Clic\k to return or use return arrow<<<: Part 1 of the overall history
The MYSTERIOUS CAUSE & PREPARATION for a
LIFETIME OF SAVING the MAYANS
Part 3: THE COMPLETE "controversial rest of the story" FINAL REPORT is now available. With 700 color photos of "The Land Where Color Was Invented"
NOW AVAILABLE all three Parts combined in one 400 page book entitled:A 50 Year "IMPOSSIBLE DREAM" Among My People in the Mountains of the Maya
And as a PRINTED BOOK for $120. Send your check to me at the above address, including your shipping address.
Part 2 the epic history
...disappear into the jungles and mountains of the Maya and with my family serve the Lord and his "little ones" in my own simple way--following the example of one of my heroes from the Book of Mormon history, Ammon, from ancient America...
...all in harmony with the inspiration, guidance and the opportunities
the Lord would give me.
On the other hand I believed in the Lord's words when He said,
"....men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.....he that doeth not anything until he is commanded......is damned." (D&C 58:26-29).
I didn't believe in "polishing apples" and cultivating the right friendships as I noticed a few doing to increase their chances of being "called," but rather thought,
"If the Lord was ever to speak to his Prophet calling me to whatever,
he more than likely would be perplexed exclaiming,
the first friend and LDS leader to begin calling me
Digging even deeper he would likely become angry seeing how the film was squelched by the unrighteous intervention of one of his leaders, leaving the way open for me to write about our history as I'm now doing.
I should mention that after what was called "a prophetic tour of Central
America" at the end of 1957 by LDS General Authority Hugh B. Brown, it was common for many missionaries to believe we had a continuing responsibility for the people, especially for the critically needy Indians of Guatemala who he explained clearly had "A PROPHETIC DESTINY" in which some of us were to play an important role.
I especially was impacted by Hugh B. Brown as in a missionary meeting in Managua he called me by name and prophesied about my future that would be among the indigenous people Mormons call Lamanites. This was another crucial link in a long chain of personal, spiritually transformative experiences that dominated my life in a serious way and influenced me to be very deliberate and dedicated about my future.
So, early on there were two efforts by ex-LDS missionaries to return to Guatemala to be of some help--Vernon Webster & Gary Cooper-- but, they hadn't lasted more than six months and have been forgotten.
family pioneering endeavor was different--first achieving a 14 year "Ammon-like" period, but then persisting and was still going strong after 50 years, and so perhaps is historically of great value to report about fully and honestly. It didn't work out being just another crazy, flash in the pan, ill-prepared undertaking as everyone but my father had predicted, but honestly
reporting the truth has strangely ruffled feathers.
having the guts to do it. Whether you're in favor or not,
understand or not, it was a
speaking to me in Coban as a missionary in 1958, and then on
the snowy slopes of the Henry Mountains in fall 1965--
--giving me the courage to do as I knew I had to do!"
not give in to the "bribe system."
It is important to keep this in mind as I was eventually
accused falsely of being dishonest, untrustworthy and
involved in an illegal project mentioned below.
HONESTY THE BEST POLICY?
This was, as far as we knew, the beginning of what came to be called
"a spirit of competition rather than cooperation."
Sadly he was able to convince key leaders of the same and lies were believed, repeated and then repeated widely to many. I have not been liked by mentioning this, but the TRUTH MUST BE KNOWN.
-likely still believed by many today. Other critical historical inaccuracies and omissions are troubling to say the least in the autobiography, all of these raising doubts about his entire book. Some details are related in the
FINAL REPORT, item #20, etc.
NOW TO THE CHALLENGE!
INCUBATORS FOR SICKNESS & DEATH
Foundation historical reports (2nd page), and in Part 1 of this writing.
October LDS Ex-Missionary Reunion for Central American missionaries.
I showed them graphically with slides the beautifully colorful Guatemalan culture, but then shocked them with the other side of the coin--the desperate life and death needs of the people we had worked with and claimed to love, then suggested something had to be done. An ex-Mission President in attendance was terribly offended I had mentioned sick and dying LDS Indian babies and converts and angrily rushed at me to argue. That was the beginning of realizing that telling the truth was perplexingly dangerous, yet it had to be reported if anything positive was to eventually be done. The FINAL REPORT will describe a whole chain of such events with one very hopeful outcome, but a steep price was paid!
That visual presentation provoked a discussion afterward, some of the group being supportive of doing something, but saying they were in no position to do anything, then telling me,
"You be the guinea pig. If the experiment works, we'll follow!"
But the overall reaction paraphrased from two who would become LDS Church leaders was:
SO IN MID-1967, WITH A LOT OF FAITH, WE HEADED SOUTH TO NOGALES, ARIZONA/MEXICO TO CROSS THE BORDER
There’s nothing we could do but relax for a week, so we had finally a family vacation, swimming and playing in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez. David and me used some of the time to experience some great fishing for Spanish mackerel, and other tropical fish, and so ate a lot of delicious freshly caught fish.
And were even lucky enough for the first time in my experience from our own small aluminum boat catching an exotic Dorado, even though small for these famous fishing treasurers.
But of most importance we experienced there the FIRST MIRACLE when David and Julie were saved after having been set adrift alone on the open ocean in our aluminum boat when the anchor rope was cut by a surging sea! I had been skin diving and when returning where the boat had been--found it gone, and went into action.
Then after failing again to start the motor, prayed again, and as they raised their heads they saw me 200 yards distant swimming to their rescue and made it just seconds before being dashed onto a rocky shoreline by the large waves. I climbed aboard, immediately started the motor and got us out of danger, then we had an emotional moment all of us hugging each other with grateful tears and we then knelt embracing each other and offered a humble prayer of gratitude to the Lord.
By the way, Maria, did an incredible job helping me recover the anchor, which required her to operate the boat, backing into the spot so I could jump out and start the search, and while I searched head out to sea and hold the position waiting for my signal to back in and pick me up. The print version of this story goes through all the details of her great effort.
I went back to work producing Andersen Samplers, earning enough in a couple of weeks to pay for all the losses due to extra travel, enough for the Custom's Broker, and the bond he required.
SECOND ATTEMPT & MORE MIRACLES
It was a humbling and tearful experience for all of us. On conclusion of my explanation, they were humbly quiet seemingly understanding--at least accepting. I then asked my father for a "Father's Blessing," which he tearfully gave me--and was faithful doing his part in helping its fulfillment for the last 16 years of his life.
To the right, Maria is playing with Dave and Julie on the Veracruz beach where began my "CANTINFLAS...comedian ordeal" 11 years later, described at the end of the FINAL REPORT.
As we traveled we observed as always fascinating typical scenes. One memorable one was of a pickup after a baseball game loaded even more than ours.
One of those 10 became an astounding experience when fishing with top-water lures the large-mouth black bass all of a sudden erupted out of the water in a spectacular leap and came down with mouth wide open on the lure and the fight was on, becoming one of the great fishing experiences of my life!
NOTE: Years later a skin diver with speargun got a 27 lb. large mouth black bass here that a week before I almost caught on fishing equipment. If I had of been successful, it would still be a WORLD RECORD.
I headed for Guatemala City, passing through Valparaiso for the first time--of course never imagining at that time that I would eventually spend 26 years of my life there.
I bought flu medicines in Tactic and continued to the City where the next afternoon I had a date to have dinner with Berkley Spencer and his wife, Carolyn--he was considered by me to be the greatest missionary from my time, and was back in Guatemala working on his PhD. During that dinner I all of a sudden had my first attack of malaria resultant from the photo shoots in the jungle at night 15 days before. Berkley gave me medications.
The next day I headed for Mexico City where I had to go to the National Anthropological Museum to retake a couple of photographs for Garth, then continued north stopping at what we called...
Saturday, August 19, 1967.
"Then, they are used!"
"THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING"
Paradise Valley Plantation-
NOTE: Directly above is the peninsula of land circled by the road where years later the LDS Church would build a chapel, which in a scandalous move would later be destroyed by bulldozers.
HARD WORK AT THE VALPARAISO PLANTATION --
THE FAMILY IN COBAN
During the week I was separated from the family as I was working hard to manage a 600 acre property that was mostly undeveloped, but with 39 resident families--each head of household of whom I had to give employment for two weeks each month, while at the same time we needed profits to support ourselves, and begin paying off a lot of money we owed on the property.
On Sundays I would take my family to the plantation. The older kids would
go with me to visit the families in their huts, and almost immediately we had to begin treating the sick. On those Sunday evenings we began trying to awaken the Pokomchi-Mayans with the first movies they had ever seen.
Maria had moved with me to Guatemala with the agreement I wouldn't force her to "live out in the sticks," but soon all the children ganged up on her and insisted they all move to the plantation to help me 100% of the time. We first lived in the warehouse we used as our movie theater.
Other critics accused Maria and me of....
Gospel explanations about us trying our best to live Christ-like lives, “loving and helping the needy” fell on deaf ears! Gratefully there were a few who looked at it differently and began helping. By mid-1970 the Foundation began helping us with some of the expenses.
THE FASCINATING SOURCE OF THAT CRITICISM & IT'S REVERSAL
Surprisingly the accusation we "didn't love our children" mentioned above was leveled against us by Bob Arnold and his wife when they first arrived in Guatemala assigned to establish the LDS Seminary System in Central America.
That judgmental attitude towards us was a big part of the war of criticism against us in the early 70's, but with Harold Brown's (mentioned in a moment) help, at least with the Arnold's, was reversed by 1974-76 when he was the Mission President and by 1976 said,
"Valparaiso is the only place in the country where positive things are happening!"
And much more--described in the RELIGIOUS HISTORY that follows the report of this Risky...Journey.
The Vocational Education Program we called "learning with a shovel"...or a hoe, a chain saw, poultry, etc. was started immediately as I had to train those interested in how to work with poultry, hogs, cattle, carpentry, etc. None of the older workers called "colonos" would accept, so I made a juicy offer to their teenage boys and soon had a great group preparing them to manage profit producing projects.
Next came elementary education, started by Julie as mentioned in a moment, then a legally authorized school, along with adult literacy classes--and the plantation became known as:
A PROGRAM OF TOTAL DEVELOPMENT.
-- Keep reading to learn the details of the GOOD LIFE METHOD of helping Indians--(item #3 in the FINAL REPORT)
To be able to do so he sold their home in the Oakhills area of Provo, and rather lived in a less expensive rental home as well as also selling the culminating work of his life, Andersen Samplers & Consulting Service--mentioned previously. The Foundation and helping the needy in Guatemala then became his "labor of faith and love."
...misunderstanding, injustice, misjudgment, a spirit of competition rather than cooperation, faulty inspiration, and a lack of gratitude that developed among some people of influence.
NOT PLAYING THE VICTIMS
Out on the front lines, we didn’t meekly roll over as victims either, rather found ways to confront bullying and injustice, and rather multiplied our efforts to do good and save lives!
With the Foundation's help we were able to expand our efforts to many areas.
A LIST OF OUR FAMILY PROJECTS WHICH IN MID-1970 THE FOUNDATION BEGAN HELPING WITH, follows:
6. A Home Improvement Program doing our best to convert the huts into "healthy homes."
He arrived as a barefoot 16 year old, never having even brushed his teeth, nor given a speech in his LDS Chapel, but I sensed great potential in this humble Cakchiquel Indian teenager and chose him to be the first to learn to operate the tractor. He caught on quickly and eventually became the "Tractor Supervisor" teaching 26 other vocational students how to use the tractor plus much, much more explained more fully in the FINAL REPORT.
When Daniel returned to Patzicia 2-1/2years later he amazed the LDS members in Patzicia when giving a speech, one of the elderly leaders remarking, "He left here a boy, but returned a man!" He soon would become the first Mayan Indian to become a full-time missionary for the LDS Church.
The Foundation help for altruistic activities made possible using our profits to expand our business projects and employ more needy Indians in helping them become independent and even be able to help their own people. The Foundation offered to help with our children's education, paying for Calvert School correspondence courses in English and we accepted that.
Maria was busy taking care of the little children, eventually after Joey, Marcia, Danny, Michelle, Cindy and Celestina.
How grateful we were and are for the amazing support and encouragement we received over these 50+ years. Thanks to each of you from the bottom of our heart.
PROGRAM OF TOTAL DEVELOPMENT.
It was a method that was believed could have world-wide application to help any needy people. The effort was made to employ and save as many needy Mayans as possible, but on a broader long-term scale, we hoped our effort would:
In a bucket of Holstein milk you can throw in a quarter and see it on the bottom. In a bucket of Jersey milk you can throw in a quarter and also see it--FLOATING on the thick, creamy milk!"
I smilingly continue to have fun calling myself a
"Saving thousands, and helping tens of thousands of Indians to receive an education,"
wasn't apparently on his priority list.
...DESCENT PEOPLE APOLOGIZE WHEN THEY ARE WRONG.
More details of this visit will be described in the RELIGIOUS HISTORY, as part of the FINAL REPORT.
..BASED ON MISINFORMATION...& ITS OUTCOME!
Later, when the Utah Jazz moved from New Orleans to Utah, with games on KSL radio in the beginning, I found that I could pick up the last quarter of night games on my pickup radio by driving way up the mountain into guerrilla territory on the edge of the Chixoy Canyon where I had a direct line on Salt Lake. In the spooky darkness, I'd listen to "Hotrod" Hundley announce excitedly the last quarter of games--and I became the......
By 1981, when I moved her back to Provo, Utah because of the guerrilla war, she admitted that unjust criticism and lack of gratitude from Church leaders--and especially the blaming of us for "illegal adoption work," while letting those actually responsible, who had lied-- go unscathed and afterward even given higher callings, had her concluding that her years in Guatemala had "been hell," and she never wanted to live there again.
Note: The international adoption scandal story is told in item #18 in the FINAL REPORT.
--and I even did an emergency hernia surgery that I had a lot of fun retelling at BYU's 1977 Education Week in item #17, that tells the story of receiving that year the BYU Distinguished Service Award--and, while saving others from those serious diseases and conditions at times found myself coming down with the same, and then..
.... had to save myself.
For a number of years, we also helped sponsor the.....
....NATIONAL INDIAN FOLKLORE FESTIVAL...
The FESTIVAL is held in Coban on the last Saturday in July each year.
Marta Elena Hun, above, 15 years old, in her competition for “Daughter of the King of Heaven,” in 1985, shocked all by appearing dressed in a quipil made from a flour sack, and a tattered skirt, both over 100 years old, and in her speech explained:
I have now finished the COMPLETE FINAL REPORT with the unvarnished story--"before it's too late."
For more details my extensive files and many journals
will be be donated to a University library,
and will have to be used to unravel more of the life-long
if anyone is interested in the challenge.
And, it will be a risky challenge as demonstrated by one LDS General Authority--who had heard a scandalous version of my history and demanded I confess--so as I began a 2 hour long recounting of my history....his first response was, "The devil was deceiving you," but I continued undeterred, with him later shockingly injecting, "Satan was trying to destroy you!" But unbothered I continued with him gradually changing his attitude, eventually saying,
a spiritually perceptive spirit.