Friday, August 14, 2009

38b - Milt & Nora Watts Have Been Blessed by the Indian Student Placement Program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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TODAY'S THEME
The Prophet Moroni Prays Before Burying the Plates of Gold -by Tom Lovell
The prophet, Moroni, between A.D. 400 and 421 wrote:
Mormon 9: 30 Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words. (as written in The Book of Mormon)
31 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, (Mormon) because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.
32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.
35 And these things are written that we may rid our garments of the blood of our brethren, who have dwindled in unbelief.
36 And behold, these things which we have desired concerning our brethren, yea, even their restoration to the knowledge of Christ, are according to the prayers of all the saints who have dwelt in the land.
37 And may the Lord Jesus Christ grant that their prayers may be answered according to their faith; and may God the Father remember the covenant which he hath made with the house of Israel; and may he bless them forever, through faith on the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. (clarification and emphasis added)
I now will give you a second opportunity to focus on the dedicated and inspired efforts of a Latter-day Lamanite (Israelite) couple and also those faithful, loving Latter-day Saints around them throughout their lives thus far, who did much to help them do the great works of service to others you will soon read about which is in compliance with Moroni's plea expressed in verse 37 above.

Milt and Nora Thompson Watts

Scenes from the Catawba Reservation
Chief Blue of the Catawbas

Milt Watts began his earthly sojourn on October 10, 1947, far away from his current residence where he happily lives and serves among his wife’s people—the Navajo. Mortality began for Milton Watts, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, as the middle child of William and Eula Watts of the Catawba tribe. Milt is proud of his heritage and of his people’s conversion to the gospel. He recalls the history of their conversion:

“As I understand, some LDS missionaries came to the town of Rock Hill in the late 1880s. They were not well-received in town: indeed, they were tarred and feathered by the non- Indians and told not to come back. The missionaries took refuge on the outskirts of town, unaware of the Catawba Indians.

When some of the Catawba people found them, they said, 'Come and join us,' and took the missionaries to their homes, nurturing them back from the cruel treatment they had received. The missionaries taught the gospel to the Catawba people, and over the next twenty-five years, nearly all of the Catawba Indians joined the Church, including Chief Sam Blue. “I remember (that) he lived across the road from my school bus stop when I was a young boy. I used to play in his yard with my sister while we were waiting for the bus. I thought he was a fine old man. He could still do some of the Catawba dances in costume and sing. He was a faithful members of the Church and was invited by President George Albert Smith to speak in the Priesthood session of General Conference about 1949.

He was one of the last few who could speak the Catawba language. I don’t know if he is criticized by Catawbas or loved for it, but Chief Blue refused to teach others the Catawba language because he felt it would impede their progress in learning English, which they needed to learn to be competitive and have jobs. The language is almost extinct now. The tribe was terminated around 1959. There were about 500 people on the rolls, but when the tribe was again officially recognized in 1992, there were around 1200 that enrolled as Catawba members.”

Milt has happy memories of his early family life. His parents were members of the Church. He remembers watching his father build their home and having a desire to help, but he was a very small child at the time. That home had electricity but no running water. It was a small home, but to a child, it was a big house with huge trees surrounding it. Milt has a wonderful memory of his grandmother Arzada Sanders.
“I lost my shoes one day while staying at my grandmother’s house. I didn’t know what to do, so she helped me make shoes to wear to Primary that day. Grandmother fashioned my shoes from cardboard sewed to an old bedspread. The shoes didn’t last very long, but making them together was neat.”
Milt’s father dyed cloth at a textile mill, where many of the Catawba men worked. He also served as branch president and district president. Milt attended first, second, and third grades at the Catawba Indian School, a little two-room building on the reservation. He was a fairly good student and enjoyed school, especially because his grandmother was the cook. She would always set aside a special treat, a cookie or piece of fruit, for him, which he would claim at recess or after school.

In 1955 Milt and his family traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, where his parents were endowed and they were sealed as a family in the Salt Lake Temple. (At that time, most people had to travel a long distance to attend the temple.)
At the age of seven, Milt had a unique spiritual experience that confirmed his testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
“During the time my father was branch president, my family went to Salt Lake City to attend conference and to be sealed. While we were there, Brother and Sister Davis, friends of my parents, invited our family to dinner. Before we ended the night, we had a testimony meeting in which we sat in a huge circle because the Davis’s had a large family. As each person around the circle bore testimony in turn, I began to worry about what I would say when it was my turn. I wanted to say that I knew Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he really saw Jesus the Christ and the Father in the grove. As it got closer to my turn, a strong and definite feeling started to build: I knew Joseph was a prophet. When it came to my turn, it was almost impossible to speak, but as I bore my brief and tearful testimony, I felt a power within testifying that what I was saying was true and that if I believed it, which I did, I ought to do my best to always follow the Savior. My father was sitting next to me, and I was grateful when he reached over and put his arm around me. My parents were not openly affectionate people, and that occasion was one of the few times I remember my dad hugging me.”
The visit to Utah precipitated the family’s move there the following summer in July, when Milt was almost nine years old. He recalls, “My parents used to tell me that we moved to Salt Lake for three reasons: one, for the Church so that us kids could grow up where there were a lot of Latter-day Saints; two, for more stable and better employment for my dad; and three, so that we children could go to BYU. (Ironically, none of us did.)

"My father was able to find better employment as a mechanic and machinist at Margett’s Tool and Dye, later changed to Stokermatic.

“When we first moved to Salt Lake, my family lived in the 19th Ward about Third North and Center Street. We stayed there for about six years and then moved out to the Granite area.

The move to Granite was a difficult transition for me, much more than the move from the reservation to Utah. I started high school at Granite High School with no friends. Socially, I was shy, but people generally liked me. I played golf on the school team and saxophone in the high school band. I played basketball on the ward team. We had a great team! Seminary was a highlight for me. I attended all four years. (In those days, you graduated from seminary after three years; the fourth year was optional.)

I had some wonderful teachers and great experiences. When I was a junior, my seminary teacher, Kent Garner, stopped the class one day, came over to me, and stood me up. He said, ‘Class, this is an American Indian.’ I wondered, ‘What is he doing this for?’ Then he said, ‘This is a Lamanite! This is who we read about in the scriptures.’ Everyone was impressed. It was one of many experiences that touched me personally and made me think that somebody cared.

I think I was goal-oriented as a high school student, but my goals were general, not specific: get the best grades I can, don’t get in trouble, always be a good Latter-day Saint, go to college, go on a mission, and get married in the temple. I graduated from high school in 1965.”

Milt passed the entrance exams and was able to begin college at the University of Utah the following fall with the intent of going on a mission at age 19. When the bishop asked Milt where he thought he should go on a mission, Milt said, “I don’t know, but because I have studied French for two years in high school, maybe a French speaking mission like French Polynesia or Taihiti, or maybe somewhere where there are Lamanites and I can speak French too.


Milt was thrilled when he was called to serve in the Alaskan Canadian mission. Milt was able to talk to Stewart Durrant from Lehi, Utah, who had been released as mission president in Vancouver just a few months before. He said to Milt,
“You are very fortunate. You will probably spend about a fourth of your time working with your Lamanite people.”
Milt thought this mission was just right for him. Milt entered the mission home on his nineteenth birthday, October 10, 1966. Upon arriving at the mission home in Vancouver, Milt was informed by his mission president, President Arza A. Hinckley, that he would be leaving for Fort Saint James, 500 miles north of Vancouver, the following morning to join his companion Elder Eddie Brown. “I remember President Hinckley as he described Eddie to me; he said, ‘You go up and work hard and learn from Elder Brown—he’s a real firecracker.’ I wondered what a firecracker was like as a missionary, and I found out.

President Hinckley didn’t tell me Eddie was a Native American. That first day Eddie said to me, ‘Elder Watts, we’ve got a great responsibility here. We’ve got a work to do in this little area that’s mostly Native American. We’ve got to visit every family. Most of the missionaries in our mission don’t think highly of working with Native Americans. We’ve got to help them think differently. We’ve got to show the other missionaries that two Native Americans can work together and be good missionaries. The four elders you arrived with are now in a training program. They have to learn the missionary discussions and the mission handbook, and memorize all the scriptures in order to have driving privileges. I want you to earn your fully qualified status as quickly as they do.’
“Elder Brown and I worked hard in the area and were blessed with the opportunity to teach and prepare others for baptism. Not many people were interested in the gospel but they were interested in why two Indian boys were out preaching. Elder Brown was a great role model for me and had tremendous impact on my spiritual development. I’d been active in the Church my whole life, and I knew the Church was true; I had no doubt that after completing my mission I would continue to live the checklist of a good Latter-day Saint: pay my tithing, go to the temple, and have family prayer and family home evening. But from Eddie, I learned to really understand how the gospel was the heart of my life.

One day he asked me if I liked being a missionary. I responded, ‘Yeah.’ He continued to probe me with questions: ‘Is the work hard? Do you love the people? Do you love teaching them?’ I answered each question affirmatively and acknowledged that being a missionary was the hardest thing I had done in my life. Then he looked at me and said, ‘I love it. If I could get married, raise my family, and do what I’m doing, I could do this the rest of my life.’ That statement impressed me and caused me to ponder such great love.

I think many converts to the Church experience a spiritual conversion when they accept the gospel because they humble themselves and work hard to change their lives and priorities. For many lifelong members of the Church the change of heart process that Alma speaks of is a gradual process. My change of heart and spiritual conversion really began and was magnified in the mission field. My mission was life-changing because it helped me believe in who and what I was and helped me determine what I should do with my life.

Before my mission, my career goal was to be a schoolteacher. I met several people on my mission that influenced my future career decisions; one of them was Richard Black with LDS Social Services who encouraged me to go school and become a social worker; the second was Bruce Preece with CES (also one of the counselors in the mission presidency) who told me I ought to teach seminary. The more I thought of their suggestions for my life’s work, the more I became convinced that these were good ideas for me.”

After his mission, Milt began a part-time job at the Post Office and re -enrolled at the University of Utah, with the goal of becoming a sociology, health, or seminary teacher.

Although his part-time work paid well, Milt struggled to pay for school and make car payments until he met Verdo Thomas, a young black man, who advised him to apply for a scholarship and then took him to the Alberta Henry Education Foundation, where they personally met with Mrs. Henry.

Milt was able to obtain a scholarship, which greatly eased the financial burden of pursuing his education. One of the first things Milt noticed at the University was the lack of Native American students; the Dean of Students reported a total of five Native American students. Milt decided to seek assistance in creating a peer group. “I took my concerns to Joe Christensen, the Institute director. I said, ‘Brother Christensen, I grew to love the gospel and the Native American people as a missionary. I would like to marry a Native American. Brother Christensen replied, “That would be good for you.” I said, “You don’t understand. There are only four besides myself on campus, three men and one female, all are non-members. I want someone with the same standards and goals as I have. Through the assistance of several other brethren, Brother Christensen helped me organize a class and social group open to all Indians of college age anywhere in the valley. The effort was successful, especially for me because that’s where I met my wife, Nora.

"Nora was fun and attractive. She was different from other Indian women I had met in the Church; she seemed to have a deep and genuine testimony of the gospel. After a year of dating, Nora and I became engaged. We were married on March 12, 1971, in the Salt Lake Temple, by Elder LeGrand Richards, who was a family friend.”

For Milt, education has been one of the greatest blessings in his life. While obtaining a BS in education, he had a good experience completing his student teaching as a health teacher at Midvale Junior High School in Salt Lake.

After returning from his and Nora’s honeymoon, Milt was presented with a job offer from San Juan School District, where he was hired to teach English as a Second Language. The following year he went to work for the CES teaching seminary in Tohatchi, New Mexico.

Milt loved teaching. “I could not believe I was being paid to teach. My classes were all Lamanite students. I loved my work and thought I would like to be a seminary teacher for the rest of my life.” The year in Tohatchi proved a good but difficult experience. He faced the challenge of serving as branch president in a small branch with few active members. During the course of the year, Milt was in contact with his former missionary companion Eddie Brown who encouraged him to pursue a graduate degree.
Following Eddie’s suggestion, Milt spent the next two years as a student in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Utah. By the time he completed a masters degree, he was certain he was supposed to be a social worker.

“The graduate program offered job placements for summer employment of Native American students. My first summer in the program, I worked at an LDS Family Services day camp. The following summer I received an internship in the downtown Salt Lake LDS Family Services office. My coworkers at Family Services always talked about how great it was to work for the Church. I worked hard to do my best that summer and was thrilled when I was offered a position with the Utah office of Indian Placement just six months later.”

Although he enjoyed his work, Milt soon felt compelled to accept a job offer that would enable him to more adequately provide for his family. Over the next four years he worked first at University of Utah as an adjunct instructor and the coordinator of training in the Indian Alcohol Training program, and then at Arizona State University as a teacher of graduate and undergraduate level courses in the School of Social Work. During his time at ASU, Milt’s father passed away. Milt and Nora decided it was time to return to Utah, so Milt returned to work with the Indian Placement Program for the next seven years.

In 1986, the Watts moved from SLC to Price, Utah, when Milt transferred to the Price office. Milt recalls, “The time we spent in Price was the first time in my professional and personal life that we didn’t have anything to do with Native Americans, and after a while, we began to wonder why we were really there and what we were supposed to be learning.

During those years I learned an important lesson: I could work and serve among non- Indians, and as long as I did my best, was faithful, and obedient, it was acceptable to the Lord. I learned that my family and children could thrive and do well. I was called to be bishop. That was a choice experience, almost Zion-like, with a wonderful group of people. They were choice Latter-Day Saints.

We were blessed and grew living in an excellent ward. Nora worked with the young women. Our children were happy and involved in school activities. We enjoyed living in Price, we loved the experience there, but eventually I became restless, feeling that Nora and I weren’t doing all we should to bless the lives of our own people. Don Staheli informed me of a program LDS Social Services was considering.

After a visit with Clare Bishop I was invited to help begin Native American Community Services, a program in Salt Lake City for urban residential Native Americans. I felt fortunate to be involved with that opportunity.

“I loved working with Urban Indians. It was a challenge; we were one office trying to do everything: adoptions, counseling, employment, a monthly newsletter, and a lot of outreach work.”

After six years, Milt was asked to join the team in the LDS Family Services’ sex offenders, treatment program. This was a difficult and challenging opportunity.

 “Working with sex offenders was a unique experience because it taught me another spiritual lesson. The best part of the job was well put by fellow therapist Kent Peterson, who one day explained to me: "This work shows that regardless of who you are or no matter how messed up your life has been the Savior still cares about you, and you are still important to your Father in Heaven.’ In this sensitive position, I gained a new perspective, and I was able to assist some of our brothers and sisters as they worked to get back on track with their life.”

A short time later another opportunity bounced in Milt’s direction when he was asked to transfer to Window Rock, Az. to be the director of the first Church Employment Office for the people of the Navajo Reservation.

Milt remembers the challenges he faced while pioneering the program in Window Rock, “Window Rock was another difficult but good experience. My biggest challenge was in the pioneering effort, having no employment peer to confer with and being so isolated. As a start-up program, we struggled to find resources and jobs to fit the people. Everyone was pulling for the success of this important new effort but some of the leaders really hadn’t come to fully understand their rolls.” As months passed, Employment Services began to make a difference in the wards and branches on the reservation.

Milt was surprised when he was asked by John Beck, a respected leader in CES, to consider working for CES again. After discussion and prayer, Milt and Nora decided it was the right direction to go. Milt is currently employed by CES as a seminary coordinator with responsibility for many of the seminary programs on and around the reservation.

“Working with seminary has been my favorite job—I’m glad to be here again toward the end of my career. The seminary has changed significantly since I began in Tohatchi; it has a greater impact in the lives of students’ than it did years ago.

When the bar for missionaries was raised, the bar in seminary was raised as well because the youth had to be better prepared. It’s amazing how well the young people are starting to measure up. They have testimonies, and they’re standing up for who they are. It’s wonderful to be around the youth and come to know how knowledgeable they are, to hear them pray, to feel their spirit, and to know how strong their desire to follow the Savior really is. They are impressive in their strength. Good things are happening.”
Milt has served faithfully in the Church throughout his life. He has served as bishop of the Salt Lake Indian Fifth Ward and of the Price 8th Ward. He has also been branch president in Tohatchi and currently in Sheep Springs.

Milt is nearing retirement and now looks forward to serving a mission with Nora. As he reflects upon his life, Milt recognizes the hand of the Lord guiding him, teaching him to appreciate and honor his heritage, to gain skills, and to make a difference for his people. “I feel blessed to live at this time, to witness so many good things happening for the Native people who have testimonies and who are living the gospel. Their lives are changing, and their children’s lives are being blessed.

As important as the Placement program was, it didn’t allow Native Americans to experience living the gospel in their own homes and communities. Now conditions on the reservation have improved significantly and Latter-day Saint youth can be valiant living at home and attending the local schools. Milt wrote: We find the happiness, peace, and joy in life by being faithful and obedient. We’ll make mistakes, but if we’re faithful, we can always feel the love and influence of our Heavenly Father and Savior. We can depend on their Spirit to guide us if we’ll seek it.
“The major thing I’ve learned throughout my life is that the Savior lives and that He loves us. Because of that love, He and our Father desperately want us to come home. They want us to succeed."

I think the major challenge Native American LDS Church members face is not knowing the scriptures. The scriptures teach us how to receive personal revelation and how to cope with life’s difficulties. Answers can be found in the scriptures or through the guidance of the Spirit, which we receive when we prepare ourselves by studying the scriptures. Because of our identity and ties to our heritage, the Book of Mormon particularly shows us how to live. But all scripture, The Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and the Holy Bible, is profoundly important for all Latter-day Saints. There is wonderful, enduring strength to be gained when we understand the principles and doctrines taught in the scriptures and are willing to apply those teachings actively in how we live.”
Satellite Map Showing Sheep Springs, NM

Navajo Boy Herding Sheep

Nora Thompson Watts

Nora was born on August 11, 1948, in Fort Defiance, Arizona. Her parents, Adam and Rachel Thompson, had five other children: Gloria, Stella, Elvira, Paul, and Effie; Nora was their second child.

Nora was close to her older sister as they were growing up because for many years they had only each other. She also grew close to her younger siblings because in later years she was their primary caretaker while her parents were away from home.

Even though they were often away in town or at squaw dances, Nora recalls that her parents made sure their children had plenty of food and were well cared for. Nora remembers that their family was one of the fortunate ones to have a wagon to travel in and then later she remembers her family having a car.

Nora’s father was a Navajo policeman until health problems forced him to stay home; he also served as chapter president. Her mother was a homemaker and skilled weaver. Nora had a special relationship with her mother. “I was close to my mom. We got along well and did a lot together, even after I was married. We talked a lot. She told me about her early life and how she learned to spin and weave, and about herding sheep.

She told me about her mother, who lived with us when I was very young until the time of her death. My mom tried to teach me how to weave and spin, but I never got the hang of it. I still have the small rug she helped me make. I wish I would have tried harder to master those skills.” Nora and her siblings tended the sheep until they went to the boarding school in Toadalena, which Nora started at the age of five. The children were able to return home on holidays and occasionally on weekends.
At the age of eight, Nora began the Placement program after Elder and Sister Worthington taught her family the gospel.

Nora, along with her mother and grandparents, was baptized. Nora lived with the Grant and Eleanor Casper family in Heber City from the time she came to Utah in the third grade until she graduated from high school. “I had wonderful foster parents, and I learned a lot from them.

The Caspers had an older daughter, Darlene, and a boy that was my age, Gerald. Later on they had three more children. We all got along pretty well at the time, and we still do. We have kept close over the years. My family attends their family reunions, weddings, and other special events. We enjoy attending the temple together. Every Christmas, our families get together for parties and other fun activities.

“Going on Placement was initially hard for me. I didn’t speak English very well when I first arrived. My foster mom told me that at the beginning I would answer all questions with only yes or no. But I was able to overcome the challenges of language and homesickness. I enjoyed school; the other students were good to me, even though I was different from them. (I was the only Placement student in Heber until I was in high school.) I liked seminary, which helped me to grow spiritually during those years.
“I learned many things in my foster home that influenced me at the time and have carried over into my own family. Family Home Evening was always a special event held faithfully every Monday night. We took turns giving the lesson, and my foster sisters and I would bake cookies for a treat. Sometimes we would go visit other people for Family Home Evening, sometimes have a lesson or play games—it was always fun.

Milt and I have done the same thing with our children while they were growing up. We made sure to have regular Family Home Evening and family prayer. We went to church and made sure the kids went to Primary and Mutual. I know being faithful in those important principles of the gospel has strengthened our family. Three of our children have been married in the temple.

I give my foster family a great deal of credit for our success; they have been our example. I also learned important homemaking skills in their home: how to bottle fruit and vegetables, make bread, sew, and crochet. I still enjoy many of those activities.”
After high school graduation, Nora returned home to the reservation to spend time with her parents. A year later, she returned to the Casper’s home in Heber, where she stayed and worked as a seamstress. She also worked as a housekeeper in Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City and then at the Distribution Center.

Nora met her husband, Milton, at a fireside for Indian young adults living in the Salt Lake area. She recalls her first impression of Milt: “I thought he was kind of crazy when I first met him, because he was really funny. As I got to know him, I realized he was a special person. Our first date was to a University of Utah football game.

We were married in 1971 in the Salt Lake Temple. My parents and sisters came to the wedding, although they were unable to go in the temple. (My mom received her endowment in later years; my father never did in his lifetime, but we have since done his temple work.) Milt’s family was there, as well as my foster parents. We had a reception in Heber City.”

After their marriage, the Watts moved many times as Milt followed job opportunities. They initially settled in Salt Lake for six months, and then moved to Blanding, Utah, where Milt taught at San Juan High School for one year.

The following year, they moved to Tohatchi, New Mexico, where Milt taught seminary. After one year, the Watts moved back to Salt Lake City so that Milt could return to school for his master’s degree.

Over the years, the family has lived in Mesa, Arizona; Heber, Utah; Orem, Utah; Price, Utah; Kearns, Utah; and finally Gallup, New Mexico, where they are currently living.
Nora has been very involved in Church service. She is currently serving as the Primary president in the Sheep Springs branch which she had done for six years. Over the years she has served in many positions, including Relief Society first counselor and secretary, Young Women second counselor, Beehive advisor, Mia Maid advisor, and Relief Society Enrichment leader. Nora has enjoyed each calling and the blessings that have come with them. Nora and Milt are currently serving as ordinance workers in the Mesa Arizona Temple, helping with Lamanite sessions.

Nora’s hobbies are embroidery, crochet, quilting, and scrapbooking with the kids. The extended family also gets together for family reunions. “We set up tents in the mountains in Sheep Springs. We let the kids ride horses and have treasure hunts and games. We also get together with my foster family for fun reunions where we camp, hike and play fun games like water-balloon throwing and relays.

My foster sister has fun things for the little kids. We also go to the temple together and when we are in Salt Lake, we try to go to the movie at the Joseph Smith building and attend Conference together.

“I try to be a good example to my sisters and family members. I have always been grateful for the missionaries who taught me and my family the gospel. They changed my life. I have also been thankful for the example of my foster parents, who helped me build on that knowledge of the gospel, and the example of my mother, who joined the Church at the same time I did and was always a faithful member. She served as Relief Society president and would walk the two and a half miles to church every Sunday. My mother was the first person in the Sheep Springs branch to be buried in her temple clothing.

“I really love the people in our branch, and Milt and I are grateful to be here; we feel that we are able to do more here on the reservation than the other places we have lived. There are many Placement students in our branch who have fallen away from the Church, and we are trying to reactivate them. It’s been really hard work.

Sometimes we get up to 30 or 35 people at our branch meetings. Because the town is small, many members have to travel to attend church. We travel from Gallup to Sheep Springs each week. Summer is difficult because some people move their livestock up into the cooler climate of the mountains, only returning for food and supplies. We often struggle to know what we can do to strengthen the members in our branch, but we keep trying.

I love the gospel, and that love gives me the desire to keep trying to share my knowledge and feelings with others to help them come unto Christ. We feel that we have been able to be of more service by attending a branch on the reservation than we could in a city. We are happy being where we are.

“I think my greatest life achievements have been being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, going through the temple for my own endowment, having my children go through the temple, being sealed as an eternal family, and doing temple work for my deceased relatives. I am so blessed to marry a man like Milt, a returned missionary and worthy priesthood holder who is strong in the gospel of Christ. I often wonder how different my life would have been without such a strong, faithful companion by my side. It saddens me to see so many of my childhood friends now struggling. I know that without my Placement experience and the gospel in my life, I could be in similar circumstances. I am so grateful for the gospel and the wonderful examples I have had in my
life.”

Children of Milt and Nora Watts

Kimberlee: born in Shiprock, New Mexico, 1972; married Tom Martin; two boys, Tanner 12 and Spencer 7; lives in Draper; homemaker. Tom has an MBA and works in sales.

Rachel: born in Salt Lake, 1975; married Johnnie Van Valkenburgh; two children, daughter Lindzie 3 and son Bailey 1; lives in West Valley; works for American Express; Jonnie has an MBA and does computer work.
Josh: born 1979 and adopted at 11 months in Phoenix, Arizona, through LDS Social Services; lives in Draper.

Matt: born in Orem, 1981; served mission in Madagascar; married Heidi Funk; has one boy Jarom 11 months; lives in Murray; is completing a
degree in engineering at Weber State University.
The Watts also had the opportunity to have their niece Jennifer in their home for four years after the death of Nora’s sister Elvira. She was given the choice of which family she would like to be placed with until she turned eighteen, and she chose to live with the Watts. She is currently living in California.

As for the Blossoming II books. They are available on Amazon.com titled The Blossoming II: Dramatic stories in the Lives of Native Americans. Also both Blossoming books are available by contacting us by email: dm06shumway@yahoo.com, by mail 486 W 40 N. Orem, UT 84057, or by telephone 801 235 0986. The retail cost is for book I $12.95 and for book II $14.95 plus postage.

As for the Blossoming II books. They are available on Amazon.com titled The Blossoming II: Dramatic stories in the Lives of Native Americans.

Also both Blossoming books are available by contacting us (Dale and Margene Shumway) by email: dm06shumway@yahoo.com, by mail 486 W 40 N. Orem, UT 84057, or by telephone 801 235 0986. The retail cost is for book I $12.95 and for book II $14.95 plus postage.

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This website is not owned by or affiliated with the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church.

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TO ACCESS NEIL BIRCH'S BLOG INDEX To Either Read the Full Index Item Which Refers To This Blog Post, (Or An Item Which Refers To Any Other Blog Post You May Desire To Access): After Reading All of This Paragraph Please Click on the Following: (Present day) Lamanites Such as Milt and Nora Watts. - Post 38b. When You See the Picture of Our Savior Jesus Christ Sitting Next To a Little Boy, Please, Scroll Down To Your Target Item Or Use The Alphabetic Scrolling Device. (When It Has Been Installed.)

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Have You Really Read the Book of Mormon - Legal /Statement. Thank you for visiting. The author retains intellectual property and creative licensing rights. Permission to use or reprint must be given in writing. © Est.2008 Neil Birch Legal /Statement.

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I deeply appreciate your readership and hope you found very beneficial, that which was presented to you in this blog post.

If you have any questions about what you have read or viewed in this post or in any previous posts of mine, or if you even have a curiosity about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and or its teachings, please e-mail me. I'm Neil and my e-mail address is: jneilmelva@gmail.com. If you contact me I'll get back to you just as soon as possible.

I invite you to let your friends and relatives know about this blog if you think they would be interested. Please be advised that I also have an  additional blog. It is in Spanish: 
 Its content is translated from the English in this blog.

Neil Birch

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was studying about the Catawba Indians and am intrigued about these people who accepted the Restored Gospel and the Book of Mormon. I am honored to read your story. What a great heritage you have.

Victoria Huish

judy canty martin said...

I am a Catawba descendant, one of your relatives. Evans and Lucy Marsh Watts and your ancestor William dAvid and Nancy Christina Wats Watts. I would like to share genealogy with you. I have some photos and things.
Judy Canty Martin