Faithful to Whom–Art Or The Church? The Dilemma For Mormon Artists And Whether There’s A Way Out Why do so many Mormon artists find themselves torn between the Church and their art, feeling that they’re leading two very different lives that are difficult to reconcile? Why do so many of us feel that we have to make a choice between being loyal to their Church and loyal to their art? Is it simply that, as the Bible suggests, “No man can serve to masters, for either he will hate the one and despise the other, or he will hold to the one and despise the other”? Is Art a master that challenges faith and God? Or is it more complicated than that? Orson F. Whitney suggested that Mormonism would “yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own” and for years people have been talking about the “Great Mormon Novel” being just on the horizon. Yet is it really possible for a great artist to exist within a religious structure such as Mormonism? Brian Evenson will talk about the pressures he experienced when his first book, Altmann’s Tongue, cost him his job at Brigham Young University, and the path he followed from feeling that he could personally reconcile his art and his faith to being put in a position where he felt like he had to make a choice between the two. Are there ways of thinking about the relation between faith and art that will allow us not to compromise either, that can allow for a symbiotic relationship that a religious structure can not only understand but encourage? More questions posed than answers. . .
Brian Evenson, Ph.D., Presenter