Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Myron's Gift to Birgitta

Event:  23 Jan 2013
Updated: 6 Feb 13

Myron's gift to Birgitta

After the San Ildefonso Pueblo dances on this, their saint's and major feast day, I had a good chat with Myron Gonzales at his mother's table. We continued the conversation from last year at this time, also at Mama Gonzales' table. The rest of the family and friends remembered that I had "sung for my supper", a Russian folk song last year. This year there was a tiny dog who didn't like strangers, so everyone was surprised when the dog came up to me wagging his tail.

I was reminded of the time when two beautiful Afghan dogs came and laid their heads on my lap while I was singing for friends and their pets some years ago. Also on Mt. Shasta, California, when I sang a song for people seated in a circle in a lodge with doors open to the forest. While singing with my eyes closed, I felt a furry creature jump on my lap and begin to purr. As soon as I finished, the creature quickly left and as I opened my eyes I glimpsed a bobcat exiting the building! Everyone in the lodge circle was silent, slack-jawed and wide-eyed at that unexpected event. My San Ildefonso hosts laughed when they heard that tale. They know about such things!

Before leaving the house, Myron went into his mother's kitchen and brought out a gift for me to take to Birgitta. Yum!

On 31 January, after reading this post, Birgitta reminded me of the time when I came to Sweden to propose to her in April 1993. During a visit to her friends I sang a Russian folk song. Again I sang with my eyes closed and she said their Doberman Pincer came over to me and put its head in my lap looking up at me until I finished singing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Happy New Year! 2013
Updated: 22 Jan 13

"What are you doing?" Birgitta asked this morning as I was coming out of the bedroom, she from the kitchen, to which I replied, "I'm waking up my phone" (cell phone).

"You"re working on your poem?!" she asked incredulously even while looking at me across the room (she is normally pretty good at reading lips, but there were too many shadows obscuring that mode of communication).

When I repeated my answer and put hers beside it, we both roared with laughter.

These things (there must be a name for it) are happening more and more often these days in our old age, so I decided it's time to begin collecting them.

22 Jan 13..
"A crisis in space?", Birgitta asked not looking at me while preparing breakfast.  I had just thought I informed her about a current Mormon issue "a crisis of faith", that the institutional church is facing. But Birgitta's mishearing is a wonderful connector to a conversation I'm currently enjoying with certain followers of George Adamski and his ET "brothers".....

This will later be amplified either here or elsewhere.....

Monday, January 21, 2013

Vic Cline has died

Posted:  21 Jan 13
Updated: 9 Feb 13

Vic was an old friend who had a major impact on my life. We first met in late 1953 or early 1954 in the LDS Pacific Grove Ward when I was a Russian Language student at the Army Language School in Monterey, CA and he was an Army officer psychologist at nearby Fort Ord. I'm sorry to see him go before resolving one important issue between us. From the beginning of our friendship, he was always trying to help me "find myself". 

By spring 1961 I was a first year graduate student in engineering at the University of Utah and he was a professor of psychology there. I had given a speech for a LDS University stake speech festival, which prompted my being called on a stake mission. Because of the the setting-apart blessing by Oscar McConkie, Jr. of the stake presidency, I sought Vic out for psychological testing. He agreed and gave me everything he had, which included the MMPI (to assess mental health), the CPI (California Personality Inventory) and several other tests I can't now recall. 

Several years ago Vic emailed me to inform me that he'd come across those results, which surprised and delighted me. But when I asked for them and that one of my sons was in Salt Lake and would pick them up, he replied that he couldn't find them. Now, perhaps, if his papers are available either through his family or the university, I can at least get a copy of the results. This would be a good test of my memory, because it has been challenged by certain members of my family.

Here is that email dated July 15, 2004:  
Dear Eugene:  What a wonderful surprise to hear from you and especially that you would be in Salt Lake in August.  We will be here most of the month and would love to see you and any accompanying family members.  By a rare chance several days ago I came across the battery of psychological tests which you took so many years ago and wondered where you might be and what might be happening in your life.  Give us some times when you might be available and we will plan on getting together.  Our phone is 801 278-6831.  E-Mail: and address is 2087 E. Millstream Lane (3500 So.) in Salt Lake City, 84109.   Best regards,  Vic and Lois

29 Jan 13. 4:30 PM. 
On a hunch just now I just called the above number and spoke to Lois to offer condolences. She remembered me and inquired about my family. When I read aloud the above email from Vic and expressed my disappointment that we hadn't got those results back then, she offered to go to his office (which is still just as he left it!) to see if she could find them and would call me. What a pleasant surprise! I pray she succeeds.

30 Jan 13. 10:00 A.M.
Bad news! Lois has just called back in the presence of one of her daughters to inform me that Vic's records have all been shredded in the interest of protecting the privacy of his clients.

Thus ends that story....

9 Feb 13.  For the record I want to add the correspondence with my family about why Vic's psychological tests were so important to me. Since Vic's records have now been destroyed, which I'd hoped to use to evaluate the accuracy of my memory, that memory as I've recorded it earlier in correspondence with my son Steve and also with Vic, is all that I have to refer to.

On 7/16/04, 2:31 PM, ENK replied to Vic's letter of 7/15/04

Hi Vic,

Glad to hear from you again. I've often wondered over the years if you kept those long ago (1961?) tests at the U of U. It will be enormously interesting to me to compare notes about then and now. When my itinerary firms up I'll send you some tentative times.

Attached are three relevant letters in anticipation of our visit:
    1) Letter to the Editor of Sunstone (published with minor changes in its May 2004 issue);
    2) Memo to son Steve regarding those long ago tests (at his request last fall at the beginning of our family reconciliation process).
    3) Scan of your much appreciated March 1992 letter of encouragement as I faced the second excommunication (your last to me prior to your recent response).

Warm regards,


  1. Letters to Editor: Sunstone May 2004  (last letter “Coming Home”)
  2. Memo to son Steve: September 2003
Dear Steve,

Here’s the memo you asked me for regarding my recollection of Vic Cline’s psychological testing of me in the early 60s when I was at the University of Utah and he was a professor of psychology there. As you know, I had known Vic for many years, even before I met your mother. I probably first met him in the fall of 1953 at the LDS ward in Pacific Grove when I began attending the Army Language School. He was then an Army captain at Fort Ord, residing in Monterey or Pacific Grove and took a personal interest in me. I was 19 at the time.

By the time I came to the University of Utah in 1960, he was one of those rare LDS breeds that managed to get on the psychology faculty (the U of U being notorious for resisting the hiring of LDS faculty). I don’t remember how I learned he was at the U. Perhaps he was on the high council of the U of U student stake, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I remember coming to see him one day in 1961 or 1962 and asking, “Vic, what can you tell me about myself that I don’t already know?” I remember his being surprised by the question and saying in effect, “Wow! Nobody comes in here and asks that kind of question. If you’re serious, I’ve got a whole battery of things I can give you.” I don’t remember how long it took to take all those tests, perhaps two or three weeks, since they had to be fit into our respective schedules.

It took several weeks for the scores to be processed and results returned to Vic. When he called me for a review of those results I remember his first words to me were something like, “You are the screwiest guy I have ever measured! You don’t fit any standard patterns.”  Then he systematically took me through the results of each test. The ones I remember now are:
1.      The Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory (MMPI);
2.      The California Personality Indicator (CPI);
3.      Intelligence test;
4.      Comparative interest test
and some other things I don’t recall. I would hope he still has these results in his archives, but I doubt if he does.

Regarding test 1 (MMPI), I recall he said something like, “The results of this test suggest you are the perfect profile of mental health.” To which I remember saying aloud (with tongue in cheek), “Thank God! I thought I was paranoid!”

Regarding test 2 he explained that my pattern was highly unusual because of two strong peaks in it that usually did not appear on the same person’s chart to the exclusion of all others. I recall there were a bunch of categories, maybe 10 or so, and that there was a median score line with a standard range above and below the median that were considered “normal” limits. What evaluators looked for typically were any scores either above or below this normal band. Vic showed me that I had two very high peaks above this band and one slightly below. He explained that the first high peak measured “will, drive, determination, etc.” and that my score was in the high 90s percentile. The second peak, he said, literally went off the chart. It was a category called “flexibility”. He further explained that it wasn’t unusual for one to evidence one or the other of these particular peaks, but not together in the same person. He said he thought this indicated the “creative personality” and that he wanted to follow my career to find out how this would manifest itself over time. As for the 3rd peak which was somewhat below the normal spread, he said that this was a measure of “sociability” and that the negative value indicated a “tendency to withdraw.” I remember not taking it very seriously by saying, “Oh, I think that means I just don’t like wild parties.”

Regarding test 3, he said that my score was that of the typical U of U engineering student, to which I replied that that was what I expected (I was super sensitive to intelligence tests in those days, i.e., I didn’t think I was very bright.). He said that he would have gone to the next test results without much further thought, except that he noticed some irregularities in this particular test’s details. First, he said, the test was timed (3 hour maximum) and designed so that people generally do not finish. But he observed that I finished and walked out 30 minutes early. Further, the test was structured so that the easy questions were at the beginning and the difficult questions were at the end in increasing and abstract difficulty. He was surprised that I had answered all the last questions correctly, but that I had failed a long string of the simple ones, so that the overall score evened out with a mediocre value. “Tell me, Gene”, he said, “What does it mean, the early bird gets the worm?” Or “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”? I remember being shocked by his then showing me my score with what appeared a deliberate scoring wrong on such a series elementary questions. I do not recall having deliberately missed such obvious and simple-minded questions. But then a light dawned in me and I remembered that I typically had trouble with tests in my classes, usually starting by flunking the first (usually easy) tests and then having to scramble at the end to make up for the deficit to get a superior grade. It seemed like some kind of unconscious mental blocking process was at work in me. THAT was news to me, and was certainly something I did not know about myself. Vic thought that my success in my classes was often due to my having “seduced” my professors, since I invariably went to see them after not testing well at first. (I remember I would often freeze during tests for classes such as physics and physical chemistry).

Regarding test 4, a comparative interest test, which compared one’s interests to those of various professions. My interests tallied with those of industrial executives rather than scientists or engineers. That was interesting to me, too, and another something of which I was not already aware.

I don’t remember what other tests there were, but I certainly remember the ones above. This is why, when crunch time came three or four years later, and I was in crisis mode, I remember feeling deeply betrayed by Vic when I learned that he made a professional judgment about me, apparently without even considering the implications of those earlier test results and without even talking to me personally in those days in the fall of 1965 when I came to SLC seeking spiritual and professional help from university friends, colleagues and Church leaders. As far as I know, Vic didn’t even think to refer to those test results when confronted with controversial hearsay information and to wonder how they might be a useful reference. Instead, he based his judgment on a suspect negative report (through Oscar McConkie, Jr.) questioning the veracity of my military past (as a test of whether I could tell truth from fantasy) and pronounced me a “paranoid schizophrenic”. Apparently this casual verbal report got back to your mother and greatly frightened her. No wonder then she ceased communicating with me and, according to Jim, gathered all you kids together to warn you not to talk to your father because he was “crazy.” I didn’t find out about this report or Vic’s judgment for many years (from Morrie Kjar). But by then, it was far too late to do much of anything to repair the damage done to our family.

In frustration, I threw off the ecclesiastical boundaries after writing a long letter in October 1965 to Pres. David O. McKay and getting a reply from his secretary to contact the local authorities (which I had been doing).  I felt that the system (which I had believed in so completely) had failed me and the rest of us. I therefore moved into a completely new life experience, which is when I met Lawrene. Years later I happened to meet one of my colleagues (Birch Holt) who lived in the Bay Area and for whom I had worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in the summer of 1962. He was contacted by Pres. McKay in response to my letter which had been written from the cabin in Felton and asked to find and help me. Birch said he drove to Felton to look for me, but by then it was too late and I had moved on without leaving a forwarding address.

3. Hand-written letter from Vic dated 15 May 92, giving encouragement and counsel when hearing about my impending trial for charges of "apostasy" by Ventura stake president Richard C. Bryce.
(click on letter to enlarge)

On 7/28/04 at 12:51 PM, I wrote again to Vic:
Dear Vic,

It was good to hear your voice on the phone last Monday after all these years. I look forward to our meeting on Wednesday, August 11th. You suggested meeting late morning after 10:00 at your house, but how about early afternoon, say about 2:00? I see there is a Sunstone workshop at 9:00 through 12:30 that I'd like to attend. Earlier that same morning I have an appointment with Stan Larson of the U of U Marriott Library. (Stan has created a repository for my story and has asked for anything I can contribute. When I asked him what the boundaries were for acceptable material, he replied that there were none, that the process was completely inclusive. That allows a wide opportunity!)

Vic, I can't tell you how much and for how long I've been anticipating our getting together again. In our brief conversation on Monday you asked questions which I hope I answered well enough to reduce or allay whatever anxiety or misgivings you might have in meeting with me these days. I hope you were assured that life for me, and especially for Betty and the rest of our family, is generally good these days and continues to improve. I have my own questions for you, too, old friend. Did I sense from your tone during our few minutes on the phone that you may not be as interested as I to consider my particular questions. I hope I am mistaken, but if not, I want to reassure you. My intent in meeting with you is reconciliation, not blame or justification. I believe (as I hope you do, too) that reconciliation can only come from knowing and accepting the simple, unvarnished truth. (My wife, Birgitta, in reviewing this letter, adds: "What about the ultimate truth?" That, of course, is the ultimate objective.)

My first and most important question for you concerns that long ago (1961? 1962?) battery of tests you administered to me at the U of Utah and which you apparently chanced to come across only recently. I am grateful that you have kept those records and especially that you let me know that you'd found them BEFORE I asked you about them. My recollection of taking those tests and your analysis of them back then has been immeasurably important to me for as long as I can remember and I'm eager to learn how well my memory stacks up to your written records. [Note: to illustrate my long time interest, I sent you recently (on 7/16) a copy of a memo written last year to my son, Steve, detailing my recollection of those tests and your analysis at the time]. I'm assuming you've also kept a record of your analysis at the time. I'm also hoping that you will allow a copy of all those records to be entered into the above mentioned repository at the U of U Marriott Library. If this needs my signature, I will gladly give it.

My second question will be to ask you if the attached two poems [with added commentaries for son Nick] mean anything to you. The first was written during a voluntary period of psychological evaluation in the San Diego County hospital before my trip to SLC in September 1965. The second was written in Las Vegas a few days later, while on the road to SLC.

My third question will be to ask, if you remember, why you seemed not even to consider the above mentioned 1962 U of U test results to evaluate my side of things during those intense 1965 events, only 3 years later. (I may have asked you about this in subsequent years, but I don't remember.)

My fourth question will be to ask whether you will have read the attached "Missing page" notes written by my long time friend, Rex Mitchell. When you wrote your note of encouragement to me in 1992, you obviously did not expect what was about to happen. That welcome hand-written note was our last contact until our recent email exchange earlier this month. (Note: Rex and I met at Berkeley in 1958. He was instrumental in getting me introduced to the late Ivan Cutler at the U of U who eventually became my research director. Rex also was a counselor to the late Neal Maxwell when Neal was a bishop in a U of U student ward in the early 1960s.)

All other questions can wait until we meet again. I have two gift recordings I want to leave with you.

Warm regards to you, Lois and your family,


On 7/28/04 at 1:53 PM, Vic replied:  
2:00 PM Wed would be fine---Best Regards, Vic

On 8/28/04 at 2:16 PM, I wrote to Vic:
Dear Vic,

I have asked my sons Steve and/or John, both of whom you have met, to follow up on this letter.

It was good to see you again after all these years. However, I was disappointed that we didn't manage to get to the four questions I'd sent to you shortly before coming to Utah. I surmised from this that either you hadn't read that recent letter or chose not to respond to it. On second thought, I probably overloaded you. In any case, consider my last three questions withdrawn in favor of the first. I have explained to both sons why this question is so important to me, if not to anybody else.

Vic, our time together on 11 August was much shorter than expected. I hadn't realized you had a client coming nor just how full your life still is with such a large family living close by and a continuing professional practice. Clearly you haven't retired. Then, with about 5 minutes left in our too short visit, you asked for my present view of Joseph Smith. This surprised me and I didn't have presence of mind to make a short answer. So, before ending this letter, I’ll get back to your question.

About my own first question in my July 28 email regarding those long ago tests: I have explained to Steve and John why I feel it important to compare my recollection of those tests (as recounted to Steve in an email September 2003) to their actuality. If my recollection doesn't track with their reality, then I've got a problem. If it does track, well, er, perhaps someone else has.

Regarding Joseph Smith. To put it simply: I see Joseph as a brilliant, imaginative, charismatic man (if not also a fanatic), who, despite his great gifts and sense of mission, left a loose-ends legacy of heroism, confusion and prejudice, all of which still needs reconciling in present days. [I can’t help wonder if these "loose ends" left in Joseph's wake are what keeps those in your profession earning a comfortable living among LDS clients?! ;-)]

What my own role might be in any general cultural reconciliation remains to be seen. My poem "Oceana" may hint at it. But for now I am concentrating on my personal family.

This is where you come in.

Because of our brief meeting on August 11th, I can't yet tell how much or if you care. At the very least I hope to get a copy of those long ago test results that you'd recently discovered, but couldn't find while John and I were in your home. Once that's done perhaps we will talk again?

Please give my warmest regards to Lois. I’m sorry she couldn't be at our meeting. I hope your violinist daughter and her newborn are both well.

All the best, Eugene

PS. Attached is the poem "Oceana" that I promised to send you. It was written to Birgitta in February 1979, 14 years before we married in 1993.

On 8/28/04 at 2:41 PM, Steve wrote:

Forgive me for butting in here, but I will be in SLC again 15-17 September for work meetings up at Snowbird. Vic, should you find the materials ENK seeks, I could stop by and retrieve them from you.

Let me know.


On 8/29/04 at 11:26 PM, Vic wrote:
Dear Steve:  I got your message about Eugene's test results from many years ago.  They are somewhere in the dusty archives of my 30 year stack of papers/documents/patient files etc.  And after spending some time trying to track them down they still elude me.  I'll look again but can't promise when they might be located.  Thanks for your interest--Victor Cline

On Mon, 9/13/04 at 1:48 PM, Vic wrote:
Eugene--many thanks for the information on the LBJ/David O McKay friendship.
That's all new to me.  Regards,  Vic Cline

On Mon, 9/13/04 at 6:24 PM, I wrote to Vic:
Hey Vic, old friend,

Am so very glad to be WRONG about you! I had predicted to my sons, Steve and John, that since my visit with John to your home in SLC last month, I would probably NOT hear from you again. But here you are! I am most pleasantly surprised (and have been smiling about it all afternoon!).

There have been further developments on the LBJ/McKay thing. If you like, I'll keep you in the loop.

OLD ITEM: I have one more, most important (to me), recollection to verify.
It is regarding those long ago tests that we discussed weeks ago. You wrote that you'd found them, but by the time we met in your home in August, you'd lost track of them again. That made me wonder about you and if you had even read my previous email, let alone understood it. I hope you will give my oft-made (by now ad nausea)  request for a copy of those long ago tests some added attention. It would make me happy, indeed, for it to be granted!
(AND, I would cease being a pest about them!)

Pleasant regards,


PS. Have you heard from either of my sons, Steve or John?

On Wed 4/19/06 at 6:47, I wrote:
Oops, forgot to attach the WSJ article. Here it is.

From: Eugene Kovalenko []
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 6:43 PM
To: victor cline (
Subject: FW: Editor Wall Street Journal re D. Michael Quinn on 6 Apr 06 edition

Vic, we’ve just talked.

Here’s a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal regarding Mike Quinn.  Am also attaching a word file of the WSJ article, which is easier to read.  This letter contains Mike’s response to the D. Michael Quinn Fund that has been set up in his behalf at the Los Alamos National Bank. If you wish to be a contributor, it can be anonymous. Lots of Mike’s friends are rallying to his cause as contributors.

Blessings on you for tomorrow’s surgery! My prayers are with you.


On Sun 5/28/06 at 11:14 PM, I wrote:

I hope you are now fully recovered from your recent surgery and that there have been no side effects.

To lay a long term subject to rest, attached is a memo to my son Steve per his request for my recollections of that long-ago battery of psychological tests you gave me.  If you should ever come across those tests again, it would be nice to see how my memory stacks up to the facts in your records. This memo was part of a recent series of events and decisions by three of my sons that has led to our present family reconciliation process.



PS. I’d like my wife Birgitta to meet you and Lois. We are planning to come to SLC again this summer for the 2006 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium to be held in early August.  I’ve been invited to give a paper on “Annealing and Healing: a modern version of “new wine in old bottles.”  

On Tue 5/30/06 at 11:23 PM, Vic wrote:
Dear Gene:  Lois and I would be delighted to see you two on your fall trip to SLC.  I will once again look thru the many storage bins to see if I can find your tests.  So far I have not been successful.  But will still look again--best regards until next fall--Vic.

On Wed 5/31/06 at 5:39 AM, I wrote:
Thanks for replying, Vic. 

Please note the date of our intended visit is in early August, not next fall. 

I will give you a call before we come to town and to arrange a mutually convenient time.

Regards to Lois, 


On Wed 8/2/06 at 11:43 AM, I wrote:
Dear Vic,

I hope this note finds you in good health and without complications from your recent surgery.

Attached is the latest draft of the paper I will be presenting at Sunstone on Saturday morning at 0830, August 12, at the Salt Lake Sheraton City Centre Hotel at 150 West 500 South.

I would be pleased if you would attend.  It addresses your last question when we last saw each other in your home two years ago: “What do you think about Joseph Smith these days?”

When Birgitta and I come into town next week, I will give you a courtesy call.

Regards to Lois,


On Thu 9/14/06 at 3:13 PM, Vic wrote:
Dear Eugene (from Vic) sorry I missed your presentation in Salt Lake several weeks ago. But I have been away from home some lately and have missed a number of things--unfortunately.  I still have a part time private practice, give talks around the area, see clients (many marriage problems) do seminars (one starts tonight in Provo) and can't get out of the "do gooder" role I've been in for some time now. I'm not really sure how much good I really do--but I do the best I can.  In political things I'm pretty noncontroversial.  But I pray nightly for the end of the conflict/war/etc we are engaged in.  The loss of life is appalling to me. We wish the very best to you and your bride and children.--best regards, Vic

Sat 2/9/13.  This ends the correspondence between the late Victor B. Cline and Eugene Kovalenko.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nuclear Waste Primer: A Handbook for Citizens

Posted: Sunday, 13 January 2013

Published 1993
(click on image to enlarge)

A curious thing happened this morning. I found this book, which I've never read and didn't know I had, lying on the floor behind the door of my computer room below my now suspended RPK experiment apparatus. Other than supposing it supernaturally there, I can only surmise that my old-age memory is failing faster than I have realized. 

It would make sense that I got this book at the time it was newly published in 1993, because that was the year I was hired to consultant with the nuclear waste management people at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to help them better communicate with local anti-nuclear activists. 

There may be something in the book at this much later date that I ought to be aware of.....

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chinese Fortune Cookie

Event: Friday, 11 Jan 13
Updated: 12 Jan 13

Had lunch on Friday at the China Palace with new LANL friends Ivan (who wanted to practice his Mandarin) and Brian (recently from NASA Houston), having met them at a recent Los Alamos Opera Guild dinner (where I'd been invited to sing an Old Slavonic chant).

I had sent my 2012 Sunstone paper "How the Bomb corrupted the world and how Mormons and American Indian Shamans can help save it" to Ivan's American Indian wife for her responses to the section about Indian art. Ivan responded that both he and she had read it and were in agreement that Indian art was the way to engage a horizontal two-way communication with the establishment, especially the Mormons, they being used to top-down, one-way communication.

Ivan had invited Brian to attend the luncheon, which I welcomed because I was interested in his background at NASA. And yes, we managed to bring UFOs into the conversation!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jews at the Manhattan Project

Event: 8 Jan 2013
Updated: 12 Jan 13

(click on images to enlarge)
Rabbi Jack
I have long been interested in making contact with a Jewish leader in Los Alamos regarding LADDOF's purpose. Finally it has happened! After Rabbi Jack's presentation at Fuller Lodge under the auspices of the Los Alamos Historical Society, I introduced myself and gave him my card. He emailed me that same night and agreed to get together in about a month, when his schedule frees up.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Martin Luther and Henry VIII

Posted: 7 Jan 13
Updated: 8 Jan 13

Monk Martin Luther
German reformer Martin Luther (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) and English King Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547), men of conscience, courage and confidence, were contemporaries. Both shook the Western world.

I want to explore if, when and how their lives interacted. Did they know or know of each other? Does history really consider the fundamental touchstone issue, concept or influences that drove each man in making decisions? What was their personal ultimate authority during the centuries-old (1184 -- 1860) Christendom Inquisition for heresy? Clearly in either case it was not the Roman Catholic Church nor its Pope. So, was it personal conscience, Scriptures, love, lust or ambition? Or could it conceivably have been a deep personal relationship with the Almighty Himself?

King Henry the Eighth

Luther began the Protestant Reformation of the Catholic Church by confronting indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, well after Henry the Eighth became King of England on 21 April 1509.

To be continued...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Typical Mormon leaders and their families

Posted: 4 Jan 13
Updated: 30 Jan 13

Raymond and Linda Cutler Family 
December 2012

Raymond Cutler (rear row center, white hair) is the son of the late Ivan B. Cutler, my research director in the ceramic engineering department at the University of Utah between 1960 and 1963.

Ivan B. was the namesake of my late third son. He had a large family (ten children) virtually all of which also have large families, exemplified by Raymond's. Raymond followed his father's footsteps by also becoming a ceramic engineer/materials scientist. I'm always pleased to receive his annual Christmas letter and the accompanying photo of his growing family.

I first met his father Ivan B. in 1959 when I was an undergraduate senior in ceramic engineering at UC Berkeley. Having learned about me from a grad student friend of mine at Utah in chemical engineering, Professor Ivan B. came to Berkeley to invite me to compete for a National Defense Education Act, Title IV graduate research fellowship offered by his ceramic engineering department at Utah. This is what brought me and my family to Salt Lake City. My fourth child and third son, Ivan E., was born in 1961 in the university hospital during that graduate school period.


Russell and Marion Pack Family
August 2012
Russell T Pack (front row center), former Santa Fe stake president and retired theoretical chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), also exemplifies large Mormon families, having 7 children plus their progeny. Even though Russ and I have not always seen eye-to-eye, I'm pleased that he includes me on his annual Christmas letter.

I first met Russ in late spring 1993 when I was living in Santa Fe. This was because I had accepted a consultancy with LANL's nuclear waste management group, but was still smarting from excommunication the previous year in Ventura, California, and wanted to get a feeling for the LDS community in Los Alamos. Russ was then bishop of the White Rock Ward, which I learned from consulting the telephone book. I don't recall any personal interest between us at that first meeting.

It wasn't until early 2005 that we became better acquainted when Russ, then in his role as Santa Fe stake president and knowing of my excommunication, approached me at a public concert (of Handel's Messiah!) at the local Catholic Church to invite me to meet with him, ostensibly to help me in my "lost" state. This led to many challenging conversations and correspondence over several years, which inspired two poems and evoked four dreams. The poems are titled "Trying the Church" (24 Feb 05) and "Indictment" (26 Jul 10). The dreams are titled "Dinner w/Russ" (31 Aug 06), "Pack attack" 29 Dec 07), "Left and Right" (3 May 08) and "The Truth has been spoken here" (20 Oct 09)


Thomas F. Rogers family
(circa 2001)
Tom and wife Miriam are in back row center. I first met Tom in 1979 in Provo when he was a professor of Russian at BYU. I had come to Provo to work with the Eyring Research Institute while a live-in guest of Eugene England. I don't remember how we were introduced, but Tom and I and Gary Browning (another BYU professor of Russian) worked on a choir exchange proposal between the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Soviet Red Army Chorus as an initiative to lessen tensions during the Cold War.

After the fall of the USSR Gary became the first Mormon mission president to Russia (1990-93) and Tom followed soon after (1993-96). These days both Tom and Gary are Mormon patriarchs to Eastern Europe (primarily Russia and Ukraine) in alternating short term trips to give patriarchal blessings to native church members. Their trips are now diminishing in frequency and duration as local patriarchs are called in new stakes as Kiev, Moscow and St. Petersburg and their own responsibility more recently augmented by patriarch Dennis Neuenschwander, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Tom and I became reacquainted in 2008 at a Sunstone symposium in Salt Lake City and began a lively correspondence, which became adversarial after Tom read and responded to my Sunstone paper of that year titled Did Joseph Smith understand himself? His reaction (as I perceived it then), coupled with the recent removal of the ecclesiastical leader (Metropolitan) of the Orthodox Church in America, motivated me to apply for membership in the OCA. I felt that if I could not correspond honestly and sympathetically with Tom, of all people given our common backgrounds, then further communication with Mormon leadership would be fruitless.  

However, it was Tom's response to an early draft of my 2012 Sunstone symposium paper titled How the Bomb Corrupted the World and how Mormons and American Indian Shamans can help save it that revived our correspondence and put it on a loftier, more candid and comprehensive level. After more than 400 email exchanges since then, I became aware that our correspondence was now "fulfilling" the injunction I first experienced and committed to while an undergraduate student at Cal Berkeley in spring 1959.

On 30 January 2013, having read the above, Tom wrote: "And really, Zhenya, I should not be classified as a Church "leader."

Although in these days Tom does not see himself as a church leader, he nevertheless certainly is that in my book! If not in ecclesiastical terms, then surely in terms of his writings as a well-known Mormon playwright, which have affected many lives, including my own.

Besides, asks my wife Birgitta, "is a patriarch to Russia not a church leader?!"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Colonel Jack Tueller again!!

Posted: 3 Jan 13

Captain Jack in 1943

Colonel Jack in 1987

Colonel Jack (Retired) in 2011

It was the strangest thing! Only a few minutes ago I hung up the phone from having "returned" a telephone call from old friend and boyhood hero, retired AF Col. Jack Tueller. I had heard the telephone ring in the music room from our bedroom, but didn't get to it before it ceased ringing--after only two rings. Birgitta came down from upstairs to ask if I'd seen who was calling. "No", I said, "didn't make it in time."

"It was Jack Tueller!", Birgitta said, having seen it on our caller ID upstairs. The last time Jack and I had talked was over a year ago, when I visited him at his home in Bountiful, Utah.

So, I called him back. Only he had just come in from outside and had not called!  Must have been an "angelic heads up", I said, and we both laughed. Stranger things have happened to both of us.

He was glad to hear my voice and said he had just come back from traveling to be with family and was preparing to make a presentation in Las Vegas this coming February. I reminded him of when I'd called a year ago and asked him to play his trumpet over the phone, and that I would sing him a Russian folk song in return. He agreed again, this time to play for Birgitta, which he did, with a recorded accompaniment in the background. A good way to meet another musician!

I took this strange "ghostly call" as an opportunity to revive an attempt to bring him to Los Alamos to speak and play his trumpet here. As serendipity would have it, I am just in the middle of reading Paul Toscano's novel "Christ on Trial: An Easter Hymn". An account of another "ghostly call" by and for a good friend with Mormon background.