MWP: Black lives matter to Christ

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.

Melodie in the front/center – BYU students taking the knee in support of justice. Black lives matter.

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.

3 random facts

the desk that used to be a 1905 cabinet grand piano

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.

MWP: Through the eyes of a mother

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.”

WORLDS WITHOUT NUMBER by Rose Datoc Dall.
Created for inclusion in the book “A Boy’s Guide to Heavenly Mother”
by McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding.

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:

THROUGH THE EYES OF A MOTHER

“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.

5 memoirs to read

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:

  • Under the Tuscan Sun
  • I am Malala
  • Madame Secretary: Madeleine Albright
  • The Boys in the Boat
  • Save Me the Plums