Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where It All Began

By Sariah S. Wilson

I’ve had a fascination with Mesoamerican peoples since college.

I can actually pinpoint when this fascination began.

I took a world history class that changed the course of my life. When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had friends in high school who knew exactly what they wanted. I hoped that when I went to college I would just figure it out.

I didn’t. I tried all sorts of classes and my major and career aspirations changed frequently. I was going to be a social worker. A professor. An actress. An elementary school teacher. A dancer. A CEO of an international corporation. A psychologist. A lawyer. Nothing quite fit.

So by my junior year when I was supposed to be making a final decision on what I wanted to major in, as I watched my roommates and friends get on track to become photographers and nurses and math teachers, I still didn’t know what I should choose. I had been flirting with majoring in psychology, and had decided I should probably keep heading in that direction since I was already pointed that way.

Then I took world history, a requirement at BYU. (I don’t remember my professor’s name. I can see his face, but can’t remember the name.) I loved it. I loved learning about history and I was good at memorizing it and analyzing it and taking tests on it. In my class my professor was notorious for giving very difficult exams. He’d never had a perfect score. On the mid-term I missed one (and shouldn’t even have missed that, I misread the question), and I was the first in all his years at the Y to only miss one. I totally destroyed the curve in that class.

Then he invited Dr. Thomas Pearcy to speak to us about the Maya and the Aztecs. Dr. Pearcy related the culture of those peoples to the people in the scriptures, the first time I had ever heard it done so. I was totally fascinated. I still vividly remember him saying, “You know all that stuff Moroni said he couldn’t tell you about? I’m going to tell you about it,” and describing the ritual sacrifices and all the other gory stuff that marked the Mesoamerican cultures. I got hooked.

History became my major, and I took an insane number of credit hours to be able to graduate with a degree in history. (One semester I had six history classes. SIX. I never stopped reading and writing. I had to quit my job I was so overwhelmed. And I was a TA for a history class. Insanity, I tell you.)

From that point on, I was fascinated by the connection between the Book of Mormon and Central America. My world history professor gave me a love of history, and Dr. Pearcy gave me a love of the culture of the Book of Mormon. (Remind me some day to tell you the story of how I had Dr. Pearcy for my senior thesis and the coincidental link between us that I think helped get me an A in that class.)


At 11/18/2007 8:19 PM, Anonymous marlene said...

That is interesting, Sariah. I kind of fell into my area of interest the same way except I was in the sixth grade in a one-room, one-teacher school in Montana when we studied the Revolutionary War and New England. I tried doing everything else too--teaching, secretary, educational tour guide--until I decided to write. I even ended up moving to Massachusetts.

I wonder how many others found their place the same way.

At 11/19/2007 10:00 AM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...

History is GREAT! Any history. That's one of the things I'm looking forward to in the next life--finding out what really happened way back when.

(I swear that frog just winked or blinked or something--naah, I need to wake up.)

At 11/19/2007 11:27 AM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

It is funny how people end up as writers. Some have always wanted to be, others (like me) sort of fell into it.

And Anne - I'm with you on finding out things in the next life. I also remember that Dr. Pearcy had three things that he was going to find out as soon as he died. I don't remember the other two, but he was determined to find out who really shot JFK. :)

The frog does wink. He's a happy sort.

At 11/19/2007 11:39 AM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Hey, you're a kindred spirit! I love history, too (as evidenced by, uh, what I write . . .) :D

What a fun peek into your past and what makes you "tick."

At 11/21/2012 2:15 PM, Blogger Thomas Pearcy said...


It is wonderful to see your blog--though I'm five years late! I enjoyed teaching at BYU, and fondly remember the semester you wrote your senior thesis in my class. I also have the fondest of memories of touring Wilson Audio! As an audiophile this was an experience I've always remembered.

History is indeed a wonderful subject. Since I left the Y 've taught at tiny Slippery Rock, while also serving briefly as the Joint Historian, U.S. Department of State-Centtral Intelligence Agency. You can imagine with my interests how much I enjoyed working with those types of classified national secrets.

Five years late--but wishing you a fine Thanksgiving and hoping all is well in your neck of the kingdom. best wishes!
Dr. Thomas L. Pearcy


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