The Epitome of Not Forgetting

September 21, 2008 | 4 comments
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I linked to an article earlier that I have since decided is to good to leave just to the newsfeed. It’s from a Chicago Tribune religion reporter who is Jewish with Mormon relatives. In it, the reporter describes a rift that formed in her family after her great-uncle Al married a Mormon and then later converted to Mormonism himself. To a deeply Jewish family, this was difficult news to absorb, and, as a result, each side of the family ended up imputing bad motives and intents on the part other, leaving bitter feelings that took decades to reconcile. In the wake of all of this, the reporter writes about learning recently that her late (and staunchly Jewish) grandfather had been baptized in proxy by her Mormon relatives and her struggle to come to terms with this revelation:

“I imagined my grandfather downright mad at the arrogance of presuming he would abandon what he had devoted his life to preserving. But when I told my mother about the baptism and braced myself for a flood of emotions, she surprised me.

“Mom and Dad felt that any blessings bestowed upon them . . . long distance couldn’t hurt a thing,” she said….

My cousin said the baptism was done out of love, as a way to honor my grandparents. “It is the epitome of not forgetting somebody,” he said.

It does come down to choice. We have the freedom to choose whether religion will unite us or divide us. In the past, my family chose to let it divide. Faced with this revelation, I now realize how torn they must have been. Still, I choose to learn from that mistake and appreciate my cousins’ gesture.

Heeding that lesson, to me, is the epitome of not forgetting.

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4 Responses to The Epitome of Not Forgetting

  1. Researcher on September 21, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Very interesting article. Thanks for linking it. It brings to mind a number of people I’ve very much enjoyed knowing. It also brings to mind Ardis’ interesting post The Winds and the Waves from this past week and particularly the ensuing discussion.

  2. Kevin Barney on September 21, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Here’s the e-mail I sent to the author earlier today:

    Hi Manya,

    I’m a long time subscriber to the Chicago Tribune.
    I’m also a practicing Mormon. I wanted to write and
    tell you what a good job you did with the captioned
    article. The nuance of continued freedom of will is
    something that Mormons generally don’t do a good job
    explaining and that non-Mormons consequently don’t
    grasp, but you understood it perfectly. I was
    impressed. But I wasn’t surprised, as I have enjoyed
    your “Seeker” columns in the Trib, and you seem to
    have an excellent grasp of religious issues.

    So thanks again for an outstanding piece.

    Best regards,

    Kevin Barney

  3. Marc Bohn on September 21, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    #1 – Thanks Researcher.

    #2 – I’m glad to hear you wrote her Kevin. I think you’ve inspired me to drop a line (and I hope others do to).

  4. Blain on September 22, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I just sent an email as well. This was a beautiful column. An amazing family.

WELCOME

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