In 1979, I was living with my first husband in Royal Oak, Michigan. I was expecting a child, a girl, and I loved the bigness of my body. I see my daughter now from an entirely different perspective, of course. I see her down the years as my naked newborn; my smiling 2-month-old with hair like wispy dandelion seeds; my three-year-old whose family was breaking up and who didn’t want to live so far from her daddy; my four-year-old who… Read more

In LDS literature, we are talking about the Mormon concept of the pre-existence, and then comparing some of Joseph Smith’s revolutionary concepts with their romanticized versions depicted in Saturday’s Warriors. We begin with the King Follett discourse, given at the funeral of a man who was crushed in a well. Joseph Smith chose to speak about the nature of God and pre-existent spirits “capable of enlargement.” (more…) Read more

This is my invitation to everyone in Utah Valley to help us produce I am Jane at BYU during Black History Month. Below is the music script. To read the actual script, purchase Saints on Stage, edited by Mahonri Stewart. I am working on getting support from the theatre and music departments so that participants can get credit. Those in my Mormon Lit class can also meet requirements by helping with the production. If you don’t know Jane’s story, you… Read more

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

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: Jane James’s life story (in supplement or at ) FEMALE RITUAL HEALING IN MORMONISM ( ) King Follett Discourse Added Upon (Nephi Anderson) Huebener- Rogers (in Mahonri Stewart’s Saints on Stage) The Clinic- Thayer One More River to Cross (Young and Gray)- Updated version, Zarahemla Books Letters to a Young Mormon… Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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