In regards to Jerry Johnston's column of Jan. 8, I am disturbed by several assumptions he makes regarding LDS artists and their creation or portrayal of dark and disturbing characters.

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First, that their failure to do so realistically shows "what's right with them as people." The unspoken corollary being that any LDS artist who does succeed in creating such a character must not — to paraphrase his image — have God's seal set upon his or her heart.

Second, that LDS artists who portray moral complexities and ambiguities are doing so for the glory of the world. No serious artist is striving for glory. If they were, they'd be doing something else.

He theorizes that LDS novelists and playwrights fail at darkness and complexity because they are too good for the world. I offer another theory: Too many LDS writers and readers lack the necessary requirements for such nuanced and emotionally challenging writing. They lack imagination, they lack courage and they lack empathy. As long as LDS audiences are content with one-dimensional fiction, LDS writers will supply it.

Laura S. Andersen

Saratoga Springs