Mothers’ Day Tribute–Nancy Young Layton

Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings.  Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand. (Doctrine and Covenants 58:3-4) The Savior’s disciples once asked why a certain man had been born blind.  Had he… Read more

Salvador: The Truth behind the Fiction, Part 2

The Atonement of Christ is the very root of Christian doctrine. You may know much about the gospel as it branches out from there, but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch that root, if they have been cut free from that truth, there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them. [Boyd K. Packer, “The Mediator,” Ensign, May 1977] We Blairs were Dale’s disciples.  In some ways we were more Dale’s disciples… Read more

Salvador: The Truth Behind the Fiction

“At some point, God will ask you to sacrifice on his altar not only your stories about your own life but your version of his stories as well. Your softly lit watercolor felt-board version of scripture stories and church history must, like all your stories, be abandoned at his feet, and the messy, vibrant, and inconvenient truths that characterize God’s real work with real people will have to take center stage. If they don’t, then how will God’s work in… Read more

On a Day When I Miss My Dad

I put a photo of an ultrasound into Dad’s coffin on February 27.  The viewing before his funeral hadn’t started yet, and no one was watching.   The ultrasound was of the fetus who is still becoming Olive Aisley Wagstaff, my next granddaughter, my father’s fourth great granddaughter.  On February 18, the day before Dad died, I told him that Julie, my baby girl, had heard her baby’s heartbeat.  Dad said a typically “Dad” thing.  “That’s wonderful!” That little conversation happened… Read more

Robert Blair: Mormon Scholars Testify

A Linguist’s Perspective on Things Beyond Understanding I don’t think that the universe with its billions of galaxies, trillions of stars and planets, and a huge assortment of other objects and phenomena, together with the laws that govern their precise movements, came about by accident. Many scientists conjecture that it all came out of an infinitesimally tiny speck so dense that it contained all that was to become the elements of matter. That out of that submicroscopic particle came all… Read more

Burning Bush

I talked with my father about death quite often.  I was always with him at the end of dialysis, which was sometimes a scary time.  I would sit him up slowly, knowing that if it was too fast, he would faint.  He did faint many times, and I simply rubbed his calves and said, “Dad?  Are you with me?  Can you come back?” Eventually, he would regain consciousness.  He said sometimes that he wondered if he might die during one… Read more

Robert Blair Obituary, Part 4: The Story Teller’s Last Stories

Note: This post includes a photo of Robert Blair’s lifeless body in the last part.  If photos of dead bodies cause you anxiety, please do not continue. I have written the previous obituary segments in third person.  This one will be in first person.   In 2005, Mom and Dad were in China, where they had taught English for five years. Dad had lost most of the function in one kidney.  Now, the second kidney failed. All of us Blairs… Read more

Death of a Latter-day Saint

Embedded in this post is a youtube link to my father’s funeral.  This is something I would want everyone studying the Latter-day Saint faith to listen to as an example of what a Mormon life is or can be. My father, Robert W. Blair, was born Mormon, but was planted deep into his faith through associations with many religions and cultures.  His earliest experience of devotion happened after he viewed the Catholic film Bernadette, and, on his way home from the… Read more

Obituary for Robert Blair – Part 3: The Baltics

Robert Blair’s first mission call from the LDS Church sent him to Finland, a land far removed in every way from his home in Santa Barbara, California.  He became well acquainted with winter. When he arrived in Helsinki, he could look across the Baltic Sea and gaze at the somber lights of Estonia, which was now part of the USSR‘s expanse.  Russian was spoken there (though the Estonians resisted it), but Estonia was a world away.  No missionaries would be… Read more

Robert Wallace Blair Obituary, Part 2

The title for Robert Blair’s PhD dissertation could compete in “Most Impressive.” The title was Yucatec Maya Noun and Verb Morpho-Syntax. He himself forgot the title in his later years, and said, “What on earth does that mean?” when his daughter reminded him of it. Robert got his BA at BYU in English. He did not realize it at the time, but he was already headed into linguistics when he pursued his MA—again in English, but with a twist. He… Read more

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