I have had precious few "Mormon moments" in literature classes. While my professors sometimes assign risque literature, I always seem to get through the book by skimming and skipping scenes or pages. After all, it's my mind, right? I should be able to decide what becomes a part of my long-term memory.
As an undergrad, I even used said method to get through Lady Chatterley's Lover. What a quick read! All I know is that there was this game warden who was friends with this woman married to a paralyzed man and some interesting contasts between pastoral countryside and industrialized coal mines.
Anyway, one of my professors assigned The Black Album by Hanif Kureishi last week and after skipping the third sex scene I decided that it just wasn't worth it. To all within the sound of my digital voice, if you want to protect your innocence you shouldn't read this book. But because of my sense of duty (no doubt garnered in middle school), I decided to go to class anyway even though I'd only read about a third of the assigned reading.
Here's what happened immediately after class began:
Prof: Alright, so how many of you loved this book?
(90% of the class raise their hands)
Prof: Okay, how many hated this book?
(I alone raise my hand)
First of all, I was surprised. I didn't think the book (what little I'd read of it) was written very well. The protagonist was as weak-willed and static as Harry Potter (and you all know it!). Nevertheless, all eyes suddenly turned on me and my mind flashbacked to New Era articles I'd read about setting a good example and speaking out about your beliefs. Sure enough, here's what happened:
Prof: Adam, why didn't you like the book?
Me: Well, as the cover says (pointing to the cover because I couldn't really reference anything in the book), it's about "drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll." I like rock-n-roll, but the other two.... (I trailed off before I started explaining that I'd only had experienced rock-n-roll anyway.)
Prof: So, it offended your sensibilities?
Me: Um, yeah.
That was it. My sensibilities had been offended. Not exactly a New Era story but I felt like in the battlefield of life a moral victory had somehow been won...maybe.
But then guess what happened! A classmate sitting across from me also began expressing how it had offended her sensibilities too. Later on the bus ride home I sat next to her and she asked if I were religious. I told her I belong to the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. We then started talking about skiing in the Rocky Mountains. I don't know what will come of this--probably nothing--but it was nice, I must say, to have this little moment.