At my Senior Ball, a dinner/dance for the almost-graduates at my high school (unlike the prom, not held at a car dealership) I won a Most Likely Award. You know: Most Likely To Succeed, Most Likely To End Up Managing A BK, etc. I got Most Likely To Write For Teen Magazine. Besides the fact that I don't think Teen exists anymore, writing for it wasn't an option because I wanted to write me the novels. But I did love writing quizzes, which earned me the award in the first place. Ah, quizzes. We're talking pre-lame-o facebook quizzes that were apparently designed by an untrained ape. These quizzes were for real: Is He, In Fact, That Into You? What Does Your Personal Style Say About You? Not that the quizzes I wrote were remotely like that. Mine were more along the lines of: Are You An Insomniac? Do You Have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
I guess that's why, when I saw this article yesterday, this popped into my mind: What Does Your Religion Say About You?
I have mixed feelings about the article, which appeared in School Library Journal and is, if not a Big Deal, a Big Enough Deal. I mean, national recognition for my book is always a good thing, whether it comes via being banned or by being mentioned in an article about YA books dealing with the Mormon culture.
But here's the rub: while my book, and some others on the list, indeed DO deal with Mormon culture, others on the list do not. Which is disheartening. Because since when is it the job of journalism to perpetuate untrue stereotypes.
Here's a little quiz:
1) In your excitement for a BFF's book launch, you know just how to celebrate. Your vision? To turn this:
(Okay, so this wasn't exactly the vision, but it was the best I could do. To see the fully executed project, plus more about the launch day, check out Sara's video blog here).
Does your belief that cookies are not only a good idea but a crucial one make you a Mormon?
d) I'd never make cookies--those things'll kill ya.
As far as I know, Mormons are the only people ever to make cookies. And make cookies we do, for any celebration large or small, any gathering large or small, and any reason large or small. It's our thing. Don't take that away from us!
2) After the launch party for second BFF James Dashner's novel:
your rockin' friend Brodi takes a picture of you and James chummin' it up.
You love the pic, but can't help noticing the immodesty of your shirt--the neckline is a little wide for a shirt designed with modesty as its expressed purpose (www.shadeclothing.com). Does even caring about this make you a Mormon?
d) Die, skank. Die.
Mormons are all paranoid about immodesty. Every single one of them. Wide necklines are unacceptable, as is showing your ankle or elbow.
3) At an author event, you run into Carol Lynch Williams.
You call Carol your mother, and she calls you her daughter, even though she neither birthed you nor has ever been legally married to your father. Does this make you a Mormon?
d) What do you mean, she didn't give birth to you, MDawg? You totally have her eyes!
ANSWER: Well, apparently if you are the SLJ reporter who wrote this piece, you'll answer A, because being polygamist is part of being Mormon, as evidenced in the television show Big Love and the two YA books mentioned in the article, Sister Wife and The Chosen One.
Alas, none of these are about Mormons. Big Love is based on a splinter group that broke off from the Mormon church generations ago. While The Chosen One is written by an LDS author, it is about a fictional religious cult and has nothing to do with HER religion. Sister Wife has no Mormon ties whatsoever, as far as I know.
What does my religion say about me? Plenty. It says I sit through three hours of church every Sunday. It says that as a non-camper I go to Girls Camp because I love the girls in my congregation and want to share my love--for them, for Jesus Christ, and for His gospel. It says I don't drink mocha java despite my love of chocolate.
But two seconds of research will tell you it does NOT say I believe that men should abuse women and children, it is okay to break the law, and polygamy is hunky-dory.
As a side note, please, please, please be impressed by the number of correct photos and images in this post, along with myriad links. I'm doing this for you, people!