Apocalypse Panel: Drawn to Doom

Durer_apocalisseThe moderator of The Apocalypse Panel has posted another question that begs to be answered: What draws you to write apocalyptic stories?

Ah… the power of the symbol! Apocalpytic writing affords me the opportunity to use a high degree of symbolism in my setting, narration, and descriptions. I can allude to to real events, real people, real places, and even latter-day prophecy without specifically naming any of them. I actually get quite a kick out of doing it. How many times did you have debates in lit class (or nowadays online) where you argued whether or not the author intentionally hid a certain symbol or theme in their writing? Hmmm?

Well, just take it from me: it’s always intentional, except when it’s not.

Don’t believe me? I’ve got the story for you! Not only is my story THE BEAST chock-full of tie-ins to reality, but I don’t even give a name to the main character of the story. I leave that for the reader to figure out.

I must admit, however, that my writing isn’t always just a bunch of symbolism. In fact, the promise of symbolic prose was not the reason for SON OF LIBERTY. That story came about because I tried to picture what a particular event, foretold by prophets for millennia, would be like. I’d love to tell you what that event is, but I can’t: it would ruin the story.

And then there’s the main event which occurs in my story THE DAYSPRING, which is also a last-days prophecy, but I can’t tell you what that one is about either.

I’m sensing a trend: symbolism, mystery, and an ornery author who won’t give away the ending.

Maybe this will help . . . both THE BEAST and THE DAYSPRING are part of my short story collection called PROMISE, (which is currently only 99 cents on Amazon), and you even get two more stories. Or, you can just go to the READ section of this website, and read THE BEAST for free. If you do, I’d love to hear what you thought of it, so please leave a comment. And tell all your friends about it.

If you are curious, go see how Randy Lindsay, the moderator, and other authors on the panel responded to the Apocalypse Panel question here.

Thanks for taking the time to check in. I’d love to hear from you!

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Apocalypse Panel: What Is The Trigger?

APOCALYPSE PANEL

QUESTION: Which situation or event that is currently happening do you think most easily could result in the apocalypse?

Collapse of the US Dollar. Definitely.

The result of that collapse? Global chaos.

Unlike the 1920s and 30s when we experienced the Great Depression, a financial collapse of that magnitude would devastate this country, and every country in the world. Millions and millions will die. Starvation, disease, crumbling infrastructure, civil wars, and military campaigns in an attempt to restore order . . . all of these will take their toll. Anarchy will reign in the population centers, and rural America will be seemingly cut off from the world.

Even the Great Depression didn’t cause these issues. I’ll admit, during the Depression, people suffered. They struggled. But for the most part, they survived and pulled themselves out of the pit. The entire world didn’t crumble around their feet.

So why would the next collapse be different from the Great Depression? In my opinion it’s because we are different.

We are no longer an agrarian society, or at least our economy is not as balanced as it was in the early part of the 1900s. Far more people are urban or suburban dwellers. They work in the city, at a desk, pushing paper and clicking icons and wearing out keyboards. They have meetings to talk about stuff. Or they have a meeting to talk about scheduling another meeting where they can talk about stuff.

But many of them don’t really do much of anything that aligns with self-reliance.

People have lost the skills to take care of themselves. Most people have never had to slaughter their own animals for food (let alone have an animal they could eat) . . . they don’t make their own clothes. Many of them don’t even know how to cook because they eat out all the time.

Could they filter water? Wash clothing by hand? Plant a garden, tend it, and harvest it? Fix things that break? I’m not talking about fixing the internet connection on their wide-screen TV. I’m talking about fixing the broken handle on the wheat grinder. Do they even have the tools to fix that handle? Better yet, could they build a fire without matches?

These are the basic skills of survival, and I daresay that only fifteen to twenty percent of Americans could do these things. I’m just guessing. Maybe the real percentage is far less.

Yet apart from having the skills to take care of themselves, there is a more important issue at hand . . .

Back in the old days, for the most part, people had character. Good moral character. They took care of each other. They would readily open their homes to the destitute. They would feed the hungry. They had compassion and integrity and they worked their tails off, dawn until dusk. All of this while applying the skills of self-reliance.

And we simply aren’t those people anymore.

Don’t get me wrong . . . I’m not saying that you or your family or your friends are poster children for laziness and ineptitude. I trust that you’re capable of taking care of yourself and that you do have compassion for your fellowman. But think about this for a minute . . . do you think that the number of those who hold those values are more than they were in the 1920s? Equal to the 1920s? Or less than the 1920s? And if you said “less”, do you think that means people will be running around town acting like they just got dropped into an arena as tributes in The Hunger Games?

Ah . . . so I do have something there, don’t I?

But, then again, maybe not.

I’m sure that crazy people with nukes that invade countries like Ukraine and then fire the nukes over the polar ice-cap causing it to suddenly melt and release a virus from the ice that turns us into zombies making us eat each other’s brains until a rogue planet swipes the earth and puts us all out of our misery . . .

. . . is far more likely.

* * * * *

A few references to get the blood flowing:

Economist Caution: Prepare For ‘Massive Wealth Destruction’ (Money News) Link:
http://www.moneynews.com/MKTNews/Massive-wealth-destruction-economy/2013/06/20/id/511043

Economist John Williams lays out the vulnerability of the US dollar (Market Sanity) Link:
http://marketsanity.com/collapse-russia-sells-u-s-dollar/

Government dysfunction sparks doomsday fears (CNN Money) Link:
http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/16/pf/government-doomsday/

De-crowning the dollar, and the ‘collapse’ ahead (CNBC) Link:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101133131

 

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Rise From The Dead Because Of The Apocalypse

That’s what we’re doing here. Rising from the dead. It’s been far too long since I posted on this site.

I have some news . . .

First of all, I started a new website, and now have three:  This one, which is my official author website. The Thirty-Six series website dedicated to the multi-author series of the same name (Thanks for your patience! I know of at least one of the other authors who has his book done). And then a new one, dedicated to my passion of searching the scriptures. That new site is called Lachish Letters – Exploring Scripture. I am posting charts and cool things I find while in my studies. Go check it out!

Second, Randy Lindsay, author of The Gathering asked me to participate in what he is calling an “Apocalypse Panel” . . . basically a group of authors that hypothesize about the end of the world. Yeah, we will assuredly get it completely wrong. But it will be fun to talk about all of the ways we can die horrible deaths.

Authors are a sick group, no?

Stay tuned for my first post in this new venture. Find out which other authors are participating, and what question was presented to the panel by visiting Randy’s post about the project here: THE APOCALYPSE PANEL.

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Heaven’s Garden free to read on Wattpad

HeavensGarden_1200highThis time around I am trying something new to find interested readers . . . I am posting the sequel to The Thorn on Wattpad a chapter at a time as I get it ready to go to the editor. Please note: The book is in a first-draft stage. There are sure to be spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. There will be changes to the story as I clean out the dead-wood to tighten the writing, and perhaps even change some scenes.

But if you don’t mind reading a first draft, go for it. Leave a comment on Wattpad and tell me what you think.

Here is the link to get you started: Heaven’s Garden book two of The Chronicles of Gan

FYI, this is only a temp cover that I did myself. I plan on having my cover designer create a new cover for The Thorn at the same time that he does this one. Already added to my 2014 resolution list . . .

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Indie Author Discovers New Universal Truth

If you go and read my last blog post and then check the comments, you will see that the following statements are now considered universal truths:

1. Blogging is a dying art. Not just that this blog is dying, but blogs all over the internet are quickly fading into oblivion. I don’t read them as much as I used to. And apparently nobody is reading this one either. Could have something to do with my infrequency of posting and the general lack of appeal of my posts. Or the NSA is blocking access to my blog. Probably the latter…

2. Giveaways don’t work. Not unless you’re giving away high-dollar electronics or a new car. Nobody cares about a $35 Amazon Gift Card. Maybe I’ll try giving away a kidney next time.

3. Readers don’t have time to do reviews. I’ve traded reviews with other authors, given away free copies of books to get reviews, and tried to bribe readers with free stuff: And no matter what I try, book reviews are really hard to get. I’m sure the problem is that readers are locked in tiny rooms with no windows, sitting on a cot, surrounded by piles and piles of books, and they have no computer and no internet access. They’re just too busy reading to bother with writing a 2 sentence review. That’s got to be it.

Sorry for the dripping sarcasm. But I’m a little bit disillusioned with the whole marketing/promotion thing as an indie author.

Best advice I’ve heard recently: Go write another excellent book.

Best response I could give: Since I love to write, I will go write another excellent book. That nobody will read.  <grin>

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Simple Math – 2 Plus 2 Equals $35 Amazon Gift Card

250px-Monkey-typing

This post is for those who love to read.

I am trying to build up my presence on a site for avid readers called Wattpad. I now have six reading samples posted there: Two poems, three short stories, and my novelette SON OF LIBERTY. All can be read there for free.

Need some spending money to feed your Amazon addiction? I am giving away a $35 Amazon Gift Card on Friday evening, December 20th. This is how you win:

1. Go to my author profile on Wattpad. Link is here:  Daron Fraley on Wattpad
Choose 2 of my published works. Read them both. Give them BOTH a star. And leave a comment on BOTH stories. (Note: You’ll need a free Wattpad account to leave a comment. If you don’t like the story you chose, pick another one… you have 6 to choose from. If you don’t like any of them, see item 3 below)

2. Copy the link to this blog post . . .  the one you are reading right now. Share it twice, using two different social media platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, your own Blog, etc.).  Here is the permalink to use:  http://www.daronfraley.com/2013/11/amazongiftcard.html

3. Leave a comment on this blog post, telling me that your voting is done on Wattpad, and which two social platforms you shared the blog post link on. If you want to rave about how awesome the stories were, feel free to tell me all about it. If for some reason you read all six stories and you still couldn’t find two of them you liked well enough to give a star and comment, just let me know here. I’ll still enter your name in the drawing. If, however, you read all six stories, and you put a star and comment on all of the ones you liked, I’ll give you two extra entries. Let me know that you read them all!

On the evening of Friday, December 20th, I will look at the comments of this blog post and do a randomized drawing from the qualifying names found here. I will then contact the winner to send an Amazon gift card by email. I will be checking the drawn name on Wattpad to be sure at least two comments/stars were left as requested. Entries without comments and stars will be disqualified, and I will draw another name.

One last note about SON OF LIBERTY: That story will only be free on Wattpad for a limited time . . . I’m not sure how long I’ll leave it there. If you liked it, would you mind sharing a link to it with your friends? Share it with your frenemies too. They won’t mind. :)

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Behold A Great Red Dragon

GreatRedDragon_506px-William_Blake_003Why has the world seemingly been turned on its head . . . where evil is pronounced good, and good is made out to be evil?

Where is all of this coming from? Federal Agents roughing up protesters at Bundy Ranch. The relentless attacks against the institution of marriage. Teachers getting fired for speaking out against Common Core. Parents who lose their children to a hospital colluding with DFS. The oppression of the forced socialist healthcare system called Obamacare where people who had perfectly good insurance, lose it and then cannot get cancer treatment. The IRS illegally targeting conservative groups who oppose the President.

What about the families who lost family in Benghazi? And those who lost family because of Fast-and-Furious? Will there ever be justice? Why is there never any punishment for scandal after scandal within a president’s administration that always gets away scot-free?

Satan laughs. And as the serpent, “…the serpent cast(s) out of his mouth water as a flood…

That flood has never been deeper than it is now.

If the great red dragon could destroy all that is good, all that is full of light, all that is lawful according to the laws of God . . . he would. The flood has spewed forth. The lies, the treachery, the false accusations . . . are so numerous and constant that the barrage of filth which is rising like a tidal wave has the good men and women of this world scrambling into life boats, desperate for safety from the flood.

And still, the serpent’s mouth is open wide, the flood gushing forth with all its might.

In this battle for the souls of men, who will rise above the flood by recognizing their own dependence on He who has provided the life boats of safety? Who will succumb to the depths of darkness either through their own arrogance, or because they are too weighed down by the chains of their own sin and guilt?

What is this war all about? Is it really about government shutdowns, bankrupt entitlements, United Nations treaties, or food stamp cards with no limits? Is it about improving education, giving amnesty to illegal aliens, or giving special protections to vocal interest groups?

I don’t think so. These are just minor battles, and all of them symptoms of a much greater problem. A much larger war.

It’s really quite simple. This war is about agency.

AGENCY: “The quality of moving or of exerting power; the state of being in action; action; operation; instrumentality; as, the agency of providence in the natural world.” Websters Dictionary, 1828 Edition

Am I an agent unto myself? Do I have the right to choose my own path–to move, to exert power, to be in action–as long as it doesn’t interfere with the liberties of anyone else? Do I have freedom? Do I recognize that my agency, or my power to choose, comes from Providence?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Preamble, Declaration of Independence)

Do we believe these words? Was our agency . . . and our Liberty . . . an unalienable right, endowed by our Creator?

This is a serious question . . . can I act for myself? Do I really have agency?

Or do I believe that the Government must make everything fair, according to whatever standard they come up with, so that nobody feels underprivileged?

Can my government force me to do something that takes away my own liberty and freedom to choose? Can my government force me to eat? Force me to work? Force me to live in a certain city or neighborhood? Can it force me to buy a product I don’t want? Can it force me to learn a language I have no desire learning? Can it give special privileges to one group while suppressing the free speech of another?

“Where there is force, there can be no choice.” –definition for Choice, Websters Dictionary, 1828 Edition

This is the whole problem. We live in a day when agency, the power to choose and act for ourselves, is under attack. The great red dragon who fought against Michael . . . both of whom had their own “angels” . . . is still attacking.

Agency is the prize.

Will we retain the freedom to choose, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, or will we lose our individual sovereignty and forfeit our liberty to a nanny-state government that will tell us everything that we must do, should do, and cannot do, all under the guise of progress, when in reality the policies being implemented are the precursors to totalitarianism?

Do we sit back and take it? Do we turn the other cheek, taking great care to never offend our neighbor so that we might all just get along under the umbrella of all this progress? Or do we fight? What would the Lord do, if He were here? Would He fight?

“To deprive an intelligent human being of his free agency is to commit the crime of the ages. . . So fundamental in man’s eternal progress is his inherent right to choose, that the Lord would defend it even at the price of war.” (David O. McKay, Conference Report, 1942.)

Where are we in this war? Are we engaged, or are we sitting on the sideline watching? Which team have we chosen in this conflict? Will we stand up and defend agency, freedom, liberty?

“The scriptures make clear that there was a great war in heaven, a struggle over the principle of freedom the right of choice. In the war in heaven, what would have been your reaction if someone had told you just to do what is right—there’s no need to get involved in the fight for freedom? Of course, the war in heaven over free agency is now being waged here on earth, and there are those today who are saying ‘Look, don’t get involved in the fight for freedom. Just live the gospel.’ That counsel is dangerous, self-contradictory, unsound.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1966.)

Let’s remember that we were there during the great war in heaven. We fought in that war. And the tactics of the great red dragon on today’s battlefields have not changed:

“[The war in heaven], so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion . . . His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every kind of evil practice to thwart the work of Christ.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, An Unending Conflict, a Victory Assured, Ensign, June 2007.)

Is our participation in this war justified? Are we able to engage in this conflict, and do our best to set things right . . . to shout truth from housetops?

I say, “YES!” We must fight. We must protect our families from the evils of this world and teach them so that they also can keep their own agency. Liberty must be protected. We must remain free from bondage!

(The) most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message. When the Apostle Paul visited Athens, he tried to teach of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of this effort we read in Acts, “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” When the crowd realized the simple religious nature of Paul’s message, which was not new, they rejected it. This is emblematic of our own day, where gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual philosophies. If we are not careful, we can be captured by these trends and place ourselves in intellectual bondage.” (Quentin L. Cook, Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage, Conference Report, October 2013.)

Look at the world and behold the great red dragon who is deceiving with the philosophies of men!

Be wise! Beware of bondage!

That is our clarion call. The horns are sounding. Will you answer?

* * *
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in October, 2013. Since the battle rages on, hotter than ever before, I have decided to republish this blog post with updates.

 


 

Additional References:

“…the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood…”–The Revelation of St. John 12:15

Liberty: (Websters Dictionary, 1828 Edition)

1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty, when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty, when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.

2. Natural liberty, consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.

3. Civil liberty, is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty, so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty, not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.

The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.

In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty.

4. Political liberty, is sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty. But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation. Hence we often speak of the political liberties of Europe, or the nations of Europe.

5. Religious liberty, is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.

6. Liberty, in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other.

Freedom of the will; exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.

7. Privilege; exemption; immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant; with a plural. Thus we speak of the liberties of the commercial cities of Europe.

8. Leave; permission granted. The witness obtained liberty to leave the court.

9. A space in which one is permitted to pass without restraint, and beyond which he may not lawfully pass; with a plural; as the liberties of a prison.

10. Freedom of action or speech beyond the ordinary bounds of civility or decorum. Females should repel all improper liberties.

To take the liberty to do or say any thing, to use freedom not specially granted.

To set at liberty, to deliver from confinement; to release from restraint.

To be at liberty, to be free from restraint.

Liberty of the press, is freedom from any restriction on the power to publish books; the free power of publishing what one pleases, subject only to punishment for abusing the privilege, or publishing what is mischievous to the public or injurious to individuals.

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America Might As Well Bomb Herself As Go To War In Syria

495px-Constitution_of_the_United_States,_page_1I firmly believe that the United States of America, and the Constitution that created the unified nation, were divinely inspired instruments designed to protect the God-given freedoms of all mankind.*

I really do believe that. I also believe that the founding fathers of this great nation were some of God’s finest sons . . . with their wives, mothers, and sisters, being no less important to the birth of America than they were.

When George Washington was inaugurated, he placed his hand in the book of Genesis, on the verses of the 49th chapter that describe Jacob’s patriarchal blessings to his sons. President Washington did this wittingly . . . he knew exactly what these verses meant for him as a person, and the nation for which he was now to be the first person to execute the powers of the Constitution. Washington was making a covenant. He, and America, would follow God’s commandments as long as he, George Washington, had anything to do with it. **

There is a covenant upon this land of America, and George Washington was not the first to make it. In The Book of Mormon we find this promise:

“But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land. And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.And I will fortify this land against all other nations.” (2 Nephi 10:10-12)

A strong promise of protection! But that is not the end of it. In verse 19 of that same chapter, the Lord said this: “…for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God.”

This covenant is one that requires us, as Americans, to not just recognize the Lord as the giver of all blessings received, but to also obey His commandments as contained in the Holy Scriptures. Any student of the scriptures would recognize the serious charge placed upon us to be peacemakers. And although we are to proclaim peace to the world, we are justified in defending ourselves, our families, and our liberty, when necessary. But we are never justified to be an aggressor. We are never to start a war.

At the end of The Book of Mormon, the great abridger of the Nephite records, Mormon, tells why he stepped down as commander of the Nephite armies after they won a significant battle:

“And now, because of this great thing which my people, the Nephites, had done, they began to boast in their own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies. And they did swear by the heavens, and also by the throne of God, that they would go up to battle against their enemies, and would cut them off from the face of the land. And it came to pass that I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.” (Mormon 3:9-11)

Note that the people boasted in their strength, but the real sin was that the Nephites had sworn that “they would go up to battle against their enemies, and would cut them off from the face of the land.” This speaks of total annihilation. It also makes the Nephites the aggressor, not the defender of their homes. It wasn’t long after that incident that the Nephites never won another significant battle. They were chased from place to place until they were totally annihilated.

So what has Syria done to the United States? Has Syria attacked our homes? Has Assad waged war with the United States or her allies?

Not that I can see.

But what I do see is that the Obama administration was running weapons through Benghazi, into Turkey, so that they might arm the Muslim Brotherhood and other Jihadist rebels against a legitimate government. In other words, the United States has contributed to a civil war. Ultimately, we may have started it. At the very least, we have become an aggressor in a sovereign state where we had no business interfering. And it’s becoming more clear that Assad’s regime may not have been the perpetrators of the recent chemical weapons attacks on civilians . . . it may have been the rebels themselves.

Do we want to be known as the nation who supported savages who kill their enemies and thereafter cut out and eat the organs of their victims? ***

Does anyone else have this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that WW-III is about to break loose? I am so disgusted with our leaders in Washington DC! (strike that…. they are really MANAGERS… they don’t lead, they only create and then try to manage each crisis)

They are pusillanimous politicians. Where is the outcry against Obama in this Syrian mess? We have NO BUSINESS being involved there.

I fear that this country is already under severe condemnation for becoming an aggressor in the middle east… Libya, Egypt, and now Syria… including the gun-running out of Benghazi to arm Jihadist rebels…

We are in BIG trouble folks. America might as well bomb herself as go to war in Syria. When America becomes the aggressor, she will lose all protection of the Almighty. She will lose this war.

May God bless our troops and their families!

# # #

* Reference: Doctrine and Covenants 101:76-80
** Reference: Nephite Explorer, The Promised Land, Part two
*** Reference: Syrian Rebel Commander Eats Heart And Liver Of Soldier

 

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Mormon Authors Support Gay Author In Publishing Dispute

Some of my readers may have seen the news about the Cedar Fort book contract that was cancelled this week because the publisher refused to allow one of the authors of Woven, Michael Jensen, to reference his partner in his author bio, and this refusal came just hours before the book went to press.

You can read more about the dispute in this Salt Lake Tribune article.

Discussions about this incident also occurred in the LDS author community. As a result of the things learned about the situation, I chose to join other authors in signing a petition of support for Michael Jensen and David Powers King.

My reason for signing: Publishers have a responsibility to honor their contracts, and they must treat their authors with respect. You can read the petition here: Mormon Writers Petition.

This story has been picked up by the Salt Lake Tribune, the Associated Press, and is being carried by ABC News. Because of the attention that it is getting, I want to be very clear about why I signed that petition.

First of all, I support the right of a publisher to publish or not publish a manuscript, at their sole discretion. But publisher submission guidelines typically have a submission form where information about the author, including the author’s bio, is requested, and that info is gathered very early in the contract negotiation process. Cedar Fort is no different. You can go to their webpage and read their submission guidelines here.

My entire issue with this dispute is that Cedar Fort knew these personal details about this author when he signed, and then the publisher changed the game mid-stream, hours before the book went to press. That is not acceptable. If they had an issue with Mr. Jensen, they never should have offered him a contract in the first place. But they did. And therefore, they have an obligation to fulfill it.

Second, in signing this petition of support, I am supporting Michael Jensen the author, as a business person who has been seemingly wronged by a poorly behaved publishing house. My signing does not indicate that I, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, am condoning or supporting his gay lifestyle.

But to be clear, I do support Mr. Jensen’s right to make that lifestyle choice. It is his choice. And nobody deserves to be treated in a disrespectful way.

I wish both authors, Michael Jensen, and David Powers King, the best of luck in their search for a new publishing venue. I hope their book is a great success . . . it sounds like a fun story!

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The Relationship Between Conservativism And Popular Culture

SonOfLiberty_Amazon_1200highSeveral months ago I was listening to Glenn Beck’s radio talk show and they were discussing the relationship between conservatism and popular culture. Dismayed by the politically liberal trends of movies, books, music, and art, they called for more conservative artists, musicians, and writers to step up and do their part to influence the minds and hearts of Americans toward conservative values.

That idea–that the political climate of America is mirrored by the entertainment sought out by the masses–greatly intrigued me. Whether Glenn and Pat and Stu linked the two or not (because I don’t remember the details of the discussion), I think that the arts are also a reflection of the spiritual capital of the country. Think about the quality (or lack thereof) of all of the most popular movies, books, and music currently being promoted. On the whole, are they Liberal? Conservative? And how is religion portrayed? Is it mocked?

Take any popular movie as an example . . . Is it genuinely patriotic? Are the heroes REAL heroes, or are they more like broken anti-heroes, or worse yet, are they all villains who achieve their goal through one momentary heroic act? Is God or religion mentioned in a positive light in any way? Is there a clearly portrayed distinction between right and wrong, or are all the decisions made by the protagonist in a gray area? Does the main character have to lower their standards in order to accomplish their mission, or do they actually improve themselves by keeping their character and their good name untarnished?

Is there doubt in any conservative’s mind where we stand on spiritual matters right now?

We’re not doing so good, are we?

The types of stories being told isn’t just because movie making technology has greatly improved in recent years, thereby making it more lucrative or exciting to tell dark and violent stories, because some stories don’t need a lot of technology for the telling. Imagine for a moment . . . would a show like Little House on the Prairie make it on a major network during prime-time today? I don’t think so.

I had an epiphany during that radio show I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I realized that one of the reasons none of my books had gotten much attention was because I’m having a hard time finding my audience. All of my stories so far have been clean, moral, and sometimes quite religious in theme. Is there an audience out there for those kinds of stories anymore?

I have to hope so. But if there’s only one book being read out there, I certainly hope it isn’t 50 Shades of Grey.

I prefer to read stories that promote conservative values, where characters are fighting for truth and right. Perhaps that makes me an idealist. I’m okay with that. I’m kind of the Little House on the Prairie type. I’m not afraid to say that the show caused me to shed a tear every now and then. I wish there were more shows and books like it.

If you’re politically conservative, and you’re a writer or an artist or a musician . . . won’t you consider joining me in helping to improve the relationship between conservatism and popular culture?

Whether I ever make a dime on my books or not, I’m hoping the stories will become important to somebody, someday. I’d like to think that I’ll influence somebody for good.

It would sure make my Pa proud, if I did.

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