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LDS publisher cancels book over gay author's bio

Published August 21, 2013 12:30 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A pair of authors say an LDS-centric Utah publisher canceled publication of their upcoming novel, all because of a single word in one of the authors' biographical blurb.

The word: "boyfriend."

Authors David Powers King and Michael Jensen went public with their dispute on Tuesday, writing an account detailing their web page of their dispute with Provo-based Cedar Fort Publishing & Media over their young-adult fantasy novel "Woven."

The book was to be released Oct. 8, and printing was to have started on Aug. 1.

"Cedar Fort expected 'Woven' to be very successful," King said in a statement. "They told me they thought it would be their best seller this year, and that the preliminary reviews were very, very good."

The dispute began when Jensen noticed that his biography on the book jacket omitted one sentence: "He lives in Salt Lake City with his boyfriend and their four dogs."

Jensen emailed Angie Workman, Cedar Fort's acquisitions editor, about the omission. She told Jensen that Cedar Fort cut the reference to his boyfriend because the publisher was concerned that its biggest customer, the LDS Church-owned Deseret Book, wouldn't stock the book on its shelves. Jensen offered to change "boyfriend" to "partner," but Workman still said no, the entire sentence must be struck.

"David's bio said that he lived in Utah County with his wife and their kids," Jensen said. "I wanted a comparable, accurate sentence in my bio."

Jensen talked to Workman's boss, owner Lyle Mortimer, and Jensen said "the conversation devolved very quickly."

""Lyle started yelling about my 'agenda' and how I was trying to destroy families. He even started saying inappropriate things about how God had given me a penis for a reason. It was very uncomfortable," Jensen said.

According to Jensen, Mortimer threatened to publish "Woven" without the authors' names attached or without any bios. But King and Jensen held their ground.

After two weeks, the authors said, Mortimer canceled publication and returned the rights of the book to King and Jensen.

"They knew I was gay when they signed me," Jensen said.

Officials from Cedar Fort have not replied to a Tribune request for comment.