In 1967 and again in 1977 President Spencer W. Kimball challenged the members of the Church to produce works of art that would do justice to the drama and beauty inherent in the history of the Church and its mission in the world. "We are proud of the artistic heritage that the Church has brought to us from its earliest beginnings," he said, "but the full story of Mormonism has never yet been written nor painted nor sculpted nor spoken. It remains for inspired hearts and talented fingers yet to reveal themselves." (See Ensign, July 1977, p. 5.)
To help meet that challenge, the Ensign asked several experts to examine various art forms used frequently by Latter-day Saints, discussing the history of those art forms among the Latter-day Saints and giving thought to how members of the Church can meet President Kimball's challenge for excellence in the arts.
This two-part feature discusses fiction. The author, Brother Richard H. Cracroft, is a critic and historian of LDS literature and dean of Brigham Young University's College of Humanities. He has published a number of articles on Mormon literature, and, with Neal E. Lambert, presently associate academic vice president of BYU, has also published a major anthology of LDS literature, A Believing People: The Literature of the Latter-day Saints (1974, 1979), and an anthology of LDS short stories, 22 Young Mormon Writers (1975). He presently serves as president of the Provo Utah East Stake. [Editor's introduction to the two-part series]