In the spirit of Gene’s writings, entries should relate to Latter-day Saint experience, theology, or worldview. Essays will be judged by noted Mormon authors and professors of literature. Winners will be notified by email and announced in our Winter issue and on Dialogue’s website. After the announcement, all other entrants will be free to submit their essays elsewhere. Prizes: First place, $300; second place, $200; and third place $100
Invisible Men / Invincible Women Eric Freeze. Invisible Men: Stories. San Francisco: Outpost 19, 2016. 150 pp. Paperback: $16.00. Reviewed by Lisa Rumsey Harris Dialogue. Winter 2016 The gaze of the girl on the cover of Eric Freeze’s short story collection arrested me—stopped me. Her eyes, full of hostility, told me that if I opened the book, I would be intruding. Her bright knee-length plaid skirt, reminiscent of schoolgirl uniforms, belied the knowledge behind her glare. If it wasn’t for her posture, her arms embracing something, I wouldn’t have noticed the titular Invisible Man next to her on the cover. Her warning wasn’t wrong. I felt like an intruder as I began to read. I could only take it in small doses—read, then turn the ideas over and over in my mind, like rubbing a smooth stone between my fingers.
Speaking for Herself Ashley Mae Hoiland. One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly: The Art of Seeking God. Provo: Neal A. Maxwell Institute, 2016. 212 pp. Paperback: $11.92. Reviewed by Glen Nelson. Dialogue, Winter 2016 One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly: The Art of Seeking God is a collection of short missives—poems, essays, and autobiographical sketches— grouped loosely and thematically into thirteen sections and an epilogue. Ashley Mae Hoiland is the author/illustrator of three self-published children’s books, a contributor to a collection of essays, Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women (Signature Books, 2015), a blogger (under the name ashmae) for By Common Consent, and the creator of a collection of sixty (trading or ash) cards of notable women in history, We Brave Women (Kickstarter, 2015).
A Candid and Dazzling Conversation Patrick Madden. Sublime Physick: Essays. University of Nebraska Press, 2016. 244 pp. Hardcover: $24.95. Reviewed by Joe Plicka Dialogue, Winter 2016 Patrick Madden’s second book of collected essays, following 2010’s Quotidiana (which won an award from the Association for Mormon Letters and was a nalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award), bears the mark of a writer hitting his stride. All the usual adjectives apply: the essays are at times witty, profound, charming, moving, playful (even cheeky), and wise. As anyone who has hung around a creative writing classroom knows by now, personal essays are grounded in a carefully curated friendship between reader and writer, a dialogue, an intimacy—a formulation probably most plainly expressed (recently) by Phillip Lopate in the introduction to his seminal anthology The Art of the Personal Essay. It is this quality of friendship, of candid and dazzling conversation, that engages and entices me as a reader throughout Sublime Physick’s dozen entries
Old Words, New Work: Reclamation and Remembrance John Russell. The Mormoness; Or, The Trials of Mary Maverick: A Narrative of Real Events. Edited and annotated by Michael Austin and Ardis E. Parshall. The Mormon Image in Literature. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2016 . 114 pp. Paperback: $12.95. Alfreda Eva Bell. Boadicea; The Mormon Wife: Life-Scenes in Utah. Edited and annotated by Michael Austin and Ardis E. Parshall. The Mormon Image in Literature. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2016 . 151 pp. Paperback: $15.95. Nephi Anderson. Dorian: A Peculiar Edition with Annotated Text & Scholarship. Edited by Eric W. Jepson. Annotated by Mason Allred, Jacob Bender, Scott Hales, Blair Dee Hodges, Eric W. Jepson, Sarah C. Reed, and A. Arwen Taylor. El Cerrito, Calif.: Peculiar Pages, 2015 . 316 pp. Paperback: $21.99. Reviewed by Jenny Webb Dialogue, Winter 2016 The continual rising interest in all things Mormon, whether they be historical, cultural, social, doctrinal, or even theological, has led to a number of interesting publication projects. The texts gathered in this review represent a particular focus within this broader interest: the recovery and re-examination of the various historical forms of the “Mormon novel.”
Dialogue was able to attend and tweet about a recent conference at Utah State University called “New Perspectives on Joseph Smith and Translation.” Participants in the all-day conference included many friends of Dialogue including Richard Bushman, Terryl Givens, Jana Riess, Samuel Brown, Jared Hickman and Rosalynde Welch. The conference was conceived and hosted by Philip Barlow and the USU Dept. of History and Religious Studies, and was sponsored by the Faith Matters Foundation. Now the videos are being made available, with all the videos slated to be up by May 20. Visit faithmatters.org to see a produced, session-by-session video of the conference, with some additional graphic features and context added.
UPDATED WITH VIDEOS: Multicultural Mormonism Conference: Religious Cohesion in a New Era of Diversity
The 2017 Mormon Studies Conference is themed "Multicultural Mormonism: Religious Cohesion in a New Era of Diversity" and was held March 30 and 31st at Utah Valley University. Find videos of the presentations here. This conference explored multicultural and intercultural interactions within Mormonism, focusing on issues surrounding ethnicity, race, and class; and with an eye toward the future of Mormonism as a global religion. It included presentations by Gina Colvin, Ignacio Garcia, Janan Graham-Russell, Moroni Benally, Anapesi Ka'ili, Darron Smith, and more. Find the entire schedule and video links here.
Levi S. Peterson's “Kid Kirby” from the Dialogue Summer 2016 issue won a 2016 Association for Mormon Letters award for best short fiction. In honor of this award, Dialogue has released the article early so that everyone can read it. Find "Kid Kirby" here. From the AML website: "When asked what the purpose of literature is, the short story writer Issac Bashevis Singer responded succinctly that literature is to entertain and instruct. There’s no end to good short stories that meet one of these criterion, but a story that both entertains and instructs, a rarer specimen in the literary world, might be called a great story. Levi Peterson’s poignant and captivating 'Kid Kirby' is unequivocally a great story."
Christian Anderson, who has an article in the upcoming Spring Issue, takes a hard look at membership numbers after they were released in April 2017 conference. Here's a taste of his post "The Slowing of Church Growth." "Using the same methodology I used in (Dialogue Spr 2017; in press), making some reasonable assumptions about death rates and removals, the membership statistics suggest approximately 30,000 members were excommunicated or resigned in 2016, bringing the total for the last four years to just over 150,000. This value is based on several fudge-factors, and should only be taken as a rough order-or-magnitude guess. Randall Bowen at churchistrue.com used different fudge-factors (including assuming an increasing rate of removals of 110 year old lost members, and 9 year old children of record who had not been baptized) to arrive at an estimate of 20,000 defecting members in 2016 and about 95,000 over the last four years."
Over at By Common Consent, Kevin Barney discusses "some fairly random examples of instincts that may have seemed sound in the past but, I would argue, no longer serve the institution well" including one regarding Dialogue: "For decades now publishing in Dialogue or Sunstone has meant an automatic rejection for employment at BYU. But guess where responsible treatments of challenging issues are? Not the Ensign. Signaling that scholarly engagement with difficult issues will not be tolerated means that people who value their employment with the church won’t touch such issues, thus limiting the responsible resources available when troubled students run into these things. I realize to some the Dialogue ban seems like it’s a way of saving and preserving faith, but in my view it accomplishes exactly the opposite." Click in to read the full post and comments.
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