Science, Art, and Spirit at the Bluff Arts Festival, Part One

On Saturday, November 29, I participated in activities at the Bluff Arts Festival in Bluff, Utah.  This little town of just a few hundred people really knows how to throw a party.  I took my eighteen-year-old son, an aspiring writer, to this celebration of the arts, sciences, and the human spirit, and having him with me deepened my pleasure in the event immensely.  He’s already a part of the unusual Bluff community via his participation in a Shorinji Kempo class held there weekly, but this was his first experience with a writing workshop and open mic reading. Continue reading “Science, Art, and Spirit at the Bluff Arts Festival, Part One”

Mr. Buber’s Cat

Warning: Philosophical flight ahead, soaring high into the ether, bearing little or no entertainment value and no direct references to Mormonism, the election, or Prop 8.  Just so you know.

These fall mornings, to get blood going to my brain, I walk out into the desert near my house.  A few days ago I went up onto a nearby ATV route that beats a bare path south.  This I followed a short distance, heading to a spot having clear views east to Sleeping Ute Mountain in Colorado, southeast to Shiprock in New Mexico, and south-southeast to the Carrizo Mountains in Arizona.

Continue reading “Mr. Buber’s Cat”

The Tragic Tell of Mormon Morality, Part IV

This is the fourth post in a five or six part series that explores the ethics of Latter-day Saint literature and criticism. In part three, “The (In)Convenience of Mormon Letters”, I briefly examine a New Testament narrative–Satan’s temptations of Christ–first of all, to underscore the dangers a consumer-based outlook on Mormon theology poses to Mormon culture and on the essential relationship between self and other, individual and community, and, second, to suggest a way to transcend this paradox, namely by inconveniently pushing at the boundaries of established or misinterpreted cultural conventions (of action, knowledge, language, etc.) and thus expanding the limits of personal and communal understanding and potential.

As I conclude, “This vision of doctrinal expansion and spiritual cooperation as acts of theological creativity ties very closely to Mormonism’s cultural and artistic development because the depth and breadth of our theological and experiential perspective and the vigor with which we explore, express, and develop it in our lives, our writing, and our reading (often an unconscious act) determines the vitality and the efficacy of our community’s literary testimony. Because of my belief in this vision, I sense that Mormon literature and criticism haven’t yet grown past the awkwardness of adolescence into a full and necessary articulation of their essential greatness, a mature literary and critical character founded in Mormonism’s theological complexity and prophesied, promised, and hoped for by LDS prophets, seers, writers, and critics alike.”

IV. Maintaining Rhetorical Balance

Karl Keller insists that Mormon culture’s literary immaturity arises from three distinct delusions, conventions we cling to that keep us from fully experiencing words and with which we have historically “denied ourselves a literature.”1 Continue reading “The Tragic Tell of Mormon Morality, Part IV”

On the Internet is the Word

Book cover of
Book cover via Amazon

Like all things involving texts of some kind or another, the Internet has become a force in the most basic of language tools, the dictionary. Even Mormon use of language has spawned a number of glossaries, dictionaries, lists of terms and jargon, etc., all in an attempt to either further understanding or poke fun. But none of the attempts at a Mormon lexicon have tried to be comprehensive and serious. So I set up Mormon Terms.

Continue reading “On the Internet is the Word”