Saccharine Saints: Is it defamation to “add to” a Bible character?

One of the challenges of writing Biblical fiction is that, in order to make sure that people mentioned in the Bible don’t come across as “saccharine saints.” Even though the protagonist of my biblical historical fiction book, A Conspiracy of Breath, could be identified solely from the Bible as Pristine Priscilla, I portrayed her with very human characteristics:  envy, stubbornness, depression, and even anger. I recently read an interesting article about the legal implications of writing about actual people. (Do you know what constitutes defamation? According to this article, you should!) Of course, Priscilla isn’t around to counter any way I portrayed her. Here is an excerpt from A Conspiracy of Breath. What are your thoughts on...

Reason #265: Damning Documentation: LDS Clergy Abuse

If you can read this document all the way to the end without becoming really, really angry, you have either mastered your emotions completely or you are dead. Deb Diener has provided links and information from public documents. Wow, just wow. (For more information, see The Mormon Mirage or other entries on 365 Reasons Why I Won’t Return to Mormonism

The Woman Who Would Carry God

Many women loved Jesus. Some followed Him around and cooked for Him, just to be near Him. At least one didn’t cook for Him, on purpose, just to be near Him. But one woman loved Him enough to carry Him around. Literally, to carry Him around. When He rose from the dead, Mary Magdalene, the gospel of John tells us, remained outside the trampled tomb. The disciples had believed her about the vacated gravesite but once they saw for themselves, they went back home. Mary’s grief, though, couldn’t be contained. She stood outside the door – did her tears spatter its threshold? She stared at the two angels, headboard and footboard, with their questions; but couldn’t meet the eyes of the man who’d silently approached behind her. He asked questions, too; but...

On Trances and Ecstasies: Thanks for Nothing, Bernini

One of the objections I received from a couple of people who read the pre-publication manuscript of A Conspiracy of Breath (and praised it otherwise) had to do with the way I portrayed Priscilla receiving revelation. In her first contact with the Holy Spirit, He overwhelmed her with words that were recorded at the time,  but with which she had little other interaction. Later, I depict Priscilla in a deepening, and more interactive, relationship with the Holy Spirit who not only gives her words but allows her to wrestle with them. The people who objected to this kind of process described in my manuscript had two comments. One did not believe that verbal inspiration happened this way—with literal trances that resulted in literary results. I responded that it...

Controversial: How the Holy Spirit Could Act with a Lady

IIs There a  Southern Gentleman Holy Spirit? When I was a baby Christian, I tried to make sense of the Trinity. I was newly washed from Mormonism, where its theology neatly packaged each member of its godhead into a separate body. Easy peasy. Compartments, check, check, check. Now adrift in the murky waters of a Christian denomination that prided itself on having no creed, I struggled most with the concept of the Holy Spirit. He was God? I gulped. Not a separate, conscious entity with a history (though unknown), thoroughly distinct from his corporate partners, the father and the son of LDS theology? It made my head hurt. But someone showed me this graphic. “Don’t worry,” a godly older woman later told me, “think of the Holy Spirit as a gentleman. He...