The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmichael

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_Bob Bobberson
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The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmichael

Post by _Bob Bobberson »

From the Annals of the Turley J. Hinton Institute....

The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmichael

by Bob Bobberson

PART I: Background Check

He woke with a start, and realized that he'd had the dream again. For several years now, ever since he'd wrapped up his graduate studies at Princeton, in fact, Franklynn Carmichael had been having dreams that seemed to have been summoned straight out of the Book of Mormon. It was always the same, though there were sometimes variations. The first part was always set somewhere in the vicinity of what looked like Chichen Itza, with the pyramids gleaming whitely in the bright tropical sunlight. Frank was dressed in full Nephite regalia, sitting astride a charcoal-grey stallion, galloping at full-tilt through the streets of Zarahemla with a heavy, magnificent obsidian sword in his hand. As he rode he bore down on a group of fleeing Nephite dissenters: the people that had turned their backs on the gospel. He could feel the damp air rushing past his face, and he swung the sword: Thwock!, and off came their heads, plopping wetly on the streets like ripe melons. He looked back over his shoulder and saw the headless bodies flailing around on the ground, groping for something they would never find. In the dream, Frank always felt supremely satisfied and victorious.

In some variations on the dream, Frank would be visited by Heavenly Father, who in the dream always appeared as a blinding light; Frank always had to shield his eyes. Father in Heaven said different things to him, but often, he was transfigured due to his courage and righteousness, at which point the dream segued into a montage of historical moments, like Columbus's arrival, or the American Revolution, or the First Vision, all of which the transfigured Frank watched from a soft distance, never daring to ruin the onward rush of history.

In other variations, Frank would find himself transported to a dim, dark, wood-paneled room somewhere at Temple Square, where the Brethren all sat around a long, heavy, highly polished walnut table, nodding gravely and pleading desperately for his advice. "No one but you can solve this problem for us, Elder Carmichael," Elder Prescott would say. And then they would all lean in, wide-eyed, as Frank told them how to proceed.

When he awoke from these dreams, Frank sometimes found himself wondering where they came from. After all, he wasn't anything like the dream version of himself. He most certainly wasn't the tanned, muscular, dark-haired Nephite warrior, nor was he someone whom the Brethren were likely to take much notice of. He'd had some dealings with Elder Pitt, of course, and the late Elder Ashford had interviewed him prior to his arrival as a BYU faculty member, but apart from that, he'd had very little contact with the First Presidency or the Apostles. Instead, Franklynn Carmichael was slightly overweight, pale, with thinning blond hair, and he worked as an Associate Researcher for the Turley J. Hinton Institute for the Defense of Mormonism, with a special emphasis on the Book of Abraham. He had been hired three years ago, straight out of graduate school, and as he thought about it, he had to admit that the dreams had increased in frequency since he'd moved back to Provo.

He sat up slightly and looked over at the clock on Peyson's nightstand: it was only 5:47. Peyson had her back to him, and she was snoring softly. Frank laid back against his pillow and closed his eyes and tried to fall back asleep. He drifted in and out of wakefulness, noticing at some point that Peyson had gotten up, and then he felt two pairs of small, cold little hands on his bare arm, shaking him awake.

"It's morning time! It's morning time, Daddy! Wakey wakey wakey wakey..." It was Denise and Clarice, his three-year-old twin daughters. "Get up, lazy!" they said.

"All right, all right," he said, smiling. They both clamored onto the bed and started jumping up and down. "Hey, now," he said. "No jumping on the bed, remember?"

"We'll stop if you get up," said Denise.

"I'm up already."

"Okay. Okay, Clarice, let's stop."

"Yeah, it's breakfast time," said Clarice.

Frank slid his feet into his slippers and made his way downstairs to the kitchen, where Peyson had set out plates of scrambled eggs, sausage, and Pop Tarts.

"Morning, honey," she said, and kissed him on the cheek.

"Same to you." He shoveled up his eggs and sausage, and drank a glass of milk, and then he poured himself a tall glass of orange juice and carried it off into his study where he could log onto his computer. Just like the rest of his Hinton Institute colleagues, Frank followed the message boards, but unlike most of them, he did so reluctantly. For the most part, he thought the boards were vile: filled with vicious, cowardly people who said things they would never in a million years say if they weren't anonymous. It was no exaggeration to say that the most anti-Mormon place on the planet were the LDS-related message boards, and the critics could be absolutely merciless. Most recently, he'd seen them tear into Herb McConkie over an article dealing with Brigham Young's comment about God coming down in his "bodily tabernacle" to begat Jesus. The critics were completely unfair: vacillating back and forth between calling Herb a puritanical and stuffy prude ("Do you get embarrassed by the sight of your own pecker?" one of them had said), and portraying him as a porn-obsessed pervert. There was just no reasoning with these people. They would do everything in their power to tear you into pieces.

So although he made sure to keep up with what was going on on the boards, Frank's own participation was rather limited. Occasionally he logged in to clarify a point or to echo something Merlyn Young or Howell Lambeth had said, but in general he left the polemics to the other Hinton Institute people. He had enough on his plate, and enough to worry about, though as of late, there were a pair of critics who were starting to get under his skin.

One of these was Dan Bailey, and ex-Mormon who'd earned a PhD in Egyptology before apostatizing from the Church. Bailey was normally civil on the boards, but he also had matchless credentials, and he was obsessive in the way he criticized Frank's Book of Abraham work. The other of these critics was someone called "Jean Val Jean," an anonymous coward who worked mostly as a sidekick to Bailey. Whereas Bailey was reasonable, civil, and measured, Jean Val Jean was harsh and pulled no punches when it came to calling Frank a liar or a hack.

Scanning over the threads today, though, it seemed that the waters were calm. There was nothing that stood out to him as being particularly worth of commentary or worry. There was one thread, launched by "The Needle" that was dredging up something Howell had done years ago, and though Frank was certain that he'd hear about it later at the Institute, it didn't much concern him personally.

He surfed away from and went into his email account. There was some spam, and a meeting reminder from Nephi Clark, and then one subject line caught his eye:


He felt his heart sinking and clicked on the message.

Hello "Dr" Carbuncle!

That was something they called him: Dr. or Professor Carbuncle. That was the kind of thing the anti-Mormons found funny. That was the level of their humor. The email went on:

I know all about your dirty little secret. You didn't think you could hide that forever did you? Jesus sees everything and you've been a bad bad boy. Jesus wants you for a sunbeam and instead your a disgusting liar and a hack. But I'm not an evil person so I'll give you a chance to come clean. How long do you think you should get? An hour? A day? A week?

And no this isn't blackmail so don't even try to accuse me of that. Truth conquers all Elder Carmichale.

Email me back and we'll talk.

You're friend, Korihor

Frank stared at the screen. The email address was obviously some dummy Yahoo! account, so there was no way of telling who this could be, though Frank had a few guesses, and Howell, Merlyn, Trout and the others would, too, if he chose to tell them, but he was worried. Plenty of the Hinton Institute people got hate mail from the anti-Mormons. Some had even gotten death threats. Frank had mostly managed to sidestep all of this, though, and yet there was one weak point he had, one place he was truly vulnerable. He hit "Reply" and typed his response:

Sorry, but I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm not interested in conflict, and would appreciate it if you'd just let me be. Thanks, Franklynn Carmichael.

He read over the message several times before finally hitting "Send," and then he sat there, feeling hot and uncomfortable and helpless. Does he know? he wondered. Merlyn and Howell often spoke of the apostates' "implacable hatred," and though Frank had at times thought this was hyperbole, as he sat there contemplating what might happen to him, he knew how right his colleague had been.

To be continued in Part II: "One shall be more intelligent than the other..."
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Re: The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmich

Post by _beastie »

We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

Penn & Teller
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Re: The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmich

Post by _moksha »

Time to pin this newest chapter to the top.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
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Re: The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmich

Post by _Gadianton »

lol. omg, Bobberson is killing me.

I wonder if there has ever been a Mopologist who hasn't had a dream like this?
Lou Midgley 08/20/2020: "...meat wad," and "cockroach" are pithy descriptions of human beings used by gemli? They were not fashioned by Professor Peterson.

LM 11/23/2018: one can explain away the soul of human Meat Unit, to use Professor Peterson's clever derogatory description of gemli's ideology.
_Dr. Shades
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Re: The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmich

Post by _Dr. Shades »

Of a truth, Bob Bobberson is a master of the cliffhanger.
"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
_Enzo the Baker
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Re: The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmich

Post by _Enzo the Baker »

New member here and I'm loving me some Bob Bobberson.
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 6:20 am

Re: The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmich

Post by _Aoife »

Oh good. Glad you're back with another fine tale so quickly. The abrupt ending of the last series about killed me. I do not bestow my attention lightly :wink:
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Re: The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmich

Post by _annie »

Hooray! I've been waiting for more Bobberson. Excellent dream sequence :lol:
_Rollo Tomasi
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Re: The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmich

Post by _Rollo Tomasi »

Ok, I'm hooked. Desperately in need of Part II.
"Moving beyond apologist persuasion, LDS polemicists furiously (and often fraudulently) attack any non-traditional view of Mormonism. They don't mince words -- they mince the truth."

-- Mike Quinn, writing of the FARMSboys, in "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View," p. x (Rev. ed. 1998)
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Re: The Mid-Length, Mostly Unhappy Life of Franklynn Carmich

Post by _Aoife »

Okay, it has been 6 days already. Time for installment II. Pretty please? :biggrin:
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