Tuesday, January 20, 2015

He's a Mormon??

Breaking News: Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game and New York Times Bestseller Seventh Son, is reportedly a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. AKA a Mormon.

Ok, so I did know before reading Card's Seventh Son that he was a Mormon. But if I were from an outsider's point of view, I never would have guessed it. Seventh Son tells the story of Alvin Maker, a young boy growing up in the magical land of America during its founding years. Literally, the magical land. It's a very different kind of America than the one we read about in history books, one where witchcraft is a very real thing.

Interestingly enough, Card's story bears a striking similarity to the story of the founder of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith. While he claims that "any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental" (title page of Seventh Son), I think anyone who knows anything about the Mormon Church would beg to differ. The similarities between Alvin and young Joseph Smith are incredible, from a leg infection which needed to be cut out in a rare operation to being ridiculed and mocked by preachers for not believing their doctrine, to only name two. I found these similarities a kind of cop-out for Card, who seemed to just be out to make money at a time when his theater work wasn't quite paying the bills. The least he could have done was be honest and admit that he borrowed many ideas for his book.

That being said, I am actually glad that he kept this relation to Joseph Smith under wraps. Card is a bit eccentric as an author and while this does produce some great creative pieces, it would seem prudent to not connect his stories with the LDS Church. People tend to take whatever is even loosely connected to the Church and blow it out of proportion, making the entire Church look totally crazy. Connecting the founder with witchcraft wouldn't the best move.

"About Orson Scott Card." About Orson Scott Card. Hatrack River Enterprises Inc., 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 20 Jan. 2015. <http://www.hatrack.com/osc/about-more.shtml>. 


  1. I agree that it was better for Card to keep the connection under wraps. We have enough of a problem with people discerning between oulandish tales and truth to want a direct link between the fantasy of The Seventh Son and the history of the church. Besides, I wonder, would as many people read it?

  2. I also agree that it was good not to broadcast the connection. Butt I am curious, is there a benefit to the connection to the two stories? Do you think it adds understanding or does it make the Joseph Smith story seem even more miraculous and potentially impossible?

  3. I agree with you. In doing my research, I learned that Card has been a controversial author for some with respects to some of his religious views, and maybe the amplification of these connections would have shed a more negative light on the church. Still, some of his depictions of Mormon theology were very insightful. What connection to Mormonism and the story of Jospeh Smith interested you the most?

  4. I'm glad that you brought up the caveat from the title page, but I'm surprised that you dismissed it as dishonest--when I read it, I assumed he was telling the truth. Do you think he has a reason to lie about what he meant for the book to mean? Could Card possibly have included Mormon images and themes without meaning to?

  5. I really like this connection (between Alvin and Joseph Smith), actually. I found myself getting more out of it when I made those connections--not necessarily because it provided more insight to the story itself or to the life of Joseph Smith, but the process in which Card was writing the story. I really liked the independence of the character of Alvin and I think that might have showed Card's opinion and understanding of how Joseph Smith was as a person.