Jack Weyland: Mormon Author
Although Jack Arnold Weyland has enjoyed a successful career as a physics professor, he is also widely known as a popular fiction writer for Latter-day Saints, particularly for his novel Charly, which was also made into a movie.
Weyland was born in Butte, Montana, in 1940. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Montana State University, and after serving as a missionary in New York and Pennsylvania for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he earned his PhD in physics from Brigham Young University.
While at BYU, he took a writing course because he held a secret desire to write Latter-day Saint fiction. When he told his instructor his wish, the teacher responded, “You’re not serious, are you?” Weyland dropped the course and didn’t write again for a few years. He taught physics at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology until 1971, when he had the opportunity to return to BYU to participate in high-pressure research. While there, he timidly stepped back into writing by taking a correspondence course. He wrote two stories for the New Era and both were accepted for publication. A third article was rejected, which discouraged him until the next summer when he wrote a fourth that was accepted. Brian Kelly, editor of the New Era, mentored and encouraged him in his writing. Weyland ultimately wrote about fifty stories for the New Era.
Weyland set a goal to write a novel in 1979 and accomplished that goal with the completion of Charly. He credits Deseret Book editor Eleanor Knowles for mentoring his writing there. He went on to write dozens of books, primarily for youth and young adults, including The Reunion; Last of the Big-Time Spenders; Sara—Whenever I Hear Your Name; Sam; Stephanie; Michelle & Debra; Lean on Me; Brittany; Jake; Ashley & Jen; The Winter of Visions and Forgetting; Cheyenne in New York; Adam’s Story; Alone, Together; Brianna, My Brother, and the Blog; It All Started with Autumn Jones; Heather 101; and Charly’s Diary.
Weyland taught physics at BYU-Idaho from 1993 to 2005. He and his wife, Sherry, are the parents of five children. They served as Church Educational System missionaries in Long Island, New York, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also continued to teach physics at BYU-Idaho as what he calls “a campus service missionary.”