STORYTELLING IN ZION When stories are told in institutional Mormon contexts, they stray from conventional storytelling in two ways. (1) The Joseph Campbell story structure always starts with a hero who must find an “elixir” to heal either an ailing community or him/herself, an elixir that can be found only outside the community, both spatially and ideologically. Claiming to be the only true church and unable to apostatize, the LDS church often sees such journeys as a threat. (2) These stories skip from a first act (the set-up) to a third act (the resolution), leaving out the second act: struggle. By leaving out this second act, institutionally told stories suggest there is no need to wrestle with angels or argue with God because the proper resolution of our struggles has been determined. We argue that we should embrace the challenge to “work out our own salvation” as an invitation to play God’s fools.
STEPHEN CARTER and EUGENE WOODBURY