Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fictional Avalanche

Fictional literature has always been very interesting in its ability to bring your mind to new places and create characters that may or may not be possible in non-fiction. I think Douglas Thayer does well in his novel, "Will Wonders Never Cease" in depicting common Utah LDS culture through fictional literature.

In Thayer's novel, he depicts a young man's spiritual and physical struggles of being trapped in under an avalanche. It would be hard to use the few non-fictional examples of young men being trapped in an avalanche to illustrate the Latter-day Saint culture as he did. It would be especially difficult to find a young man who lived to tell the tale with such detail as Thayer has.

Generally, I believe that non-fiction has an excellent role in a Mormon setting. We find "testimonies" and lived experiences to be strengthening. Reflecting on this past General Conference, I remember several fictional anecdotes that were used to teach principles in ways that perhaps non-fiction couldn't have. In my opinion, there is great value in both fiction and non-fiction within LDS literature. Thayer could create both a setting and the character that allowed for a very personal interaction with a young man raised in the environment of a Utah LDS home. It may be difficult to reveal the true feelings, concerns, or secrets of a non-fictional character. In this light, fiction could be the best way to bring up sensitive topics with great tact.


  1. Your concept or non-fictional LDS literature being more of a strength through examples of testimonies is interesting to me. I think your right, some of those real experience touch us and motivate us. Whereas we bring in fictional work like Thayers and we see that the unspoken of habits and cultures are brought to light. Not negatively necessarily just brings them to our attention.

  2. You brought up an interesting point, that fiction can create characters that could be non-existent. Do you think there are any radical characters in LDS fiction? I think we typically have Lucille's in our lives and Kyles, maybe Thayer even based his novel off people he knows! But it would be interesting to find very radical characters whose personalities could be non-existent in LDS culture.

  3. Unfortunately I believe it is difficult to openly and honestly reveal the true feelings of many real life youth and adults with the same struggles as Kyle. One of the failings of our culture may be that we are often quick to judge and often prefer to see everyone project a more culturally acceptable version of themselves in church and other mormon social settings