“Orpheus Sings to Mary and Martha” by Emily Harris Adams

Lazarus is sealed up in the tomb, sleeping in the viper’s den.
And I know that you, like me, will want your God to set him free.
Lazarus is slipping down the path where I lost Eurydice again.

My Eurydice was sweet, with eyes innocent and open.
I thought to buy her freedom: offering my song and love, boundless as the sea.
Lazarus is sealed up in the tomb, sleeping in the viper’s den.

The path between life and death is rife with both Gods and men.
As traveler of that path, let me warn you: only Gods go and return safely.
Lazarus is slipping down the path where I lost Eurydice again.

Of all you have to offer, perfection is the only bid you can make and win.
And as good as you are, perfection is beyond your means to give or be.
Lazarus is sealed up in the tomb, sleeping in the viper’s den.

At the command of anyone less than a God, no tomb will open.
So, ask your God, not for a bargain, as I did with Hades and Persephone.
Lazarus is slipping down the path where I lost Eurydice again.

Ask your God to be the price, the ransom, the trade for men.
And ask for more than Lazarus. Ask for Eurydice. Ask for me.
Lazarus is sealed up in the tomb, sleeping in the viper’s den.
Lazarus is slipping down the path where I lost my Eurydice again.

“Perfection Is a Fullness” by Jeanine Bee

In the spring of 2020, all the temples were closed.

A few days later, my grandma showed up in my living room. Which wouldn’t have been so concerning had she not died twenty years ago.

At first I thought it was just me. An effect of extended isolation on my mental well-being, perhaps. But then some of my neighbors took to social media.

Does anyone have any tips for getting rid of ghosts??
You have one too?
3 at our house. They’ve taken over the basement!
Maybe garlic?
That’s vampires.
Try sprinkling peppermint oil around your house and putting a dab of clove oil behind your ears.

It soon appeared that every home in the neighborhood had at least one visiting relation. And as the days stretched on, we learned that the phenomenon was not limited to our suburb. A homeowner in Texas accidentally shot a hole through his back door when he wandered into his kitchen and found the specter of Davy Crockett rummaging through his junk drawer. And one couple in France was abruptly awakened on a Sunday morning to find Benjamin Franklin snuggled in between them like a child who’d had a nightmare.

Our new houseguests couldn’t communicate audibly, so we were left to conjecture as to their sudden arrival. The church released a statement about how, since the temples were closed, perhaps these spirits were seeking refuge in the home, another holy place. They quoted scripture—“neither can we without our dead be made perfect”—and they said that we’d been focusing on baptizing the dead, but now it was time to learn from our ancestors. Personally, I wasn’t sure what my grandma could teach me without any kind of discourse. It seemed like she just wanted to watch me go about my day, though I felt a little self-conscious, having her eyes on me all the time. I tried asking her questions, but she didn’t attempt to answer. Larissa Palmer down the street found an old Ouija board and thought that it might be a promising way to communicate with the spirits. They didn’t seem interested, though. Her own ghost rolled his eyes when she pulled out the board, finally indicating the letters that spelled out the phrase, “Put that nonsense away and find me a damn cigar.”

But it didn’t actually matter why they were here. We couldn’t get rid of them, so we adapted. A new trend appeared on social media called “ghosties,” where people would post selfies with their ghosts. Unfortunately, the ghosts didn’t appear on camera, so most of the pictures just looked like a normal selfie of you, standing in your empty bedroom, pointing at nothing.

Some people started attaching social status to the quality of their haunting. After digging through their family tree, the Millers proudly announced that the monk who regularly interrupted their family scripture study with wild gesticulating was none other than Martin Luther. And Sister Jordan, who had always faithfully done her family history work, claimed to know immediately that the woman who sat stoically in her late husband’s easy chair was Harriet Tubman. Both women seemed pleased with the company.

Of course, most of us just kept living our lives. Rebecca Cho told me that her great-aunt Deborah had taken to following her around the house, shaking her head disapprovingly as she watched Rebecca complete housework. It was a little obnoxious, sure. But Aunt Deborah also taught Rebecca some great recipes, standing over her shoulder and pointing at the spice cabinet as Rebecca cooked.

As for me, my grandma’s arrival didn’t really change my day-to-day. For the most part, she didn’t demand any attention. She often sat in the corner of the room, an adoring smile on her face as she watched my kids play together, or read over my shoulder as I worked on a writing project. I was nine when she had died, and most of my memories of her were tainted by cancer. I didn’t remember her looking so fresh, with plump cheeks that pinked up when she smiled. Sometimes she would stand by the bookcase and indicate to a book she wanted me to open, and in a quiet moment we would sit on the bed together and flip through a Romantic poetry anthology or a collection of fairy tales. I hadn’t known how much she loved reading. And one day I found her sitting at the piano, her eyes closed, her fingers poised, melting down into the keys as she tried to play a song. I sat on the bench next to her, and she looked excited, pointing to one specific book of Debussy songs. I flipped through the pages until she motioned for me to stop at an Arabesque. The book fell open easily, the spine worn on what was one of my own favorite songs to play. And as I sat at the piano, my fingers strong and willowy, my grandma closed her eyes and placed her wispy hands over mine, and together we swayed as the notes filled every empty place.

“Resurrection by Easter 2020” by Selina Forsyth

Our god has slept,
though somewhat fitfully,
for a few days. Maybe weeks.
How we long for the promised return,
preferably stronger than before.

But resurrections, we have learned, require a sacrifice.
This time it is not heart nor spirit our god demands
(we have already given these)
but lungs –
perhaps a million,
perhaps two.
The lungs of the aged, the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned –
all probably strangers –
and those who dare to care for them.

Though our god cannot offer itself for us,
as we have heard some Gods do,
it wins our devotion with this exalted vision:
a zion society
in which “every man prospers according to his genius,
and every man conquers according to his strength.”

But if the lungs that Mammon requires end up being yours or mine,
instead of our distant brother’s
(we were never his keeper anyway)
will we still say “all is well in zion, because zion prospereth”?


9th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Finalists and Schedule

On Monday, we announced the long list of 24 semi-finalists in this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz.

A publication schedule of the 12 finalists is as follows:

Monday June 8: “Resurrection by Easter 2020” by Selina Forsyth
Tuesday June 9: “Perfection is a Fullness” by Jeanine Bee
Wednesday June 10: “Orpheus Sings to Mary and Martha” by Emily Harris Adams
Thursday June 11: “Family Tree” by Merrijane Rice
Friday June 12: “Three Generations of Sonder” by Chanel Earl
Saturday June 13: “Airplanes that Crashed: A Book of Mormon Coloring Book” by Jared Forsyth

Monday June 15: “Final Report” by Mattathias Westwood
Tuesday June 16: “Portal Friends” by Annaliese Lemmon
Wednesday June 17: “Part Heaven” by Madison Beckstrand
Thursday June 18: “O Nosso Cão Stromberg” by César Augusto Medina Fortes
Friday June 19: “In the Locker Room at the Temple” by Darlene Young
Saturday June 20: “Brother and Sister” by Scott Hales

We hope you’ll join us on this website to read this year’s finalists and vote on your favorites! To keep up with the Lit Blitz and other Mormon Lit Lab projects, you can also follow our Facebook page or sign up for our email list.

9th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Long List

It’s been a busy spring for us. We’re currently working toward the release of a print and electronic anthology featuring the finalists from the first five years of the Mormon Lit Blitz. We partnered with the Confradia de Letras Mormonas to sponsor a Spanish-language Mormon literature contest. And, of course, from June 8-June 20th, we’ll publish 12 finalists in the 2020 Mormon Lit Blitz.

We are grateful for the members of the Lit Blitz community who have been consistently submitting their pieces since the first contest in 2012, and we welcome all of the new voices who submitted for the first time this year.

Every year after receiving submissions, we review every entry blindly (without author names) and rank them based on literary merit, how the piece will interact with our audience, and originality and/or experimentation. Getting down to 12 finalists is really difficult. As we thoughtfully select pieces that add to the vision of the Mormon Lit Blitz, we traditionally publish a long list of 24 or so pieces that stood out to us before whittling the list down to the 12 finalists.

This year’s long list (alphabetized by author’s last name) includes a wide range of pieces, including poetry and flash fiction, our first-ever coloring book, and even a short play:

“Crematory Services” Emily Harris Adams
“Orpheus Sings to Mary and Martha” Emily Harris Adams
“I’ve never had the pleasure” Madison Beckstrand
“Part Heaven” Madison Beckstrand
“Perfection is a Fullness” Jeanine Bee
“The Dance” Kathy Cowley
“Three Generations of Sonder” Chanel Earl
“Airplanes that Crashed: A Book of Mormon Coloring Book” Jared Forsyth
“Earthquake” Selina Forsyth
“Resurrection by Easter 2020” Selina Forsyth
“O Nosso Cao Stromberg” Cesar Fortes
“Brother and Sister” Scott Hales
“Classifieds: Used Car, High Mileage” Marianne Hales Harding
“Lucky Wounds” Eric Jepson
“Portal Friends” Annaliese Lemmon
“Drowning in the Great Salt Lake” Kristin Perkins
“Perspective” Katherine Gee Perrone
“Author and Finisher” Merrijane Rice
“Family Tree” Merrijane Rice
“Give Me Alice Springs” Jeanna Mason Stay
“Push” Jeanna Mason Stay
“Final Report” Mattathias Westwood
“Gethsemane” Darlene Young
“In the Locker Room at the Temple” Darlene Young

Congratulations to all the semi-finalists! We’ll announce the finalists here on Friday, May 29. To keep up with the Lit Blitz and other Mormon Lit Lab projects, you can also follow our Facebook page or sign up for our email list.

9th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Call for Submissions

Since 2012, the annual Mormon Lit Blitz contest has encouraged people to use Latter-day Saint ideas, values, beliefs, or imagery in very short stories, essays, poems, or other forms of writing.

We are still accepting submissions for our Spanish-language contest, created in cooperation with the Confradia de Letres Mormonas. We are also now accepting submissions for our regular annual Mormon Lit Blitz contest.


Submissions for the Ninth Annual Mormon Lit Blitz writing contest are due by the morning of 18 May 2020 to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com. Submitted works may be in any genre so long as they are under 1,000 words and designed to resonate in some way with an Latter-day Saint audience. Previously published material and simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Up to three submissions are allowed per author.

Finalists will be posted on the Mormon Artist magazine website (lit.mormonartist.net) in June. At the conclusion of the Lit Blitz, readers will vote for their favorite pieces, and a $100 prize will be given to the audience choice winner.

For updates about the 2020 contest, follow the Mormon Lit Blitz Facebook page.

To facilitate the judging process, we prefer to receive submissions as .doc, .docx, or .pdf attachments with the author’s name and contact information in the body of the email but not included in the attached text. Please email submissions and any questions you may have to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com.

By submitting, authors give us nonexclusive rights to publish their work electronically. As stated above, previously published work is fine if you still have the rights to the piece and if it meets the above contest requirements.

If you would like to support our efforts to create space for Mormon literary work, please consider making a monthly donation pledge on our Patreon account.

Mormon Lit Blitz Pandemic Reading

Reading recommendations list selected by Mattathias Singh Goldberg Westwood

Meetinghouses and temples all around the world are closed. General conference next week will be attended in person only by the speakers for each given session. These are unusual times for worship around the world, as community leaders try to buy medical professionals some time to understand the novel coronavirus and prepare hospitals to meet needs as well as they can.

Even with meetings canceled, though, this is no time to go on spiritual cruise control. Strange times raise important questions. We may not be able to meet as wards, but we need chances for reflection and worship as much as ever.

At the Mormon Lit Blitz, we’ve been inviting writers to think about Mormon life and possible Mormon futures since 2012. Like the oil in the parable of the ten virgins, we’re finding that past years’ writing has prepared us to process our present situation.

Here are some pieces, organized by topic, you might find it useful to read over the next few weeks.

Imagining the Church Facing Times of Crisis

Several Mormon Lit Blitz finalists have imagined how the Church might face major crises.

In Jonathon Penny’s “A Voice Not Crying In the Wilderness,” a zombie outbreak makes worship more restrained and reflective:

Katherine Cowley’s “Waiting” explores what it means to have life go on when the world is going crazy:
Anneke Garcia’s “Oaxaca” asks us to imagine how outside stresses can be catalysts for reflection and growth:
At a time when many of are eating our food storage, fasting for global solutions, or simply shopping for the next things to eat, here are two pieces about food:
Marilyn’s Nielson’s “In Bulk” takes on the shock of shopping for many in a culture where that’s no longer a norm:
Wm Morris’s “After the Fast” imagines what it might mean to break a fast after 40 days and nights:
After the Fast https://lit.mormonartist.net/2018/06/after-the-fast-by-wm-morris/

Service and Stress

In times of crises, people are looking for ways to serve. 

Lee Allred’s “Beneath the Visiting Moon” explores isolation and ministering:
Wm Morris’s “The Joys of Onsite Apartment Management” reflects on the mundane nature of most service–and the inspiration that comes with it:
Church and Temple
A time when temples and meetinghouses are closed might be the perfect time to reflect on what they mean to us.
Jonathon’s Penny’s “Yahweh: Prologue to the Temple” does the hard work of trying to capture what the temple does in language:


Laura Hilton Craner’s “The Primary Temple Trip” works both ward and temple into a single classic short short story:

Kelli Swofford Nielsen’s “The Back Row” points out what we might be missing when we lose the chance to sit in the back of the chapel:

Social Not-Distancing

Along the same lines, a period of social distancing might be a good time to think about what it’s like to be around a lot of people: 

Cesar Medina Fortes “A Sunday at Laginha” reminisces about spending time with all the neighborhood kids:
Melody Burris’s “Something Practical” is a comic love letter to ward gatherings and their unexpected delights:


For those separated from close loved ones, Merrijane Rice’s “Mother” may feel timely:

Coping with Absurdity
As humans, we respond to the overall feeling of strangeness in a time of disruption as much as to any specific event or concern. We’re all trying to find ways to cope with the absurd.

Wm Morris’s “Last Tuesday” is about strange happenings:

Emily Harris Adams’ “Second Coming” deals with the space between hope and trouble:


And finally, Annalisa Lemmon’s “Death, Disability, or other Circumstance” is a story about dealing with disorienting change:

Enjoy the reading! If you’re so inclined, join the legacy by submitting to this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz or by making a monthly donation pledge on our Patreon account.

CONVOCATORIA «Palabras de Mormón» Certamen literario

«Palabras de Mormón»
Certamen literario

La Cofradía de Letras Mormonas, con el apoyo de Mormon Lit Lab y la Asociación de Escritores SUD del Perú, convoca a los miembros de la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días, a simpatizantes y al público en general, a enviar sus obras a concurso conforme las siguientes bases…


  1. La característica principal de las obras es que se engloben dentro de lo llamado literatura mormona, es decir, que versen sobre temas SUD o sean de autoría SUD. Para consultar ejemplos de este tipo de literatura, invitamos a los autores a ver este y otros números de El Pregonero de Deseret.
  2. El idioma principal de las obras será forzosamente el español.
  3. La extensión máxima de las obras es 2 000 palabras. Cualquier obra que exceda ese límite será automáticamente descalificada.
  4. Se podrán presentar obras en los siguientes géneros: poesía, cuento, microcuento, ensayo, teatro, crónica o memorias.
  5. No se tendrá en cuenta bajo ningún concepto obra alguna que exhiba excesivas faltas de ortografía, errores de puntuación o cuya falta a la gramática los haga ininteligibles.
  6. Los autores podrán presentar hasta 3 trabajos, siempre y cuando sean en distintos géneros.
  7. Las obras serán enviadas a la dirección de correo electrónico cofradiadeletrasmormonas@gmail.com. En el cuerpo del correo, los autores deberán incluir su nombre, datos de contacto y título de la obra. La obra se adjuntará en formatos de Word o RTF.
  8. El plazo para presentar abre con la presente convocatoria y cierra el 1 de abril de 2020 a la medianoche. Se descalificará toda obra enviada con un horario y día posterior a este límite.
  9. De entre las obras presentadas se seleccionará a varios finalistas, de entre los que se escogerá a dos accésits y un ganador. La Cofradía de Letras Mormonas anunciará a las obras finalistas y a la ganadora en El Pregonero de Deseret y en su grupo de Facebook. También podrán aparecer en la web Mormon Lit Blitz.
  10. Los premios serán los siguientes: por la obra ganadora, 100 USD; por el primer accésit, 50 USD; por el segundo accésit, 25 USD. El jurado podrá declarar nulo el concurso en caso de que ninguna obra reúna suficientes condiciones literarias.
  11. Los participantes ceden a la Cofradía de Letras Mormonas los derechos para reproducir, editar y publicar sus obras en las plataformas de ésta y de Mormon Lit Lab. Todos los otros derechos se reservan en los respectivos autores.
  12. La Cofradía de Letras Mormonas se reserva el derecho de publicar o no las obras en El Pregonero de Deseret.

Book of Mormon Creative Reading List

As we study the Book of Mormon this year, many people will turn to commentaries and scholarly works for additional insight. It’s a good time for those: from the Maxwell Institute’s new 12-part The Book of Mormon: Brief Theological Introductions series to four new Book of Mormon-related titles forthcoming at BCC Press in January alone, there’s plenty of new material to consider.

At the Mormon Lit Lab, of course, we also feel strongly about the power of literature to invite our imaginations into conversation with scripture.

Over the past eight years, a handful of Mormon Lit Blitz finalists have drawn inspiration and imagery from the Book of Mormon. At a glance, we noticed:
“Remnant” by Sarah Dunster
“New Rhythm” by Tanya Hanamaikai
“Daughters of Ishmael” by Annaliese Lemmon
“Rumors of Wars” by Zachary Lunn
“Curelom Riders” by Annaliese Lemmon
“Slippery” by Stephen Carter
“Living Scriptures” by Scott Hales

We’d also encourage you to take time this year to try out a poetry collection or novel inspired by the Book of Mormon. Some options include:
Estampas del Libro de Mormón by Gabriel González Núñez 
Psalm and Selah: A Poetic Journey Through the Book of Mormon by Mark Bennion
The Book of Laman and The Book of Abish by Mettie Ivie Harrison
The Nephiad by Michael R. Collings
“Book of Mormon Story” by James Goldberg (in Out of the Mount: 19 from New Play Project)
Daughters of Jared, Alma the Youngerand Ammon by H. B. Moore
“Gift of the King’s Jeweler” by Steven Peck (in Wandering Realities: Mormonism Short Fiction)

We’d love to take time at different points during the year to share more short works inspired by the Book of Mormon. If you have a poem, short story, or essay under 1,000 words you’d like to share, please submit by email to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com with “Book of Mormon Lit” in the subject line and we’ll consider it for online publication.

Happy reading–and writing!

-Mormon Lit Lab

2019 Mormon Lit Blitz Winner

As always, we owe thanks to all the writers who submitted to this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz and to the many readers who read the finalists, shared them on social media, and cast votes in the contest. Special thanks go to the core of supporters who have pledged a monthly contribution on the Mormon Lit Lab Patreon page: their support has been vital to our expanding efforts to support writers.

We’ve tallied the votes and the top pieces are:

4. “The Hills of Heaven” by Scott Hales

3. “Paradisiacal Glory” by Katherine Cowley

2. “The Casting Out of Spirits” by Jeanine Bee

and this year’s winner

1. “The Seven Deadly Housewarmers” by Emily Harris Adams


We hope you’ll join us for next year’s contest and other events. To keep posted on future contests, we encourage you to sign up for our email list.