“Un dios en quien confiar” Gabriel González Núñez

Read the English translation here

Dice el profeta que el rostro de Dios resplandece
más que el sol y que Su larga cabellera es blanca
más que la nieve y que Su voz ruge con estruendo
como de un río, y a Su lado el hombre nada es.

Pienso en estas cosas a veces, cuando amanece,
cuando levanta el sol, y la mente se me estanca
en dogmas y misterios que poco o nada entiendo,
y sólo puedo concluir que el hombre nada es.

Dice el poeta que Dios es más de lo que el cura
opina, que Su piedad supera la de todos
los seres, que Su luz desvanece la penumbra
del hombre que busca perdón, hombre que nada es.

Me aterra, cuando pienso en esta vida y lo dura
que es, que Dios esté tan lejano de nuestros modos,
allá tan distante, que Su luz no nos alumbre
y quedemos a tientas, porque el hombre nada es.

Dice mi hermano que Dios se encuentra en los detalles,
no en la geometría de las constelaciones
ni en el eco azul del insondable firmamento,
y lo asegura sabiendo que el hombre nada es.

Confieso que no sé si Dios habita los valles
o si transita nebuloso las dimensiones
o si es algo tan sencillo como el diario aliento,
porque resignado entiendo que el hombre nada es.

Vistiendo harapos de hombre errante por doquier voy.
Me sé efímero como un nocturno suspirar.

Me aplasta cobrar consciencia de que nada soy.
Y recién así tanteo un dios en quien confiar.

Y recién así descubro al Dios en quien confiar.

“Separation” by Mark Penny

The bridge collapsed, the car fell in the river, the mother unfastened her seat belt and clambered into the backseat to free her five- and three-year-old, and the father rolled down the windows, but a bus slammed on top of the car and crushed the roof. The car filled with water, sank away from the bus, and glided to the silt. The parents gathered their children and each other in their arms, and one by one, eyes wide in the murk, the family breathed, the mother last of all.


Waking up was weird. She felt light: limbs, organs, breath, pulse almost nonexistent, like memories after too many drinks. She was floating, but not in water or air. Her senses were empty: no sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell. She seemed to be nothing but thought.

This was a relief, as if she’d coughed out a smothering fullness in the lungs and started from the grim end of an inconsistent dream.


The pleasure of silence, stillness, and solitude wore off. She felt alone. The loneliness threatened to drown her.

There was someone nearby. A voice: “We can see you now. Keep going.” A touch: on her wrist. “I can feel you now. Try seeing.” Light, shadow, shapes, colors—blurry like through a wet windshield. “Your eyes are open. Now breathe.”

Her lungs—the idea of lungs—opened out. Smells, tastes, the sense of life poured through her mouth and nose. She remembered all, and a shuddering, sobbing blackness took her.


“It’s hard,” said the voice—an old woman dressed like an eighty-year-old from ten years before.

The mother looked past the old woman to the fields and trees around her. Everything was beautiful and clean and a little too close to her preferences.

“How long was I hysterical?” she asked.

“I wouldn’t know how long. Time doesn’t chop into bits here. I had a lot of different thoughts about a lot of different things while you fuzzed out.”

“Fuzzed out?”

“Smudged. Swooned. Blanked out. Melted. Phased. Shifted. Deshaped. Dissolved. Diffused. Disintegrated. Pick a synonym. You’ll see when our next tragic arrives.”

“How often do tragics arrive?”

“Too often, poor things. But you mean when will you see one. Too soon. I can’t give you a figure. It’s not like clockwork. It happens when it happens. We seem to be dealing with a new one most of the time. It takes a while for them to adjust. Sometimes there are batches.”

Batches. The others must have survived somehow. She almost fuzzed out again.


It maddened her that there was no objective way to tell time. There was a sun in the sky, but it was always where she happened to expect it to be, and there was no night. With effort, she could make a sunrise or sunset, but these were effects only she could see unless she convinced the old woman to share the events with her. Even then, when they compared descriptions, it was plain they were not seeing the same display. Colors, shapes, and locations were always a little bit off. This principle extended to the flora and other elements of the landscape. Representations adjusted as they pointed things out to each other, but each began with her own set of images with their own content.


After what must have been days, the mother asked, “Why are there only two of us here?”

The old woman smiled. “There are thousands. You just haven’t been ready to see them.”

“I’m ready now. Where are they?”

“Here, there, and everywhere.”

“When can I see them?”

“They are in plain sight for those who have eyes to see, and in plain hearing for those who have ears to hear.”

“Why are you talking like that? Where are the people?”

“You will see them when your eyes are opened.”

The mother scanned every corner of the meadow she was picturing. She saw nothing but grass and flowers at first, with trees in arcs and circles on the slopes above, beside, and below her. She closed her eyes and tried to be open to seeing, then looked again. Now she saw blurs and shimmers, some near, some far. She repeated the process and began to see faces and physiques, still blurry and featureless, like shadows in frosted glass, but human and individual, many acting in ways incongruent with the environment, responding to their own visions.

“Do you see them now?” asked the old woman.

“Almost. They are unformed.”

“Because you have not met them. When you touch and hear them, you will see them, but not as they are: as they think they are.”

“Will that change?”

“When they change. Most of us see ourselves as we were at death. I walked around in my nightgown for what must have been years.”

“How do I present?”

“As you see yourself. A woman in her early thirties, dripping wet. You drowned, I presume.”

“Yes. With my family: husband, two little ones. Where are they? Are they here? We should have come in the same batch. Unless they survived. We were in our car, at the bottom of the river. We all breathed in. I saw them all breathe in. Where are they?”

“Were you sealed?”


“You’ll understand when you get to that lesson.”

“Why can’t I go to them, find them?”

“Look as far as you can. What do you see?”

“An ocean.”

“I see a wall. It surrounds us. My wall and your ocean are the same thing: a barrier we can never pass without submission and sealing. I’m still working on submission. When I succeed, I will go to my family, but there is one I will never see again, one to whom I could never be sealed. I will miss her forever.”

The mother looked down at the ocean, shifting and blue—and vast. She felt a tear, or the idea of a tear, but whether of sorrow or rage, she couldn’t yet tell.

“How Do We Make Sense of What Will Be When We Hold Remnants of What Once Was?” by Steven Peck

A scientific inquiry in three poetic studies

Study I: Job
And the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind . . . Job 38:1

When at last God appeared to
answer Job’s complaint
to address his pain & suffering

What would God say to someone
who lost all that he loves?
All that mattered?

Someone whose wormy
flesh was infected
with boils?

Whose every breath made him
curse the womb from which
he was birthed?

When He arrived,
the Lord did not explain the
nature of suffering.

Nor tell him it would all turn
out for the best, or that heaven
would restore all losses.

God made no move to kiss his
diseased skin to make it
better with his healing lips.

God did not explain
that He too suffers,
nor that God will suffer

in the garden, so that
He might understand
Job’s suffering.

None of these.

Rather, exuberant. Giddy.
God gestures wildly at
whales. Their wonder.

Their beauty!
Like Ahab’s single-
minded attention

to his pale Leviathan,
God delights in
His own.

God speaks of
singing stars,
Points to the Pleiades—

The Seven Sisters
and demands Job
consider Orion’s belt.

Lightning bolts,
snow covered mountains,
the birth of kid goats &

wild ox & asses,
Hippos large and ungainly.

Job bows his head
and relents. Is suffering the
price of beauty, and being?

Study II: Job and Darwin

Job: My youngest daughter? When she was young, during the lambing sea- son, she would come to see me in the grassy pastures with her mother. They would arrive with a large wallet stuffed with strips of dry mutton, dates, grapes, and a loaf of small wheat bread baked in the stone oven near the back of our house. We would sit by the slow-moving river and eat our meal and watch the crocodiles drift like logs, still and peaceful. How slowly they would maneuver to be near the floating Red-necked Phalaropes bobbing fresh from their long flight over the desert! Then, when at just the right distance from the bird, in an explosion of white water, they would snatch one up and in an instant devour it. How my little treasure would scream when the beast would, in roiling commotion and chaos, take its prey. When the great lizard’s lunch was over and the river was calm again and the wind slight, she would ask so many questions as the clouds drifted full and without care across the sky. Why is the dove so sorrowful? Which is older the river or the hills? How do the ants find their way in the darkness of the tunnels? She loved to hold the lambs close, though they were not much smaller than she. As she got older, she would come out to help me break the horses that we would sell to the Egyptians for their war chariots. And when no men were looking, how she loved to ride those wild beasts. I knew of course, but I did not mind. She seemed to fear nothing and those steeds seemed to understand her slightest touch as she rode over the grasses so abundant near our home. She was with my other children when the wind came and brought the house down upon them. They all died that day—when the wind came and the house fell down upon them, from my oldest to my youngest. The wind came up. The wind. Came. Up. And the house fell down upon them. And all my beloved ones. My children. They died.

As did I, in any way that matters. Everything I became after that was no becoming. How could I ’be,’ after what I had ’been?’

Darwin, eyes wet, places his hand on Job’s shoulder.

Darwin: Oh sweet little Annie. Where are you now my poor dear girl? I know. I know…in the ground resting under a tree at the Great Malvern Priory. In the ground … She was the apple of her father’s eye. She was indeed. She would follow me everywhere. She loved to take the Sandwalk with me as I strolled round and round marking the passage of our ellipse by the bump of a foot to the stone, sending it away and in so doing marking our traverse. Often she would assist me in my dissections of barnacles in my study. She loved the pigeons. She would, like old Father Adam, name them: One-eye, Flower Bottom, Captain Angel Beak, Mother’s pie. Even now I smile to think on her and how she was taken too…too young. How could I believe in God after that? Some thought it was my theory that drove me away. But how could such a being maintain a universe where little Annie could be taken away?

Job: I was angry.
Darwin: I was angry.
Both: But we were blessed with a vision of the Creation? Were we not?
Job: The singing whales.
Darwin: And the merry Galapagos finches.
Both: The cost was too high. And I would give it up. All of it, for—
Job: My daughter . . . that the wind took.
Darwin: Little Anne . . . my Annie, who was swept away by incurable coughings.

Study III: Being

Every child knows,
That being comes,
From a becoming,

That every ’is,’
Comes from a ’was,’
On its way to a ’will be.’

That which I am
Was born of chaos,
And from the whirlwind

Out of which God spoke,
And asked, ”Have you seen
my whales?


“Before the Healing” by Merrijane Rice

Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son:
for he is mine only child.
Luke 9:38

A devil grips my son,
shakes him like a mast
in sudden storm till bones rattle
and head beats the ground.
I cannot tear him free.

He is bruised and scarred,
but not from play.
I once pulled him blistered
from his mother’s cooking fire.
Another day, as I mended nets,
he collapsed in stony shallows.
I ran to hold his head above water,
cradle him till the fit passed.

At night, I wrestle
with his empty future:
He will never learn to sail or sort
a day’s catch on the shore.
He will never read in the synagogue
or keep a feast day in the shadow
of the Lord’s holy house.
He will never marry or worry
over children of his own.

I still believe. I pray.
I plead to know what lack in me
keeps us from compassion,
but scarcely dare to ask again
for what has been withheld.

By early morning, I am wrung out.
Silence hangs like a heavy veil.
I venture one more question,
father to Father:
If you had just one child,
would you do nothing to save him
from being torn in two?

“Paradisiacal Glory” by Katherine Cowley

The Millennium was much colder than Robert had expected.

He removed his outer gloves and attached them to his parka so they wouldn’t fall into the icy water. Now, with only the liner gloves, the Antarctic cold attacked his fingers, but at least he could eat something.

Robert unwrapped the paper wrapper—no single-use plastic, not anymore—and bit into the granola bar. Many people had been given assignments where they lived before the Savior’s second coming. Robert thought longingly of his home in Florida. If he oversaw the Work of Renewal, he would remake the world entirely into Florida’s weather. Good temperatures all year round, like in the Garden of Eden.

He finished the granola bar and considered the paper wrapper. There was a proper disposal method for it, but it took extra effort, and the wrapper was biodegradable. He glanced around to make sure his daughter wasn’t nearby, then balled up the paper and threw it over the edge of the hovercraft, into the frigid water.

He restarted the machine, listening to the unnaturally quiet spin of the motor. No burning fuel now, it was all battery-operated. When he had retired a few years before, he hadn’t wanted to use heavy machinery again. He had also wanted a Millennial assignment which involved all day in the temple, but apparently God had other plans. There was no temple on Antarctica.

Robert turned the machine to the frazil ice setting. He reached out its large extended arm over the salt water and began the agonizing process of converting it into frazil ice. It made a sort of snowy slush in the water. In a few hours, he would go over the whole section a second time to convert it into sea ice, which apparently did something useful for Antarctica.

He sniffed, his nose cold despite the layers. When he finished, he could go inside and do something productive, like read the scriptures. He switched the machine’s setting from frazil ice to sea ice and tried it on the salt water. It worked! It could turn the water directly into sea ice. Skipping the frazil ice stage would save lots of time.

He was getting into a rhythm when he heard the voice of his daughter, Victoria. “Hey, Dad.” She had flown up beside him on her own hovercraft.

Robert turned off the machine. “Yes, honey?” He glanced to where he had thrown the paper wrapper. He could still see it, floating a little below the water’s surface. Hopefully Victoria wouldn’t notice it.

“I think you accidentally set your machine wrong,” said Victoria. “You need to turn the water into frazil ice first.”

“But the machine is strong enough to turn it straight into sea ice. It saves time.”

“True, but it won’t have the correct internal structures,” said Victoria. “We have to do this step by step, line upon line. Ice upon ice.”

Robert shrugged.

“You wouldn’t take a name to the temple and go straight to sealings without doing all the other ordinances, would you?”

“No, I wouldn’t.” Corrected, Robert turned the machine’s setting back to frazil ice. His daughter had been called to lead this sector’s ice efforts, rebuilding the permafrost and creating glaciers, ice sheets, and other sorts of ice and snow. The rest of the extended family was also assigned to Antarctica. He wished he had his wife and grandkids’ calling, working on the Penguin Renewal Project.

“I know you find it frustrating to do this,” said Victoria.

“It’s fine,” said Robert. “We only receive callings we’re supposed to have.”

“I had always wanted to visit Antarctica—what was left of it.” She reached out her arms, gesturing at the icy expanse around them. “And to think, now I get to help remake it, as it was meant to be.”

One of the things he had always loved about Victoria was her sense of wonder, the way the smallest things gave her delight. The sun glinted off the icy expanse, and as he tried to see it through her eyes, it did look beautiful.

“Did you hear about how we got all these machines? The hovercrafts, the ice machines, the air-cleaning planes?” Victoria’s husband Rafael was flying one of those planes right now, removing carbon dioxide, methane, and other pollutants from the atmosphere. “I heard that it was like with Nephi, or the Brother of Jared. That we were given plans and revelation beyond our technological abilities. Isn’t that amazing?”

“Yes,” said Robert, and it was wondrous, really. He tried scratching his ear, which didn’t work well with all the layers. “When Joseph Smith said the Earth would be renewed, he didn’t say that we were the ones who would have to do it. I thought God would wave His hands and it would just happen.”

“You always did say we were instruments in His hands,” said Victoria.

“I do feel awfully like a glorified icemaker right now.”

She laughed. “A paradisiacal icemaker, Dad. You’re making glorious ice.”

“Well, I better get back to it then.”

“You’re amazing, Dad. See you in a bit!”

“Love you, Victoria.”

She floated away in her hovercraft.

This time, Robert took his time making the frazil ice, watching the patterns it created in the water. Honestly, part of the reason he didn’t like this calling was it made him feel guilty, reminding him of how he had contributed to the Earth needing renewal. He had not been a very good steward.

He approached the part of the water where his paper wrapper still floated. He stopped his machine, not wanting his waste to become part of the glorified ice.

He made an improvised net with some spare parts on the hovercraft. It took about ten minutes—the paper kept slipping out of his grasp—but finally he got it out of the water.

Robert looked out at the ice and land and water before him. “I am sorry, Earth,” he whispered. “I will try to treat you better.”

2019 Mormon Lit Blitz Finalists

Finalists for the 8th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz will be posted here on lit.mormonartist.net from Monday, 1 July – Saturday, 13 July, according to the following schedule:

Monday, July 1: “Paradisaical Glory” by Katherine Cowley
Tuesday, July 2: “Before the Healing” by Merrijane Rice
Wednesday, July 3: “How Do We Make Sense of What Will Be When We Hold Remnants of What Once Was?” by Steven Peck
Thursday, July 4: “Separation” by Mark Penny
Friday, July 5: “Un dios en quien confiar” by Gabriel González Núñez
Saturday, July 6: “The Casting Out of Spirits” by Jeanine Bee

Monday, July 8:“The Seven Deadly Housewarmers” by Emily Harris Adams
Tuesday, July 9: “The Investigator” by Jeanine Bee
Wednesday, July 10: “The Hills of Heaven” by Scott Hales
Thursday, July 11: “As minhas férias na ilha de Santo Antão” by César Augusto Medina Fortes
Friday, July 12: “Remnant” by Sarah Dunster
Saturday, July 13: “Low Tide” by Merrijane Rice

Audience voting for the Grand Prize Winner will take place July 15-18.

Thank you to everyone who submitted to this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz and congratulations to the finalists!

Two Weeks Left to Submit!


Submissions for the Eighth Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Writing Contest are due by 31 May 2019 to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com (*UPDATE* We’ve added a weekend grace period and will consider anything submitted by the end of the day on Monday, 3 June). Submitted works may be in any genre so long as they are under 1,000 words and designed to resonate in some way with an Latter-day Saint audience. Previously published material and simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Up to three submissions are allowed per author.

Finalists will be posted on the Mormon Artist magazine website (lit.mormonartist.net) starting in July. At the conclusion of the Lit Blitz, readers will vote for their favorite pieces, and a $100 prize will be given to the audience choice winner.

For updates about the 2019 contest, follow the Mormon Lit Blitz Facebook page.

To facilitate the judging process, we prefer to receive submissions as .doc, .docx, or .pdf attachments with the author’s name and contact information in the body of the email but not included in the attached text. Please email submissions and any questions you may have to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com.

By submitting, authors give us the one-time rights to publish their work electronically. As stated above, previously published work is fine if you still have the rights to the piece and if it meets the above contest requirements.

Past Finalists: 

Interested in this contest? Take a look at past years’ finalists to get a taste of what we’ve featured:

We look forward to reading your entries!

Winners for the Around the World in Mormon Lit Contest

We loved this contest. It has been wonderful reading the stories people sent us,  sharing the finalists, and seeing people’s reactions to these writers and their work.

Thank you to the writers, the translators, the readers, and the voters who made this such a great experience. Thanks, especially, to those who shared these stories with friends and encouraged them to help us choose a winner. It was wonderful to see so many people from around the world voting.

We have two $100 awards to give. The Grand Prize goes to the piece with the most votes from readers. We also have a Judges’ Choice Award to recognize great writing in other pieces.

Grand Prize

After counting all the votes, the top stories were:

5. “Victor” by David Hurtado

4. “La Muralla del Tiempo” (“The Wall of Time“) by Camila Andrea Fernández

3. “Duas Missões” (“Two Missions”)  by Andreza Castro

2. “O Amigo Secreto” (“The Secret Friend”) by Amanda Araújo de Castro

and the winner is….

1. “Um Domingo na Laginha” (“A Sunday at Laginha”)  by César Augusto Medina Fortes


Judges’ Awards 

As judges, we also wanted to recognize three pieces for their contributions to the contest.

Honorable Mention:
Anexo documental I” (“Documentary Appendix 1”) by Gabriel González Núñez
Judges’ Statement:
The Doctrine and Covenants teaches us that God gives us eternal truths in ways that reflect our own language and understanding. In this alternate history, Gabriel González Núñez uses striking imagery to help us to reach toward the eternal in the restoration by imagining the same truths unfolding in a different time and place. A vital contribution to Mormon literature–and the Mormon imagination.

Honorable Mention:
創造教室」 (“The Creation Workshop”) by Mitsushige Takaki
Judges’ Statement:
Mitsushige Takaki’s “Creation Workshop” stood out to us for receiving an even amount of votes from each language votes were cast in. By helping us imagine how our different personalities in the premortal existence might be reflected in the beautiful diversity of the natural world, Takaki gave us a story that resonated around the world and gave voice to the contest’s theme.

Judges’ Award Winner:
TIEMPO una partícula” (“TIME a particle”) by Citlalli H. Xochitiotzin
Judges’ Statement:
Christ’s Atonement is beyond the scope of human imagination, but Citlalli H. Xochitiotzin uses lyrical language to help us draw closer to this most vital of all moments. We feel nature cry out, sense time collapsing around its meridian, see the tendrils of empathy extending through centuries and around the world from a central point in the Garden before being snapped back into the moment, locked once again into the rhythm of each step as events fall forward toward Golgotha.

Reminder: Next Chance to Submit

If you enjoyed this contest, we’d love for you to submit to, or encourage others to submit to, our next contest, the 8th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz. Stories, essays, poems or other written works under 1,000 words are welcome. Email up to three entries to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com.

“The Sound of Water”

Read the original Japanese version here. To discuss this and other finalists, visit Mormon Lit Lab.

“The Sound of Water”

written by Tokuzawa Aiko, translated by Andrew Hall

For the last twenty years I have been going to help clean at an old-age nursing home once a month. There are days when I am too busy to volunteer, but when I have a chance, I try to go, taking the opportunity learn and prepare for my own oncoming old age.

Today was one of the rare sunny winter days in the Hokuriku region, a nice day to do service. My husband and I worked together to clean a long corridor, me swinging a dusty mop, my husband sweeping. We are an elderly couple ourselves, and our turn to live in this nursing home may begin at any moment. So, while we are still healthy, it is a happiness to be able to clean up.

A sprightly-looking grandmother came towards us down the hallway. I called out to her, “You’re looking good today!” She came over and took both my hands in hers in a friendly greeting. But then she covered her face with both hands, and started sobbing. I was surprised–all I could think to do was to repeat my greeting and pat her on the shoulder. Then she planted an intense kiss on the back of my hand.

Oh, how lonely she was, how hungry for love. The pain of aging pierced my heart.

I remembered the haiku by Santōka, “Unescapable death, the sound of water.” In this world, there are many things we don’t understand until we age. Declining bodies, declining vigor, forgetfulness, and death itself are all moving towards us, and it breaks my heart. At that instant, I could hear with my spiritual ears the sound of water within her. It was like the drip-drip sound of water seeping out of a tap in a midnight-dark kitchen, enveloped in deep loneliness.

「 水音」徳沢愛子著

二十年ほど前から月一回老人ホームのお掃除に行っている。用事があって行けない日も あるが、そうでなければ自分の老後の学びの機会として、喜んで出かける。勿論ボランテ ィアである。

今日は北陸には珍しい冬晴れであった。奉仕活動するには良い日だった。夫と二人で出 かけた。長い廊下をモップがけする。埃がついたモップを払うと、夫がほうきで掃く。我々 老夫婦もいつ何時老人ホームにお世話になるかもしれない。元気のある今、お掃除できるしあわせ。 元気そうなおばあさんが廊下の向こうからやって来られた。「お元気ですねェ」、そう声をかけると、親しげに私の両手を握られた。次の瞬間、両手で顔を覆い、「くくっ」と泣か れたのである。私はびっくりした。

「お元気ですね」と声をかけ、肩に手をかけた、ただそれだけのことなのに。そうして 私の右手をとって、手の甲に強烈なチュッをしたのである。

ああ、そのおばあさんはこんなにも人恋しかったのだ。愛に飢えているのだ。老いるこ との切なさが私の胸にジンと迫った。

<みんな死んでしまうことの水音>山頭火の句を私は思い出した。世の中には、老いて みなければ、わからないことがいっぱいある。衰えていく肉体のこと、気力のこと、物忘 れのこと、近づく死のことなど、惻惻と迫ってくる。私はその時、霊の耳に彼女の心の水 音を聞いたのである。それは真夜中、暗い台所でぽとりぽとりと水道から漏れ落ちる水音 のような、深い孤独を纏っていた。