Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hanging out with Johnny

Posted: 31 July 2012
Updated: 6 Aug 12

Bradley, me and Johnny
After the 2012 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium ended on Saturday, July 28, I spent Sunday with youngest son Johnny at the Zermatt Resort near Park City, where Johnny is coaching at a summer musical camp for local high school students. His long time friend Brad who now lives in Hawaii came to see him on the way back from a trip to South and Central America. Johnny played an impromptu mini concert for us on a splendid Pressenda violin. It was wonderful to hear him play again and brought back memories when I heard him play this same Bach partita for unaccompanied violin in the freezing depths of Bryce Canyon and the Saint-Saens Introduction and Rondo capriccioso in A minor when he played with the St. George symphony orchestra almost a decade ago.

The 2012 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium

Posted: 31 Jul 2012
Updated: 15 Sep 12

Sunstone Symposium theme and request for proposals

Eugene's outfit for presumptuous presentation:
"How the Bomb corrupted the world and
how Mormons and American Indian Shamans can help save it"

Symposium Highlights:
- Attending Phyllis Barber's writing workshop
- Standing ovations for John Dehlin and Carol Lynn Pearson in "Why We Stay"
- Paul Toscano's stunning, electrifying presentation: "Holy Shift!"
- Banquet dinner with CoC's (RLDS) Steve Shields after almost 30 years. He remembered "the sketch"
- Francis Menlove's Devotional
- Singing Kim McCall's arrangement of Praise to the man with a capella choir
- Conversations with Kim
- Meeting Mitt Romney's nephew Greg Robinson after his response to political cartoons selected by long time regular presenter Bob Rees about Greg's uncle Mitt
- Shaking hands with Darius Gray
- Delivering paper: How the Bomb corrupted the world and how Mormons and American Indian Shamans can help save it

Clifton Holt Jolley, chairman of the session, said before adjourning:
"I served a mission to the Chippewa Indians, who consider that crazy people are in some way touched by the gods. I believe this to be true, which is why I have always admired the friendship of the craziest man I know, which is Eugene Kovalenko. And I think the Church is much the poorer for its action [against him] and I think that if we could bring him back on a kind of adjunct basis and replace the high councilman Sunday with him, you can imagine how the deacons would be jolted awake by his stories…"  
Thanks, Clifton... uh, I think...  :)

September 11, 2012
Since returning home from the symposium, I have begun to work on the idea that came up in Phyllis Barber's writing workshop. Its working title is The Great Berlin Tunnel Mystery.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Encountering the RLDS (Community of Christ)

Event: June 1987, then July 28, 2012
Updated: 18 Dec 2012

Community of Christ temple 
At the 2012 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium final banquet at the University of Utah in July, I ‘happened’ to meet Steven L. Shields from the Community of Christ International Headquarters located in IndependenceMissouri, which was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. When we sat at the same dinner table he recognized me before I recognized him. 

View from LDS Visitor Center

Steve reminded me of my first experience with the Community of Christ temple before it was built. In the mid-1980s, while living in Long BeachCalifornia, I used to meditate in my closet every morning for about 20 minutes before going to work. During this meditation I would imagine sitting in a structure that gave me much peace and joy. After weeks of enjoying this image, I decided to draw it and show it to my "Crystal Group" (a support group of three active LDS male friends, Ken, Clark and Rex) at our next monthly meeting. A week or two after that meeting Ken sent me a newspaper clipping with a note saying "This one will stagger you!" It was an architectural rendering of the proposed RLDS Temple in Independence! The similarities to my sketch were astounding. Not only were the images similar but the purpose of the building was virtually identical to the purpose of my inner image. This was vastly different from the purpose of LDS temples of my own tradition.

Because of the sketch’s uncanny resemblance to their temple, I contacted the local RLDS missionary representative, who happened to be Steve. Because of that remarkable resemblance, Steve introduced me to his stake president, Clyde Beebe, in the city of Orange, who in turn introduced me to Geoff Spencer, then the RLDS president of the Quorum of the Twelve. Geoff and I maintained a meaningful correspondence until Geoff’s release in 1994.

Looking up the spire from the sanctuary of the temple.

This image from within the temple correlated with my own sketch, which was a plan view looking down on the structure from above. It also matched the motif of my 1987 poem Trimass.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Orthodox Biker

Posted: 18 July 12

When was the last time you saw an old Russian Orthodox priest like this?  Someone who seizes life in whatever form it comes! One who loves God, life, people, animals and plants like no one I've ever met! Ride on, old friend!!

Fr. John Hennies and his Matushka Anna Lea on????

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Ending Nightmares for Good" published in Iran!

Posted: Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Great news! Joseph Dillard's IDL (Integral Deep Listening) book Ending Nightmares for Good,  has been published in Iran in the Farsi language.

Farsi version of "Ending Nightmares for Good"
This is a wonderful achievement, thanks to the efforts of a good Muslim friend. And to think it all started in December 2010 by responding to a letter to the editor in the Los Alamos Monitor by film-maker Paul Ratner seeking support for his film project called "Caveman of Atomic City"! Indeed, "God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mormon NDE?

Posted: Monday, 16 July 2012
Updated: 11 Aug 12

Yesterday (Sunday) my oldest son Nick sent the audio link below, wondering if the man speaking (Jeff Olsen) was a Mormon. He clearly is if you listen to his near-death-experience (NDE) through to the end of the question and answer period. That is because he talks about his surviving son now serving a Mormon mission.

If you've never heard truth spoken simply, humbly and clearly, listen to Jeff Olsen's story. It will bless you. It certainly did me.

Friday, July 13, 2012

OCA Metropolitan Jonah resigns!

Posted: Friday the 13th!

Metropolitan Jonah in 2008

Despite a courageous beginning four years ago, young OCA Metropolitan Jonah has fallen to treachery within the synod. See here for details. This is the third time such a change has happened in the Orthodox Church in America in the last decade.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Call to Russia + Huebner

Posted: 11 July 12
Updated: 12 July 12

On July 10 this book came in the mail signed for Birgitta and me by the author, Tom Rogers, who is referred to in an earlier post. At this writing he is in Russia as one of two LDS patriarchs to eastern Europe who rotate assignments every six weeks. This book is an account of his years as the St. Petersburg mission president in the middle 1990s.

Over the last several weeks, since I sent out an early draft of a proposed presentation for the upcoming Salt Lake Sunstone symposium, Tom and I have been having a lively exchange. He was one of the first to respond to that draft paper. This has led to a level of candor and honesty that I thought not possible since a letter from him in 2008 that convinced me that further communication with anyone in the LDS hierarchy was fruitless. I have now changed my mind. It was that 2008 letter, together with news of the upheaval in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), that motivated my application for membership in the OCA.

12 July 12.
Today another book came from Tom, signed "Your brother and 'nemesis'." It contains a play that he is probably best known for called "Huebner", inspired by the tragic life of a young Mormon in Nazi Germany during WWII. Here is a link to a Common Consent article (which includes a long list of responses) about this young German Mormon martyr, called "Courage to disobey."

(click on images to enlarge)
The Play--front cover

Back cover

Monday, July 9, 2012

Where Spiritual Discoveries Are Made

Posted: Monday, 9 July 2012
Updated: 12 July 12

Los Alamos Moniker looking east
Six Lenten Retreat participants met shortly after Sunday's service to plan an on-going small group seminar. Our first meeting of not more than ten participants is scheduled to begin on Saturday morning, August 18, from 10-12. Pastor Tom was there to explain how small groups function at Bethlehem Lutheran, where groups are expected to reach out into the broader community after their group comes into its own identity and purpose. I do hope that the above modified motto of this larger community will be served.

Wednesday, 10 July 12
In the grocery store yesterday I encountered one of the members of the newly forming small group and asked her if she had received my email with the proposed motto: "where spiritual discoveries are made".  She had, but thought it "pretentious". That surprised me, since one of the pastors had written "I like it". So, I have been mulling over my surprise since. It is likely, as one of my LDS friends once said, that I am hopelessly naive. A confession I am willing to make, but do not like.

The Prince and the Pauper: A sermon to remember

Posted: Monday, 9 July 12

Mark Twain's famous story

I will not long forget Bethlehem Lutheran Pastor Bruce's sermon on Sunday morning merging Mark Twain's famous story with the advent of Jesus.

I can recall only one other sermon in recent years that has moved me so deeply. In the latter case I wept throughout Orthodox priest Fr. John Hennies describing the vulnerability and fearlessness that Jesus's life exemplified and how that is the legacy of all true artists. At its end I could not help exclaim, "The Truth has been spoken!" At which Fr. John gave a surprised smile, bowed slightly and said, "Thank you", before turning around and moving behind the Iconostasis at St. Dmitri's.

Such an exclamation at Bethlehem was not possible for many reasons, not the least of which was when church member Connie fainted during the sermon, to which Pr. Bruce responded with a graceful pause while paramedics and doctors in the congregation rushed to her aid. Without disruption after being assured that the good sister was properly cared for, the pastor resumed his sermon....

To be continued....

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dad and Joseph

Posted:  July 8, 2012
Updated: July 16, 2012

Old men talking

For the past several weeks, since sending out a first draft of my upcoming presentation for the 2012 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium on the theme Mormons and Mormonism as a Political Force to selected people, I have been having a spirited exchange with a well-published and scholarly LDS patriarch whom I have known for over 30 years. He seemed to like this 2012 draft, in contrast to the paper I presented four years earlier at the 2008 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium titled: Did Joseph Smith Know Himself? Our current exchange has paused on the subject of our respective relationships with our fathers. His relationship with his dad was "stormy", he says, an evidence that "the Oedipus phenomenon is fairly universal" these days.

I haven't told him yet about my own late father, since my friend is now abroad and out of email contact. Therefore, I want to post it here as a preamble to my presentation, should he manage to read it as a guest blog viewer somewhere in his travels.

Over twenty years ago (March 1991) I requested a hypnotherapy session with noted hypnotherapist, Dr. David Cheek, after hearing his presentation on "spiritual attachments" at the invitation-only TREAT III conference [TREAT is an acronym for "Treatment and Research on Experienced Anomalous Trauma"] in Kansas City, where we had both been invited participants. That session led to several other sessions over the next several weeks in California, where we discovered we lived not far from each other. All sessions were recorded and I put them away in a box to be unheard and forgotten until 14 years later when "by chance" I discovered them in the misplaced box.

As I listened to these newly discovered and unheard recordings, while driving to the 2005 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, I was astounded to hear two spiritual attachments identify themselves (in my voice under hypnosis) to Dr. Cheek and reveal to him when and why both independently had connected to my psyche.

As preposterous as it seemed, these two entities identified themselves respectively as my father "Nicholas" and "Joseph Smith" (the founding Mormon prophet!) at separate times in the therapy session! On hearing when and why "Nicholas" attached himself to me, I cried out in amazement and wonder. Suddenly a mystery was solved that had puzzled me over for over four decades! I had always wondered why, on the day after Dad died in May 1964 and before I was informed about it, I had snapped out of a deep and at times suicidal post-doctoral depression in which I had suffered for over five months. When the therapist asked "Nicholas" why he had attached himself, "Nicholas" explained that as he was leaving his body to "cross over", he noticed his son in serious trouble and decided to stay to protect him. That explained the sudden, inexplicable relief I felt from the depression on May 15, 1964, Dad's 61st birthday. 

After that explanation, Dr. Cheek suggested to "Nicholas" that Nicholas had done his work, that I was now stable enough to survive without his protection, and that he could now "go into the Light". Satisfied that this was so, "Nicholas" agreed and left.

The full conversation with "Joseph Smith" is for future posting. Suffice it to say for now that  this entity was cagey and devious. He agreed to go into the Light several times over the course of the next several sessions, but did not do so. Finally, Dad came in from the Light for this "Joseph" entity in 2006 (during a Joseph Dillard Integral Deep Listening interview) to escort him away from me and into the Light. Whether this "Joseph Smith" was who he said he was and not simply a DFE (dark force entity or lying spirit), is not something I can say or prove. In any case, I have not been bothered by this entity since. Not long after this my friend Joseph Dillard sent me a musical file that set me on the path to Orthodoxy. See that story here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Tools. Wise words about our Shadows

Posted: The Fourth of July 2012

More wisdom from two psychotherapists
A couple of weeks ago Birgitta and I watched a Charlie Rose PBS interview of the two authors of this book.  We were so impressed that I immediately downloaded the e-book version onto my Kindle and ordered several hard copies as gifts. Below are a couple of pages from the book addressing a favorite subject of mine: the "Shadow".

(click on pages to enlarge)
Scroll to "Include the Shadow"
"Include the Shadow" continued...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wisdom from a young writer

Received: July 3, 2012

(click image to enlarge)
Wisdom from a young writer
I do so like this!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

First Santa Fe performance of The Pearl Fishers

Event: June 30, 2012
Updated: July 3, 2012

A Night at the 2012 Santa Fe Opera 
Administration and Sponsors

Leila, the woman both fishermen loved

On a classic, balmy New Mexican summer evening, Birgitta and I attended Georges Bizet's opera The Pearl Fishers with dear friends and long time opera lovers from Los Alamos. I was looking forward to hearing again what for me is the most beautiful male duet ever composed, when Zurga and his long time friend Nadir sing of their fraternal devotion to each other. Singers Christopher Magiera and Eric Cutler succeeded in giving me goose bumps, something I feared would not happen after having heard so many times the classic recording by Swedish tenor Jussi Bj√∂rling and American baritone Robert Merrill. It also brought to mind the time I sang this duet at least ten years ago with Canadian friend Mac Freeman for his friends in Santa Fe, after spending a year learning to sing our parts. I took the role of Zurga and Birgitta helped me learn the music and sing it in French.

Here is a slightly edited account by wife Birgitta [a former professional opera singer] to one of her best friends:
Last Saturday night Z [that's me!] and I went to the Santa Fe Opera with [friends] and saw a magnificent performance of The Pearl Fishers by Bizet in the famous and very modern Santa Fe Opera House situated in the hills a little north of the city. People come from all over the US and from abroad to see the high quality performances here. The audience sits under a roof, and you have a glorious view of the valley and mountains and the sky because there are no walls on the sides or behind the stage. Without amplification the acoustics are fantastic. I have heard wonderful recorded performances of this opera many times but experiencing a live performance was so different. Saturday's performance was magnificent. The voices were so glorious, the choir and orchestra were superb. Where we sat, far back and high up, it was so hot. The women mostly wore bare-shouldered and sleeveless and the men wore short-sleeved shirts, but a delightful breeze was blowing all the time making it very pleasant. As far as the story goes, it is a passionate and unreal love story, and about loyal friendship between two men who love the same girl, betrayal,  all very exaggerated. It all comes out well with the girl and her lover uniting, forgiveness and reconciliation in the end.