WASHINGTON — Orson Scott Card, author of best-selling science fiction novels, contemporary fantasy, biblical novels, poetry, plays and scripts, and a weekly Mormon Times column, was named 2010 recipient of the BYU Management Society's annual Distinguished Public Service Award.He received the award — along with a bronze bust of George Washington — and spoke to an audience of nearly 400, including government, education, and business leaders, at the 26th annual gala dinner at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., April 24, 2010.Presenting the award was Gordon Smith, former U.S. Senator from Oregon and a past recipient of the honor, who serves as chairman of the advisory board of the society's 1,000-member Washington, D.C., chapter."His words and his example have reached millions of people, and his spirit of mentorship and service have much to offer our community," Smith said in announcing Card's selection.Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona and Utah, and received degrees from BYU and the University of Utah. With home base in Greensboro, N.C., he teaches a literature course at Southern Virginia University.In his remarks to the audience, Card said it is imperative that America return to a strong society, and urged the people seated in the ballroom to become part of that return.He spoke of how America's strong society began to be dismantled in the 1960s and the once-good, once-strong culture seriously damaged. "The strength of the culture is eating itself from within," aided by destructive stories, he said.Some of those include: the old morality is stupid, marriage should last only as long as you're enjoying it, America mistreats other countries as well as the poor, God is dead and those who believe in God are forcing their religion on others, "people who don't have the same political beliefs as me are evil or stupid," "my side should have complete control of the education of everybody else's children," the only law in business is do what works as long as you can get away with it, the new American dream is to "have stuff" and "be guaranteed that you'll have the same rewards as people who are luckier or harder working or smarter than you.""A strong culture must have powerful stories explaining why it is a good culture — or it will die," Card said. "Even the best culture can destroy itself if those who hate the culture are successful in getting its members to believe stories that discourage them from having enough allegiance to make sacrifices for it."Card asserted that fictional writing is "one of the strongest, most important parts of culture formation and maintenance. Fiction creates the public moral universe."But in the past 50 years, he said, he's watched "an increasing number of fiction writers turn away from the old values and adopt the new destructive ones."The result of the stories in new books, movies, and television could be devastating, he added, as "new rules" result in drastically decreased allegiance to the society.A good culture can tolerate a certain amount of deviancy from the norm — as long as it is labeled as such, he said. "But when deviancy from the norm becomes the norm, and the people who keep the rules of stability, decency, fairness, fidelity, loyalty, faith, honor, generosity, courage, respect, conformity and consistency are depicted as deviant in the new stories, then you're looking at a culture that has decided to die."He asserted that it is "essential for the survival of a good culture, that it constantly propagate stories that support the willingness to sacrifice." He emphasized, "A culture that has no one is willing to die for will soon cease to exist, having been supplanted by a culture that does have members willing to die for it.""For America to survive as a Culture Strong and Good, we must stop telling the stories that are destroying both our strength and our goodness, and work to combine what's old and what's new into stories that will remake us into not only a society that can last, but also one which should last.""America needs better stories," he said, "and it needs people who will hear them believe them, and act on them."He asked in conclusion, "You're no hero, no leader? In the world you move in, among people you know and work with, why aren't you?"The BYU Management Society was founded in 1977 by the BYU College of Business, now the Marriott School of Management. J. Willard "Bill" Marriott. Jr., and his wife attended the dinner hosted by the largest chapter of the society, which has more than 6,000 members in 40 cities and 20 countries.Chapter President Milan Detweiler said, "The annual gala dinner provides a tremendous opportunity to network, re-kindle professional and personal relationships, and host friends and co-workers in an atmosphere that showcases the collective diversity and depth of our community. It is a great occasion to learn from our honorees and enjoy the friendships that exist within the BYU Community in our nation's capital."Proceeds from the annual event benefit the BYU Management Society-Washington, D.C. Chapter's scholarship fund for area students planning to attend Brigham Young University. This year's winners, announced Saturday night, are Mark Bendall, Brooke Rieder, Alejandro Rodriguez, Vera M. Terekhova, and Jason E. Thompson.