Friday, April 29, 2005

That Old Black Magic (an update)

Police discloses name of black magic woman
Police yesterday disclosed the identity of the woman who performed black magic on the seat of a Superior Court judge. Department of Public Safety spokesman Eric David said that Anna Joseph Paul, a Pohnpeian, would be charged with conspiracy along with her alleged cohort, David Yanneris. Yanneris, another Pohnpeian facing five traffic charges before Lizama's courtroom, allegedly ordered Paul to put the judge under a spell so that the magistrate would be lenient with him. David said Yanneris would be charged with criminal mischief. Citing an investigation report, David said Paul smeared soil substance on the judge's chair, microphone and desk area last Monday. Crime scene probers went to the courthouse Monday to take photographs of the microphone, seat cushion, and desk calendar that were stained with a dark substance. "The substance was made to make the judge feel sorry for the defendant [Yanneris]," the DPS spokesman said. "Mr. Yanneris had used the substance numerous times and it had worked." After the court's Marshal officers turned over Paul to police Monday, lawmen released her from custody because she was the only one attending to her kids, the spokesman said. Jess Santos, the chief of the court's Marshal Service, spotted the woman and Yanneris through the courthouse's security cameras and video monitor. Yanneris stayed at the public entrance of Lizama's courtroom, as Paul performed her black magic on the judge's seat while the courtroom was empty. The incident happened before noontime last Monday on the day Yanneris was scheduled to attend an afternoon hearing on five traffic charges, including driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving. Santos accosted the woman at the courthouse's lobby and asked her about the incident, before turning her over to police.
Story by Contributing author

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

That Old Black Magic!

Here is an example taken from an article in yesterday's Saipan Tribune of beliefs that are still prevalent in the cultures of the western Pacific Islands:

Black magic woman caught

Police is investigating a woman who allegedly performed black magic on a Superior Court judge's seat while the courtroom was empty. Unknown to the woman, the Marshal's office was monitoring her activities through security cameras. Police reportedly arrested the woman shortly, but it did not disclose the person's identity nor that of the judge as of press time.

The woman allegedly poured a black substance on a judge's seat, desk, and microphone. The Marshal's office later took custody of the judge's seat cushion, desk calendar and microphone, which showed dark stains. Superstitious practices that persist in the Northern Marianas believe that a type of black magic may inflict pain on the person who gets in contact with the substance. It is also believed to put the person under a magic spell, controlling his decisions.

As of press time, the police did not specify the charges that could be brought against the woman. The Department of Public Safety's crime scene investigators responded to the courthouse yesterday to probe the case. Crime scene investigator Joey M. Benavente went to the Marshal's office, where he took photographs of the stained microphone, desk calendar and seat cushion. Marshal officers said that their chief, Jess Santos, spotted the woman on the video monitor, while she was allegedly doing her incantations. Santos, however, could not be interviewed yesterday, as he attended a jury selection process in the afternoon in connection with a criminal trial.

Story by John Ravelo

Saipan Photos

Del Benson - Saipan

If you're interested, click on the link above for some beautiful photographs of the island of Saipan. This is the website of our branch president and good friend Del Benson.
If you look closely at the picture of Justin in the elephant ears (blown up for the occasion!), you'll see Alexa peeking out from behind a "tree". And in the photo taken at Talafofo Falls, Mal is crouching right in the middle of the picture. Oh--and if you think you see Del wink at you--you did! Take a look around the rest of the site; you may find another Conner here and there...Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2005

I thought you might like to see this picture of Mal's Japanese class. . . she's in the middle. . . . (click for a larger pic.)

Sunday, April 17, 2005


I taught the kids to play "Mille-Bornes" Friday, so the three youngest ones have been at Casey and me to play this weekend. Ezra is all excited right now because he just won a hand. He tells me that he had a "Puncture Proof" safety card in his hand and so proceeded to plead with Eden to give him a "popped tire." As he says, he "koo-foorayed her."
Yesterday afternoon we all went to the Flametree Arts Festival at American Memorial Park. It's always fun to be there with the island music and dancers and the smoky barbecues wafting their delicious smells throughout. It's colorful and crowded and usually very muggy, but yesterday it was just beautiful with a pleasant off-shore breeze. The kids got their annual allotment of cotton candy, and we all had sticks of barbecued chicken and pork for supper. Mallory and Kaitlyn walked around with some of Mal's friends and bought a couple of shell necklaces and had their picture taken.
Alexa called the other day to tell me that she got a supervisor job for the summer with the Acadia Corporation in Bar Harbor (actually, I think the place she'll be working is in Salisbury Cove). Mallory had an interview that night with the same company, and we think she'll probably be hired as well.
I am concerned about Alexa driving cross-country this summer by herself, especially because she's been having some back trouble. It sounds like she has a pinched nerve--maybe sciatica. I'm hoping that Levi can fly out to Texas and drive with her.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Early Wednesday morning, around 3:30 a.m., the volcano on Anatahan erupted with an ash plume that went 50,000 feet high! We're about 75 miles south of there, and it took a bit for us to figure out what was going on. As the sun came up, I could see light all around the horizon, but overhead it was very dark--it looked so strange! All I could think of was a lid coming down on a pot. Later, when I went out to go downtown, my windshield looked as if someone had put a handful of mud on it and it had all slid down and accumulated on my windshield wiper. Here is a picture from today's Saipan Tribune.

7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Monday, April 04, 2005

The "Eddie-Factor"

Sunday morning in Church we were getting ready to sing the Sacrament hymn ("I Stand All Amazed"), and I played the introduction and Taylor Smith (the chorister), began the song and man! I didn't know what the problem was, but Taylor and I were half way through the first line while the congregation was still singing the first word! They were really dragging. Taylor had to actually hesitate to wait for them to catch up to her and I had to drop a few notes to adjust, and they did finally pick it up a little bit.
Later on, I asked Casey what he thought might have happened that everything got soooo off--it was as if the congregation didn't even know we were there. He said, "Two words: the Eddie-Factor." Oh well, I can't fault somebody because they love to sing... Casey's usually singing just as loudly and can balance him out, but this time he was adminstering at the Sacrament table. Well, if Brother E. can lead an entire congregation over a piano and a chorister, he'll be a shoo-in for Branch President someday!

Friday, April 01, 2005

"Whatsoever Things Are True..."

I am at a loss to understand "authorities" (not General Authorities), who publish paper after paper, book after book on their "research" as to where the Book of Mormon supposedly takes place and who the descendents of the Book of Mormon people are.

First of all, we are told in the Book of Mormon that the whole face of the land was changed by the destructive events that are recorded in 3rd Nephi. How can researchers, at least LDS researchers who believe the record to be a true account (and hey, maybe I'm the one making assumptions), assume that landmarks referred to in the Book of Mormon prior to those events are even in existence today? Why are they looking for rivers and other physical features that may have been gone a very long time ago? Even without the natural disasters recorded in the book, the lay of the land changes over a long period of time. In a place we used to live in Maine, there was a tarn at the base of a small mountain that we passed daily. In the seven years that we lived there, the tarn went from being a pretty little pond to almost being able to mow it! Granted, it's a miniscule example, but I could hardly give a personal attestation to the effects of thousands of years. It makes my point--physical things change! (Had a look in the mirror lately?)

Also, it seems to me that the words spoken by the Lord and his prophets concerning these things are largely ignored in favor of the discoveries of men. Joseph Smith, Jr., who even the most diehard history "expert" would have to agree was the foremost authority on the Book of Mormon, seemed to have somewhat general ideas on where the Book of Mormon peoples were. Yet, once a person is dead, meanings of words and writings can be manipulated to support almost any theory. We do it to the Founders on a regular basis ("...the Founding Fathers did not intend..."or "...the Founding Fathers fully expected..."), and to the Bible as a matter of course.

All truth is important, but is it all equally important? And is it equally important at the same time and in the same situation? The Book of Mormon tells us that by the power of the Holy Ghost, we may know the truth of all things. I don't believe any of the researchers and authors will be able to "prove" their theories or fully substantiate their research until the purpose of the book is fulfilled--to testify to all the nations of the earth that Jesus is the Christ and through faith on his name we can be saved.