Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My husband says that mathematics is the language of the gods. My grandson Jake, always a little off center, is learning math in kindergarten, and has the concepts of addition and subtraction well under control. He told me yesterday: Hair minus hair equals bald!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Rules of Grammar

Abraham Kaplan, an exponent of Hassidic Judaism, in his analytic paper called "The Meaning of Ritual: Comparisons," published in Reflections on Mormonism, Judaeo-Christian Parallels quotes Edmund R. Leach, writing "In seeking to understand ritual we are, in effect, trying to discover the rules of grammar and syntax of an unknown language." Kaplan says that "Ritual can be regarded as a language, and I am using the word in its broadest sense as a symbol in action." (Italics mine) He continues, "But language is not constituted by a grammar and syntax alone; it must also have a semantics and be a carrier of meaning."

Interpretation of this symbolic language then becomes prime force behind understanding the actions performed. So, who is the interpreter of the Mormon Temple ritual as it is being performed tomorrow night in HBO's Big Love? We, as viewers? The writers? The producers? Can symbols that hold specific meaning as part of a foreign language, to be understood only in terms of the whole system, be communicated and understood in the short and fictitious context of an hour of TV?
Even if it is relevant to the story line? Will it lead too easily to distorted conceptions of Mormonism?

For us Mormons, temple symbolism is something which, in some way, really is what it signifies. No mystery here. No "secret." Just the symbol, rich in meaning, with levels of nuance, making something concrete that is abstract. If we then, privately choose to wear "magic" underwear that reminds us to eat healthily, to pray, to be honest--why should this become a public matter? Whose business should it be but ours, privately? Who gives HBO invasion of privacy rights concerning private temple rituals and sacraments (or their interpretations thereof)? Does your neighbor have the right to come into your house and then broadcast things he has found on your bookshelf, or in your fridge and cupboards to the whole neighborhood, because it is "relevant" to a funny story he is writing about you?

Just wondering. Next question: Does it matter? No. Should I care? Probably.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

What I Learned in Church Today...

...and I should frame it and hang it on my wall: "Don't worry. Everything will be okay in the end. If it isn't okay, then it isn't the end."


Tuesday, March 03, 2009



If you are lucky
you will carry one night with you.
~ Michelle McGrane

Tomorrow is a very long time away.
Above you Cassiopeia boasts of her arrogant beauty.
Below you the dust of some night-blooming
flower clings to your feet as you walk among pedestrians
and bicycles across the Pont des Iles toward Ville-Marie.
This is how you come to the end.

If you are lucky
you will carry one night with you.

You may forever after lie awake
in the dark, hour after hour
as if you had died, and time
no longer matters, precise in its disbelief
that tomorrow will be better. Think of it
this way: pretend that you are walking
toward someone who waits for you
in fog, just across the bridge.

If you are lucky
you will carry one night with you.

When you come to the other side, and the fog lifts,
you find a tavern that sells Maranges,
and an old woman sells flowers that smell of some
night-blooming thing you can almost recall;
for that moment, standing on the edge
of memory: something that might really have happened.

If you are lucky
you will carry one night with you.

Monday, March 02, 2009

ReadWritePoem (Words)

Counting-Out Rhyme

Silver bark of beech, and sallow
Bark of yellow birch and yellow
Twig of willow.

Stripe of green in moosewood maple,
Colour seen in leaf of apple,
Bark of popple.

Wood of popple pale as moonbeam,
Wood of oak for yoke and barn-beam,
Wood of hornbeam.

Silver bark of beech, and hollow
Stem of elder, tall and yellow
Twig of willow.

~Edna St. Vincent Millay

(Read it out loud!)