Spring 1988, Volume 5.1
Neila C. Seshachari
As this issue of Weber Studies rolls off the press in early Spring, Weber State College campus will gear up to kick off the institution's year-long centennial celebrations at its June 1988 Commencement.
There is something marvelous about celebrating a centennial as there is in a fin de siecle. There is, to start with, a sense of significance that may be incommunicable but invaluable precisely because it cannot be conveyed. The attendant romantic nostalgia or romantic optimism could change self perceptions and heighten a sense of self worth. We at Weber Studies certainly wish to partake of the parent institution's glory and add our vision to the collective vision and dream-making of the college, for the college and its community of scholars and well-wishers. Celebrations such as these have their origin in euphoria but must end in practical considerations to be worthy of attention.
Celebrations are serious business. As we embark on ours in this issue, we offer to our readers the same kinds of thought-provoking articles as we have done in the past, but which are of closer concerns to Utahns. This issue, for the same reasons, features more Utah scholars and poets.
Clarice Short's posthumous poems may come as a surprise to many who knew and admired her during her long career as a Professor of English at the University of Utah. It is fitting that "Carved Door," "On the Shore of Crete," and "The Elusive" find their voice here first in Utah amongst her friends. I thank Emma Lou Thayne for letting us use some of Dr. Short's unpublished works.
Clarice Short would have chuckled to read Robert Mikkelsen's "Falling at Fifty" and "What If"—after all, the two spent many hours together, inside classrooms and outside. Maureen O'Neill's poems breathe the spirit of the mountains and the outdoors that are still an integral part of life in this state. Greg Luthi's fiction, "Grace," poses the often irreconcilable choices between professional and human values.
I had to exercise my editorial prerogative to coax David Lee, who Admirers of his Porcine Canticles will recognize the same earthy is a member of our Editorial Board, to submit his work to us. Admirers of his Porcine Canticles will recognize the same earthy quality and closeness to Utah farm life in his poem "Arthritis: For Ken and Bobbie" featured here.
Articles in this issue bring to the forefront disturbing dilemmas in our conscience which we often tend to suppress. Jim Corbett makes an unflinching case for human rights, especially along "humanity's fault lines," which seem to be drawn geographically along our Mexican borders. Denying sanctuary to the politically persecuted must haunt every sensitive American whose bonding with this country began with an immigration, recent or distant. By linking the civil initiative of sanctuary movement to the concept of obedience to the just laws of our land, Corbett goes on to show how it differs from Gandhian civil disobedience which opposed unjust laws of alien rulers. What has emerged practically in the sanctuary effort, he points out, is a unified, recombinant church which has no name.
John Sillito and Constance L. Lieber's article subtly focuses on a regional issue of prime significance to Mormon women—that of erosion of women's authority in the LDS Church, primarily due to reinterpretation of doctrines. Mormon feminists have often pointed out the contrast between the faithpromoting stance of LDS women in public and their pain voiced darkly in their journals and diaries. Sillito and Lieber quote extensively from women's journals to demonstrate how much strength Mormon women derived in the mid to late nineteenth century when they were granted the "spirit of prophecy" and attendant (albeit limited) "priesthood."
Our book reviews of works by Helen Papanikolas, Roy Webb, and Richard Cecil also draw attention to local culture and Utah authors this time.
We hope you like this, the first of our centennial dedication issues, as much as we do.