It’s the anniversary this week of the World Health Organization declaring the COVID-19 global pandemic, so I went there … and published an interview with a nurse on the LDS Women Project.
She lives in Washington, so the virus got to her first. And she got sick from it pretty early also, but fortunately recovered well and was back to work. We got into the weeds of what changed in her hospital work when the pandemic was announced, and she gave me some pretty graphic descriptions of what exactly it means to put someone on a ventilator.
If you needed a reminder, this virus isn’t a game. I know there’s fatigue. I KNOW. This is one of the challenges of our generation, and let’s come out the other side as better people.
It’s Women’s History Month, and I am posting CURRENT women’s accounts in my Instagram feed every day this month. Why? Because statistics show that history is written by men, about men. Approximately ONE PERCENT of recorded history in the world is about women, and I’m really not okay with that.
There’s only so much that can be done to backtrack and learn women’s perspectives from time already past. I am grateful to historians who are making that attempt, and support those efforts. My personal strength lies in collecting and recording stories NOW, so future generations do not have such a dearth of information about our time period. So that’s where my Instagram feed comes in.
Even though I’m not writing about women of the past (at least not at this point), I do still love learning about them. In no particular order …
The Mormon Women Project has changed its name to the Latter-day Saint Women Project, and has an updated website at LDSWomenProject.com!
The name change is because of Church rebranding a couple of years ago to decrease the use of “Mormon” and focus more on the Savior Jesus Christ. We certainly are not decreasing our use of the actual Book of Mormon, just not identifying ourselves with that moniker. The people of this particular church are the “Latter-day Saints” – LDS – part of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” so we went with that in finalizing the name change. We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, and we are Latter-day Saints.
The website has gotten a total overhaul, but the Project is the same. We will continue focus on Interviews and gospel Essays in Discipleship as our primary publication. We also have special series and other resources for women, and men working with women, within this specific faith structure. We hope to be more consistent with podcast episodes going forward, and begin to provide online seminar events.
Reading is supposed to change your thinking, right? I recently finished “The Hate U Give” and part of the story is that some Black teens are involved in gangs that commit crimes because they have literally no other resources for support – emotional, financial, or otherwise.
I learned yesterday that last weekend, there was a robbery two towns over from where I live (and is in my church congregation boundaries). It was in the middle of the day in a pretty populated area, committed by some teens who were carrying handguns. The perpetrators were caught and arrested. I saw many comments about the “boldness” of these youth to do such a thing, and I wondered … so I looked up a media article to get more details and the photos showed two young men who are Black.
I have two thoughts that are 100% the results of reading this book:
1 – We’re a year into a pandemic in which the middle class has felt the squeeze and the wealthy have been inconvenienced and annoyed. But those in poverty have been virtually destroyed. Were those boys bold? Or just totally desperate? Has anyone bothered to find out?
2 – Two of the teens were “adults” – 18 and 19 (others were under-age), so their charges were publicly listed in the article. They were charged with fully a dozen things EACH, with bond set for $50K for one and $500K for the other. While I am not excusing crimes or saying they should not be charged, that seems obnoxiously excessive. At that young age, why are we tossing them in jail and throwing away the key? What rehabilitation services will be provided so they can be helped to lead a more productive life in the future?
The photos of the boys were NOT evil people who wanted to hurt others out of greed or just for fun. They looked frustrated and beaten and probably hungry. The juxtaposition between their treatment compared to a white man who murdered nine people in the middle of their church and the cops bought him a Burger King dinner (Dylann Roof); a white man who was caught in the act of rape but the judge lamented that he was not enjoying his usual steak dinner (Brock Turner); and a white man who committed insurrection against the United States and is now getting organic food in jail (Jacob Chansley) …
THIS is systemic racism.
I have not engaged on social media with the people who were quite eager to have these boys “punished” very harshly, and I won’t. There is no neat and tidy way to wrap up this post … but that’s what I’m thinking about today.
My interview with Melodie Jackson for the Mormon Women Project was posted over the weekend. She’s a PhD student at the University of Maryland who did a lot of organizing around social justice issues during her undergrad years at Brigham Young University. In the aftermath of the murders of Black people by police officers in 2020, she created the Facebook page titled “Black Lives Matter to Christ.” She organizes devotionals for Black people to share their stories of experiencing racism within the Christian community, and to find healing through faith in Jesus Christ.
Way before any of that, I knew Melodie when she was 13 – we went to the same church. My most distinct memory was shortly after I moved to Mississippi, I was recruited as a last-minute adult leader for the Young Women camp. Melodie was in my group. She had recently been baptized so I was caught off guard when there was some kind of trivia game about the scriptures, and she knew every. single. answer. All of them. She took down the entire camp. I asked one of the other leaders, “I thought you said she barely got baptized.” She had. But she’d been going to church for a long time with her grandmother, and her mother had just recently given permission for her baptism. She had an amazing level of faith and commitment to the Lord, well beyond what I observed in her peers.
I observed her BYU activism over social media and was so happy when she agreed to an interview for MWP – I wanted her to be included and to record a small portion of her personal story. She did a lot of good work in Provo, and I’m excited to support her as a friend in her future activism.
We have a desk that used to be a piano. It’s an antique from 1905 and we looked into getting it restored, but to have a $20K piano, we would’ve had to drop $15K to get it up to speed. It was a huge paperweight. So my husband stripped the keyboard and the wires, and now it’s a steampunk desk!
Cooking is something I do because I have to, because growing children require being fed multiple times a day. I’m decent at it because I’ve been doing it long enough, but it’s not something I enjoy. But foodie memoirs – which describe cooking in great detail, often while the writer is in culinary school – are one of my favorite things to read. Go figure.
I love writing cards for people. In the first 70 days of the Covid quarantine, I wrote and sent 70 cards. Then I ran out of stamps and it took a long time to get to the post office to get more.
I recently saw a painting by Rose Datoc Dall that spoke to me at a deeper level than I had ever experienced. I have a lot of thoughts about Latter-day Saint theology’s explanation of the role of marriage, of men and women working together in a creative partnership, but nothing I can quite put into words. Then I saw this painting and thought, “THAT. That begins to explain what I want to say, but cannot.”
I immediately sent her a DM on Instagram and asked for an interview for the Mormon Women Project and was so happy when she said Yes! I called the phone number she gave me to set up a time, and she had some time so we just did the interview right then. You can read it here:
“What I’ve come to find is that being a mother has completely informed my art.”
I love that she said this, and I’ve found the same thing. My art is writing and editing nonfiction memoir memory type of things, not painting, but I am also compelled to make motherhood a centerpiece of my work. I produce these interviews and research women’s history to find strong role models for my daughters. I am delighted to add Rose to that roster.
Welcome to Library House Editing! The name comes from my family’s prolific use of the public library, and our attempts to turn our home into a library. We are all about BOOKS! Actually … we are all about the STORIES contained in books. Books would just be stacks of paper if it wasn’t for the stories.
I’ve read my kids literally thousands of picture books. They’ve outgrown them, and now read a lot of twists on fairy tales and mythology. My husband also likes fantasy and science fiction.
My favorite-favorite-favorite stories are real ones, about real people. The first book I really remember reading in elementary school – third or fourth grade maybe? – was a biography of Jane Addams and it was the coolest thing ever. She was a moderately wealthy woman who wanted to help the poor and became a social activist. Consider me hooked.
Biographies and memoir currently in-process of reading or waiting to be opened: