(Initiated on 12/16/10)
It seems like Mormons pop up ever so briefly in many of the religious-themed books I read, and sometimes in the fiction. I wish I'd been keeping track to this point, but I'll start from now and add future mentions to this post, however inconsequential, when I remember.
My criteria for inclusion is subjective. Basically, if I didn't expect Mormonism to crop up I'll probably mention it here, especially when the author is not a member of the LDS Church. As I discover more references I might start to classify them. (Geographical/Utah references, which usually leads to some comment on Mormons, References to beliefs or practices, like polygamy, etc.).
Feel free to add your own.
Mormons get two shout-outs in Ehrman's good little intro to NT studies for undergrads. In a list of characteristics Americans might expect religion to include (Hierarchy, doctrinal statements, ethical commitments, sacred writings) Ehrman adds: "7. Exclusive commitments (e.g., a member of a Baptist church cannot also be a Hare Krishna, just as a practicing Jew cannot be a Mormon)" (21).
In Box 26.2, "The Spread of Christianity," Ehrman states that the early church "grew quite slowly in its early years. At the end of the first century, far fewer than 1 percent of the Empire's population of 60 million was Christian. But the growth was steady...With a steady growth rate of 40 percent every decade (the approximate rate of growth for the Mormon church today, as it turns out), the small band of Jesus' followers could become something like 5 percent of the Empire by the end of the third century" (398).
Barthelme is a quirky writer of fiction, his short stories often have no start or finish in the traditional sense, his prose can be disjointed, creative, roaming. In the middle of a story about some sort of businessman who frequently flies to Los Angeles we read:
"I noticed very little about the place, the shrubs or trees, saw a bit of the ocean from my hotel room window, saw an old woman in a green bathrobe on the balcony of the building opposite, at the same level, the eleventh floor, and wondered if she was a guest or if she was one of these persons who clean the place; if she was one of those persons who clean the place it seemed unlikely that she would come to work in a green bathrobe and I am sure that she wore a green bathrobe, but she did not resemble a guest or tenant, she had a bent broken stooped losing-the-game look of the kind that defines the person who is not winning the game. Seldom am I wrong about such things, the eidetic memory as we say, saw a figure of some kind possibly female atop the Mormon temple, the figure seemed to be leading the people somewhere, onward, presumably, saw several unpainted pictures on the street, from the windows of my limousine in which I was moved from place to place, Pietas, mostly, one creature holding another creature in its arms, at bus stops, mostly. Los Angeles" (213-214).