Monday, November 29, 2010

Elliot's November 29 email

Here is the latest message from Elliot.  We’re glad he had a good Thanksgiving and is being well taken care of in Oklahoma.


So I hope you all had a very awesome Thanksgiving. Just so you know I did eat a great dia de accion de gracias dinner. The Ramirez family made tamales, some kind of bird, ribs (mexican not barbecue), corn, and potatoes. I ate until I really could eat no more it was that good. We also played some volleyball and soccer as a group of missionaries in the morning. We weren't supposed to tract or make visits when we didn't have appointments, so we didn't.

So my new companion is Elder Graham Whipple from Ojai, CA. He was at BYU this past year studying theater. He's a good guy and this should be a good transfer.

This past week we committed a wife and daughter of a part member family we've been teaching to baptism! The wife, Nohemi, and daughter, Gizelle, are planning on being baptized on New Years Day, January 1st. The wife and husband really want to be sealed in the temple, and now are on that path! It's just really awesome to know that I'm able to be there to help them reach that same peace and security that comes from knowing your family can be together forever, like I know mine can. It's so rewarding to see and I can already tell that I was called to be here to help them out, and others, specifically.

So everything is fine out here right now. I've been eating like a king lately; all of the members just can't stop feeding us, so that's awesome. It is starting to get cold, making bike riding a pain, but that's okay. I've got enough stuff to bundle up with. So no worries.

I'm glad to hear everyone is doing okay. Alyssa will get in to BYU, I have very little doubt. So then we can be in the same grade together when I get back! And that's awesome that Keith and Kim will be driving around the van. I hope all is well!


Elder Elliot Adair

Friday, November 26, 2010

Elliot's November 21 letter

Elliot sent a four-page letter with several pictures, some of which I posted with his November 15 email.  (You might want to go back and re-read the post about November 15 email.  I added his notes from the back of one of his pictures that I didn't have before.)  His letter is posted below, along with the new pictures.  Much of letter discusses personal details of his experiences with investigator families he is teaching currently.  Out of respect for their privacy, we decided not to expose details of their private lives for all the world to see on the internet, so we redacted the specific discussion about those families.  Hope you don't mind.  Here is the letter and the pictures.

[Text redacted.]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oklahoma religion news: Update on Sharia law amendment

A week ago I posted a story about State Question 755, the Oklahoma constitutional amendment that would prohibit courts from relying on international law or Sharia law.  Yesterday, November 22, Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange conducted another hearing to determine whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would further delay implementation of the amendment.  While she did not reach a decision on the preliminary injunction, the judge extended her November 8 temporary restraining order an additional seven days to allow herself time to decide.  Here's an interesting video featuring a couple of the key participants, including Muneer Awad (pictured), executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Elliot's November 22 email

Here is Elliot’s November 22 email.  We’re going to miss him on Thanksgiving but it sounds like he will be well taken care of.  Turkey tacos!  He promises a long letter with pictures, so I’ll post that when it arrives.


Happy Thanksgiving!

That'll be way fun with the Torgesens [Thanksgiving dinner] and I'm glad everybody will be able to be together. It's just weird to think that I won't be getting up early to play in the N1 Turkey Bowl. That's okay though. We have a member family that is going to feed us, La Familia Ramirez. I wouldn't be surprised to be eating tacos instead of turkey this Thanksgiving, but that's perfectly fine with me!

I did get the package! I show the family pictures to basically everyone that we teach and stuff. It's awesome, along with the Clifford story book and everything. Thanks!

Everything is just fine out here right now. We just got transfer calls yesterday and Elder Ortiz is going to Enid with my MTC companion, Elder Phillips. My new companion will be Elder Whipple. I don't think I've ever met him but I heard he's from California! So that's pretty cool. I'll be staying in the same place, the Southwest side of Oklahoma City, which is great because the work really is picking up lately, and I'm not ready to say bye yet.

I just wrote a huge long letter with all kinds of information about investigators, how everything is going, and pictures! Hopefully you enjoy it. I'll be sure to send it out soon.

I hope you all have a great turkey day!


Elder Elliot Adair

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oklahoma sports report

A time-honored tradition in the Newhall First Ward (Elliot's home ward) is the weekly sports report offered by Brother Gene Broman (pictured) at the beginning of our Sunday School class.  Brother Broman keeps us up-to-date on sports news from BYU, Utah, USC, UCLA, the Lakers, Hart High, and anything else that might be newsworthy (or not).  I'm not sure this will become a regular feature of Elliot's mission blog but I thought it would be fun to offer an occasional Oklahoma sports report.  I'll try to keep up with the major college and professional teams and maybe some of the high school sports.  Here goes.

BCS No. 10 OSU dominated Kansas 48-14 in Lawrence, Kansas.  OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden led the way, completing 31 of 43 passes to 12 different receivers for 389 yards and three touchdowns.  OSU's record is 10-1 overall, 6-1 in the Big 12.  Next up: OU Sooners at OSU's Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.

BCS No. 14 OU traveled to Waco, Texas, where the Sooners handily defeated Baylor 53-24.  Landry Jones passed 39 times, completing 26 for 325 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.  OU is 9-2 overall, 5-2 in Big 12 games.  Next up: OSU Cowboys in Stillwater.

Unranked Tulsa edged UTEP 31-28 in Tulsa.  Damaris Johnson had a great game for the Hurricane, becoming the NCAA's all-time leader for kickoff return yardage.  He ended the game with 280 all-purpose yards, including 146 receiving yards, 87 on kick returns, 25 on punt returns and 22 yards rushing, and he scored a touchdown on a six-yard run.  Tulsa is 8-3 overall and 5-2 in Conference USA action, keeping its bid for a C-USA West Division title alive. The Hurricane will face the Southern Miss Golden Eagles of the C-USA East Division next Friday at Chapman Stadium. A Tulsa win and SMU loss would put the Hurricane in the C-USA Championship Game on December 4th against the East Division champion.

The 9-4 Thunder went 4-1 this week, losing 117-104 to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday before reeling off four consecutive wins, defeating the Utah Jazz 115-108 on Monday, the Houston Rockets 116-99 on Wednesday, the Boston Celtics 89-84 on Friday, and the Milwaukee Bucks 82-81 on Saturday.  The Thunder are currently in first place in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference of the NBA, a half game ahead of the Utah Jazz.  Thunder forward Kevin Durant leads the NBA in scoring with 28.0 points per game, followed closely by guard Russell Westbrook, who is seventh in the league with 23.9 points per game.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

History of the Church in Oklahoma

I found this history of the Church in Oklahoma fascinating.  The source is the Church News, February 2, 2010.


Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 3,643,000; Members, 41,547; Stakes, 7; Wards, 58; Branches, 25; Missions, 2; Temples, 1; Percent LDS, 1.1, or one in 88.

In the late 1840s, George Miller, a former bishop who had delayed going to the West, traveled from Winter Quarters, Neb., to visit his son in Texas. He and two other members of the Church with him, Joseph Kilting and Richard Hewitt, worked for a time in the Cherokee Nation in the borders of present-day Oklahoma. They arrived in Tahlequah on 9 July 1847. They taught others about the Church, but antagonism forced Miller to leave in December. Hewitt and Kilting remained to work.

In 1855, Orson Spencer (pictured) and James McGaw visited the Indian Territory from St. Louis, Mo., and on 8 April, five more missionaries were sent from Salt Lake City and four from St. Louis. The Indian Territory Mission was created and placed under the leadership of Miller on 26 June of that year. The missionaries met and re-converted followers of Lyman Wight. One of these was Jacob Croft, who had met missionaries earlier and started for Utah, but met an apostate group that told the Croft party untruths about conditions there. The discouraged Croft party settled in Indian Territory and built a gristmill.

As early as July 1855, missionaries preached to about 400 Indians, and the Cherokee Branch was started at Croft's Spavinaw Creek mill. This became mission headquarters. Croft later led a party of 56, including other former followers of Wight and some re-converted "Strangites" (followers of James J. Strang) to Utah.

Later in the year, missionaries were sent from St. Louis to southern portions of the Cherokee Nation. In 1856, the Princess Creek Branch was organized. The Lehi and Nephi branches were organized in 1858.

Illness was a problem in the mission for many years. At least four missionaries died including Orson Spencer.

In 1858-1859, the remaining members migrated to Utah. By 1860, all the missionaries but John A. Richards, who had married an Indian wife, returned to Utah and the mission was discontinued. Disorder brought on by the Civil War ended what was left of the Church in the Indian Territory. Members and leaders were scattered.

When Matthew Dalton and John Hubbard returned to begin missionary work in 1877, they found John Richards was still faithful, and they received assistance from him. Elder Hubbard died later that year and the mission was closed. In 1883, Matthew Dalton and Elder George Teasdale of the Quorum of the Twelve reorganized the mission. Tracts in the Cherokee language were printed.

Andrew Kimball (pictured), father of President Spencer W. Kimball, presided over the mission in 1885. Although he contracted malaria, he carried on the work and was assisted by John Richards, and later by additional full-time missionaries. In 1892, the first meetinghouse was built in Manard. Another was built in Massey.

On 29 March 1898, Oklahoma became part of the Southwestern States Mission, and on 4 April 1904 it was included in the Central States Mission. On 7 November 1911, a branch was established at Gore, with 113 members but was later dissolved. It was not until 1 May 1960 when the branch was again organized in Gore. A Sunday School that began in Bartlesville in 1924 became a branch on 13 October 1945. Membership increased slowly as many converts moved to Utah.

Membership increased in the 1950s and 1960s. Two stakes were created, the Tulsa Stake on 1 May 1960 and the Oklahoma City Stake on 23 October 1960. Additional stakes followed in 1970s and the 1980s. The Oklahoma Mission was created on 10 June 1970. It was renamed the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission in 1974. A second mission in Oklahoma, headquartered in Oklahoma City, was created in 1990.

The Latter-day Saint community reached out to those in need after a bomb destroyed the nine-story Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on 19 April 1995.

The Oklahoma City Temple, the Church's 95th temple in operation, was dedicated on 30 July 2000 by President James E. Faust (pictured) of the First Presidency.

In 2002, membership reached 35,369. In 2005, membership reached 38,772.

Sources: Lynetta K. Bingham, et. al., A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Eastern Oklahoma from Oklahoma and Indian Territories to 1980, 1980; Central States Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports; Oklahoma Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports; Indian Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Elliot's November 15 email

Here's the latest email from Elliot, along with a few pictures.

Hello family!

Well it sounds like you all are doing very well to me!  That's great that Keith and Kim are gonna be able to get the van and that Shawn is getting married and you guys can go.

Alyssa, keep up the good work! I'm sure singing at Disneyland will be super. We'll definitely go to Disneyland when I come back. Yesterday I was visiting a member’s house and it came up that I sang in the MTC choir in General Conference. They then proceeded to ask me to sing for them, all by myself. I'll admit I really didn't want to, but then I thought about you and I was like, if my sister’s an amazing singer, I couldn't be all that bad! So I sang for them, and it was weird/awkward, but it made me think of you lol. And thanks for cleaning the car! I also heard you're sending in college applications? Let me know what happens!

Thanks for sending out that package mom! Don't worry about not sending the CD, it's no problem. I just hope you're surviving school right now. I'm gonna write back hopefully today and I can tell you all about the people and investigators and everything. I'm gonna send some hard copies of pictures too!

And that's awesome that you were able to spend another week at home, dad. I actually haven't heard about the Sharia Law amendment? We really don't hear or see too much of the news as missionaries. I hope your foot is getting better though!

I'm still doing fine out here and keeping warm. The work out here is really tough, and a lot of people really hate Mormons, but things have been picking up. We've been finding more people and having some more success. This past week I got a flat tire. We had made plans to go all the way to the west part of our area, make some visits and do some tracting, but we no longer could. Fortunately, a member that could help us was at the church and that is within walking distance. So we started to walk there and on our way we saw a young mom, Tiffany, who had just stepped out of her house at the perfect time for us to stop and talk to her. We ended up talking to her and her kids for a good half hour plus and learned that she had recently had a number of experiences to the point that she really believed God was trying to reach out to her through us. We now have a meeting set up with her on Tuesday and really are looking forward to it. This is just one of a bunch of examples I've already seen where I can tell I really am guided; that as long as I'm doing what I should, people will be placed in my path that need to talk to us and need the help that comes through the Gospel. It's incredible for sure. I feel like "the catcher in the rye" for sure.

Well I hope everything continues well at home. I attached some pictures that I hope you enjoy! My companion, Elder Ortiz, is the one that we took in front of the mirror and the picture with the empty pizza boxes is me and Elder Measom, another Greenie. We really did eat a whole pizza each. It was awesome. And York Buffet, the restaurant behind me in the picture where I look like a super hero is easily the worst Chinese food ever. Disfruten! (enjoy!)


Elder Elliot Adair

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oklahoma City Temple

We think it's great that Elliot is in a mission with a temple, right in Oklahoma City.  Well, technically it's in Yukon, Oklahoma, which is a western suburb of Oklahoma City. 

The construction of the temple was announced on March 14, 1999.  Ground was broken and the site dedicated on July 3, 1999, by Rex D. Pinegar.  From the Church's temple website
During the groundbreaking ceremony for the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple, Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy and president of the North America Southwest Area declared that turning the ceremonial shovelful of soil during groundbreaking services is symbolic of "turning our lives over to Christ and keeping His commandments." He also recognized the role that having a temple in an area plays in aiding members to develop their faith and build strong families. Additionally, the temple's presence will help the youth of the temple district to see their future clearly and understand what the Lord expects of them.  [¶]  During his remarks, Elder Pinegar also referred to the deadly tornado which struck Oklahoma City May 3. After the tornado, he toured the devastated areas and saw little standing but the people, which manifested their faith. He mentioned the pure motivations of Church members who reached out to help others simply because they wanted to help. 
James E. Faust, then the second counselor in the First Presidency, offered the dedicatory prayer on July 30, 1999.  He said: 
We dedicate the beautiful surrounding grounds with their flowers, shrubs, and trees. We dedicate the structure from the footings to the tower with its figure of Moroni. We dedicate the walls and windows that they may be secure against the storms of nature. We dedicate the Baptistry that a great and eternal work may therein go forward in behalf of those beyond the veil of death. We dedicate the endowment rooms, the sacred celestial room, the sealing rooms with their altars where men and women and parents and children may be bound together as families for all eternity. We dedicate the halls and offices and every other facility found in this Thy holy house. May all be sacred unto those who come here. May a spirit of reverence and worship pervade this structure at all times and under all circumstances. Wilt Thou be pleased to smile upon it, to accept of it, and to accept of the labors of those who will work here in Thine eternal cause.
The 10,769 square foot building, which sits on an acre of land, serves members of the church from twelve stakes in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri.  It's a beautiful building, as the pictures show.  We hope Elliot will have opportunities to visit the temple while he is there.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oklahoma religion news: Court order blocks amendment on Sharia law

The last thing anyone needs is more political commentary in a blog, especially a blog about a Mormon missionary serving in Oklahoma.  But there is an interesting story developing in Oklahoma City dealing with religious issues that I thought would be interesting to share.

On November 2, 70% of Oklahomans voted in favor of State Question 755.  Also known as the “Save Our State Amendment,” Question 755 would amend the Oklahoma Constitution and direct Oklahoma courts to “uphold and adhere to” federal and state law, including the law of other states, but would forbid them from considering international law or Sharia law.  The measure was authored by Representative Rex Duncan, a Republican from Sand Springs, Oklahoma, who said the constitutional amendment was not intended as an attack on Muslims but as an effort to prevent activist judges from relying on international law or Islamic law when ruling on legal cases.

The law, described by a University of Oklahoma law professor as “an answer in search of a problem,” was immediately challenged by Muneer Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma.  On November 8, Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange (pictured) issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state Election Board from certifying the results of the election, effectively staying implementation of the law.  She scheduled a further hearing on November 22 to consider whether to enter a preliminary injunction, which would further delay its implementation.

“It thwarts the will of the people,” said Duncan, commenting on the temporary restraining order.  Awad countered: “We're confident in the case. We're confident in the claims we are making.  Today's ruling is a reminder of the strength of our nation's legal system and the protections it grants to religious minorities.”

Interesting stuff.  We’ll follow the story and provide updates.  We’ll also check with Elliot to see if he notices any fallout from the case.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Elliot's Oklahoma City home

I managed to get a screen shot of the front of the apartment complex where Elliot lives, near the intersection of SW 59th and May in Oklahoma City.  This is his new home away from home, at least for now.

Elliot's November 8 email and pictures

Here is Elliot’s November 8 email and three pictures that he included.  Looks like he’s doing great.


Yes I am definitely doing very well right now. This next week my companion and Elder Measom's (another greenie) companion are gonna be in leadership training meeting for four days, basically from early until late. That leaves two fresh, new gringos to hold down two areas of the South Side of Oklahoma! It should be fine, who the Lord calls the Lord qualifies, right?

So just so you know I'm staying safe and taking care of myself. Most everyone in our apartment complex loves us missionaries, so it's all good. Were you able to find the place I live on Google maps? It's called Almonte, just in case.

That's super awesome about Kyle and Javan! Those are awesome places and I know they'll love it. The mission is an incredible experience. No matter how tough it might get at times, the people you come to know and love make it all worthwhile. Send them my congrats!

And sorry to hear about that spill dad. But I'm glad you got to spend a week at home at least! And the Giants won the World Series. And you won the spiciest chili. We can't always have all of the good luck.

But if I could get pictures of the family that's be awesome! I think it'd be a bit easier in a book type of deal, but whatever you'd like. And actually one thing that would be awesome would be like a church Christmas CD maybe? We listen to a bit of music here in the apartment and that would be pretty nice to have for Christmas time. Other than that I think I'm good. Oh maybe some Lactase too lol.

We're teaching a few pretty awesome people right now. One family we're teaching is completely ready for baptism, except one major problem; the husband was married previously in Mexico and can't figure out how to divorce her. So we're trying to figure all of that out with the help of President Taylor. But they will definitely be baptized sooner or later. We also are teaching these three single moms that live together. They work a lot but there are a few times each week where we all can meet together. They're super awesome and have tons of questions for us. That's always a good sign because it means they know we have the correct answers and feel that we are more than just guys in white shirts.

It's awesome to see people's lives change as they turn towards Christ and accept His teachings. I love to tell about how I know my family can be together forever and that theirs can be too. It's powerful to tell people that, and I know that it is true. It meant a lot to see my brother get sealed to Kim before I left, because that was a super powerful experience and I know that the sealing power is real and that it binds families together forever. That's really why I want to teach people, to help them have that same happiness that I have knowing that the ones I love are not until death do us part. And that God loves us so he gave us His son as a sacrifice introducing mercy into the plan that requires justice.

Anyway, I gotta go now. I love you!


Elder Elliot Adair

P.S. The pictures I attached are one, the Oklahoma sunrise, two, what Oklahoma City really looks like (an empty field), and three, just another picture my comp, Elder Ortiz, took in front of the field. Disfrute! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New mission calls and the Newhall 1 missionary newsletter

Today was a good day in the Newhall First Ward.  We found out that two young men received their mission calls.  Kyle Hill received his call to Rome and will report to the MTC March 16, 2011.  This should be an exciting time to be in Rome, especially after President Monson announced the construction of a new temple at the October 2008 General Conference.  Groundbreaking happened on October 23, 2010, and the temple is scheduled to open in 2013.  It will be the twelfth temple in Europe and the first in Italy. 

We also found out that Javan Hatch received his call to Auckland, New Zealand.  He reports to the MTC on February 16, 2011.  The church has a temple in Hamilton, a couple of hours south of Auckland.  It was the eleventh temple built by the church.  And New Zealand is where the Lord of the Rings movies were shot and where the Hobbit is scheduled to be shot.  Maybe he can land a cameo.

Today the ward missionary newsletter was distributed, with excerpts from recent letters from all our ward missionaries, including Elliot.  Here's a copy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oklahoma City

Since Elliot will be spending nearly two years in Oklahoma, I thought it would be interesting to share some information about the state and about Oklahoma City in particular.  First, I've posted a great picture of the Oklahoma City skyline.  Then you'll find some trivia about Oklahoma from the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce website.  Finally, at the bottom of this post, you will find a promotional video produced by the Chamber all about Oklahoma City. 

Oklahoma Trivia (source:

Oklahoma means "Land of the Red People" in the Choctaw Language.

According to the 1990 census, Oklahoma's Indian population is 252,420, the largest of any state. Currently, 35 tribes maintain tribal councils in Oklahoma.

Admitted to the Union November 16, 1907, the 46th state

Divided into 77 counties with a total area of 69,957 square miles

Population in 1994 grew by 20,376 from 1993 to 3,258,100

Population per square mile, 46.6 people

Ranks 18th in area at 69,957 square miles: 68,656 square miles of land, 7.5 million areas of forest, 1,301 square miles of water, and more coastline than the Atlantic and Gulf together

Oklahoma is bordered by six states: Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri and Arkansas

Equidistant from Los Angeles and New York, and within 500 miles of 71 million people

State Motto: Labor Omnia Vincit (Labor Conquers All Things)
State Colors: Green and White
State Tree: Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)
State Animal: American Buffalo (Bison)
State Bird: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Muscivora Forficata)
State Fish: White Bass (Sand Bass) (Morone Chrysops)
State Flower: Oklahoma Rose
State Floral Emblem: Mistletoe (Phoradendron Serotinum)
State Rock: Rose Rock (Barite Rose)
State Nickname: Sooner State
State Reptile: Mountain Boomer (Collared Lizard)

Here is the video about Oklahoma City.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elliot's November 1 email

Here is Elliot’s November 1 email.  He has always been a fan of spicy food, so it’s good to hear that he’s getting his share in Oklahoma.  He once won the jalapeno-eating competition for the young men in the ward.  His congratulations are for the Adair family chili, which won the prize Saturday night at the ward chili cookoff for hottest chili.  Two cans of diced jalapenos must have done the trick!

Hey Dad and Family!

Congrats on you spiciest chili! I gotta say that out here I have eaten more spicy food than I would have ever guessed. We get a lot of food from members of the branch, and whether it's Latino, American, or any other type, it's always super spicy. But the Latinos love it when I say things like "me pica!" (it bites me, meaning it's spicy). But by eating some spicy peppers last night I finally learned how to roll my R's because it loosened up my tongue! So my Spanish is coming along well right now.

Things are good for me right now. This past weekend we weren't really allowed to go out to much due to Halloween, and earlier in the week we had a practically all-day-long meeting so this week was kinda slower work-wise, but time is still moving fast. We have taught some awesome lessons and I really do feel the Spirit guide me a lot in certain places we should go or streets/houses we should knock.

That's another thing, there are not many people on the streets in Oklahoma so we knock a lot of doors. To my surprise, most people are nice, even if they reject you. Others not so much, but that's okay too. I do get chased by dogs because everyone has like 4, but so far no real incidents. I'm happy and riding my bike a lot!

So everything is good out here in Oklahoma City. This past week I bought a couple sweaters and a thermal because it is starting to get cooler. Another Elder who is going home soon gave me a nice coat so that's taken care of as well. So no problems.

I hope all is well at home and I love you all!


Elder Elliot Adair