Review: With a Title Like _Monsters & Mormons_, How Could You Not Have Fun?, Part One

It’s taking me a while to get through  Monsters & Mormons, not because it’s not super enjoyable (because it is!), but because it’s a pretty long book (which, to me, is no flaw. The upcoming Saints on Stage: An Anthology For Mormon Drama which I edited for Zarahemla Books is a behemoth as well). Also when I finish a short story, I feel a temporary sense of completeness, so the book doesn’t always draw me back like a novel does because I’m not left “hanging” so to speak. So I’ve decided to break up my review of Monsters and Mormons over a few different reviews so I can write while the stories are still somewhat fresh in my mind. It will also allow me to address the short stories more individually instead of as a blurred whole.

First, my overall impression of Monsters & Mormons: it’s a winner. A big winner. As some one who has lived in imaginative waters since he was a child and hasn’t been afraid to invite his religion to play in those waters with him, I totally dig projects like this. Now, I’ve never been much of a horror fan, especially when it leads to copious amounts of blood and gore. I mean, like, yuck. Not my thing. However, I do love ghost stories and supernatural monsters (I keep wanting to read some H.P. Lovecraft), and, if it doesn’t lead to too much gruesomeness, I can definitely enjoy stories like this. This is definitely not something I would suggest to some of my less adventurous or conservative thinking family and friends, but it’s something I would suggest to the imaginative Mormon who doesn’t mind mixing fantasy and religion (and I know a number of non-Mormons who would get a kick out of it!) . So let’s get to the individual stories in the first part of the collection:

Continue reading “Review: With a Title Like _Monsters & Mormons_, How Could You Not Have Fun?, Part One”

My take on Out of the Mount: 19 From New Play Project

So we have Peculiar Pages, which is Theric Jepson’s imprint. We have MoJo’s B10 Mediaworx, an indie publisher known for creating e-books that look great. And we have New Play Project, which has put together an impressive track record of productions over its (relatively) short history. Put that all together and you get Out of the Mount: 19 From New Play Project, edited by Dave Morrison. And for only $3.99, you get a set of plays that are well-written, thought-provoking, fun to read and together form a significant contribution to Mormon letters. A trade paperback is also available and a Kindle edition is forthcoming (although the mobi file you get in the e-book download should be readable on your Kindle or via the Kindle app).

And in the interest of full disclosure, Peculiar Pages is not only the imprint that will be publishing Monsters & Mormons, but it also asked me to provide a blurb for the anthology. Which I was initially nervous about, but happily did after reading the manuscript. Here it is:

With these 19 plays, the New Play Project ably makes its claim as one of the most ambitious and vibrant going concerns in the world of LDS culture to all of us mission-field Mormons who have only heard rumors and testimonies. Out of the Mount delivers comedy and tragedy and social commentary, allegory, politics and healthy doses of armchair philosophy and theology in plays that mainly focus on (as most good plays do) relationships that unfold via crackling dialogue. Whether it’s Clark Kent and Lois Lane applying for a marriage license or Adam and Eve feeling their way towards some sort of post-fall rapprochement or young couples falling in and out of love, these playwrights are writing for these latter-days, even when there’s nothing particularly LDS about their characters and settings. That said, what I love most about this anthology is that we get–especially with the fantastic concluding trio of “Gaia,” “Prodigal Son” and “Little Happy Secrets”–works that artfully and poignantly explore key aspects of the grand drama that is the Mormon experience.

You can ; but you should also check out Theric’s series of posts on the anthology (including excerpts from some of the plays) over at the Peculiar Pages blog.

Looping through the Mormon Arts, from me to me

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Though this post is by it’s very nature heavily self-indulgent, I am going to try to spin it as more altruistic than it is. Continue reading “Looping through the Mormon Arts, from me to me”

“Toward a Mormon Gothic” and Other News from RUD

News from the Reading Until Dawn front:

A couple of weeks ago, I read a paper at the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (RMMLA) Convention at Snowbird, Utah (a rundown of my experience at the AML session will come in a later post that I’ve got halfway worked up; yes, I’ve been lazy—so sue me) and over the weekend I did some revising to incorporate some of the feedback I received and posted it on Reading Until Dawn. “Toward a Mormon Gothic: Stephenie Meyer’s Vampires and a Theology of the Uncanny” takes its place in the blossoming field of Twilight studies beside RUD’s inaugural essay, Theric Jepson’s “Saturday’s Werewolf: Vestiges of the Premortal Romance in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Novels.” Link over and have a read. That’s what all the cool kids are doing (or so they tell me).

While you’re there, you might also notice that I’ve made some subtle changes to the site design (I’ve tweaked the header) and that I’ve updated the articles. The inconsistent layout was bugging me, so I took down the HTMLs until I can get them to look how I want them to look, reworked my document template slightly, and incorporated the new MLA citation standards into the notes. Hopefully this gives the collection a more consistent and professional feel.

Also: though I’ve published “Toward a Mormon Gothic” on RUD, I’m still open to feedback. So if, while you’re reading, you notice a typo or some such faux pas or notice that I’ve missed something you deem vitally important to the conversation, either email me or comment here. That or work up your own essay and submit it for publication. I promise I won’t complain.

To Build a Fence

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To Build a Fence

a public service message from

The Institute for Marital Concerns

Brigham Young Chapter


As all you RM gospel scholars know, Brigham Young once said:

    I will give each of the young men in Israel, who have arrived at an age to marry, a mission to go straightway and get married to a good sister, fence a city lot, lay out a garden and orchard and make a home.  This is the mission that I give to all young men in Israel.

This presents us with a distinct problem, if we 1) do not want to get married, 2) don’t want to get married, or 3) would really rather not get married.  If this sounds like you, then rest assured that we at the IMC are here to help you get out of what, at first glance, seems like a direct commandment from a prophet of God to get married. Continue reading “To Build a Fence”

Selling the Bug-Eyed Blue-Eyed Jesus (that’s just wrong)

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Tonight the Living Scriptures salesman showed up at our door. His car’s GPS had every member of our ward plugged into it and after visiting the Coes, it told him to drive to our house next. He was a nice guy, a BYU student, getting married at the end of the summer. I was able to offer him some good advice for his fiancee about getting a California teaching credential. So even though we didn’t buy anything and scored a free DVD, I still think he came out better. Continue reading “Selling the Bug-Eyed Blue-Eyed Jesus (that’s just wrong)”

Re: The Fob Family Bible (Part I)

Note: While some may consider it a conflict of interest to post a review of a book edited by one of AMV’s contributors on AMV, to you I say, “Blogging is all about the art of self-service and self-promotion. So I’m reviewing The Fob Bible (published May 2009 by Peculiar Pages and edited by Eric W Jepson, et al) here as a public service whether you like it or not. And I say that with all the kindness I can muster.”

 

Part I appears today and I’ll post part II next week.

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Re: The Fob Family Bible, Part I: Introduction and The First Four Fobnesses

I’ve got two family Bibles on my bookshelf: one nearly brand-new two-volume set from Bookcraft/Deseret Book–The Old and New Testaments for Latter-day Saint Families (Salt Lake City, 2005 and 1998 respectively); and one unwieldy, second-hand volume from Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc. (Nashville, 1980s)–The Holy Bible Family Altar Edition. These were intended, I believe, as coffee table volumes, books meant to be points of gathering, conversation, and communion between family members, their communities, and their God. Such creation of communal understanding is enhanced, the editors of all three volumes imply, with the editorial apparatus–the study helps–built into each text: among other things, the glossaries, the book and chapter introductions, the topic headings, the colored words that highlight important aspects of the text, and the footnotes that include cross references and scriptural commentary. According to the editors of the scriptures for Latter-day Saint Families series, these helps are “designed especially” to “help [“¦ us] read, understand, and think about [“¦ the scriptures] in exciting new ways”1–ways that will lead us, presumably, to become as God is, the central and defining focus of LDS theology. Continue reading “Re: The Fob Family Bible (Part I)”