I spoke outdoors this evening to a large group of young single adults (YSAs) at a YSA stake encampment on a private piece of land somewhere between Cardston, Alberta, and Waterton Lakes National Park. I’m still at the gathering; we’re staying in a remarkably nice RV that has been very generously provided for us.
There are said to be something like five hundred young Latter-day Saints attending the encampment; I don’t know how many were there in the audience for my talk, but it was a fairly large number. (Right now, there’s a dance going on.) Some had come from at least as far as Edmonton to the north. We drove down from Calgary to Lethbridge with relatives of our hosts in Calgary. Their two sons, with strong Canadian ties but living basically in Denver, found out about the YSA group and decided to join it. The older of them, by the way, has received a call to serve a French-speaking mission in Montreal, commencing next month. They’re both very impressive.
By the way, I continue to abide by my policy of, on the whole, not naming people in these blog entries when there is no particular reason to do so. Why? Because I’m subjected to a daily stream of internet and email abuse from obsessive anonymous detractors and there seems no reason at all to expose anybody else to such ill treatment because of their association with me. (To illustrate my point: I’ve just now checked the file into which the emails from one particular fellow go — “Nomen Nescio,” as he identifies himself — and I find that today marked the arrival of the 1231st, 1232nd, 1233rd, and 1234th specimens of his work.)
Anyhow, back to reporting on my talk. I had misunderstood. I had been expecting — for no actually solid reason — to speak in a stake center in Lethbridge, where I’ve spoken before and where the YSA stake president lives, in remarks accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. I knew that there was an encampment near Waterton Lakes, but I didn’t fully understand the specifics. Instead, I spoke from behind a tree-stump lectern out under the trees and the open sky. I liked it, and I ad libbed a very different talk than I had planned, quite freely and off the cuff. (I’ll give the prepared one in Cardston on Sunday night.) It’s actually liberating to speak without the constraints of a set of pre-organized PowerPoint slides. PowerPoint certainly has its great advantages, and I like it, on the whole. But doing without it was also nice, for a change.
Posted from somewhere in Alberta, Canada, between Cardston and Waterton Lakes National Park