About Brandt Malone

Posts by Brandt Malone:

The OTHER Mormon Moment

Many of you have heard of the “Mormon Moment,” and the items that have happened through the last year:

    Mitt Romney as a legitimately viable candidate for the Republican party candidate for President of the United States
    The Book of Mormon Musical cleaning house at the Tony Awards
     

    The “I’m a Mormon” campaign, focusing on the “everyday” folks that make up the LDS church.

As a matter of fact, if you need a refresher, just pick up the infamous Newsweek magazine from the middle of June this last year.

Many people feel that this our “arriving” moment, where Mormons are now taken seriously as a culture and as a religion. People are now examining the nuances that make Mormons who they are (for example, the the phenomenon of Mormon Mommy Blogs), scholarly interests have been increasing over the years (Oxford University Press seems to have five different books coming out about Mormon Studies), and it being commonplace to hear about Mormons from places like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

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Sojourner in the Lone and Dreary World: Two Years Among the Apostates

My first foray into the online Mormon world occurred when I was 18 years old.  As a young clean-cut Mormon getting ready to go on a mission, I was looking for anything about Mormons my own age, and people who could understand not only why I was choosing to live the way I did, but why I was choosing to go to Korea for two years. Mormons from highly-populated Mormon areas seemed to be living in the “promised land,” the land of “milk and honey.” I never thought my initial journey on that now-defunct message board would lead me here.
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Towards A Mormon “Hall of Fame” of Books

Reading has always been in my blood. I can distinctly remember being 9 years old, losing feeling in my arm, being propped up on my elbow while underneath the covers with a flashlight and a book, and quickly turning the light off and switching positions any time I heard my parents walking outside my bedroom door. I have vivid memories of blasting through the first 4 books of the Harry Potter series on vacation when I was 16 years old, a stack of John Grisham books when I was 17 (and on vacation), and countless others.

Reading is what also got me into a more intellectual/scholarly based look at religion, and Mormonism in general. I realized when I was on my mission that the correlated Deseret Book published books and materials just weren’t whetting my whistle. I wanted something with a bit more substance, a bit more meat, something to help me understand my religion a bit better. After I returned home, I took a break to decompress from my mission, but as I returned to college, I was excited to experience BYU-level religion classes. Little did I know that my classes would be glorified CES Institute classes, with the same milk-type lessons and stories I had heard from my youth.

As I explored the bloggernacle, I realized there were people out there looking for a similar dialogue. I found the main Mormon periodicals, and I started expanding my library aside from the “bestselling” Deseret Book items that left me wanting more.  My time in the online Mormon world has shown me that I’m not the only one that feels this sense of yearning for what is considered to be a “good” book for Mormon research. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked through blogs or Google with the search string “Essential Mormon Books,” or something along those lines.

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