Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"Valley 176th Ward" Discussion

Today's short story is "Valley 176th Ward" by Eliza Porter. 

Mormon satire can be tough to pull off in a way that's effective for a faithful audience. Since there are plenty of people who criticize Mormonism as a whole, some readers may react defensively to pieces that take a position of critique. 

At the same time, of course, Mormonism has a long tradition of encouraging self-reflection, from the scriptural warnings against saying "all is well in Zion" to the Council of Fifty obligation to share concerns and objections about a plan before a vote took place to more current concerns with separating truth from cultural habit. 

How does "Valley 176th Ward" work for you as a piece of satire? Do you have general thoughts on what can help Mormon satire succeed? 

We'd welcome thoughts on these questions as well as other reactions to the piece. 


  1. It works extremely well! And it makes me extremely sad! It reminds me of an old Orson Scott Card short story about a man who builds an expensive house on the hill "for his family" but realizes it was more for his pride. That story has a happier ending, but this one makes a similar point without coming off as didactic.

    1. That story is "Christmas at Helaman's House" and it's in the Mormon fiction anthology Dispensation.

  2. As far as Eliza's story: I think this is an extremely important issue for Mormons to wrestle with today. In Ohio, our ward covered a wide area with different income levels, life situations, and cultures. We didn't always do right by everybody, but we at least had the chance to try.
    It can be tougher in Utah and other areas with higher Mormon population density. You're always going to deal with different life situations in a ward, of course, but I think there's a lot lost as far as the Restoration's big goals when we're so divided by American cities tend very strongly to do.

  3. And while I don't want to judge others for their choices, it has been important to me to choose to live in places where there's some income mix.

  4. I currently live in a branch that has a lot of very low income areas (part of Baltimore), and I can honestly say it would be nice to have some rich folk here to pay some mega fast offerings. :)



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