Hat tip to Times and Seasons for being far more proactive than I.
Article found at the Salt Lake Tribune
I know. It's Twlight and many of us are tired of hearing about it. I suspect many who read still have a soft spot for those books, perhaps it is a guilty pleasure. That's what they are for me. But this isn't a critique of the book or even praise.
Deseret Book has decided to take the series off their shelves.
Those interested are able to special order the books, sure, but no longer can one (read: youth) walk into one of these stores and pick it up. I do wonder how many members actually purchased the books there. I bought mine at Barnes and Noble. Many of my friends visited Walmart or Target. Granted, the nearest DB is an hour away but even when I lived nearby one I didn't hear of many who visited to buy it.
I don't know.
The reasons for the drop are vague at best.
"Like any retailer, our purpose is to offer products that are embraced and expected by our customers. When we find products that are met with mixed review, we typically move them to special order status," Leigh Dethman, Deseret Book spokeswoman said.
I know a friend of mine initially denounced the relationship between the two main characters as "inappropriate." Yet she continued to eat up the rest of the series. She's not the only one, but some have stood by their review and refused to read the rest of the series or have blacked out the more sensual passages to keep their virgin daughter's thoughts more virginal. If they ever were in the first place.
We black stuff out. We don't talk about it, acknowledge it, discuss it. We black it out. Take it off the shelves.
I'll agree: this probably isn't the book for your thirteen year old. While there is no explicit sex, sex is dripping from the prose.
I mean, let's face it. Twilight is soft-core erotica for LDS women. I'll admit I loved it. And why not? We need a little more sexuality in our lives.
Those faithful, strong, zealous members of the Church who love this book tickle me. These people who have standards so thick as to follow the one time counsel to dating youth to only engage in "sexless" kisses, these BYU students and alumni love this book.
Because the author is Mormon. Because it promotes abstinence. Because it is "clean." At least that's what they say.
I heartily disagree. I think it avoided premarital sex. Found a loophole. Much like in Stephenie Meyer's other book, The Host, the issue of fornication was completely circumvented. Not decried. The main character, Bella, wanted Edward. He wanted her, too. But he was afraid with his superhuman strength and extreme lust for her blood, he'd end up killing her.
Some examples of the text. Some of my favorites ;D
His hand curved around my elbow, moving slowly down my arm, across my ribs and over my waist, tracing along my hip and down my leg, around my knee. He paused there, his hand curling around my calf. He pulled my leg up suddenly, hitching it around his hip.
I stopped breathing. This wasn't the kind of thing he usually allowed. Despite his cold hands, I felt suddenly warm. His lips moved in the hollow at the base of my throat.
"No to bring on the ire prematurely," he whispered, "but do you mind telling me what it is about this bed that you object to?"
Before I could answer, before I could even concentrate enough to make sense of his words, he rolled to the side, pulling me on top of him. He held my face in his hands, angling it up so that his mouth could reach my throat. My breathing was too loud -- it was almost embarrassing, but I couldn't care quite enough to be ashamed...
Slowly this time, he rolled till he hovered over me. He held himself carefully so that I felt none of his weight, but I could feel the cool marble of his body press against mine...
Cold as ice, his tongue lightly traced the shape of my lips. (Eclipse, pgs 186-187)
His hands were in my hair, his lips moving softly -- but very seriously -- against mine, before I realized what he was saying. What he was doing.
There wasn't much time to act. If I waited too long, I wouldn't be able to remember why I needed to stop him. Already, I couldn't breathe right. My hands were gripping his arm, pulling myself tighter to him, my mouth glued to his and answering every unspoken question his asked.
I tried to clear my head, to find a way to speak.
He rolled gently, pressing me into the cool grass. (Eclipse, pg 618)
There is sex in this book. And while Edward objects because he claims he's old-fashioned (he is 100+ years old), this is not activity with which the Standards of Youth would approve.
Nevermind he is constantly in her room. Alone with her in other places.
We drink this up. I read this when I was still marginally faithful, afraid to turn the page - would they have sex? should I read this? oh but I wanted to. Finally, a member of the church found her courage to write like this. It was refreshing. I'd stopped writing long ago because I didn't think I could write anything worthy of the faith, and I refused to write something akin to The Work and the Glory.
This series was refreshing for me. Like a revelation.
No, Meyer's novels don't decry premarital sex because the abstinence is far too erotic. The want for it is far too strong. And perhaps that's the problem for Deseret Books.
But really, a little heavy breathing is good for us. We need to acknowledge sex and celebrate it. Stop shunning it so much. I'd like to know the prevalence of women who, like in one story I heard, couldn't bring herself to consummate her marriage with her husband because to her, sex was bad. Dirty. We need more stories like Twilight to help say it's not. More women in the Church need to know it's not. Married and single alike. Old and young.
But it seems DB, owned by the Church, can't afford to keep it on the shelves. It's too PG-13. After all, I'm positive President Kimball would've disapproved. Our standards for dating are entirely too strict and I believe lend to more sexual "sins" than not. Or lead to unhappy sex lives within marriage. Is it sad or telling to anyone else that married LDS women are eating this up?
In the end, I don't think Deseret's problem lies with the adult readership but perhaps in the Church's (and it's ultra-strict members) decrying the sexual content because so many of our young women read this over and over again.
And instead of asking ourselves why, we take it off the official LDS bookstore shelf.
EDIT: After some thought, I had a few other questions, and I think the answers to them will surprise many if there's any bit of honesty involved:
1) Would so many LDS women consume this series if it were written by a Pentecostal/Catholic/Muslim/Agnostic Stephenie Meyer?
2) If she wasn't LDS, wouldn't most of us decry these books as inappropriate? Yeah. Probably not many of you.
But many of our faithful-and-true friends would for the very reasons I posted above. We allow it because, well, she's Mormon. We make excuses for her. Because she's one of us. She's a successful one of us. An LDS mommy. A working LDS mommy.
A psychologist's playground, this is.
And I think that leads us again to my original question: what does this say about our views on sexuality? Our egocentrism? Our culture? Our religion? Our propensity to hypocrisy (gasp! i know)?
I mean, let's be honest.
For a listing of the comments, both rational and unbelievable (for both sides), see the Comment Page for the article listed at the top.
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