I don’t know how I didn’t think of this before. The answer is simple.
Confiscate their personal copies. Remove it from Church libraries, from homes. Remove it from the curriculum. No more seminary or Sunday School lessons or FHEs devoted to it.
This plan of action came to me when reading in my morning paper about the policy directive of Chicago Public Schools to ban Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis. The original directive was to remove it from all school libraries and completely from the curriculum. When students went to social media to complain about the policy, it was partially reversed: ok for libraries and juniors, seniors and advanced placement classes; not ok for the existing 7th grade classes; still evaluating 8th through 10th grade classes’ use of the novel.
I was interested in the role of social media in all of this. A student journalist reached out to Satrapi’s literary agent, and then he e-mailed Satrapi herself. Satrapi, who now lives in Paris, responded two minutes later.
Apparently the thing that got this all started was a depiction of torture. But that was one frame, a black and white line drawing. Satrapi’s response was “I don’t think American kids of seventh grade have not seen any signs of violence. Seventh-graders have brains and they see all kinds of things on cinema and on the internet.”
Something that most kids were not that excited about because it was just another homework assignment quickly became a hot property. Copies flew off the library shelves, and students openly carried the books in the hallways between classes and engaged in private discussions about it. Kids were devouring it in an attempt to learn what was so dangerous about it. One teacher quipped that she was hoping Chicago Public Schools would ban her advanced placement psychology book with hopes students would do a better job reading that one, too.
There’s a certain irony in this book being banned, however briefly. Here’s a description of the book from GradeSaver:
One of the most important underlying themes of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis is the censorship of artistic expression in Iran under the fundamentalist Islamic regime that took over power of the country after the 1979 Revolution. Satrapi’s novel is itself a product of, and reaction to, this censorship. As a graphic novel, it purposefully rejects the Islamic tenet that there should be no iconic representations of the faith. It boldly denounces the brutality of the regime and calls into question the legitimacy of its rule. The book challenges the legitimacy of the regime’s war with Iran [I assume they mean Iraq] as a move to keep control of its people by sending hundreds of thousands to die. For these reasons and others, Persepolis has been denounced by Iran’s religious leaders and banned in the country that it depicts.
The main story arc of the novel is how a young girl began to think for herself, and that is its main message to young people who read it: to view propaganda critically and to learn to think for oneself (a dangerous notion indeed).
There is plenty of warfare, brutality, and man’s inhumanity to man in the pages of the Book of Mormon. I’m drafting a letter now to the First Presidency with my proposal that we ban it from all youth curricula. Wish me luck!