Last week I started reading a novel (I won’t mention the author’s name) that began well enough, but about half way through the plot the author ventured into the most graphic sex scene I had ever come across. I stopped reading, threw the book in the recycle can (hoping the pages would be put to better use) and started searching for prose worth my time. Now I ask you, I know sex sells, but are our efforts to become great writers enhanced by writing pornography? Wouldn’t we better spend our time lifting souls and encouraging others through our words?
That author is probably laughing all the way to the bank. After all, I helped fund her future projects by buying her book in the first place. Though I’ve added her name to my black list of stinky authors, I’ve already helped to further the demise of morality in the world with my purchase. Not to be a prude, but honestly, why can’t we leave the most sacred of acts behind our bedroom doors and write something that can pull us out of the trash receptacles of life?
A wise man, Boyd K. Packer, once expressed my sentiments in a perfect analogy: “There are many who struggle and climb and finally reach the top of the ladder, only to find out that it is leaning against the wrong wall.”
If we have to struggle and climb to the top, why not reflect the best of what life has to offer? Of course, the plots we create must reflect opposition to make the story interesting, but the sole use of the lurid and the degrading, just to sell a book, saddens me beyond expression. I can’t help think those authors will one day find themselves under the heavy hand of heaven’s task masters erasing their words with their noses.
Some might argue that free expression is what makes our vocation important. Yes, that freedom is important. But I believe the way we use our gift, either for sensationalism or for helping people discover the best they possess within them, matters far more than we realize. And if I’m wrong--well, I’d rather be on the side of honor and decency, than on the dark side, enticing the worst from my readers.
Were we put here on this earth for good or for evil? Whether we believe in God or not, something inside tells me we already know what wall we need to scale. And in this day and age, we have no time to waste. We'd better start climbing as fast and high as possible.