Announcement: Latter-Gay Saints Published

This July sees the publication from Lethe Press of Latter-Gay Saints: An Anthology of Gay Mormon Fiction, edited and introduced by Gerald S. Argetsinger and co-edited by Jeff Laver and Johnny Townsend. Here’s the bulk of a description from the Lethe Press website:

Latter-Gay Saints brings together twenty-five exemplary short works depicting a variety of perspectives of what it means to be both Mormon and gay. Some portray characters determined to reconcile their sexuality with the Mormon faith in accordance with its constantly evolving teachings and policies. The majority present the realities of gay/lesbian Mormons who have come to terms with their sexuality in a variety of alternative ways. Others are written from outside the Mormon community, commenting on often strange encounters with Mormons who are gay.

These stories are also of value for the broader GLBT community revealing similarities that people of faith, regardless of which faith, face in attempting to negotiate their religious heritage with their homosexuality. Some in the LGBT community find a way, while others do not, leaving their faith or having it ripped from them.  They are all individuals searching for answers to life’s puzzles.

The volume includes names that will be familiar to AMLers, including Levi Peterson, Carol Lynn Pearson, John Bennion, Michael Fillerun, Emily Petersen, Eric Samuelsen, Rob van Wagoner, and (ahem) Jonathan Langford. Lead editor Jerry Argetsinger, an AML member, is founder of the Gay Mormon Literature Project; his Introduction to the volume and genre bibliography of gay Mormon fiction and drama represent important scholarly contributions to the field.

Here’s a link to University News article about the book based on an interview with Jerry from the Rochester Institute of Technology (where he teaches). And here’s an excerpt from a Publisher’s Weekly review:

This work… presents varying responses by Mormon men to their sexuality. Some remain faithful, opting for a celibate life, while others fully embrace their sexuality at the expense of their membership in the church. The diversity of responses as well as age of characters offers up a broad cross-section. The short stories, one complete play, and excerpts from longer novels and plays vary greatly in quality, though each offers insights into the struggle to reconcile faith and sexuality…. Although the work deals with gay Mormons, the struggles and solutions of the individuals will resonate across faith traditions and help readers better understand the cost of excluding gay members from full religious participation.

The editors will be presenting a panel about the collection at 2:00 this Saturday (Aug. 3) at the Sunstone symposium.

I’ve yet to receive my copy of the volume, so I can’t really comment on the collection as a whole. However, here’s the contents:

  • Introduction ~ Gerald S. Argetsinger
  • The Summer My Cousin Turned Mormon ~ Rik Isensee
  • Lasting Impressions ~ Scott Singer
  • Selection from No Going Back ~ Jonathan Langford
  • (“Adolescence”) ~ Alan Williams
  • Peter’s Mirror ~ Jeff Laver
  • The Birth of Tragedy ~ Hugo Olaiz
  • Excerpts from Missionary Position ~ Steven Fales
  • MTC Interview ~ M. Larsen
  • The Call ~ Donna Banta
  • The Interview ~ John Bennion
  • Excerpt from 14 ~ John Cameron
  • The Seduction of H. Lyman Winger ~ Michael Fillerup
  • The Term Paper Artist ~ David Leavitt
  • Duets ~ Eric Samuelsen
  • Hunters and Gatherers ~ Bernard Cooper
  • Strong Like Water ~ Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner
  • Partying with St. Roch ~ Johnny Townsend
  • Strange Bedfellows ~ Ken Shakin
  • Gay Messiah ~ Dirk Vanden
  • The Dream ~ Levi S. Peterson
  • Nestle’s Revenge ~ Ron Oliver
  • Excerpt from WAIT! ~ Julie Jensen
  • Espiritu Santo ~ Marty Beaudet
  • I Love You No Matter What ~ Emily January Petersen
  • Excerpt from Facing East ~ Carol Lynn Pearson
  • Genre Bibliography of Gay Mormon Fiction and Drama

About Jonathan Langford

Hi! I'm the coordinator for the AML blog, a critic and reviewer of Mormon literature and sf&f, and an aspiring creative writer with one published novel. To contact me about the AML blog, email jonathan AT langfordwriter DOT com.
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5 Responses to Announcement: Latter-Gay Saints Published

  1. Wm says:

    “Some portray characters determined to reconcile their sexuality with the Mormon faith in accordance with its constantly evolving teachings and policies. The majority present the realities of gay/lesbian Mormons who have come to terms with their sexuality in a variety of alternative ways.”

    I’m not entirely sure how to parse the word choices and juxtaposition of these two sentences.

    • Jonathan Langford says:

      I don’t know who wrote the announcement. Certainly that word “realities” could be taken as suggesting that leaving the Church is ultimately the more, well, realistic option. I don’t think the anthology itself is intentionally slanted in that direction, although I think there are probably more stories about leaving than about staying, if only because there have *been* more stories about leaving than staying. (Hence, in part, why I wrote No Going Back.)

      Interestingly, a notice of the book’s publication on the hot sheet for the week of July 12 stated, “The majority are written by gay and lesbian Mormons who have reconciled their sexual orientation and their faith; a few are written by outsiders.” Which I think is inaccurate in a variety of ways (I don’t know how many of the authors are gay and/or lesbian themselves), so I don’t know what to make of their take. They go on to say, “the book is an interesting read for anyone who has struggled with faith and sexuality,” so apparently they found it interesting at least…

      It will be interesting to find out what I think about the volume after I’ve had a chance to read it. Or, for that matter, see it…

      • Wm says:

        I definitely think there are more stories about leaving than about staying. Such stories may also be the most common experience for GLBQTI Mormons.

        I just found the phrasing itself awkward, which is perhaps also indicative of the overall awkwardness of the project. I use that term as a positive one by the way — the range of choices and experiences of gay LDS is quite fascinating and complex in the face of the often polarized rhetoric that takes place. Hopefully this volume captures that well.

  2. Is there a reason the anthology only went with gay, Mormon “men”? Or did they misspeak and do some of the stories explore the other gender(s)?

  3. Andrew Hall says:

    At least the Julie Jensen play is about a lesbian relationship. So it is strange that the PW review said “men”.

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