A few weeks ago a book by the Brazilian language entrepreneur and LDS Church member Carlos “Wizard” Martins, who started the massive Wizard Language Schools chain (similar to Berlitz), reached the bestseller lists in Brazil. I’m fairly sure that the book Desperte o milionÃ¡rio que hÃ¡ em vocÃª (Awake the Millionaire Inside of You) is, I believe, the first by a Brazilian Mormon to reach the bestseller list.
I first heard of his book just before it was launched in April, and I didn’t give it much thought then–I’m not really in the book’s the target audience of those seeking a financial fortune and I suspect I could just as easily get a copy of the book that started this genre, Napoleon Hill’s 1937 self-help classic Think and Grow Rich, to say nothing of the various similar books penned by Mormons here in the U.S. But now that Martins has achieved a Mormon milestone in Brazil, I have to wonder if he is the first Mormon to reach the best seller list with a book not originally written in English?
Continue reading “Is this the first bestseller by a Mormon not written in English?”
Here’s the elevator pitch for Millstone City: “Two Mormon missionaries stumble into the City of God—-will they survive?”
And that’s a pretty good pitch, but it misrepresents the feel of the book. If you’ve seen City of God you know how terrible and sick its violence makes you feel:
The film offers little comfort to viewers uncomfortable with their own complicity in the on-screen violence, or those seeking a ‘ray of hope’ in the narrative. Meirelles introduces alternatives to violence, only to then dismiss or disempower those alternatives. City of God breaks with audience expectations by presenting no viable moral choice. The allegory of the chicken’s dilemma—“if you run away they get you and if you stay they get you too”—illustrates the film’s fatalism, a fatalism that is not only ascribed to Rocket, but impressed upon the viewer throughout the film. [source]
Millstone City is not a fatalistic novel. And so while I’m new to the John Le CarrÃ© game (I just read my first book), I think Bailey’s story of Brazilian gangsters has more in common with Le CarrÃ©’s Cold War spies than City of God or anything else I’ve read or seen recently.
Continue reading “Millstone City by S.P. Bailey”
Last August at the LDS Church archives I came across an LDS Public Affairs file about the Primeira SalÃ£o Nacional de Artistas MÃ³rmons1 (First National Salon of Mormon Artists), held February 22-26, 1983 in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil. The event, which was sponsored by the Church Educational System in Brazil, sought works by LDS visual artists from throughout Brazil and displayed those works at the prestigious Galeria Prestes Maia in SÃ£o Paulo. More than 600 works were collected and displayed, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, handicrafts, tapestry and engravings.
When I was in Brazil last month I asked local members about the exhibit, but I only found one who remembered the event: an artist who was involved in organizing the event. No one else remembered.
Continue reading “Cultural Events Now, Culture for the Future”
Last year I purchased a bound volume of the 1949 issues of the missionary magazine of the Argentine and Uruguayan missions, El Mensajero Deseret, which I found in the basement of Sam Weller‘s in Salt Lake City. I had hoped that I might find there some articles originally written in Spanish by local members (not missionaries), and that I might there discover something of their perspective at the time. Unfortunately, my (still) somewhat cursory review, while it found many interesting articles, including one written by my grandfather that my family didn’t know about, failed to find any articles by local members and few originally written in Spanish.
I’m not sure how different things are today. Mission magazines like El Mensajero Deseret, which were meant for all members in the mission (not just the missionaries), have been replaced by the Church’s international magazine (in Spanish, La Liahona), and that magazine is largely a translation from English.
As a result of examples like this, I think its easy to assume that no Mormon cultural works are being produced outside of the English-speaking areas of the Church. In a comment to my post last week about What Should Mormons Know About Mormon Culture?, Anneke wrote:
“I’m uncomfortable with any attempt to define “Mormon Culture” that then limits that culture to “Anglophone Mormon Culture.” I realize that most of the time English is all we’ve got”¦”
I am also uncomfortable about this — but its hard for most of us, English-speaking residents of the US generally, to know much about what is being produced in Mexico or in France or Brazil or Japan. Its not like there are clear paths for getting materials from these places to the Mormon market in the US! I suspect that not a lot is being produced, given the low density of LDS Church members from each other in other countries, the lack of a market or way to distribute cultural works, and the near worship that foreign LDS Church members sometimes have for the Church in the U.S.
So, hoping that those who read this will add the works they know about, here’s a list of some of the works I know or have heard of. I’m sure there are plenty of others:
Continue reading “Help me find the “non-American” Mormon Culture”