Integrity and Respect versus Sparking Joy

GreenertToday I came across a TEDx talk by ADM Greenert, who is Chief of Naval Operations.

I know something about the Navy, but as I listened to ADM Greenert’s remarks about integrity and accountability, I thought about the individuals who lead our congregations at the ward and stake level.

I thought about a Joseph Smith who took responsibility for the sins of his people, that we all might be saved with our families. And I thought about Eliza Snow and Brigham Young, two of those who had at one time had been deceived by those promulgating spiritual wifery (aka illicit intercourse). 1

I also thought of William Smith, forgiven and counseled innumerable times, who ultimately chose to boldly embrace error rather than submit to the “bondage” of Christ’s leadership.

By contrast, a few days ago the sidebar had a link saying:

Kate and John don’t want you to be miserable anymore

I assumed this piece must be a parody, it was so over-the-top and offensive. But as I have seen others comment as though this is real, perhaps I was wrong to presume that Kate and John had more decency and self respect than to pen such a piece. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Eliza’s November 1842 poems describe innocence being betrayed by a foul deceiver. “BY” is implicated as having accepted the teachings regarding transgression in William Clayton’s journal, though there is confusion about whether or not BY actually transgressed or not.

Review of William B. Smith Biography

Dr. Kyle R. Walker 1 has produced the first biography of Joseph Smith’s controversial brother, William B. Smith.

William B. Smith: In the Shadow of a Prophet was published in June 2015 by Greg Kofford Books, and offers a thorough and gentle view of the last surviving brother of Joseph Smith.

Dr. Walker seems thoroughly on Team William, focusing on William’s great efforts on behalf of the Church. However Dr. Walker is not willing to hide contemporary documents completely, and gives credence to contemporary reports from Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff regarding William’s unorthodox marital/sexual behavior. Thus Dr. Walker is ultimately unable to avoid recounting facts leading to William’s inability to retain a leading role in the Church William’s brother had founded. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Kyle Walker has a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brigham Young University.

Guest post for Pioneer Day

This is a guest post by Huston.

“Call up your courage again. Dismiss your grief and fear.
A joy it will be one day, perhaps, to remember even this.
Through so many hard straits, so many twists and turns
our course holds firm for Salt Lake Valley. There God holds out
a homeland, calm, at peace. There God decrees
the kingdom of Zion will rise again. Bear up.
Save your strength for better times to come.”

This is a quote from Brigham Young.

Here, the Mormon leader motivates discouraged pioneers as they survey the barren, hostile wilderness they’re passing through, after being driven out of their ruined home. He reminds them that they’ve already suffered greatly before and endured. He inspires them with a vision of their destined goal: the establishment of a new headquarters for their people in a land to the west. Their civilization is to be a re-establishment of a great order that had been lost. This powerful, cheering attitude helps the people strive and successfully realize their destiny.

Oh, no, wait. That’s not right. This is actually a quote from the Trojan hero Aeneas in Virgil’s classic The Aeneid (Book I, lines 238-244, Robert Fagles trans.).

“Call up your courage again. Dismiss your grief and fear.
A joy it will be one day, perhaps, to remember even this.
Through so many hard straits, so many twists and turns
our course holds firm for Latium. There Fate holds out
a homeland, calm, at peace. There the gods decree
the kingdom of Troy will rise again. Bear up.
Save your strength for better times to come.”

Here, the Trojan leader motivates discouraged warriors as they survey the barren, hostile wilderness they’re passing through, after being driven out of their ruined home. He reminds them that they’ve already suffered greatly before and endured. He inspires them with a vision of their destined goal: the establishment of a new headquarters for their people in a land to the west. Their civilization is to be a re-establishment of a great order that had been lost. This powerful, cheering attitude helps the people strive and successfully realize their destiny.

Sorry for the confusion, but you can see how I got these two epic journeys mixed up. They have so much in common.

Perhaps there’s a lesson in that for us.

Handcart Trek: Corsets and Army Boots

corset-bootThis weekend our stake held their fourth “trek” youth conference, of which members of my family have participated in three. This is my second trek, accompanying my daughter who is autistic.

Eldest daughter, as passionate about fiber arts as I am about the history of polygamy, decided we would be greatly benefited by participating in authentic period costume, including corsets. Now that I know what it is to wear one and how it shapes the body, I can see the corsets on all the pioneer women in pictures from the 1800s. Speaking for myself, my reaction went from “You have got to be kidding!” to “Not bad.”

The handcart trek experience is becoming one of the experiential touch points of being a Mormon young person. In contrast to all the intellectual hand wringing I see on the internet, the trek experience is down to earth and visceral. This is no simple lecture about how hard life was for the early Saints. It is days of sleeping on the hard ground, pushing and pulling a cart carrying your few possessions, not knowing ahead of time what will happen, how long the road will be, or what natural delights and perils await on the path ahead. Continue reading