Renewing Our Imaginations

When I've taught creative writing, I have asked my students to look at the world with "poetic eyes."  I have asked two questions at the beginning of class: "Who or what did you fall in love with?" and "What did you see with your poetic eyes?"  The first question refers to the writers they are discovering.  I want my students to fall in love with the thoughts and sensibilities of writers from the past and from the present.  But of course, one can "fall in love" with a leaf or a pine cone or a spi … [Read more...]

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 … [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 time has meant.  I did write some important books, but others are … [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Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me?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 wife, who, he was convinced (and had told her) … [Read more...]

Salvador: The Truth Behind the Fiction, Part 5

1 John 2:16 - For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.I am a living testimony to the fact that God loves even stupid people. I probably deserved to be kidnapped and killed the day I made that trip. But since I’m here writing this, I stand as a witness of God’s mercy.In Momostenango, a leader of a BYU group had urged his students to steer clear of me, as I was likely a bad influence. … [Read more...]

Salvador: The Truth behind the Fiction, Part 3

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. (Oliver Cromwell)Daniel Choc was one of Dale  Grover's most ardent supporters, having lived on the plantation for two years, the beneficiary of Dale's good work and training.  He had returned to his home in Patzicia when I met him in 1975. He--the same age as the missionaries Dad was training to speak Cakchiquel--became Dad's main assistant.  Often, Daniel became an angelic voice whispering translations to the mi … [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 just before I tu … [Read more...]