"A Kingdom of Priests, and an Holy Nation"
The Work of Covenant Women and Men in Building Zion
Sharon Eubank, "'A Kingdom of Priests, and an Holy Nation': The Work of Covenant Women and Men in Building Zion," Religious Educator 23, no. 2 (2022): 16–29.
Sharon Eubank was serving as first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency and as director of Latter-day Saint Charities at the time this article was written.
I’m so pleased to be invited to speak at this year’s Sperry Symposium and especially on a theme I care deeply about: “A Covenant of Compassion: Caring for the Marginalized and Disadvantaged”—particularly examples from the Old Testament.
The scope of the topic I have chosen tonight is too big to be confined simply to Old Testament times, but that is where I am going to start. The expansive vision of a covenantal kingdom of priests as a holy nation has animated prophets since Enoch actually achieved it in his day, and the promise of it has everything to do with what President Russell M. Nelson is teaching in our day—for the benefit of all, including the poor, the disadvantaged, and those who have not. So let me start with Moses and move through other prophets before linking this covenant of compassion to the latter days and the potential for the faithful to become, by covenant, kings and queens, priests and priestesses.
The expansive vision of a covenantal kingdom of priests as a holy nation has animated prophets since Enoch actually achieved it in his day, and the promise of it has everything to do with what President Russell M. Nelson is teaching in our day. Photo by Bree Evans, Unsplash.com.
I see in my mind’s eye a mother’s hands smoothing over the basket with slime and tar. She nursed the baby one more time so he would be full and then set the little basket adrift among the reeds along the banks of the river. Who is in the basket? Of course, it is Moses. I find this one of the greatest acts of faith ever recorded. Like Hannah, like Mary, like Elizabeth—who all would later give their sons to the Lord—this mother, Jochebed, committed her precious baby to the Lord’s care.
The Lord guided the basket along the Nile currents until it was spotted by Pharaoh’s daughter. She opened the lid, and the baby wept. The Egyptian royal knew immediately it was one of the Hebrew babies, and she had compassion on it. She claimed the baby to be her son. Jochebed was fetched to be a wet nurse. Now, I imagine that Moses grew up in the courts of Pharaoh learning everything a prince of Egypt should know—language for diplomacy, writing for record keeping, mathematics for city building, leadership for military campaigns, music for relaxing. All the things that would help a great man succeed on the earth. But, as yet, Moses may not have known much of faith, of revelation, of priesthood keys, or of covenants with the one true God of Abraham—all the things that would help a great man succeed beyond this life and bring others with him.
When Moses grew into his adulthood, the scriptures say “he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens” (Exodus 2:11). He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. Moses had a compassionate nature, and he defended the Hebrew, killing the Egyptian. This act meant his own death, and he fled across the desert, out of the reach of Pharaoh, to a place called Midian. He must have felt as if he had forfeited all. All his diplomatic training, city building, military campaigns, and being the right hand of Pharaoh counted for nothing now. But the Lord had something different in mind for Moses. He led him to Jethro, a priest of Midian. Moses married Jethro’s daughter, and his father-in-law taught Moses many things about the true gospel. In time, Jethro, who held the Melchizedek Priesthood from Abraham’s line, conferred the priesthood on Moses (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:6–16). Moses wasn’t destined to be a prince of Egypt, but instead he was to be a high priest, a king of the Most High God, who is the King of Kings.
When Moses freed the children of Israel from Pharaoh and brought them through the Red Sea to Mount Sinai, the Lord commanded Moses, saying, “Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:3–6).
And they took three days to sanctify themselves, wash their clothes, and prepare to meet the Lord in covenant (see Exodus 19:10–14).
“And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up” (Exodus 19:20).
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:18–19).
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Exodus 20:20).
“And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, . . . and he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient” (Exodus 24:3, 7).
“And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. . . . And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them” (Exodus 24:8–10, 12).
Well, you know the rest of the story. The people were afraid of the Lord’s voice; they did not wait on the Lord; they turned from the covenant they had made and corrupted themselves with false idols.
Moses was commanded to establish a kingdom of priests, and he brought them to the mountain, but the people didn’t have the traditions of Egypt out of them yet. They were afraid of themselves and certainly afraid to get too close to God. They preferred to have Moses be their spokesman, but that isn’t a kingdom of priests. They received a lesser law (see Joseph Smith Translation, Exodus 34:1–2).
I suppose that nothing scares Satan more than a kingdom of priests with a temple and a prophet, because that combination of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and willingness to act severely curtails Satan’s power on the earth. He will corrupt the kingdom if he can. He doesn’t want them to be able to trust their leaders. He knows that simply sowing seeds of doubt about leaders can markedly affect the rising generation. This was the tactic with the children of Israel at Sinai, and he employs it today (see Exodus 32:1–8).
The real lesson and hope of Exodus for me is how Aaron and all the other “Aarons” gathered to Moses when he asked the nation to choose between the true God and dumb idols (see Exodus 32:26). Aaron repented of his sins. He became worthy again to be a high priest, to be washed and anointed and clothed in the priest’s robes and to officiate in the tabernacle for the people (see Exodus 28:1–5; 39:1, 27–32), proving again the words Jesus spoke in a different era to the repentant Alma, “Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me. And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses” (Mosiah 26:30–31).
The Old Testament has some of the most basic injunctions about showing compassion for the poor, seeking our own forgiveness, and compassionately forgiving others. These continue to inspire our actions today. However, the concept of a covenant of compassion is broader than looking after disadvantaged segments of society or improving our own behavior. In its purest ideal, it is absolute fidelity to the idea that “all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33) and that He truly is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), that “he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness” (2 Nephi 26:33), and that we must truly treat each other as family.
The Old Testament prophets had varying success with the ideal. Enoch’s city reached the pinnacle “because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). The semicolon in the verse suggests that it was the practical actions of becoming emotionally invested in one another, unifying themselves around collective purposes, and committing to righteousness that created the condition of “no poor among them.” The covenant at its root is about unity, equity, and fidelity to God’s law for givers and receivers, and it revolutionizes society. After Jesus Christ taught and blessed the Nephites, Mormon expressed the concrete results in the lives of people who live by covenant—and I am captivated by these verses. I want so badly in my own life to experience a society where there are no whoredoms: “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of ‑ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings” (4 Nephi 1:15–18).
Moses’s and Enoch’s experiences serve as powerful archetypes for the dynamic possibility of a kingdom of priests and what we must do in the latter days to lay the foundation “upon which the Zion of God shall stand” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:7). Of course, Moses’s work was not all completed at Sinai. He returned to the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John, and again to the Kirtland Temple as part of his mission to commit the keys of the gathering of Israel in the dispensation of the fulness of times (see Doctrine and Covenants 110:11; Matthew 17).
Joseph Smith’s Keys
What happened in the Kirtland Temple in 1836 is one of the most significant events in human history. The Lord Jesus Christ accepted the temple—the first temple in this dispensation dedicated to the work of the Lord in what would become hundreds of temples. And then there were the successive appearances of Moses, Elias, and Elijah to commit keys to make the holy work and mission efficacious and binding. Moses committed to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the keys of the gathering of Israel. The charge for the children of Israel, whether ancient or modern, is to gather, to make and keep priesthood covenants, and to become a kingdom of priests that builds Zion.
The Relief Society was founded in Nauvoo on March 17, 1842. It was organized not simply, as some mistakenly assume, as a benevolent society for women to sew shirts for the temple workmen. When Joseph turned the key to establish the Relief Society, it was to organize them “after the pattern of the priesthood” and to make them a formal part of the Restoration. The Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book records on March 31, 1842, two weeks after its founding, that Joseph taught the sisters—and notice the themes of unity and fidelity to the commandments and the reference to Zion: “All must act in concert or nothing can be done—[he taught] that the Society should move according to the ancient Priesthood, hence there should be a select Society separate from all the evils of the world, choice, virtuou[s] and holy—[Joseph] said he was going to make of this Society a kingdom of priests a[s] in Enoch’s day—as in Paul’s day.”
Joseph Smith used similar terms earlier when speaking of the relationship of all the Saints to the temple. “This ‘kingdom of priests’ would comprise men and women who made temple covenants.” He was preparing both the sisters in Relief Society and the brethren in their quorums for the temple ordinances that would shortly be revealed in Nauvoo. But Joseph faced largely the same problem that Moses faced: how to get rid of fear and a constrained mentality and free the people to be powerful in the priesthood?
The characteristics of Enoch’s Zion correspond in great harmony with the essential character of temple worship and the covenants of sacrifice, obedience, faithfulness, and consecration that would soon be administered to the Saints in Nauvoo as part of the temple endowment.
These temple covenants and the outward focus of priesthood power and service to others become the fulfillment of the Old Testament foundation of concern where covenantal priestly men and women reach out from their circles to minister to those who are spiritually and temporally without. As Joseph Smith vividly expressed it, “A man [or woman] filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his [or her] family alone, but ranges through the world, anxious to bless the whole of the human family.”
Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the priesthood keys and authority and temple ordinances necessary for the foundations of Zion were again established. Nearly two hundred years later, his successor to the keys, President Nelson, would express Jehovah’s covenant of compassion in these words: “The gathering of Israel is the most important thing taking place on the earth today. Nothing else compares in magnitude, nothing else compares in importance, nothing else compares in majesty.”
In this dispensation, the covenant will fill the whole earth. Men and women will purify their hearts by covenant and then range through the whole world anxious to bless the whole human race and gather Israel home.
I have been referring to ancient revelations and speaking in dispensations. Let me now move to concrete examples of what this might look like in an everyday application.
There are some bedrock principles to be observed in order to lay the foundations for a unified, equitable, and peaceful society where there are no poor of any kind.
In a gospel context, we call choice agency. I have a photo of a young girl choosing a winter coat from among the bales of donated warm clothing at a distribution camp in northern Iraq. The pink fake fur isn’t the most practical option, but there is a delighted expression on her face. She has made her choice, and she loves her choice. In emergencies or poverty, choices get severely restricted. People often don’t get to choose what they eat, where they live, what kind of work they do, where they worship, or what they wear. Protecting the ability to choose is one of the cornerstones of the Father’s plan. Anytime choice and self-determination are preserved (even in small instances like with a pink coat), we protect the divine gift of agency that our Father in Heaven has given each individual. Of course, the choice to worship God or not worship, according to individual conscience, and the opportunity to freely practice faith is the most fundamental of human choices
Dignity and Meaningful Work
Jesus told His disciples that “the labourer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7). When corruption and inequality circumvent the connection between meaningful work and progress, people lose hope. A positive example of how meaningful work can give hope comes from the time when the city of Mosul was liberated from ISIS forces. Families desired to come back to the city, but it was incredibly discouraging. Militants had smashed every facility, cut every wire and pipe, booby-trapped every asset. The people coming back from displacement camps had very few personal resources. A Chaldean priest whose Christian church and school had been destroyed approached Lynn and Sandy Watson, who were serving a humanitarian mission. Could they help him get school supplies to start the school again? Lynn and Sandy were long schooled in covenantal principles. They knew that families were facing not just physical poverty but a poverty of self-respect and hope that things could change. They proposed that the parents of the children build the school furniture themselves with training and support from Latter-day Saint Charities. The families were skeptical—they were middle-class accountants and dentists. What did they know about building desks? But they agreed to try. A welder worked with them to weld the metal frames together. A carpenter came to show them how to make the desktops. When the school opened, not only did the children have fine desks, but the parents stood in the back of the room absolutely beaming. They felt great pride in what they had done to provide for their children. They were not failing at their tasks—they were succeeding. If they could cooperate and learn to make furniture together, they could tackle other tasks as well. Dignity and meaningful work are great healers.
Other similar activities by their very cooperative nature create a unifying force among society. Sports and music are obvious examples. They don’t function and no one can have any fun if the ground rules aren’t collectively observed. I have seen men from many different regions and tribes in Africa get together on a pitch in Italy and play futbol. For as long as the tournament lasts, animosity and status are put aside as they cooperate as a team for a single purpose. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it feels miraculous. It demonstrates that strife can fade and that unity can succeed. I have a friend who is a world-famous violinist, but instead of playing on every concert stage in the world, he travels to out-of-the-way places and puts musical instruments into the hands of children who have been caught in war. It helps to heal their spirits as they cooperate and build a piece of music together when there has been so much destruction in their lives. Service is another unifying activity. When Christians rebuild a destroyed mosque and Muslims refurbish the broken-down cathedral of their neighbors, it changes hearts. Doing something for the good of the community that doesn’t necessarily benefit one’s personal life has proven to be transformative.
Respect for the Minority
A quote from Joseph Smith sits on my desk: “If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No; I will l[i]ft them up, and in their own way too if I cannot persuade them my way is better; . . . I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning; for truth will cut its own way.”
Joseph knew that “the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter day Saints would trample upon the rights of . . . any other denomination [or group] who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.” Joseph preached civil and religious liberty for the whole human race. As untidy as it might be, the principles of unity are achieved not by fiat, but “only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41). Minority views that respect the rights of others are not only tolerated but protected in a Zion society.
Now, let me share some stories that show the impact that can happen when covenantal men and women love God and live their lives by these principles. And note how choice, dignity and meaningful work, unity, and respect for the minority are woven through these examples.
Latter-day Saint Charities and Dr. Nemam Ghafouri
Dr. Nemam Ghafouri was born in Iraq, but her family was forced to flee Saddam Hussein’s regime. She was reared in Iran and then Sweden as a refugee in the 1980s. She eventually became a cardiothoracic surgeon and, when her homeland of Kurdish Iraq fell under attack from ISIS, she returned to help her people. Right away, she came into contact with the humanitarian missionary couples from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in northern Iraq. It was a very dynamic time with fighting erupting in many corners and displaced people streaming into safer places. Facilities often had to be set up with little warning. Dr. Nemam shuttled back and forth from her practice in Sweden to the camps in Iraq, trying to raise enough money to establish medical care for the displaced people. Much to the surprise of her colleagues and family, she could not stay away and leave the work to others. She and the Latter-day Saint Charities humanitarian couples immediately recognized in each other a selfless partner. Both knew the Yezidi people were the minority of the minority. Dr. Nemam and the humanitarian service missionaries dedicated themselves to giving critical care for displaced Yezidis, hearing their stories, and pleading their cause. Together, they organized beds and sanitation for the hospital, arranged for special clothing for the elderly of the community, and built a second bakery so children wouldn’t be hit by cars trying to cross the road for bread. Those projects and many others were funded by consecrated Latter-day Saints who gave a small amount of money to the humanitarian fund. Perhaps it was included on their tithing slip, or maybe their family raised funds and made a donation. However it came, those offerings to help the poor, combined with the service of dedicated missionary couples who had made sacred temple covenants, became the answer to prayers.
One of my favorite statements from Dr. Nemam comes from a video where she talks about the partnership to build a bakery in the camp. You can hear her energy and commitment in the words “[Seeing the people safe and happy] is what gives me the energy and power to continue. Every day there are many, many headaches and problems, but when I see this I forget everything and I start all over again. I love people. It is my passion. To help is my passion.”
In March of 2021, on a trip to the Syrian border to help negotiate a reunification of children with their mothers, Dr. Nemam contracted COVID-19. She was airlifted to Sweden but did not recover. This bright light—gone out at the age of fifty-two—has nevertheless lit thousands of other lights.
Provo East Stake
Many years ago in the Provo East Stake, a young woman lost her husband in an unexpected accident. She had three children and very little means to support them. The bishop offered to help her finish her education, but there were many other barriers. She was filled with grief and also despair. One day, not long after the funeral, an older woman in the stake came to her home and told her, “I don’t have any money to give you, but I have time. I will come each day and watch the children while you go to school.” The two women agreed on a plan, and five days a week, this good woman came each morning. She helped get the children ready for school, drove them where they needed to be, helped them with their homework, and made a hot meal for the evening—for two years. More than a babysitter, she became the wise, confident friend the family needed as they mourned the absence of their father and husband. It took enormous commitment from this sister and a suspension of her own activities, but it forever changed the lives of four other people.
I received a letter in my office a few months ago, and it said it came with a package. I didn’t see a package, so I asked the office staff. They started to laugh. The package weighed four hundred pounds. It was an entire pallet of Arabic sweets and cookies. Here is an excerpt of the letter:
Dear Respected Latter-day Saints,
We owned three sweet shops in the heart of Damascus, Syria, since 1970s. We made sweets, bread, cakes and other kinds. Our business was very successful. . . . We were making above average income and living very comfortably, until the civil unrest started in 2011.
Like many other industries, we started losing business, and within few months we had to close all our operations, letting go all of our 50 employees, and then we shut down everything and started living on savings. As the crisis became greater, we suffered, [the] pain became worse. One of my brothers “disappeared,” which we hope he’s still alive. Other loved ones [were] arrested and killed.
Our district was unsafe and my family had to relocate to . . . Ghouta in the eastern side of Damascus. Soon . . . Ghouta was under siege. Food became scarce and we were hungry during the many months. . . . Many children including ours became malnourished. Adults were always on the look for where the next meal is coming from. Even the richest person was not able to buy anything because there was no food.
Word spread around that Rahma Relief and LDS Church [were] starting a soup kitchen nearby, and we finally were glad to be able to get real food in long time. The rations were barely enough to feed my hungry family, but that’s all we had and it kept us alive. We were lucky to get daily hot food, and baby milk for the children, something many families only dream of. For more than two months in 2016, we managed to get food from Rahma—LDS kitchen. Without it we would starve to death.
We also learned the LDS Church helped many people around the country and the world with food, shelter, and medicine, and for that we are very grateful for their compassion.
After Ghouta, we were evacuated with nothing but the clothes we had. After long displacement, we managed to make our way to Turkiye, and settled in Istanbul, and decided to rebuild our lives and business from zero. In 2020, we opened [our shop] and grew rapidly. . . . Now we are operating on large scale again, serving local and international clients including [in] the USA. . . .
We wanted to thank you too for funding a project that literally saved our lives. We are sure many grateful families in many countries feel your help. Please accept this small sweet sample from my shop as a small token of thanks and appreciation. I ask God the Almighty to bless you wherever you go, and in everything you do.
Sports Fans to Special Service
Twenty-five years ago, a group of young students saved their money so they could travel to watch Brigham Young University play Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. These young men had so much fun together that they decided to choose one BYU away game each year and travel together to watch it. The group bonded in fun and camaraderie on these yearly weekends away, but somewhere over the years as they were maturing and growing more aware of the world around them, it no longer seemed enough to simply be about sports. One of the members said, “It is sometimes hard for men to grow close as a social group in things that are holy and lasting and high minded. We were men who all held the priesthood of God and we decided we could be more outwardly focused. We were trying to be consecrated rather than indulgent. We felt an inclination to focus on others living around us rather than ourselves and we felt this was a natural outgrowth of covenant keeping.”
Now they cooperate on a community service project each year. They still watch BYU football, but their focus is on higher things.
In some way, these are small examples anyone can try to follow—serving a mission, organizing a bakery, helping children, a tin of cookies, small donations, sports fans who also serve. In other ways, these are revolutionary stories about how one person or a group of people can push against negative forces and literally change society for good. The covenant of compassion is not so lofty or unattainable that it cannot be practiced every day in any situation that arises. The kingdom of priests attracts other good people, and the work expands exponentially. Small, everyday actions draw their transformative power from the grace and mercy of the great High Priest, who is Jesus Christ the Son of God. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrews:
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14–16)
This year, as the Sperry Symposium marks fifty years of serious scholarship and insights about the gospel of Jesus Christ, I commend Brigham Young University for its vision in continuing the series. I also commend the other speakers of 2021 to you and feel confident we will each learn and grow in new personal ways as we are taught by the Spirit.
I am so personally grateful for the knowledge and understanding revealed in the modern time through the Prophet Joseph Smith that links covenants and dispensations together. This beautiful gospel helps me repent of my sins, connect with others who are also working to keep covenants, and be part of something bigger than myself. It energizes every particle in me. It bonds me more tightly to the Savior Jesus Christ because a small part of His work has become my own. Perhaps I might close with the words of John the Revelator: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5–6). In His infinite compassion, He has loved us and washed us in His own blood. May we each feel the ways in which our lives can turn outward in compassion because of Him is my heartfelt prayer.
 See Sarah Granger Kimball, “Auto-biography,” Woman’s Exponent, September 1, 1883, 51.
 “Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book,” p. 22, March 31, 1842, The Joseph Smith Papers, https://
 From Joseph Smith journal, January 6, 1842, referenced in Gospel Topics Essays, “Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, and Women,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
 “Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 December 1840,” p. , The Joseph Smith Papers, https://
 Russell M. Nelson, quoted in Genelle Pugmire, “Gathering Israel: What Once Was Scattered, Must Needs Be Gathered,” Daily Herald, March 27, 2021.
 “History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844],” p. 1666, The Joseph Smith Papers, https://
 “History, 1838–1856, volume E-1,” p. 1666.
 Nemam Ghafouri, Serving Refugees in Kurdistan (Latter-day Saint Charities video), https://
 Neman Ghafouri, “Doctor Who Aided Yazidis in Iraq, Dies at 52,” New York Times, April 4, 2021.
 Letter to author, May 2021.
 Gary Judd, conversation with author, May 2021.