Be ONE – a Cause to Celebrate, Righting the Wrongs of the Past, and What I teach my children about Blacks and the Priesthood.

This evening the LDS Church will host a “Be One” Celebration, commemorating 40 years of lift of the priesthood ban for those of African Descent.

With respect to that endeavor, I offer my heart in this matter. I do not speak for the church. I speak only for myself and to my experience. I hope to contribute to the dialogue concerning my Black Brothers and Sisters in Christ, who deserve our contributions in righting the wrongs of the past. I hope to do that with grace, humility and courage, because what I am about to share may strike at the very core of who we are as humans, and who we should be as Christians.

First, I think it’s important to note that I did not know about the priesthood ban when I joined the church. This might surprise you, but it’s not in the brochure. The purpose of the missionaries is simply to teach the basic tenants of the gospel. God, Jesus, eternal families. In my experience to date, very few in my generation (and the ones that follow me) have any real knowledge of these past teachings.

When the missionaries came into my life twenty years ago, I was very much in love with an African American young man. Although my family had very little to do with raising me, from the moment they heard I was dating a person of color, some went out of their way to very cruelly, state their opinions. Ones that had nothing to do with his character. The things that were said to me during those years were unforgivable. In an effort to spare him, I never shared what was said. I just walked away from my family. By the time the missionaries entered the scene, we had two children together.

If the missionaries would have presented me with the history of the priesthood ban during that season of my life, I never would have joined the church. There is no way I could have seen past it. I made no room for grace in this arena.

After a year of study in Mormonism, and with the death of my son – the promise of eternal families beckoned a great change in me. I joined the church and built my entire world around the gospel. I can honestly say that I’ve never regretted that decision. I don’t know if I could have designed a better framework to get out of the multigenerational abuse and poverty on my own. I wouldn’t be where I am without it.

There’s something very beautiful that happens when you join the church. All of the sudden, you find a common bond in people and it creates a huge sense of community and connection. As alone as I had felt for so much of my life, it filled the holes in my heart in a lot of ways.

However, my time in the church has also been quite messy. It’s not an easy life, because we are also a community riddled with pride, judgement, weakness, doubts, fear, jealousy and a severe lack of intimacy. In so many ways, we do a lot of harm to one another. A lot of tears have fallen in those pews at the hands of each other. Some of the first I had shed were in learning of the priesthood ban.

I had been a member for a little over a decade by this time, and was sitting in a Relief Society lesson. It was a lesson on the priesthood. During the course of the lesson, the 1978 revelation was mentioned. My ears perked up. What is this?  People started going back and forth on who, what, when and where. I was trying to process this information, but my head was spinning. What just happened?

The teacher tried to move on, it being very evident she opened a can of worms that she couldn’t get away from quick enough.

I raised my hand, “Ok, wait a minute. I’m sorry, I need to go back for a second. You mean to tell me at some point in our church’s history, my son couldn’t hold the priesthood? Why is that exactly? Where did this teaching come from?”

The room fell silent. No one knew what to say. When it was first introduced everyone was all sorts of talkative, and had no problems sharing their opinions as fact. However, my questions made everyone realize that my first time hearing about this was from them, and all of the sudden no one wanted the responsibility to fill in the gaps.

I looked around the room, and for the first time – I noticed every person I worshipped with was white. Up until that point, it always just felt like church. Now, I felt completely alienated.

The lady teaching the lesson very curtly, asked me to move on. I was asked to “Put this spice back on the shelf.”

I just had my world rocked. I can’t put this spice back. I needed to open the jar and eat this crap raw, no matter how bad it tasted. I needed to know.

With an impending sense of doom, I was able to muster up the courage to say,

“Sisters, I know this is uncomfortable for you. I promise, it is even more uncomfortable for me. But the difference between you and I is that you do not need this answer. All of your children are white. You have the luxury of not having this talk with your children. I do not. I have a beautiful child with a brown face that is going to ask me why at the wrong time in church history, the blessings of the gospel couldn’t be his. I need to be ready with an answer.”

After some back and forth dialogue, I was eventually silenced with the words, “Sister, this is not an appropriate time or place for this discussion, and I ask that you take your questions elsewhere. Your questioning of this ordained law begs me to ask, Where is your faith?”

The sting of her words felt like a sucker punch to my soul. This wasn’t the place for this discussion?!!!! YOU BROUGHT IT UP!! You cut me with these words and now you want to leave me here bleeding.

I got up in tears and left the room. I felt angry, hurt, and most of all, ashamed.

I grabbed my son from his class and headed home. As I clung to his little brown hand, I was in a world of hurt. I never wanted to go back to that building again.

I told Craig what happened, he explained what he was taught growing up, which was very little. That it just wasn’t “their” time. That back in biblical times only a select few had the priesthood and it wasn’t given the everyone, and this was a similar situation. Then what was the big secret at church? and what’s the deal with the “curse”?

That afternoon I watched my children play on the swing set. Two white babies, one black. If God loves his children like I love mine, how could he ever hold one in less value than another? When I put that belief to my heart, I refused to believe that could ever be the nature of God. Plus, Jesus was a Jew. In the scriptures he was described as dark skinned and hair like wool. Call me naïve, but I always figured Jesus probably looked a lot like Anthony. What did this even mean? Nothing made sense and there was a great conflict in my heart.

A few weeks later, I met with my bishop. We talked at length and he apologized for how things were handled. He told me that there was no “curse on black people”, and that everything I heard that day was opinion and that people tend to speculate when they shouldn’t. He encouraged me to do what he did, to correct these false teachings whenever it came up and that the truth is, we don’t know all of the whys. I told him it sounded to me like there was prejudice that existed in the church back then. He told me that he honestly didn’t know, but it would be easy to draw the conclusion. We just know that now, there is nothing withheld from any worthy member of the church. That Anthony was a blessing to the ward, and so was our family.

I took to the scriptures, and tried to find more resources to the origins of this belief.  That was when I discovered that this whole “curse” idea was the handy work of theologians dating all the way back to the slave trade. The curse was a common belief in the 19th & 20th centuries, initially started by some Protestants and then adopted by some Catholic sects, and Baptists. The curse was used to justify slavery in the mind and hearts of Christians.

Being a newer religion, I found very little on Mormon theology at the time. I just figured that all of our converts came from these other religions, and probably carried these beliefs into Mormonism. I made it my mission to correct people that spoke out of turn in regards to this subject.

Over the years, I would endure many things that caused me to question where the heck people got some of these crazy ideas. I honestly chalked it up to ignorance. That people weren’t aware of their own church history or of their own bias. Through those experiences, I came up with the gospel according to Dawn Armstrong, and that’s what I taught my kids.

When I taught my children about the priesthood ban, I told them many will say that “we don’t know why.”  However, my belief at the time was that if our leaders were constantly petitioning the Lord to have this ban lifted, and God didn’t see fit to lift the band until 1978, then it had to be that he withheld the priesthood until the white members of the church grew up enough to honor the space of a black man holding it. That although God’s love for us is perfect, before 1978 – man’s love for one another was not. He knows our hearts, and most likely, the white people of the church weren’t there yet.
So God let us suffer and learn from our ignorance. Our choices are not benign. They always affect others, and because of the great bias that existed during that era, we kept the priesthood from blacks and as a church, we suffered greatly for it. That I believed if anyone was being “punished” it was the white members. God must have waited until they came to repentance, and were on their knees begging for forgiveness and for things to change.

Seemed like it was the only thing that made sense to me. And for years, that explanation was enough. Until about a month before Anthony went on his mission to South Africa.

An article from the Washington post featuring an interview from religious professor Randy Bott, had surfaced.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-genesis-of-a-churchs-stand-on-race/2012/02/22/gIQAQZXyfR_story.html?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.317096d345ee

It about knocked me out of my seat. What the heck is this? The article covered a lot of church history, and again – I was blindsided. I went to BYU’s website, and looked this Randy Bott up.

Under his name I read the following:

“Areas of Expertise: Doctrine of the Church, missionary preparation, application of doctrine to life”

I felt queasy. He was a very seasoned gentleman, who’d been teaching for an extremely long time. I worried about how many times he had this discussion in his classroom with missionaries or students. If he was an expert on doctrine of the church, then is this all true? Where did he find all of this information? Up until that point, I hadn’t really found anything that could remotely bring me to these conclusions.

Very shortly after the release of the article, the church released their own statement, denouncing what he said in the interview.

https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/racial-remarks-in-washington-post-article

“His comments absolutely do not represent the teachings and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

It went on to say that “the church’s position is clear — we believe all people are God’s children and are equal in his eyes and in the church. We do not tolerate racism in any form.”

As to the question of the now-discarded ban on blacks in the priesthood, the church said: “It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began but what is clear is that it ended decades ago.”

At the time, we were knee deep in a project with people who worked directly for the church. We had a candid discussion in my living room about the article and the church’s stance. It put me at ease. Ok, back to where I was before, even though worry lingered in the back of my mind – who else was getting this so wrong? Was the churches statement enough to squash these teachings as a whole?

Leading up to Anthony’s departure, he had some experiences that shook him, but it didn’t change his desire to go. We moved forward with faith.

When Anthony left the Johannesburg Missionary Training Center, his first area was Phoenix, South Africa. It was a predominately Indian area. He forgot himself and went to work. To paint the political landscape of South Africa at that time, I would say it was like America 40-50 years ago in regards to race relations. Apartheid had only ended in 1994. 20 years hadn’t changed much for blacks, natives and Indians. (You can learn more about apartheid here. https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid)

Some of the things Anthony started to experience as a mixed race person in Africa, it was mind blowing. So many he worked with hadn’t evolved past their own bias. He took it in stride, but you have to know…I was PRAYIN!

His first Sunday out of the MTC, he went to church so excited to be a missionary.

After the meetings, an Indian member pulled him aside and said, “Hey what are you?” Anthony, very naively said, “I’m a missionary!”

The guy, insistent, asked again, “No what ARE YOU? Like what are you mixed with?” Anthony responded, “Oh, I am half black and half white.”

Guy – “So you are a braino?”

Anthony, thinking he meant “mullato” responded, “Yes, yes! Wait, what does that mean?”

To which the guy responded, “Oh, well if you were totally black, we’d know you had no brain, but because your half white, we know you’re really smart.”

Anthony didn’t even know what to say. He sat with his mouth open, probably thinking this is going to be the longest 2 years of my life. I will say,.a tribute to Anthony’s character, that by the end of his time in the area, Anthony had made this guy and his family some of his best friends. Love bridges a lot of understanding. They still have a friendship to this day. Anthony has a gift like that…to love people, and to see beyond human frailties.

When he was transferred out of Phoenix and started teaching predominately blacks, that was when he hit the wall. Anthony started to write home heartbroken. With every conversation, he was blindsided with new “doctrine”, or confronted with things former leaders of the church had supposedly said. He would confront these teachings as false, because he had never heard any of this before.

By the nature of being a missionary, he was forced to try to explain to his black brothers and sisters the status of blacks in the church prior to 1978, while also trying to reconcile a past that was starting to not add up.

I was researching as fast as I could, trying to refute these statements – convinced I was going to “arm him with the truth”. Only being able to email once a week, I couldn’t get back to him fast enough before he was blindsided by something else. I felt helpless. There was no way to ease his suffering. I was failing him.

At the same time, all of this seemed like dejavu. Here we go again. Where are all of these teachings coming from? How could a nation ten years behind in technology have knowledge dating back to the origins of the church? Where are they looking that I’m not?

I think rock bottom for Anthony was when he was sitting in the living room of a member of the church, and was told that “his mother was going to hell because I gave him life.” That race mixing was a sin punishable by death. That I was an abomination and by virtue of him being my son, so was he. It took every amount of self-control to sit there while he was raging inside.

Yet, I had to tell him that those were the words of Brigham Young. It was actually called the “blood atonement.” I found his quote and as I read his words and felt sick to my stomach. This was not the Brigham Young that I learned about in church for the whole of my life.

You know, the fact that we are a record keeping people – yeah, that’s not always a good thing.  You think you want the truth, until you find it, and it breaks your heart.

Once I found one thing, it just opened up the flood gates to all the others.
The Journal of Discourses. The Joseph Smith Papers. The Improvement Era. The Way to Perfection. Doctrines of Salvation. The Glory of Mormonism. Mormon Doctrine. Essentially the church history library ya’ll.

So many talks, and journals and books, all that I had hoped would refute these statements, instead it just confirmed them. Yes, I had taught my children that I thought that prejudice had existed in the church. It was naive to think that it didn’t. However, I thought it was from the rank and file, but it had come from the top. For a long season in our church’s history – from everything I could find – there was no way I could refute that this was taught as doctrine. Everything I read, blew my mind.

This was not just a priesthood ban. It was a gospel of Jesus Christ ban. The priesthood ban prevented men from serving missions. It withheld the promise of eternal families, which would keep them from the highest degree of glory. Young men couldn’t bless and pass the sacrament. There was no temple work they could participate in. No leadership positions. So every fundamental right of passage, and eternal promise was denied. Even more sad, was the only person who held less power in the church than a black man prior to 1978, was a black woman. Because a black woman’s power in the church was inexplicably linked to a black mans. Every blessing denied to males, was also denied to females by proxy. Why couldn’t black women serve missions? They didn’t need the priesthood to do that. From everything I had read, other than worship services, blacks truly had no home in the church.

Now, I was in the fetal position. I went from anger, to rage, to tears, to a great sadness, over and over and over again. I thought back to all of those conversation, where I had thought I was schooling people on church history. And after all of this time, It was me that didn’t know. I was mad at the church. I felt so betrayed. I was mad at myself, because my ignorance had left my son extremely vulnerable. I didn’t push hard enough for answers when I should have. I had failed him. The church had failed him.
It’s the worst thing in the world to have your child in his greatest depths of despair, while being half a world away.

So, what had originally started out as letters to refute these statements, and in defense of the church, eventually became letters that were just honest about the past. He deserved the truth. Little did I know, he was beating me to the punch every time. He had found the truth – all on his own.

Eventually, Anthony-  through the help of his mission president, reading books, his missionary service, and a lot of prayer – he was able to make peace with the leaders of the past. He admitted to me, that he didn’t read most of what I sent. He just needed to find his own way. Faith is a very personal journey. Anthony didn’t need me, he needed God. Only God could mend his broken heart.

For me, I kept writing the letters. Most I never even sent – he didn’t need them anymore, but I did. Writing has always been healing for me. One day, I sat there wondering how I could ever reconcile the teachings of the past.

I started to look up pictures of each leader starting with the one who hurt my heart the most. I needed to see their faces. It helped me realize that they were just people. Subject to the same fallibilities as me. Born into a world where they were taught wrong when it came to race.

I pictured what it must have been like for these men to cross over to the next world, and have all the of weaknesses of the flesh be liberated from their bodies. I pictured the flood of knowledge that permeated their minds in an instant. I pictured a just God, who would let them feel the pain they had inflicted on others from the perspective of the wounded. The agony they must have felt for what the mistakes that were made. I pictured them begging God to let them go back and fix it. To let them have just a moment to say they were sorry and right all of the wrongs.

I pictured the tears that were wept by the souls that scattered around them. The souls of those who had lived and died with these policies. Both people’s eyes finally open, seeing each other for the first time, as equals. The wounded feeling the agony of their oppressors, and granting them mercy and forgiveness.

I realized that someday, I too will sit in that judgement seat. I will pass on to the next life and feel the weight of my mistakes, and those whom I have hurt deeply. I will beg for grace. I will beg for mercy. I will long to right the wrongs in my own life. Each of us will.

Then I realized, every generation since the beginning of man, has had and will have a plague of their time. Racism was theirs. It existed all throughout the world, and touched every faith. Christianity didn’t save anyone from it, and our church was not immune from this plague. Just like it’s not immune from pornography or the long list of ailments we humans carry today.

We can always look to the past and judge harshly, wondering how the people that came before us could have ever treated another human being with such cruelty. I have never been able to wrap my head around slavery, or Hitler or racism, or the host of awful things we’ve done since the human race began. The answer is simple, when we know better – we do better. That’s why our history is so important. It’s how we learn from the sins of the past.

Some may ask, how could leaders of the past pray to God and get the wrong answer so many times? The gospel according to Dawn – every single one of us go to our knees with an agenda, with the answer that we really want. I think for the most part its subconscious, and we don’t even realize. We get up from our knees, feeling good, like the Lord is in the details, only to later realize that it wasn’t his answer, it was ours. God will never take our agency by force. God’s been meeting us where we are since the beginning of time.

Learning to get out of God’s way will be a lifetime pursuit for each of us, as we learn to lean into his agenda and trust his timing. None of us are immune to pride, as we are all here to overcome the natural man. There have been times I have gotten on my knees and not felt satisfied with an answer. I’ve felt uneasy. Sometimes, when it’s God’s answer and not our answer, it will make us feel uneasy. Cause he asks us to do hard things. Things we aren’t ready for and will challenge us to the very core of who we are. That IS God’s agenda. Not to force his will, but to force growth. He will shape us, and if our hearts aren’t willing fast enough, he will shape the circumstances around us until one day – we are forced to see.

We often times look to our leaders, whether in the church or outside it, and we demand perfection. This is especially true of our church leaders. We look to them as deity’s and constantly expect a flawless performance. Some of them will spend the whole of their lives serving. A lifetime of perfection? Come on. None of us can do that.

The gospel wasn’t designed to at some point, outgrow the need for God, or the need for grace. There’s no calling that can give anyone that, no matter how far “up the ladder” we go. They are giving their lives to this work, and it’s gonna be messy sometimes. We are going to get things wrong.

For the hurt that still remained, one day not too far from then, I turned on general conference and there was Elder Uchtdorf, beginning a talk called “Come, Join with Us.”

As I sat there, wondering if I was wrong to doubt and have questions for so long

Elder Uchtdorf stated, “In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth.”  

Then I wondered if I could ever make peace with all of the unanswered questions, to which Uchtdorf replied:

“Some struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past. We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of Church history—along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable, and divine events—there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question.

Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction.

Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the “facts” really mean. A question that creates doubt in some can, after careful investigation, build faith in others.”

And then when I wondered if the church would ever fully acknowledge that there were mistakes made, and seriously ten seconds later, Uchtdorf brings it home with,

“And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.

I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.”

By this time, I was impressed by Elder Uchtdorf’s ability to read my mind and then plan
his talk accordingly. I’m almost positive, he wrote that talk for me.

Whenever I am approached by others on this subject, I’m always asked the same questions. These are my answers. I hope they bring peace to your heart. (Again, gospel according to Dawn.)

Why hasn’t more been said about the teachings of the past?

I think at the time, the leaders thought it was enough to say, “Forget everything that’s ever been said before now.” It may feel likeit is when you aren’t the one that it directly effects. You cannot right over one hundred forty years of wrongs in one sentence. One sentence also cannot reshape an entire churches character, when racism has been a fundamental part of our theology. Sadly, too many church members have not forgotten these teachings, and continue to carry them forward, or have not clearly understood that the church has disavowed any teachings that diminished in any way, the children of God in every shade and circumstance.

Why haven’t current church leaders done more to denounce these teachings?

Frankly, It’s hard to speak for the dead. We were not in those prayer rooms, nor were we in the mind of the ones on their knees. I think it’s important to remember, that former church leaders do not only have a legacy of mistakes. They got a lot right too. There was also a lifetime of beauty, service, love and compassion. They spent their life in service to their fellow man. Yes, there were things they got wrong, but none of us are ever only one thing. Sometimes, it’s hard to honor the Christian part of the legacy, while at the same time finding a way to condemn the mistakes. That’s tricky. Imagine if people took turns standing at your funeral, remembering the worst acts of your human experience. None of us want to be remembered by the worst things we’ve ever done.

My family, the ones who held those deeply engrained prejudices that I had to walk away from for a season. Well, it was through me loving them in their weaknesses, they had a mighty change of heart. When I sat at the body of my grandmother and grandfather – The “unforgiveable comments” weren’t at the forefront of my mind. It was the sweetness of their last moments. The times when they showed great kindness and charity. As they moved to the other side, I didn’t want my lack of forgiveness to plague their hearts. I longed for them to be free. It’s a grace that I will hope for myself.

I think current church leaders are trying. Part of my healing came when the church came out with the Race and the Priesthood essay. https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng Is this enough? No, but it’s a really good start. In the last year, I’ve seen more about race than I have in my entire membership of the church. More and more talks are being written that further enforces the churches stance.

How many times do we have to acknowledge and talk about the priesthood ban?

Well, how many years did we teach it? (mid 1800’s to 1978)
I think we have to unsay it about as many times as we’ve said it.

Most people I talk with have never heard of the “Race and the Priesthood essay”
That’s a problem for two different reasons. First, there are still three generations above me that grew up in this era. A lot of these people aren’t online and it’s never been read from the pulpit, so unfortunately some still cling on to those teachings and promote them as doctrine, thus spreading a message that the church has denounced.

For my generation and below, it’s a history that most of us don’t know, and need a resolution to. If you take the time to ask our black brothers and sisters their experiences in the church, I think you’d be shocked to find there’s a lot of hurt.

Similar to the struggle in American culture, racism still exists. Bias still remains.

What it’s been like to raise a black child in a white world.

Why can’t black people and people in general,  just get over it?

There is a lot of hurt in these teachings. They still touch us today.  Some, like me – had no idea about them and get shook to the core when we find out. Some people are finding out for the first time through this post.

With all due respect, we don’t get to “command that ye be healed”. Only Christ can do that. People will find healing in their own time, and in their own way, but no one has the right to diminish or judge the process.

I do know that healing always begins with the acknowledgement of suffering. So, I say to you my black brothers and sisters. I’m so sorry. For all of it. For all the times we held you back. For all of the hurt we have caused. For all of the things we taught. For all of the ways we diminished you in our buildings and in our history. I’m sorry that we robbed ourselves of your gifts and your contributions to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m sorry we robbed ourselves of your leadership and your insight. I’m sorry that we withheld the blessings of forever, which were rightfully yours. I’m sorry for all the names, and for the exclusion, and for the deep loneliness you may have felt.

And I as walk into that building tonight and celebrate every single thing about you that we have missed out on, may we finally and wholly lift you up to where you have always belonged. I love you. I honor you, and treasure you.

 

Love,

Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How eating popcorn could kill you, or make you wish you were dead.

I love popcorn. I do. It’s been my favorite snack since I was a little. I’ve raised my children with this little love affair as well. Every movie night is celebrated with a great big bowl of this buttery yumminess.

Lately, I’ve been using it as my nightly snack. My son Julian will pop me a big bow full of it and I’ll eat it over a few days time. Last night was Ethan’s Halloween Orchestra Concert, so I made dinner early. By the time it was over I was starving and I was on the hunt. After rummaging through our pantry, I went upstairs defeated – resounded to going to bed hungry. As I entered my room…complete joy flooded my memory!!! I remembered I still had a half a bowl of popcorn!

Wait…did my kids get to it? Is it already gone? I was panicked, hoping the kids had not sniffed out my treats like the bloodhounds they typically are when any kind of goodness lurks within the walls of my room. Just as I was about to give up, I noticed the bowl on the floor behind my office chair and jumped for joy! “Woo hoo!!!” I cried out. Craig was already in bed and laughing he said, “What’s got you so happy?”

“The kids didn’t eat my popcorn!!! Now I’m about to get in my bed, snuggle up to my honey, and watch a movie til I fall asleep!” The lights were all out and I climbed into bed about to snarf down my bestie snack with a vengeance. Then…the thought came to me- I better go wash my hands first. I can’t stand putting things in my mouth with the thought of dirty hands. I set the bowl on the counter and went to the bathroom while I was at it, cause ain’t nobody got time to  interrupt a deep sleep because of a full bladder.

Ok….Handled my business, check. Washed my hands, check.

I grabbed my bowl of yumminess off the counter and went to shut the lights off. Just as I was flipping the switch, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Double take….was something moving in my bowl? So I turned the light back on for better inspection. I leaned my head into the bowl and again had to adjust my eyes….what is thaaaaaat?

Is that a WORM? Oh my gosh, YES!!! I continued to scan the bowl and there lied a second, but smaller worm!!! I refused to look for anymore at this point… but I can tell you from my observation,  they were the happiest worms I have ever seen. They were practically dancing all over the place as they mounted the various kernels of popped heaven clouds. Soooooo GROSS!

Now a word of warning, I’m not typically a cussing type person – however I reserve the right to belt out profanities in times of extreme fear, extreme pain or creepy crawlies in my food.

I screamed out, “Craig!!!!!! There are worms in my damn popcorn! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe!!!!!!!!”

Craig, “the hero” comes hopping in to save the day… (he’s only got one leg) and is like,

“Whoa…those are huge!”

Grabbing his arms I was like…. “I KNOW….!!! I almost ate them! I almost ate these nasty things! What if I wouldn’t have stopped to wash my hands?

What if I would have just jumped into bed in the dark and started chowing down?!

WHAT if I picked up a kernel with a worm on it and it touched me?

Or I put it in my mouth and squished it?

Oh my gosh Craig! I could have died!

Where did these worms come from?!

I bet they hatched in the bowl! Ewe! Wait?!

I’ve been eating that BOWL for two days!

WHAT IF I ALREADY ATE SOME?

What if they are alive inside of me?

What if I ate some kernels that’s had worm eggs in them and now they’ve are hatching inside me while we speak?

What if they crawl up my throat with all of their disgusting little succor feet and come out of my nose or mouth? I almost died Craig! I almost diiiiiiieeeeeeed!”

Craig laughing at my ridiculousness (that’s a daily affair for him) tried to convince me that they must have gotten in there somehow. That they didn’t hatch. Blah blah blah.

“There’s no way dear, that one worm was HUGE. He couldn’t have gotten that big in a day.” he says.

“Craig, of course they can! They’ve been eating my popcorn!”

Sorry, I just couldn’t take his word for it. So I took to the internet. Low and behold, worms and popcorn are a thing. Even found pictures of my worms. They are the ones in the photo below. 🙁 And for your viewing pleasure I have included a video on youtube of little larvae that hatched inside a movie theatre popcorn bin. That’s what these worms look like before they fill up on popcorn. 50 shades of nasty.

The tiny worm on the left was the size of one of the worms. The second worm was the size of the one of the  far right. I want to cry right now.

I spent the entire night paranoid….thinking of how many worms I had ingested over the course of my popcorn loving life. I’m probably infested and they are swarming through my intestines as we speak.

Craig thinks the acids in my stomach would probably kill them, but I’m not convinced. I mean if they have survived pesticides, harvest, treatment and packaging facilities, transport, storage, sale and cooking at high temperatures in oil….then what are my little ole stomach acids gonna do? Nothing. I’ve probably been pooping worms my whole life. How can I even move forward after this?

This morning, all I could think about is how I can get rid of my critters.

Some ideas are as follows….(warning! DON’T try these at home – this is dangerous crazy talk)

1.Drink the equivilent of worm drano – hopefully clean all the “pipes”.

2. Drink through a firehose. Maybe the sheer force and velocity would blow them all out the back side. But then I’d probably need a colostomy bag for the rest of my life from all the damage.

3. Colonics (poop shoot irrigation) to lure them out nicely. That’s a lot of trauma for them and for me.

4. Taking deworming/parasite pills and swearing a blood oath to not to look in the toilet after doing my business until I know the coast is clear. Maybe a life time. If I so much as see a worm in the toilet….

I’m still deciding on the most effective form of treatment, but there is one thing I know for sure.

Popcorn – it’s over. We’re through. We had a good run, but you’ve crossed a line- and sometimes there’s just NO. WAY. BACK. This is the ultimate betrayal. It’s time we part ways.

Team Moms and Room Moms –  this is no longer funny. It’s traumatic and PTSD inducing.

Oh and hey God- when you were up there’s creating worlds and such, I know it’s alot. I also know that when Adam and Eve ate the apple, you had no choice but to give us thorns and weeds. And then of course, now we all have to work by the sweat of our brow –  I get it. I really do. It all just kinda makes sense, ya know?

But doing this to our popcorn? Now that’s just rude. I’m not being disrespectful God, but this has to be for your own amusement. I know you’re laughing at me. I’m sure you get bored up there with all the problems and the whining, and the evil doers…..but why you gotta do me like this? Sigh.

Love,

Dawn

PS.  Wash your hands before you eat!  Good Hygene literally saved my life! Happy Halloween. Don’t eat this if someone tries to serve it to you. You could be getting more than you asked for.

if you liked this post….read the one next for a good laugh!

Breakfast in Bed

 

 

 

 

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Elder Armstrong, Take 2 – Called to Serve (AWESOME Video)

It’s been about three weeks since I’ve been on social media…and I haven’t posted on my blog since just before Drew got his mission call. Once his church mission call came…honestly, I couldn’t keep up. We had eight weeks before his departure date. Eight short weeks to get him ready. Eight weeks to make final memories with him at home. Eight weeks left with my child, who clearly is a man now. Just try telling my heart.

Quite literally, I was chasing time.

I tried to keep up with all that we were doing, but it got to a point where honestly, I craved not living my life through a seven-inch screen. I just wanted to make it last, and for time to crawl. I wanted to savor each day, really living and breathing in every second. I was constantly taking snap shots in my mind at every precious moment. Cherishing every giggle and group hug we had left as a family. I craved intimacy and quiet, something that I didn’t realize I missed so much until I took it back for this season.

Now, while all these precious memories are fresh in my mind, I’m ready to put them to script. I’ll start with the night it all began. We weren’t expecting his call to come that day, so I had to throw together a party in like an hour and a half. A little stressful, but it was a big day that deserved some fan fare.

As we got closer to the time Drew was to open his call, I could feel my anxiety level rise. As much as I love what this means for him, there is a certain amount of dread I feel knowing what it means for my family. This isn’t my first rodeo. So…I took a quiet moment to center my thoughts to where they should be. I escaped up into my room, got on my knees and I prayed.

I prayed so hard for Drew to go where he was needed, and most importantly, where he’d promised. I prayed that as he read those words, he would feel peace and regain the knowledge of that promise. You see, I believe with all of my heart – that we made promises to one another before we ever came down here. That there would come a time in each of our lives, that we would need someone to nudge us towards God. Towards a life that would reveal our divine gifts and purpose, towards grace, and a love and depth of healing that we had forgotten was possible.

Through his missionary service, Drew isn’t really called to teach. It’s more that he’s called to learn. To learn the Lord’s way. He also isn’t there to save, it’s more to BE SAVED. To be saved by the lessons, the heartbreak, the love he’ll give and receive. It’s his sacred chance to convert himself and his heart… completely towards God and Christ’s teachings.

If it is our desire is to truly become like Christ…we have to spend the majority of our time here coming to the rescue of one other. We can’t save each other in the same way Christ did, but there’s no doubt that God needs us to save one another. He needs the change that happens in our hearts and character when we do. We are his hands for a reason. It will be through loving, serving and sacrificing for others that Drew will find his power and purpose. You give a young person that kind of knowledge, and I’ll give you a miracle that will unleash a lifetime of miracles. Get the hence, Satan. There’s a new game in town. 🙂

Anyway…enough preachin. I closed the prayer asking God to help my heart relish a day and goal 19 years in the making, and finally – to remind Drew to be grateful for the beautiful gift he was about to receive. The gift of opportunity. It’s rare in life when we get the chance to throw the world at our feet and put God first to this degree. It is a privilege as much as a sacrifice.

The thing about this prayer, is that everything I was asking God for..I knew he had already given it to us. But there is something very sacred in the asking. For me, it keeps my heart in a constant state of humility. I am reminded of where all of the good in my life comes from, and I feel peace and comfort keeping him by my side. Isn’t it beautiful, when we invite God into all the spaces of our life, and not reserve our conversations with him only in times of despair.

I headed downstairs to a moment that was about to change everything. Mostly, change a boy I had been in love with for nineteen years.

 

Isn’t he the cutest? Man…I’m so proud of his gentle heart. He’s got such a sweet and sincere way about him. I loved watching him take center stage and cheering from the sidelines as he read the words that would change his life. It was a red letter day for Craig and I. We couldn’t be more proud of him. The second he read those words….I had a flight of calm came over me. It was like I was in a room by myself…and God swept peace right into my heart. I knew instantly, that it will be the perfect experience for him. I have to say…that as a mom who’s lost a child, I’m not a big fan of foreign missions. I don’t like my babies far away from me at all. South Africa about killed me last time with Anthony. I got through it ok (just didn’t sleep for two years), but when Drew said, “DC”… I wanted to scream “YES, YES, YES!!!!” I don’t tell my kids that, cause it’s not about me. This is their journey and I’ll support whatever God needs them to do. Needless to say though, I WAS THRILLED.

This video just makes me cry dang it. Watching my children run around the house…it got me. They are growing up on me and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I’m deciding to take in the joy though…and be grateful for the beautiful gift I have in each one of them. I am in awe of their goodness and light.

I’d like to thank my dear friend RJ Idos, who shared his incredible talents with us making this stunningly perfect video. What a gift he has given me in this memory. I’ll cherish this forever. Thanks, my brotha. <3

Hurrah for Israel! What a gift of a good day.

Love,

Dawn

Some pics of our beautiful day!

 

 

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Breakfast

Breakfast in Bed

For years, Craig has been the breakfast guy. He makes so many yummy things, German pancakes, hash browns, bacon, eggs, French toast….I mean seriously, YUM. Best hubby award, for life.

There is only one thing he doesn’t do well and it is smoothies. I don’t know how he does it, but they are always super thick and well….. not yummy at all. I am sorry but it’s true!! Everyone in the house knows it. The kids try to act late for school and “have to run” whenever he makes them. None of us have the heart to tell him we hate his smoothies. I love that he is trying to do something thoughtful, so I end up taking one for the team and try to choke it down like a champ. The hard part is that I eat like a bird. He always brings me HUGE glasses of his latest concoctions, and I just can’t physically drink it all. (I do try!)

Lately I have been a little extra burnt out on the “smoothie treatment”, and he has really started getting after me. He will see the cup half full and instantly calls me to repentance. Craig reads me the riot act on being wasteful, and threatens that if I don’t start drinking them, he is going to stop making them for me. In my defense…they are yucky. If he would just give me a small glass of yucky, I would probably drink it all, out of pure loyalty. (I’m talking deep love friends, deeeeeeeeep love to choke these bad boys down)

So this morning, he let me sleep in (angel husband) and after I woke up I saw him walk into the bedroom with a shake in his hand. I’m not gonna lie, my heart sank. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to see my babe…but the shake…no. Ugh. I am going to have to choke down another one while he watches to make sure I drink it. I think it’s gotten to the point where mentally it does something to me. Like ignites my gag reflex. So anyway, I took a few sips right in front of him immediately. He smiled at me with his approval, and walked away to go do some things. The second he left I put it on my night stand. Phew, I had passed the test. I can go dump the rest down the sink in when the coast is clear and Wala! Wife of the year. Except for the fact that I forgot to dump it cause I got distracted on my computer. After forgetting all about it sitting there, Craig came back in and laid down next to me to snuggle for a few. He looked up and saw my smoothie still sitting on my night stand with nothing gone but my first few sips.  With irritation in his voice he belts out, “Did you waste my smoothie again!? Are you serious?”  My heart sank, I was busted. I tried to think quick on my feet to make up some excuse but couldn’t come up with anything. I have been here too many times before. I’m fresh out of excuses.

With no reply but the guilty look on my face, I just looked down. He finally quipped, “Give it to me, so it doesn’t go to waste.” I handed the drink over to him and he gave me a dirty look as he drank it down. (probably cause it tasted so bad) I watched him as he gulped it down like a boss, wondering how he can drink that nasty stuff down so fast. Impressive.

I was snapped back into reality as he continued to scold me, “You know, I am going to stop making you smoothies. You waste them every single time.” I cued up in my mind the apology and excuses that have now become so routine. I gently laid my head on his chest and snuggled in, breaking his sternness instantly. He followed up with, “I mean it, I am done making you shakes.”
Looking up into those baby blues, I opened my mouth and the words came out so quick I could hardly stop them. “Do you promise? I mean you keep saying that, but WHEN?”

He looked at me shocked and bewildered, and then we both started laughing so hard!! I felt so relieved. I quickly kissed him to mend things and said, “I love you, and am so grateful that you take such good care of me, please no more smoothies honey. I can’t take it anymore.” With wounded pride he told me I was in charge of my own smoothies from now on. I snuggled in to his chest, chuckled and said, “Deal.”

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