The reason you love independent Mormon magazines
Sometimes when I tell people what I do, they give me a funny look. “We already have the Ensign and the New Era,” they say, “why do we need an independent Mormon magazine?”
The easiest way to understand the function of independent Mormon publications is to consider the state of Mormon fiction.
The Church probably made an editorially sound decision when it pulled fiction completely out of its magazines. Church magazines are meant to preach right living in as straightforward a manner as possible; thus, they have little room for irony, metaphor, conflict, or many of the other tools fiction writers use.
However, the Church’s decision also reduced the number of places where Mormon fiction writers could publish, which is a shame because every up-and-coming fiction writer needs to get some practice, interact with good editors, and garner some publishing credits.
Since the Church is no longer supporting fiction, someone has to step in and give these writers a place to publish their work. Right now, national magazines and journals aren’t very interested in Mormon fiction, probably because so few Mormon writers have had the opportunity to learn to write about the unique challenges of Mormon life with nuance and creativity.
That’s where independent Mormon magazines come in.
We’re here to find Mormonism’s future Miltons and Shakespeares (the ones Orson Whitney and Spencer W. Kimball talked about) early in their careers and nurture them so that they can get enough practice and publication credits to eventually launch into the national market.
The more writers we export, the more robust and nuanced the world’s image of Mormonism becomes. And I would even argue, the more robust and nuanced Mormonism itself becomes. We’ll no longer be perceived just as the nice young men in ties that knock on your door; we’ll become fully rounded characters inhabiting a fully-rounded culture.
Of course, this all goes for other writing endeavors as well: poetry, personal essay, non-fiction, comics, etc.
So, when you see an independent Mormon publication, pick it up, read it, subscribe to it – write for it. Help us grow a bumper crop of excellent Mormon writers for export.