Digger: Scene Seven

by Robert Lauer

D I G G E R, a play in seven scenes, deals with the lives of
Joseph Smith and Emma Hale from their first
meeting in October of 1825 until their
elopement. The play explores the little-known
events surrounding Joseph Smith's youthful
involvement in money-digging and the
circumstances which led to the controversial
1826 trial-events which took place a number
of years before the translation of the golden
plates and the founding of the LDS church.
The play takes place in the Hale home in
Harmony, Pennsylvania, where Isaac Hale
lives with his wife, Elizabeth, and his strong-
willed daughter, Emma. As the play begins
Isaac has agreed to house several treasure
hunters for an old neighbor, Josiah Stowell,
who is digging for a Spanish silver mine. The
little band of treasure hunters is led by a
twenty-year-old visionary, Joseph Smith, who is
said to be endowed with the gifts of seership
and prophecy. Arad Stowell, Josiah's son, and
Emma try to convince the old man that he is
wasting money on the venture and that Joseph
is a fraud; but as Emma gets to know the
young seer she finds that he is a sincere,
passionate young man who longs to leave his
questionable occupation and serve God.
Arad, refusing to accept Joseph as anything
but a charlatan, finally succeeds in bringing
him to court for fraud, where he is found
guilty but not sentenced. In the last scene of the
play, Joseph returns to the Hale home—in spite
of the bad feelings which have arisen due to
the trial-to ask Isaac for Emma's hand in marriage.

The Hale home later that afternoon.
AT RISE: ELIZABETH is sewing. ISAAC cleans his rifle while
EMMA paces about the room nervously. ELIZABETH watches
her daughter but as usual says nothing.

EMMA (to ISAAC): Must you clean that thing now? (ISAAC looks
up at her and continues cleaning the gun without a word.)

ELIZABETH: It certainly is quiet today. Not a breeze to be
found. Almost makes me uneasy . (Seconds pass slowly by.
Suddenly there is a knock at the door.)

EMMA: I’ll get it! (She flies to the door but ISAAC reaches it
before her. He opens it and sees JOSEPH.)

JOSEPH: Good day, Mr. Hale Sir-

ISAAC: You! (He slams the door in JOSEPH’s face.)

ELIZABETH: Isaac, who was that?

ISAAC: No one! (EMMA looks out the window.)

EMMA: It’s Joseph!

ELIZABETH: Joseph? What in the world does he want?

EMMA: He probably wants to come in. (She goes for the door

ISAAC: Don’t you let him in this house! I swear I’ll shoot him!

EMMA: Oh Father, put down that damn rifle!

ISAAC (to ELIZABETH): Listen to your daughter curse her own

EMMA: I’m sorry, Father, but Joseph has come to talk to you as
an adult, man to man.

ISAAC: And just how do you know what Joseph has come here
for? (EMMA is suddenly silent. ISAAC starts to catch on.) Oh,
now I see. . . . (He flings open the door.) Get in here,
Boy! (JOSEPH enters.)

JOSEPH: Thank you, Sir. Hello, Mrs.—

ISAAC: When they didn’t put you in jail where you belong I
was told you might be coming back here, but frankly I didn’t
think you’d have guts enough to show your face after the
embarrassment you caused us. Folks around here have been shunning us for housing a known criminal.

EMMA: It hasn’t been that bad!

ISAAC: Did you tell him about your students?

EMMA: No, I did not

ISAAC: Some parents have taken their children out of my
daughter’s class. They’d rather have their children grow up
ignorant than be taught by a woman who sees charlatans!

EMMA: Ignore him, Joseph! He exaggerates!


JOSEPH: Sir, I can explain why—

ISAAC: What I want you to explain is why you’ve been seeing my daughter when I forbade you to!

EMMA: He hasn’t been seeing me! Joseph just returned today!

ISAAC (to EMMA): And you! Leading him on! Him—a common criminal! It’s disgraceful!

JOSEPH: Sir, I’m no criminal!

ISAAC: Don’t you raise your voice at me, Boy! Have you no
respect for your elders?

JOSEPH: I won’t be called a criminal by anyone, regardless of
their age!

ISAAC: I suppose the fact that you were dragged into court and
found guilty proves nothing?

JOSEPH: Of course it proves nothing!

ELIZABETH: Isaac, shouldn’t we at least listen to what Joe has
come to say?

ISAAC: All right, Boy, talk! But you just be sure that you pick
your words real careful.

JOSEPH:(trying to explain): Mr. and Mrs. Hale, I wish you
would believe me when I tell you that I’ve never intentionally
deceived anyone. I’m not the rogue people make me out to
be. During these past few months I’ve done a lot of thinking
about the past and a lot of praying about my future. (ISAAC
smirks at this.) I realize now that I should never have gotten
involved in money digging and stone gazing. I’ve caused too
many people stress and worry.

ISAAC: Isn’t it wonderful that you’ve realized that—now!

JOSEPH: That’s past, and nothing I do or say can change it.

EMMA: Joseph has given up money digging forever.

JOSEPH: I know my decision has come late.

ISAAC: Too late!

JOSEPH: I realize that, Sir. When I first came here with Mr.
Stowell I asked myself why I was getting involved in his
fanatical scheme. I didn’t feel right about the digging itself.
But after I started boarding here I realized that I was led here
for a reason. That reason was your daughter.

ISAAC: What?


JOSEPH: Sir, I’ve done a lot of thinking about her. I love
Emma and I want her for my wife.

ISAAC: What? Elizabeth, did you hear that? (He points his
gun at JOSEPH.) I should shoot you here and now! (EMMA
tears the gun from her father’s hands.)

EMMA: Father!

ISAAC: You love her, you say? Hell! What do you know about
love? You think it’s talkin’ fancy about visions and dreams
and such? It’s work, Boy! Hard work! It’s blisters on your
hands and aching in your back from swinging an ax or a hoe!
Do you love my daughter enough to soil your precious hands? Do you love her enough to throw away your pretty little visions and work like a real man?

EMMA: Father, I love Joseph!

ELIZABETH: Emma, don’t say that!

EMMA: Why not? I do love him. I’m sure I do.

JOSEPH: Sir, I’ve prayed about it, and I feel it’s God’s will that
we be together.

ISAAC: God my foot! What does God have to do with any of

JOSEPH : He has to do with everything, Sir.

ISAAC: Don’t you dare preach at me, Boy! So . .. you’ve
taken up with the Almighty now, have you? I still say, no!
You think I’d let my girl marry a lollygag who squints at

JOSEPH: But I’ve repented! I’ve changed!

ISAAC: So now you’re a religious lollygag! I don’t give a damn
about your repentance! I still say no!

JOSEPH: Mr. Hale Sir, you’ re going against the will of the Lord.

ISAAC: Am I now? And do I have the pleasure of gazing upon
the Lord Himself?

JOSEPH: No. He has only called me to be his servant.

ISAAC: I don’t care if you’re all the prophets this side of Adam!

EMMA: Father, would you listen to what I have to say?

ELIZABETH: Shh, Emma. Let them talk this out.

EMMA: But it’s me they’re talking about! This is my life-my

ISAAC: Do you really love this scatterbrain, Daughter?

JOSEPH: Tell them the truth, Emma.

EMMA: I think—I think I do.


EMMA: No! I know that I do! (There is silence. Then ISAAC
turns on JOSEPH with new fury.)

ISAAC: If you don’t stop fillin’ my daughter’s head with your
lies and your promises I’ 11 kill you! Why, I’d rather see her
dead and in her grave than tied down with the likes of you!

JOSEPH: The likes of me? What do you or anyone else know
about the likes of me? I try to change but you won’t let
me-no one will! You treat me as if I’m not able to do
anything good . . . as if God would never take notice of me
just because you don’t! Well, he has! He’s chosen me to do
his work—maybe because I was only a treasure digger,
because I believed in this dull world there was buried
something golden just waiting for someone to wake up and
claim it. Maybe he chose me because he knew I wasn’t afraid to look above and below things for something better, even if it was only a dream in an old hunk of rock! Yes, I’m nothing but a treasure digger, and once one, always one! But I have something to tell you, Sir . . . believe it or not, so is your daughter. When it comes to wanting something more of life, something that others just won’t look for because they’re so busy pushing their plows, cooking their meals and hunting in their woods, we’re both of the same blood!  

ISAAC: How dare you talk to me that way about my own flesh and blood!  

JOSEPH: We’re both of age, Sir. We don’t need your permission.  

ISAAC: Get out of my house!  

JOSEPH: I’ll go. But first I must have Emma’s answer. 

ISAAC: Get out!  

EMMA: Go on, Joseph. I’ll meet you later at the usual place.  (JOSEPH turns to exit, but stops when he places his hand in  his pocket and withdraws the stone.)  

JOSEPH: I don’t know why I still carry this with me. I don’t need it anymore. (He places it on the table and exits. ISAAturns to EMMA.)  

ISAAC: The usual place, huh?  

EMMA: The schoolhouse.  

ISAAC: I tell you, Daughter, not to lay eyes on him again!  EMMA: My eyes are my own, Sir! (ELIZABETH can no longer remain silent.)  

ELIZABETH: Be still both of you! (ISAAC and EMMA are  silent-stunned by ELIZABETH s sudden outburst.) There are some things a woman cannot discuss with a man-even her father. Isaac, please let me speak with Emma alone.  

ISAAC: It’s a waste of time! She’ll listen to no one!  ELIZABETH: But she is my daughter. (ISAAC gives a grunt and exits. ELIZABETH turns to EMMA.) Now Emma—

EMMA: Mother, even you can’t change my mind.  

ELIZABETH: I know I can’t. You think that you’re in love with him .  

EMMA: I know I am.  

ELIZABETH: You know you are.  

EMMA: Father can do nothing about it. He must accept the fact that I have a mind and a will of my own.  

ELIZABETH: You’ll have to bear with him until he comes around, Daughter. We both know that your father sees little more than what he wants to see. I, on the other hand, see plenty. I saw your feelings toward Joe change only days after he arrived.  

EMMA: Oh, Mother, how could you have? I didn’t realize how  I felt until much later.  

ELIZABETH: Do you think I’m stupid, Emma?  

EMMA: Of course not. You put words in my mouth. 

ELIZABETH: I thought perhaps you might, seeing as I don’t speak back to your father the way you do, because I don’t defend myself.  

EMMA: I can’t let him tread all over me, Mother. You just don’t understand what I’m feeling.  

ELIZABETH: Just because I don’t discuss certain subjects doesn’t mean I’m ignorant of them. I was once young like yourself. 

EMMA: That was ages ago. It’s not the same nowadays. The world is changing.  

ELIZABETH: Men and women and things remain the same  throughout the “ages.” Emma, you are a very . . . very passionate young woman. I’ve watched you grow from childhood to womanhood in fear and in silence, hoping that if I  never voiced my fears nothing would come of them.  

EMMA: What does this have to do with Joseph and me? 

ELIZABETH: I know that there is nothing more exciting to a passionate woman than a prophet. When I was a girl many so called preachers passed through, and while I listened to them rant on about the glories of heaven and the agonies of hell,  my heart would come to my throat. I believe I would have left my family, home and friends to follow them if only theyd asked me. Being a foolish young girl it never occurred to me that what I was feeling might have less to do with the  Father, Son and Holy Ghost than with some magnificent male’s overwhelming masculinity. I’ve often marveled at that mysterious relationship between saintliness and passion,  why sanctity is so irresistibly seductive, why we women respond to spirituality in a man so rapturously, so recklessly

EMMA (at a loss for words): Mother, I …  

ELIZABETH: You’re embarrassed, Daughter?  

EMMA: I’ve never heard you speak this way before. 

ELIZABETH: And so you assumed that I never thought of such things. If you only knew what passes through my head at times. Between the sweeping and the meals and the bed sheets we think of many things we’d never dare speak of, don’t we? Not only are Joseph’s ideas appealing, but above all, he is powerfully male. No woman, young or old, could remain entirely unresponsive. Tell me you haven’t noticed that. (EMMA is silent.) It seems your father was right. You truly are my daughter.  

EMMA: Mother, you don’t know Joseph as I do. When we’re alone and he talks to me, all I can do is sit very still and listen to his every word. He paints pictures I never imagined any man could paint, and through the colors I always see his eyes. No artist could capture his face. It changes constantly with his every thought. His eyes do what eyes were meant to do. They see and they understand. And there’s something in his smile . . . right here in the corner of his mouth that puzzles me, that intrigues me, that scares me. I don’t think I  could ever go back to living life as I did until I find out what it is in his smile.  

ELIZABETH: Dear, try to see him as your father sees him, as  Arad Stowell sees him, as Emma Hale once saw him.  EMMA: But once Emma Hale didn’t know him. (The revelation  comes.) Mother, I must marry him. I must find out what it is behind him.  

ELIZABETH: I’m afraid for you, Daughter. Afraid you’ 11 be  disappointed, afraid it won’t be worth the price you’ll have to  pay for the privilege of bedding down with your “Saint  Joseph.” (ISAAC has heard the last few lines while lingering outside the room. Now he bursts in.)  

ISAAC: I tell you, all she wants to do is take on God! She’s too good for her own family! She’s tired of our way of life! It isn’t exciting enough for her taste!  

EMMA: I’m sorry, but it’s not! There has to be more to this world-more to life than this kitchen and the schoolhouse.  ISAAC: You’ll never see any of it with that lazy boy! 

EMMA: I think I will.  

ISAAC: I tell you, he’ 11 make you cry. You’ 11 live and die miserable!  

EMMA: Father, I’m miserable now! There must be more! 

ISAAC: You’re only miserable because you choose to be! I  could be unhappy too if I let myself! You think I don’t long to get away from this every now and then? But I know I  can’t. Life isn’t that way.  

EMMA: Why can’t it be that way? A while back I would have laughed at anyone who would seriously ask such a question.  Once it would have seemed so simple, so idiotic. But now. . . I will marry Joseph.  

ISAAC: And as long as you are my daughter living in my house  I say that you will not see that dreamer again!  

EMMA: Why can’t you try to see things the way I see them?  Why can’t you try to see things right? I’m sure about this!  Do you know what I did the other day? I went to the woods, knelt down and prayed 

ISAAC: —that Jesus would still love your father? That He would forgive him and help him see things right? (Their eyes make contact and they must pause. Suddenly EMMA is six years old, kneeling in the woods on a winter afternoon, and she suddenly realizes that she has been watched. ISAAC is moved that his child would pray for his salvation. Then it is the present once again. EMMA comes close to ISAAC, takes his  face in her hands and quickly gives him a gentle kiss.)  

EMMA: Father, I love you. I’m sorry that I haven’t always acted as though I do. I’m sorry for not being a good little daughter for not staying in my place .. . really I am.  I’ll always love you. But I’m not yours any longer. (ISAAC turns to speak but his voice cracks.)  

ISAAC: I don’t want to hear you say that ever ever again.  (EMMA turns from him. She sees the rock on the table.  Gently she picks it up and looks at it. She smiles to herself and places it in her pocket. ISAAC and ELIZABETH watch in silence knowing what is about to happen, but wishing they did not. EMMA takes one last look at each of them and then  goes to the door.)  

EMMA (calling): Joseph! Joseph! Wait for me! (She is gone.  ISAAC is struck dumb for a moment. Then he runs to the  door.)  

ISAAC (desperately): Emma! I still have things to tell you! I  still have things to say! You are my daughter! You’ll always be mine! Do you hear me? You’ 11 always be mine!  (ELIZABETH walks over and touches him gently.) She’ll be back.  

ELIZABETH (quietly, but with conviction): No, Isaac.  ISAAC: She will! I know my daughter. She’ll see him for what he is and she’ll come back.  

ELIZABETH: I’m sorry, Isaac, but she’s gone. This time I am right. (ISAAC breaks. He crumbles, hitting the “dry” pump. Clear water suddenly bursts from the spout. ELIZABETH  kneels beside him, wets her hand and wipes the brow of the  crying man.) 


Robert Lauer is a senior majoring in motion picture and TV writing. “Digger” won second prize in the 1981-82 Mayhew playwriting competition.

World War I: Past Poets

by Michael Rutter

Seventy years now past
(It doesn 't seem that long ago to me)
Since armies of the world gathered
For the first time on the fields of France to see
The world at war: the sallow land,
Machine gun casings scattered in the sand,
Marked graves of soldiers who died young,
And more unmarked of those they flung
Across the land until the earth
Closed up, refusing birth
Until the gathered hulls
Of vanity were shields,
And landward gulls
Returned, unworrying to their fields.
The war to end all wars
And the always promised peace in time:
The old lie, too often told–as a whore
Who is pretty has cheated us like chimes
We listened to in a thunderstorm ;
You visited the grove and warned
With all the power of the Muses' wood;
Still, soldiers like beggars in their sacks stood
In limpid hell, uttering trench confessions
For the bitch's lost teeth and her obsessions,
For the broken scarues–dulce et decor,
For the lives she knowingly bled in vain,
For all the sins, returning as before.

Mike Rutter completed his Master's degree in English this summer and he now teaches at Provo
High School.

Starless Night

by Ann Best

Space clarifies my childlike fear of darkness,
Locked in Mother’s closet, breathing mothballs
That preserved the coats and red-wool dresses,
Phantoms touching eerily my flesh
For fear of dying in a narrow place.

I dreamed of death when vicious winters later
Flung their ice and snow against the glass-
Mutely crawling back into the room
Where dust motes hovered in the dusky light
And moths beat thinly on a window screen.

Now I know that death is not a dream.

And, if this is how I am to die, locked trembling
In a corner of my closer mind,
I’ll close my eyes and turn a rusted key
And watch my soul flit like a half-drugged moth
To some round corner of infinity.

Ann Best recently received her Master’s degree in English at BYU. She is currently in a creative writing program at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Pounder’s Beach

by Diana Moore

Palm fronds crash—in a gust above—
As sharp as the surf, though not so free.
This is no sheltered quiet cove;
The beach is bare to the force of the sea.

But there is peace in the soft beach sand
And the grass on the shore is warm.
The sand was formed in the pound of the wind
And the grass between sea and storm.

Diana Moore is a graduate student in English. “Pounder’s Beach” is from Diana’s first prize

winning poetry entry in the 1981-82 Mayhew contest.

Chickens at the Fair

by Michael Mack

Del, Dave and me
Surrounded by State Fair—
Was I eight or nine?

In the farm exposition,
Cows, sheep, and hogs were all in white pens,
And chickens in booths like popcorn machines.
For a dime, a light would come on and a hen
Would peck a tune on a toy piano.
Corn would drop in a tray
And for having played, the chicken was fed.
It would peck even when
No seeds came down, we learned.
The pecking of tin was music too.
It was funny: Another starving musician.

We put in all our dimes.

Michael Mack is a second-year law student. “Chicken at the Fair” was selected from poems
which received an honorable mention in the 1981-82 Mayhew poetry competition.

Other Things

by Wade Bentley

A piece of pin-stripe jostled to the front
Of coffee drunken crowd and checked his watch
And checked the street and thought about the Deal
He’d surely make today-and other things.

Some things like flaxen women easing past
With cotton-candy hips and endless legs,
And some about his wife, who mostly asked
If he was staying lace to pay for things.

And then when he had passed the deli, there
Where Wall Street meets the wharf, he thought again
About his Deal, the Big Deal of his day,
When maybe then his starchy underthings

Would start to crawl, and while the Deal was dealt
He’d smile, and die to pull them out. But then-
Why, who the hell is this that’s died ? He looks
The paper through, and threatens ugly things

To other passing three-piece suits who run
To make the light. And while he waits to WALK
Again, it starts to rain and spots his suit.
He fingers in his pockets lifeless things

And wonders what to do with all the lint.

Wade Bentley graduated from BYU in English this August and is now a graduate student in


Attic Lights

by Wade Bentley

On dog day Saturdays, when Paul and Ann
Sit still beside their cardboard sign and wait
For thirsty crowds to stop and drink their wares
Of tepid yellow, and when hours of prate

About the general going to hell of things
Has settled on my parlored mind like waves
Of musty, sunlit dust, I cake my leave
For cooler, attic air: The mauve enclaves

And shadowed nooks where all my leeward life
Lies boxed and fading in the yellowed suns
Of fini re days. I whisper golden flecks
From off the broken frames, the tarnished guns,

The birdcage of a sickly, yellow bird
That sung until it stopped. My wicker chair
I place among these gathered ghosts, and rock
The noons to afternoons some ocher where

Than now. The evening breeze begins to rasp
And rattles through the brittle, tinder trees
Along the silent house. And sweat dries cool
Upon the grass where crickets gnash their knees.

Wade Bentley graduated from BYU in English this August and is now a graduate student in


by Loren Higbee

Ghetto is an Italian word. 
In Bologna, our apartment was a twenty-­
minute bus ride from the train station. We 
spoke the best Italian in the building, though 
Maria, the Puerto Rican lady upstairs, knew 
enough English to call us "elders," the 
five Croatians down the hall to mutter 
"richamericans" under their sour 
breath when we passed. The ubiquitous Albanians 
in the bar downstairs stared dully when 
we bought stamps or ice cream, but never spoke at all. 
We were all extracommunitari, members 
of no community but the brotherhood 
of mutual dissimilarity. 

But foreignness is always 
relative. A block beyond our complex 
sprawled a gypsy camp, ramshackle, hesitant. 
It smelled of excrement and fear and 
impermanence. I can't distinguish them now, 
can't remember a single face—maybe 
because we never dared meet each other's gaze—
­except for one, a pretty gypsy girl, 
not the most beautiful woman I ever met 
in Italy, but the most striking. She was about 
my age with sun-darkened face and hands 
but fair hair and amber eyes. She always wore 
a blood red jacket and stood out among 
the older women dressed in gray like a 
rose laid in ashes. They begged in the 
shadows of the famous towers and near the 
palazzi of the oldest university 
in Europe. I don't know why I can't forget 
her. We never talked to one another. 
We had no common attribute but bravado, 
no common language but alienation. 

I only know that every time I 
saw her, I wanted to clean the dirt from her
face, wash and brush her long hair, undo
the gold buttons of her jacket, and hold her 
close. I wanted to have and share one safe
 place in the world where we could be afraid.

Fall 2006: Art

Fall 2006

Neurons by Ashley Christensen
Regarding Zoe by A. Demos
Receiving by A. Demos
Toothpick Dreams by Ashley Christensen
Elaina by Julie Cahoon
Averted Gaze by A. Demos
Ennui by McKay Christensen
Purple House by Ashley Christensen

Tree Window by Ashley Christensen
Unnamed by Jonette Jenkins
Outside by A. Demos
Madden by Julie Cahoon
Wallpaper by Ashley Christensen
In Focus by A. Demos


by Amy Noorlander BFA 2008 Painting and Drawing Brigham Young University MFA 2013 Painting and Drawing University of Utah Post Baccalaureate Certificate 2009 Painting and Drawing School of the Art Institute of Chicago