John Updike has been labeled a “protestant writer,” so it’s always interesting to hear what people of other faiths—especially articulate writers and inveterate readers—have to say about him as a religious writer. In “New Harmony: Another Brush with John Updike,” former Deseret News staffer and current Mormon Times and Faith page freelancer Jerry Earl Johnston shares his take on Roger’s Version . . . and a story involving the book he sent Updike for signing.
“After his death, one critic called him ‘The Mozart of American Letters.’ There was not only genius in his work, but also generosity and a buoyant spirit,” Johnston writes, adding, “I suspect those qualities came from his faith.”
“Deseret” was the name proposed by Mormon pioneers for a state (outlined) encompassing parts of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Oregon—wherever Mormons had settled. The term derives from the word for “honeybee” in the Book of Mormon, one of the religion’s sacred texts.