Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 11, 2016 The story of the creation and the White Buffalo Calf Woman

To answer a few questions, we are not freezing actually!  The weather was predicted to be -20, but they were dead wrong!  Barely even passed 0 this week.  And today it is a balmy 27!  I forgot how good that feels when you haven't felt weather that warm in a while.  Tender mercies indeed!  Our car hasn't had any issues yet, so we're hoping it stays that way.

Everyone in the Zone thinks I'm getting transferred.  I kid you not.  EVERYONE!  They have all decided I'm going to leave and be a Zone Leader else where, and I told them "Don't you dare be prophesying, or I will have some harsh words with you!  I don't want to leave!"  But, alas, it's not up to us.  I love it here, but I'm sure I will love it where ever I go, as long as I am doing what I am supposed to. 

On Wednesday I get to go on exchanges with Elder Prescott!  We stayed up way late just talking about the good ole days in Pine Ridge!  I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob.  We also got to go see D again!  If you can't remember, D is the guy that we would go see and he was very drunk every time.  He would cry and tell us that all it took was one man to ruin his life and now he drinks all the time all because of that one man.  It has been almost a month since I have seen him, and when we came to the door he grabbed my hand and pulled me into a hug and told me it was great to see me again.  He then told me "Welcome to D's!", and then the real adventure started!  We were in his kitchen and you could hear some music just around the corner, and all of a sudden the music gets super loud.  D shakes his head, goes around the corner and shouts "Hey turn that down!  I'm trying to talk in here!  It's the police!"  The music got quiet really fast.  D comes back around the corner with a very serious look, but once he was out of their sight, he starts giggling quietly.  Another few minutes and the music was back up to it's loudest once again.  He tried to get them to be quiet, but they didn't listen, so we went to another room and started talking with him.  We had a great lesson with him!

The next morning, we went to see him again, and for the first time since I have been here, I saw D sober.  He was hung over pretty bad, but he was sober!!!!!!!!!!  I was amazed!  I've never seen someone want to change so bad in their life and not be able to because they can't get away from the temptation.  It's Hyrum (once again, not the brother of Joseph) Smiths crab theory in action!  If you put crabs in a bucket, one will start crawling up the side, making slow but sure progress out.  Once it gets closer to the top, another one will reach up, grab it, and pull it back in.  Humans are so like crabs.  Once one of us decides to do something great, someone always has to say "What?  You think you can do that?  Nah, just stay down here with us."  Moral of the story?  Don't put each other down.  Do all that you can to boost each other up.  We are in a race, but the race isn't against each other, it's against the devil, so lets help each other make it to the finish line.

On Tuesday we were invited over to dinner with Sis. Anderson and she was having some of her friends over as well.  We got their and they are talking about the Native culture and traditions and history, etc.  Their names are B and T.  B is the grandson of a Medicine man, so he is well versed in pretty much all aspects of the culture.  One thing we learned is that they believe very strongly in having proper authority.  That authority can only be given by someone who already holds that authority, so if you needed authority to conduct a wake (basically a funeral) you would have to go to the man that normally would do that and he has to give you permission to do it.  We also learned that Natives were once a matriarchal society before the white man came and enforced the patriarchal order on them.  After dinner, they continued to tell us the history of the Native Americans, mostly from Christopher Columbus and after.  But, as he talked, he told us a Sioux story about the White Buffalo Calf Woman which I will try my best to relay, but it is probably very broken due to having once again only heard it once. There were 2 young men traveling in the wilderness when one of them spotted a beautiful white woman wearing white animal hides standing on a hill. One of the young men began to lust after her, and his friend tried to keep him from going to the woman. His friend did not listen, despite the pleas that this woman was a very sacred person. As the young man approached her and tried to touch her, a cloud came down and covered him and the woman. When the cloud lifted there was only a pile of bones. The woman then turned to the other young man and told him telepathically "Go tell your people that I will be coming soon." So the young man returned to his people and told them that this woman would soon come. A few days later, she appeared, and began to teach the people. She taught them how to live, how to create things and how they should treat one another. She also taught them about prayer, giving them a pipe that they smoke as they pray to take their prayers to the Great Spirit, the One with Many Names, the Great Grandfather. She stayed and taught them for a very long time, but the time came that she needed to leave. She said goodbye, and as she was leaving, she turned into a white buffalo calf, and ran off. That is why Indians use Pipes when they pray, and that is also why White buffalo are so sacred to them.  

After B told us the story, he compared it to Jesus, and said that some think that it was Jesus that came, and the stories are very similar.  Then he went right on talking and telling us more about the history of his people.  Near the end, we needed to leave since we were already super late to our next appointment, but before we left, he turns to us and says "Let me tell you one more story and then I want to ask you a question.  We teach that first the world was created by the Great Spirit.  There is a cave in the Black Hills of South Dakota (And I forgot what it's called) that the rest of creation came out of.  First came the buffalo.  Then the eagle.  Then all the other animals came out of this cave, and last was the man.  All lived in harmony with each other.  When man needed food, he would ask the buffalo, and the buffalo would sacrifice himself for the man to live.  That is how they all worked.  Neither was greater than the other, but all were equals, and they worked together."  He then turned to us and said "what is the difference between this creation story and the creation story found in Genesis?  It's the same order, the same things happen, yet our traditions are called "Myths", and yours are called "religion".  What is the difference?"  I smiled at him, then responded "Nothing.  The only difference is the way the story is told and the wording used."  The man nodded, then asked "then why are our traditions called myths?  Why aren't yours myths?  Because a Myth is simply a story that can't be proved.  So why is our belief a myth and yours not?"  "Honestly?  Ours is a Myth.  We can't prove it any more than you can.  We have evidences that help us to know that what we believe is true, but you can't prove something that is faith based.  That is the whole purpose of having faith."  That man nodded and seemed very pleased with the response.  After a little bit, I felt like I should ask him something.  "I want to learn more!  My problem is, I have to wait a year before I can take collage courses or read books about that subject.  Can we get together another time and share our 'Myths' with each other?  Just have a conversation where we can share our beliefs and why we believe what we believe?"  Gratefully they agreed!  I am so pumped for tomorrow, because that's when we get to meet with them again!  I absolutely love learning about the Native Americans!  They really are a blessed people.  

That has been my week!  I loved it, and I'm looking forward to another great one this week.  Love you all muchly!

Elder Carter

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