Zane Grey and Mormonism today

I recall as a kid, enjoying reading the Sackett series of western books by Louis L’Amour.. Joining the Church at 16, I turned much of my reading attention to LDS and ancient literature. Still, I retained a love for good western literature.

Over the years, I’d wanted to read “Riders of the Purple Sage” by Zane Grey (1912), curious at his take on Mormonism a century ago.  After all these years, I finally read it this past week, and wished to comment on it.

The story takes place in 1871 in southern Utah. A woman, Jane, has inherited her father’s wealthy ranch. She is LDS, loves her bishop, and is being pressed to marry one of the elders.  Meanwhile, rustlers are stealing large herds of cattle, including Jane’s herd.

We quickly see interesting twists in the book. Mormons are pretty much either evil or pressured to comply by the Mormon leadership, who are not above doing evil things They drive off Jane’s herds, work in conjunction with the rustlers, steal her prize horses, kidnap her adopted daughter, etc.

Meanwhile, the two leading Gentile men, Venter and Lassiter are justified in killing others. Jane falls for Lassiter, while Venter falls in love with a young woman that ran with the rustlers.  All four seem to be redeemed by their rejection of rustler and Mormon, alike.

The bishop and elder end up being powerful beings that have sweet smiles, but black hearts. It appears all Mormon leaders are of the same ilk, deserving to be gunned down by Lassiter.

It was a very interesting read. A good book, a great Western. That said, it made Mormonism seem like the Mountain Meadows Massacre was a daily occurrence.  For Jane to first mentally, and then physically run from Mormonism and the Church leaders is a key breakthrough Grey wishes for us to cheer for in his heroine.

A century later, the Church is very different than the 1870s Mormonism that Grey envisions. Yet there are still those who see the LDS as a dangerous group, lorded over by dangerous men.
Continue reading

My Secret Identity

In the classic Superman movie series (Superman 3), starring Christopher Reeve, we find that Superman is contaminated by some Kryptonite.  In an interesting scene, the evil Superman lands in an auto junkyard, screams, and then has his alter-ego, Clark Kent, emerge.  The two duke it out, until the real Man of Steel, his true identity, wins.

Today, we find people struggling with their true identities.  Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn.  Rachel Dolezal insists she is African American, though her white parents dispute it Continue reading

The First LDS Online Election Poll

Here’s an early poll, so we can see who in the Bloggernacle people are most interested in voting for.  You can vote for more than one person. Only select those you actually like as a candidate.  Do not vote for someone you would vote for only under duress. Poll closes in a week.

D&C 76 and the Telestial Kingdom, a Different Reading.

On Facebook, I’ve been in a discussion with several in regards to Pres Uchtdorf’s talk on Grace.  The discussion evolved into a disagreement on those who receive the Telestial Kingdom, whether they inherit salvation, are forgiven for their sins, etc.  I was surprised at the wide variety of views given regarding it.

So, I went back to D&C 76 to do a hard look at what it says, and to question our basic interpretation.  Here are some of my thoughts and questions. I hope you will share your additional thoughts in the comments Continue reading