To the editor:

Ironically, John Gardner, the author currently being flogged by Viewmont parents (Deseret News, Jan. 27) was an eloquent proponent of uplifting, positive fiction.Much like moviemaker David Puttnam ("Chariots of Fire"), Gardner understood the power of the written word, TV, records and film to teach values, and hence to shape society itself.

Gardner recorded these ideas in a critically acclaimed book-length essay, "On Moral Fiction," which suggests to novelists that they study the layers of role-modeling put into play by Jesus, who walked on earth as a perfect example, then transmitted his values and teachings to his disciples, who in turn took the principles to the public.

As a media professional who has struggled to find a moral balance in a largely amoral industry, I have clung gratefully to the ideas of Gardner and Puttnam.

I ache for Gardner and for all of us if we focus upon specific passages in "Grendel" without understanding or acknowledging the conclusions inherent in "Grendel" and the rest of the late author's writings.

May reason and good judgment prevail at Viewmont: whether "Grendel" is deemed to be the right book at the right time, please, parents, let's not thrash our most articulate ally without really knowing where he stands.

Ron Simpson

Department of music

Brigham Young University