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An Interview with Louise and Tom Plummer

By Shelah Miner

From the Archives (January 11, 2011): SEVERAL MONTHS AGO I emailed Louise Plummer to see if I could interview her and her husband, Tom, for our “Inside and Outside Marriage” issue. “Sure,” she responded, “but I’ll tell you right now, I’m not sure how much truth you’ll get out of us.” I was intrigued because …

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Summer, I Love You: Deep Wishes Midlife

By Terresa Wellborn

Ah, summer, of homemade freshly-picked-strawberry ice cream churning on the back patio. Of long days with late dinners, later star gazing. Of tennis court roller skating, sweat running down the backs of our knees. My child-wish: that summer would last forever. “I can still remember one day very well. It was the day when my …

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Hearing and Seeing in Front and Behind

By Teresa Bruce

The child in front of me faced backward in the pew, fidgeting like any preschooler might in the second half of Sacrament meeting. When the closing hymn’s introductory notes played, I watched the already unhappy little face droop in dismay, which I thought cute. But then the congregation sang, and dismay turned to distress. Tiny …

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Family à la Mode

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

A year or so ago I sent a vial of my saliva off to Ancestry DNA. The results were not  surprising since I’ve been tracking my genealogy for decades now. I’m Scandinavian (most specifically southeastern Sweden) where my mother’s parents came from in the late 1800’s. I’m also German/European where my father’s progenitors came from in the mid-1800s. There are a few other odd bits in there, presumably just to keep me engaged in family history research.

Besides my pie-chart, Ancestry DNA also lists other spit contributors who share some of my DNA.

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Pressings

By Sarah Dunster

When new, ungracious winds trouble the waters and I worry I’m growing smaller in your eyes, come lay your hand on my twisted hip and be, with me, the days when our tomatoes grew wild and red, and babies breathed sweetly on our faces. If memory doesn’t serve to bring it perfectly, let me say …

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When Your Kids “Stray”

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

I joined the LDS Church as a teenager and was utterly jubilant to find a church home that deepened my Christian faith walk in ways I’d only longed for till then. I come from a long line of deeply religious Southern folk; I was born with Jesus in my blood. But as I grew and tried to make sense of Protestant doctrine, I just couldn’t reconcile the Bigness of God I felt inside me with my (admittedly juvenile) perception of the weak, nonsensical faith structure of my pewmates. So when I encountered the rich depths of Mormon doctrine, it was welcome nourishment to my starving soul. As an instinctive truth-seeker, I felt I had found that pearl of great price I sought. That was decades ago, and I have never had cause to regret my choice, even when the quirks and mistakes of my chosen church upset me. I still experience the doctrines of the Restoration with gut-confirming surety. And the further along the path I get, the richer and wider the vista, the more real and clear the promises.

I have always been grateful that I joined the Church early enough in life to allow me to go to BYU, marry in the temple and raise my children in the Church. I cannot tell you how deeply pleased I was to be able to teach my children not only to look to Jesus (many do that) but to be able to give them many more pieces of the Divine Puzzle, to explain the Plan in much richer detail and confidence. It never once occurred to me that they might not recognize the gospel and the Church (which I always understood as separate things, both “true”) as a pearl worth giving all you had to obtain. I never imagined that someone might not want it. My innate desire for truth, my love for Jesus and my gratitude for the Church were not hard-won; they were so obvious to me that I could not imagine a different perspective.

Well, guess what? It is not obvious nor innate for everyone. Not even your own children.

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Dearly (Unexpected) Departed

By Kellie Purcill

I didn’t know you had died. I found out on my birthday of all days, while I was sucking chocolate icing from my teeth and revelling in the grace and sass of turning forty. I loved you Michael. Loved you after thinking that my heart was nothing but gristle, too scarred to do anything but …

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Flurries

By Markay Brown

I first tasted snow when I was five. Frozen doilies, one after one, melted on my tongue, tingling as ice cream. When I was a teen on the track’s wrong side, snow sanitized the rubbish tossed out neighbors’ doors. Rusted cars, embarrassed without wheels, wore hoods of sparkling white and every sore house looked like …

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Excerpt from One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly

By Sandra Clark

A few summers ago, Carl, Remy, Thea, and I drove through the Norway mountains for three days, winding our way to a final camp in a town called Selje that felt so far away from anything I have ever known it may as well have been a dream. Carl was there on a geologic pilgrimage to see a rare set of rocks called eclogites—rocks that were once carried one hundred miles down into the earth and then brought back to the surface over hundreds of thousands of years through tectonic shifts, molten channels of earth, and a lot of luck. As for me, I was unsure about what type of pilgrimage I was on.

At dawn we drove on high planes beyond the fjords. The lighting was hazy and pink as if the sun knew it lacked proper rest, and I felt much the same way. I looked up and out the window just in time to see two moose with heads bent to the ground, the morning fog tucked softly around them. Their largeness, otherworldliness, and serenity shocked me. The image passed too quickly to even form words to tell my husband. I saw in them something I wanted for myself—graceful confidence at their place in the world, beloved creatures not at odds with God, but cared for deeply. I envied their simplicity. I wanted to stand in my own place with that peaceful assurance, but in the midst of so much beauty I was experiencing extreme spiritual unrest. I tried to put the lid back on my heart to keep it from overflowing.

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LOVE

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

In a recent Fast and Testimony meeting, Karen came up from the back of the chapel to share her testimony. I’d never seen her at the pulpit before. I’d only seen her herding her rather ragged brood of seven down the church halls — quietly, faithfully. From the pulpit, she told a story of her cousin, who had called her recently for some compassionate counsel, as he dealt with serious depression. She related that she had counseled him to be selective about the music he listened to, to quit using drugs and alcohol, plus a number of other wise and useful suggestions. Then she said, “But I did not tell him the thing I wanted to tell him. I wanted to tell him he needed to come to church, that it would help him a lot. But I couldn’t bring myself to say it. See, my cousin is openly gay, and I could not be sure he would be welcomed and loved and accepted here at church. And I knew that the last thing he needed right now was to feel judged and rejected, even subtly.”

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