Earlier this week I spent an hour or so waiting in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square to get tickets for friends who wanted to see a Broadway play. As I waited in line, the TKTS staff (volunteer actors, as I understand it) were giving their recommendations and summaries of popular shows to the tourists waiting in line who were not sure what to see–usually after asking questions to see what kind of expectations the tourist had. I was very tempted to ask the staff what to see if you hate musicals and like plays that make you think.
Fortunately, my friends did not have those expectations, and getting tickets to a show was possible.
The reaction we have toward works of literature is usually determined by what expectations we have of it. If we read B. H. Roberts’ Corianton with the expectation of something like All The King’s Men, we are bound to be quite disappointed. But if we expect something comparable to Ben Hur, we might actually enjoy Corianton a little. In this week’s “sermon,” long-time Relief Society General Board member Rosannah Cannon Irvine hints at this question of expectations while suggesting that there is a lot to like in Mormon literature.