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QUESTION:

As an assignment for my eighth grade English class, we were required to read a 'banned book' and write a paper examining the reasons for its "banishment." I chose Ender's Game, and the main reasons cited for it being banned included profanity and sexuality. What are YOUR thoughts on banned books in general, but especially on Ender's Game?

-- Submitted Anonymously

OSC REPLIES: - July 19, 2004

Ender's Game banned because of "sexuality"? Ha. There's no sexuality in the book, period. Unless somebody thinks that showering naked is "sexual."

The reason Ender's Game was first banned is because it was placed on a "hit list" of "evil books" by a Baptist group many years ago, and it was placed on that list for no other reason than that I'm a Mormon, and therefore no children should be reading a book by me. I've run into Baptist anti-Mormon efforts many times - like the time the editor of a Christian magazine was forced to eliminate me as a columnist on religious matters and the negative coverage generated on my first screenplay, which came back notated as "blatant Mormon propaganda," even though there was nothing remotely Mormon in it.

The original official excuse for EG being on a hit list was because it cultivated 'anti-adult attitudes.' Whenever I see that excuse as the reason, I know the source is the Baptist list. Which makes it hilarious that it was banned once in Utah, because of the efforts of a Mormon who had picked up the Baptist list and didn't realize that one way to get on that list was just to BE a Mormon!

Later, EG was banned from some libraries because the N word was used in a scene where Ender was making an ANTI-racist point to a racist character (such is the stupidity of censors!). So at my urging, my publisher allowed me to rewrite the scene to eliminate the offending word. But since some people were fully committed to banning EG, they simply chose other words to be offended by.

Since Ender's Game is actually quite inoffensive in itself, there is invariably a hidden agenda in the efforts to ban the book, usually tied to the fact that I'm a Mormon. Nowadays, most efforts to boycott or ban books of mine stem from the fact that the Mormon Church openly opposes gay marriage and continues to regard voluntary homosexual behavior as sinful, and I have openly defended my Church's position.

But since I never use my books to preach my religion or advance my political agenda, it's always a real stretch to find excuses to ban my books. Ultimately, the motive almost always seems to come down to wanting to punish me for actually being an orthodox and vocal Latter-day Saint.

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