Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How I Became a Zen Master

It was later that I read the Tao of Pooh. It was when I was only three-years-old that I listened over and over to the song:

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Twelve Steps to Recovery from Racism

"Hi! I'm Grant! I'm a recovering racist."

"Hi, Grant!"

This came to me in the night with a lot of other dreams of really weird stuff, but this might just work!

The LDS Church has done really well in applying the 12-Step program for drug abuse and some sexual issues borrowed with acknowledgment of and slight modification from Alcoholics Anonymous or AA.

So how does is apply in our Racism Recovery program?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

How Thick Is Family Blood?

Back sometime in the lost, golden age when Barack Obama was President of the United States, I was engaged in a political discussion on the internet with a member of my extended family. This person said that Obama was the most racially divisive president ever, but that because I was blood family we would always be connected. I wanted a divorce.

Recently, that is since white-nationalists marched with torches chanting their antisemitism in Charlottesville, and since the LDS Church responded with a statement clarifying its first that "white-nationalism," "white-supremacy," and promotion of "white-culture" were sinful and unsaintly, another member of my extended family left voice mails for me saying that I was full of hate and a disgrace to the family name. I want another divorce.

It is odd that the only person you can divorce in your family is your spouse. I suppose you can disinherit your children and kick them out at some point from your basement. But I love my wife and kids. My wife is still with me going on 38 years of love amid life's challenges and my kids have pretty much moved out for good. Or, at least we can hope.

The concept of family honor and "blood thicker than water" strike me as pretty creepy when they are used to attack my beliefs and my personhood. It's probably a small fraction of what some minorities feel when under attack by antisemitism or white supremacy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wyoming Wildlife

Not at all comprehensive, but pretty good for a 24-hour period.

We take a break from politics, religion, and history to share the wildlife photos taken while I was up in Wyoming for the eclipse.

The fist entry is not biologically even if legally "wild." They are feral horses, not wild except as decreed by Congress (with all wisdom abounding). Yes, the Mustangs of the True West:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Death in Echo Canyon

A Mormon Pioneer Wagon Train in Echo Canyon on a day without the rain but otherwise still seemingly miserable.
Likely after 1861 because of the telegraph poles.
No wonder Echo Canyon has always haunted me!

Early in my blogging life, I became friends with a great, Mormon historian, Ardis Parshall. You can find her work at Keepapitchinin.org. She kindly corrected me when I told her that my family had a story that my 2nd Great Grandfather, Daniel Bartholemew Roman, had come across the plains in 1855 with a handcart at the age of four. You see, the handcart companies didn't start until 1856.

And I just discovered where that handcart story might have come from.

Daniel came from Piedmont, Italy with his widower father, David Charles Roman. Daniel's deceased mother was Jeanne Malan, of one of the first families to join the LDS Church in Italy. Daniel's father David, remarried in Utah to a widow who came with the Ellsworth Handcart Company in 1856, Suzanne Robert Rochon. She became widowed when her husband, Jean Michel Rochon, died in Echo Canyon on the 22nd of September, 1856, four days short of the Salt Lake Valley. An account of his tragic, though nameless, death is in the journal of William Butler, an Irishman, and Captain of the Second Hundred in the Ellsworth Company:
Upon arriving at Echo, Utah I became very sick and was forced to lie on the ground due to the pain in my stomach. After praying and resting a short time, I was able to continue on. As the company had gone on down the canyon, I was forced to travel alone, there being a terrible rainstorm raging and I was unable to see except when the lighting would flash. While traveling alone, I overtook an Italian and his little girl with their handcart. They also had been left behind to die. This man died before morning. I buried him the best I could, not having a shovel. I then traveled on, taking the little girl and her cart with me. During that day we overtook another man and his daughter by the name of Clark. They also had been left by the main company. I said to myself later, “Had it not been for Mr. Clark and his assistance I could not have continued on.” We overtook the main company the following day. Here we camped to bury our dead. Our provisions almost exhausted, we all cut down to one cup of flour a day.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hell to Pay

Sick to my stomach doesn't begin to express what I felt watching the links below. I suffered so you don't have to unless you want to.

The first is the President's melt-down, press conference of yesterday (Tuesday, August 15, 2017, a day that should live in infamy). I watched the whole thing. The first part was about infrastructure. At about 7 minutes, he opened it up for questions and he went way downhill from there.

NY Times Transcript and Video of trump's Press Conference

Then there was this from one of the organizers of the legally permitted march in Charlottesville (Yes, First Amendment protected). It's a selfie-video he did when he learned that there was a warrant out for his arrest. He claims to be a peaceful and law-abiding neo-nazi. [WARNING: rough language].

We Shall Overcome

Whew! I wasn't so sure for the past couple of days. The events in Charlottesville with nazis, the kkk, and neo-confederates marching and one of them killing a woman and injuring several others were so horrifying. I about had another episode of trump derangement syndrome.

Then the LDS Church came out with a clarification of their earlier condemnation of racism in Charlottesville.  I'll let them say it:
     It has been called to our attention that there are some among the various pro-white and white supremacy communities who assert that the Church is neutral toward or in support of their views. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the New Testament, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39). The Book of Mormon teaches “all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33).
     White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.

Wow! Just, WOW!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Another Lost Pioneer: Found!

Elizabeth Bourne Thompson (1822-1878)
I'll just cut and paste my submission to the LDS Church History Library and their response. The important thing is that her descendants will now know that she was with her family in the Ellsworth Handcart Company.

I have been doing some indepth research on the Ellsworth Handcart Co. of 1856 in preparation for writing about my ancestors who were in the Company (Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan, her daughter, Jane Vaughan Lewis, Jane's husband, John Lewis, and their son, John Samuel Lewis). I found evidence to place a pioneer in the company who is not listed with the rest of her family in the company's lists and is identified in the overland travel database now reflected on Family Search as coming to Utah in "unknown companies."

John Oakley's journal [included in the overland travel database as: Oakley, John, Journal excerpt 1856 June-Aug.] for Thursday, 19 June 1856 records "I baptised 7 persons[.] Betsy Bourne for remission of sins. . . ." This was in Skunk Creek, near Green Castle, Iowa. I could not find a "Betsy" or "Elizabeth" Bourne in the Ellsworth or McArthur Companies (which were together at this point). But there is a large family of Thomas Bourne included with Ellsworth so I went to Family Search, Family Tree. Elizabeth Bourne, likely known as "Betsy" was the daughter of Thomas Bradford Bourne by his first wife, Susannah Lane, who died in 1829. Thomas is listed in the Ellsworth Co. with his second wife and their children who would have been step-siblings to Elizabeth. I don't know why "Betsy" was left off the Company rosters. She is not on the ship manifest with the family on Mormon Migration database either. But the fact that she is mentioned in Oakley's diary as part of the handcart companies travelling through Iowa, gives some evidence that she came with the rest of the family in 1856 (of course she could have stayed in Florence, but as she's not recorded in any other company from Florence on, it's more likely she was left out of the Ellsworth list where the rest of her family appears). I hope this is of some help in tying down when Elizabeth Bourne came to Utah.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

trump Sets Grand Jury Record

Robert Mueller, Special Counsel investigating Trump. Now with Federal Grand Jury.
The third Watergate Grand Jury investigated the President. It was convened January 7, 1974, nearly five years after Nixon first became President.

The Whitewater Grand Jury first subpoenaed records from First Lady, Hillary Clinton, in May 1994, over three years after Bill Clinton became President.

News broke today in the Wall Street Journal, a fairly conservative news source, that Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, has convened a federal Grand Jury in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. CNN reports that this includes financial dealings of trump corporations and links to Russians.