During a Young Men Mutual Improvement conference, Orson F. Whitney delivered a speech called “Home Literature,” where he issued a charge for Latter-day Saints to write more literature.
“We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own,” Whitney said, as he encouraged Latter-day Saints to write and cultivate a library full of religious books as well as “history, poetry, philosophy, art and science, languages, government — all truth in fact.”
This speech is a key moment in the history of Latter-day Saint literature. Since then, whether by or about Latter-day Saints, there have been numerous literary contributions across genres, including fiction (including its sub-genres like science fiction and fantasy).
Here’s a look at five Latter-day Saint authors who write fiction.
Parley P. Pratt
Parley P. Pratt was an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and accomplished writer. Several of Pratt’s poems are now hymns (“Father in Heaven, We Do Believe” and “Jesus, Once of Humble Birth”) and he was a regular contributor to newspapers like the Millennial Star.
Even though Pratt’s best known works are theological, he was also an author of fiction. “A Dialogue between Joseph Smith and the Devil” was published in the New York Herald on Jan. 1, 1844. It’s one of the earliest works of fiction by a Latter-day Saint.
Brandon Sanderson is a bestselling author of high fantasy who is known for his “Mistborn” and “Stormlight Archive” series. When Sanderson’s company, Dragonsteel Entertainment, took to Kickstarter to fund four of his books, he set a new record for most amount of money raised: $41 million, per USA Today. It’s not the first time the author has broken a record. When preorders for his novel “Oathbringer” started, he set a record for most preordered audiobook in Audible’s history.
Sanderson has written dozens of books — 12 of which are unpublished. He’s been called “one of the finest fantasy writers of our generation” by Fantasy Fiction and “an epic fantasy heavyweight” by Publishers Weekly.
B.H. Roberts was a general authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a historian, a politician and a writer. He’s known for writing a comprehensive history of the church, but he also wrote a novel called “Corianton.”
It was written as a series in 1889 and published in The Contributor. Later republished as “Corianton: A Nephite Story,” it was about Alma’s son Corianton who appears in the Book of Mormon. The novel was later adapted into a movie and a Broadway play.
Stephenie Meyer is known for the bestselling series “Twilight,” which is a vampire romance series about how a human, Bella Swan, fell in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen. The main books in the series were “Twilight,” “New Moon,” “Eclipse” and “Breaking Dawn.” Each of them was turned into a commercial film.
A new “Twilight” series is in the works, with no plot details or release date yet available for the project. Meyer is said to be involved in the production.
Susa Young Gates
Susa Young Gates was a suffragette, president of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers and writer. Gates was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ who was involved in the Relief Society and the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association. She sometimes wrote under the pen name “Homespun.”
As a prolific writer, Gates wrote history as well as fiction, biography, poems, plays and more. Some of her short stories were “All is Well! All is Well!,” “Which Path?” and “Why Helena Did Not Attend the Christmas Ball.” She wrote a novel, “The Prince of Ur,” which was about Abram and Sarai from the Old Testament.