The Most Patriotic Fast and Testimony Meeting Ever

Toronto (actually Pickering), Ontario, Canada, July 2, 2006.

I don’t have any way of actually measuring levels of patriotism, but as I sat in fast and testimony meeting this morning in my parents’ ward in Spokane, Washington, proudly wearing the American flag tie which my mother had bought for all her sons, noting the many men around me wearing the exact same tie, listening to some silly and self-indulgent, but also some heartfelt and moving testimonies, nearly all of which revolved around family, kin, children, freedom, the Restoration, and the United States of America, I found myself unable to get fervent, pious, and patriotic testimonies I heard that morning in Canada out of my mind.

We were visiting old and dear friends from graduate school, and had enjoyed a wonderful Canada Day celebration with them the day before (July 1, of course). That morning we left to track down a local ward, and arrived in time to listen to a very fine testimony meeting. The percentage of those who spoke who actually made some reference to their country and its blessings was smaller than the percentage of Americans who mentioned it this morning, but they made up for it with their passion. Not a lot of generalized stuff for them: their Canadian patriotism was specific and concrete. A older man testified of the generosity and Christian decency of his country, noting that he’d likely have died several times over from a life-long pulmonary disease if the Canadian people hadn’t committed themselves to universal health care. An African immigrant in broken English wept as she expressed her deep love for Canada, for having provided a refuge for her family and, more importantly, having introduced her to social workers and volunteers that led her to the gospel. A young woman, while testifying of the truthfulness of the church, mentioned the wonderful legacy of the Canadian Mormon communities in the western provinces; this almost inspired me to go up to the pulpit, to talk about my grandmother, Edra Young, and the trials and blessings which attended her life while growing up in Cardston. I’m glad I didn’t though, because the one arguably unfortunate note in the whole meeting came immediately after her testimony, as an American missionary from Utah stood up, somewhat sheepishly said he was feeling left out, spoke about the upcoming July 4th, and bore his testimony of the place of the United States in the restoration of the gospel. Given that he was, I believe, the only non-Canadian there besides ourselves, I thought his words were out of place. But immediately after that–confirming (as if it needed any confirmation) Canadian nice-ness–a kindly grandmother, an immigrant from Great Britain, stood up, and spoke in her testimony how the gospel had held her family together when she was a little girl during the London Blitz sixty-six years before, and how grateful she was for the Canadian and American servicemen and members she’d known at that time. All in all, it was a wonderful, both spiritual and patriotic, feast. It was enough to make me wish that Canadians were as lame as us Americans and would finish up their July holiday meetings with a rousing “O Canada!” but no; we just had an ordinary hymn. (We got three patriotic American hymns in Spokane today.)

What are your experiences with patriotism and testimony meetings? Let’s not be negative; let’s focus on the positive elements which such feelings of belonging and nationality can sometimes add to one’s spiritual witness. Or, failing that, let’s just tell funny stories about the most patriotic testimonies and testimony meetings you’ve ever experienced. Though I promise you, I don’t think anyone will beat that Sunday in Pickering, four years ago.

Comments

  1. as today marks the 28th anniversary of arriving in the United States, I bore my testimony how God has blessed my life in the manner in which we arrived in America from Romania. If anyone is interested in how we got here, I’ll retell the story, otherwise I won’t. :) Some of you already know the story.

  2. I would be interested in hearing more of Dan’s story.

  3. Russell,

    Our sacrement meeting had a lot of patriotic sentiment shared, but it was done in a modest and tasteful way. I am trying to have a better attitude about such things.

  4. We had the perfect blend of spirituality and patriotism in our meeting. I forgot your story, Dan, tell it again.

  5. I was pleasantly surprised today. I had planned to sit out in my car and work the lesson I was to give in RS. But the Spirit told me to go in so I did.
    We sang “Know this that every soul is free” and “Who’s on the Lord’s side who?” and a sacrament hymn.
    The testimonies were great. No coded language about politics. People shared their experiences with restrictions while living in other countries and how they felt when they returned. One guy talked about the patriotism he observed in Norway while serving his mission in the 70’s. Many bore their testimony about the restored gospel and how they’ve been blessed.
    I thought it was great 4th of July sacrament meeting. This was in Washington State.

  6. L-d Sus says:

    We had a baby blessing in my ward (Florida) and the family members of the baby dominated testimony meeting. They were mostly from Columbia, so not a lot of 4th of July mentioned in their testimonies. Still, they expressed love of the gospel and of family. Although they didn’t mention American very often, my definition of “America” expanded a little bit today.

  7. “It was enough to make me wish that Canadians were as lame as us Americans…”

    “Let’s not be negative; let’s focus on the positive elements…”

    Which example do you want us to follow?

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    Ours was pretty much par for the course of a 4th of July testimony meeting, until about halfway through. At that point a black sister stood up. She spoke for at least ten minutes. And since she didn’t use the normal patter of the formulaic testimony, her words were both fresh and incredibly powerful. It was all sort of disjointed, so I didn’t quite grasp the chronology. But among other things she was drunk and still drinking one night at 3 a.m. when an LDS commercial came on. Something told her to call the number. When the sisters came, she was in the hospital, so they visited her there. Eventually she joined the Church.

    Apparently, recently they had a fire and lost everything. The first people to show up were the bishop and his wife, who asked what they could do. I get the impression she had been inactive at that time, but none of that mattered. She said the Church saved her life, and she looked back at the bishop and told him she would always remember how he and the church came to her rescue.

    Then she told us we have to be better about being welcoming to others, to strangers that come among us. Even if they don’t look like us. That’s what Jesus did; and we’re not better than Jesus.

    It was a stunning sermon, all the more powerful because it was not rehearsed, but entirely genuine.

    So yeah, it was a good testimony meeting today, but not for having anything to do with the 4th.

  9. oudenos says:

    Not a trace of patriotism (except the obligatory 4th of July songs) until a visitor from Burley, Idaho got up and got all blubbery about the founding fathers and then she expressed her gratitude that They brought America into being so that “the Restoration could happen.”

  10. We had one looooong prayer in an auxiliary meeting that went too far for my taste in jingoism, but otherwise the content in our meetings was appropriate. We have somewhat an international ward — a baby was blessed today, born in Utah to a father from Spain and a mother from one of the South American countries, I forget which one — and many of the testimonies mentioned gratitude for religious freedom in this country; some of those testimonies were by DAR types, and others by immigrants and some by visitors. One member, a black man, talked about listening to his grandfather’s war stories, how he was asked how he could fight for America when he was treated so poorly outside of the military; he said he did it because of his hope that one day things would be different. The member bearing his testimony said he wanted to keep alive the sacrifices of his ancestors, including an uncle who had been a POW in Korea. We sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies” — I really liked the postlude music that Brother K. started playing immediately and triumphantly after the closing prayer — “God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand.” Beyond the many star-spangled ties and scarves, it was a very low-key July 4, with the emphasis on the gospel, flavored with a suitable amount of gratitude for political liberty.

  11. Ron Madson says:

    I was doing good this Sunday when our new counselor in the Bishopric shared faith in Christ and how it should be inclusive of even differences. That diffused to a degree the jingoism that followed. I was good until HP lesson and our HP group leader started off quoting the arguably mythical White Horse Prophecy and then proudly stating he had been a member of John Birch society, followed by thinly veiled comments as to the devil Obama, Glenn Beck anti-socialism quotes, and then Harry Reid has no business being a member of the church. American Exceptionalism? My response to nationalistic pride? Isaiah 40: 15-17. On the other hand, I could see how a Dane could have pride in being the happiest people in the world given their desire to have much in common and charity to take care of basic needs of all citizens.

  12. Today I bore my testimony about how God helped us get out of Romania. Romania, in the 1970s, was ruled by Nicolai Ceausescu, a truly bad dictator. His Securitate, or Secret Police, had gotten very paranoid. Anyone who has seen the German film “The Lives of Others” will know exactly what I’m talking about. My mother had gone to a Evangelical church run by a local gypsy in Medias, the city we where we lived. The Securitate found out and put my mother in prison for six months. My sister and I stayed with our grandparents in a small village 30 miles north. My memories of Romania were pleasant. They included running into the nearby forest at my grandmother’s house, or exploring Medias with my friends. I didn’t know of what had happened to my mother, because both she and the Securitate did their best to shield me and my sister from their horrors. I credit them for doing this.

    While in prison, the Securitate went to my mother with an offer for being released. Work for them as a spy. Keep an ear and an eye out on her neighbors and report in. She agreed and had done this for about one year, if I have my timeline right. This dual life tore at her being and she pondered throwing herself in the Mures river (the river running through Medias). She felt a distinct presence from God when pondering this option, and she thought of us, my sister and I. She thought there was a better option. She went to her Securitate handler and asked him if she could spy for Romania in America. Amazingly they agreed! They furnished her and her two children with passports and visas to go to America. All that remained was paying for the ticket.

    This is where my father comes into the story. See, the reason my mother went to the gypsy Evangelical church was because my father had cheated on her, fathering a son with another married woman. That woman and her husband had publicly confronted my father over this new baby. Humiliated and embarrassed, my father decided to flee the country. With one of my uncles on my mother’s side, he locked himself in a crate on a freight train to Austria, spending three wickedly stressful days in the train making sure not to be spotted by border guards. They had arrived in Austria dirty and smelly as hell. They found their way, through Austrian police, at a refugee camp where they were sponsored to come to America by someone in San Francisco. From there, my father moved down to Houston where you find a large Romanian population (mostly Romanian Baptists who had used the Baptist church as their way out of the country). He had attempted to convince his wife to come to America, but she had refused for several reasons. 1. He did actually cheat on her. 2. He fled, leaving her all alone in Romania. 3. She was working for the Securitate. She could not just leave. He never knew any of the last part, and seemed oblivious to the damage he had done with the first two. In any case, he did have the money for the plane tickets when the time came.

    We first went to Rome, on our way to America. We stayed in Rome for about 3 or so days, filing paperwork and visiting doctors to ensure we didn’t bring anything bad over to America. Finally, we went on our flight, and arrived in New York City 28 years ago today.

  13. I don’t really understand this post. So it was good for the Canadians to specifically laud Canada in their testimonies, but it is bad for Americans to specifically laud America? Would you like it if an American stood up in your ward today and “testified of the generosity and Christian decency of his country, noting that he’d likely have died several times over from a [horrible disease] if the [American] people hadn’t committed themselves to [capitalist system that encourages innovation and technology to find new treatments for said disease]. If it was passionate, would you have approved? I guess I am just not getting your point.

  14. Benjamin says:

    I wasn’t looking forward to Sacrament today because we have a pair of characters that are just a little too over the top in their politics. They both did speak today, and were predictably zealous, but they did manage to stick to nationalism and avoid politics. But the majority of the testimonies were actually about the Savior and the atonement, and even a very touching story about a priesthood blessing the day before.

    I will admit, however, I almost cheered when the last brother to speak commented that he loved the United States–not because it was better than any other country, but because he lived here, and that made it special to him. It was nice to hear someone articulate that as well as he did that US nationalism is not a central tenet of the gospel.

    Overall, I was pleased with the meeting.

  15. Oudenos, sorry to hear that a patriotic rube crapped all over your meeting. I can only imagine your discomfort.

  16. So it was good for the Canadians to specifically laud Canada in their testimonies, but it is bad for Americans to specifically laud America?

    Not at all, Stephanie; I thought highly of–and fully agreed with–some of the patriotic piety expressed in the testimony meeting I attended this morning. It’s just so happens that, not unlike many other Independence Day-oriented fast and testimony meetings I’ve attended, it seemed to me that the wonderful stuff was offset by some genuinely silly stuff as well. Unlike some people, I personally kind of support and like sincere, thoughtful expressions of faith which are mediated through or alongside an attachment to a country. The problem is that often it isn’t sincere or thoughtful. Anyway, I just happened to find myself thinking about that Canadian testimony meeting this morning, because there really wasn’t a single false note in it (except for the tone-deaf missionary, that is). That’s why I asked people to share positive stories, if they have such; I really do like them.

  17. Mark B. says:

    In our testimony meeting today we sang hymns celebrating our membership in the kingdom of God, and those who spoke bore testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. One person mentioned that it was the Fourth of July and that he was grateful for this country, and another spoke of how moved he was last weekend when he was in Washington, and read the words of Lincoln’s speeches (the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural) chiseled into the marble at the Lincoln Memorial.

    We’re saving our celebration of America for the branch barbecue tomorrow night.

  18. I wrote about my difficulties with patriotism exactly a year ago today, and I feel more or less the same now as I did then. And yet, while I steel myself against the patriotic onslaught every year, I must admit that I cannot help but feel emotionally energized and encouraged while singing the SSB, MCTOT, or other patriotic melodies. Such was the case yet again today.

    Happy Independence Day to all!

  19. A favorite near-July-4th experience of mine is when our ward choir sang “I Vow to Thee My Country”, a nice patriotic British poem sung to Holst’s “Jupiter” that highlight not only love of and duty to country in its best form, but also the greater beauty and power in God’s kingdom which knows no boundaries. Patriotism with perspective.

  20. Earlgirl says:

    Our ward just outside Spokane Washington is about half military families. At any given time, at least 10-12 families have husbands deployed. When the sacrifices are all around us, gratitude and appreciation aren’t just vague sentiments. There was palpable emotion when those ‘lame’ songs were sung today. My father is a veteran, and he can never sing “who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life” without tearing up. I get choked up at the memory of it. I think, if you’re feeling cynical about patriotism, you may just be a little too removed from what it costs to be free. It isn’t just USA specific, I don’t think a sense of humility and honor of sacrifice has borders.

  21. Ron Madson says:

    Do our present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have anything to do with preserving our “freedoms.” Explain?
    Speaking of “choking up” my then 87 year old father who had served in Patton’s infantry and gave his fill of sacrifice ‘choked up with tears” when he told me that he believed that our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are wars of aggression/revenge and was grossly immoral? Was he wrong? Does his opinion have more weight because he served in military then those that did not?

  22. Latter-day Guy says:

    I do have a love for my country; I feel patriotic. However, sometimes the way this is expressed within the Church makes me uncomfortable. As Earlgirl pointed out, having family members in the armed forces tends to color one’s feelings significantly, and certainly brings the reality of the price of many of our blessings closer to home. Too often, though, the line between appropriate patriotism and jingoism is distressingly blurry. Sometimes it seems there isn’t a line at all. For me, in Mormon settings it is particularly difficult not to be a bit cynical about all this; the fires are doused somewhat by thoughts like those below by Ambrose Bierce:

    ––PATRIOT, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

    ––PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

    In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

    ––CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

  23. Latter-day Guy says:

    19, I quite like that text too. (The fact that the music is Holst doesn’t hurt either.)

  24. I was thinking of the testimony meeting reported in the media that took place in Utah in the early days of the Iraq war and someone got up and said if there were any Democrats in the congregation who didn’t support the war he would be happy to meet them outside in the parking lot. I’m sure that was very uplifting.

  25. I was out in the hall with a fussy baby, but from what I heard of the testimonies (and from what my wife told me later), almost all were appropriate. The one exception was from a brother I knew would get up and share his testimony on July 4th–and even that testimony wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected.

    Had I had opportunity to speak, I would have mentioned how grateful I was for the freedoms I enjoy. I would then state that I’m happy our July 4th fast-and-testimony meeting was centered on the gospel, and that, unlike my first week in a ward in Idaho Falls, there was no enormous flag hanging wall-to-wall at the front of the chapel all during sacrament meeting. That I was happy I lived in a country that allowed me to worship God, and didn’t force me to worship something else (such as the country or the country’s ruler).

  26. Kristine says:

    Cort (19)–we miss your excellent musical taste around here!!

  27. oudenos says:

    Thanks, gst, for your condolences. I really like rubes, I am of rube stock and I have many rube sensibilities and I take pleasure in rube hobbies. Seriously. I just don’t like when a visitor from 1000 miles away who doesn’t know the ward, its members, or its particular community flavor, changes the tenor of a meeting which included the testimonies local members which focused on serving one another, amazing priesthood blessings to relatives who are not members, forgiveness after years of bitterness, declarations of joyful living within a marriage where one spouse is active while the other is disaffected, and Jesus as the rock on which everything else stands. The visitor’s Glenn Beck parroting and weeping were totally out of place and incongruent with the general spirit of the meeting.

    Oh, and the visitor was really nice. We spoke after the meeting and she was a salt o’the earth, southeast Idahoan and immediately likable. I just didn’t appreciate her jingoistic hijacking of our local service.

  28. “I just didn’t appreciate her jingoistic hijacking of our local service.”

    oudenos,

    Nothing in your first comment (#9) suggested that the visitor was being jingoistic. Are you sure you’re not being xenophobic?

  29. Daniel, is your mother a Mormon?

  30. “What are your experiences with patriotism and testimony meetings?”

    Yesterday, we sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” as our closing hymn. As per custom, we stood to sing. I think it was the first time my 4-year old had ever done that, at least as far as he can remember, and he was demonstrably excited about it to the point where he was kind of dancing a little on the pew. At about the point in the first verse where there’s an implied fermata with the “land of the free” line, out of the corner of my eye, I see my 4-year old launch about a dozen pennies, nickels, and dimes straight up into the air. (I found out later that he’d raided our change tin prior to church and had stowed them in his pockets to take to church to share with his CTR friends.) Unfortunately, several coins landed on people as far as three rows away. I was feeling comfortably patriotic until that point, but those feelings were quickly supplanted by other less charitable feelings. I did tell the people around us that they could keep the change, though, so I think that smoothed over some ruffled feathers.

  31. I baptized our youngest daughter on Saturday, and we had extended family attend – most of whom we haven’t seen for up to six years. They spent the weekend and will be visiting Nauvoo and Carthage with us tomorrow – so it has been a blessed weekend that nothing could have spoiled.

    Nothing really tried to spoil it on Sunday. There was one explicitly patriotic testimony, but it wasn’t over-the-top. We stood to sing the SSB as the opening hymn, and we sang ATB as the closing hymn – and our ward sings well, so that actually was a plus.

    The highlight was a sister who bore a powerful testimony about learning of her schizophrenic uncle’s love for her specifically because God refused to answer a heartfelt prayer and instead arranged events in her life to be able to attend to that uncle’s affairs after his death. It was moving and beautiful.

    Hearing my baby brother bear a wonderful testimony to my daughter didn’t hurt at all – even if hearing that he now is a High Priest made me feel very old.

  32. If I can stop laughing about jimbob’s post, which is awesome, I will apologize for the Burley testimony. I lived there for 10 years and endured some very patriotic “testimony” meetings. Everyone who lives there isn’t like that but it is very much the norm.

    Living in Utah County now, I braced for the worst but the meeting started off with a ten minute talk about the founding fathers and then was pretty mellow. The usual longwinded lady did take us 10 minutes over time, which you could predict because there were 6 people waiting behind her and she stated up front that she didn’t want to take too much time. She’s pretty consistent that way.

    I am a Canadian and grew up hearing the sincere kind of testimony in the original post. Canadians are in the tough place of living in a pretty awesome country but always having it held over them by some arrogant and outspoken Americans that if it weren’t for the USA, Canada wouldn’t be what it is today. (If America wasn’t protective, Canada wouldn’t be able to secure it’s border. If America decided to invade, Canada would be helpless to defend itself. etc.) Some of that seeps into church sometimes. “If it weren’t for the USA being the promised land, you Canadians wouldn’t have the restored gospel,” is kind of how it comes across. Canadians are polite to a fault and will go to great lenghts not to offend anyone – I guess it wears off a bit in my case but I hope that giving my point of view might offer some insight. (I hope I haven’t been rude!)

  33. Mark B. says:

    Having a wife who recently became a Canadian again (thanks to a change in their citizenship laws) and at the same time becoming, to my surprise, the father of five Canadians, I’m a bit partial to the True North. But, if it weren’t for the U.S., Canada would have a helluva lot of illegal immigrants from Mexico. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But maybe Canada wouldn’t have a bunch of politicians trying to outdo themselves on how mean-spirited they can be towards the Mexicans.

    And Burley isn’t in SE Idaho. It’s in south central Idaho. Rube or no, get your geography at least close.

  34. Mark B, which Canadian politicians try to outdo themselves in mean-spiritedness regarding Mexicans?? I cannot recall ever hearing mention of Mexicans by a single politician or single CBC radio broadcast (to which I listen regularly, formerly everyday). Any racism is directed at the aboriginals, thank you very much.

    Russell, I am uncomfortable around much patriotism. The first time I ever got into it was during the Vancouver Olympics. I think before that I’ve only ever been patriotic in a defensive response to some Americans and their too-frequent arrogance and ignorance about the rest of the world.

    I don’t see a place, really, for patriotic messages in sacrament meeting. I was born here by chance and my country is great but so are lots of other countries. *shrug*

    That said, we did sing O Canada on Sunday as we have in every ward and branch to which I’ve belonged in the 14 years I’ve been a member. And in Sault Ste. Marie, we sang The Star Spangled Banner because some of our members were from Sault, Michigan. Two great anthems. Love getting to sing them.

  35. Our Bishop told the congregation to focus on Christ and not the 4th of July. Which people did in their testimonies. Although we did sing the Star Spangled Banner for our closing hymn. (I keep forgetting there are multiple verses!)

  36. Mark B. says:

    Natasha, I think you misunderstood me. I was speculating (and hoping) that Canadian politicians wouldn’t sink into the same gutter that American politicians have (regarding Mexicans) if the U.S. were to disappear and Canada suddenly became next-door neighbors to Mexico.

    The only immigration related news I remember hearing from Canada was the scandal that arose in connection with the fast-tracking of immigration for Eastern European strippers. Apparently there are jobs that Canadians just wouldn’t do, or, perhaps, were not qualified for. : )

  37. ardentorpheus says:

    Mark,

    Blah. Yes, I see that now. Doh.

  38. Kristine says:

    “(I keep forgetting there are multiple verses!)”

    I’m just sorry we took this one out of the hymnal:

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
    A home and a country should leave us no more!
    Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

  39. DAMN. That was not supposed to happen. Was logged in to an old book-on-blog project and that name came up automatically.

  40. Always my favorite verse, Kristine!

  41. Arlene,

    #29,

    Yes, she is Mormon.

  42. Melynna says:

    We had lots of patriotism. Some glorification of the military, a story about an angel appearing to Columbus, and a story about an angel appearing to the signers of the Declaration of Independence. People were gushing.

  43. Kristine says:

    Yeah, Ardis, me too. My mother reports that my gleeful singing of “their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution” was quite alarming when I was a little kid. :)

  44. Left Field says:

    As an Orioles fan, I always enjoy going to Yankee Stadium and seeing thousands of Yankee fans stand up, face the flag, salute, and sing a song about Baltimore.

    But really, you’ve got to sing the second verse. Otherwise we leave poor Brother Francis forever standing there on the boat peering into the gloom, never finding out whether the star-spangled banner yet waves or not.

  45. Ron Madson says:

    #42, Melynna,

    I wonder if the people in your ward “gushing” over Columbus seeing an angel know if Columbus saw the angel before or after his first journal entry I am pasting here along with the Priest Bartolome’s commentary?:

    Columbus’ first journal entry upon meeting the Arawak indians: ”They brought us parrots and cotton and spears and many others things. They willingly traded everything they owned. They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They had no iron. They would make fine servants. With fifty men we could subjugate them and make them to whatever we want.” Through murder and torture he conscripted indians to search for gold. Not finding the promised gold on his second voyage he had to fill up his ships with something, so he went on a great slave raid, picked up five hundred captives to take to Spain. Two hundred died on the voyage. The rest arrived alive in Spain and put up for sale by the local church official. Said Columbus:

    “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

    Bartolome preserved these records and added with fear and trembling the atrocities he observed in his book “The History of the Indies.” The conscripted indians were treated as follows:

    “As for the newly born, they died early because their mothers, overworked and famished (starving) had no milk to nurse, them and for this reason while I was in Cuba 7,000 children died n the mines, wives died at work, and the children died in three months. Some mothers even drowned their babies from sheer desperation. In this way, husbands died in the mines, wives died at work, and children died from lack of milk. My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and how I tremble as I write..”

  46. John Mansfield says:

    For Mark B. and Natasha, from Maclean’s a couple weeks ago: “Who doesn’t get into Canada”

  47. I know that wasn’t addressed to me, John, but, what is the point you are trying to make with that article?

  48. John Mansfield says:

    JustMe, Mark B. and Natasha expressed some interest in Canadian political debate over immigration policy, so I thought they might like a current article from a Canadian news magazine.

  49. Mmm, no. I just argued that Canadian politicians don’t much talk about Mexicans. Because I’m an idiot who can’t read.

  50. So an exposition article on what the government is trying to hide by filtering immigrants based on their ability to integrate into Canadian society is equivalent, in your opinion, to American politicians grandstanding about American relations with Mexico and the current immigration issues?
    If it is, I think you’re grasping at straws.
    And, I really hope Natasha was being sarcastic when she called herself an idiot.

  51. Not sarcastic. Just self-deprecating. I’m not really an idiot. I just dabble from time to time.

  52. John Mansfield says:

    “JustMe,” though Natasha focused on discussion of Mexican immigrants, Mark B. said he had never heard of any Canadian immigration issues at all, over than work visas for strippers. The pattern shown in that article is more pragmatic and less volatile or teary than American immigration debate. You, for example, were able to catch on use the phrase “filtering immigrants based on their ability to integrate into Canadian society” for what the article calls “effectively shutting off the tap” for family unification visas for Latin American, Caribbean, and African candidates.

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