Author Archives: Scott Parkin
As Mormons we are a missionary people. We are specifically enjoined to share both intellectual knowledge and more intimate understandings of spiritual things. So how do we share the thoughts of our heads and the understandings of our hearts without trampling the sacred? How do we come to understand those things unless we consider them with sometimes brutal intensity? Continue reading
I believe the tendency to reduce and exclude, to narrow definitions to simple, direct memes has its uses. In criticizing literature by Mormons or for Mormon audiences, Mormon critics must necessarily categorize and differentiate which shelves should carry which stories. Readers deserve to know.
But I think we do ourselves a disservice if we dismiss as irrelevant those works by self-described Mormon authors that are not told in culturally Mormon forms and terms. Because it is precisely these subconsciously Mormon tales that can reveal deep Mormonism to those audiences most capable of understanding those themes. Not better than more overt tales, but just as deserving of our thoughtful criticism. It would be a shame to institutionally dismiss what could be some of our most deeply Mormon works because that Mormonness was not obvious enough. Continue reading
Any time you form a group and attempt to facilitate discussions of interest to that group, one of the first questions is where to draw the lines to distinguish what we are/do from what other people are/do. What’s our communal identity? How do we differentiate? Beyond what we choose to embrace, what do we choose not to discuss?
Part I of an extended meander triggered by a misreading, supported by a misremembering, and reflecting an outsider’s view on a fundamental question of Mormon criticism that took the long way around to dovetail with the more traditional academic view. Continue reading
Zombie lore is founded on the idea of thoughtless, mindless pseudo-people seeking to steal precious life—to no apparently constructive purpose. The twin terror of insatiable hunger and relentless pursuit by a foe that cannot be reasoned with speaks to an ultimate horror of battle that must be waged, but can never be won. If the battle of ideas can never be won, then I’m perfectly justified in characterizing the opposition as mindless, vapid, or unthinking, and casually dismissing them en masse.
The metaphor isn’t even remotely subtle. Continue reading
While spending the day with friends in Salt Lake City recently, I had the chance to visit a small park on the northeast side of the city at the base of university hill, just diagonal from Trolley Square. It’s called … Continue reading