedding was officiated by an elder of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is unclear how long he and his family attended that church, but by middle school he was instead attending a Methodist church. Quite a bit of the angst in Smith’s upbringing came from a troubled relationship with his stepfather Charles, and later in his life, Smith came to believe that Charles had sexually abused him at some point. Continue reading “Elliott Smith and the Community of Christ”