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LDS writers face a challenge

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The implication in Laura S. Anderson's letter (Readers' Forum, Jan. 12) that LDS readers should demand more of LDS authors is well-taken. Any improvement by any artist benefits society as a whole.

Two observations:

First, a significant portion of LDS writing is sappy, sentimental and predictable — especially present in much of the LDS mystery, romance and melodrama genres. But the writers are not much different in their approach than what is available in non-LDS sitcoms, fiction and so-called "reality" shows.

Second, the "depth" question brings up the age-old philosophical debate between idealists and realists. A large number of writers, roughly since the early 20th century, have worked with a religious, even agnostic, fervor to keep their writings "realistic." LDS writers who consider themselves faithful are by nature idealists. The question of depth, then, becomes tough to handle. After all, in the view of idealistic religious people, one must handle complex characters with evil traits very carefully if one is to accurately portray what humanity can become, instead of what humanity is presently.

The criticism that LDS writers lack imagination, courage and empathy is somewhat shallow in the case of LDS writers attempting to rise above the sugar-coating. They just prefer to soar to lofty heights rather than descend into the depths of depravity.

George LaMar Weight

Spanish Fork