And the Thief Wins!! (Or if not. . .)

We sit in our hotel room in Kinshasa, Bruce and I, and it is lovely.  Oh, there a few little problems. Bruce has no change of clothes, none of his pills, and no underwear but what he’s wearing now. A thief stole my brother’s passport and visa, and we were all stopped just before boarding the plane from Paris to Kinshasa.  Everyone was so sorry that Dell’s papers had been stolen.  In fact, they were downright ashamed that humanity could stoop so low.  Nonetheless, you don’t board a plane without p … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day–Not Bad!

A few years ago, I was invited to speak in Sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day. I figured I’d avoid that particular invitation for life. It’s on my list of nightmares. This is how the person conducting the meeting introduces me in my nightmare: “Well, brothers and sisters, we usually have our ideal mothers tell us about the joys of keeping their husbands’ shirts neatly pressed, or the wonders of scrapbooking, all about their missionary children, and every splendid thing an outstanding mother can sh … [Read more...]

An Old Woman Remembers The Heavenly Mother

Oh little one—here you are. You are ready to learn anything and everything, though your first and most important learning will be your connection with your mother. You rely on the milk from her breasts, and the softness of her flesh tells you that you are safe and you are loved. This is her first nurturing, though she will nurture you in many ways as you grow. She will hold you when you feel rejected or betrayed, she will embrace you on your wedding day, comfort you on the day you do what she h … [Read more...]

Your Conference Predictions

I choose this photo of Sister Harriet Uchtdorf as my featured phohto because I think she is one of the coolest people on earth.  Make your predictions on Conference speakers/themes/ties.  You will get a prize if you're 80% correct.Name______________________________________ Score: _________________________ General Conference Predictions ( 1 point for each correct prediction) Session 1 (Women’s meeting) Predict four speakers from this group (Circle your predictions): Free guess: ___ … [Read more...]

Renewing Our Imaginations

When I've taught creative writing, I have asked my students to look at the world with "poetic eyes."  I have asked two questions at the beginning of class: "Who or what did you fall in love with?" and "What did you see with your poetic eyes?"  The first question refers to the writers they are discovering.  I want my students to fall in love with the thoughts and sensibilities of writers from the past and from the present.  But of course, one can "fall in love" with a leaf or a pine cone or a spi … [Read more...]

Addressing Racism–even when you think you know it all

Addressing RacismTwo years ago, I posted this in the facebook group Black Latter-day Saints: I've seen a youtube going around which is focused on Jane James not receiving her strongly desired temple blessings. Those letters move me deeply, but I don't believe Jane would want us to focus on what she did not receive, but on her faith despite her trials. I am putting her story here to remind everyone of how she chose to depict her life. She requested that her life story, as she dictated it, be … [Read more...]

On the Eve of my Father’s Death

I am writing this at 6:35 p.m. on February 18, 2017.  A year ago at this time, I was preparing to do a presentation at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City with my co-author, Darius Gray.  My brother, Dell, was going to film it.  We had great artifacts for our audience to view, and we had our power points ready.  Darius, whose health has been terrible for several years, told me that he was particularly weak and asked that I carry the program.  We had done this many times before, and it was … [Read more...]