Mormon Arts and Letters

(June 1st, 2004)

Silent Notes Taken

Posted by Kent Larsen in Catalog, Mormon Artists Group Books.

Mormon Arts and Letters’ first title, Silent Notes Taken, Silent Notes Taken Coveris a compilation of personal essays by Mormon New Yorkers. This book features an introductory essay by Mormon historian Richard Lyman Bushman and 4 original etchings by Mormon New York artist Stephen Moore. The essays include striking accounts and reactions to the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001, and thoughts on contemporary Mormon urban life.

Further information about Silent Notes Taken can be found at the book’s website,

You can purchase a copy of Silent Notes Taken online at Mormon Pavillion.

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(February 9th, 2003)

N.Y. publisher taps LDS works

Posted by Kent Larsen in Mormon Artists Group, Mormon Artists Group Books, Press.

N.Y. publisher taps LDS works

Deseret News
by Carrie A. Moore Deseret News religion editor
Feb 8, 2003

Latter-day Saints familiar with LDS publishing know there is a broad philosophical difference between titles published by church- owned Deseret Book and those offered up by privately owned Signature Books.

While the former is considered the premiere publisher of doctrinal works and mainstream LDS fiction, the latter is often viewed suspiciously by LDS conservatives, some of whom wonder aloud why their more liberal colleagues want to publish anything “controversial.”

With the two representing opposing ends of the LDS publishing spectrum, a new publisher in New York City hopes to provide another outlet for LDS authors whose subjects are of “literary and artistic merit as well as thoughtful works from new and unusual viewpoints.”

Related Results

Enter Mormon Arts and Letters, billed as “the first Mormon book publisher located in the capital of book publishing, New York City.” Kent Larsen, who is spearheading the effort, said he doesn’t see the new entity as something that can be readily pegged with a singular philosophical bent. Getting started was “a little bit of a statement saying, ‘look, this is different than the norm for Mormon-related stuff.’ We represent a voice that’s not heard in the Mormon publishing world — that of those outside the Mountain West.”

While Larsen said that doesn’t mean he’ll exclude Western authors, he wants to publish works that “represent something different and unusual.” The best example he has is the first book done by Mormon Arts and Letters, titled, “Silent Notes Taken: Personal Essays by Mormon New Yorkers.”

Topics of the 15 essays range widely, strung together with a series of original etchings by LDS artist Stephen Moore. Some “weave elaborate tales; others are autobiographical, philosophical, humorous or political,” according to a press kit. All are written by “a very urban group,” Larsen says, “not one that lives in the suburbs. We all live in the city, in apartments, and commute on the subway. Most of us don’t have cars.”

Most are “committed to the idea that we don’t want the suburban lifestyle, we don’t see the advantage to it. I grew up in the suburbs, but I couldn’t be happier in life if I never have to mow a lawn again. There are certain things about this place and lifestyle that are different, and those are differences that we like.”

Not all of the essays address those differences, but many do. Sept. 11 is chronicled in two of the essays as well, because it provided a focus on New York that still lingers, Larsen said.

The essays don’t necessarily focus on faith, and that’s not the point, Larsen said.

“We all see a value to the church spreading out and to it being something broader. I’m not trying to say the gospel, but the church itself as an institution getting involved in many more cultures and seeing the way the teachings of the gospel interact with those different cultures. I think we’ll find there are cultural things that this effort brings out that are brand new.”

The endeavor is just getting started, and is “a fairly small press,” Larsen concedes. He and his wife are sole owners of the corporation, which has in some measure grown out of his relationships with members of the Mormon Artists Group. Glen Nelson, the group’s director, edited the new book.

Both would like to see a broader look at the LDS Church from perspectives that go beyond the Utah culture, he said. He sees the LDS publishing market “fragmented along lines I don’t really like” with works on either end of the spectrum and people on each end suspect about the other.

Though he’ll only publish three or four titles a year, he sees his work as “a whole different approach.” His biggest task is to communicate with potential customers, and the “overall focus on the core market in Utah.

“One day someone is going to figure out how to reach Mormons outside Utah. I hope it’s me.”

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