Last week Kent asked AMV readers to consider what would make a Mormon theory of literature different. I could be wrong, but Iâ€™m assuming that his points of comparisonâ€”his different thanâ€”are general theories of literature as well as the theories of literature practiced in the Mormon Letters community. In response to Kentâ€™s query, to the responses it received, and to some other things that have been written in the past two years or so about the relationship among Mormons, Mormonism, literature, and theory, Iâ€™m developing some ideas on this relationship and the ways it has been theorized by members of the Mormon letters community; as I develop them, I’ll further address some things that I think are vital to this relationship and how it functions as a critical apparatus. I offer the incipient thoughts that make up this post in earnest of the more thorough treatment Iâ€™m composing. My primary focus in this brief discussion is to outline the ways theory and Mormonism get talked about in Kentâ€™s post and its thread of responses (at least those made up to Jonathan’s 2/10/14 reply).
I see reference to at least three kinds of theory in the discussion: theories of Mormon literature, theories of Mormons and literature, and Mormon theories of literature. While I plan to elaborate more on these kinds of theory as I develop a more extensive response, for now here’s how I distinguish among them: more