Despite the poor attendance at events (possibly due to our poor publicity of them, which is possibly due to the lack of manpower and knowhow and budget on the board), reluctance of those who do participate to pay any dues, and lack of fresh blood as the older original members retire or go on missions or in other ways drop out of circulation, I haven’t given up on my vision of the future of AML as a thriving community.
Am I nuts?
It’s just that I have met them, usually through book groups in my wards around the country, or through friends of friends: LDS people who love the gospel, love their culture, love to read, and who long for more stories about us. Stories that put you through the wringer but make you glad, after it’s all over, that you belong to this church. Stories that nourish you (as opposed to dessert). Stories that make you grow. I know there are people like this out there. If I could somehow reach all of these people, show them what we’re trying to do, have them read what some of us have written as a result of knowing each other—I believe they would be interested in joining us.
They're out there. We just need to find them. Most of them are already on-line, hanging out at the blogs. The trick is to let them know what we are--no, what we COULD BE, given a larger membership. With universities establishing Mormon Studies departments and better and better books being written (have I mentioned "Bound on Earth"?), Mormon literature is on the cusp of coming into its own. I'm not ready to give up on AML yet.
WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN:
The clincher, of course, is that AML people are cool. After you hang with them for a while, you’ll see what I mean. These are the most intelligent, interesting, hilarious people I know, and I write for them, look for opportunities to hang with them, and consider it a great blessing to be considered one of them. If I could give you a taste of what it’s like to hang with these people, maybe have you sit in on a happening like our luncheon at the Annual Meeting a few months ago in which we could hardly chew our food for laughing so hard at Eric Samuelson’s presidential address about his brother’s great idea of having the family develop a family mission statement—then you would get it. No, it’s not for everyone. If you’re whiny about the church and want to hang with some people who complain about the culture, you might want to mosey on down the street to Sunstone. If you’re mostly interested in women’s stories, you might be happier with Segullah or Exponent II (although I have to put in a little plug for the creative writing you’ll find in Segullah). But if you love the culture, love literature, love to think and laugh, come on over to AML and check us out.
These days it’s hard to get the true flavor from our website or the List (we’re working that all out), but if you can make it to one of our meetings (or, even better, a social event like a reading or a night at the theater), you’ll be glad you did. Even better, if you care about improving and promoting quality literature for Mormons, volunteer! We’re desperate for someone who is internet-savvy who can help us improve our web presence. We need PR people. Even just people to help run errands. If you want to feel a part of something exciting, we can use you. Here are a couple of websites that will give you more information (but remember, we’re working some things out with these): http://www.aml-online.org , http://forums.mormonletters.org .