One of the Best Talks I’ve Ever Heard

This talk was given by Kristen Blair, my niece, on Sunday, December 14th, 2014. Quintessential Truth: Metanoeo I could never put my mission experience into words. It means everything to me. But the closest I can come to describing the miracle I experienced is by talking about what I would call the quintessential representative of my mission: movement, which is another word for repentance. I never really applied the word “quintessential” until I served a mission. The concept, sure, I... Read more

Black Pioneers–for my brothers and sisters in Africa

Here are the photos of Jane Manning James and her husband, Isaac. Though the two were divorced, Jane welcomed Isaac back into her home during the last year of his life and cared for him until he died. His funeral was held at her home. I am told that today, November 23, 2014, President Dieter Uchtdorf spoke of Jane Manning James in a conference which was broadcast to church memberrs in Africa. Some have asked that I share a few... Read more

The Great Beatles Birthday Party (A Quiz)

My husband, Bruce, turned sixty-four yesterday. Quiz question #1: Why would we do a big Beatles-themed party for someone turning 64? These were the table decorations. Identify the item, the song it refers to, and which album it’s on: Album? Which song? How many of the truffles can you name? Whose sweet tooth did this song refer to? Why did we have a “flaming pie” rather than the traditional birthday cake? How many items on this birthday spread can you... Read more

And Thou Shalt Bring Aaron and his Sons. . .

I was bitter. I felt cheated. I was finding reasons to justify myself and cling to the victim’s role. I found myself wanting to soak my soul in self-pity and swaddle myself in depression. I managed misery for a few days. But then I needed to do my temple shift. I can’t take such feelings into the temple. They simply won’t fit. At one point during my temple service, I was contemplating some words from Exodus 40: And thou shalt... Read more

The Out-Takes from Meet the Mormons

Or the ones I wanted to see: I want to see Bishop (now President) Jermaine Sullivan teaching Elder Dallin Oaks to step dance. I heard Elder Oaks talk about trying to do the hula when he at BYU Hawaii. He even demonstrated. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Because, man, he don’t got it. The demonstration was an act of utter humility. In the same talk, Elder Oaks recounted about visiting an island–possibly Samoa–and having people bring him... Read more

THE TRIP!

Which one?Please come with me to Africa. We will visit Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Johannesburg, South Africa; Accra and Elmina, Ghana. Day one: Suitcases. Guess which one I chose to hold clothes for children in a poor school, a bridal gown, my own clothes, and a few gifts. Which would you have chosen? Danor Gerald will be posting photos of our trip via instagram, and John Ternieden will use social media to document our adventures.... Read more

Preparing for the Trip. First: LEARN FRENCH!

This is the look I get right before I leap. My husband told me this morning, “You are missing the caution button. Somehow, you didn’t get it. You just dive in.” I confess. It’s true. In my maturity, I am not as foolish as I have been, but one example of my “leapingly intuitive” nature (as Bruce has described it) is that I leap into languages, fully willing to make a fool of myself and knowing... Read more

Here I Stand. God Help Me, I Can Do No Other.

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Mormon community here. The Tree of Life (film) We learn narratives from our parents. These narratives are sometimes harsh and sometimes fantastical. They go from “you can’t trust anyone” to “Santa will come tonight!” and beyond. If we believe that we can’t trust anyone, we soon learn that it’s true, because we don’t trust... Read more

A Few Words from Orson Pratt

The Mormon History Association conference was remarkable. I am offering here a bit from LaJean Carruth’s paper which quoted Orson Pratt, with her permission. LaJean did the laborious task of deciphering the shorthand comprising Pratt’s words. I find it refreshing to see Pratt’s anti-slavery sentiments at a time when the issue was so volatile, and soon before Governor Brigham Young would offer his “An Act in Relation to Service”, which led to Utah being considered a slave-holding territory. The full... Read more

Developing Spiritual Taste

“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”36 (Teachings of the Prophets) When I was in my late twenties, someone said to me, “You’re too smart to be a Mormon.” Clearly, I’m not. But the picture of Mormonism this person had in... Read more
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