Utah’s Favorite Scrooge: Richard Wilkins Passes Into God’s Glory

Photo by Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700209340/Despite-living-in-Qatar-Richard-Wilkins-committed-to-role-as-Scrooge.html?pg=all

Richard Wilkins, who played Scrooge for 29 years at the Hale Centre Theatre in Utah, and a dedicated member of not only the theatre community in the state, but also a valiant member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has passed away. The details are reported in the Salt Lake Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/entertainment2/55356433-223/wilkins-family-law-legal.html.csp?page=2

I was friends with Richard Wilkins, as well as most of the members of his family. His daughter Claire and I were especially good friends (we went to Senior Dinner Dance together and she was a great, supportive friend to me). I met his family because Richard and his wife Melany cast me in a play at the Hale Center Theater when I was in Jr. High and I can look back at that moment as a great source continual blessings since then.

I will write a more personal tribute later, but I just wanted to take a moment now to recognize this tremendous figure in the Utah Theatre Community. Richard was a beautiful human being who I loved. My heart and prayers go with his family, who I also love.

David M. Clark remembers Richard Cracroft

David M. Clark, author of The Death of a Disco Dancer remembers Richard Cracroft and recommends a couples of Cracroft’s essays.

Wm writes: David M. Clark, who you may know as the author of The Death of a Disco Dancer, emailed me the following tribute to Richard Cracroft. I’m pleased to be able to bring it to you.

With great sadness, I learned of the passing of Richard Cracroft, the great BYU English professor and the beating heart and soul of Mormon literary criticism.

Dr. Cracroft was intelligent, jovial, irrepressibly optimistic and exceedingly generous. Not all great scholars are great teachers, but he was known and beloved as both. He was, in my mind, the consummate BYU professor – scholarly, accomplished, unpretentious, open-minded yet fully committed, fully believing, an unapologetic disciple.

I was one of the lucky students that got to know him reasonably well. Not only was I fortunate to take a few of his classes but I was also fortunate enough to be an American Studies major when he was running our fledgling little program. His love of literature, particularly literature of the American West (Twain, Cather, Stegner et al.) was infectious. He loved the humanism of Stegner and Cather and the humor of Mark Twain (summed up he said by the incongruity inherent by the collision of Eastern values with the hard realities of the Frontier — akin to a “belch in the parlor”). He always (always) accentuated the positive. I learned from him that the Mormon experience, even the experience of a middle-class, suburban, know-nothing Mormon punk like me was relevant and maybe even compelling. Continue reading “David M. Clark remembers Richard Cracroft”

The Brilliance of the Gilgal Garden

Entrance to the Gilgal Garden

Last week, I visited the Gilgal Garden (749 East 500 South, Salt Lake City) for the first time, and I came away impressed and surprised. I knew quite a bit about the garden before my visit, from articles online and the initial campaign to preserve the garden in 1997. Still, the garden far exceeded my expectations, leaving me awestruck by the audacity of Child’s attempt to literally imprint in stone a personal expression of faith and”¦

“create a sanctuary or atmosphere in my yard that will shut out fear and keep one’s mind young and alert to the last”¦”

Continue reading “The Brilliance of the Gilgal Garden”

Building Zion Theatre Company

Zion Theatre Company Logo Zion Theatre Company. It’s been a singular focus for me lately, a near obsession. I’ve been working exceptionally hard to get this theatre company I started last January into full throttle. My summer hours are being poured to get the foundation layed, so that things will run smoothly once my time becomes more limited in the Fall. Why do I do this?

Obtaining theatre spaces to perform on, creating posters and ads, looking into liability insurance, organizing the on the ground producers in Utah, obtaining rights to scripts, looking for affordable ad space, sending personal (and probably annoying) fund raising letters to close friends and family, soliciting directors and designers and cast members, trying to sell videos to gain more capital, working the Facebook groups, attaching links… and that’s just on my end. I have producers, directors, playwrights, videographers, web designers and others who have been clocking in a lot of hours to get this group on its feet.Why do I do this?

The timing is pretty awful. I’m going to grad school  this Fall at Arizona State University. I live in Arizona while the shows I’ll be producing are in Utah.  I have a 9 month year old daughter, a 5 year old son with sensory processing disorder who’s starting kindergarten, and a very patient, supportive wife whose patience and support are being taxed, I’m sure. Why do I do this?

“>Farewell to Eden Trailer on You Tube

Why do I do this? Because it has been my dream to open a religiously and morally focused theatre company since early high school. Because, to paraphrase Eric Samuelsen, every Mormon Shakespeare needs a Mormon Globe. Because I love it. And because I believe not only is it what I want to do, but what I’m supposed to do. Because, if we do it right, I believe with all my heart it can be successful.  And  because we’ve had some wonderful doors opening for us lately which have seemed more than a little providential. Continue reading “Building Zion Theatre Company”

Weekend (Re)Visitor: Arnold Friberg


Arnold Friberg’s passing this week is cause to reexamine him. His work has been a victim of backlash lately from the High Minded. (I suspect because of the massive influence his Book of Mormon paintings have had on depictions of the book’s characters, particularly of Lehi’s family. It’s simply understood now that, for instance, Nephi wears leather over one shoulder, Lehi has a long white beard, Laman and Lemuel are physically brutish. His influence has so overwhelmed Book of Mormon art that sometimes people seem to forget that his work is not The One True Depiction.) Continue reading “Weekend (Re)Visitor: Arnold Friberg”

Happy Birthday, Mormon Fiction

The first work of Mormon fiction was published 165 years ago today, on the front page of the New York Herald, so if Mormon fiction has a birthday, it is today.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Mormon Fiction”

The state of AMV at 5

A Motley Vision launched as a solo blog on June 2, 2004. It was born out of two key events:

1. Clark Goble introducing me to Times & Seasons in late January/early February of 2004.

2. The AML-List crashing in March of 2004 and me not finding out that there was a new version of the list up and running for several weeks.

The odd thing is that I had been aware of blogs since Instapundit first spun out of Slate’s Fray (mainly because I found myself monitoring some of them as part of my work), but it had never occurred to me to start blogging because I wasn’t interested in political or personal blogging and the AML-List met my Mormon Studies needs. The two events above changed all that. (and if you want a laugh, take a look at my initial pretensions. Talk about pretentious.)

If the mood strikes me, I may at some point put together a historical timeline for AMV. But the main thing to know is this: Five years, more than 600 posts from  13 contributors and 1 emeritus blogger plus the contribution of many intelligent, civil commenters, and I still feel like there’s more to say. Continue reading “The state of AMV at 5”