Mass-Marketed Mormonism

Now that my book is out, I’m feeling slightly hypocritical. I’ve always been annoyed at the numerous books, CDs, and other media that are hawked by enterprising Latter-day Saints at Education Week, on BYU-TV, and during commercial breaks before and after general conference sessions. I’m not doing this on the same scale, but I am trying to get my book noticed by a broader audience, and I wonder if that’s any different from what the Deseret Book crowd does.

Granted, I think my book is much better than, say, anything Chris Heimerdinger has put out, and I’m pleased to say I haven’t been tempted to write anything about vampires. But I am, in the end, profiting from my association with the LDS church. And that makes me feel a little uneasy.

Thinking it through, I realize that I did not write the book with profit in mind. I wrote the blog posts that would later be edited into the book because I needed to express some emotions and memories that I had long suppressed. The blog posts are much more emotionally raw than the book is; I spent about 6 months editing the posts into a coherent narrative, and I made a conscious decision to remove a lot of the emotional commentary. I wanted the book to be about me when I was 19 and 20, not about my feelings as a middle-aged man reflecting on that time of my life. So, what you get in the book, hopefully, expresses what I was thinking and doing and feeling then. Editing it down to “just the facts” was as cathartic as writing the original posts had been. Paying such close attention to what happened in some ways sharpened my emotions and helped me work through a lot of the residual pain of that time.

Even if I had left the book sitting (as I did for more than three years), it still would have been worth writing. I decided to publish it because I thought people would enjoy the story and perhaps learn something from my experiences. But the book is also something I’m very proud of. I think it’s well-written and tells a great story, and I felt like I owed it to myself to get it published.

So, you probably won’t see me doing book signings or advertising on KBYU, but I will try to get the book out to more of an audience. If you think the book is worth reading, I’d appreciate your help in spreading the word.

Obligatory plug: Today (November 29) all books at Lulu.com are 30% off if you use the code CYBERTUESDAY.

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2 Responses to Mass-Marketed Mormonism

  1. Craig says:

    You still haven’t sunk to the level I saw in General Conference once. The book, “Fire of the Faith” by John H. Groberg had just been released. I think it had literally come out that week. Anyway, on Conference Weekend Elder Groberg gave one of the prayers and managed to use the phrase “fire of the faith” in his prayer. It was very disappointing to me, as I liked him and it seemed really tacky to use a prayer as a way to sell a book.

  2. Faith says:

    Every writer wants his/her works to be published, to be read, to be–as my sister and I have put it in a book we’re working on–consumed. Yes, you get a lot personally from the writing, but you get more from the consumption. I loved your book, and I hope you sell many copies!!

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