There were three cinemas in Kinshasa, DR-Congo when Tshoper Kabambi was a baby, but he never saw a film.  By the time he was twelve, the cinemas had gone the way of many things in Kinshasa.  They were ramshackle hints of what had once existed, habitats for rats. Tshoper saw a Bollywood film via internet when he was a young teen, and announced to his father that he had found his vocation.  He would become a filmmaker.  He enrolled in… Read more

Sometimes the miracle is simply getting through another day. Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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: _____________________ Linda Burton, Harriet Uchtdorf, Linda S. Reeves, Carole Stevens, Henry B. Eyring,… Read more

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… Read more

Addressing Racism Two 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… Read more

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… Read more

For the past several years, I have contributed to the Blackpast online encyclopedia.  It is a wonderful resource. Now, director Dr. Quintard Taylor announces that BLACKPAST has one section devoted to Black Latter-day Saints  I join with him in inviting you to peruse the articles. Here are Dr. Taylor’s words: The Latter-day Saints Page on African Americans have been members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) almost since its founding in 1830. Their numbers were… Read more

Below is the “Look Book” for “Companions”–a feature film, not a documentary. The film is the first part of multiple projects which Bruce and I will be doing in the Congo as Fulbright scholars at the Universite Catholique Du Congo.  If  all goes as planned, we will be in Kinshasa next October and will stay for ten months.  We also plan on doing work in Lodje. Eventually, we will return to the DR-C as missionaries. This is the basic plan:… Read more

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