The opportunity for Mormon fiction writers

It’s simple:

Drawing on Mormon elements to make things interesting, exciting for a national audience is the easiest opportunity and one worth doing.

Speaking to the mass American Mormon audience and mirroring their concerns and values is another opportunity. It’s less interesting to me, but it has its place.

Critiquing Mormon-American culture and the LDS Church from a place of disaffected Mormonism is another opportunity. It’s less interesting to me, but it has its place.

Providing realistic but faithful portrayals of the daily lives of Mormons is another opportunity — and one of my favorites.

But none of those truly leverage the simple fact that many American Mormons are well-positioned (because of assimilation; because of our dual citizenship) to critique the various main streams of American culture in a non-reductive, original, LDS-infused way. This is not done very often. It is very interesting to me.

4 thoughts on “The opportunity for Mormon fiction writers”

  1. The first example that came to mind is James Goldberg’s Singer and Saint: An Interview with Jeevan Sidhu, which interrogates American notions of authenticity, which we tend to assign to other cultures but in a very stereotypical way but then we don’t want to see that authenticity tampered with even as our own cultural production (material and artistic) colonizes other cultures.

    I’m thinking, in particular, of this line: “I came to understand the emotional world of the ghazal much better when I broke tradition and joined the Church.”

    To me that line devastates both culturally conservative and triumphalist Americanism and identarian, multi-culti, lukewarm-to-cold-feelings-about-missionary-work liberal Americanism.

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