There is always an excuse, but for this project I wasn’t looking for one. Mormonism is one of the craziest religions today, with recent traditions and dogma that sounds like it was lifted from a 5th grade “no girls allowed” clubhouse. I was looking forward to writing Mormon Mythology with the kind of glee I get from obtaining news from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. This was going to be both informative and entertaining! While I researched the founder of Mormonism, the entertainment value kept my interest. But as I began reading the actual Book of Mormon, my heart sank. Not only was the story as dry as old bones left in the desert to bake in the sun, not only was it filled with one war after the next, but to top it all off, the Book of Mormon is a terrible piece of work! No amount of paraphrasing or creative re-writing can redeem it.
The Bible at least can be called a work of literature. Perhaps this disappointment shouldn’t have surprised me, after all, Joseph Smith wasn’t known for his writing or storytelling. He told the whole dry saga to a dictator due to his inability to read or write proficiently. The Bible at least had multiple authors and the “telephone effect” of oral narration to turn big fish stories into a whale of a tale. Perhaps it is this quality that makes Bible stories as believable as Jack and the Bean Stalk and other wild tales. Without this quality would anyone care about Christianity anymore? It is too crazy to believe, some people just might find this the very thing that stands apart from anything else vying for their allegiance. Mormonism has this quality, not in it’s writings or books, but in the birth of it’s existence, in the insanity of the man who founded the religion. This is where the fairy tale hides.
The tedious Book of Mormon was simply a means for Joseph Smith to explain how the magic tablets and story telling stone ended up on American soil. It serves a dreadful purpose, with bone crunching monotony. There may be a Mormon Mythology to set beside your copy of Christian Mythology, but only if the captivating tale of a self devoted story teller takes center stage.