THIS I BELIEVE: Letting Go

In this Aug 16, 2008 talk I was asked to participate in a THIS I BELIEVE session at the Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium. I was one of, I believe, six speakers who were tasked with illuminating . . . well, what we believe. 

I was pretty pleased with how this turned out, even though my delivery includes a lot of pursing of lips. What was that all about? Nervousness?

“What if the wheel [of religion] itself is unnecessary? I believe in daily giving myself and others permission to abandon religion.”

watch the entire video

religionsunstone

RESCHEDULED–Reading & Book Signing: Park City (Dec. 28, 2015)

park-city

DREAM HOUSE ON GOLAN DRIVE
by David G. Pace

December 14, 2015–CANCELLED (due to weather)
Rescheduled for Dec. 28, 2015

5:30 PM
Park City Roasters
1680 W Ute Blvd (Kimball Junction)
Park City, UT

Sorry for the inconvenience. The original date for this reading was cancelled due to the snowstorm along the Wasatch Front and Back. Join us Dec. 28 (Monday), just after Christmas, for the re-scheduled reading and signing at Park City Roasters 

Christmas in Park City, one of my favorite places in Utah. Just 30 minutes up the mountain from Salt Lake City, this ski and movie town, and home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, is a great American mining-town-turned-tourist-destination. I have fond memories as a theater critic reviewing shows at The Egyptian on Main St.

Join us for this reading and book signing event at Park City Coffee Roaster in the Park City Public Library. Books sold by:

Kings English

Reading & Book Signing: OREM (Jan. 20)

Orem Public

January 20, 2016
7:00 PM
Storytelling Wing
Orem Public Library
58 N. State St.
Orem, UT

Last year as part of the Utah Humanities Book Festival, I attended a reading by Oregon-based author Brian Doyle with my friends Stephen Carter and Larry Menlove. Doyle is amazing: funny, earnest, and what I refer to as one with a “keening” quality to his public readings.

He’s also very Catholic in the best, most Irish sense of that word. At any rate, later, I was thrilled to have him blurb my book, which he graciously did. Afterwards, he told my editor that I now owed him a beer.  

Dream House on Golan Drive is set in Utah County, so I’m excited to be reading on its home turf.

Stop in to see a real, antique Edsel, inspiration for one of the book’s chapters. Weather permitting.
Edsel

DESPERATELY SEEKING SPIRIT: Review of Martha Beck’s “Leaving the Saints”

Beck
Martha Beck’s Leaving the Saints is valuable . . .  .Why? Because in my view the book is so very Mormon. There are rich and telling descriptions of the Church and of Mormon culture, particularly as it configures in Utah Valley,more precisely at church-owned Brigham Young University. Many of us are apt to resonate with Beck’s account of the young Latter-day Saint leaving Zion, then returning home with not only religious questions but an invigorating sense of the expanding context in which Mormonism and the LDS Church nest. Her account of the disturbinconfluence of family, faith, and culture triggered by exposure to the world opens up the question of why many Latter-day Saints—surely one of the great globetrotting groups of the world—can remain so cloistered, so inoculated from the world outside themselves. Read the entire review here, beginning on pg. 82.
The response to this book was outrageous. Even the godfather of self-help books, the late Stephen R. Covey (of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People fame), went insane when he heard about the publication of the book which includes sexual abuse claims by Beck about her Mormon celebrity father, Hugh Nibley. (Covey, a friend of Oprah Winfrey’s, actually tried to derail the publication of the book and to discredit it wholesale since Beck was, by then, a columnist at Winfrey’s O Magazine.) The lunacy of it all was palpable.
This review was originally my comments on the book’s publication as a panelist at the Sunstone Symposium, the year the book was published by Random House’s Crown imprint. I worked those comments into a book review which later appeared in Irreantum, a Mormon literary journal (now defunct), published by the Association for Mormon Letters where I was the sections editor for 5 years. I took some heat for this review, but in the passive-aggressive way that I often experience as “the Mormon way.” Even so, I stand by my review which doesn’t let Beck off the hook for her savagery. This is one of the best nonfiction descriptions of life in the Mormon hothouse that has yet to see the light of day on a national level.
Hugh Nibley, 1983 Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU

Hugh Nibley, 1983
Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU

Author Martha Beck

Author Martha Beck

 

OUR BIG FAT TEMPLE WEDDINGS: Who’s In Who’s Out and How Do We Get Together?

Greek Wedding

This paper was first read at the annual Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City. It was later published as an essay in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 36 No. 3 (Fall 2003)

“THE POPULAR FILM MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING suggests that enthic families will flood pell mell into any space provided by a family member who announces she or he is getting married. In the case of writer / actor Nia Vardalo’s paean to Greek-American culture, the results are funny, raucous, even slightly grotesque. Her groom who falls in love with a spinster waitress is a sort of white-bread Protestant himself. Along with his stiff Anglo-parents, he becomes completely absorbed by the overwhelming insistence of well-meaning Greeks living in a sort of parallel universe . . . .This, of course, brings me to Mormons, a self-identifying peculiar people and arguably their own ethnic group.”

Listen to the Complete Podcast

temple weddings

Review: The Power of Religious Legend (The Utah Review)

UR

In this lengthy review Les Roka references “American Trinity,” Pace’s first published short story and narrative precursor to Dream House on Golan Drive.

“The sense of this unique, strange place of Utah and Mormonism is elucidated with conviction and accuracy….Dream House on Golan Drive is an important novel that deserves the serious attention of any reader, regardless of connection to Mormonism or to any other faith. It is recommended especially for those who are trying to reconcile their spiritual conscience with a church whose decisions and public actions not only have triggered deep reservations about their community but also who see their own experience of family love and life as quintessentially superior in their spiritual and faith identity as a Mormon.” Read the entire review.

*

Follow up in Utah Review’s 2015 year-end survey of notable works emblematic of The Utah Enlightenment. Read citation.

SLC This is the Place

 

 

McConkie and Dad: Memories, Dreams, and a Rejection

George W. Pace on his way with three of his 10 daughters to visit Machu Pichu in Peru

George W. Pace on his way with three of his 10 daughters to visit Machu Pichu in Peru

In this 1995 essay, which was later published in the Case Reports (Vol 2) published by The Mormon Alliance, I talk about a tempest in a tea pot which nevertheless had wide ramifications in Mormonland during the early to mid-80s. My father was at the center of it. I don’t think he ever fully recovered. I remember that he liked this essay and that he kept a copy of it close by for a while.

MY FATHER CLIMBS MOUNTAINS.
Every year he takes several members of the family to the top of Mount Timpanogos. Sometimes we stay overnight at Emerald Lake; but most often we start out early, climb to the top, eat lunch, and then slide down the glacier on our way back down. Our feet become terribly sore, and our butts get bruised on rocks that have settled below the surface of the snow, but we go back every year anyway. Or so it seems. MORE

Summary and analysis of incident by Lavina Fielding Anderson

Audio excerpt from talk by G.W. Pace

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

After the (Second) Fall: A Personal Journey Toward Ethnic Mormonism

agonizing writer

This essay was originally a talk given at The Sunday Gathering, August 21, 1994 at
the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City. It was later printed in Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring, 1998.

WHEN MY FIRST MARRIAGE ENDED IN DIVORCE in 1991, what I describe as my current spiritual life seemed to begin. It is the first of three seminal moments in the past three years that I have chosen to detail here. Before that, however, I need to give some autobiographical information. MORE

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah writer tells a contemporary Mormon coming-of-age story through an immortal narrator.

by Ellen Fagg Weist

“If David Pace’s novel about a young man reared in a large, devoted Utah family rings with authenticity, that’s because its themes have autobiographical resonance for its author.

“Pace, the literary editor of the Utah arts magazine 15 Bytes, will launch his first novel, “Dream House on Golan Drive,” at a reading at The King’s English in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

“The novel, published by Signature Books, tells of the coming-of-age of Riley Hartley, the oldest son in a Mormon family of 10 children raised in the Provo neighborhood considered Snob Hill. The family is raised by a charismatic religion teacher and his bread-baking wife, a former Miss Utah, who in her pageant days was considered a Mormon Grace Kelly.”

read the rest of the article published by the Salt Lake Tribune here

REVIEW: Association for Mormon Letters

“[R]ife with the universal struggles between good and evil, sin and righteousness, culture and truth, strength and weakness, and [the] dissonance between what we gain through experiential learning and rote imprinting. Thought provoking, and at times humorous and heart wrenching, Dream House on Golan Drive is a multi-layered and artfully presented story.”

–Catherine C. Peterson, Association for Mormon Letters
(read the full review here)
AML