One sermon given by Orson F. Whitney is cited more than any other when we talk about Mormon literature. The sermon was given on June 3rd, 1888 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle during the morning session of the second day of the YMMIA General Annual Conference. Widely considered the impetus for the ‘Home Literature’ movement, it is perhaps best known for the prediction that Whitney, then a Bishop in Salt Lake City, made that Mormonism would “yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.”
If you have studied anything about Mormon literature, I’m sure you have heard of this sermon. Have you read it?
As I have researched and written this “Sunday Literary Criticism Sermon” series of posts on how Mormons have viewed literature and the arts, I’ve hoped that in doing so I would myself be able to reach some conclusion on basic questions like, what benefits do we derive from literature. After just 7 months, I have to report that”¦ I think I’m learning something, but I can’t tell if I’m learning the basics or not. But, I’m not ready to stop”¦
This week’s selection (perhaps the first of several from the same article) dives right into this basic question: What do we get out of literature?