Orson Scott Card…

…who managed to make obscure President William Henry Harrison into one of the most horrifyingly evil characters in all of fantasy fiction, offers his curious thoughts on humans and their struggle with their inner chimp. Bear in mind that he is a Mormon (which may color some of this) and that he is a fun fantasy and sci-fi writer who’s strong suit is being imaginative, expressive, and entertaining.  In short, your mileage may vary.

And yeah, I know it’s the third in a series, but I can’t find the first two.

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Bravo, Mr. Rowen!
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Bravo, Mr. Rowen!

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  • I met a guy a few days ago who had a theory that Mormon theology is so like science fiction that Mormons tend to make very good science fiction writers. He said from his personal experience the proportion of Mormons who wrote science fiction was huge. Higher than non-Mormons by about a factor of 10. I kind of nodded and really didn’t buy it. What are the odds the next Mormon I run into will be a science fiction writer!

    • I don’t know that it’s directly connected to their theology (at least not in the “they’ll swallow anything” sense), but I think their religion suits them well to SF because (a) they’re not bound to materialism or cynicism and (b) they tend to have a sophisticated sense of morality that enables them to write in a milieu that includes right and wrong.

  • Part 1: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700175273/Witnessing-a-moral-dialogue.html

    Part 2: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700179160/The-moral-dialogue-continues.html

    I’m going to start from the beginning. For all that he’s a Mormon, Card writes better sense for a Christian audience than many more orthodox Christian writers. (Always excepting our dreaded Dark Lord, of course.)

  • Pseu

    “[B]elieving that you believe is what believing is.”

    That… bears some thinking on.

  • I am a 63 year old Mormon who has served in leadership roles involving the kind of confessions described in Card’s essay. It could be a transcript of any number of actual confidential interviews (though they are NOT recorded). There is no fiction here.

    And remember this: Mormon bishops, like all the leadership and teaching and music positions in every Mormon congregation, are part-time, unpaid volunteers, who serve usually for just five years before rotating to another position, like Sunday School teacher. They make their living like you do, as teachers, government bureaucrats, doctors, engineers, grocery store managers, editors, lawyers, farmers, and soldiers. The training is basically the same for everyone: service as a missionary for two years (Card worked in Brazil, I served in Japan), and accepting callings to teach and lead children, teens and adults. A typical bishop is as young as 35. In a large congregation of 400 people there may be 5 or more former bishops. While the bishop speaks to the congregation constantly, most of the 20 minute sermons heard each Sunday are presented by men and women in the congregation. When the population in a congregation grows as new members move into an area and people join the church, the congregation will be split to ensure that most adults are engaged in serving the members of the congregation. The depth and breadth of experience in a variety of callings enables both new daughter congregations to be fully staffed again within three weeks, usually meeting at different times in the same building. Because of such growth, my own congregation has split twice in the last three years.