About LiteratureThe Mormon Literature section of the database is a scholarly resource to literary writings by and about Mormons. It is intended to serve students, scholars, library patrons and the general public by providing current and historical information about Mormon authors and contributors. The database provides bibliographic data for published works by or about Mormons in literary genres such as fiction, the short story, poetry, sermons, literary biographies, and literary writings found in Mormon periodicals going back to the nineteenth-century.
ParametersThe literary works in this database do not include all "literature" in the general sense – all things written by or about Mormons, nor is it intended to be comprehensive resource for all Mormon authors, nor all publications about Mormonism or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its principal focus is on literary works and the creators of those works. Some exceptions are made, especially regarding historical, theological, or theoretical publications that relate to Mormon literature. The specific parameters for a given genre are detailed in the "profile" page for each genre or medium. (Accessed by search or by browsing the opening page.) General parameters for the database are detailed below.
In general, this database seeks to include records of
- Any and all literary works in which Mormons or Mormonism is depicted, regardless of the religious affiliation of the authors or creators involved, and regardless of the accuracy or the quality of how Mormonism or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is represented.
- Any and all literary work whose creators are identifiably Mormon or who have obvious affiliation or association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, regardless of whether those works include any obvious Mormon subject matter. This will sometimes include people and works by those clearly not LDS and not writing about Mormon subjects, but which for historical reasons are still reasonably associated with Mormon culture (such as the author growing up in a dominantly Mormon region).
In all cases, if the connection to Mormon culture or to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not obvious in any given record, editors of the database will attempt to include justifications to demonstrate the relevance of that person or work to Mormonism.
- All editions
- This database is not intended to be an exhaustive bibliography of all editions of a given work. Database editors attempt to include publication records for first editions and for more recent or available editions, and for any editions of noted scholarly importance. This database is considered an adjunct to the Harold B. Lee Library Catalog at Brigham Young University, which should be consulted for a more comprehensive listing of editions for any given title.
- "Of Interest"
- This database excludes literary authors and their works that are merely of ongoing interest to Mormons, such as John Milton or C.S. Lewis. However, published works by Mormons about such authors will be included, as will editions of non-LDS authors that are published by LDS identified publishers (for example, the MLDB does include Bookcraft's C.S. Lewis: The Man and His Message, a compilation of addresses given at Brigham Young University about this important literary critic and theologian).
- This database excludes literature written by or about Mormons that is of a strictly historical character. Generally, if a critic has made a case for an artistic or literary dimension to an historical work, then such a work will be included (with a link to the criticism that establishes the literary character of the historical work). This is especially true of biography and autobiography.
- This database excludes Mormon theological publications unless a literary dimension to such a publication is argued for by a critic. For example, the King Follett Discourse and James E. Talmage's Jesus the Christ are included since their literary dimensions have been discussed in published criticism. Mormon apologetics are generally excluded.
- Proselyting Material
- This database generally excludes all "Mormon literature" intended primarily for proselyting purposes, or whose primary purpose is to defend or attack the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Again, if a critic has made a case for the artistic or literary quality of such material, it will be included with a rationale and/or a link to the criticism that establishes its relevance.
- Curricular Material
- This database generally excludes all publications whose primary purpose is doctrinal instruction or administration within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including Sunday School, Relief Society, Priesthood instruction materials, and literature published for use in the seminary and institute programs of the Church. An important exception to this exclusion is the Relief Society lessons found for years in the Relief Society Magazine which were on literary topics.
- This database excludes manuscripts and archival material such as journals, letters, and diaries, unless such items have been edited, published, or reviewed in print publications.
- This database does not include all editions, translations, or studies of the Book of Mormon. It does include literary works based on the Book of Mormon, literary studies of the Book of Mormon, and narrative retellings of the Book of Mormon in any medium (pageants, animated Book of Mormon stories, etc.) but does not include studies of a purely theological, doctrinal, apologetic, or historical character. Similarly, any biblical studies by Mormons will not be included unless their analytical method is literary in character.
- This database does not include all scholarly writings by known LDS authors–only those writings that have a literary character or those that discuss or critique literature, whether or not that art and literature would qualify for inclusion in the database otherwise.
- Any literary tribute about a Mormon author will be included, as will tributes about non-Mormons that are of a demonstrable literary quality. Otherwise, tributes are excluded.
- Letters will generally be excluded unless they are published, selected, and/or of some demonstrable literary quality. Generally letters to editors in newspapers will be excluded, but letters to the editor will be included which are found in journals focused on LDS literature or literary topics.
- Humorous cartoons by and about Latter-day Saints will generally be excluded as these are published incidentally in newspapers and periodicals However, published humor collections or collections of humorous newspaper columns (such as those by Calvin Grondahl or Robert Kirby) will be included.
- Generally translations of LDS works will not be included unless they are of demonstrable literary nature (Generally this requires some critic to have made the case for the literary quality, such as Van Gessell's discussion of the differing literary qualities of alternate translations of the Book of Mormon)