Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.

November 09th, 2013 by Zen









Actually, the NYT article is titled, “Mormons Offer Cautionary Lesson on Sunny Outlook vs. Literary Greatness”.

Here, we are told we are both too sunny, and optimistic, and that in combination with our reticence for explicit sex scenes, is what has keep us back from greatness. They also point out, quite pointedly, that we tend towards genre fiction instead of literary fiction, and various excuses are given for that.

In all fairness, we are not yet fulfilling Orson F. Whitney’s prophecy, but they did leave out many prominent LDS authors such as Richard Paul Evans, Ally Condie, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, and Eric James Stone.

I think they mistake our faith and hope for naive optimism and lack of philosophical depth. But it is telling, we have not sought prominence in the same vaunted halls as the elite would. Should we feel bad we have not measured up in literary fiction? Or should we take up our swords and phasors and give those literati a run for their (literary) lives?  I mean that literarily.

Comments (7)
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November 09th, 2013 00:52:16

Bruce Charlton
November 9, 2013

This is an interesting topic – because (as I understand it; from HJ Eysenck and multiple personal observations) Creative Genius is strongly associated not just with high intelligence but also a personality type called high Psychoticism – which is low in conscientiousness/ empathizing/ agreeableness – high in impulsivity, ego-strength-selfishness and a dream-like-psychotic style of thinking.


Now, taken overall, Psychoticism is the antithesis of what is required to be an active Mormon. This applies to most other religions as well, but perhaps to Mormonism more than others because the church must be run by the members (virtually no professionals).

Joseph Smith was certainly a high Psychoticism type of personality – and was of course a major creative genius in terms of what he did (although for believers, including myself, divine inspiration was the major factor); but there have not been many other prominent Mormons of this type.

On the other hand, with respect to the NYT article we need to ask “compared with what?” There are no geniuses any more – or rather, the few that there are tend to be very old or recently deceased, and were born at a time (early 20th century) when there were very few Mormons.

November 9, 2013

I’d like to welcome the NY Times to 1998. It’s great to see them asking the naive questions Mormon culture noobies start out with. Anybody want to take bets on how much they will progress in their knowledge?

Mike Fink
November 9, 2013

Even I won’t take that bet.

November 9, 2013

It strikes me that many of the complaints the Times has against Mormon literature would apply equally well to Milton and Shakespeare.

Scott W. Clark
November 10, 2013

Or Dickens, Bro. V.

November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

The Larry Correia post was top-notch, with such memorable lines as,

If Shakespeare was alive today, is anyone stupid enough to think that the guy who specialized in writing entertaining plays for the masses would be writing stuffy, pretentious dreck for what works out to be $3 an hour in the hopes of winning a prestigious literary award? Hell no! We’d all be watching William Shakespeare presents Star Wars vs. The Avengers III: The Jedi Hulkening this summer, and it would be awesome, and the NYT would hate it.

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