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Forgiveness Flour


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We listened to an excellent Sacrament talk Sunday. The topic was "Forgiveness." The speaker referred to several BYU speeches of the Year, including this one On Measuring Flour and Forgiveness. Among other excellent quotes, the speaker recited a very moving poem called "Forgiveness Flour" by Maguerite Stewart. Does anyone know anything about her?

When I went to the door, at the whisper of knocking,

I saw Simeon Gantner's daughter, Kathleen, standing

There, in her shawl and her shame, sent to ask

"Forgiveness Flour" for her bread. "Forgiveness Flour,"

We call it in our corner. If one has erred, one

Is sent to ask for flour of his neighbors. If they loan it

To him, that means he can stay, but if they refuse, he had

Best take himself off. I looked at Kathleen . . .

What a jewel of a daughter, though not much like her

Father, more's the pity. "I'll give you flour," I

Said, and went to measure it. Measuring was the rub.

If I gave too much, neighbors would think I made sin

Easy, but if I gave too little, they would label me

"Close." While I stood measuring, Joel, my husband

Came in from the mill, a great bag of flour on his

Shoulder, and seeing her there, shrinking in the

Doorway, he tossed the bag at her feet. "Here, take

All of it." And so she had flour for many loaves,

While I stood measuring.

[Marguerite Stewart, "Forgiveness Flour," Religious Studies Center Newsletter 7, no. 3

(May 1993): 1]

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While not on the topic of forgiveness, I was reminded of this thread when I came across this story as it contains the same idea of incorporating Christlike principles into our very being so that we don't even have to think about what is good to do or how it makes us appear, but just do it naturally:

At the very end of the essay, Nibley described his own relationship to the Brethren in a story about Spencer W. Kimball. Nibley traveled with Elder Kimball to a stake conference in Arizona one weekend as an emissary of BYU. During a train stop in Los Angeles, Nibley characteristically visited a bookshop near the station and purchased what he described as a ten-volume set of "a very rare collection, of Alfonsus De Lingorio, the seventeenth-century Redemptorist writer on probabilism." Rushing back to catch the train, lugging his ten volumes, Nibley had to cross an empty lot. When he settled into his seat, Elder Kimball noticed that Nibley's shoes and trousers were covered with dust. What happened next left an impression on the scholar.

Brother Kimball casually took an immaculate linen handkerchief from the breast pocket of his jacket, and, stooping over, vigorously dusted off my shoes and trousers. It was the most natural thing in the world, and we both took it completely for granted. After all, my shoes were dusty in the race for the train, and Brother Kimball had always told missionaries to keep themselves clean and proper. It was no great thing—pas d'histoire. Neither of us said a thing about it, but ever since, that has conditioned my attitude toward the Brethren.

http://maxwellinstit...19&num=1&id=504

Edited by calmoriah
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While not on the topic of forgiveness, I was reminded of this thread when I came across this story as it contains the same idea of incorporating Christlike principles into our very being so that we don't even have to think about what is good to do or how it makes us appear, but just do it naturally:

http://maxwellinstit...19&num=1&id=504

Thank you for sharing this, Cal. It reminds me of certain individuals I have known in whose countenance Christ is apparent.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

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The answer to any problem is to throw enough stuff at something until it stops moving. Yes I devolved a profound poem into a "mash buttons" analogy. In this case you just enough throw flour at someone and hope it's enough to make them feel better about whatever they did.

That being said, if Heavenly Father was a boss in an RPG, he'd constantly be spamming the "forgiveness" attack. Hopefully we didn't cast "shield of self pity" first.

Edit: While I do poke fun, I do fully understand the concept of the poem. After all, how many of us only look for "just enough" forgiveness to get by on and instead we are given so much that we don't know what to do with?

Edited by Jigglysaint
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The answer to any problem is to throw enough stuff at something until it stops moving. Yes I devolved a profound poem into a "mash buttons" analogy. In this case you just enough throw flour at someone and hope it's enough to make them feel better about whatever they did.

That being said, if Heavenly Father was a boss in an RPG, he'd constantly be spamming the "forgiveness" attack. Hopefully we didn't cast "shield of self pity" first.

Edit: While I do poke fun, I do fully understand the concept of the poem. After all, how many of us only look for "just enough" forgiveness to get by on and instead we are given so much that we don't know what to do with?

Thank you for your thoughts, Jiggleysaint. (Great name by the way. :) ) I claim neither training nor talent for poetry, so I apologize if this one is trite or otherwise poorly conceived. For some reason, I was moved by it. Probably because I had never heard it before, and also because I find it personally difficult to so freely forgive, i.e., without measuring. The idea of flour for making loaves of bread connects with me--conjuring wonderful childhood memories (Is there anything like the smell of homemade bread?!) But it works on a deeper level for me as well, reminding me of the "bread of life."

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Thank you for your thoughts, Jiggleysaint. (Great name by the way. :) ) I claim neither training nor talent for poetry, so I apologize if this one is trite or otherwise poorly conceived. For some reason, I was moved by it. Probably because I had never heard it before, and also because I find it personally difficult to so freely forgive, i.e., without measuring. The idea of flour for making loaves of bread connects with me--conjuring wonderful childhood memories (Is there anything like the smell of homemade bread?!) But it works on a deeper level for me as well, reminding me of the "bread of life."

*hands you a sack of forgiveness flour*

That's for spelling my name wrong, ;)

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Okrahomer, thank you for posting this. I have heard it used a couple of times over the years in talks and I felt it was profound. I am happy now to have it to print out and keep--and thank you Calmoriah for your contribution as well--I will save it as well.

Both were very moving and well worth keeping.

It's contributions like these that keep me coming back here.

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Jigglysaint! I thank you for the "flour"-- heaven knows I need it!

You spelt "kneed" wrong.

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