An interesting discussion at playgroup yesterday was cut short by toddlers stealing each others’ snacks and subsequent screaming. So I’d love to continue it here, though I won’t be able to check back until this evening, you can talk amongst yourselves and I’ll chime in later.
Here’s how the discussion began-
A member of the church that one of my friends’ knows recently had a book published by Penguin Books. I haven’t read the book yet, so I’m leaving the title out so as not to spark a discussion I can’t participate in. I want to talk about things on a more generic scale that have to do with Mormons making art for a wider audience.
Friend 1: So did you read so-and-so’s new book?
Friend 2 (hesitating): Yeah, I did.
Friend 1: Did you like it?
Friend 2: Well, kind of. I mean, parts of it were really funny, but . . .
Friend 1: But?
Friend 2: Well, she just treated some things about the church really lightly.
They went on to discuss more details and I listened in for a few minutes. They talked about how they wished she could have shared a perspective that was more faithful. Then I piped in and we talked about a movie that came out last fall that was geared toward a Mormon audience and the pros and cons of that film. And this led us to start asking questions about the challenges of being a Mormon artist. Here’s a sampling I’m interested in discussing further.
Is it possible to share an honest story that questions your own faith without ostracizing faithful members as part of your audience?
If you leave out all messy parts or anything “questionable” in hopes to shed the best possible light on the gospel through your work will people outside the Mormon culture care to hear your story? Is that captivating to anyone?
As Mormon readers and viewers can we withhold judgment of church members who are authors, screenwriters, playwrights, directors, etc. long enough to hear their stories and learn from them? Even if the journey is different from your own?