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Author Topic: OSC's "Saints"  (Read 4128 times)

mirkwood

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Re: OSC's "Saints"
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2016, 05:53:56 am »
I read it many years ago under the title Woman of Destiny.
preppercop.blogspot.com
 

Hobbes

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Re: OSC's "Saints"
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2016, 11:01:12 am »
Woo Hoo!  It's Hobbes!

Hi! *blush*  I didn't think I've posted enough over the last few years than anyone would notice me being here or not.  I'm flattered. :)

Saints is a big part of why I'm LDS.

Do you care to elaborate on this?

Sure.  The book didn't convince me that the Church was true, or anything.  It was a lot about timing.  I read it when I was wondering what was true (backstory: I was raised atheist) and showed a world in which a life of faith became understandable to me.  It wasn't the believing in something you can't see, we all do that all the time and I was perfectly aware of it. I think the two biggest parts that I never had understood is: now there's this other mechanism through which truth flows.  An all powerful being who can dictate truth that is outside our realm of understanding.  So instead of being built upon what we already understand, and what we can experience either directly or through tools we're more familiar with: it just appears and may not be related to how I experience life.  Secondly, I go from a universe dictated by a set of rules to which everyone is subject, and every conscious mind I encounter is on a pretty similar level, power-org chart wise, to a world with a single, infinitely powerful being.  I couldn't even grasp how that is supposed to play into living life.

OSC didn't set out to answer these questions.  And he didn't really answer them.  But he did show the lives of very religious people in a way that helped me understand them, and allowed me to at least imagine what it was like.  Where as before it was beyond what I could picture in my head.

A side effect of reading this book before coming into the Church was, especially at first, viewing early Church leaders through the lens of who they were in Saints.  Much the way I viewed the beginning of the Book of Mormon through the lens of the Homecoming series (which I read many times, years before the Church was even an option I considered).  Personally, I think it was a big plus.  Joseph Smith became a prophet to me, but he began, and remained a man.  It both kept the smaller stuff from bothering me (since he wasn't on a pedestal in my mind) and helped me relate more to the things he said.

YMMV.
 
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CrowGirl

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Re: OSC's "Saints"
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2016, 10:12:01 am »
I'm late to this game, but I've read Saints two or three times over the last 20 years, and even gave it to CrowMan to read.

My sister-in-law handed it to me, saying she enjoyed it and thought I would, too, but warned that she had thrown it across the room three times whilst reading it.  I did nearly the same thing.  OSC's depiction of human nature is always good, but this one came so uncomfortably close to what I've seen that it was hard to read.  Yet I picked it up again each time; the hallmarks of a good storyteller that even after that, I still wanted to know more.

I had a testimony of Joseph Smith before reading this.  You know the joke that the prophet is not infallible, but everyone thinks he is?  I didn't think I felt that way--in fact, I'd vigorously argued I didn't--but I found that was wrong.  I knew Joseph Smith's story.  I'd read many accounts of his life since I was a child.  He always came across as larger than life.  OSC made him a man with a prophetic calling, a man who struggled with his life, who was placed in a horrible position of keeping secrets from so many people, who tried to make sense of the visions he was given.  This was new, and uncomfortable.  I had to ask myself, Why.  It made me examine my testimony.  I knew it was a novel, but I asked myself, What if everything written about Joseph in this book was true?  After pondering that, I decided I would still regard him as everything he said he was.  Maybe it helped that the memory of Ezra Taft Benson's years as prophet were still fresh in my mind; if God could use someone as human as Joseph Smith--and then Brigham Young--as prophets, it made sense to me that he would keep in place a man dealing with the ravages of age.

The polygamy issue was hard.  The first time I read it, CrowMan and I were struggling, and I used to wish the Principle were around so he could get what he needed elsewhere that I couldn't seem to give him.  I thought about that long and hard.  I had family members practicing polygamy on both sides of my family, and both parents lived with very different sorts of tales; one Difficult-But-Positive, the other Just Difficult.  It made me think I needed to see what I thought.  I needed to have a testimony of it myself.  Could I get one?  I did.  It helped me when I had to teach it to my Seminary students.  I laid it out.  I told them my family stories.  I told them of Joseph, for some did not know.  I shared my testimony and ended with OSC's words; how nobody, when looking back at these early lives, would not give them the title Saint.  They all quietly seemed to agree.

CrowMan read it, after seeing my struggle.  I think he enjoyed it.  He read it through.  But his take showed me the differences between him and me.  I saw no struggle.  If it's from God, you do it.  I imagine a man really would have to feel that way in order to double/triple his responsibilities in all aspects of life and not go mad.

Saints is a book I would like to recommend, but am never sure how those around me would react to it.  (Heck, I recommend Enchantment, figuring that's a safe OSC book to introduce people to, and half the time it's been returned to me without comment.) It's not an easy read, but one I'm glad I've done, and will do again.
Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.
-Ray Bradbury
 
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Jean Valjean

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Re: OSC's "Saints"
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2016, 12:15:29 pm »
I have not read Saints, so I do not have any opinion on its literary qualities.

All I really know about it is that OSC apparently makes the claim that the revelation in the Bowery, where many Saints witnessed the likeness of Joseph Smith resting on Brigham Young as he preached that the keys were with the Twelve rather than Sidney Rigdon, did not actually happen. This has been strongly criticized by other Church historians of that era.
 

CrowGirl

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Re: OSC's "Saints"
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2016, 09:00:52 pm »
I remember leading a discussion about that on Old Nauvoo.  In the novel, OSC pointed out there are no contemporary accounts of that happening.  None of the accounts are from that evening, later that week, month or year.  Just people writing about it later.  He posited a theory, and the rest of that particular chapter is worth reading along with it.  Whether he believes it or not, he was making a point worth making in that chapter. 

I believe that God is a God of Order, and that things happen because of natural laws.  I don't believe he is a magician or Santa, so OSC's account rings possible to that part of my mind.

However, as I said in another discussion earlier this week, God's ways/thoughts are certainly higher than my ways/thoughts.  There may be a natural law that allowed Brigham to be transfigured.  So it's also possible to my mind.

Again, the book made me think.  It made me look at the testimony I have always assumed was there, and made me think, WHY.  I needed something behind what I said and believed.  I've been on that journey ever since, and I am grateful for the book's kickstart.
Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.
-Ray Bradbury
 
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JLM

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Re: OSC's "Saints"
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2016, 01:57:42 am »
I haven't got around to Saints yet.  But my 11 yeard old son read  Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow last week.   :)

 
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