First, let me say thank you to my hosts. I feel like a celebrity.
A couple of weeks ago, the Deseret News ran a column in its Religion & Ethics session about Mormons participating in the arts. The author, Jerry Johnston, put forward the theory that good Mormons will fail at convincingly portraying bad people.
To their everlasting credit, when most LDS playwrights and novelists try to create a debauched, disgusting character, they fail miserably. They get it all wrong. It doesn’t ring true. But it does show what’s right with them as people. Their mothers and teachers have ruined them for the world. They’ve been compromised. At some point God put his seal on their hearts and — try as they might — they can’t break it. The world laughs at their attempts to blend in. They are doomed to be good.
As pointed out in a letter to the editor, that implies something negative about LDS artists who are successful at portraying evil.
So, is it bad to be good at showing bad?