Does a Sunny Outlook Preclude Literary Greatness?

Does a Sunny Outlook Preclude Literary Greatness?

The true measure of literary greatness depends on, well, how you measure it. Is great literature defined by critics, readers or awards? Longevity through generations? Literature that inspires change—political, cultural or religious? What yardstick is used, so to speak, in making a judgment? A recent New York Times column stated that in 1888, Orson Whitney—a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church—spoke of the possibility of Mormon literature, saying, “We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.” The column stated that, 125 years later, this has not happened. [1] The columnist is both right and wrong. By the world’s standards, Latter-day Saints might not have their own literary giants. But Bishop Whitney never intended Latter-day Saints to be literary giants according to the world’s standards—he intended them to be literary giants according to the Lord’s standards. He said:

It is by means of literature that much of this great work will have to be accomplished: a literature of power and purity, worthy of such a work. And a pure and powerful literature can only proceed from a pure and powerful people…. Experience has taught me that it is the heart, not simply the head, we must appeal to, if we wish to stir the soul. The intellect may shine, but it is the bosom that burns, and warms into life every movement that is born to bless humanity. …

We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own. God’s ammunition is not exhausted. His brightest spirits are held in reserve for the latter times. In God’s name and by his help we will build up a literature whose top shall touch heaven, though its foundations may now be low in earth. [2] (more…)

iPlates: Volume II reaches Kickstarter Goal

iPlates: Volume II reaches Kickstarter Goal

Jett Atwood and Stephen Carter, the writer artist team responsible for iPlates: Volume I, a Book of Mormon themed comic book, will now be producing a second volume. The two recently met their Kickstarter goal for iPlates: Volume II. The first comic book which is available on Amazon tells the story of Abinadi and King Noah. The story stays true to details from The Book of Mormon, and expands the story with fictional story lines that help build and explore motivations within the story.

Encouragement for Young Book of Mormon Readers

iPlates: Volume I is rendered in beautiful comic book style drawings, as will the second volume. The second volume will continue where the previous story left off, with Alma in the wilderness deciding what to do now that King Noah’s court is falling. The second volume plans to add more female characters to the story. Carter explained that part of his motivation in expanding the stories was because “I want it to be the most natural thing in the world for my daughter to imagine females as a part the Book of Mormon. I want to her to think of those women as intelligent, strong, and motivated.” [1] (more…)

Former Mormon Missionary Rallies Philippine Relief Efforts

Former Mormon Missionary Rallies Philippine Relief Efforts

At the beginning of November 2013, raging Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippine islands. By the end of the month, the death toll rose above 5,500, with the numbers continuing to rise. The Philippines hasn’t ever seen destruction like this. Many people around the world may see the storm footage and say to themselves, “Gee, that’s too bad. I wish we could do something.” Miles Bell, however, owner of Dave’s Auto Center in Layton and Centerville, Utah, decided to do something more.[1]

Opening Up Shop

Miles Bell MormonBell is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a faith often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) and served his full-time mission in the Philippines. Thanks to social media, Bell is able to stay in touch with many of the people he served in that country. So when Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the islands, Bell was devastated.

Instead of wishing he could do something to help, Bell took action. He decided to open up his auto shop on a day when they were usually closed. All labor proceeds that day were donated to relief efforts in the Philippines. Customers came in for repairs both big and small and were asked to donate at least $50, regardless of the repair. During the fundraiser, customers were also allowed to bring in their own parts or to purchase the needed parts wholesale. (more…)

BYU Graduate Student Creates “Smart Foam”

BYU Graduate Student Creates “Smart Foam”

Concussions are a big topic of discussion in the world of sports, in particular in the sport of football. Statistics show that there are between an estimated 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States every year, and athletes ages 16 to 19 sustain 29% of all sports-related concussions.

There are distinct differences in age when it comes to managing sport related concussions. Recent research demonstrates that high school athletes not only take longer to recover after a concussion when compared to collegiate or professional athletes, but they also may experience greater severity of symptoms and more neurological disturbances as measured by neuropsychological and postural stability tests. It is also estimated that 53% of high school athletes have sustained a concussion before participation in high school sports, and 36% of collegiate athletes have a history of multiple concussions. [2]

To better understand the impact of a hit that a football player receives on the field (which often leads to other serious injuries), Jake Merrell, a Brigham Young University (BYU) graduate student in mechanical engineering, has developed a “smart foam” that fits inside of a football helmet.

“Smart Foam” – An Impact Detection System and Alert System for Coaches

High School Football Tackle MormonWhile searching for a way to measure the amount of impact inside a football helmet, Merrell discovered that when he combined nanoparticles to a foam substance similar to that found inside a football helmet, when compressed, the two created an electric current. The “Smart Foam” system is a combination of foam and motion sensors that measures the acceleration and force of impact that a player receives to his head, and transmits that data to a tablet or computer. It also sends a warning to sideline coaches that there has been a concussion-level hit. In a recent press statement Merrell stated, “A coach will know within seconds exactly how hard their player just got hit. Even if a player pops up and acts fine, the folks on the sidelines will have data showing that maybe he isn’t OK.” [3] Merrell has plans to submit his project to the Head Health Challenge in which the “NFL is collaborating with G.E. and Under Armour to spend $60 million researching and developing new helmet technologies.” [4] (more…)

Classifieds Site Attracts Mormons All over Utah

Live in Utah and need a used car? Or a new car? Or an apartment contract? What about a couch? You can search and find all of these things on, Utah’s top-ranked site for classifieds. sources half of all used-car sales for Murdock’s Automotive Group’s largest Hyundai stores around Salt Lake City. is akin to a giant local Craigslist and came from the Salt Lake NBC affiliate, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church). Users of the site can find anything from farm equipment to apartment listings to kitchen appliances. In Utah, if you’re ever in need of something–especially something for a good deal–checking is one of the first things to do.[1] (more…)

A Mormon Widow Among Marrieds:  Feeling Whole and Supported

A Mormon Widow Among Marrieds: Feeling Whole and Supported

One of the wonderful benefits of being part of a ward (congregation) in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon Church”) is that you have “family” even when your real family may be far away.  Such was the case when I became a widow at the age of 27.  My three children were 4 months, 2 years, and 4 years old.

Mormon MotherhoodNot long after my husband’s death, I determined to move to another city.  While kneeling in prayer one morning, I had the distinct impression—like a voice in my head—which simply said, “Stay here.”  I was startled by that admonishment, because it was not a choice that I wanted to consider.  But, oh how many times in the ensuing years I reaped the blessings of listening to that prompting to stay!

My foremost desire for my children, as well as for myself, was to be involved with other families in the ward.   We were a family unit and felt very much a part of the ward family as we attended all calendared events.  At the time I had no desire to find my own fulfillment in activities for singles.  I was puzzled at the attitude of a widow a bit older than I who one day said to me, “I’ve never been invited to any event.”  I could have replied, “Nor have I.  I just went.”  It is a credit to my ward that I never perceived myself as an outsider. (more…)

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