Yes, I am an active Christian; I believe in God the Father (the Creator), that He has a perfect and resurrected Son, Jesus Christ, and that there is an active and involved Holy Ghost who bears testimony of Them to us.
I also believe in Lucifer (Satan, the devil, the Refuser), the rebellious one who was cast out of Heaven (Paradise) and now tries to make all of us here suffer as he suffers.
I also believe in the scriptures (The Writings) and I believe in prophecy and prophets (Guides). I believe God still speaks to us and delivers revelations because He is unchanging.
Yes, I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly referred to as the Mormon church. I attend every week, and I uphold “old-fashioned” morals: chastity before marriage, fidelity after, as well as honesty, charity, patience, and a good long nap on Sunday afternoons.
It’s true that my husband and I have nine children (yes–nine pregnancies, nine births, and no–we’re not sure what kept causing that, so feel free to explain it to us).
I also believe in the concept of Zion—a group of people that are of one heart and one mind, where individuals choose (unlike socialism and communism) to share all things freely so that there are no poor among them, and are focused on improving their minds and increasing their knowledge, not their possessions. And I also believe creating this kind of society is doable in our future.
And yes, all of those beliefs are going to bubble up in my writing. I couldn’t, in good conscience, spend thousands of hours developing a story about a family’s life while ignoring those elements that have meant so much in mine.
And I will not, I cannot, apologize for that.
If you don’t like those beliefs, then find another book series. There are literally hundreds of thousands of books that refer to deity only as a swear word, that display immorality without consequences, that refer to good and evil only as vague and indistinct notions arising from who knows where–novels that will entertain you without challenging you.
This is not that book series.
In fact, I wrote this series precisely because this is what I wanted to read, but I couldn’t find it. Now over the years I’ve read well-written and entertaining stories with plenty of battles of good and evil, crimes, betrayal, revenge, mystery, magic, fairy tale characters, dystopia, mythological creatures, adventure—but when I finished the books I usually had that gnawing feeling that I had merely passed time, without improving either my mind or my heart.
I don’t have enough time in my life to waste in too much fluffiness, albeit well-intentioned and even quite entertaining. (I admit I indulge in reading something completely frivolous once or twice a year, but just like a diet of cocoa puffs, too much makes me nauseated.)
Every now and then, though, I found an author who’s peeled back some of the surface silliness and clichéd storytelling, and exposed a truth or insight that most of us simply don’t notice. (Terry Pratchett is one of my favorites.) But even then there are often deeper issues authors seem to be afraid to touch. Maybe for fear of sounding too pedantic, preachy, or sappy, writers won’t address them.
Well, I’m going to address them. Not perfectly, I know. Quite clumsily, in fact. It’s a terrible burden, I once heard someone say, to have more ambition than talent and ability. And I’m living proof of that. But as I mentioned before, I wrote this series primarily—selfishly—for myself, because this is what I wanted to read, and I never expected to enjoy writing it so much.
I’m happy to share my stories with you, and I’ve been genuinely surprised that since I’ve published this series, I hear every week from people who actually like it too. And yes, I’ve heard from a few who don’t, and as I mentioned before, there are thousands and thousands of other books for you. I’m not going to pull back or apologize for writing about prayer, repentance, forgiveness, Guides, the Creator, The Writings, prophecies, or anything else that some may deem “offensive.”
Because those concepts and beliefs give me so much joy that I want to share them with others.
Wanna contact me? Go ahead!
Trish Strebel Mercer has been teaching writing, or editing graduate papers, or changing diapers since the early 1990’s. She earned a BA in English from Brigham Young University and an MA in Composition Theory and Rhetoric from Utah State University. She and her husband David have nine children (and adding grandchildren) and have raised them in Utah, Idaho, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. Currently they live in the rural west and dream of the day they will be old enough to be campground managers in Yellowstone National Park.