...even more wonderful memories

Okay, there on the right is the list of the blog’s popular posts.  The number one right now, at the time of this writing, is “...more wonderful memories."

I don’t know why, though I’m glad that it is, because this post has a lot to do with the gist of that one. In fact if any post can be the perfect sequel to “...more wonderful memories,” it has to be this very post, hence its name “...even more wonderful memories”.  That most popular post talks about our (Dearie and I's) younger days in Samoa when Donny and Marie were our teen idols and how their music was such a memorable influence in our lives then and now - still.  The timing of this post therefore - together with the most popular one at this point - could not be more fitting because of a gig and show* we attended two weeks ago.

Well, let’s see. How and where shall I begin?  Hmmm ... I know. Ok, here ...

There was a girl.  There was a boy. They never met until they were in their teens while attending different high schools in town, far from the villages on the other side of the "mountain" (island) where they lived.  Their villages were about two miles apart and so their love was just a kiss away. The boy noticed her as she was getting on the bus back to the village after school on a Friday when the student boarders (from the villages) went home for the weekend. It was love (puppy love) at first sight for him.  So he wrote her a letter and she wrote back. And they “dated” and truly fell in love.  He would go over to her house where she had a record player and vinyl records of Donny and Marie. Oh yes, the girl was Mormon, the boy was not.  They would talk and listen to hits like“Puppy Love,” “Paper Roses,” “Twelfth of Never,” and of course their all time favorite “Morning Side of the Mountain”. He bought a notepad with romantic colored watermarks and would write his love letters to her, often quoting some of the words of the songs.  Like these ones:

You ask me how much I need you, must I explain
I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain
You ask how long I'll love you, I'll tell you true
Until the twelfth of never, I'll still be loving you

They got married, had a family of their own and then moved to America, and now closer to their idols.  Recently, some forty years later, they met Donny and had their pictures taken with him.

And then the “twelfth” came, not “of never” but of July 2017, when the girl and the boy (now woman and man)  finally got the chance to see their teen idols in concert!  It was truly a dream come true, albeit one that has been a long time coming. July “twelfth”, 2017 was added to their treasured memories.

They sat in their seats awed and excited, their hands clasped and pressed tighter each time one of their old time favorites was sung and performed.  The songs reminded them of their romance and specific times and places in their budding love story. It’s like they were re-living their whole romance and their young lives all over again.  Deja vu moments! The nostalgia conjured and recalled that night morphed them emotionally back to being the girl and the boy of their teenage years, while the music kept summoning their sweet memories.

But there was one song they were waiting for. They weren’t quite sure if it was part of their idols’ repertoire for the night.  So they sat ... and waited ... and hoped.

About the middle of the show, Donny and Marie went into an extended repartee; they paced back and forth on stage with their funny and witty sibling dissing of each other. At the end of the humorous chit chat, they went back to their seats (bar stools). A short silence followed. A beat. Then a low background intro. A pause. Then Marie in her still youthful voice blurted: “There was a girl!” and Donny echoed: “There was a boy”.  The boy and girl looked at each other, their hands clasped and pressed ever so hard.  Through their teared smiles, they reminisced through their gaze, recalling the endless times they played and listened to “their song” in the now distant shores of their paradisal birthplaces. It seemed so long ago, yet the story was so current and up-to-the minute at the concert.

For the girl and the boy, the evening was beautiful and sentimental, the concert was spectacular and the memories were indelible.  The whole experience was like another chapter of the love story that continues to be told and to unfold.

... on the way to the concert

...stage set 

Donny (Osmond Entertainment)

Donny & Marie (Osmond Entertainment)

... after the concert
*This show (Donny & Marie), now on the road this Summer, is the same one they have in Las Vegas at the Flamingo. And, it has been rated the #1 show three years in a row on the Vegas Strip.


Trump and I Alike?

Naaahhhh... LOL!! ... the closest that we’ll ever get to agreeing on something.  Either those ties are really REALLY cheap, or very VERY expensive.  I think the former; they’re cheap, and fake, mostly his... Hahahaaa...


Comments on an Offensive Article

There’s this article in Samoa Planet about two incidents of rape committed by members of the LDS Church in Samoa.  The article is quite vivid and graphic in its detailed depiction of the events which would nauseate and repulse any reader, let alone violate certain journalism code of ethics and standards. And perhaps distasteful and injurious - to the LDS Church - is the blatant association of the perpetrators with the Church, and especially the implicit malicious suggestion of a correlation between the culprits’ criminal behavior and the fact that they are “temple members” of the Church.  Honestly, I am irked by the article for the above reasons; and so was another reader (Nadine) who expressed her frustration in her comments.  My comments are hereby reposted along with some responses by another like-minded reader (Aleni Fuatimau). 

I agree with the concerns raised by Nadine with regards to the graphic nature of the article in both diction and content. But I also have another objection.
As someone who has been a defender and apologist for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) on this website and forum, I feel that I, along with other fellow Mormons, have been ensnared if not denigrated by the article – indirectly at least – especially by its seemingly libelous drift. The striking references to the LDS Church and its practices with regards to the temple, represent a masked, if not malicious, indictment of the Church. Writ large, moreover, the article has an anti-religion tone.
I understand the probability of a flipside intention of the writers in trying to send a subtle message about the incongruous behavior of the devout and the pious who should be exemplars, and yet continue to betray and violate intimate trust relationships. The not-so-subtle, glaring and damning message, however, is the particular religious affiliation (LDS) of the two perpetrators mentioned as their main attribute and peculiarity. The underlying and implied cause and effect nuance is discernible as well. This is evident in the title and the very first sentence of the article, establishing an effective and principal impression and identity of the first culprit, and then the second one, as members of the LDS Church. This information is not necessary and irrelevant unless it directly contributes to the crimes. Therefore the approach is biased at best and witless at worst.
Here’s why such an approach lacks judgment. Doctrinally speaking, mankind is in a fallen state of sin and immorality. Ideally, therefore, the role of religion is not as an accomplice/collaborator, but as a redeemer of man from such a state. Hence, insinuating the LDS Church – or any other church for that matter – as a facilitator for the sins of its adherents means that all other churches also are accountable and responsible for the crimes of their members who are rapists and sex offenders.
The way to avoid the above ambiguity is to omit any such references and/or include a disclaiming part with regards to religious affiliation of the culprits. For this reason and for the graphic depiction and description of the nature of the offenses, I’d definitely suggest a rewrite.
LV Letalu

Aleni Fuatimau
Strongly agreed.

LV Letalu
Thanks Aleni!
It is actually sad and demoralizing to see this as a pattern (in the media and elsewhere) that when a church member (of any church) does something bad, there’s almost always an overemphasis placed on the church affiliation of that person, even to the point of alleging a correlation between his specific church and his criminality; if not for advancing an institutionalized campaign for maligning and disparaging that church as an organization.
Conversely, if a church member does something positive, noteworthy and uplifting, the church affiliation is rarely, if at all, mentioned or credited. For example, I have yet to find in the many articles (positive ones) on here about Egon Keil (and others) any statements mentioning that he is a member (let alone a “temple member” I’m sure) of the LDS Church. Truly a double standard to say the least.
Also, it seems that this impropriety is applied prejudicially and targeting certain churches only.
Manuia le aso.

Aleni Fuatimau
Thank you Letalu.
I am grateful to know that there are people like you who have the courage and skills to voice these concerns with a positive and professional tone. It’s good to see that you are not doing it just for the Church (LDS) but for other churches. I hope and pray that those reporters learn a lesson from what you and other people shared/suggested to help them become more effective reporters.

Keep up the awesome work you are doing.

Manuia foi lenei aso.
LV Letalu
Thank you Fuatimau for the support and the compliments. O le tatou veloga ‘aso ma togiga ma’a faatasi lava lea; faafetai atu fo’i mo ou sao i le mata’upu.
Manuia fo’i le alo faiva i lenei aso ma le faai’uga o le vaiaso.


Home from His Mission

Our eldest grandson/child has returned home from his mission two weeks ago, while his brother (second eldest grandson/child) left on his a few weeks before that.  Welcome home Elder.  Congratulations!

... with some of his cousins at his arrival (airport)

... with his mom and dad

... with his mama

...with mama and papa

... with a mission companion

... with his mom
...with his mom, mama, aunts and cousins ... multi-generational (lol)

..."homecoming" Sunday

... with a few of his cousins, brothers and uncles

...with his parents and younger brothers


More Conversations with Anti-Mormons

An op-ed titled “The Moana Movie - and Mormons” in the Samoa Planet website  discusses how the Mormons turned an offensive Broadway musical, which parodies The Book of Mormon, into an opportunity to spread their more positive and inspiring gospel message.  The op-ed then draws a parallel suggesting Polynesians to do the same thing with the movie Moana, namely to use the opportunity to inform and educate the critics and naysayers of the movie and Polynesia in general.  Several comments and responses by readers, including myself, are posted.  A few anti-Mormon comments, as usual, also popped up.  One of them (below) triggered the ensuing exchanges below.

Chris Peteru:
Learn from the Mormons. What a [sic] underwhelming op-ed.

LV Letalu:
Chris, unless you’re bent on being a “hater” of the Mormons, an attitude with predilections for closed-mindedness, there’s a lot you can, and should, learn from them/us. To name a few:

1. Healthy Lifestyle – cited and lauded by many doctors and health professionals.

2. Humanitarian Program – no church, if any, can match the humanitarian efforts of the Mormons who spend an average of $40 million a year to help others regardless of race color or religion.

3. Welfare Program – Unmatched. And one that has been praised by world leaders as a model program for any church, government or organization.

4. Genealogical Program/Research – Mormons are leaders in what has become a new trend for the world over. Chris, if you want to know about your genealogy information, chances are that the Mormon Church will be your main resource.

5. Community Involvement – Mormons everywhere are active and involved members of their communities in promoting goodwill and social and political responsibilities. Volunteerism is highest among Mormons wherever the Church is established.

The amazing fact, however, is that though the above are mostly temporal things, they actually are extensions of their/our doctrine.

So the phrase “learn from the Mormons” is not underwhelming but compelling!


LV Letalu:
Re: #4 Here’s an interesting article  in The Atlantic about the benefits of genealogies and family trees in the medical field/profession (tracing colon cancer). And especially interesting is how the Mormons are helping in this regard with their emphasis on genealogy.

And then this user/poster T.42 joined in with this:

S.d.a do the same thing as Mormon church do. The difference is the theology, the Mormon church base their beliefs not on the Holy Bible but the book of Mormon which was written by a Shady character named Joseph Smith. They do not pray to the same Jesus and god of the Holy Bible that most other Christians do.
God bless.

LV Letalu:
T.42, I almost wasn’t going to dignify your remarks with a response because of the apparent lack of learning, intelligence, understanding and scholarship you have demonstrated. But then I thought that this would be a good opportunity to hopefully enlighten your mind on your fatuous comments. In other words, a learning opportunity for you. (lol)

“S.d.a do the same thing as Mormon church do.”
I think you meant to say that S.d.a [sic] does similar – not the same – things as the LDS Church. For example, while the LDS Church does genealogy and family trees for saving ordinances (temple) for those who have died without the gospel, your church (assuming you’re SDA) does it just for record keeping and historical records.

“…Mormon church base their beliefs not on the Holy Bible but the book of Mormon….”
Again, you shouldn’t make such a careless and ill-informed claim; it just goes to show how little you know about the LDS Church. Contrary to your inane opinion, most if not all of the LDS Church’s basic beliefs are based on Biblical references. Here are a few examples: the necessity for prophets (Amos 3:7); baptism for the dead (1 Cor 15:29); temple work/ordinances (Malachi 4:5-6); three degrees of glory (1 Cor. 15:39–41; 2 Cor. 12:2; John 14:2); baptism and conferring the holy ghost by the laying on of hands (Matt 3:16; Acts 19:2-6); the offices in the Church: prophets, apostles, teachers, patriarchs, deacons, priests, pastors, etc. (Eph 2:20; 4:11) It’s obvious that you don’t know that Jesus Christ DID organize and establish a Church when He was here in mortality. And the only church that has all the offices (blueprint) as organized by Jesus Christ in his Church, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Befittingly since it (latter) is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ.

“… the book of Mormon which was written by a Shady character named Joseph Smith.”
Another shallow claim. Recently, the Book of Mormon was voted as the fourth most influential work in American literature (didn’t see anything by Ellen White though). Members of Congress celebrated the event, and since you’re SDA (again I assume based on your post) here’s something you might find interesting from the commemoration:
“Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black, a Seventh-day Adventist, opened Wednesday’s event about the Book of Mormon with a prayer offering thanks that the LDS Church’s most precious tome was part of the exhibit.
“We praise you that this influential book has made a transformational impact on the lives of millions,” Black said, “providing them with doctrines and instructions that have enabled them to glorify your name.”
Some have tried to duplicate or attempted to write something like the Book of Mormon, but have failed miserably and I bet you that Ellen White, if she were to try, can’t either. Amazing considering that “shady” Joseph Smith only had a very limited formal education – not even a college level one. Here are some samples of what Joseph Smith “wrote” (Book of Mormon) if you don’t believe that he translated an ancient record:

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the father: Ye shall have eternal life.”

“[Mormons] do not pray to the same Jesus and god of the Holy Bible that most other Christians do.”
You may be right, in a sense, since we do not pray to Jesus. We pray to God the Father, in Jesus’ name. That is if you know and understand the Bible!