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 wonâ€™t go into the details of the neighborhood fight, just a few lines I heard as I prepared to do a typical visit. â€œMaria is illegal, you know. She has her sisterâ€™s social security number. I donâ€™t even know if Maria is her real name.â€
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.
I remember sitting on my dadâ€™s lap after I burned my bottom on our ancient heating pipes at Hoosier Courts, Bloomington, Indiana. I was four years old, so it was 1959.
Weâ€™ve all heard something like this before: â€œI canâ€™t really claim credit for what Iâ€™m about to read, because it came to me as inspiration. God is the author.â€ The follow up is usually a poem which compares faith (or some other virtue) to a gate/ not a fate/ Spiritsâ€™ bait/ please donâ€™t waitâ€”or something Edgar A. Guest might have composed. You do not say anything. You do not voice the words in your head (â€œGod mustâ€™ve been having a really bad dayâ€) because you respect the sincerity of the writerâ€”and maybe you recognize your own arrogance. (Surely the Spirit can inspire good thoughts, even if the instrument of expression is untrained.)
Last week I read _The End of the Spear_, a book by Steve Saint about evangelical missionaries who had gone to the deep Ecuadorian jungles in the 1950â€™s. The first five missionaries were killed by the natives, but the son a slain missionary (the author himself) returned to the place where his father died.
Over the past several days, Iâ€™ve attended some magnificent presentations at Utah Valley State College in commemoration on Martin Luther King Jr.â€™s legacy. Besides asking myself the obvious (â€œWhy arenâ€™t we doing this kind of thing at BYU?â€), I have been taking notes and thinking about how my life can change because of the things Iâ€™ve heard and been engaged in.
Years ago, I responded to one of those philanthropic commercials inviting viewers to request some â€œno obligationâ€ 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 itâ€“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 sheâ€™s wearing absurdly incongruous make-up. She is povertyâ€™s clown, an emaciated pied piper, a grim reaper of teenage souls.
Are you bothered that Old Man Potter doesnâ€™t get his just desserts in _Itâ€™s A Wonderful Life_?
Last Saturday, I had lunch with my oldest daughter and her best friend, Adrea, who happens to be my best friendâ€™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.
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…)
I teach all of the youth in my ward. I suspect this is because nobody else will do it. Also, most of the youth (whether or not Iâ€™ve given birth to them) pretty much live at my house. So I am very able to tell them to behave and get a quick response.
My sister-in-law, Lynda, is dying of cancer. It was in remission for eight years, but has now returned and is in her bones.
Iâ€™ve been thinking about President Packerâ€™s Sunday talkâ€“mostly centered on the idea that we have nothing to apologize for in LDS history and should proudly defend our heroic, pioneering past.
My husband is writing a book. Of course, this is nothing new. He is a professor. He is supposed to write books. Actually, he is required to write books if he wants a promotion.
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.
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.
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 exchangeâ€“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 itâ€“simply because I donâ€™t speak the language.) Since I married one of my professors, I have some unusual insights about relationships and academia.
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 cousinâ€™s enormous mansion, said simply, â€œWell, that is obscene,â€? 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.