In a sense I’ve been going about the Sunday Lit Crit Sermon series backwards, at least compared to the excerpt in today’s post. I’ve searched for mentions of novels, books, theater and film and sought to understand what these citations implied about how we Mormons view literature. But in today’s excerpt Mormon doctrine and teachings, often the basis for the Mormon view, instead are a justification for an interest in literature. Instead of a reaction to literature, this is a claim that there is a direct line from Mormon belief to a love of literature.
Of all the words and phrases that are common in or unique to Mormonism, added upon is perhaps the most connected with a work of literature. Though perhaps infrequently used today in Mormon vernacular (except to refer to the book Added Upon), in the past it was frequently used in discussing Mormon doctrine, and it is still used today because it appears in scripture and refers to a key concept of that doctrine, one touched on in my recent definition of the Mormon use of the word exaltation.
Unlike exaltation, however, added upon is today almost exclusively Mormon.
This past week news reports confirmed that Deseret Book will no longer print additional copies of the 42-year-old classic Mormon Doctrine, essentially taking a classic Mormon work out-of-print. While the move is apparently because of low sales, many commentators on the bloggernacle and news sites have claimed instead that the Church wanted it out-of-print.
While that seems unlikely to me, the effect is the same. What might be more interesting is what happens to Mormon Doctrine next.