To kind of piggy back on my post from last Saturday, I'm going to talk about our battle against evil. As writers, we can combat evil with words. As Latter-day saints, we sometimes agonize over putting evil in our stories. There are some in our faith that say just by mentioning the evils of the world we give them power. Still others say, we must be realistic and come at it from the world's point of view or our words will be discarded. I've heard many discussions on this topic and have come to realize that in the end, we must choose for ourselves what we feel is right. When trying to figure out what I feel is right in this reguard, I have thought about the way the prophets approach evil of the world. They approach with blunt honesty. You have only to read the new "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet to know this is true. They approach each topic in a loving yet honest manner. They don't shirk from the uncomfortable topics, they face them head on, discussing the consequences of such choices. Through this example I've learned that ignoring the evil of the world is not the answer. We can't pretend it doesn't exist. We can't pretend there's not a battle going on in our daily lives. To ignore this battle in our writing shows a lack of respect to our characters and our readers. Stuggle is part of life and it is central to any story. The trick is to make sure that our portrayals of evil are honest and show the consequences of such actions. To not show the consequences, we are glamorizing the evil of the world and showing it in a good light. We can see this in the many tv shows on the air today. As writers our job is help change this. We can bring about a revolution of literature and stories that help people see that only by taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions can we become the strong people we need to be.
Our wonderful prophet Gordon B. Hinckley spoke on our responsibility on this matter.
"Let our voices be heard. I hope they will not be shrill voices, but I hope we shall speak with such conviction that those to whom we speak shall know of the strength of our feeling and the sincerity of our effort...
Declared the Lord to this people:
“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
“Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:33–34)."
I recommend you read the whole talk in the link above. I think you will be able to see how to show evil in such a way that good triumphs. We can't have light without the dark, we have to have pain to relish pleasure, the same is true in our stories. We can show the hurt and pain that wrong choices cause, we can show the blessings and positive consequences of good choices, this is our charge. We must each decide the best way to do this in our writing. We can't expect other people to spell it out for us. But we can rely on the spirit to guide us in this matter.
I will close by using Pres. Hinckley's own words:
"Strength to do battle begins with enlisting the strength of God. He is the source of all true power.
Declared Paul to the Ephesians:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:10–13)...
God lives. He is our strength and our helper. As we strive, we shall discover that legions of good men and women will join with us. Let us begin now."