Proselyting for Mormon Literature

I was over at Amazon.com the other day, trying to figure out someplace to post about my book in the Mormon community. I mean, I was able to find a couple of places to post in the Gay etc. community. Surely there ought to be a place to post in the Mormon community.

Except, not. Oh, sure, there’s a lot of activity over there, but it all really seems to amount to people screaming at each other about whether LDS doctrines and practices are justified. Which, okay, fine, if that’s your thing. Except that it’s really not mine — the whole virtual-shouting-at-people thing, I mean — and, hello? I think of Amazon.com as an online bookstore, not an online debating club. So how about some talk about books here, people?

So I decided to start my own thread about Mormon literature. My post started as follows:

I find it interesting — but somewhat frustrating — that this whole “community” seems focused on Mormon doctrine and practice. So I’d like to propose a thread that is NOT dedicated either to attacking Mormonism’s so-called errors or to witnessing for the LDS faith, but rather simply to talking about Mormon literature, and particularly GOOD Mormon literature.

And then I talked about the good stuff that’s out there in Mormon literature, and posted links to the Whitney Awards and the Association for Mormon Letters and A Motley Vision. I concluded with the following

Please feel free to chime in with book recommendations, website recommendations, or other thoughts about Mormon literature in general!

That was on Tuesday morning. As of right now (Wednesday evening) there have been two more posts. One was even about Mormon literature! So cool.

See, it’s an experiment. And it’s an effort at outreach on my part. Just a month or two ago, I was claiming on the Association for Mormon Letters website that the big challenge in Mormon letters was simply letting people know that Mormon literature exists — outside the rather small existing LDS literary community. (Though of course we make up in quality for what we lack in quantity.)

So it’s out there. Don’t know if it’ll go anywhere, but I’ve done my bit. Anyone else have some Mormon lit missionary stories they’d like to tell?

8 thoughts on “Proselyting for Mormon Literature”

  1. .

    I gave a lecture on Mormon fiction at the Berkeley Institute a few months ago which led to people writing down phrases like “Long After Dark” and “Bound on Earth” and “Survival Rates”; what happened from there I can’t say for sure. I’ve also founds some converts in my ward.

    Like witnessing about faith, witnessing about lit works best when it’s truly part of your life and thus becomes a natural part of every conversation.

  2. A very interesting experiment, Jonathan. There’s been another book recommendation already. Of course, it’s not Mormon lit. It’s Fawn Brodie’s Joseph Smith bio.

  3. I was never an English major, and I never clued in that there was such a focus as “Mormon literature” until a year or so ago. I just figured LDS writers wrote for Deseret Book for LDS readers who wanted clean stuff to read on occasion. I’m certainly a novice at the whole concept, and as long as folks don’t get too academic, I can follow along. I’d love to learn more.

  4. I should probably add that I’d encourage any and all of you to post something over at the discussion I started, if you have an Amazon.com account. I’m hoping that (a) activity will make the thread look hot, attracting more readers, and (b) if we can get more posts about actual Mormon literature, it may drown out or head off attempts to steer this thread into Mormon history and/or doctrine. (As William notes, the latest post was a recommendation of Brodie. I would counter with a recommendation of Bushman, but I really, really don’t want the thread to get diverted into Mormon history titles. So someone, please post something — anything! — about Mormon literature!)

  5. There. I went an’ dun did my part.

    There are way too many people salivating to jump on any excuse to push an anti-Mormon agenda. Had enough of it in my life, thanks.

    I don’t know why people spend their energy taking on a cause of anti-anything (*koffselfpublishingkoff*) when they could be doing something proactive. What, like the followers of whatever philosophy are going to be swayed by the trashing of it?

    That puzzles the dickens out of me.

    Rant over. Carry on.

  6. Thanks Moriah.

    I don’t understand it either. I remember years ago concluding that most of those who take a confrontational stance in public debates aren’t really talking to their opponents — they’re talking to those who already agree with them. And a lot of times I think that’s the case. In the case of online flame wars, though, there seems to be an almost obsessive focus on the opponent who flames you back. It’s like some kind of dance of mutual verbal destruction. (Not that this has shown up on the Mormon Lit discussion yet — and I hope it won’t.)

    Which gives me the beginnings of an idea for a story. A flame war, cast as a kind of sick variation of an online love affair. (Which ties in to another recent thread here: no, it doesn’t have to involve sex in order to be an affair…)

  7. NP, just saying I may be of no help in the future.

    I don’t mind confrontation in threads (heh). I don’t even mind flame wars.

    What I MIND are people going OUT OF THEIR WAY and SEEKING people they consider their enemies on a CONSTANT BASIS to tear them/it/whatever down. Who has that kind of energy? Not me. I get bored with it all and– Oooh, shiny…

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