Leo said I should take a break...so I am, although pruning my rose bush was pretty therapeutic, I have to say. So here's my thoughts that I managed to gather, in brief.
I regards to the Mountain Meadow Massacre and polygamy, etc. I think you're doing your children a disservice if you don't at least give them some rudimentary knowledge of it. Things come up in weird ways--I first read about the Mountain Meadow Massacre in a Jack London book. It was not a favorable telling of it. Even now, I have a hard time understanding some things, and I just have to keep reminding myself after reading something disturbing of my own personal experiences that keep me grounded in the gospel. Leo's aunt went off on him when he was going to get baptized, and being Leo, he kind of shrugged them all aside, but he did ask me about polygamy, and so I wrote him this long LONG email explaining all this stuff, and in the end he didn't really care that much anyway, and was kind of overwhelmed by my response. So there's definitely a danger of going overboard in explanations too. So this wasn't so brief. But to sum up: It's always better to be informed than ignorant. And I do agree with Andrea on how to teach kids about it.
Secondly, I might not be reading anything for a while, but when I do again, I'll be up for anything you guys mentioned. But I still would like to read these three especially from our old list:
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies / Jared Diamond
**The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe / Stephen Hawking
Man's Search for Meaning / Viktor E. Frankl
I think that would fall in line with Julia's desire to read five different books on different subjects. Guns, Germs and Steel is history/sociology/anthropology. The Theory of Everything is science. And Man's Search for Meaning, philosophy. Right?
Other than that, I'm up for anything. Although once Megan Whalen Turner's new book is out, all others will be pushed to the side.
Oh, and as far as us having a mission, I have a complicated view on that. I don't really feel any pressure to complete any particular "thing" simply because it may or may not be my mission. I feel really strongly that when we are at least wanting to do right (having the desire to believe like in the seed parable) whether we are succeeding or not, that the Lord will guide us more than we ever expect. However, I think if we are "succeeding" in being righteous, even a little bit (as in the basics that always kill me: praying, personal scripture study), we'll be in an even better position to be led by the Lord to do what he wants, and thus fulfilling our mission even more fully. My patriarchal blessing does fit in well with what I like to persue already, albeit not always with equal success or as high of priority as they should be, so it's not a big deal--basically my husband, kids, family history and temple work, and study the scriptures and remember to pray. And frankly, all your guys' ideas to be better are, I think, the main thing--that means you have the desire and if you keep trying you'll end up where you should be. Anyway, I just read Pres. Uchdorf's talk, The Love of God, and that's pretty much what it said. It gave me a lot of hope anyway, which is the foundation right? Faith, hope...I've still got a long ways to go before charity, but I hope someday I get there. Hee. Hee.
So this wasn't short at all and I was supposed to be washing down walls and painting, and now I just want to go to bed. Ruff. I haven't even got the dishes or laundry done yet. Shame on me.