LDSWatch.org Issues First “Dangerous” Rating for Novel, Declares Potential to Negatively Affect Mormon Candidates

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LDSWatch.org tracks and assesses appearances of Mormons in popular fiction. Our “dangerous” rating means that the fictional content is both believable and provocative enough to alter people’s perceptions of Mormons. The novel End of Grace seems to instill or confirm suspicions that the Mormon Church is controlled by power hungry men who regularly resort to violent actions to advance church position. Readers could easily have their opinions of the Mormon Church and its people lowered. This in turn may well affect how they view and cast votes for Mormon political candidates.

In fact, several of the non-Mormon reader/reviewers claimed they were less likely to support Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman after having read End of Grace.

Sensationalized depictions of hyper-religious or polygamous individuals are all too common and have actually desensitized public opinion on those topics. This makes it even more alarming when an original and well written yet potentially harmful portrayal comes along.

We found that the novel End of Grace, by author K. Thomas Murphy sidesteps the stereotypical presentation of Mormons and instead presents a sinister image of the Church and its leaders. The book depicts church leaders as money obsessed and inclined to resort to violence and even murder in order to protect revenue and advance position. The author also introduces a group of enforcers called the Danite Knights that according to gentile readers are all too believable and probably exist in real life.

Anyone even remotely familiar with the daily lives and practices of actual Mormons will find numerous errors and misrepresentations in Murphy’s characters. However those less familiar with Mormons have reported the story to be believable, informative, and even revealing.

Admittedly, several members found the novel entertaining, written in a tone similar to Dan Brown’s the Da Vinci Code. Unfortunately the take-away seems to be a heightened sense of distrust and suspicion about the church. It’s as if non-Mormon readers think, “Aha, I thought so.”

This sort of attention is especially disturbing at a time when the church and several political candidates are attempting to correct the public’s perception of Mormons. In fact, several of the non-Mormon reader/reviewers claimed they were less likely to support Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman after having read End of Grace.

LDSWatch.org has rated and reviewed books, movies, short stories, and even Broadway plays. We accomplish this by forming our own opinions, scouring the internet and other media for reviews, and then seeding the material out to non-Mormon acquaintances. While we felt that the book was entertaining despite being filled with erroneous depictions, we were surprised by the strong reaction of non-Mormon readers.

Murphy’s characterization of the Mormon Church and its leaders is the first to warrant our second highest rating on the threat scale. It’s important to note that no media has ever warranted the highest grade of Severe.

At this time the rating for Scope, effectively-the size of the viewership, is considered small. The Novel appears to be self-published and is primarily available on e-book outlets.

LDSWatch.org consists of a group of likeminded people both curious and concerned by the portrayal of Mormons in popular fiction in the United States. As we become aware of major appearances in fiction we personally observe and review the material. Further, we reach out to various review sites and even non-Mormon acquaintances for opinions and assessments. Chosen pieces are rated based on potential impact and scope. Our findings are posted on our website at http://www.ldswatch.org

We are not directly affiliated with or authorized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

LDSWatch.org encourages submittals, if you know of Mormon appearances in popular fiction, please use the “submit” page on our website.

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Tom Annan or Kate Heart
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