by Scott Hales (bio)
There never seems to be a time when Mormon authors aren't publishing something worth reading. Over the past couple of months, for example, I've enjoyed Steven Peck's recent novella A Short Stay in Hell, Sunstone's Stephen Carter's essay collection What of the Night?, and Theric Jepson's debut novel Byuck—all of which I'd not hesitate to recommend. This year I've also tried to tackle a few classic Mormon novels, like Susa Young Gates' John Stevens' Courtship (1909) and Nephi Anderson's Dorian (1921). Sadly, I can't say I'd recommend John Stevens' unless you're interested in its historical-cultural significance, but Dorian is definitely worth your time—despite its many weaknesses. I like to call it the first modern Mormon novel.
Right now I'm on a non-fiction reading binge. I recently received a copy of Terryl and Fiona Givens' The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life (Ensign Peak, 2012) in the mail. In this book, the Givens explore the beauty of Mormonism's understanding of a compassionate God—a God who is, despite popular belief, not particularly interested in punishing the wicked and condemning them to Hell, but rather in doing what He can to bring His children home to become as He is. After having listened to John Dehlin's excellent Mormon Stories interview with Terryl Givens (I haven't had the chance yet to listen to his interview with Fiona), and having had some limited interaction with Givens myself, I am convinced that he is one of the greatest—and most faithful—minds in the Church. The God Who Weeps is simply a fantastic book—and I'm still only halfway through it.