And then Martha Stewart Called. . .

Wedding day for Ben Blair and Gabby Stanley Blair

My brother, sixteen years my junior, is one of the funniest people I know. It's dry wit, and reminds me of my youngest son's humor. Actually my youngest son is Ben's doppelganger. Take a look at the photo on the side and compare with this one:Ben was once driving through Island Park, which was full of wild flowers, with an uncle of ours, who said, "I'll give you a quarter for every flower you can name." Ben was on it: "Henry, Sam, Melissa, George. . ."That's Ben.When he met … [Read more...]

Elijah Abel’s poem

Malaysia Rice does a Praise Dance to "Were you There" after the poem

Several people have asked that I publish this poem, which I wrote as part of I am Jane. The poem is set up by Jane asking Elijah about all the talk she has been hearing of curses, Cain, Ham, etc. She says, "I've never felt cursed by God, only loved so deep, seemed my bones might melt." Elijah replies, "I feel, Sister Jane, that ours is...Not a curse but a gift t'us, The best path we could seek A place where God can lift us We kneel; our knees is weakAnd when one of us is … [Read more...]

Sarah Speaks

dad sacrament 4

Note: I give my creative writing students an exercise in telling "untold" scripture stories, such as Leah's or Bathsheba's, imagining what their version of the story might have been. It is an imaginative experiment. This is my own exercise imagining Sarah. He thought I was sleeping, but I had awakened hours before. I knew his mind. He thought he could predict me. He considered my gasp a sign of naivete, at the time when the stranger said I would bear a son even in my old age. It was … [Read more...]

What does the [Silver] Fox Say?

President Dieter and Sister Harriet Uchtdorf with members of the _I Am Jane_ cast

They came to the play. President and Sister Uchtdorf came. What a joyous surprise! Afterwards, President Uchtdorf, LDS apostle, said to me (among other things), "The restoration continues." I love those words.For those who question the changeable policy of the priesthood restriction by saying, "I thought God never changed," I suggest Elder Uchtdorf's words. The restoration continues. God never changes, but who said we were on God's level? We come to understand principles, to live them, … [Read more...]

The Play: More Important Now than Ever Before?

The First Production of _I Am Jane_ in 2001, Denise Cutliff playing Jane.

I think I slept for a month after the first production of I Am Jane. I was completely exhausted. I was the playwright, costume designer, set designer, and director of this play about black Mormon pioneer Jane Manning James. I have since learned to delegate.We filled the chapel and more for that production, and in some ways it marked the time when the Genesis Group got big and started getting attention. In the audience was one of Jane's descendants, who had already labeled the play … [Read more...]

It Exploded (and other adventures in the saga of Jane Manning James)


A few years before her death, Black pioneer Jane Manning James dictated her life story to Elizabeth J. D. Roundy, concluding it with these words:[M]y faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints is as strong today–nay it is if possible stronger–than it was the day I was first baptized. I pay my tithes and offerings, keep the Word of Wisdom. I go to bed early and arise early. I try in my feeble way to set a good example to all.Those of us who have come to love Jane J … [Read more...]

If you’re in Utah, you’re invited! February 12!

darius at first night

Announcing my guest speaker, Darius Aidan Gray A brief timeline of his life:Timeline: 1964: Darius Aidan Gray becomes LDS, learning the night before his baptism that he won't be able to be ordained to the priesthood.1965: Darius attends BYU and is told that he must not associate with white women. He lives in poverty. His boss refuses to pay him, and friends take him to Salt Lake City to sue the man. They do, successfully. He leaves BYU "on a dead run" certain that he will never … [Read more...]