The love and hate of The Giant Joshua


In 1941 when Maurine Whipple’s The Giant Joshua was released, her publishers anticipated huge sales and an endorsement from Church leadership. Whipple doubted this very much. In the end—and the publisher blamed this on the advent of WWII—the book was not the breakout success New York anticipated.

The only official statement in a Church organ was John A. Widtsoe’s review in the February 1941 Improvement Era. Based on the vitriol the novel allegedly had hurled against it, I expected this review to be dripping with anger and outrage. That’s not what I found: Continue reading “The love and hate of The Giant Joshua

Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: John Widtsoe on the Reading Habit

John A. Widtsoe

While Mormons are sometimes criticized by their opponents as ignorant or blinded in their beliefs, that claim is both not supported by data (which actually shows that Mormons are generally more educated than those of most other religions) nor by any objective review of what leaders teach members. LDS Church leaders consistently claim that members are and should be well educated, and consistently encourage members to both get an education and develop good educational habits. In the following excerpt, Elder John A. Widtsoe, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve from 1921 to 1952, encourages members to develop the habit of reading good materials (and not just Church materials) on a daily basis.

Continue reading “Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: John Widtsoe on the Reading Habit”