In Tents #44 He is Risen and Other Texts That Don’t Behave as Textual Critics Think They Do Part VI

And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

Jeremiah 36:23 

Every writer’s nightmare, that, and a few verses later every tyrant’s nightmare:

27 ¶Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,

28 Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.

29 And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?

30 Therefore thus saith the Lord of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.

31 And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not.

Toward the end of chapter 13 of Who Wrote the Bible? Richard Elliott Friedman quotes an ancient tradition, recorded in the Fourth Book of (ca. 100 AD) that the same thing happened to the original Torah scroll, burned with other Bible books “in the fire that destroyed the temple in 587 B.C.,” but “Ezra was able to restore it by a revelation” (224).

Continue reading

Posted in Literary Views of Scripture | 2 Comments

This Month in Mormon Literature, Late September 2014

Be sure to read the discussion about the future of the Association for Mormon Letters in Theric’s Accountability to the little guy post at this blog. This month features: The 2014 League of Utah Writers awards and the Salt Lake City Weekly Artys awards were presented. The Maze Runner, based on author James Dashner’s YA novel, opened to much better box office and somewhat better reviews than Ender’s Game last year. The book is also at the top of the bestseller lists. Publishers Weekly focused on the efforts of Rick Walton as a key part of the success of Utah authors in the children/YA markets, and gave starred reviews to Julie Berry’s middle grade Victorian comic mystery and Craig Harline’s missionary memoir. An update on the plagiarism case. A call for papers from LTUE. New novels from several national YA authors. Two upcoming Mormon movies. And a Robert Lauer/Sam Cardon historical musical opened in St. George. Please send news and corrections to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.


Salt Lake City Weekly Artys awards

Salt City Strangers

BEST COMIC BOOK: Salt City Strangers. Would you believe … the intercontinental railroad was part of a demonic plan to engulf the planet in evil once the final Golden Spike was driven at Promontory Point? Fortunately, a group of heroes called the Salt City Strangers foiled the plot and have fought to keep Utah safe ever since. Chris Hoffman’s sharply detailed comic is steeped in local LDS culture (Deputy Deseret slings Porter Rockwell’s guns; Son of Bigfoot was discovered in Provo Canyon and raised Mormon; and then there’s the Gull), but Salt City Strangers—now two issues in—is ultimately a classic story of Good vs. Evil. If there’s anything Utahns love, it’s a tall tale about the righteous taking on the wrong-teous. Continue reading

Posted in This Week in Mormon Literature | 2 Comments

in verse #45 : The Power of the Editor

The text of his letter from Liberty Jail was published in Joseph Smith’s lifetime, in Times and Seasons in May and July of 1840, of which Joseph was nominally editor (this was the last transcription Joseph could have overseen). It was also published in the Deseret News and the Millenial Star, about the time it was being edited and excerpted for publication in Doctrine and Covenants in 1876. The latter editorial process interests me most in regards to Section 121, which consists of five excerpts from widely-separated parts of the letter. Sections 122 and 123 are single, coherent excerpts, not the mosaic that 121 is.

The letter begins in what one commentary calls “a high scriptural style,”[i] but it is worth noting that Joseph undercuts that immediately with sarcasm: Continue reading

Posted in In Verse, Literary Views of Scripture, Mormon LitCrit, The Past through Literature, Thoughts on Language | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Accountability to the little guy


This blog was down for several days this month because someone forgot to pay for the domain name or hosting or something rudimentary like that.

The accompanying website has been down for a long time for reasons unclarified.

I suspect that with the demise of Irreantum, membership in the Association for Mormon Letters is at a low, low ebb. If so, the number of people who have standing to demand that the AML organization respond to them are dwindling few.

Me, I paid up for a lifetime membership, so I definitely have standing, but who can I talk to about any of these things?

The president’s far away in Hawaii and Jonathan manages this blog, but other than that, I know nothing other than that Jonathan had to contact some mysterious other person to get things running again.

About a year before Irreantum died, there was some asking from the then-current editors for help, but since then I can’t recall hearing anything from anyone about what’s needed. Maybe it’s because I can’t get to the annual meeting. I don’t know. What I do know is that this blog seems to be the only way I get news, but it’s written by members and friends of the AML—not leaders thereof.

Who’s accountable? If I want to help or I want to complain or I want to be part of the solution or I just want any sense of anything, where do I go?

I’m not looking for someone to crucify; I just have no idea what’s going on.

What is the AML anyway, and who runs it?

Posted in Community Voices | Tagged | 132 Comments

Enid vs. The Real vs. The Not Real

I’ve been doing more cartooning (and teaching) than criticism lately, so I haven’t had much time to come up with new posts for this blog. But since Dawning of a Brighter Day up and running again, after several days’ rest no doubt, I decided I owe it something.

Below is one of my latest Enid comics–the second that deals specifically with Mormons and fiction. (The first appeared on this blog “pseudo-anonymously” several months ago.) In it, Enid tries to explain why members in her ward are “uncomfortable” with fiction, ultimately tying it in to ways Mormons–in America, at least–seek for truth.

What are your thoughts?

NOTE: I should say that I post this not to reopen the science fiction vs. realism debates, but to maybe invite new insights into the evolving role of fiction in Mormon society. Also, I also want to say that Enid’s grouping of science fiction with escapist literature is not to suggest that it is escapist, but rather that it often perceived and treated as such by readers seeking a reprieve from the daily grind of life.


Posted in Mormon LitCrit | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Complexity in the Children’s Literature Corner

Once I wandered into a stone courtyard where a beautiful and abstract marble sculpture turned on a pedestal. Two white benches formed a right angle facing the piece, and a columned loggia on the far side showed a lawn bordered by tall cypress trees in the distance. I stood and watched the sculpture for a few minutes, feeling somewhat disturbed by the speed of the turning base. It wasn’t going fast enough to make me dizzy, but it was moving too rapidly for me to really grasp the shape of the work in my mind. One rounded knob on top seemed to evolve from the graceful loop at the top of a treble clef into a whorled groove like the soft curve of a conch shell. Then, before I could put the whole shape together in my mind a jutting, angular facet spun into view and the previous smoothness I thought I saw was lost. It was very disconcerting. Continue reading

Posted in Children's Lit corner | 4 Comments