The First Vision–beyond words

It was years afterwards that Joseph Smith made his first attempt to describe what we Mormons refer to as “The First Vision.”  Certainly, making a pamphlet boiling down a theophany to mere words was beyond daunting; perhaps it felt like a mockery. There was a persistent request for an understandable account of an indescribable event, and eventually Joseph attempted it. In fact, he attempted it multiple times. After a century, illustrators created their own interpretations of what the divine beings… Read more

Companions (The Film Previously Known As. . .)

A look at the film previously known as Heart of Africa. This is what we’re doing.  We have raised well over $100,000. through donations and are now seeking investments. This project has been my personal opus of love. I didn’t design the “Look Book,” and would probably have deleted the soldier pictures had I done it, but I think it’s a very good peek into what we’re doing.  I would probably have added more women, as women (two main characters… Read more

Prejudice–thou Ugly!

A few years ago, I wrote this account of some experiences I had with Darius Gray.  I must share it again. Prejudice, which President Kimball called “thou ugly,” mattered deeply to President Gordon B. Hinckley. He was troubled to hear about anyone being mistreated—and particularly when the excuse for mistreatment was race-based. Darius Gray was similarly concerned as he received countless calls from men and women all over the United States who were still dealing with the ripples of racist… Read more

Race and Mormonism–2016 Edition (the less coy version)

  I won’t be coy.  I am disturbed by the upcoming Doctrinal Mastery (New Testament) manual for Mormon youth.  This is a sample of what disturbs me. The teacher is asked to divide her students into groups and to discuss the principles behind various church practices.  Questions 2 and 4 elicit a response justifying the long abandoned priesthood restriction.  In fact, the manual writers are fishing for an explanation which is indefensible.  (See note below.) Youth are given a list… Read more

Reconciliation: My Presidential Address to the Association for Mormon Letters, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011: I am writing this talk at my father’s hospital bedside.  We are in the final phase of his life, though we don’t know how much sand remains in the hourglass neck. When Dad was in the ER on Saturday, I sat at his bedside, a few feet  from my mother.  Mom gave family news, and smiled and laughed as though we were at the dining room table, not in the ER.  I kept my eyes on… Read more

Birthday Thoughts

On June 7, I turned sixty-one.  My two best friends, Jackie Selck Clegg and Elizabeth (Buffy) Cannon Wright, both died in their forties, Jackie of cancer and Buffy in a car crash. My aunt Carolyn also died in her forties.  A heart attack took her.  Two of my husband’s sisters died at age forty-five, one of cancer and one of multiple sclerosis.  I look back over the twenty years which I got and they did not and contemplate what that… Read more

Salvador: The Truth Behind the Fiction, Part 7

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalms 2:9)   I did not learn of the bulldozing of the LDS chapel at Dale’s finca until a decade after it had happened.  Because I had agreed to teach full time at BYU-Hawaii (I usually teach part-time at BYU-Provo), I had an interview by a general authority.  After a few minutes, we both learned that we had something in common–our… Read more

Salvador: The Truth Behind the Fiction, Part 6

Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve. (Moses 1:15)   The basics were revealed.  Dale was living a double life, and had persuaded himself that his illicit relationship with another woman was justifiable because she would replace his… Read more

Resilience: The Bobby Blair Story, Part 4

This is the concluding part of my interview with my indomitable brother, Robert Groberg Blair.  I recommend the entire interview (all four parts total less than an hour) for anyone who is facing loss.   Read more

Resilience: The Bobby Blair Story, Part 3

The last segment of my interview with my brother, Robert Groberg Blair, lasted twenty-five minutes, so I decided to divide it into two episodes. Here is Part 3 of the series, to be followed by the concluding segment.   Thank you, Bobby, for this wonderful interview.  Your insights and your life inspire me!   Read more

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