September 12–after my daughter was cast as Annina in La Traviata at Indiana U

Kaila (my daughter) before her second recital

I am re-posting something I wrote several years ago, because of the wonderful news we got yesterday, included in the title. Previously posted in By Common Consent. My son, by the way, did graduate from high school. He is doing well and continues to surprise us by his wisdom.So my son will not pass Sports Medicine this term. Alas. We worked so hard. And I do mean WE. I taught myself the material so I could tutor him. But the class is made for a different sort of student than my son … [Read more...]

Priesthood Restrictions–Shall we Protest?

Junior Apostle Gordon B. Hinckley and Ruffin Bridgeforth, October 19, 1971

June 8, 1971—an important day. Three black men, Ruffin Bridgeforth, Darius Gray, and Eugene Orr met with three junior apostles: Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, and Boyd K. Packer. This was all under the direction of Joseph Fielding Smith, the president of the LDS church. The issue for Gene Orr was priesthood. “These were negotiating meetings,” Gene says in the documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons. “We wanted the priesthood.” Darius Gray did not believe that he wou … [Read more...]

The Trip: Prologue

The Groberg Cabin

"Not Knowing Beforehand the things which I should Do"It’s because I’m a Blair. My father has set me in Middle-of-Nowhere, Mexico and instructed me to figure out how to say fifty different words in some dialect spoken there. He once told my siblings and me in the middle of Guatemala City, “I’ve got a conference, but I hear there’s a museum around here. Go find it. I’ll meet you back here in five hours.” I have a long tradition of leaping before anyone can stop me. Clearly, it's genetic. … [Read more...]


Mel Hamilton, Margaret Young, Darius Gray

Mel Hamilton is one of my heroes. He spoke on July 13th about his experience as one of the Black Fourteen at Wyoming University in 1969. He and thirteen other black players on the team—the best Wyoming had ever had and perhaps the best they will have—wanted to protest the Mormon priesthood restriction when they played BYU. They wanted to play the game, but wearing black armbands. Their coach, Lloyd Eaton, asked them to sit in the fieldhouse bleachers. … [Read more...]

Imagination and Faith

The two I lined up

There is no faith without imagination. One reason I choose Mormonism as my religious framework is that--at its best--it urges me to the most noble imaginings. So much of my life involves imagination.I have taught poets who had far greater gifts than I, essayists who invited me into new paradigms or experiences, and fiction writers who took me on unanticipated journeys. Recently, I taught a young man who I also knew as a missionary. He was in the MTC branch my husband and I served in several … [Read more...]

Wedding Rehearsal Revisited

bruce and margaret

My husband and I celebrate twenty-eight years of marriage today, May 17th. Bruce, as most of my friends know, was my professor before he was my husband. I got free tuition when I married him. He was thirty-four and insecure. I was twenty-nine and damaged. On one of our early dates, we went to the temple. I quietly prayed that we would be able to do sealings after the endowment session–a rather odd request, I know, but it seemed terribly romantic.So there we were in the Celestial Room. A w … [Read more...]

I Think I’m In The Wrong Room

I prepared my conference paper with a particular audience in mind—the one I know: Mormons, specifically academic Mormons. The conference was the American Academy of Religion, Seattle, and I (so I thought) would be part of the Mormon contingent. I went to my session with Blair Hodges, who was also set to present. As my readers would expect, I had prepared a presentation on race and Mormonism—specifically what we mean by the recent Church statement, “We condemn racism, including any and all past … [Read more...]