About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/04/dna-mormons/ and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009 http://theredbrickstore.com/sunstone/becoming-hong-meis-mother/.

The Book of Mormon Musical: To Embrace or Heed It Not


Before we go any  further, dear reader, you have homework to do. If you wish to participate in this conversation it  is necessary to read the required reading the synopsis of the Book of Mormon Musical. I apologize for the smut you will encounter, but hey, the Pandora Box has been opened, and not by me.


Jumbo Stick It Pad


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To Laura: A Rebuttal and a Revisit with the Sephardic Jews and the Melungeons and the Mormon Pioneers

Note: When I began my rebuttal to Laura’s comment , I meant for it to be a comment, but realized it was a post instead…

Jewish Star on SLC Tabernacle http://www.2topfs.net/May_%202008.htm


When our people, the Sephardic Jews, left Spain, during the 400 years  of the Inquisition, they numbered from ¼ to ½ million people.  A large population of highly educated skilled individuals just did not go POOF into the night!

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“We’re Just Jesus People” and Street Cred

Another one of the Benson boys is serving a mission. Piano Man, who is now Elder Benson, wrote to us from his mission in California:

“There is some serious gang activity here. I hear cops all the time, and I’ve heard gunshots. Gang members have talked to my trainer in the past;  he says gang members are  really nice and don’t bother us (missionaries), because we’re just Jesus people.  One of our investigators, who used to be in a gang, told us the only gang that will mess with missionaries is a gang moving in from Fresno called the Bulldogs. They beat up pretty much everyone, but the other gangs have had a ceasefire with each other, and are focusing on getting the Bulldogs out. There is a lot of pot here. The air smells like a mixture of dry, sea salt, and Mexican food. It’s interesting.”

Richard Drutcher's States of Grace


Am I worried? Well, yeah kinda.  Elder Benson is a happy, confident, hippie-kind-of-guy who could make friends with a rock;  except for stray bullets and getting hit by a car while riding his bike, I think he will be okay. What I am wondering, how much “Street Cred” do Mormon missionaries get in dangerous areas around the world. For those of you who have served in places which “kinda made your mama nervous”, what kinds of advice or tales do you have to share with me, and the rest of our readers.  Please do tell, because inquiring minds want to know.


Hugh Grant: An Instrument in G-d’s Hands

I detest the paparazzi. I want to say hate, but hating is a sin, so let’s say I detest the paparazzi. Why?  Because I hold them directly responsible for the death of Princess Diana, who I loved.

I used to “like” Fox News, which is owned by Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch. I actually never gave Rupert Murdoch much thought, except as a family historian and a Murdoch descendant, I regarded Rupert as possibly one of my far-flung cousins. Now my “like” for Murdoch has turned to detest (I no longer regard him as a possible cousin), and I am greatly, enormously, disappointed in Fox News. I now feel this way because; I recently came across a fascinating news story, which I believe has been under-reported here in the US; well, at least on Fox News.

This tale is about the Murdoch empire, the paparazzi,  and a seemly unlikely real life hero, the British actor Hugh Grant, (who I also love) star of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, About a Boy, Music and Lyrics, and many other films.

BBC Question Time

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Why we left LDS Scouting

This post is a response to GDub’s comment here.

When I was teenager, we  had a Stake President who had a testimony of scouting.  Because of this man, our ward’s troop was an LDS scouter’s dream. The Stake President appealed to the competitive nature of men, His system was for every 11-year-old scout’s Dad, to be called as an assistant scoutmaster or troop committee member. From that pool of men, a new scoutmaster was chosen every few years. The scoutmaster then graduated to the Bishopric, high council, or stake presidency. Because of this system, the troop had a large pool of  top-notch assistant scoutmasters to work with! As a kid, I assumed all LDS troops operated in this fashion.

Our family’s LDS scout experience was a mixed bag. For the successes please see Tex’s post here. What Tex posted was remembering the positive blessings our family experienced. There were also tremendous challenges we faced and endured sometimes well and other times not so much. What kept us going, was Mike who had a strong, enduring, tenacious, testimony of scouting. He believed with all his heart LDS Scouting, done correctly, turned a boy into a valiant Priesthood holder. Ironically he also had a big heart for the fatherless.
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