How Do We Overcome Prejudice?

kendell and olama

This is a guest post by Kendell Coburn, a young man who was called to be a missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and served in Cameroon. He was in the MTC branch which my husband and I helped with. When I was filming in the Congo last August, I met a young Cameroonian man, Jean-Claude Olama, who had just finished his mission and was headed back to Cameroon the next day. I mentioned Kendell Coburn's name, and Elder Olama said, "He baptized me!" Kendell and I talked after I returned to … [Read more...]

Studio C and Heart of Africa: The Miracles of Stacey Harkey and Mallory Everton

mallory filming trailer

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to cast a play at Brigham Young University with a predominantly black cast? Of 30,000 students, there are 300 blacks, African and African American. Five years ago when we were mounting the play I Am Jane, I nabbed Charlie Beacham, a friend of mine, African American, who had been an important influence on my son when we we were doing a semester abroad in England. He said he couldn’t act, and I promised him we’d wring acting out of him. We had him audition, … [Read more...]

Yes, I do believe that the Mormon Church’s missionary program is among the solutions to Racism.

I did a guest post for Jana Reiss. … [Read more...]

The Story Behind the Footage of that Last Scene

The final scene in the Kickstarter video for Heart of Africa shows two young men, one white and one black, embracing tearfully. The audience surely senses their closeness, but won’t know their history.Jared Wigginton, the Anglo in that scene, was in the Missionary Training Center branch where my husband and I served. He was one of the missionaries headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo. When he let us know that we could email him, he became the first of my adopted sons—eventually tot … [Read more...]

We Greet the Golden Morning

mom as young woman

Robert Wallace Blair was raised with one sister (Carolyn) and many animals—including this horse, Jupiter, and a dog, Trixy, who would follow the boy on his horse to uncharted territory in Santa Barbara, California.He had a gift for language and a hunger for faith, and united both in his LDS mission to Finland from 1951-1954. Upon his return, he attended the largest marriage academy on earth: Brigham Young University.Julia Gay Groberg was a musician, an actress, and often described as a “ … [Read more...]

How old was Juliet?

steffy 2

The answer to the title's question is NOT QUITE FOURTEEN. Juliet was two weeks shy of her fourteenth birthday. However, because of Shakespeare's play, people assume that most women were in their mid-teens when they married during the renaissance. My husband has shown, after decades of research, using mostly primary documents, that the typical age of marriage for women in the renaissance was twenty-five or twenty-six. Men of the time were around age twenty-seven at marriage.Likewise, many … [Read more...]

Our Little Village: In Tragedy and in Joy


I was doing garden work when two of my children ran up to me, panting. “Somebody got hit by a car!” my daughter managed.I inhaled sharply. My immediate reaction was to be sure my own children were safe. At these unthinkable moments, our deepest fear is that it was OUR child who was hurt. … [Read more...]