Last year I purchased a bound volume of the 1949 issues of the missionary magazine of the Argentine and Uruguayan missions, El Mensajero Deseret, which I found in the basement of Sam Weller‘s in Salt Lake City. I had hoped that I might find there some articles originally written in Spanish by local members (not missionaries), and that I might there discover something of their perspective at the time. Unfortunately, my (still) somewhat cursory review, while it found many interesting articles, including one written by my grandfather that my family didn’t know about, failed to find any articles by local members and few originally written in Spanish.
I’m not sure how different things are today. Mission magazines like El Mensajero Deseret, which were meant for all members in the mission (not just the missionaries), have been replaced by the Church’s international magazine (in Spanish, La Liahona), and that magazine is largely a translation from English.
As a result of examples like this, I think its easy to assume that no Mormon cultural works are being produced outside of the English-speaking areas of the Church. In a comment to my post last week about What Should Mormons Know About Mormon Culture?, Anneke wrote:
“I’m uncomfortable with any attempt to define “Mormon Culture” that then limits that culture to “Anglophone Mormon Culture.” I realize that most of the time English is all we’ve got…”
I am also uncomfortable about this — but its hard for most of us, English-speaking residents of the US generally, to know much about what is being produced in Mexico or in France or Brazil or Japan. Its not like there are clear paths for getting materials from these places to the Mormon market in the US! I suspect that not a lot is being produced, given the low density of LDS Church members from each other in other countries, the lack of a market or way to distribute cultural works, and the near worship that foreign LDS Church members sometimes have for the Church in the U.S.
So, hoping that those who read this will add the works they know about, here’s a list of some of the works I know or have heard of. I’m sure there are plenty of others:
[Please don’t include translations from English of any kind. Scriptures, hymnals and other works normally used in worship services are also usually off topic for this post. Works can be in any cultural field or of interest to Mormon culture in any way. Any work by, for or about Mormons that is not anti-Mormon in character (i.e., written to persuade others to leave the LDS Church or to keep them from listening to LDS missionaries), is welcome.]
- La puerta azul: o, Georgina Altamirano, la venezolana que se convirtió en mormona
by Josefina Febres Cordero (1976 – English translation 1979). An unusual novel by a Colombian LDS convert, interesting for its use of Colombian literary style.
- El plan de salvacion by Genevieve De Hoyos; Arturo De Hoyos (1986). A doctrinal work by longstanding proponents of Spanish-language Mormon culture.
- El lamanita mestizo by Arturo De Hoyos (1996).A doctrinal work by longstanding proponents of Spanish-language Mormon culture.
- La mujer mormona by Arturo De Hoyos (1998).A doctrinal work by longstanding proponents of Spanish-language Mormon culture.
- Escalando el Monte a la Exaltación by Genevieve de Hoyos (2002).A doctrinal work by longstanding proponents of Spanish-language Mormon culture.
- Sixta Martínez: Un testimonio vivente by El Museu de la Historia del Mormonismo en Mexico (2002). A personal testimony of a long-standing Church member in Mexico.
- Misterios mormones by Arturo De Hoyos (2003). A doctrinal work by longstanding proponents of Spanish-language Mormon culture.
- La iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias y las convenciones lamanitas by Fernando Rogelio Gomez Paez (2004). A history of the little-known schism by 2/3rds of Mexican members of the Church.
- Domingos Vera Cruz by Glauco Ortolano (2000). A well-received literary novel by a Brazilian LDS Church member.
- A Fé Mórmon by I. B. Irineu (2002). A straightforward presentation of Mormon beliefs
- Mémoires d’un Mormon by Louis A. Bertrand (1862). Autobiographical description of Mormonism by one of France’s earliest LDS Church members.
- Quand Dieu Se Fit Americain by Marc Chadourne (1950). A sympathetic look at Mormonism by an important and popular French writer, following three years as a visiting professor at Utah State University.
- Louis Auguste Bertrand (1808-1875), Journaliste socialiste et Pionnier mormon by Christian Euvrard (2001). A biography of early LDS Church member Bertrand written by a French member.
- The book Images of Faith, a kind of historical survey of LDS art from the collection of the Church Museum includes a number of works from around the world, generally folk art with Mormon themes done recently.
- In the comment by Anneke that I mentioned above, she indicates that a local Japanese woman in Yokohama produced a music CD of original Mormon songs.
- Brazilian Soprano Liriel Domiciano, who sang in General Conference with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 2004 should probably be mentioned here.
I should emphasize that the above list isn’t complete in any sense — its just the items I came up with off the top of my head. I hope it can serve as a starting point for a more complete list.