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“Israel, Israel!” God is calling!

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

Musings on my recent trip to Israel – by Linda Hoffman Kimball, photography by Linda Hoffman Kimball I recently returned from a tour of  biblical and ancient archeological sites in Israel. Our guide, scholar Daniel O. McClellan, PhD – the active LDS biblical scholar  whose podcast “Data over Dogma” is a compelling watch/listen for those …

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Re-Centering Resurrection

By Fiona Givens

This selection comes from this quarter’s Featured Writer, Fiona Givens. “There is…a consensus in Greek patristic and Byzantine traditions in identifying the inheritance of the Fall as an inheritance…of mortality rather than sinfulness.” For the Eastern Christian Church it is death and not sin that is at the center of Christ’s Atonement:  “For as in …

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Rhetorical Questions

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

Questions to ruminate over

Have you cut your hay where you had no right to or turned your animals into another person’s grain or field, without his knowledge or consent?

Have you branded an animal that you did not know to be your own?

Do you wash your body and have your family do so as often as health and cleanliness require and circumstances will permit?

During the Mormon Reformation era of 1856-57, church leaders devised a catechism of questions asked of apostles, bishops, missionaries and regular church members to discover areas of personal attitudes and behavior that could use improvement. These were among the questions asked. These soul-searching questions and others designed to measure spiritual and behavioral commitment to the church had an influence on our contemporary temple recommend interviews.

I renewed my temple recommend this past week, and the experience caused me some useful introspection.

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An Anniversary: This Pilgrim’s Progress

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

June 16 is the anniversary of my baptism, the day I became a Latter-day Saint. It was 1971, three days shy of my 19th birthday. (Do the math; the upcoming birthday is a big one about which I am in deep denial.) For 2 years before my baptism I was an active, participating dry member of my college ward in Massachusetts and my Illinois ward when I was home with my (Protestant but not particularly religious) family.

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Since When Am I A Grown Up?

By Kellie Purcill

Late 1980’s

I’m freshly, garishly dressed, having spent most of my Saturday morning watching the latest music clips on Rage. The inspiration is obvious. My hair is teased at least a hand’s height above my head, I’m still trying to unstick my eyelashes from the deluge of hairspray I’ve used and my outfit is red and blue hair ties (brave choice for a redhead), red shirt, blue skirt, red tights, blue shoes. I trail my Mum as we go to the shops, when suddenly I see them – the Year 12 girls. Their maturity is captivating, poise and grace as thick around them as the smell of grape HubbaBubba. One day, I tell myself, I’m going to be 18 and mature like they are, I’m going to know what’s going on, and life is going to make sense.

Mid 1990’s

In the one year I became old enough to vote, legally drink, join the Royal Australian Navy and be legally considered an adult. Standing on an Army firing range, Steyr rifle casually hanging off one arm, the reality of my age smacked me upside the head. What on earth are they THINKING? I asked myself. I’m only 18! Just months out of high school! Don’t give me a GUN – what are you, nuts? A baritone boom of my surname interrupts my incredulity, then I saluted and answered my Captain. One day, I told myself as he walked away, command and bearing as obvious as his insignia, I’ll be 32. I’ll know what’s going on, I won’t be making stupid decisions, and life is going to make sense.

Mid 2000’s

I’m up to my mammaries in parenting, marriage, church and work.

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To rip or not to rip…

By Melissa Young

While visiting with a friend a few weeks ago, I casually mentioned that I edit my journal. Once she started breathing again and retrieved her jaw from the floor, she spluttered, “But you can’t do that–it’s history!” (Guess what she majored in? Yup, history.)

So we talked about it, and in the end, we agreed to disagree.

Here’s the thing: she’s a talker. Her life is a very open book, and there are not many thoughts that fire through her brain that don’t also roll out of her mouth. It’s one of the things I love and admire about her. She’s very verbal and rarely writes.

Here’s the other thing: I am not a talker. People have labeled me as “quiet” from my earliest memory, and it’s because…well, I am. Words don’t fall out of my mouth easily, and on the rare occasion they do, I often find myself wishing I’d kept mum.

The way I’ve found my voice is through my fingers.

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Double Consciousness

By Rosalyn Eves

As a graduate student, I spent some time pouring over old microfiche records of The Woman’s Exponent (incidentally one of the first lasting magazines published by women for women in the American West) and other works by and about early Mormon women. Repeatedly, I was struck by these women’s firm insistence in their own dignity, …

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Be not silent, nor unquestioning.

By Jennifer Whitcomb

Religious persecution is not a cross I have to bear.  Although at times I feel like a stranger in a foreign land when it comes to the beliefs and convictions that separate me from the general populous, I have only to glance backward at history to know that I have been born in an age when I ought to feel gratitude with every waking breath for those who have fought this battle before me. 

I brought my two primary-age daughters to an activity at the temple this weekend. They were asked to bring a story of an ancestor to share.  We tossed a few ideas around and decided en route to call Mimi—the family’s history enthusiast. Thank goodness for cell phones!  And for living in an area rich with history vital to who we are; oral tradition is alive and well.  She vivaciously told us the story* of 11-year-old Patience; niece to the well-known Anne Hutchinson, friend and peer to Roger Williams and our great-grandmother, several generations removed.

Patience’s older sister Mary was engaged to be married to a young man named Christopher Holder, who, as a defender of religious freedom was expelled from Boston for being “a common opposer of all authority.”  When he came to Boston again in 1657, he and two other young men had their right ears cut off in prison for not listening. 

My modern-day church leaders often counsel me with words of wisdom that I have been guilty of not listening to… [and I continue to treat myself to jumbo bags of m&m’s and redbox movies]. 

Christopher’s future mother-in-law (Patience’s mother) Katherine Scott traveled to Boston to encourage him in his suffering.  For her kindness she was publicly whipped with “ten cruel stripes with a threefold corded knotted whip” and thrown into prison. 

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In the Season of Giving: A Trait to Cherish

By Jennifer Whitcomb

My mom, Priscilla, was a highly sought-after commodity in the prime of her single years. It was 1959. She had a nice Italian boyfriend who wanted to marry her. Her father strongly disapproved. Her high school sweetheart was an enlisted man, with no college education. He would ask for her hand regularly; every leave provided an opportunity to get down on one knee. Her Aunt was convinced that a man in the navy wasn’t good enough for a Simmons girl, and wrote my mother letters offering bribe money so that she would not marry beneath herself. There was a third suitor, engaged to be married to someone else, who showed up on her doorstep about this time, and begged her to marry him; he’d gladly leave his fiancée if she would but consent.

I know there were more. Priscilla’s mother passed away during her senior year in High School. It was a stressful time in her young life. So stressful, in fact, that she cut bait and reeled it in. She changed her name to Kim and moved to Connecticut to waitress for a summer.

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No Respecter of Ornaments

By Leslie Graff

“Do we have to put them all up this year?,” my husband grumbles as he shuffles down a few trees and a dozen freezing cold boxes from the attic. “Yes, all of them!,” I assert, with some insistence. “In the Graff house we are no respecter of ornaments. It’s a matter of principle.” Everyone is welcome …

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