Author: Margaret Young

I don’t even know if Maria is her real name!

My neighborhood erupted a little while ago. The issue was immigration. I found out about the eruption when I was doing my visiting teaching. I won’t go into the details of the neighborhood fight, just a few lines I heard as I prepared to do a typical visit. “Maria is illegal, you know. She has her sister’s social security number. I don’t even know if Maria is her real name.”

God’s “plaiting” of evil

This will not be a commentary but a question. And I really do want some answers. I’m posting it on T&S, but I hope bloggers from all over will add insights. I want a deeper understanding and recognize that people like Jim Faulconer, Kevin Barney, Julie Smith, and others who have studied the scriptures better than I and looked at the etymology of the words can help me understand.

Some Thoughts: 30 Years after President Kimball’s Plea to Mormon Artists

We’ve all heard something like this before: “I can’t really claim credit for what I’m about to read, because it came to me as inspiration. God is the author.” The follow up is usually a poem which compares faith (or some other virtue) to a gate/ not a fate/ Spirits’ bait/ please don’t wait—or something Edgar A. Guest might have composed. You do not say anything. You do not voice the words in your head (“God must’ve been having a really bad day”) because you respect the sincerity of the writer—and maybe you recognize your own arrogance. (Surely the Spirit can inspire good thoughts, even if the instrument of expression is untrained.)

Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration–what did you do?

Over the past several days, I’ve attended some magnificent presentations at Utah Valley State College in commemoration on Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Besides asking myself the obvious (“Why aren’t we doing this kind of thing at BYU?”), I have been taking notes and thinking about how my life can change because of the things I’ve heard and been engaged in.

The human face calls us to responsibility–sometimes

Years ago, I responded to one of those philanthropic commercials inviting viewers to request some “no obligation” information about their charitable organization. I requested it and soon received the photograph of a little girl in the Philippines, along with the invitation to sponsor her. How could I say no? There she was, looking right at me, calling me to responsibility. I had the means to provide for her, and surely I had to do it–and did. But a change has happened over the years. I now have a daughter with an eating disorder. On her binder, she has put a picture of a young woman who appears to have just been released from a concentration camp. She is more than gaunt; she is cadaverous, and she’s wearing absurdly incongruous make-up. She is poverty’s clown, an emaciated pied piper, a grim reaper of teenage souls.

Mother’s Blessings

Last Saturday, I had lunch with my oldest daughter and her best friend, Adrea, who happens to be my best friend’s oldest daughter. My friend, Buffy, and I went through our first pregnancies laughing at ourselves and at each other, but also struggling in our new marriages.

To accompany Kaimi’s post

How about lyrics which folks (especially children) often mis-hear? My mother was terribly ashamed of her parents when she saw that cherries were included for Sunday lunch, since they had just sung, “Cherries hurt you, cherries hurt you…” (Cherish virtue…)

All-expenses-paid Guilt Trips

I had a beautiful experience last week. I went through the temple with one of my Sunday School students/neighbors, a young man headed to the MTC on Wednesday Sept. 13. Last week, another of my SS students/neighbors left for his mission. There is one other member of the neighborhood of age to serve a mission, but he will not be doing it. He is my son.

Working with Darius

Alas, my other lives (teacher, wife, mother, producer [for the moment] and writer) are calling me, so I will contribute less frequently to T&S and other blogs–though this has been really fun. I promised to publish a post about writing the trilogy with Darius. I’ve written elsewhere about some of that experience–the miraculous parts–and thought I’d write here about the more difficult parts. The most obvious difficulty I dealt with in writing about Black Mormons and the history of the Church in regards to race was the research. Not the research per se–I loved doing that–but the things I read, the sad and lingering legacy of prejudice.

Approaching a new semester

I have been teaching English at BYU for over twenty years, focusing on creative writing for more than half of that time. As I contemplate fall semester in my new identity as a BLOGGER, I have been thinking about the conversations we teachers have with our students. Some might label the conversations lectures or lesson plans, but I always aim for an exchange–a luxury not all departments can afford. (I have no idea if Chris Grant could hold a conversation with me about math, though I doubt it–simply because I don’t speak the language.) Since I married one of my professors, I have some unusual insights about relationships and academia.

Camels and needles’ eyes in Mormondom

My daughter said recently that she had been raised to view extremely wealthy people as wicked. I was appalled, since I am one of the primary people who raised her. What messages had I communicated which elicited those words? I admit that my father, on first view of a cousin’s enormous mansion, said simply, “Well, that is obscene,� and that I have maybe repeated similar sentiments once or twice. I admit that my time living in 3rd World countries has affected my perceptions of wealth, and I have sometimes commented that the price of the richest homes in Utah could feed whole countries. But have I managed to communicate the idea that rich people are wicked? Apparently so. I would suggest that as a church, we generally do not give that message, though. In fact, we might give just the opposite.