I have a genuine question that I'd like to pose to LDS readers - not because I'm trying to start a debate or anything, but because I'd like the answer.
I really enjoy Christian authors Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock, Karen Kingsbury, and Lynn Austin. These ladies write fantastic stories with dimension and plot and great characterization. The tension in the suspense novels is awesome - I loved The Negotiator by Dee Henderson for that very element.
Because these ladies are Christian authors published by a Christian publishing company, it's no surprise that the characters are Christian. They go to church, they share their beliefs with others, and they pray when they get into tight spots. For the most part, it's not overdone - these are just Christian characters reacting to the trials in their lives in the way a Christian would.
LDS authors, though, don't have that ability. When we write a book, we have to be careful how much of our religion we include or we're told that we're being "preachy." If one of our characters bears their testimony to another character, our readers tell us that they feel uncomfortable.
The crux of my question is this. We believe that we belong to the restored gospel. We have testimonies of Jesus Christ. We seek to follow His will in our daily lives. Why is it, then, that LDS readers shy away from these things in LDS fiction? If a Christian reader can pick up a Dee Henderson and enjoy a conversation in which a character bears their testimony to another character, why do LDS readers feel that's inappropriate?
Again, I'm not trying to start a debate - I truly want to understand this. As an LDS author, I have often wanted to include more religion in my books only to be told by a beta reader or my critique group or my editor that I need to take things out because the LDS readership will find it too preachy. And they're right - the readership will complain. Why?
If we believe we belong to the true church, why is it bad to talk about it in the books we write?
So I open the floor to you. Help me understand this.