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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mormon Mentions: Laura Bickle

If you're not sure what a Mormon is, let alone a Mormon Mention, allow me to explain:  My name is Susan and I'm a Mormon (you've seen the commercials, right?).  As a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church), I'm naturally concerned with how my religion is portrayed in the media.  Because this blog is about books, every time I see a reference to Mormonism in a book written by someone who is not a member of my church, I highlight it here.  Then, I offer my opinion—my insider's view—of what the author is saying.  It's my chance to correct misconceptions, expound on principles of the Gospel, and even to laugh at my (sometimes) crazy Mormon culture. 

Here goes:

It's natural that a book about what happens to one girl's faith as she faces the apocalypse would discuss religion, in all its various forms.  In the beginning of The Outside by Laura Bickle, the three main characters—Katie, Alex and Ginger—are discussing what different religious groups teach about the end of the world.  Alex says

"Mormonism has the idea that darkness will cover the earth, and that evil will burn in fire."

"If we were only that lucky," Ginger muttered.

(Quote from Page 21 of ARC)

Darkness blanketing the earth and the wicked being burned during the Last Days are not beliefs specific to Mormonism.  Both are, in fact, found in the Bible.  Darkness is discussed in Isaiah 60:2, a verse which seems to refer to both a literal darkness over the land and a spiritual darkness in the hearts of the people.  Anyone who's studied the Bible knows that light/darkness are used often as symbols, the former referring to Jesus Christ/righteousness, the latter to Satan/wickedness.  The wicked being burned as stubble is talked about in Malachi 4:1.  Whether this is a literal burning or a figurative term for sins being judged, I have no idea.

As grim as the so-called "Signs of the Times" are, Mormons and other Christians believe that these events are harbingers of Christ's Second Coming.  Thus, they should be anticipated with hope, not terror.  Mormons have always been urged to prepare for the event, both temporally and spiritually, for "if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear" (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30).  The LDS people have also been told repeatedly not to dwell on the frightening aspects of the Lord's Second Coming, but to look forward to the Last Days with courage, faith and joy.  I think this statement from Joseph Smith, whom Mormons honor as a prophet of God, sums it up quite nicely:

 “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” 

1 comment:

  1. Good clarification. You explained it well. (I'm LDS too.)

    I'm looking forward to reading this book (and it's prequel).


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