The Power of Virtue: How My Upbringing Influences My Writing

May 23, 2024 by S. R. Watts

Every author throughout history is more or less a product of their upbringing, and that is truly the case for me. Having grown up in Northern Utah, I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where I was taught to live a life of virtue and discipline. While I must confess that such standards have proven to be difficult for me to live up to during various chapters of my life—especially those where I faced trials that tested my faith—I still maintained a belief in the teachings of the church & what the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ promises will bring God’s children eternal life and exaltation. 

Before I continue, though, I want to make it clear that this blog post is not meant to proselyte to those who have no interest in the church or its teachings. I firmly believe in everybody’s right to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience, and I won’t attempt to impose my beliefs on anyone who is not ready to hear them. However, for the purposes of this blog, I simply want to iterate how one particular principle within the church has greatly influenced my career as a writer, for I feel it has significance beyond the realm of religion to include more universal institutions such as the arts and humanities.

This principle is a paragraph taken from a section of scripture my church’s leaders compiled in the 1800s titled “The Articles of Faith.” There are 13 articles in all, and the very last one reads as follows: 

We believe in being honest, true, chastebenevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuouslovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Of all the articles of faith, this one has had the greatest impact on my personal and professional aspirations in mortality. Like other articles of faith, it asserts that members of the church strive to live to a higher standard, embodying morally pure qualities so as to “do good to all men.”  Furthermore, we live with open minds and receptive hearts as we seek after things that will only serve to strengthen our characters, thus qualifying us for the further light and knowledge that God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, have to offer us in our quest for eternal progression.

I learned this lesson as a teenager, and ever since then, I have come to better understand what God wanted His children to understand from this verse. He wanted us to know about the true nature of the divine, about what it takes to live an eternal existence full of neverending joy and satisfaction. It is only through the process of becoming more virtuous that we can hope to live in such a state, and I knew that God wanted me to take my talents and use them to share this message with as many people as possible.

So, as a gifted writer, I set out to write a fantasy series that would entertain as well as enlighten readers as they embarked on an epic journey to discover who they were and what they had the potential to become. Along the way, they would face trials that would test their faithfulness as they discovered many truths about the nature of divinity. Over time, as they followed the hero to the end of his journey, readers would begin to realize that they too were being transformed by the experience, giving them a greater sense of hope as they gained a greater resilience to face their own trials long after the story had ended.

In closing, I would like to testify that there are divine forces at work in this universe that want nothing more than to do good things for the human race. The purpose of great literature is to open our minds to the many possibilities that may exist and refine our understanding of who we are and what we are destined to become should we fulfill our ultimate potential. So if you’re like me, and want to see just how far we can go as human beings, I invite you to join me on a grand adventure to an exciting New World—one you won’t soon forget.