Mormon Lit Syllabus

Requirements •Regular quizzes on the readings (If you are absent the day a quiz is given, you may take it late, but for only half credit.) •Mormon literary events–you will attend one event besides the AML conference and write up a short response essay. These events may be author readings, LDS films (such as Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons or specifically LDS dance/music concerts or an LDS play. Participate in a group Presentation •Final Project Interview with… Read more

Literature of the Latter-day Saints

For those who would like to join the Mormon Lit class (you will get spiritual but not academic credit), here are the texts: Eliza Partridge’s journal: http://partridge.parkinsonfamily.org/histories/eliza-diary-&-misc.htm Jane James’s life story (in supplement or at http://www.ldsgenesisgroup.org/archivenews/jane_story.html ) FEMALE RITUAL HEALING IN MORMONISM (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1754069 ) King Follett Discourse Added Upon (Nephi Anderson) Huebener- Rogers (in Mahonri Stewart’s Saints on Stage) The Clinic- Thayer http://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V08N0304_150.pdf One More River to Cross (Young and Gray)- Updated version, Zarahemla Books Letters to a Young Mormon… Read more

Messiah in Patsun, Guatemala

My father, a linguist, specialized in Mayan dialects. That meant that while growing up in Provo, Utah, I had a Mayan nanny named Hermana Yalibot. She always wore the same clothes: a white blouse embroidered with bright pansies, and a blue woven skirt. I now recognize her attire as typical of her region-Coban, Guatemala-and know that her skirt is called a corte and her blouse a huipil. She had embroidered the flowers herself. (Most areas of Guatemala have distinctive huipiles,… Read more

Longfellow and Lisa: Contemplations on “I Heard the Bells”

This is by my sister, Lisa Blair Sabey, contemplating that horrifying day at Arapahoe High School: Friday, Dec. 13–Daniel and his Arapahoe Singers group were dressed in their knickers, sweaters and winter scarfs as they caroled through the high school halls. His teacher, Parm, who was well ahead of the merry group, heard gunshots from the top of the stairs, and yelled, “Double time to the classroom. NOW!” Daniel ran with his friends, went through the choir room and into… Read more

Before Jane James–another African American Mormon Found

I read historians’ work, and sometimes I go through microfilm to find answers to my questions. I am not the kind of historian Connell O’Donovan is, though. He is relentless and generous. I am posting his discovery with his permission, since he won’t be writing about this woman yet. For historians, this might present new research possibilities. From Connell: “I don’t know her name yet but she was the wife of (non-Mormon) Samuel Francis/Frances of Haight (now New Hudson), Allegany… Read more

Jane Elizabeth Manning James

We draped a sheet across a metal trellis and called it a covered wagon. We used the sacrament table for Jane James’s bed. We let Elijah Able use the podium, and we put the choir in the cushioned seats by the piano and organ. This was our Genesis meeting on Sunday, March 5th, 2000. We debuted my play I Am Jane to a diverse audience that included LDS apostle David B. Haight, whose ancestor had been in Jane’s 1847 pioneer… Read more

The Story I told Him, Part 4

He watched the sun sink. The sky was growing dark. He hiked higher, higher, higher. Then, directly above him, but far too high for him to even imagine touching, there was a pin prick of light. A few moments later, another appeared, and then another, and another. The darker the sky got, the more these lights revealed themselves. It was as though the sky itself had little holes in it, and each hole let out a hint of the brightness… Read more

Dayenu! (It would have been enough!)

(During some Passover celebrations, Jews drop bits of wine on a napkin, citing each plague which G-d caused to come upon the Egyptians and saying, “Dayenu!”, or “it would have been enough with only that!”) In 1998, when I was beginning to learn about black pioneers, Susie Mae Thomas started coming to my ward, though she didn’t live in my boundaries. In retrospect, her presence was a miracle for me. Though she couldn’t speak because of a stroke, she was… Read more

Darius Gray: Atlas with the Flu

Elsie Gray was close to miscarrying her baby, and had already had several miscarriages. She summoned the “Sisters”–Pentecostal women, who anointed her womb with consecrated oil and ministered to her, dedicating the fruit of her womb to God. Darius Aidan Gray was born healthy on December 12, 19?? (no, I won’t reveal his birth year), though he suffered health problems for much of his childhood. As a teen, he read about Sampson and decided that he would do as Sampson… Read more

The Story I told Him (part 3)

David of Nebula Part 3 of 4 Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. David walked towards the nearest armchair, glancing around. There were paintings on the walls—of big rocks and many hues. “But you did see the lights back then,” David said. “Of course. I waited thirty years before I wrote it down, though. Perhaps I left out a detail or two. And perhaps I missed a few things. Well, I didn’t see the rainbow, did I. Apparently,… Read more

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