Jane Manning James: Her Life Story in Her Own Words

When I publish anything about Black LDS pioneer Jane Elizabeth Manning James, people from around the world express a desire to know more about her. Last night, I recorded her life story as she dictated it to Elizabeth J.D. Roundy. I have included photos from the last production of my play I Am Jane.It would have been nice to have one of Jane's descendants do this recording, or to have a black voice artist. Since I have no money to pay for a studio or that particular talent, I chose to … [Read more...]

We Tend to Resurrect in my Family

We have frequent resurrections in my family. My brother Bobby suffered a hip-pulverizing injury in 1982 when a stadium gate fell on his pelvis. The doctors did not think he would survive, and my mother called my dad from the ER waiting room: “Bobby is dying.” Dad ran to the hospital and into the room where his semi-conscious son lay. From the ganglia of tubes and wires, Bobby reached his arms out to Dad. “Hug!” he said. That was the moment when all of us Blairs became demonstrative in our affecti … [Read more...]

Risen and Rising

My fundamental belief as a Latter-day Saint is that we are continuously in process of either blossoming or withering, that our potential is infinite and our mortality only one phase of our eternal learning. I have often said that mortality is pre-school, in which we learn (or refuse to learn) the basic principles of the gospel—faith, repentance, forgiveness, charity. I believe that most religions espouse these virtues, and that eventually all will become one, with Christ at the head. In other w … [Read more...]

Love Letters from China

The year I gave birth to my first child, my parents were in Mainland China.  I wrote about their experience here.I spent my fiftieth birthday (2005)  in Beijing and talked about various "long marches" in global history to my parents' students.  I remember one student in particular--Sharon.  Dad told me that Sharon had converted to Christianity and was planning on doing some revolutionary things.  She was going to visit university campuses and read the New Testament aloud, positioning herself … [Read more...]

The Call of Faith

It is January 3, 2016, and I am feeling nostalgic.  My mother died for fifteen minutes in October when her heart arrested as she was being wheeled in to the OR to have a pacemaker placed.  My father continues in his relentless but merciful decline--which has included several reprieves.  They are asleep, and I am doing the nighttime parent care--a measure we have taken to be sure they are safe.  (Indeed, I have had to call 911 twice.  Each has had one fall.) I am surrounded by family photos, and … [Read more...]

Gratitude #3

 In this third gratitude essay, I focus on my dad. I have written many essays about him and his influence in my life, which you can find by simply googling his name—Robert Wallace Blair.  Or look here.I am grateful that Dad’s heart was always good, that his fidelity was constant. He has expressed regret that he wasn’t fully present for us kids as we were growing up, though I remember him as very much a presence. Perhaps as he settled into his professorship, he spent too many hours aw … [Read more...]

Every Word

 This is a guest post by my nephew, Josh Sabey, about a fascinating project for Biblical studies. This project attempts to increase interfaith interaction and cohesion by creating a crowdsourced study Bible. The website works like this: Users may post their own interpretations, as well as videos, music, books, or other resources relevant to a particular passage of scripture. Results may then be filtered by religion, author, medium, and so on. By crowdsourcing Biblical commentary, … [Read more...]


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