Author: Kristine Haglund

Kristine blogged at Times and Seasons from 2003 to 2006. Further biographical information can be found here.

Christmas Letters

Aaargh–’tis the season for those yuletide roundups of the activities of everyone’s perfect families and overachieving children. A couple of years ago, I decided to fight back with this parody, which I mailed on April Fools’ Day:

Thanksgiving Reading

When I was younger, I used to entertain fantasies of forcing my children to listen to all of Milton’s Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity before letting them open their presents. I’ve never done it, but I do make them listen to a paragraph of a John Donne sermon before Thanksgiving dinner:

Shameless Self-Promotion

(As if there weren’t already enough navel-gazing around here today…) Boston area Bloggernaclites should come see the New England Latter-day Saint Choir (from the Cambridge YSA Wards) concert of Wilbergiana on Sunday night, featuring ME playing 2nd fiddle (not being modest, I really am playing Violin II). The concert is at First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden St. , at 7:30. (Free, about an hour long, all Wilberg hymn arrangements around the theme of heritage)

On Spiritual Education

About 10 minutes after my first positive pregnancy test, I was at the bookstore, perusing the shelves of parenting titles, a pastime I’ve continued with some regularity for nearly a decade now. One of my favorite of these books is called 10 Principles of Spiritual Parenting.

O Quanta Qualia–More Musings on the Sabbath

Nate’s post on the Sabbath returns me to some thoughts on the Sabbath I’ve been kicking around for a while. Earlier this fall, as I was looking for music for my ward choir to do, I considered Healey Willan’s setting of “O Quanta Qualia.” The text is as follows: Oh, what their joys and their glories must be, Those endless sabbaths the blessed ones see, Crown for the valiant, to weary ones rest, God shall be all and in all ever blest.

Sometimes God is Funny, or, It’s True that You Should Be Careful about the Movies You See

Last night I was reading Haggai (*really* bad insomnia). I actually woke up my husband with my bed-shaking giggling after I read “I smote you with blasting and with MILDEW…” (Haggai 1:18) I just couldn’t help picturing a guy with a bad French accent, yelling from a tower, “I smite you with mildew, you silly Englishman…” Come to think of it, maybe this suggests that Haggai was actually a woman–after all, men don’t think about mildew, do they? Hmmm–I feel a dissertation coming on!

For Labor Day–Remembering Esther Peterson

Before T&S is reduced entirely to partisan bickering and banter among Yankees fans (it’s OK, guys, I understand–not everyone is noble enough to endure the agonies of Red Sox fandom), I thought I’d write about Mormonism’s own labor hero, Esther Peterson. This is mostly adapted from an interview Cokie Roberts did in 1993, and retold in her book _We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters_ (dumb title; pretty good book). Esther Peterson’s mother was one of the first women to attend Brigham Young Academy, but she had to drop out and work when her father became ill. So from a young age, Esther was aware of the real necessity of women being able to work and earn a living. Esther left Utah to attend Columbia Teachers College, where she met Oliver Peterson. They married and moved to Boston, where Esther taught at a girls’ school. She also volunteered to teach working girls at the YWCA in the evenings. One night, she arrived to find a nearly empty classroom, and learned that her students were striking, because the conditions of their work had been changed, making it much more difficult and time-consuming for them to produce each piece for which they were paid. Esther said, “I thought a strike was simply terrible. I was raised that [striking workers] had bombs in their pockets and were communists. But Oliver said, ‘go find out, go find out.” Of course, she found no bomb-throwing communists, just…

Theodicy and Me

Yesterday was our last long beach day before the start of school. As I watched my achingly beautiful children playing in the waves and building sandcastles, I couldn’t help but think about how utterly charmed their lives are (with the exception of having a neurotic and incompetent mother, whose genetic endowment to them will likely result in eyebrows, noses, and thighs that fail to meet the highest aesthetic standards). And of course, because of them, my life is also blessed beyond all reasonable hope. This unnerves me; it is so clear to me that these blessings are bestowed without my meriting them that I don’t even know how to be properly grateful. The background of my brooding, of course, was the news from Beslan, where hundreds of parents spent the day waiting, praying, hoping, and then, horrifyingly, identifying the maimed and burned bodies of their children–children who were loved like mine, whose parents surely deserved God’s favor as much or as little as I do. I can often, from the comfort of my reading chair, appreciate the doctrine of free agency, and find reason to worship a God who values it so highly that he will not interfere. I can even love the idea, at least, of “The Weeping God of Mormonism” (Gene England, Dialogue Spring 2002). But not today. I would prefer a God whose justice and mercy are more recognizable to my puny human mind.

Q: When is a policy not a policy?

A: When noone knows about it? A couple of Sundays ago, in the hall during Sunday School time, I was talking about vasectomies with a woman in my ward. (What?! What do *you* talk about in the hall during Sunday School?) She was telling me quite matter-of-factly how glad she was that her husband had been willing to have one when they were sure their last child had arrived. This woman is fairly conservative, and I’m sure she would never knowingly do something contrary to Church policy. In any case, she would not discuss it openly if she had. She just had NO IDEA that the Handbook of Instructions “strongly discourages surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control.” Moreover, unless she or her husband had been prompted to consult with the bishop about the surgery, there’s no way they *could* have known about the policy. So I’m wondering what the usefulness of such policies is. It’s true, of course, that not everyone would want to read the Handbook if it were available, but what are the effects of actually forbidding most members (and all women) from reading the rules by which the Church is run?

Music Notes, July 25

No history lesson today, just my favorite story about one of the hymns we’re singing. The LDS poet Emma Lou Thayne relates this story about her friend, Jan Cook, who moved from Salt Lake City to a remote part of Africa: “[Her husband’s] work had taken them and their three small children there, and any meetings attended were in their own living room with only themselves as participants. By their third Christmas, Jan was very homesick. She confessed this to a good friend, a Mennonite; Jan told her how she missed her own people, their traditions, even snow. Her friend sympathized and invited her to go with her in a month to the Christmas services being held in the only Protestant church in the area, saying that there would be a reunion there of all the Mennonite missionaries on the continent.

Waugh on Unexamined Faith

The really terrific discussion in the comments on Jim’s “Unexamined Faith” post puts me in mind of a favorite passage from Evelyn Waugh. I was saving it for Epiphany, but it fits here. It’s from an early (bad!) novel, _Helena_, and it’s a bit overwritten and treacly, but, well, some of us like that sort of thing!

Music Notes, July 11

I don’t do great Sunday School lessons like Jim and Julie, but I do write short notes on the music for our ward bulletin most weeks. Mostly I shamelessly steal from Karen Lynn Davidson’s book on the hymns, but sometimes I plagiarize from other sources as well, and I occasionally have an original thought. I’m going to start posting my notes here, too, on the off chance that someone might find them interesting.

A Practical Matter

I’ve been trying to put my finger on what is so troubling to me about some of the recent discussions of abortion. Aside from the distressingly obvious lack of female participants in the discussion, I think the thing that makes me twitchiest is the discussion of whether or not rape victims should be *allowed* to hear from a compassionate bishop that abortion is an acceptable course. I’ve been thinking a lot about how a bishop could provide appropriate and helpful counsel in that situation, and I have to say that I think the odds are stacked against him, even before he opens his mouth.

Belated Thanks

I have to apologize for not thanking Melissa Proctor for her excellent guest-blogging. I was hoping to provoke her into another post or two, but she is ever-so-diligently preparing for qualifying exams and writing a dissertation prospectus, and has steadfastly refused all of my wiles. So, hearty, if somewhat belated, thanks to Melissa for some quietly thought-provoking posts. If you’re looking for a break from all the war talk, I’d suggest a re-reading of hers. (I’m still trying to figure out what to think about “Deseret.”)