3 Ways Mormonism Reflects Traditional Hmong Culture

Beginning in 1975, Hmong refugees from Laos began arriving in the United States. They settled in locations across America, including Utah. Often, their sponsors were religious, and the Hmong would sometimes convert to the religion of their sponsors.

The Hmong who settled in Utah were exposed to Mormonism and many were converted to the religion in the early 80s. This group subsequently resettled in California, where they make up the backbone of the Mormon Hmong population there.

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The Hmong Orphan: A Suffering Servant

Hmong Girl in Long Tieng 1973 Garry Jenkin
Hmong Girl in Long Tieng, 1973, by Garry Jenkin

In chapter 53 of the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, the text describes an individual who is “despised and rejected of men,” who has “borne our sorrows,” who has “no form nor comeliness…that we should desire him,” and so forth. The Christians (Mormons included) interpret these verses to be prophecies of Christ and his mission, while most Jewish scholars recognize the individual mentioned as a stand-in for the House of Israel. Either way, these verses are known as the “Fourth Song of the Suffering Servant,” the other three songs occurring in the preceding chapters of Isaiah. The “Suffering Servant” endures abuse and mistreatment, sometimes even unto death, and because of his suffering, redeems his people as a whole.

The Hmong people have their own “Suffering Servant”: The Orphan. In Hmong media, the orphan is front and center. The orphan’s plight is one of the primary motifs running through Hmong folktales, novels, stories, sung poetry (kwv txhiaj), and movies. Like the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah, the Hmong Orphan can be viewed both as an individual, Christ-like figure and as a representation of the Hmong people and how they view their situation in the world.

Continue reading “The Hmong Orphan: A Suffering Servant”

Looking Backward and Forward

Here I am at the end of another year. I have been in this position many times, looking back over the past twelve months, wondering where the time went and whether I had accomplished anything as a writer, only to find the fruits of my labors in scrap piles and aborted notebooks instead of before the world. But this year something happened. I started a blog, participated in the Mormon Lit Blitz and placed among the semi-finalists, published my Hmong-themed short story “Cocked” as an ebook, saw my short story “Moving On” published by Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, and finished a very rough draft of my wife’s memoir that I’m helping her write for my National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) entry. I look forward to the new year. I hope to continue pursuing my goals as a writer of fiction that explores the human condition. Continue reading “Looking Backward and Forward”

Have You Read “Cocked” Yet?

Cocked Book Cover

Summer Sale! Starting tomorrow August 1st!

Take advantage of discounted prices on my unique short story, “Cocked,” about a young Hmong woman who escapes the cultural roles she was expected to play.

All the times below are Pacific Standard Time (UTC -08:00).

From midnight August 1 to 11:59 a.m. August 4, “Cocked” will be on sale at the heavily discounted price of $0.99!

From 12 p.m. August 4 to 11:59 p.m. August 7, “Cocked” will be on sale at the discounted price of $1.99!

At midnight August 8, “Cocked” will return to its original price of $2.99.

If own a Kindle device, you may also read “Cocked” for free through the Kindle Unlimited program.

Happy reading!

When you pick up your copy of “Cocked,” please pass this sale information on to someone else—a friend at home, or share it online. Word of mouth is the best reference! Also, please consider leaving a review of “Cocked” on Amazon or Goodreads.

Thank you for reading Indie authors!

Read, Write, Execute!

Photo credit: “Whites and Reds,” Anil Kumar B Bhatt, Flickr

Remember Me?

'Macro:  Pilot Precise v5 - tip' photo (c) 2010, Lisa Brewster - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It’s been a while since I posted last. April was a tough month for writing and blogging. I’m getting back to it now. So here’s an update on what’s been happening in my writing and reading life:

  • Published Cocked in April. It’s my unique Hmong-themed story about a nameless Hmong woman who escapes the roles her culture defines for her to play. Buy it for your Kindle today.
  • I’m working on some pieces for the Mormon Lit Blitz happening this month. One piece well-drafted, which may make it into No Sacred Grove. Another in the works. We’ll see how many I think I can submit. It’s harder than I thought to keep a story to 1,000 words. Writer’s angst!
  • I’m trying to catch up on works by contemporary and past writers of Mormon Literature. You can view what I’m currently reading in my Goodreads list at the bottom-right of this page.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll try to get back to blogging about some great topics here in the near future.

Read, write, execute!