The singer is gone, the song endures

Another rainy Saturday; another Saturday spent unboxing, sorting, filing, finding.

LeGrande Richards was one of the Mormon Twelve Apostles, and the last of his kind: a religious man who also was a spiritual man; a General Authority who would not use the teleprompters that turn speakers into metronomes, mechanically turning from one prompter to the other in a pretense of spontaneity. The summer I worked at the Ensign Magazine, we were given the prepared texts of each General Conference speaker, to check against the speaker on TV, make note of variations from the prepared text, then give the speaker the opportunity to choose which version he wanted before it was published in the Ensign. Whoever was given Elder LeGrande Richard’s sermon “notes” would discard them, knowing the entire sermon would be spontaneous and have nothing to do with the notes.

The attached essay speaks to the importance of the man in my life and reminds me of notes I took not long ago:

Family History

Write everything,
because you will forget
so many things;
and to forget is to murder
the forgotten thing,
the person whose face
becomes a mystery
except for the few photos
preserving nothing,
death masks
false as death,
failing to keep               \
the essential memory
of eating cheese
while watching

I had—in the compression that is memory—conflated some of these events, and altogether forgotten the experience in the Crossroads Mall (a memory not easily retrieved, now that both the Mall and the man are gone).

I hope you are writing your family’s history. For eight years I did: in a column called Voices:

The singer is gone, the song endures



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