What’s a cult? What’s “cult fiction”?

What”‘s a cult? And what”‘s “cult fiction”?

Some people think its any religion that”‘s more demanding than their own, or that has elements they feel are “strange.” But this blog focuses on pseudo-Christian cults– those religious groups who claim a connection to the Bible and use mainly biblical terms but who also 1) deify man, 2) humanize God, 3) ostracize the Bible and 4) provide a non-Biblical view of salvation.

Of course Mormonism, the religion of my own youth, fits the bill perfectly. And there are many, many Internet sites that give information about Mormonism and other pseudo-Christian cults. Many provide information about books written about Mormonism. But none I know provide information about books that deal with cults in a fiction format.

Why fiction? Why would anyone write about Mormonism or any other cult in a fictional format when they have a fascinating, documented history with real people and events?

To answer that question, I go back to my teenage years when a teacher assigned Upton Sinclair”‘s book, The Jungle. Around 1900, many journalists had tried to raise public consciousness of the deplorable conditions in the meat packing industry in Chicago. However, until Sinclair published a novel ““ fiction ““ that made people feel those conditions, nothing was done about the industry. His novel was directly responsible for the Pure Food and Drugs Act and reform of the meat packing industry.

Forty years after reading that book, I can still remember the descriptions of the workmen”‘s houses, the tainted ice, the stench of the slaughterhouses. Fiction has that power, to describe in unforgettable ways. It has that function, to confront us with issues we might otherwise ignore.

I have written a book of fiction about Mormonism, Latter-day Cipher (Moody Publishers.) In that venture, I join many other writers who have used the vehicle of fiction to describe some very real problems in Mormonism. I call this emerging genre of literature “cult fiction.” Since I have quite a few published book reviews to my credit, I”‘d like to provide a forum for reviews of cult fiction.

An example of this is September Dawn, a new book by Carole Whang Schutter, about the Mountain Meadow Massacre. (Publishing information: AuthorHouse, 2007, # ISBN-10: 1434300226 # ISBN-13: 978-1434300225, available at Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere.)

I”‘ll never look at that event, the historical accounts of which I”‘ve studied for 30 years, the same way again. Her novel put a human face on the slaughter of 120 innocent men, women and children. It”‘s fascinating reading ““ much like the movie Titanic, it is a love story of fictional characters in the “frame” of the historical event. In addition, Schutter provides solid documentation for what she portrays.

The book is the novelization of the extremely controversial movie of the same name, which stars Jon Voit and Dean Cain. The movie received superlative reviews http://www.septemberdawn.net/reviews
and will be released in video format January 1.

Read more about Carole Whang Schutter and September Dawn at http://www.cwschutter.com

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