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Author Topic: Mormons missionaries and OSC
Dobbie
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I met two Mormon missionaries. When I mentioned Card, it turned out that they had both heard of them and one of them even mentioned reading one of Card's books, which turned out to be Ender's Game.
So it's true what I've always said: "Mormons love Orson Scott Card."

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grinch
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I think a lot of members of the same church as him have heard of OSC, but I don't think a majorty of them have read his books. I didn't until I was living overseas and really desperate for companionship with those of my faith. I was doing this as a military wife, and not a missionary, before anyone has a fit of the vapors all over me.

P.S. I guess the word desperate gives a negative connotation. What I mean is, it gave me a sense of being part of something larger and good that I lacked not having much of a congregation.

[ March 18, 2004, 07:19 PM: Message edited by: grinch ]

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Shan
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The church member that showed up at my door a few nights ago didn't indicate that he had heard of OSC. Hmmm.

I do think it's a trifle curious that since purchasing two books from our beloved forum I have been called and visited, out of the blue. Is there any connection to these two events or should I look elsewhere for a cause?

(Waggles eyebrows curiously)

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cochick
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I've been LDS since I was 9 and I hadn't heard of OSC until about 4 years ago (over 20 years later - but not mentioned how many over) when a fellow sci-fi/fantasy fan mentioned him to me - I still can't remember if I read EG or the Homecoming series first.

Then again I do live in the UK.

Shan - I think its probably coincidence but you never know maybe this is the Cards every member a missionary tool!! [Wink]

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Amka
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I live in Utah and I talk to a lot of Mormons.

Let me outline various LDS responses:

OSC writes Science Fiction and Fantasy. Science Fiction is evil because it is Atheist. Fantasy is evil because it is Satanic. He also wrote a smutty romance called "A Woman of Destiny" with heaving bosoms on the cover. Didn't he get excommunicated for that one??? He should have, if he didn't.

OSC writes fiction. Fiction should not be bothered with.

OSC uses vulgar language, so I had to put the book down.

I read something of his once, but I prefer Gerald Dunn, Jack Weyland, and Richard Paul Evans.

Oh, my husband or father or brother has his books and likes him.

Who is OSC? This constitutes a large minority, if not majority.

And last, and probably the least amount, is "I've read his stuff. I love it." If the missionaries you are talking about are young men, statistics will naturally be skewed towards having read and loved OSC. Although his Women of Genesis series is changing that.

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Magson
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quote:
I read something of his once, but I prefer Gerald Dunn, Jack Weyland, and Richard Paul Evans.
*shudders*
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Bean Counter
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The Missionaries who gave me the lessons mentioned him as a famous member, but they were not familiar with his stories, their parents considered them to be too secular or popular or currupted in some way.

The LDS missionaries are tremendously idealistic and at a very sexualy charged energetic age with heavy repression thrown in. That makes them the second most effective selling force in the world. (The first is the girl scouts) The level of emotional energy and hunger in sexually repressed 18-21 year olds is fantastic. To acheive this it seems like the children of LDS families are very sheltered.

After the mission window they tend to get married or fall away from the church into secularism for a time simply because the sustained frustration cannot be maintained.

OSC seems to be too much of a mainstream thinker for young Mormons. Not that they are not acheivers, I find them to be as a group the most acheivement oriented kids I know of, and that is saying much, but they are not given to day dreaming.

To quote Heinlien speaking as Jubal Harshaw "I just missed being an evangilist by the skin of my teeth, I fell into the sin of reading."

BC

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mr_porteiro_head
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I have been in the Church my whole life too, and I was introduced to Card by a non-member freind.

My grandmother read the first book of the Homecoming series, which is based on the Book of Mormon, and she decided that Card is not an author, but a hack who steals stories from the scriptures. Oh well. [Dont Know]

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Occasional
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Maybe I just walk in different circles. My experience has either been "Who is OSC" (a very large majority) or "I've read him and he is pretty good" (a much smaller one). The negative statements mentioned were rarely, if ever, mentioned. Usually, those who don't like OSC also skip reading most fiction.

When you think about it, all that negativity doesn't make sense. I mean, Utah is known for its Sci-fi reading and writing. The man is bound to be known; and probably liked. Maybe this just represents a large minority in a minority.

Maybe its because my dad was an Uber sci-fi reader and my mother just liked to read. That makes me tend more toward those who read, and read sci-fi.

[ March 19, 2004, 10:56 AM: Message edited by: Occasional ]

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Amka
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There really are all kinds in Utah, Occassional. I've heard or read in paper publications every single one of those responses. I've seen smiles turn fake. But as I said "Who is OSC?" is probably the most common one.

I live in a midrange middle class neighborhood. Right next to us is a neighborhood about 20 years older than ours. It is near a golf course. Income levels tip into the upper middle class range, but ages vary. I am in a position where I get to work with others who I wouldn't naturally get to know better. This is one of the strengths of LDS organizations, I think. I also get to work with people's children. I would say that the reading temperament of our ward runs from insanely conservative all fiction is evil to someone like my husband and I, with a large "Gerald Dunn" contingent in the middle.

One of the "I don't read fiction" responses actually came from someone who had met OSC in college and had no idea he'd gone on to become a writer.

[ March 19, 2004, 11:41 AM: Message edited by: Amka ]

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Papa Moose
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Maybe if more of you mentioned his whole name instead of his initials, they would have heard of him.
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Dobbie
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There used to be a guy named David Manning here. He thought OSC was some guy named "Oscar".
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Narnia
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I mentioned this on Nauvoo in the Mormon Arts thread actually. I remember the first time I really heard of Orson Scott Card. My Aunt was reading the Homecoming Series when she was visiting our house one time. I couldn't have been older than 15 or 16. She really liked it and was telling us a little bit about the parallels with the B of M etc...

And I, cynical wench that I am, rolled my eyes and thought "Great. Another Mormon 'artist.'" It wasn't until 4-5 years later that I was dating a guy that told me I really needed to read Ender's Game.

So I did. The rest is history. [Smile] But I hadn't read OSC simply because I wasn't interested in what I thought would be more bad to mediocre Mormon fiction. I don't know if that's the case for anyone else...

[ March 19, 2004, 08:38 PM: Message edited by: Narnia ]

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Yozhik
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Isn't his name Gerald Lund?

(Whatever; his writing is still, um, well, there's a lot of it, anyway.)

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Dead_Horse
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It's partly Mr. Card's fault [Wink] I am an active member of the church. I had been inactive for 10+ years when I read Seventh Son. Some of the things about Alvin reminded me of Joseph Smith. I started reading the Homecoming series. I would have liked Card's books anyway, but they triggered a nostalgic desire to "go home".

I did (that was 10 years ago), and next Friday I will be attending the temple for the first time as an adult.

Thank you, OSC!
Rain

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Occasional
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Narnia, that is close to what happened to me when I was a teenager. I heard that he was LDS and just didn't think his books would have been very good -- especially if he was "orthodox" as he mostly is. Then a few years later in my teenage years I read OSC because I realized you couldn't be a sci-fi fan and not pick at least Ender's Game up.

To my surprise he became one of my favorite authors. I don't like all his books, but I like a great deal of them. Ironically I haven't read his religious themed series. I am pretty sure they are good, but deep inside I think I have a caution sign in my brain.

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Narnia
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Congrats DH!!! That's fantastic!! [Smile]

Yeah Occasional, I haven't read the Homecoming series either...that's partly why I think, but I'll get around to it one of these days. I have read the Women of Genesis and Stone Tables. *puts hand on heart* Ah. Stone Tables is fabulous. Just fabulous. I liked Sarah and RAchel too, but Stone Tables is fabulous.

Did I mention that? [Big Grin]

[ March 20, 2004, 03:49 AM: Message edited by: Narnia ]

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Dead_Horse
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Thanks, Narnia! I am so excited.

And Stone Tables rocks! [Big Grin]

Rain

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sarcasticmuppet
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My mom tried to get me to read EG from the time I was about ten. I finally did at 14 or so. When she was at BYU my mom paid fifty cents to see OSC's plays. She has a great collection of OSC books, including some older ones. She promised them to me when she dies. I love my mom!
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T.J.
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a question for amka

If you are so against OSC why do you have a membership on his website why dont you just let other people do what they wanna do, i'm not mormon and i dont know much but i do know that REAL christians just have to put God first and and we're good and if we call upon the lord we are saved

And!
quote:
...with heaving bosoms on the cover
he isnt the artist, publishers control what goes on the cover
just thought i'd let you know that you're a hypocrit

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alath
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woa...

Perhaps you read amka's post wrong. I do believe she was was stating that OTHER LDS people say those things about OSC and I'm pretty sure she herself isn't against him otherwise she most likely wouldn't be here.

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Papa Moose
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Yeah, T.J., I think you jumped the gun there. Amka not only wouldn't answer in such a manner herself, but is a friend of Scott, and actually the owner/operator of what is probably second only to Hatrack as far as OSC websites go -- Philotic Web. What she means is that there are a number of people, some of whom happen to be LDS missionaries, who will for lack of a better phrase "judge a book by its cover." Or its genre, topic, etc. I believe she was joking to some degree -- it's not a common response, I'd guess -- but there's just that ounce of truth that makes it humorous in a wry wincing sort of way.

Take a little more time, and get to know Amka. You'll see that she isn't what you seem to think her to be, but rather is a wonderful and kind person (and her husband and kids are cool, too, but you might not find that out here).

Ok, it's all good now, right? We're all cool now. No worries, hakuna matata and all that. And welcome to Hatrack!

--Pop

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fallow
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T.J.,

what's up?

fallow

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T.J.
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sorry i was skimming i was gone for a week and had lots of catching up to do so im sorry
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Amka
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No worries TJ. You don't know me, and I didn't state my opinion in that post and lingered rather lovingly on the negative reaction.

Gerald Lund - Dunn[g]

Must have been a Freudian slip. Did you know he actually wrote a science fiction novel in the eighties? [Angst]

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skrika03
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You guys who haven't read the Homecoming Series are missing out. It's a great series. It's less based on the book of Mormon than Alvin Maker is on the life of Joseph Smith. Though if you are under the impression that Alvin Maker really isn't that far off from the life of Joseph Smith and you are trying to figure out which of the apostles Arthur Stewart represents... I guess you might be happier steering clear after all.

I mean, one might as well say that Ender is really Ether, and the Hive Queen represents Coriantumr and the story he writes is like those plates that the Mulekites found. So if you've read Ender's Game, you've already been corrupted by his "plagiarizing" [Wink] ways. You might as well go whole hog.

(edit to insert [Wink] in case anyone's sarcas-o-meter is busted [Wink] )

[ March 25, 2004, 03:00 AM: Message edited by: skrika03 ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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I enjoyed the Homecoming series, and I think it's a great story.

But I completely disagree with skrika03. The Homecoming series is *much* more based on the Book of Mormon than the Alvin series is based on the life of Joseph Smith. Like you say, you cannot look at the Alvin series and recognize the secondary players. But in the Homecoming series, you can. It's almost always a 1:1 correlation.

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A Rat Named Dog
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Yeah, the Alvin Maker books do a good job of hitting certain recognizable key points a leg operation, at least one court case, the appearance of a bright being in his room, hiding a golden artifact and the general goal of Alvin's life is similar to Joseph Smith's. But the actual plot of his story is very different, as are many of the major players. Note that Alvin only has one wife, for instance. His controversial practice is magic, not polygamy, and magic isn't coming between him and Peggy.

The Homecoming series, on the other hand, hits every major plot point and depicts every major character faithfully (though a few are combined, and all are given added features and depth). It is a direct retelling of an old story, rather than a new story that simply references the old one.

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Narnia
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Ok ok!! I'll read it!!!

[Big Grin]

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Narnia
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I just went and bought the first two today.

It's actually really nice to have an entire series of OSC to read for the first time. It's like Christmas or something. [Smile]

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AnonymousNC
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I mostly just "lurk" but wanted to weigh in on a couple of things--

Homecoming is a great series. As a non-Mormon, I had no clue that it had anything to do with BoM when I read the series the 1st time - it was just a great sf series (and the same for me with the first couple of Alvin books).

On the "every member a missionary" thing and for those LDS who might think his works a "waste", OSC has definitely been a missionary of LDS for me. While I'm not LDS and never will be, he and his books inspired me to get a basic and much less biased understanding and appreciation of LDS, LDS missionaries, and Mormons in general. While I guess the true goal of a missionary is conversion, it is still a "win" to have someone respect the faith & its members and as an extra benefit, I've defended Mormonism and corrected some misconceptions to others. To those who might not appreciate his work - think of the benefits to LDS that come from his influence on non-Mormons in this way.

Actually all the LDS members who post on this site (or at least most of them!) have been "mini missionaries" to me. Just in realizing that not all Mormons are mindless boring fundamentalists.

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AnonymousNC
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And btw, my comment that I will never be a Mormon was not a disparaging comment on Mormonism as a faith but rather a comment on my lack of will power to give up some vices that aren't acceptable in that faith (and lots of other faiths!)
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skrika03
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Edit: I will now reply and apparently create SPOILERS
,
,
,
,

I'd call the combining of Sarai and Ishmael into Rasa a pretty big departure. Moozh, Rashgallivak, Vas, Obring, and Shedemei are all absent from the Book of Mormon. And, it goes without saying, all the other female characters can only be extrapolated to exist.

For me, the changes to the first vision and the dream of Nafai mark similar points in which both series completely depart from the histories that inspired them. Sure many details are different up to those points, but changing those experiences changes the very meaning of the lives of Alvin and Nafai respectively. I'm not complaining, I just think it goes beyond making the setting different.

[ March 25, 2004, 02:43 AM: Message edited by: skrika03 ]

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A Rat Named Dog
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Ishmael had married sons in the Book of Mormon. Their gender was flopped to create Sevet and Kokor, and their wives became Vas and Obring. Card developed their characters in a way the Book of Mormon never attempted, but he HAD to. You can't have a bunch of faceless nobodies wandering around [Smile]

Moozh originally represented the impending Babylonian invasion in the Book of Mormon, but Card fell in love with the character and expanded his role in the story as he wrote. Moozh didn't infringe on the retelling at all, but instead generated a really cool new subplot that took over the second book. There's a difference between adding a subplot and outright changing the plot or the meaning of the story.

Combining Ishmael and Sariah was a good move, as it made the leader's wife into a much more interesting and powerful character.

It's been a while since I read the books, but I though Rash was meant to parallel Jeremiah. I could be wrong.

Shedemei is a total fabrication, but again, she and Zdorab generated a couple of subplots together that were interesting in their own right, and did nothing to interfere with the major plot.

I'm not trying to sound defensive, but I do still think it's pretty clear that the Homecoming books are a MUCH truer retelling of Mormon stories than the Alvin Maker books are. And I'm curious what, exactly, you think is new and different about Nafai's experience, compared to Nephi's.

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Armoth
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I knew that the homecoming paralleled the book of mormon, but i didnt know the alvin series was meant to!
I should really try reading the book of mormon once...we have in the house somewhere.

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Narnia
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You folks need to learn how to MARK spoilers. [Smile]

Armoth, the Alvin Maker series has some parallels to the life of Joseph Smith, but isn't meant to be the same plot or story. He's quite his own character, and he has a very distinct and separate story. The books are better if you're not looking for the parallels. [Smile]

[ March 24, 2004, 09:13 PM: Message edited by: Narnia ]

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cochick
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I discussed the problems I had when I first read the Homecoming series in the Is OSC your friend thread.

I mentioned then that I might go back and re read the series in light of the discussion and having read lots more of OSC's work. Well, having finished Rebekah (which was brilliant) over the weekend and having no more new books to read, I've started and nearly finished "Memory of Earth". No problems so far - but I didn't before with this book. I'll have to see how I feel when I get further on in the series. This is fun though.

Aaarrrgghh - I've no new books in the house - suffering from withdrawal - must....log....onto....Amazon [Big Grin] (added to annoy all emoticon haters)

EDIT: ok - how did I type you're instead of your ???

[ March 24, 2004, 09:44 PM: Message edited by: cochick ]

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skrika03
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MORE SPOILERS (homecoming and Alvin Maker)

quote:
And I'm curious what, exactly, you think is new and different about Nafai's experience, compared to Nephi's.
Nafai never completely trusts in the oversoul, because the oversoul is not deity. Same with Alvin and the source of he and Peggy's powers. Oh, and I do think the powers come between them, very clearly in this last book. Her fiddling with his destiny to try and save him, his inability to save the first baby.

It used to bother me that they (the homecoming characters) never make direct contact with deity. But then I read a series that did conclude that way, and I didn't like it. So I read the series over again and had a whole new appreciation of the boundary OSC maintains.

To tie in the Ether comment, the Homecoming corellary to the people of Jared is also extremely different. The people of Jared were both dazzlingly faithful and heartbreakingly wicked. I didn't get this from the Homecoming books. I think this goes beyond a subplot nitpick, but I could be wrong as I've only read Earthborn once.

My intent is to encourage people to read the series who have expressed concern about the Book of Mormon parallels, not trying to diss the series. The description "Book of Mormon in space" was really off-putting when I first heard it.

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Crux
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Many LDS members in my area, that do in fact know about Orson Scott Card, don't read his books because of their 'radical viewpoints on religion'. Of course i live in a very sheltered area of Utah. Such a close minded community that I have been told i'm going to hell on many occasions for listening to a band called 'Murder by Death' (whom i highly reccomend to cello fans) based on nothing more than their learning of the groups name alone.

i love this valley.

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skrika03
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Well, I'm sure that musical group chose that name to reflect their concern about preserving habitat for fuzzy little animals [Wink] It must be very sad for them that people misjudge them so.
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UTAH
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Armoth, heavens to Betsy, no, don't look for parallels in Alvin with Joseph Smith.
quote:
Armoth, the Alvin Maker series has some parallels to the life of Joseph Smith, but isn't meant to be the same plot or story. He's quite his own character, and he has a very distinct and separate story. The books are better if you're not looking for the parallels.

The parallel is a very loose and almost non-existent one. In my humble opinion, of course.
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UTAH
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I, too, have come across some LDS friends who would not read or listen to the great insights that I've gleaned from OSC's work because of some "vulgar" language, etc. We actually had a book club going and I would share my reading with these mostly older ladies. They emphatically let me know their opinion of my choice in authors. Their loss. Their choice.
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Phil Tice
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I just want to say that I'm 25 yrs old, I've been a member of the LDS Church my entire life, and I've been reading books by OSC since I was nine. My older brother introduced me to Ender's Game and I took it from there. I now live in Utah and obviously associate with a lot of Mormons. Most of the people I talk too, know who OSC is, whether they have read his books or not. Everyone I know who has actually read his stuff, loves it. I introduced my wife to some Ender's Game and Enchantment last year and she loved them. I guess my point is that not all LDS people are as closed-minded as some would like you to think.
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Armoth
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There are always problems with sterotyping, so much to the point that it becomes worthless to do so.
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Phil Tice
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Sterotyping = worthless

It's all coming clear now. [Smile]

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UTAH
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Phil, you make a good point and thank you for doing so. I guess I just want everyone to love OSC's work as much as I do. Granted my group of LDS women was a small number compared to those that I've introduced to Card's work and they love it. My family, my friends, my kids' friends . . .
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Crux
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Shrika,
thanks for the lovely sarcasm and trivialization of my example. I'm just all teen angsty aren't I? I might be passionate about my music but i'm far from being too stupid to know when i'm being talked down to. No offence taken. I just don't want undertones coming my way again simply based on my being a 'rebelious youth' who listens to 'hip hop' and 'emotional hardcore' music. I hope you don't take this post too deeply. As i'm sure you meant no harm by your reply to mine, I'm just stating my opinion as well.

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Occasional
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Crux, I would think you would at least see the irony of your posts. If not, than I think you are taking yourself too seriously and others not serious enough.
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mr_porteiro_head
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I would say that the Joseph Smith/Alvin Makere parables are very real, and very noticable. It was very obvious to me when I read them the first time. They are not, though, very deep parallels.

I think that it's so recognizable because of the operation on the leg in the first book. I was told that story time and time again as a youth. When I read it in Seventh Son, it immediately made me think of Joseph Smith, so I was actively looking for parallels. If it weren't for that, I don't know when I would have picked up on them.

[ March 26, 2004, 10:12 AM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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Dobbie
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quote:
Card developed their characters in a way the Book of Mormon never attempted, but he HAD to. You can't have a bunch of faceless nobodies wandering around
Why not? Joseph Smith did, and a lot more people read his book than Card's.
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