Mormon artists and membership status redux

Richard Dutcher’s Christianity Today interview has sparked a flurry of discussion on the AML List. Those interested in parsing the interview should hit the archives or sign up with the list. What I’d like to do is take up the larger discussion of whether or not membership status should matter when it comes to evaluating Mormon art. Continue reading “Mormon artists and membership status redux”

Of Prophets and Artists: A Household of Faith Or A House Divided?

In the most recent General Conference of the LDS Church Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated the following:

“Not often but over the years some sources have suggested that the Brethren are out of touch in their declarations, that they don’t know the issues, that some of their policies and practices are out-of-date, not relevant to our times.
“As the least of those who have been sustained by you to witness the guidance of this Church firsthand, I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associated with any group who are so in touch, who know so profoundly the issues facing us, who look so deeply into the old, stay so open to the new, and weigh so carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully everything in between. I testify that the grasp this body of men and women have of moral and societal issues exceeds that of any think tank or brain trust of comparable endeavor of which I know anywhere on the earth. I bear personal witness of how thoroughly good they are, of how hard they work, and how humbly they live. It is no trivial matter for this Church to declare to the world prophecy, seership, and revelation, but we do declare it. It is true light shining in a dark world, and it shines from these proceedings.”

There were many things that captured my attention during this last conference, but this statement is one that will stay with me for a long time to come. I don’t know why it is (at least not for a certainty), but there are many an intellectual, many an artist, many an actor, many a writer, (not to mention many a doctor, many a lawyer, many a housewife, many a business man, many a waiter, many a teenager, etc.) who are intent on casting accusing phrases or disparaging implications towards those who are in leadership within the LDS Church. From the Prophet to local bishops, intellectual or societal snipers aim their sites on the biggest targets available to them, for with leadership (especially courageous, outspoken leadership) always comes criticism. And many Mormon artists (being courageous and outspoken themselves) feel put upon when they feel out of sync with those who they term their leaders– when their supposed artistic expressions are disjointed from the leadership of an organization which they otherwise (hopefully) cherish.
Continue reading “Of Prophets and Artists: A Household of Faith Or A House Divided?”

Thresholds of Offense

is offended

There’s been a lot of discussion lately on the AML-List, and even on the FAIR Board, about a new film Richard Dutcher is making. Allegations about the film range from claims that it will be a fairly hard nudie/slasher flick with both graphic violence and sexuality to other reports that it will actually probably be PG-13. Continue reading “Thresholds of Offense”

The Birds of Summer

Oh no! It’s one of Patricia’s Nature posts! What, is William asleep at the keyboard? What about those other guys over there — how can they just let this happen month after month? Somebody call her to repentance and make her write something Mormon, woncha?

Heh, sorry! (But not really.) I just don’t see the diff. All those who believe love of nature to be a form of idolatry, proceed at your own risk!

Somewhere between the full ear and the red leaf, summer’s song flies south.

Several days ago I sat on the back porch talking on the phone with a friend. A young black-chinned hummingbird whirred around me, looking for the nectar my presence on the porch had often signaled during the summer. Continue reading “The Birds of Summer”

Word Storage: Creating Experience for the Future

Many of us have heard or said these words: “I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.”  Soft words, vulnerable words.  Such words whisper the necessity of those bonds that sustain us while at the same time admitting of their frailty — as far as things go here on Earth. Continue reading “Word Storage: Creating Experience for the Future”

Laughing at the Sacred, Part 1: The Problem of Reverence.

I’m a non-discriminatory laugher. By that I mean that I’ll laugh at anything I think is funny. I don’t have any ideological limitations on my sense of humor. For example, I don’t need to “agree” with the point of a joke to think it’s funny. I mean, I laughed all the way through Fahrenheit 9/11 and I thought it was all a bunch of rubbish. I’ll also laugh at things that offend me and I’ll even laugh at things I think are mean. Continue reading “Laughing at the Sacred, Part 1: The Problem of Reverence.”