Sunday, September 27, 2009

38m - Part 2 - Doris Clark "I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God."

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TODAY'S THEME
King Benjamin Preaches to His People (in about 124 B.C.) -by Gary Kapp
Mosiah 2: 41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
Those words of admonishment spoken by the great prophet-king, Benjamin, apply to each of us.

I feel that if she (Doris Clark), who is the subject of this particular post, were asked if the blessings that come to the righteous, have really come to her and her husband and their children, she would probably say, (in her own special humility) "Well, I really hope so, but we've got many imperfections we are still working on."

As you will learn in this post, there are many who have dearly loved Doris and would sing her praises for the progress she made in her younger years and are very pleased with the progress which Alfred, Doris and their children continue to make in this life.

Alfred and Doris Morris Clark
Winslow, Arizona Today
Doris Morris was also born in the Winslow, Arizona, Indian hospital. She was born there January 24, 1962, ( 105 days after her husband-to-be, Alfred Clark) the daughter of Lena Wilson and Herman Lister. Lena Wilson was a single mother, and Doris knew nothing about her father until the summer of her eighth-grade year when her mother informed her that her father had been killed in a vehicle accident.

Her parents had never married and Doris was born when her mother was very young. For an unknown reason, her father wanted his identity to remain a secret. He had a drinking problem and when he came home drunk he would often discuss his daughter with his mother and sisters, but the family didn't meet Doris until after her father’s death.

Doris’s mother was a hard-working, caring mother, and Doris remembers feeling loved and happy. “Mom always took good care of me. I remember her rubbing my legs at night when I had growing pains. Because my mother raised us primarily on her own and because I was the oldest, I took a lot of responsibility on myself.

(I had a step-father, but he was generally working away from home.) I don’t know if my mom assigned me that responsibility or if I just claimed it (my sisters tell me I was very bossy). I had five younger sisters: Marjorie, Marilyn, Sharon, Carol, and Sheila. My mother also had a still-born son, but we never were told much about him; our culture doesn’t talk about those things and as children we were not allowed to attend his burial.

“My sisters and I enjoyed playing together as children. On the reservation, children don’t have a lot of toys, so we made our own. We played school, house, and store, using trash from the dump as our groceries. We also liked to imitate the Navajo ceremonies we’d seen, with one of us being the medicine person.”

Doris attended preschool in Indian Wells, and then went to Dilkon boarding school for her first, second, and third grades. Her mother spoke only Navajo, so Doris had to learn English at the school. But in spite of the challenges of the language and the homesickness of dorm life, she enjoyed school and has happy memories of that time in her life. She recalls, “I’d like to think I was a good student and that I followed the rules. My favorite thing in school was learning how to write. My mother didn’t go to school, and I remember thinking that if I could learn how to write, I could go home and teach my mother. We never got very far, but she did learn how to write her name in cursive.

“Another school highlight was being in a play when I was in third grade: I was a tree and had only one or two lines but it increased my self-esteem. I also remember the year of the big snow when we weren’t able to go home for Christmas. We received gift bags that had been donated by a church and filled with coloring books, crayons, and paper dolls.”

As a child, Doris did not attend church with her family, but she remembers attending the Christmas programs at the Presbyterian Church. When the LDS missionaries started coming around, Doris and her sisters were instructed to run inside the house, close the curtains, and lock the doors. She remembers sitting quietly on the floor, not saying anything, until they could hear the missionaries leave. “I’m sure there were times the elders caught us unexpectedly, when we didn’t have time to run into the house. As children, we had no problem with the missionaries and actually enjoyed them. I’m really glad they didn’t give up on us. Eventually they were able to talk to my mom and grandmother about the Placement program. The Elders knew Navajo, so they were able to communicate with my mom. My mother was interested and asked that we be given the lessons, which she sat in on as well. My Aunt Dottie and I were the only children old enough to get baptized. I remember loading up in the elders’ missionary vehicle. They took us to a chapel in Joe City, where we were baptized in the font, along with a number of other children. When I was baptized, I didn’t understand what I was doing. I just figured it was a necessary procedure before I could go to the faraway school I had heard about. Little did I know what an important step I was taking that day at the age of nine. I don’t know who those missionaries were, but I have often thought how nice it would be to find them and thank them for not giving up. They probably didn’t realize that one baptism brought generations of children into the gospel. My mother and grandmother were baptized many years later by Brother and Sister Fisher, missionaries from Salt Lake City.”

Going on Placement was exciting for Doris, although she didn’t quite understand all that it meant at the time. “I remember getting on the bus and saying goodbye to my mom, not realizing exactly how far I was going or how long I was going to be gone. As we drove through the Hopi reservation, I would sit up at each little village we passed through, thinking, ‘Okay, this is Utah.’ As the night wore on I was too excited to sleep. I would see lights in the distance every time we neared a big city and I would think that we had reached our destination, but we always kept driving through. When I woke up the next morning and saw the sun coming up, I knew we were a long way from home. After we got to the church, I was called into a little room and introduced to the Harold Anderson family from Orem. They were nice to me and seemed like a nice family. We loaded up my suitcases and drove to my new home. Everything was exciting to me, a big home, sharing a room with Tammy, and having my own drawers. The excitement didn’t wear off for a while, even though there were still times I got homesick. I worried about my mom a lot and cried myself to sleep some nights when I was really missing my family. My mom wasn’t able to write, so my grandma would write for her. It was always exciting to get a letter from her and know that she was doing okay.

“I stayed with the Andersons for four years, through seventh grade. As I look back now, I feel the Andersons really laid the foundation of my testimony and what I know today; they taught me so much. Church authorities have said that if you teach your children the truth, they will never depart from it or they will always come back to it. I can bear witness of that: those teachings have always stayed with me. In addition to moral and religious instruction, I also learned how to ride a bike and swim. I learned how to make marshmallow treats all by myself, which I thought was pretty exciting. I took a pencil sketching class, a genealogy class, and several other classes with my younger sister.

“My foster dad expected a lot of us. One day I came home with a C on my report card. I remember him telling me he was not going to settle for any C’s because C’s were for average kids and I was not average. He knew I could do better than that, so I tried a lot harder. Every summer when I left for home, Brother Anderson would say, ‘Doris I want you to go to church over the summer. You’re not going on vacation.” The following school year, one of the first things he would ask me was how many times I went to church. As a result of his concern and involvement, I really concentrated on getting to church, even at a young age and without the support of family. I faithfully kept track of how many times I went to church just so I could go back and report to my foster dad.

“As a member of the family, I was assigned family chores. When Ryan (the youngest child) was born, I always wanted to hold him and was so glad that my foster mom trusted me to take care of him. One day I was tending him while she was at a Primary presidency meeting, and he got sick and threw up. I cleaned him up but wasn’t sure how to clean the throw-up off the carpet. I decided to vacuum it up and wipe the carpet with a soapy rag. When my foster mom got home, I told her what had happened and showed her the carpet. She was so proud of me and told me I did a good job. Days later when she turned on the vacuum to clean the floor, there was an awful odor—it didn’t take her long to realize how I’d cleaned up the mess.

“During those years, I was excited to become a Merrie Miss and then a Beehive. We did little crafts and activities at the church. I was introduced to service in the Church with my first church calling as a member of the Beehive class presidency in the Orem 21st ward. I attended Geneva Elementary School, then the new Orem Elementary, and finally Orem Junior High.
A Navajo Medicine Man
Toward the end of Doris’s seventh-grade year (1976), there was a small earthquake on the Utah/Idaho border. Some Medicine men on the reservation predicted that there was going to be a huge earthquake that would wipe out Utah; they advised anyone with children in Utah to bring them home immediately. Doris was shocked one morning to receive a phone call from her aunt who said she (along with her mother, stepfather, and uncle) were in Nephi and on the way to pick her up. With the help of her foster mother, Doris was able to arrange a meeting with her Placement case worker, Brother Errol Whitlock, who tried to talk Doris’s parents out of the idea. Placement program policy stated that anyone who went home early wouldn’t be able to come back the following school year. With only two or three weeks left of school, he counseled the adults to allow Doris to remain. But when Doris translated that to her mom, her mother replied, "No, we came all the way up here to pick you up, and we’re going to take you home. You can go to one of the schools down there next year.” Doris attended Dilkon boarding school for eighth grade.

“Although she enjoyed the opportunity to go to a school on the reservation and make many new friends, she was ready to return to Utah by the end of the school year. For her ninth-grade year, Doris was placed with Walter and Ada Busch in Vernal, an older couple with only one child still at home. Doris had a great year with the Busches and became close to their daughter Merilee, who was just one year older than she was. “I really grew to love Merilee. She was a happy person with a bubbly personality. She was everybody’s friend, so it was easy for me to fit in with her and she helped me make a lot of new friends.” Doris attended Vernal Junior High and began to attend seminary. “Brother John was my seminary teacher for the next four years, and I really enjoyed him. I became best friends that year with Loretta Smith and Janice Hildred, Placement students from the Steamboat area. I learned a lot from my foster parents. My foster mom would coach me on writing essays and giving talks. Whenever there was a youth conference, I was sure to enter the essay and speech contests, and she was so thrilled when I came home with a certificate. I was sad to learn the following year that the Busches were unable to have me in their home due to health problems.”

Doris was placed with her third family, the Junior and Marge Housekeeper family, for her sophomore year. She was fortunate to again have a positive experience and a good foster family. “Each of the families I stayed with had a special spirit, and the Housekeepers were no exception. My foster dad was a real spiritual giant. I would swear he could look at you and look right through you. I grew to love the Housekeeper family. My foster dad often told me of their decision to bring a Placement student into their home. He would say, ‘Doris we prayed about it and decided to get a foster child. When we went in for our interview, we were read a list of names of all the children that needed homes. When your name, Doris Morris, was read, we knew you were the one.’ He always got emotional when he told me about it, and I always thought it special. I never understood why they chose to take on another child because they were not financially well off. My foster mother was a homemaker and my foster dad was a car salesman. They lived in humble circumstances and didn’t have a lot. I became the oldest child in the family. They had Teri (a year younger than me), Greg, Randy, Tonya, and Dustin (the cutest little baby boy—I really enjoyed helping to take care of him). My mom sewed most of our clothes. We had a milk cow, and she would make her own butter. At Christmas time, she made caramels and dipped chocolates. Because of financial circumstances, Teri and I peeled buckets of potatoes at the corner hamburger stand to earn a little extra money. I became one of the best potato peelers. After we finished our buckets for the day, we were allowed to come in and make a shake or sundae with all the nuts and syrup we wanted, which was pretty exciting for us.

“I returned to the Housekeeper home the following year for my junior year. During the first half of year, the Housekeepers decided to move to Bountiful and asked me to move with them. It was really a hard decision for me because I had a lot of friends at Uintah High School and my younger sisters were in Vernal. For some reason I felt like I needed to be with Teri, so I decided to move with them. Bountiful was very different than Vernal. We went to Woods Cross High School, a huge school with hundreds of students compared to little Uintah High School. I liked my teachers and did make a few friends, but I felt I didn’t really fit in. The Housekeepers continued to struggle financially because my foster dad had health problems that at times prevented him from working. We had several health scares with him when he had to go to the hospital. To help out, Teri and I started working at Wendy’s. Now that I have my own family, I am better able to understand the sacrifices the Housekeepers made to have an extra person in their family.

“During that year, I communicated with my friend Loretta Smith, who had returned to Steamboat but was planning to come back on Placement in Bountiful the following year. We planned to take all our classes together. I was so happy that Loretta would be joining me at Woods Cross High School because I was struggling in the big school and missing my friends. I knew if Loretta was with me that I would be fine. Early that summer, Loretta was killed in a vehicle accident. Her death was really difficult for me; I’d never dealt with death so personally. I was an emotional wreck at her burial. As they lowered her into the ground, I wondered if I would really see her again. Would she really live again? I had always known that the gospel principles of resurrection and life after death were true, but Loretta’s death took such a toll on me that it shook my faith. I didn’t know if I wanted to go back on Placement, but my mom encouraged me to finish the program and graduate from high school in Utah.

“If there was any time during my Placement experience that I was homesick, it was then at the beginning of my senior year. I remember crying all the time and thinking that life wasn’t fair. I wanted to go home, but my case worker, Brother Claire De Long, said I would need permission from my mother before he could put me on the bus. I wrote home and told my mom I couldn’t stay; I wanted to come home and finish school in Holbrook. I asked her to please write me a letter of consent. I checked the mailbox everyday. Finally a letter came, and I thought I was going home. (I was already nearly packed and ready to go.) I was shocked to read the letter and find that my mother said no. I begged Brother De Long to at least send me to Vernal, which he agreed to. The Housekeepers supported me throughout that time and were sad to see me go; I was sad to leave them but glad to be returning to Vernal.

“I finished my senior year with the Jean and Sylvia Jones family, who lived just down the street from where the Housekeepers had lived in Vernal. Sister Jones had been my Young Women teacher, and I had already come to know and love her. I was so grateful that they were able to take me in for the rest of that school year. A big burden was lifted from me when I found myself back on familiar ground with old friends. I was able to settle into my normal routine of school, friends, and Mutual activities. I learned a lot from the Joneses as well. Sister Jones did a lot of sewing and quilting. One year she made each girl in our class a beautiful nightgown. There were always quilting frames up in the family room, and I enjoyed quilting and visiting with her. For my graduation gift, I got a pretty pink quilt, which I kept until it wore out.

“One of the few regrets I have in life is that I didn’t go to college after I finished high school. I applied to Brigham Young University and was so excited when I received my acceptance letter. Brother Housekeeper invited me to stay with them for the summer while I prepared for BYU. He was worried that I would go home, get comfortable, and not return; and that’s exactly what happened. I came home and met Alfred. We were soon married and started having a family. I was never able to go back to school. I don’t regret my decision to get married and start a family, but I wish I would have been able to fit college in too.”

Doris met Alfred while working at the chapter house during the summer of her junior year, but their courtship began after graduation when Alfred’s brother James was courting Doris’s sister Marjorie; Doris and Alfred willingly served as chaperones. The relationship became serious when Doris moved in with Alfred’s family after his mother had an operation. She recalls the guilt and confusion she felt at the time. “Alfred’s mother asked me to stay with them to help with the cooking and cleaning while she recovered from her operation. (All of the Clark children were boys, so she had no daughter to care for her and help around the house.) Alfred had a lot of respect for me, and for the first while, Alfred and I slept separately. But it almost seemed as if our mothers were plotting against me and wanted our relationship to progress: my mother did not object to me staying with Alfred and his mother continually hinted and suggested that he and I should be together sharing a bedroom. For example, when the boys had gone off to bed, I’d lock the door and Mrs. Clark would come by and ask where Alfred was, and if he wasn’t coming to my room.

“We ended up living together seven months before we were married. I knew it was wrong and I felt guilty, but I felt so alone and far from the Church and its teachings. One day Brother Housekeeper paid us an unexpected visit. He’d told me he’d be in the area and would try to come by, but I didn’t think he would really find us way out on a dirt road in Indian Wells. I was shocked when I saw him, and my first thought was to hide Alfred, but I think my foster dad already knew. He sat us both down and talked to us, telling us that Heavenly Father really frowns on unmarried men and women living together and that if we really loved each other, we should get married. He lectured me that I knew better, and then he explained to Alfred, ‘This is what she was taught. We love her, and this is what we expect of you.’ We were married May 16, 1981. It was a nice wedding, and I was excited to marry Alfred.

“The Housekeepers came and were excited about a traditional Navajo wedding. Prior to coming, they asked me what they should wear, and I jokingly told them they needed to wear feathers in their hair. I didn’t think of it again until the day of the wedding when they pulled me aside and said, ‘Doris, when do we put our feathers on?’ They had collected a big bag of multi-colored feathers. After our wedding, we spent time in Utah and stayed with the Housekeepers.”

In September of the following year, the Clarks were blessed with their first child, a son they named Ryan. They experienced the typical challenges of young newlyweds. “When we got married, we didn’t have a whole lot—not even a home. We lived with various family members, primarily with my Grandma Eulah Bitoney. Finally we got a small home of our own. There was no electricity or running water, but it was exciting to call it our home and not have to live with somebody. Alfred worked odd jobs, often walking to the highway and hitchhiking to wherever he was working that day.”

After Alfred’s baptism, the Clarks stayed active in the Indian Wells branch. Doris has had the opportunity to serve in leadership positions in the Church, including Primary president and Young Women president. She is currently serving as Relief Society president. There was a short period when Alfred fell away and Doris recalls how unpleasant Sunday mornings were during that time. Then one day he surprised her by going to church with the family, and he has attended faithfully since that day. “Alfred explained that period of his life to me years later. He said the first time he joined the Church, he did it for me; the second time he had to do it for himself.”

Shortly after the birth of their second child, Tiah, the Clarks went to the St.George Temple. They were sealed as a family on April 16, 1983. “The Fishers, an elderly missionary couple, helped us prepare for the temple and encouraged us to feel that we truly were ready to go. The Housekeepers met us at the temple. Brother Housekeeper was one of the witnesses and Brother Fisher was the other. It was a special and exciting experience. We were really grateful that the Fishers were willing to take the time to take us up to St. George to attend the temple. We didn’t return to the temple for a long time, and it has only been recently that we’ve started going back. I don’t think we realized what we were missing by not going to the temple. I can now say that I know you’re blessed when you attend the temple.

“I also had the special experience of going through the temple with my mom as her escort and interpreter for her endowment. What an emotional experience that was for me. The temple prayers have always been powerful for me, but it was overwhelming to say them to my mother in Navajo, my own language. My mother and I felt the Spirit so strongly that we both had tears running down our faces. It wasn’t long after that I sat down and wrote to the Andersons about that experience, thanking them for all that they taught me that allowed me to be where I am today. Brother Anderson replied that my letter was the best Christmas gift he had ever received. He shared the letter with his children. That meant a lot to me.

“Alfred and I have been blessed with special spirits in our family. Our third child is Kaycee Nicole, born September 23, 1986. When Kaycee was three years old, we had the opportunity to bring Ashley, Alfred’s niece, into our home. Ashley was often sick and colicky, and her parents were struggling under the weight of their family responsibilities. Without asking for Alfred’s approval, I volunteered to take Ashley for a couple months so they could rest and work through their problems. In spite of his initial resistance, Alfred soon found himself asking his brother if we could raise the child as our own. Her parents agreed and Ashley came to stay with us. For three years we lived in fear that Ashley’s father would come over one day when he’d been drinking and demand her back, but we finally were able to legally adopt her. When Ashley was six, she was sealed to our family in the temple. On that occasion our children were able to be in the temple with us, and they remember that special experience.

“We’ve had our struggles as parents, but the gospel has helped us stick together through those hard times; I think families are more easily dissolved when they go through challenges without the light and strength the gospel brings. The teachings of the gospel are our backbone, especially since we started attending the temple regularly. Because of our own experiences, we have tried to teach our children about what is appropriate in relationships: how to treat a member of the opposite sex, how to dress, how to date appropriately. Traditional Navajo instruction doesn’t teach children anything about intimacy; they are merely told not to have anything to do with the opposite sex. Dating is frowned upon in the Navajo culture. I was fortunate to be taught about morality and dating on Placement. I was taught that you should never go into a home alone with a member of the opposite sex and that you should always be home by midnight because after that time Satan has more power over you. We applied all those rules to our kids.

I am so grateful that all of our children have been faithful and are all active in the Church. They all attended four years of LDS Seminary. Our new daughter-in-law, Terrilyn, was just baptized last December, and now she and Ryan are preparing to go to the temple.

“I’ve stayed in touch with all my foster families, and my experiences with them have been incorporated into my own family. Many of our Christmas traditions were born of my experiences in Utah: we exchange a simple gift with each family member, we go Christmas caroling and take cookies to homes where it is likely there is little else for Christmas, we read the Christmas story in the Book of Luke every Christmas Eve. My whole Placement experience was one big spiritual experience for me. That’s where I learned I was a child of God. I am grateful for all the lessons I received from my foster families, Primary teachers, Young Women teachers, and Sunday School teachers. All those teachings are the basis for the joyful and fulfilling life our family enjoys today.”

Alfred and Doris Clark's Children:

Ryan, 9/23/1981: Married Terrilyn Thompson. They will celebrate their first anniversary in October 2007. They attend the Indian Wells branch and both are employed by Navajo County. Ryan works as court security and bailiff. Terrilyn works in the county school superintendent’s office. They have plans to be sealed in the temple.

Tiah, born February 26, 1983: She is the Young Women’s president at the Indian Wells branch. She is in the nursing program at Northland Pioneer College and is looking for a returned missionary.

Kaycee, 9/23/1986: She is the Primary president at the Indian Wells branch. She is employed with Winslow Campus of Care as a certified nurse assistant. She will continue her education at NPC.

Ashley, 8/20/1989: She graduated from Holbrook High School 2007. She will follow in her sister’s steps by attending the local community college. She will seek a degree in Criminal Justice and would like to work as a criminal investigator.

An excerpt from a life sketch Ashley wrote in the spring of 2007 is as follows: I, Neil Birch, publisher of this post, decided that the following LDS Church Video would be a very appropiate follow-up to such a marvelous example of how Doris Morris Clark, alongside of her dear husband, Alfred's leadership, found so much happiness and a sense of direction in their special eternal life together, from their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in his Gospel and for their membership in His Church and from their love for their dear children.

We also give much credit to Doris' dear mother and to all of her loving LDS Indian Placement Program Foster Families for all they did for her.
My plans after high school are to attend college, go on a mission, get my dream job as a CSI, and raise a family. I love to play basketball, spend time with family, and eat. A couple of other things I like to do are run, draw, read, laugh, hang out with friends, and make new friends. For my spiritual side, I love attending seminary and church. I also hold a calling as a letter- coordinator (I send letters/packages to members that are away from church and to missionaries from our branch. I also enjoy going to firesides, reading the scriptures, and listening to General Conference talks. My testimony is growing stronger everyday from the examples that my family and other members set for me.
mormon.org/findinghappiness

video

I, Neil Birch, the Blogger of the Post you may have just read and who provided the video you may have just viewed, invite you to now click on the address that was shown you at the end of the video to help you learn more about the purpose of life. Here it is again: This life story you just read in the main part of this post, was used with permission of Dale and Margene Shumway, Authors of the book, Blossoming II. which is available on Amazon.com entitled The Blossoming II: Dramatic stories in the Lives of Native Americans. Also both Blossoming books are available by contacting the Shumways 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 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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1 comment:

Carol Ackerman said...

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