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“The Faith to Create”: 2022 LDSPMA Conference Keynotes

Gerald Lund and Jennifer Nielsen talk about having the faith to create at LDSPMA conference.

How do you gain the faith to create? The 2022 Latter-day Saints in Publishing, Media & the Arts (LDSPMA) Annual Conference featured keynotes based on this theme. Author Gerald N. Lund gave the Friday morning keynote, and author Jennifer A. Nielsen spoke on Saturday morning.

Gerald N. Lund, “The Work and the Joy: The Faith to Create”

Gerald N. Lund, author of the popular Latter-day Saint book series The Work and the Glory, spoke about two aspects of writing: the work and the art. Lund defined work as an “exertion of strength or skill” and mentioned several scriptures in which the word work appears. Lund quoted Moses 1:39, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

“It is profoundly interesting to me that God doesn’t say, ‘This is my assignment’ or ‘This is my hobby’ or ‘This is my favorite pastime.’ It is His work,” Lund noted. “To be true to [the arts],” he continued, we have to “have that same kind of commitment to [our] work.”

Next, Lund discussed art: “What is true art? Faith. Faith is the anchor point of true art. That’s how we get the faith to create.” The concept of anchor points comes from Lund’s brother. He described anchor points using the analogy of a cow grazing in a pasture with no fences. An anchor point (or a stake in the ground) keeps artists (or cows) from wandering into places or things that are detrimental to us and our art. Gospel principles, like faith, provide us with those anchor points because they help us see the value in staying within the bounds of true art.

Jennifer A. Nielsen, “The Art or the Artist”

Jennifer A. Nielsen, author of the Ascendance Series, compared creating art to walking on a tightrope: there is always the risk that you will fall and fail, but the payoff of success is much greater.

Nielsen used French high-wire artist Phillippe Petit as an example. “For Phillippe Petit, the difference between great success and a catastrophe is his ability to keep his balance,” she said. “The same is true for every one of us, because every one of us is also somewhere venturing onto a tightrope. What else is art? Leaving the safe and the known and the predictable and creating something that did not exist until you started to write it, to record it, to film it, to sing it, to perform it.”

Phillippe Petite’s career was centered on the following principles: “I focus, I invent, I transform, I challenge, I attempt, I observe, I perform.” Nielsen explained that as creators we should also apply these principles to successfully navigate the tightrope of our career in art. For example, she suggested that creators learn to focus on their goals rather than the ground, their opportunities rather than their obstacles, and their faith rather than their fear.

Both Lund and Nielsen left conference attendees with renewed motivation and resolve to more fully dedicate themselves to their work. To stay updated on upcoming LDSPMA conferences and events, visit the LDSPMA website.