Saturday, December 17, 2016

Religion versus Fantasy

Darker the Shadow, my latest book, has fantasy elements. It’s not the first time I’ve included concepts and ideas which could be considered fantasy. In The Mirror of the Soul, there is certainly a fantasy element. With both books, I’ll admit I’ve been somewhat hesitant in using storylines which are connected with fantasy. Why? Because I am a very religious person.

Let me explain.

Fantasy in novels is often connected with magic—an idea that someone has a skill to do amazing things which normal humans beings lack. There are those who claim that any such skills must come from God and to not give him credit could be considered blasphemy.

Then there are others who see a distinction: religion and all things spiritual are real to them, and fantasy is make-believe. I fall into this category.

It’s the same reason I believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, and so on. Does this mean by doing so I’m offending God? Again, some would say yes.

I am a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I believe that every human has a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father. To my knowledge, there is nothing in the doctrine of my church which condemns fantasy. After all, there are many well-known LDS authors who write fantasy.

Sadly, there are readers who will outwardly criticize a book or an author solely on their religion. Equally as sad, at least to me, are those of the same religion who criticize a book or an author because they write fantasy.

So why was I hesitant to write fantasy? It’s because of those extremists noted previously. I’ve had people of various religions tell me, “If you aren’t constantly glorifying God, you are turning your back on him.”

I disagree.

Every single book I’ve written has a moral theme attached to it. Do I bash people over the head with it? No. That would defeat the purpose of the narratives. My hope is that when readers travel along with the characters in my books, they take the time to think about what each character is facing and the choices they make. From there, I hope they consider the actions in the book in their own lives.

Yes, I wrote a fantasy book. I’m proud of it. I think the characters are interesting and the story is engaging. I also think that there is a lot of underlying elements which I hope will get people to think. Will it please everyone? No.

If you are one who thinks that fantasy books are offensive to God, I have a suggestion: don’t read Darker the Shadow. It’s not for you. 

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