Peculiar People, Positive Thinkers, and the Prospect of Mormon Literature
Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought
Shows concern with 'the unproductiveness of Mormon writing.' Not that there is a lack of Mormon talent, but there is, among the Mormons, a literary tradition which has been oriented toward the building and maintenance of a certain public image. The author offers a three-point explanation of why a body of great Mormon literature has never materialized. First, Mormons began construction of a new public image after World War I, discarding embarrassing aspects of their heritage. Second, Mormons adopted an 'S-2' mentailty, saying nothing that was not forward-looking, progressive, and happy. Third, the 'Mormon attitude toward literature remained unchanged from the persecution period' to the present. Either a writer was for the church or an enemy of it. There was not room for objective writing, and so with no external opposition and with internal discontent Mormon literature 'gradually softened and decayed.' Perhaps the intellectual climate is changing. Dialogue is a 'breath of cool air in the stifling atmosphere of our internal literature.