Thursday, August 16, 2007

Write on Your Heart

By Kari Diane Pike

Marsha recently asked us to think about how to be a reverent writer. Some interesting discussion ensued in my home and among my friends. Last night I received a phone call from my good friend Kathy. As she finished reading Stephenie Meyer’s Eclipse the night before, she found herself screaming in frustration because the fourth book isn’t published yet. She called me because after thinking about the Twilight series all day, and its affect on her, she began to wonder about all the youth and young adults reading the books and how the story influences them. Our conversation went something like this:

“Kari, I’m calling you because I’m wondering where you draw the line as an LDS writer. I mean, don’t you think there are some youth out there who are going to take this vampire thing way out of line and get involved in really weird stuff?”

“Hmmm…yes. As a matter of fact, Stephenie mentioned that she has had some fans form some very dark groups based on her stories….but it is the exception.”

“So what do you do?”

“That’s a very good question. I think every writer asks her self that very question every time she sits down to write. I know we discuss it in ANWA regularly.”

The rest of our conversation centered on the things we enjoy about Twilight. The story is compelling and the characters are well developed. We both confessed to falling in love with Edward, despite that fact that we are middle-aged moms and most of our children are older than 17. I love knowing that I can hand my teens a book and know that it is free from graphic language and sex. Yes, there is violence in the book. The story is intense. But I think I felt the tension more because I really cared about the characters. Yes, vampires are a little weird, but so are many of the characters in Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia.

This morning I decided to focus my gospel study on the question of writing and the responsibility that goes with it. The fact that an 2 full columns in the Topical Guide are filled with references for Write, Written, and Writing, told me that it is important.

2 Nephi 25:23 teaches us to “…labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God;” Does that mean we write only about happy things? I don’t think so. The scriptures are full of violent, horrible events. But the stories are told with a purpose…to teach and to testify.

3 Nephi 27:25, 26 says, “For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men. And behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books which shall be written shall the world be judged.”

Another reference sent me to the Bible dictionary. Here is part of what it says:

“…Adam and the early patriarchs had a perfect language that was both spoken and written…This was an important intellectual ability of the people of God, and was given by inspiration. However, among nonbelievers it appears that there was an intellectual retrogression, so that many peoples subsequently have been without the blessings of a highly cultured spoken and written language. There has been a gradual renaissance in literary things, but nothing yet has equaled the pure and undefiled language of Adam. The promise is, however, that perfection in language and writing will return in the future with the full establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth.”

We’ve been counseled to always teach with the Spirit. Isn’t teaching what we are doing when we write? What does “pure and undefiled” mean? I now know that whatever I write, I must study, ponder, pray and write the words with the Spirit on my heart before I write the words with ink on paper.

4 comments:

  1. Kari, you not only write beautifully, but you post before noon! Good on ya. I love to read your thoughtful presentations.

    I am intrigued by the important question about how responsible we are for the words we write. The same thing goes for what we say, if my understanding is correct. Writing can be erased, but words spoken aloud in another's hearing can never be completely taken back.

    Well, for that matter, cannot we be judged--rewarded or condemned--by the thoughts of our hearts?

    What a great responsibility! All three! Since we're not good at hibernating, I suppose we'll just have to face up to our responsibilities. How grateful I am for the gift of repentance and the power of the atonement!

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  2. A very thoughtful essay, Kari, with much to ponder.

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  3. Kari, I loved your essay. We are asked to go to the scriptures for answers to our questions, but seeking light and knowledge regarding writing in the scriptures! Way to go! I know what I write is always better when I have prayed about it, that reverence seems a part of it -
    I love the verses in the book of Moses where Enoch and the Lord are talking. They witness the evil and wickedness on the earth and Enoch notices that the Lord is weeping. Why, he asks. And the Lord replies because I have created these people and they are without natural affection.
    Thank you for this reminder to put first the kingdom of heaven, and all else will then fall into place. Rene

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  4. Kari,

    As always, you are thinking about good and profound things. Don't you think there are two prongs to the 'pure and undefiled'? One is content. But the other is usage, and that's why we have to perfect our craft. The 'lie-lay' problem is just one part of it. We need to master the language, using it with precision to transmit the ideas, plots, adventures that we hatch in our imaginations.

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