A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Maksutov »

:eek: :eek: :eek:

"God" is the original deus ex machina. --Maksutov
_Always Changing
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Always Changing »

Maksutov wrote::eek: :eek: :eek:

Problems with auto-correct:
In Helaman 6:39, we see the Badmintons, so similar to Skousenite Mormons, taking over the government and abusing the rights of many.
Posts: 2663
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _malkie »

Do we have a clue here?
... the air smelled like petrol.

Or is it a false clue to distract us?
NOMinal member

Maksutov: "... if you give someone else the means to always push your buttons, you're lost."
_Always Changing
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:17 am

Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Always Changing »

malkie wrote:Do we have a clue here?
... the air smelled like petrol.

Or is it a false clue to distract us?

Like the identity of Mr. Bobberson?
Problems with auto-correct:
In Helaman 6:39, we see the Badmintons, so similar to Skousenite Mormons, taking over the government and abusing the rights of many.
_Bob Bobberson
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:39 pm

Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Bob Bobberson »


It was just past 6:30 p.m. when Apostle Talmadge Steele received the call that President Baylor was in the hospital. He had to ask Elder Prince, of Church Security, to repeat what he’d said twice. Yes: they were certain that it was an attack aimed at the Church; No, he didn’t know what the Church President had been doing out on the surface streets, and No, he wasn’t sure whether the attack had been specifically aimed at President Baylor. The prophet appeared to be fine, but he had been taken to LDS Hospital for precautionary measures. Elder Steele was completely baffled as to how anyone could have possibly managed to get past the heavy security that always accompanied the Church President. When he asked about potential motives or suspects, Elder Prince was mum. Apostle Steele thus knew that this Church Security agent hadn’t been high enough on the totem pole to have been given the full details. He gathered his bearings as he hung up the phone. In all likelihood, President Baylor’s two counselors would have been contacted first. After that, though, Church Security would have called Elder C. Rigdon Pitt, President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. This frightened Steele enormously. President Pitt, Elder Steele knew, would use the occasion as a means to forward his paranoid counter-anti-Mormon agenda. He would encourage a round of fear-mongering talks at General Conference.

Steele still had a number of appointments and duties to attend to, but they would have to be put on hold in lieu of seeing the prophet. Elder Steele’s wife, Cynthia, had prepared him a dinner of roast chicken, and he ate it hurriedly before he pulled on the black jacket of his Mr. Mac suit, complete with a red tie and matching pocket square. Apostle Steele lived in a roomy, antique house in the hills of The Avenues neighborhood, very near Temple Square, and he sat on the sofa near the window, so he could look out to watch for the driver. After some time, a black Lincoln sedan pulled up to the curb, and Steele kissed Cynthia goodbye before heading out the door into the brittle Salt Lake City evening.

Elder Hamlin of Church Security was there to hold the door open for him. He climbed into the back seat, and with Elder Thomson at the steering wheel, they immediately set out for LDS hospital.

“So, how are you doing this evening, Elder Steele?” said Thomson, cheerful but slightly tense in the driver’s seat.

“I’m fine,” he said. He didn’t know how much these two young Church Security agents knew about what had happened. “How about you two young men?”

“Oh, pretty good,” said Thomson. “Can't say that I’ve got too much to complain about, all things considered.”

“And what about you?” Elder Steele placed his hand on the seat so that he could lean forward and better listen to Elder Hamlin.

“I’m fine, Elder Steele,” he said, and was quiet. The two agents were doubtless thinking about their colleague, Elder De Vries, who had died in the attack.

The Apostle sat back in his seat and tried to relax. They descended down out of the hills of The Avenues and into the vicinity of Temple Square, where the pointed gray spires of the temple forever aimed skywards. As they drove alongside the barricaded streets and past the queue of parked police cars, Elder Steele wondered what they were coming to. To think: the prophet attacked! Of course, it wasn’t unheard of. Joseph Smith has been murdered by a ravenous mob, after all. And there had been attacks on the LDS Presidents since that time. But the Church had come so far. During Joseph’s time, it was an entire mob which had come for him. These days, the perpetrators were usually lone wolves, despite what Elder Pitt tried to say. And this was, to Elder Steele’s mind, a relatively good sign. The Church had found its place in the world, and yet he still knew they had so very far to go. The Brethren had not done enough to assuage the damage which still remained in the lifting of the ban on Black males receiving the priesthood, for example. There were rumblings in some quarters about extending the priesthood to women. There were problems with the Book of Abraham. And so many of the Brethren were old, and stubborn, and set in their ways. Sure, the Church operated on and believed in continuing revelation, but the truth, as Elder Steele understood it, was that these revelations tended to come in the wake of social pressure and change.

In the old days, the prophets received visions and spoke with angels, but over time, these visitations had diminished, or at least the Brethren had ceased to discuss them, both publicly and among each other. To a certain extent, this merely reflected the Church’s attempts at mainstreaming. In a secular society, it did not make sense to carry on about one’s most sacred spiritual beliefs. It would be like casting pearls before swine. The unbelievers simply wouldn’t know what to do with the information. As for himself, Elder Steele had seen Christ in his dreams on a number of occasions. During one particular time, not long after he’d been ordained into the Quorum of the Twelve, Jesus had come to him to offer words of reassurance, and the promise of peace. At that time, Cynthia had been deathly ill with a respiratory infection, and Elder Steele had begun to fear for her life. He had given her a blessing, and had prayed feverishly, at one point even begging the Lord to take his life rather than hers. As soon as he’d said this, though, he knew he was in error, and he repented for presuming to dictate the will of the Lord. As he did so, a calmness spread through him, and he knew he had received a visitation from the Holy Ghost.

That night, Christ had appeared to him in his dreams. The Savior, clad in flowing, luminous white clothing, just as Joseph Smith had seen, spoke with him and offered words of comfort. Upon waking, he could not recall what the specific words were, but he was awash in an overwhelming sense of peace. And later that morning, Cynthia began showing clear signs of recovery. Apostle Steele knew in his heart that the Savior had helped to influence this, and upon further reflection, he realized that his act of contrition, his humility in the face of his fear of his wife’s death, no doubt played a role in Jesus’s mercy. Since this had occurred early on in his apostleship, it had heavily influenced his behavior with the rest of the Brethren, and his dealings with the rank-and-file. It was always best to admit your failings up-front, he believed.

But this was a source of conflict for him. The Church did not believe in apologizing for anything: not for polygamy, not for the priesthood ban, not for Mountain Meadows or any other wrongdoing. The Church was perfect; it was the individual members who were imperfect, the old slogan went. If this was so, however, what need would the Church ever really have for continuing revelation? How, why, and in what ways would the Church ever need new doctrine? Steele had once made the bumbling error of suggesting that the Book of Abraham—the source of some of the Church’s most racist doctrine—should be removed from the canon. His statement had been made in the presence of a few individuals outside the circle of the Brethren, and it had eventually been leaked to an anti-Mormon newspaper, which gleefully printed it across the front page. He had been sharply chastised by the prophet for this, and he knew that there were some among the Brethren who still secretly resented him for ever having suggested such a radical change in the first place.

After this, Apostle Steele often found himself tight-lipped when it came to addressing any significant potential change within the Church. There was no problem, obviously, with making small changes to certain superficial things, such as eliminating paid Church custodians in individual ward meetinghouses. But Steele personally felt that there were a number of serious doctrinal and theological areas the Church ought to address, and apart from the publications of the apologists at BYU, there was really no venue to discuss these things. Instead, he felt himself in constant worry about the future of the Saints, and of the Church. Most horribly, he feared on some level that the Lord had begun to abandon them, and that the light of the Savior and the restoration was being withdrawn for some other dispensation. He could practically feel it, though he couldn’t explain it. Certainly, he felt the Lord and the Savior during the partaking of the sacrament, and he could feel God’s warmth when he prayed. And yet, a part of him felt as if the Church itself, institutionally speaking, was no longer being guided by the Lord’s hand. Somewhere, some time, he feared, the Church had started to go astray. He did not—he could not—ever dare to say such a thing, not to the Brethren, not even to Cynthia, and yet that is what he felt in his heart. He had taken a vow, as had all the rest of the Apostles, to always uphold the will of the Brethren, to face the same way, as it were, and so his feelings were forever to remain buried. Elder Steele flashed back to yesterday’s discussion of the Kinderhood Plates. Would it not be better to simply tell the saints about such things? Rather than embrace an atmosphere of openness, the Brethren had only gotten more paranoid, and had increased the vice-grip of secrecy. Partly, Steele knew, this was a result of President Pitt’s influence, and of the fact that President Baylor was easily swayed by him. And so much information was already being kept secret. “Sacred, not secret,” was always the explanation, but Steele didn’t buy it. He found it ineffective and dodgy. The Church was supposed to provide answers, not avoid them.

So, what could he do? Perhaps what he feared most of all was the possibility of victory for the enemies of the Church. Testimonies could be fragile, which was yet another problem raised by yesterday’s bombing. In the hands of the wrong people, the attack could be spun so as to seem like a sign of weakness, a sign that the Lord was no longer protecting his own anointed.

With all of these things swimming in his mind, Elder Steele refocused his attention as they pulled up in front of LDS Hospital. He climbed out of the car and thanked Elder Thomson and then he and Elder Hamlin walked up and through the sliding doors of the hospital. Sitting in the front waiting area were a group of women dressed in pioneer-era clothing—long dresses with lace collars and long sleeves, and old, lace-up boots with pointy toes—and a number of similarly dressed children. Two of the women clutched babies to their breasts, and as he walked past, the wan-looking children stared up at him with glassy, doll-like eyes. They were polygamists. Such an embarrassment it was! It was yet another sign, in his mind, of the places where the Church had gone wrong. These people ought to be good, valiant Saints, and yet they had been deceived and led astray. It was part of the hypocrisy of the Brethren. It was true that the Church had officially renounced polygamy in 1890, as part of the manifesto issued by President Snow. The problem was that the Brethren at the time had continued to practice plural marriage in secret, and such things as marriages tend not to remain fully ‘secret’ for very long. This hypocrisy sent mixed messages to some of the saints. One of Elder Steele’s own ancestors had been sealed to a polygamous wife in 1895. Further, some of the current Brethren, such as Elders MacDowell and Brotherton, were widowers who’d been married and sealed to their second wives. Certainly, they expected to be reunited with both wives beyond the veil, so the truth was that the Church, despite its statements to the media, continued to practice a form a theological polygamy. And this didn’t seem right to Elder Steele. The Church should strive to be honest in its dealings. The bell on the elevator rang and he and Elder Hamlin stepped inside. They rode up in silence, and when the doors opened, they were greeted by another pair of Church Security agents, who led them down the hall to President Baylor’s room.

“He’s doing fine,” said the agent on the right, Elder Samuelson. “Basically, they’re just keeping him for observation.”

“Have you learned anything about the attack?”

“Not that much. We got some video tape on the closed-circuit cameras. We couldn’t see the face of the guy who was driving the truck, but you can see him circling around the area. We figure that he was driving around looking to target one of the higher-ups in the Church, and once he saw the prophet, he decided to flip the switch. We weren’t able to pull a license plate number, though we could tell that they were Nevada plates. A few people got a look at the driver, and they said that he looked like an Indian, or a vagrant, but who knows what to make of that? Whoever rigged the bomb knew what they were doing, though.”

“Good heavens,” said Elder Steele.

“Don’t worry; we’ll get the guy who did this. Practically the whole city is out looking for him. The police, Church Security, local FBI, everyone.”

They went down to the room and went inside. It looked like any other hospital room, with lemon-yellow paint on the walls, a TV mounted up on the wall, and the last rays of sunlight shining in through the window. President Baylor sat up in his bed, tubes running from the back of his wrinkled and spotted hand. His eyes were closed behind his bifocals. On the other side of the bed, Eleanor Baylor sat in a high-backed chair which seemed out of place. Someone must have brought it along for her to sit in. As they entered, she stood up.

“Oh, Elder Steele,” she said. “Thank you for coming.” She stood up and came around the bed.

Apostle Steele took both of Eleanor Baylor’s hands in his. He had always liked her, had admired her grace and her gentle nature. “How are you, Eleanor?”

“I’ll be okay.” Her eyes were damp. “It’s more Alma I’m worried about,” she said. “Come, let’s talk out in the hall. I don’t want to wake him.”

Elder Steele turned to Hamlin, who seemed unsure of what he ought to be doing. “Wait in here with the prophet while I speak with Sister Baylor. Okay?”

“Yes, sir.”

They stepped outside and went across the hall to an empty room. As soon as Elder Steele had shut the door, Eleanor Baylor, sitting on the crisply made bed said “Tal, I’m worried about him.” She stared back at him sternly, with her thin hands knitted together in her lap.

“Is… Is he not okay? I thought he was only here for observations?”

“No, no,” she said. She shook her head, her gray curls immobile and grandmotherly. “He’ll be fine, physically. At least that’s what the doctors said. His blood pressure is a little low, but I guess that’s to be expected of a man his age.” Her gaze wandered off to a corner of the room. “No, it’s his emotional state, and—” she grasped for the word, or, rather, she struggled speak it. “His mental state. He just isn’t as clear as he used to be, Talmadge.”

Elder Steele looked back at her, and followed his initial instinct, which was to shrug it off. He laid his hand on her shoulder and said, “Well, that’s to be expected given what you’ve both just been through.”

“No,” she said, and she laid her hand on top of his. “I don’t mean now. He’s been… folding inwards for quite some time. He’s just not the same man that he was, even six months ago. I worry that his mind is going.” Her voice cracked and she brought the back of her hand to her lips. Elder Steele had seen this before in her, though, and he knew that she wouldn’t cry. Her fortitude would hold her emotions in check. It was a skill she had learned in her capacity as the wife of a General Authority. As a woman in the upper echelons of the Church, it was important to show enough feminine emotion, but it was also important never to be seen as weak. It was a fine balancing act which Eleanor Baylor had mastered. There was no need for her to hold back with Elder Steele, though; and she was doing it out of habit.

The Apostle wondered at what he’d just heard. There had never, in the history of the Church, been a time when the prophet and president of the Church had been rendered incapable of leading the Saints. And though he didn’t doubt Eleanor Baylor’s impression of her own husband, he himself had not observed any significant lapses in the Prophet’s mental state.

“Well, what do you mean that his ‘mind is going,’ Eleanor? Is it just that he’s more forgetful these days?”

“It’s that, and something else. I know that he has been having trouble sleeping, and that he has nightmares all the time. Nightmares about the last days, though I don’t know if he remembers telling me this.”

Elder Steele let out a long sigh. The Church, over the past many decades, had slowly begun to distance itself from that sort of thinking, though it was impossible to completely divorce the contemporary Church from past doctrines. The saints, to this day, still fully believed that the end days weren’t far off. The Brethren had exhorted that all Latter-day Saints should maintain at least a year’s worth of food storage for precisely that reason.

She leaned in more closely. “And Pitt. Elder Pitt. He was here before you. His anger, I think, is becoming an influence on the prophet. He told me not to mention his visit to you.”

This was something to be feared, Elder Steele knew. Elder Pitt, with his bellicose tendencies, had always been difficult to control. And now, if he had begun to whisper into the Prophet’s ear without anyone else knowing—“What did he say, Eleanor? What did President Pitt say to him?”

“Oh, his usual tripe. He was trying to talk Alma into thinking an anti-Mormon was behind the attack.”

Elder Steele titled his head to the side. “Well, we probably shouldn’t rule it out at this time.”

She pursed her lips. “Alma said he thought it was an Indian.”

“A Lamanite.”

She nodded.

The Apostle let out another long sigh. “What did President Pitt say? Did you tell him these things?”

“Well, yes,” she said. She seemed unsure about whether that had been a smart thing to do, however. “He asked. It seemed almost like he was pumping Alma for information.”

“What else?”

“He thinks that it was a sign. He felt that this was a signal that the tide of anti-Mormonism is coming to a head. He’s convinced that this man is an apostate who wants to destroy the Church.”

Apostle Steele shook his head. Though he didn’t want to say so in front of Eleanor, he wondered why the Prophet hadn’t been killed. If someone were to build a bomb and spend God knows how many hours circling the grounds of Temple Square, waiting to kill one of the General Authorities, and then, seeing the prophet, fail to kill him… Some piece of the puzzle was missing.

“It really is a good thing that the prophet is safe,” he said. “You must have been terribly frightened.” He reached his arm around her to comfort her. She could no longer contain her tears and they began to flow down her lined face, streaking through the soft, barely noticeable down on her cheeks. Elder Steele got his handkerchief from his inside coat pocket and gave it to her.

“Oh, thank you,” she said. He gently squeezed the back of her neck as she cleaned away her tears. “It just doesn’t make any sense at all,” she said. “Why would the Lord let this happen to us? I know I shouldn’t say such things, but still. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Elder Steele couldn’t disagree with that. If this was indeed an act of anti-Mormonism, then all of the Brethren, and indeed, all of the Saints, would need to fear for their lives. Ever since the days of Joseph Smith, members of the Church had been bedeviled by persecution, and by those who would kill them on account of their beliefs. People had been tarred and feathered in Kirtland; people had been murdered in cold blood at Haun’s Mill; the governor of Missouri had issued an extermination order against the Saints at one point. Violence against the faithful had been an operational fact of Mormonism since the beginning. But that had seemed to die away during the twentieth century. Protest against Mormonism these days seemed to be limited primarily to rhetoric, and to the nutjob protestors who circled Temple Square. They were relatively harmless, and fairly easy to deal with. But if a new tide of anti-Mormonism lay on the horizon, what would they do? How were they to defend themselves? How were they to defend the Church?

“I’m sure that answers will be forthcoming to us in the near future,” said Elder Steele. Eleanor Baylor handed back the handkerchief and stood up, sniffling a little.

“Well, thank you for putting up with me,” she said, and her eyes sparkled as she smiled, and Elder Steele felt his spirits lifting. He had always liked Sister Baylor. “We should probably go back and check on him,” she said. “He’ll probably sleep the rest of the evening, but who knows? He’s a light sleeper. I know he’s anxious to get out of here.”

“Okay.” He stood up and went to hold the door open for her. As she passed, he said, “Are you sure you’ll be all right?”

“Of course,” she said. “Shoulder to the wheel. Anyways, Margie and Walter will be in later, I’m sure. Maybe they’ll bring the great-grandkids. That’ll put Alma in a good mood. Anyways, I expect he’ll be back on his feet in the next couple of days. As I said, he’s just fine, physically.”

“Well,” said Elder Steele. He felt strangely awkward standing in the fluorescent glare of the hallway. “I just wanted to swing by and check in on everything. I wonder if I should give either you or your husband a blessing?”

“That’s sweet of you,” she said. “Elder Pitt will be back later with the two counselors, though.”

“I figured as much.” He nodded and took his gloves from his pocket. She had begun to drift over near the door, and Elder Hamlin had poked his head out into the hallway. “I guess I’ll bid you farewell. Please tell President Baylor that I hope to see him soon.”

“I’ll do that,” she said, and with that, Apostle Steele, followed by Elder Hamlin, departed down the hallway, his well-shined black shoes clicking on the hospital floor.

...Next Time: The eye and the crown....
_Bob Bobberson
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:39 pm

Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Bob Bobberson »


The steam swirled around Elder C. Rigdon Pitt, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as he sat in his robe and sandals in the sauna. His doctor had warned him about the potential health effects of these sweat sessions, but Pitt limited them to only once a month or so. He had gotten into the habit of them after serving his mission in the Winnipeg area back in the 1930s. A Cree Indian had introduced him to the sweat lodge and Pitt had used the sessions for contemplation and stress relief ever since. He liked to imagine that he was sweating all of the tension out of his body. After helping Elders Marshall and Walker administer a priesthood blessing to the prophet, he had instructed his driver to bring him here. Arrangements had already been made for his arrival, so that he would have a room to himself, for privacy’s sake. But even amidst relaxation there was work for the Lord’s anointed, Pitt thought. He closed his eyes and breathed in the moist air and when he looked up, he saw Roger Smoot, head of the local FBI field office. Smoot was a member of the Church, and Pitt had requested a quiet meeting with him.

Smoot was a stocky, red-faced man with hard blue eyes and a bald head. He shuffled into the room, already sweating, his hands in the pockets of his robe, and he sat down on the blond-wood bench at a right angle from Elder Pitt. He nodded, looking away a bit in deference. “President Pitt,” he said.

“Hello, Roger. Long time no see. How’s the ulcer holding up?”

Smoot winced a bit at this. “Oh, I’m fine, I’m fine.” His face seemed to grow redder as the seconds ticked by.

“So let’s cut to the chase, shall we?” Pitt crossed his legs, which were thin and ghostly white. He used a towel to daub the sweat from his face.

“Well, President Pitt, we really haven’t learned much new, and I won’t have a whole lot more to tell you until after we get the reports back from the forensics people. I can give you my personal opinion, though.”

“And what is that, Brother Smoot?”

“Well, I think it was an anti-Mormon.” He fished in the pocket of his robe and pulled out a plastic baggie with a slip of paper inside. “We’re not sure if this was left there at the scene, or if the suspect dropped it as he fled.” He handed it over to Pitt.

The slip of paper had been torn from something—a cocktail napkin, perhaps. On it, in pen, someone had drawn a picture of a lidless eye. Above the eye were a halo and a crown.

“What is it?” asked Pitt. “A symbol or token of some kind?”

“We’re not sure,” he said. “Maybe just a doodle.”

“No, no, no,” said Pitt. He shook his head. “I know what this is. It’s the all-seeing eye. There are variations of this same image on the temple. Somebody is trying to send us a message. This is a mockery of some kind.”

Roger Smoot nodded his flush, hairless, sweat-beaded head.

“I sensed that the attack was anti-Mormon in nature from the outset, Brother Smoot, but what this tells me is that this is the work of a traitor, or perhaps a group of traitors. I feel more and more certain that apostates were behind the explosion.”

Smoot stared back at him.

“This discussion does not go beyond the confines of this room,” Pitt continued.

“Oh, of course!” said Smoot. “I would never betray your confidence, President Pitt. I hope I’ve done enough to earn your trust by now.”

“That’s good, that’s good, young man,” said Elder Pitt. “Now, under no circumstances are you to tell the media that you suspect anti-Mormonism. This was an act of domestic terrorism, and you are not to suggest that the attack was targeting the Church.”

“Okay,” said Roger Smoot.

“Everything you do will have been done in the fulfillment of your office as an agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Your status as a Melchezidek priesthood holder and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are both incidental to all of this.”

“I understand.”

“Good,” said Pitt, and he took his gaze off of Smoot and looked up at the ceiling. He had both hands on his knees and he spent a few moments drawing in great, voluminous breaths of air, and his big, squarish chest ballooned out against his robe. “When the time is right,” Pitt went on, “I will contact you again. The Brethren will probably need your help further on this. We may need your services in a somewhat more ecclesiastical vein.”

There was a quizzical look on Smoot’s beet-red, sweat-drenched face, but he simply nodded.

“You recall the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew, don’t you? Among other things, it contains the parable of the wheat and the tares: ‘The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.’ The man’s servants wonder where the tares came from, and he tells them, ‘An enemy hath done this.’” Pitt paused to clear his throat, and then he went on. “The parable is about the Church, Roger, as I’m sure you know. ‘The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil.’ Among us now are those who seek to destroy the Church. Apostates, traitors. The sons of perdition. They are the tares, and the scriptures are very clear in how we are to deal with them. The great and dreadful day of the Lord will be a reaping, Brother Smoot. The Savior tells us that the tares and the wheat shall grow until the day of the harvest, at which time he will tell us, by way of revelation, ‘Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles.’” Pitt rocked back slightly on the bench and titled his head to the side. “Well, you get the gist of it, right, Roger? You’ve served a calling as a gospel doctrine class teacher, as I recall. What does the Savior instruct the reapers to do with the bundles of tares?”

“To burn them,” said Smoot. He was visibly distressed, with flared nostrils and a wet sheen of sweat rolling down his face.

“I’m so glad you understand me,” said Elder Pitt, and he smiled the gentle smile of the grandfather that he was. “Now good heavens, Brother Smoot, you look a mess.” Pitt made a brushing gesture with his hand. “Get yourself a towel and go and get cleaned up. And cut back on red meat. I needn’t remind you what the Word of Wisdom says.”

As Roger Smoot shuffled out of the sauna, Pitt settled back and closed his old but restless eyes once again as he began to put together the pieces in his mind.

Back at the LDS Hospital, just as Pitt was closing his eyes, President Baylor was preparing to be released. The doctors had run their tests on him, and he’d been given the green light to leave. Apart from a few minor bruises and scratches, he wasn’t hurt. Eleanor had helped him to get back into his street clothes.

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay overnight, Alma?” she asked.

“No, no. I’m perfectly fine,” he said. “As fit as a fiddle.”

“Will you at least promise me that you will follow the advice of your body guards from now on?”

He stood up and went to the window, where he was able to look down on the vista of downtown Salt Lake City. “I will do as the Holy Ghost prompts me to do. Besides, I have work to do tomorrow and want to spend the night in my own bed. In addition to dealing with matters pertaining to what happened, I have to see about Elder Hill’s calling and election being made sure.”

Eleanor Baylor was quiet. She was sitting in a plastic chair at the edge of the room with her hands folded in her lap. “You’re performing the ceremony of the 2nd anointing,” she said.

“That’s correct.” He turned back to face the room. “So, you really have nothing to fear, my sweet bride. I will be quite busy tomorrow, and won’t have time to be going for strolls across the plaza.”

...Next Time: F Vault....
_Bob Bobberson
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:39 pm

Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Bob Bobberson »


It was when I was out there hiking, up in Little Cottonwood Canyon. That was where I met this guy. I was finishing up for the day and the sun was starting to go down and I was on a trail down pretty close to the road, not far from where I’d parked. It was about to start getting cold in a real hurry—you know how it is that time of year. Just beautiful up there, with all the trees changing color. Anyhow, this guy stops me to ask the time, and I tell him and he starts going off on this big, long story.

Now, do you know the area up there? There’s Big Cottonwood Canyon, and then Little Cottonwood Canyon is the one that’s further south. Great hiking out there. Well, I guess about a mile or so in, there is this weird structure, right there in the mountain. What it is, at least according to this guy, is an entry into a big system of vaults. The guy tells me that this is where the LDS Church keeps all its records and what have you. The structure—the vaults, I mean—are apparently cut out of solid granite. And I could believe it, the thing looks real solid. The guy goes on to say that this thing could survive a nuclear strike!

So I ask him what’s in there. He tells me that inside are a bunch of chambers, including some offices and a laboratory. Also a lot of storage, mainly microfilm and that sort of thing, because the LDS Church is all about keeping records. Like for baptisms and what have you. You’ve heard how they just baptize everybody into the Church, right? After you die and whatnot? Yes. After you die, they’ll do a baptism on your behalf, and so you’ll become a Mormon. Well, in theory anyways. You’ll be dead, so what do you care?

But back to the story. He says that there are six rooms deep within this storage facility, way deep in the back, like six-hundred feet deep into the side of the mountain, and remember—this is solid granite we’re talking about here. Sol-id granite. These rooms are protected by two huge doors. The first door weighs like 12 tons, and the second door weighs like 8 tons or something. Just like a bank vault. This is what this guy, this sort of wacky guy, tells me.

So I get to wondering: Why would you need that level of security if all you were keeping in there was a bunch of microfilm? He says that it’s mostly microfilm, but that the sixth room, the sixth chamber, is storage for special artifacts and things that belong to the Church. These six rooms are named after letters of the alphabet, so this last one is called F Vault, and it’s where the LDS Church keeps all its secret documents and historical artifacts. No one has access to this room except for the top leaders in the Church and one or two super-loyal archivists. They’re the ones who are responsible for protecting whatever’s in this F Vault.

I asked the guy what was in there, but he wouldn’t tell me. He said that it’s sacred. Hey, did you ever see
Raiders of the Lost Ark? Yeah, the Indiana Jones movie. You know how at the end, there’s this shot where the guy is wheeling this box off into some big warehouse, and the box actually contains the Ark of the Covenant? I sort of imagine that this F Vault is something like that, except with Mormon stuff. I don’t know what that would be, truth be told. I’ve lived in Salt Lake my whole life and I really don’t know that much about what Mormons believe. Weird, huh?

Yeah, the guy told me one last thing. He said that in the very back of F Vault, there’s a pool of perfectly clear, clean, pure water. When they were tunneling out the vaults, I guess they found a spring of clear mountain water, and so they chiseled out a little pool for it, and it’s just sitting there, always full, at the back of the F Vault. The guy said he knew this because he actually drank from that pool.

Yeah, who knows if he was just making it up or what. It doesn’t really make any difference to me. I just thought it was an interesting story.

...Next Time: The Anointed....
_Dr. Shades
Posts: 14117
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:07 pm

Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Dr. Shades »

Bob Bobberson wrote:The guy said he knew this because he actually drank from that pool.

Curiouser and curiouser. . .

Did this encounter take place in mid-1985 or earlier? If so, then the strange man may have been none other than Mark Hofmann himself. . .
"Finally, for your rather strange idea that miracles are somehow linked to the amount of gay sexual gratification that is taking place would require that primitive Christianity was launched by gay sex, would it not?"

--Louis Midgley
Posts: 688
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:14 pm

Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _bcuzbcuz »

Bob Bobberson wrote:
Yeah, the guy told me one last thing. He said that in the very back of F Vault, there’s a pool of perfectly clear, clean, pure water. When they were tunneling out the vaults, I guess they found a spring of clear mountain water, and so they chiseled out a little pool for it, and it’s just sitting there, always full, at the back of the F Vault.

...Next Time: The Anointed....

Any chance that there is the mummified premature unborn child of Joseph Smith and (fill in the blank) in F vault?
And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love...you make. PMcC
_Bob Bobberson
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:39 pm

Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Bob Bobberson »


In the tunnels beneath Temple Square, Elder Talmadge Steele was just making his way past the fountain when he saw President Baylor. The prophet was seated in a plush red chair with a blanket draped across his lap and his knees. He was apparently waiting, with his two body guards hovering nearby. President Baylor looked distracted and drained and old, exactly like someone who’d been through an ordeal, though of course, knowing his stubbornness, there was no way that anyone would have been able to persuade him from attending to the work of the Church.

“Hello, Elder Steele,” he said after some time.

“My prophet,” said Elder Steele. He went over and took President Baylor’s hand and shook it. The old prophet looked up at him with tired, slightly dazed-looking eyes. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m as fine as I’ve ever been,” Baylor replied. “I’ve now joined the ranks of every LDS president from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young on up into the present day who’s been attacked by anti-Mormons. It is a pity in this day and age that the persecution of the Saints goes on unabated. But nothing can rattle me. I am unfazed and as strong as ever. Some among the Brethren seem to think that anti-Mormonism is only getting worse. I intend to pray on the matter.” He held up two of his fingers, apparently a gesture indicating that he wanted a bit more privacy, and the dark-suited young men, still fidgety and cautious in the wake of the bombing, moved hesitatingly to different points around the perimeter of the room. “Skedaddle!” said the prophet, when they didn’t move quickly enough for his liking. “We’re perfectly safe here in the house of the Lord. And if my time has come, I’m prepared. I have been preparing my whole life.”

“The rest of the Brethren and I were worried about you.”

“It’s nothing,” he said. “I return to my usual schedule.”

“Is there nothing to be done? Will we beef up security?”

President Baylor looked at him. “I shall pray on the matter, as I said, Elder Steele. We will do whatever the Lord commands.”

Steele thought about what Eleanor Baylor had told him, about Elder Pitt’s visit to the hospital, and about the prophet’s nightmares. He worried about the risk of the President of the Church mistaking his private visions for celestial revelation. “President Baylor,” he began. “I wonder if it wouldn’t be best to discuss the matter as a quorum, among all the Brethren. Let us all put our hearts and minds together as a group and beseech the Lord for an answer.”

“I will not abide disobedience, Elder Steele, nor any spirit of contention.” He held out the extended finger of a scolding parent. “You know what the people of Ammonihah said to Alma. ‘Who is God, that sendeth no more authority than one man among this people’. And you know full well what happened after that.”

Elder Steele stood there dumbstruck, not knowing how to reply. There would be no reasoning with the prophet on this matter—at least not today. Past the entrance to the foyer, off in the tunnels, he could hear the sound of a golf cart approaching.

“That ought to be Elder Hill and his wife,” said President Baylor, and he signaled for his bodyguards to return to his side. One of them brought him the cane he’d been using since his release from the hospital. Baylor leaned forward to whisper into Steele’s ear: “They have proven their faithfulness and I have invited them to receive a special blessing.”

Steele knew that he was referring to the ceremony of the 2nd Anointing, which would extend to them the absolute fullness of the priesthood and would render Elder Hill a priest and a king and his wife a priestess and a queen. Their calling and election to the Celestial Kingdom would be made sure. Any further sin committed on earth would be subject only to the pains of this world. After the ceremony was complete, nothing would prevent them from ascending to the very highest levels of exaltation. Only the loyalest and most valiant of the saints were given the blessings of the 2nd Anointing.

“Please give my warmest regards to them,” said Elder Steele.

“I’ll do that.”

“Thank you, President Baylor, and I’m so glad to see you back on your feet so soon after this tragedy.” The two men shook hands again, and Steele left through the entryway.

Meanwhile, the golf cart drove into the foyer and parked at the edge of the curb. Elder Hill and his wife, Julie, a very tall and somewhat gangly woman in her early sixties, climbed out. In the prophet’s eyes, they were both beaming and exuding the force of the Spirit. They seemed surrounded by light. “My dear brother and sister,” he said, and he embraced them both.

“Is Elder Pitt here yet?” said Hill.

“He’s waiting for us up in the temple,” said the Prophet, and they departed to change into their sacred temple clothing. After that, they reconvened in the center of the temple, along with Elder Pitt, at the entrance to the Holy of Holies. There, the President of the Church, using his cane, led them haltingly to a large velvet curtain at the center of the wall. He pushed it aside and behind it was a door.

“Brother and Sister,” said Elder Pitt, his eyes squinting slightly behind his glasses, “you are under no circumstances to share what happens beyond this veil.”

The Hills nodded, and President Baylor used a heavy, antique key on the strange-looking lock, and he opened the door. They went in, and Baylor and Pitt both watched as the Hills took in the room’s splendor. Unless Elder Hill, who was only a newly appointed General Authority in the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy, somehow lived to assume the mantle of Prophet himself, this was the only time in their lives when they would see this room.

“It’s so beautiful,” said Julie Hill. Her hands were clasped together at her waist and she was staring up at the ornate domed ceiling.

The room had been prepared prior to the Hills’ arrival. There was an ornamental basin and a pitcher set on a table at the side of the room, and a small vial of oil.

“Please, my dear Brother and Sister, be seated,” said President Baylor.

Their white clothing rustled as they moved to take a seat on a settee near the stained glass window of the First Vision. President Baylor moved around to face them, and Elder Pitt stood to the side, with his hands clasped behind his back.

The prophet began: “We are here in this holiest of rooms to confer upon each of you the 2nd anointing. Your feet will be washed and you will both be anointed with oil. After this ordinance is complete, your calling and election in the Kingdom of God will be sure.”

The two Hills, this handsome and assured couple in their sixties, looked like a pair of nervous teenagers. They were smiling and holding hands; signs of weariness or age in their faces seemed diminished, and the light shining through the stained glass cast a multicolored glow on their white temple clothes.

“Elder Pitt, if you wouldn’t mind?” The President of the Church took a pillow from one of the other settees and set it on the floor in front of the Hills. As he got down on his knees, Elder Pitt brought over the pitcher and the basin. “Would you please remove your shoes, Elder Hill?”

Moving with slow and graceful and deliberate gestures, President Baylor lifted Elder Hill’s pale, naked, and slightly purplish feet and placed them in the porcelain basin. Then he took the pitcher, which was white and which had a design of leaves and vines embossed onto it in gold filigree, and he poured lukewarm water over the man’s feet. He used a white terry washcloth to wash the man’s feet, and then he used a clean, warm towel to dry them. Everything in the room was still. All they heard were the sounds of the water ploshing in the basin, the noise of the rivulets running off Elder Hill’s toes, the rustle of the towel, and the gentle noises of their breathing. When President Baylor had finished with Elder Hill, he repeated the process on his wife.

Then he got to his feet and said, “You have now been cleansed of the sins of this generation. The evils of this dispensation have been removed from you.” Once again he nodded to Elder Pitt, who brought over the vial of oil. It was a small metal cylinder, and it looked somewhat like a tube of lipstick. The prophet unscrewed the top of it and held his finger to its mouth and tilted it upside down. They could all see the oil glistening on President Baylor’s fingertip. He passed the vial to Pitt and then he touched this finger to the top Elder Hill’s head, and then laid both his hands on his head and said, “Elder Clement Merlin Hill, I hereby ordain you a king and a priest unto the most high God. Ye shall reign forever in the House of Israel.” He paused and removed his hands and reapplied more oil to his finger, and he anointed Hill’s forehead, the spot between his eyes, both eyelids, nose, ears, and lips. The prophet replaced his hands on his head and continued: “Elder Hill, I bless you that you might be given the special gifts of discernment, knowledge, and understanding. I bless you to see with clear eyes and I bless your ears that you will hear the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I bless your lips that you will only speak the truth. With this ordinance, I confer upon you the fullness of the priesthood, and with this blessing comes the power of sealing—the power to bind and to loosen, to bless and to curse, for you are a priest and a king in the Kingdom of the Lord. You are granted the power to open the heavens, and I bestow upon you the power of the Godhead, which ye shall attain beyond the veil. Amen.”

Everyone said, “Amen,” and Elder Hill opened his eyes. After this, President Baylor repeated the anointing process for Sister Hill, and he conferred upon her the fullness of the priesthood, and ordained her a queen and priestess in the House of Israel. When he’d finished, he once again admonished them: “Brother and Sister, these ordinances are sacred, and you are not to disclose any aspect of them to anyone else, not even your close family and acquaintances. The Lord commands this.”

Pitt came over with a second pitcher of water and he took the old one away. President Baylor explained that this was the second portion of the ceremony. “Sister Hill,” he began, holding out his hand to her. “You are now a priestess unto God. In recognition of this ordinance, you are to wash the feet of your husband, just as Mary did for our Savior. You will wash your husband’s feet and dry them. After this, you are to use the fullness of the priesthood, as prompted by the Spirit, and you are to lay your hands on his head and bless him.” He smiled at her and nodded and stepped aside as she took her place before her husband.

When she was done, she stood tentatively and laid her hands on his head. President Baylor and Elder Pitt stood to the side with their arms folded across their chests as she spoke. All of them felt the Spirit powerfully, and when Sister Hill had finished, there were tears in both her and her husband’s eyes. Pitt and Baylor moved forward, and they all embraced one another.

President Baylor had grown a bit weary by then, and so he moved to a settee on the opposite site of the First Vision window. He explained once again what had just happened, underscoring its significance. The Hills were made to understand that their place in the Celestial Kingdom had been absolutely assured, and they were now among the select group of the anointed in the Church. “You have been tried and tested,” said President Baylor, “and you have been deemed worthy.” He told them that, at a later time, they would be expected to nominate others for the ceremony from among their circle of acquaintances, and they nodded in understanding. Once more, President Baylor told them, his voice low and grave, “Under no circumstances are you to reveal what took place today,” and they gave their acquiescence.

With that, they all stood up and padded out of the Holy of Holies. President Baylor locked the door behind them, and then they split up, with the three men going to the men’s changing area and Sister Hill going to the women’s. There were actually two changing areas: one for the general LDS public who were in the temple for the daily endowment ceremony sessions, and a separate one for LDS leadership. It was this second one, adorned with dark wood lockers, that the three men entered. As they were changing, Elder Pitt posed a question to Elder Hill:

“So, my brother. Do you feel any different?”

Elder Hill, with his thick, combed-back white hair, looked radiant and invigorated. “I don’t know that I’ve ever felt the Spirit more powerfully,” he said, and then he turned to the prophet: “President Baylor, I want to thank you, on behalf of both myself and Julie. We’re grateful to you. We are grateful for our prophet.”

President Baylor, wearing only his holy garments, touched Hill on the shoulder and squeezed it.

“Yes,” said Pitt. “All of us are grateful. We’re grateful that he’s still alive and with us!”

It took a moment, but Elder Hill eventually realized that he was referring to the bomb attack. “Oh, yes,” he said. “How terrible. You wonder how low the anti-Mormons will stoop, and they never cease to surprise you.”

“It’s true,” said Pitt. “And to my eyes it appears to be worsening in these latter-days. In fact I was speaking with Roger Smoot, of the FBI, just recently. He completely concurs.”

Elder Hill was frowning. “It seems evident that something needs to be done. We need to rally the troops.”

“We cannot afford to have the Saints’ faith shaken by these attacks,” said Pitt.

President Baylor had put on his pants and he was busy putting cufflinks into the cuffs of his shirt. “Enough of that talk now,” he said, and both of the junior General Authorities fell silent. “This is not the time to discuss this issue. Until the Lord provides revelation to us on this matter we will continue to attend to the needs of the Church. The Saints need us now, as they always have, and that is the more pressing concern.”

None of them said anything further and they finished dressing in silence. What Elders Hill and Pitt did not know was that President Alma Grange Baylor had already carved out a significant chunk of time in tomorrow’s schedule. He had cancelled a late meeting with a local politician because he intended to pray in the Holy of Holies. Elders Steele and Pitt had been pulling his conscience in two different directions, and the prophet had come to the conclusion that it was time to ask Father in Heaven for an answer in earnest.

...Next Time: The Final Chapter in Part II - A Prayer is Answered....
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