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/.

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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Scouting: The Means to an End

Tex is guest posting in honor of the 101st Anniversary of Boy Scouts of America. Tex is a Junior at Tennessee Technological University majoring in Civil Engineering on a ROTC Scholarship. Tex served a two year mission in the Texas Houston Mission. He currently serves as a Elders Quorum instructor and Stake YSA Rep.

In the minds of many people scouting is about camping or playing army, but truth does not always equate to public opinion. Uniforms and camping are simply a means to an end. That end is turning boys into men. There is a reason why scouting is the Young Men’s program of the church. I believe, Scouting has been inspired by God to teach boys how to follow Lehi’s council to “arise from the dust… and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;” 2 Nephi 1:21

When I was a scout, my Dad was a scout leader from Webelos until I achieved the rank of Eagle. He was also a Scoutmaster for my eighteen year old brother. Dad was an overworked accountant, and yet I cannot think of a camping trip he missed until I earned my Eagle. He passed away in 2009; my favorite memories of him are what we did in Scouting. This was quality time for me, to be with my Dad and learn from him. He has been an example to me of what it means to work very hard and overcome adversity.  He taught me what it means to be a man.

My Eagle Court of Honor with Dad and Brother

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A Tale of a Good Samaritan on the Road to Chattanooga, Tennessee

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.  Luke 10:30-37

On an seemingly  ordinary Veterans Day six years ago, the most notable aspect of the day was the miserable weather. The  usually gentle southern breezes of Middle Tennessee  were replaced by a fierce Canadian wind biting and  gnawing at the very bones of anyone, who ventured out for a quick run to the car.  It was late afternoon, and my husband Mike left the office for home.  Preoccupied with the daily grind, the last thing Mike expected, was he was about to become a “Good Samaritan” and  care for one who was unfortunate to have “fallen among thieves”.

Mike had a business meeting scheduled  early the next morning in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a city two hours south of us, by way of the I-65 and I-24 thru the hills and mountain pass leading to the Tennessee-Alabama-Georgia border. Leaving work early, he stopped at home to retrieve his overnight suitcase and computer bag, Mike was preoccupied with stress.  The past few months had been unusually difficult. It seemed to him, he had been abandoned by even God.

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