A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

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_Bob Bobberson
_Emeritus
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:39 pm

A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Bob Bobberson »

Part TWO


Continuing Revelation






“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”

--The 9th Article of Faith



- ELEVEN -

Once again, President Alma Grange Baylor, the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the LDS Church, awoke from a nightmare. He sat up in bed, the top of his blue flannel pajamas dampened with sweat. Beside him lay his wife, Eleanor, her curly white hair facing him as she lay on her side, sleeping blissfully and quietly. He took his eyeglasses from the side table and then, moving with some care, with a bit of creakiness in his limbs, he swung his legs over the edge of the bed and slid his feet into the slippers on the floor. These days he barely had any feeling left in either of his legs from the knees down. The skin on his ankles had purpled, and though he managed well enough, he wondered often if it would be much longer till he was in a wheelchair. Regardless, it would be in the Lord’s hands. He stood up and got his robe off the back of the chair and then he shuffled out of the bedroom, noticing the wan light at the edge of the curtains, and taking care to shut the double doors gently.

As soon as he was out he focused his eyes down the hallway. The dreams, he realized, were growing more vivid, and they were occurring with greater and greater frequency. It was always the same in them: he saw fire, and a blackening of the earth. Trees were turned to cinder and houses were burnt to their foundations. There were charred skeletons among the rubble. These dreams reminded him of nuclear holocaust films he’d seen during the ‘50s. They were reminiscent of the stories that had been told to him by Elder Maupin, who’d worked at the Nevada Test Site, and who’d overseen the devastation of mock towns built to test the nuclear devices. But President Baylor knew that the burning of the earth in his dreams was not the result of man’s doing; rather it had come about due to man’s sinfulness. Indeed, in the dreams the sky was the color of blood. The sun did not shine, and yet the sky was palely diffuse with the color of the blood of the Lamb.

He would have to pray on it though, and to ask the Lord what it all meant. Should he tell the Brethren? And if so, should he tell the Saints? What were they to do? The leaders of the Church had known for some time that preparation was a necessity, and indeed the Saints had gone about keeping food storage. But what next? Was it time for exodus back to Adam-Ondi-Ahman?

President Baylor made his way over to one of the windows near the center of the hall. There was a long, brass bar, like a ballerina’s practice bar, underneath the row of windows, all of which were made of bulletproof glass. President Baylor grasped the bar with both his hands and used it to help support his fragile weight. Out through the window, he could see the bleak, smoky grey morning spreading across the Salt Lake Valley. There was the Church Office Building, a tall edifice stretching some 28 stories into the sky. Beside it sat Temple Square. He could see the shiny domed roof of the Tabernacle, and next to it the Salt Lake Temple, its many peaked spires like a fairytale castle, with the golden personage of the angel Moroni perched on the highest spike, his long trumpet held to his lips, forever bugling his song to the world. Looking at it, he felt at peace once again, and he thought back to the time of Brigham Young, when the Saints, having fled persecution in the Midwest, at last had a place they could call home. Indeed, President Baylor’s own ancestors had crossed the frozen and treacherous plains with barely anything more than the clothes on their backs. They had pulled what meager possessions they had with hand carts. Most did not even have beasts of burden to assist them. In Salt Lake, they had helped to build this temple. President Baylor’s Great Grandfather, Ephraim Bowdery, had been a mason who’d answered to Brigham Young himself. Looking at the temple always made President Baylor think of such things. It made him remember the past, and it made him feel proud. It was a thing all of the Saints could be proud of.

Then he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the bulletproof glass. How much time was left? He remembered his dream again, and recalled that he’d seen a white-haired man in it. This man was bleeding from wounds in his head, and he was crawling on his stomach and reaching out his hand, begging for water. President Baylor, within the context of the dream, had only seen this man; he hadn’t been there in the present, where he might have been in the position to help him, or offer a blessing. It was all just so horrible. He knew that, in some way, it was a part of the Lord’s plan, and that the burning of the earth—the baptism by fire—was something which the Lord had always intended. And yet, now that these things were appearing to him in visions—or were they merely dreams?—President Baylor questioned himself. Was he truly prepared to hold the fullness of the keys to the priesthood amidst such strife? He halfway wished that the Lord Jesus Christ would return to the throne, just so that he wouldn’t have to continue shouldering this great and horrible mantle.

But he was the one who’d been chosen by the Lord to lead the Church, and, as he so frequently counseled those Saints who were in need, he knew that the Lord would never present a challenge too great for him to handle. The difficulties were all a part of the grand design, all part of the magnificent test that the Lord had laid out for His children.

There was a smudge on the window, and President Baylor reached out and wiped it away with his knuckle. The glass was hard and cold. At least, he knew, he would have a few moments of quietude in the Holy of Holies where he could offer up a prayer and be alone with his thoughts. Then it would be another busy day of meetings, business, and administering to the needs of the Church. An interviewer from New York wished to meet with him in the afternoon, and he definitely wasn’t much interested in that. Though the gentiles made up the mission field, they so often failed to understand the gospel, and they were inclined to misinterpret what it meant to do the Lord’s work. But they would come around in the end, of course. The work would be done for them after this life, if necessary.

Indeed, so much of the outside world seemed to be creeping into the life of the Church. President Baylor worried that a time might come when the Church would begin to seem less different than the outside world, which would be a sign of too great a compromise. He had been concerned, for example, that the granting of the priesthood to the Negroes had been too much of a capitulation, though he hadn’t said anything at the time. The spirit of the Brethren at the time had favored the lifting of the ban. However, President Baylor, who had been a junior Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve, had been skeptical as to whether the lifting of the priesthood ban had been demanded by the Lord, or if it had been granted by the Lord on account of increasing secular criticism. There had been the threats of lawsuits, and endless heckling of the BYU basketball team, among other things. But this life was supposed to be a struggle! The Saints were intended to be a peculiar people. If the Saints could not bear criticism from the gentile world, what did this bode for the future? The Brethren, since the time of the Prophet Joseph, had always felt the nearness of the end times. Was the lifting of the ban another signpost along the way?

There was, he knew, a new surge in the tide of anti-Mormonism—those people whose hearts had been blackened with blinding rage and hatred. They would stop at nothing to kick against the pricks, and to do the work of the Adversary, tearing down testimonies and trying to destroy the Church. They had fallen into Satan’s grasp, and indeed, just as the scriptures had predicted, in the end times they would stop at nothing in their quest to harm to the Church, and to tear down the Lord’s Anointed. Thus, it was necessary to take extra safety precautions, such as bulletproof glass. It had been so since the days of the Prophet Joseph and his team of security personnel. They hadn’t succeeded in protecting him, though. President Baylor, in fact, had feared for his life a number of times. But he knew in the end that if he were to be killed, it would have been done in the service of the Lord. He had received the Second Anointing, and so his calling and election were certain. He would receive godhood beyond the veil. There was no question about it.

Down the long hallway came the ding of the private elevator, and President Baylor knew that Margaret had arrived to prepare breakfast. He turned and walked down the hallway in order to greet her. Right away, he knew, she would prepare his mug of Milo—a drink he’d developed a taste for during trips to Australia. It wouldn’t be long until the saints in Australia would have a temple of their own, in fact. The carpet in the hallway, which circled all the way around the entire top floor of the Eagle Gate Apartments—the top floor being the home for the President of the Church—was delightfully soft and plush underfoot, tender and forgiving to old and tired feet.

“Oh, hello, President Baylor!” said Margaret. She was a cheery, middle-aged woman with short gray hair and a rotund midsection. She had grown up in Logan, where she’d raised eight children, and where, in her ward, she had gotten to know Regina Moss (nee Pitt), the sister of Elder C. Rigdon Pitt, the President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. It was through this relationship that President Baylor had come to know Margaret. She got along well with Eleanor, she was a terrific cook, and President Baylor felt glad to know that she was the one looking after his meals—at least the meals he was able to take while home. So often these days he seemed to be traveling, overseeing the mission field and helping to make plans for more temples.

“Hello, Margaret,” he said after some time. “A good morning to you. The weather looks frightfully cold out.”

“Oh, it’s not too bad. My mom said it was down in the single digits up in Logan the other night, though.” Her nose was still rosy. She had taken her coat off and tied an apron around her thick waist. She placed a kettle of water onto the stove and busied herself with preparing the Prophet’s cup of Milo.

President Baylor sat down in one of the stools near the counter and rested his hands in his lap. Margaret set out a mug and put a few spoonfuls of Milo into it. Just then, the tea kettle began to whistle, and President Baylor’s eyes shot over to it. Through the lenses of his eyeglasses he saw the flames beneath the kettle, and once again, the images from his dream came screaming back at him.


...Next time: the Brethren convene....
_Bob Bobberson
_Emeritus
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:39 pm

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

Post by _Bob Bobberson »

- TWELVE -

After breakfast and a shower, and after dressing in a dark suit which had been tailored specifically for him by Mr. Mac, President Baylor waited in the sitting room near the elevator. He sat in the padded rocking chair beside the tall, white Bornholm clock, with his fingers knitted together in his lap. Elders Burton and Ledbetter—his two bodyguards—were running a tad late. After a couple more minutes, the elevator dinged, and the two men strode into the room.

“Good morning, young elders,” said President Baylor as he rose to his feet. “It’s good to see you up and at 'em.”

“I am so sorry we’re late,” said Elder Ledbetter, the older of the two. “I had a bit of car trouble, and I know it’s no excuse, but, well… There it is.” He was red in the face and ashamed. Beside him, Elder Burton stared at the rug. They both held their hands behind their backs, just like deacons waiting to pass the sacrament.

“There, there, now,” said President Baylor. “No need for excuses, just take care of it next time. If you can’t trust a man to be where he says he’s going to be, then how can you trust him for anything?” He let out a vinegary chuckle, and the two men, glancing at each other, offered up thin smiles.

The two elders, fairly high up within the hierarchy of Church Security, had previously been with the FBI, and both of them had been decorated for their services. Elder Jeremy Ledbetter, the older of the two, around 45 years old, had very closely shorn hair, with sad brown eyes and a barrel chest. Burton, on the other hand, was freckle-faced with rusty red hair. The sartorial transition from the Bureau to Church Security had been an easy one, since the clothing was exactly the same: unostentatious black suits with slim ties and white shirts. The two Elders were unerringly loyal, and President Baylor knew that either of them would quite willingly give up their lives for his. Consequently, he sometimes felt a small twinge of guilt at giving them a hard time. On the other hand, they both knew what their callings were, and what the Lord demanded of them. There really was no excuse for being late. There never was.

“How are your families?” he asked.

“Good,” said Elder Burton, nodding.

Elder Ledbetter cocked his head to the side and grimaced a bit. “Julie has had the flu lately. Mary was up all night with her. She kept throwing up. We’re kind of worried that the others ones will get it.”

“Did you give her a blessing?”

“No. . . Not yet.”

President Baylor held up a finger to scold Elder Ledbetter. “Now, you know that that is one of your duties as a father and priesthood holder.” He smiled gently as he said this.

“I know, I know. You’re absolutely right, President Baylor. I’ll be sure to do that when I get home.”

“I’ve half a mind to send you home right now,” he said. “But duty calls. We really ought to get going then, shouldn’t we?”

“Yes, Sir,” said Elder Ledbetter. He spoke into the microphone that was concealed in his sleeve, and then he led President Baylor out of the sitting room and into the elevator, which Burton held open for them. This was a special elevator within the Eagle Gate apartments, and its use was limited to the Prophet and his associates. None of the other residents within the building—virtually all of whom were members of the Church in good standing—had access to the elevator. The doors slid shut and Elder Burton pressed the button with the large ‘B’ on it. President Baylor steadied himself with the handrail as the elevator lurched downwards.

When the bell rang, the doors opened up on a small anteroom with a red carpet that led to a pair of glass doors. Elder Burton went up ahead and used his ID card to open the lock on the doors, which then opened automatically. The two Elders led President Baylor out into the underground parking lot, which was dimly lit by overhead fluorescent lamps. There was a smell of damp rock in the air. The Prophet climbed into the back of a white golf cart and Elder Ledbetter got behind the steering wheel while Elder Burton unplugged the cart from the wall socket. Then they were off, zipping through the narrow concrete tunnels beneath the streets of Salt Lake City. It always seemed strange to President Baylor, but he had seen maps and he knew that at precisely this moment they were passing just beside the massive, 28-story bulk of the Church office building. They came to a branch in the tunnels, and Elder Ledbetter took the right-hand path. A couple dozen yards more, and they arrived at a well-lit room that was carpeted and lined with ornate furniture. In the center of the room was a round marble fountain with a large, scalloped bowl. The sound of its water spout ploshing into the pool was always soothing to the Prophet. The walls in this room, covered in a blue sky-and-clouds mural, had been painted some time ago by Arnold Friberg, whose paintings had also been immortalized in the pages of the Book of Mormon. Through a wide, arched doorway was a set of red-carpeted stairs leading upwards into the temple. Indeed, the short, five-minute drive from the Eagle Gate apartments had set President Baylor down beneath the gothic spires of the Salt Lake Temple. It helped him avoid the risks involved in moving about in public.

As he approached the staircase, Elder Ledbetter hovered near his side. At 91 years of age, climbing stairs wasn’t the same task it had been even five years ago. President Baylor’s knees just weren’t what they used to be, although all things considered, he moved remarkably well for a man his age. The two elders followed closely behind, watching his every step. At the top of the stairs, waiting for them, was Phyllis Birch, the President’s personal secretary. She was a slender, 68-year-old woman with chin-length grey hair. She wore a neat brown dress, with nylons and flats. She was wearing a navy blue jacket with a rather large gold and turquoise flower pinned into her lapel, and she had earrings which matched her pearl necklace.

“Good morning, President Baylor,” she said, bowing slightly.

“Well, how do you do, Sister Birch?” His breathing was a bit labored from the climb.

“I do very well, thank you.” She smiled at him.

“Have you finished with that letter yet?” he asked. He had been to see Senator Snow two weeks ago, and had wanted Ms. Birch to write a letter thanking him for his hospitality.

“I expect to have it ready for you to sign this afternoon.”

“That’s wonderful.” He kept moving forward, with the two Church Security agents following behind him. Phyllis Birch walked at his side.

“You are scheduled to meet with the rest of the Brethren in fifteen minutes.”

“Yes, I know. I wanted to spend just a few moments alone in the Holy of Holies, though. Would you mind letting my two counselors know that I might be just a couple of minutes late?”

“Of course.” She smiled politely, nodded, and was off on her way. She was invariably dependable, and the Prophet depended upon her implicitly. She came from one of the best families, and she was a great asset to the Church.

Elders Ledbetter and Burton, somewhat more relaxed now that they were inside the temple, followed President Baylor over to the elevator that led to the upper floors of the building. When the doors opened, they simply waited outside and nodded to their Prophet. Neither they, nor anyone else on earth was permitted to follow President Baylor to the place he was going. The Holy of Holies was off limits to all but God’s mouthpiece on earth. The only others permitted inside were those to whom the ceremony of the 2nd Anointing had been granted, and they were allowed in for that time alone. Indeed, as he thought of this, it was nearly time for Elder Richards, of the Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife, to receive the ceremony. As the elevator ascended up the shaft, President Baylor closed his eyes slightly to re-position his mind and spirit. When the door opened, he strode across the hallway and used his key on the door.

The Holy of Holies was the most sacred room in the temple. It was a round room, ornate and baroque in its decoration. The carpet was richly designed, and on either side of the room were a pair of settees, set against a beautiful paneled wainscoting. Overhead, a chandelier hung from the domed and lavishly adorned ceiling. The real centerpiece of the room, though, was the stained glass window depicting Joseph Smith’s first vision. “This is my beloved son,” said the text at the bottom of it. “Hear him.” The glass was a reminder to all who stood in the Holy of Holies that they were in the presence of the God the Father and his son, Jesus Christ.

President Baylor knelt down gingerly near the window and folded his hands in his lap. He would have a difficult time rising once he’d finished, but so long as he held the office of President, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ, he would be damned if he did not get down on his knees in the presence of the Lord.

“Dear Father in Heaven,” he began. “I ask thee that thou might bless me with the presence of mind to carry out thy will. Please bless me to do what is right, and to lead thy Church according to thy wishes. Please bless all of the missionaries, and all of those Saints who aim to do right by thee.” He paused at this point as a tremor swept over his body. Again, he felt the painful flash of his nightmares—the blackening dawn and red-dimmed skies, the burnt crust of human flesh and the screams of the dying. A dampness came to his forehead and he hesitated. In the midst of his prayer, he found himself shaking and fumbling for the right words. No, rasped the voice of the Holy Ghost. Now is not the time to ask the Lord of these things. You shall know when that time cometh. President Baylor drew in a breath and concluded. “I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!”

When he opened his eyes, he found himself gazing into the stained glass window, at the Prophet Joseph Smith. How humbling it was! How was it that he, Alma Grange Baylor, the son of a potato farmer from Pocatello, Idaho, had come to fill the same office in the Church as the Prophet Joseph? He had experienced this sense of overwhelming duty many times. It was important, he knew, to remember the past, and to honor those who had come before him—to retain a measure of humility. And yet, so often, he did not feel up to the task. He felt so odd in his own skin, frightened, in a sense, that it was he whom the Lord had chosen. But it was so. He knew full well that there were many times when Joseph had doubted his own prophethood. It was no easy mantle to bear. But it was his to bear nonetheless.

Using his hand to balance himself, the Prophet got his feet underneath him, and then he slowly and tremblingly stood up to his full height, his joints popping audibly. He took a moment to brush off and straighten out his trousers, and, out of habit, he adjusted the knot on his tie and glanced at his white pocket square. Then, he turned and went out of the Holy of Holies, taking care to lock the door behind him. He padded over to the elevator and prepared himself to meet with the rest of the Brethren.

He took the elevator down, and then he went along the hallway to the first set of white double doors which led into the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve’s council room. Elsewhere in the temple, the first endowment session of the day was about to begin, along with various sealings and work for the dead. President Baylor stepped into the council room, and observed that the rest of the Brethren were already seated and waiting for him. They looked up and rose as he entered. Elder C. Rigdon Pitt, the President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, had already risen to his feet in order to greet him. Pitt was a stout, square-headed man of 72. He had white hair which he parted on the right side, and he wore steel-framed glasses. He barely had any neck, which, coupled with his age, gave him the look of a benign tortoise. But among all the Brethren, President Pitt had the greatest reputation for hostility, and for interfering when he shouldn’t.

“My dear President Baylor,” said Pitt in a whisper. “Is something the matter?”

“No… What makes you say that?”

Elder Pitt regarded him in silence for a moment. “It was a prompting from the Spirit,” he said.

“I think you’re reading too much into it, Elder Pitt,” said President Baylor. He turned his attention to the rest of the men in the room. “Good morning, Brothers,” he said.

“Good morning!” came the cheerful, baritone chorus.

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles’ council room, like rest of the Salt Lake temple’s interior, was striking. There were a pair of tasseled rugs on the floor; four crystal chandeliers dangled from the ceiling; there were intricate, gold-rimmed inlays on the cream-colored walls; magnificent rectangular paintings depicting various facets of Church history spaced at regular intervals around the room. And then there were the fifteen chairs: one each for President Baylor and his two councilors, and one for each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These chairs were broad armchairs, almost like thrones, with red velvet upholstery and white linen cloths draped across the upper portions of the backs. In the middle of the room was a prayer altar, with a padded cushion, also covered in red velvet, for kneeling.

Aside from the addition of the two First Presidency councilors—Elders David J. Marshall and Lehi Arlen Walker—everything was exactly the same, organizationally speaking, as it had been during Christ’s ministry. President Baylor stepped across the room, and behind him, a man from Church Security shut the doors tightly. Elder Pitt shuffled back to his seat, and the Prophet went to take his chair.

“Elder Stevens?” said Baylor. “Would you offer us an opening prayer?”

“Sure,” he said. Stevens, a thin, brown-haired man in his mid-seventies, was fifth in line in terms of Church hierarchy, which was determined by seniority. President Baylor had been a member of the Brethren—that is, the fifteen men who led the Church—the longest, and so therefore, he was President of the Church. The Lord had deemed that it be so. Stevens moved to the center of the room, and, using the altar for support, he knelt down and gave the prayer. When he was done, all of the Brethren said, “Amen!”

Elder Gregory Y. Brotherton, with his broad face and wide-set eyes, had a rolling, wooden desk near his chair, as he had been designated by President Pitt to be keeper of minutes for general and special meetings among the Brethren. On the desk was a machine that recorded the conversations that took place among the General Authorities. These minutes were never released to anyone outside this inner circle. Therefore, the minutes could only be taken or overseen by one of the Brethren, rather than one of the rank-and-file, or by a real secretary, such as Phyllis Birch.

“Well, then,” said President Baylor, “shall we begin?”

All of the Elders nodded in the affirmative, and they immediately began their discussion. As always, Elder Philip M. Pratt, who had formerly been the CEO of a large banking and investment firm, provided the Brethren with an outline of Church finances. Since the late 1950s, in the wake of the “Baseball Baptism” and chapel-building scandal and other problems relating to Church spending, the Brethren had been extra diligent in their handling of Church monies. For one thing, the decision had been made to keep the books closed. In days past, a report on Church spending had been presented to the rank-and-file during the bi-annual Church General Conferences. It had been decided, despite some vociferous opposition from then-1st Counselor V. Harris Mortensen, that the Church’s monetary situation was best dealt with only by the Lord’s Anointed. There was really no reason for the average member to be worried about such things. And every Church President from Garrison P. Garland on up through to President Baylor had been extra diligent in making sure the money was handled properly, hence the appointment of a skilled moneyman such as Elder Pratt to the unofficial position of chief financial officer. It was an important job, to be sure. There was a lot at stake, both literally and symbolically, and in fact, President Baylor kept an old coin on his desk as a reminder of this—a “widow’s mite” which was given as tithing to the Church many decades ago, a mere penny which represented one tenth of everything the very poor old woman had possessed.

“All in all, things are looking good,” said Elder Pratt. “There seemed to have been some problems with one of the stakes in northern California, and so we’ve got one of the area leaders looking into it.”

“What kind of problems?” asked Elder Marshall, the First Counselor. He was a solemn, gray-haired man with long, slender fingers—a former brain surgeon.

“Bad ones,” said Pratt. “It seems that the Stake President wasn’t making a full accounting of the tithes he collected. That and the fact that he just got himself a nice 26-foot boat tends to raise a few eyebrows. We’re probably going to have to hold a Church Court.”

Elder Pitt coughed and spoke in his coarse voice: “It seems he hasn’t been honest in his dealings with his fellow men.” A few of the other Brethren laughed.

Elder George R. Kelly, who was a round, oval-faced man who had at one time been a Classics Professor, and who did not particularly care for Elder Pitt’s antics, raised his hand to silence the rest of the Brethren. “I for one find it tragic that one of the leaders of the Church—a Melchezidek Priesthood holder and Stake President no less!—would violate his office in this way. We really ought to say a prayer for the Saints in his stake this evening. We should also be mindful of carrying grudges against him. He will have a significant burden to bear, and the road to repentance for him will be arduous. But we should all carry a spirit of forgiveness in our hearts.”

“I think you make a good point, Elder Kelly,” said Elder Talmadge Banner Steele. “I have felt the Spirit in the things you’ve said.” He rubbed his chin. “That said, we simply can’t tolerate this sort of behavior among Church leaders. It’s bad for the Church, on all kinds of levels, as I’m sure Elder Pratt can tell us.”

Pratt, with his brown-suit-clad legs crossed, and with his set of folders on his lap, nodded gravely. “When you have a high-level leader stealing from the Church in this way, it obviously has an impact on Church finances. This is money which could have gone towards the construction of a new meetinghouse, or repair of old meetinghouses, or a new temple in the mission field, or, heck, provisions for all our missionaries. There are lots of Saints making sacrifices on a daily basis, and for this one individual to violate everybody’s trust… Well, I don’t think I need to say much more onnut.”

“We need to remember that this can affect testimonies,” said President Baylor. When he spoke, there was a crystalline silence in between his words, and all the heads in the room turned to listen. “Some of the Saints are more prone to a loss of faith than others. These Saints, who are well-meaning, but perhaps weaker in their testimonies, can be tempted into leaving the Church when they see a failing of leadership like this.”

“Truly,” interrupted Elder Pitt, a smile unfolding across his wrinkled face, “the Adversary is at work in this.”

All of the men nodded frowningly and gave out grunts of agreement. In the corner, Elder J.C. MacDowell, 97 years old, began to cough rather violently.

Sitting next to him, Elder Christopher Samson Dellinger, the youngest of the Brethren at age 59, got up in order to pour Elder MacDowell a glass of water. He brought it back to the older man who thanked him and slurped it down.

President Baylor watched all of this from his position at the head of the room. He sat calmly with his hands folded across his stomach, searching his heart for signs of the Spirit, and listening intently for the voice of the Holy Ghost. He could feel the intense bond one always felt in the presence of the Brethren. When he had been inducted into the Quorum of Twelve Apostles some thirty-odd years ago, he had sworn an oath to always support the Brethren no matter what, and to always submit himself to the collective mind and will of the Apostles and the First Presidency. It was for this reason, along with the well-established protocols on hierarchy and seniority, that they seldom had any real disagreements. To his left hand side sat 2nd Counselor Lehi Arlen Walker, who spoke next.

“What news is there from the mission field?”

“Things are good,” said Elder Victor Samuel White. “Things are very good indeed. Conversion rates are strong, and retention rates are on the rise.”

One problem which had plagued the Church in years past was a difficulty in retaining members, a problem which came to a head in the form of the “Baseball Baptism” scandal. In England, a group of missionaries, who were under enormous amounts of pressure to secure converts, had discovered that they could get high numbers of baptisms by inviting local youths to participate on Church baseball teams. Then, after a certain amount of time had passed, the missionaries would tell the youths, “Now you’re going to either have to get baptized, or you can’t be on the team anymore.” Thus, they were able to achieve a very high conversion rate. This was problematic, though, since these youths almost uniformly left the Church at some point—they quit attending; they didn’t get other family members involved; they didn’t pay tithing; and in short, they never became legitimate converts. These “baseball baptisms” had been further confounding, since certain of the Brethren had used the inflated conversion numbers as an excuse to begin a campaign of rapid chapel construction. Of course, a firm base of members did not exist to fill these chapels and contribute tithing money, and so the Church took a rather heavy blow, financially speaking. In the wake of this, the Brethren had resolved to make stronger efforts to convert only those people who were truly serious about living the Gospel.

“That’s wonderful,” said President Baylor. “That is really wonderful.” He cleared his throat. “As you all know I was in Brazil just last month, and had the opportunity to meet with several recent converts to the Church. These are really wonderful, sweet people. One of them had a sick daughter, and I administered a priesthood blessing to her. I’m told that she has made a full recovery.”

All of the men nodded their assent. Virtually all of them had experienced things very similar to this, and all of them believed unquestioningly in their ability to heal via the laying on of hands.

Getting things back on track, 1st Counselor Marshall directed his attention to the left-hand side of the room, where Elder Joseph H. Jergens sat beneath a painting of the Nauvoo temple. “Elder Jergens? Do you have anything for us to discuss?”

“No, not really,” he said. He was an olive-skinned man with thick, heavy eyebrows. He had formerly been member of President Eisenhower’s cabinet. Nowadays he had been assigned to oversee the Church’s education system, which meant he was responsible for making sure that the materials in the various manuals for Sunday School classes were in keeping with the Standard Works and the Gospel. “Although…” he continued, his inky brow furrowing, “a bit of an issue has arisen concerning the Kinderhook Plates.”

“Good heavens, not that again!” said Elder Pitt, his head jutting forward from his shoulders. “Can these anti-Mormons not give it a rest?”

“Bob Young is no anti-Mormon, Elder Pitt,” replied Elder Jergens. “We’ve been trying to properly handle the material on Kinderhook, and there was just a little concern regarding the best way to do it.”

In the corner, Elder MacDowell, his glass of water still in hand, seemed as if he was about to doze off. On the other side of the room, Elder Marlin C. Christenson spoke up: “I’m sorry, but would someone refresh my memory? I don’t recall what this ‘Kinderhook’ is, exactly.”

Elder Pitt snarled, “It’s anti-Mormon garbage! That’s what it is.”

Elder Talmadge Steele sighed and turned to address Elder Christenson. “The Kinderhook Plates were a hoax,” he said. “They were a set of six bell-shaped metal plates with ancient-looking figures carved into them. They were given to the Prophet Joseph by some men in Illinois, and he began to translate them. Later, though, these men, who were anti-Mormons, admitted that the plates were fake, and that they’d fabricated them in order to try and discredit Joseph.”

“There is no proof that he tried to translate them,” said Elder Pitt.

“I’ve read the William Clayton diary for myself, Elder Pitt,” said Steele. “Have you?”

“I don’t need to read it to know that Joseph was a prophet of God! Anyways, that diary is safely put away in F Vault, right where it should be.”

“With all due respect, Elder Pitt, it’s not as if the cat isn’t already out of the bag. The issue, as I see it, is how to properly deal with the information.”

Pitt had shifted forward in his seat. “I’ll tell you precisely how we ‘deal’ with it. We keep our mouths shut. There are some things that just don’t need to be stirred up. There are some things the Saints don’t need to be spoon-fed.”

Elder Jergens, who had originally raised the issue, was cautious to interject. “If we don’t notify the Saints, wouldn’t that make it seem as if the Church is hiding something?”

“That’s complete and utter nonsense!” said Pitt. “The mission of the Church is to perfect the Saints, not to corrupt them with irrelevant, anti-Mormon attempts to smear the credibility of the prophet Joseph.” His hands were fists on the armrests. Despite his frailty and age, he seemed on the verge of tearing the arms completely free of the chair. “Let me ask you this,” he said, his gaze darting back and forth to Elders Jergens and Steele. “How much of your private, personal sex lives do you discuss publicly?”

“Oh, come on!” said Elder Steele. “That is completely irrelevant.”

“How do you figure?” continued Pitt, his pale blue eyes quizzical behind his steel-frame glasses. “How are the Kinderhook Plates ‘relevant’ to the Gospel? The answer, my dear brothers, is that they are not. They are completely irrelevant to bringing the spirit of Christ to the members of the Church. Nobody needs to know about the Kinderhook Plates any more than anyone needs to know about your private sex life, Elder Steele. Some kinds of knowledge need not be known.” He leaned back and folded his hands in his lap.

Elder Jensen held up his hands in frustration and looked to President Baylor for guidance. It was clear, though, that the Prophet’s attention had wandered a bit, and that his thoughts were elsewhere.

“So,” began Elder Jensen, “what am I to tell Bob Young? We do nothing, then? We omit mention of Kinderhook from Church teaching materials?”

President Baylor was silent for a few moments more, and he seemed to be looking up into one of the chandeliers. Beside him, counselors Marshall and Walker were staring at him.

“My greatest concern,” he said at length, “is that teaching the Saints about the Kinderhook Plates would sow seeds of doubt.” He lowered his face and gazed out at the Brethren. “My brothers,” he said, “we know that we are living in the latter days. Who knows how much longer we’ll have before the Savior’s return? Therefore we cannot be acting in any way that will weaken the testimonies of the membership.” He turned to Elder Pitt: “While I disagree with the bellicose spirit among some of us”—he shifted his attention to Elder Steele—“I ultimately think that the Spirit compels us to protect the Saints.” Finally, he looked to Elder Jergens: “You can tell Bob Young that there is no need to mention Kinderhook in any of the correlated material. There is ample historical writing out there in the world, including Church-published material, that any curious member of the Church can examine for himself.”

Over on the side of the room, Elder Pitt was smiling impishly, and his long-fingered hands were folded calmly together in his lap. Opposite him, Elder Steele looked momentarily crestfallen. All of the men—all fourteen of them, waited to see what the President of the Church would do next.

“Well,” he said, “unless there is anything else, then perhaps Elder Maplethorpe could give us a closing prayer?”



...Next Time: Remember that box....?
_GameOver
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _GameOver »

Ok ..... Who are these men?


C. Rigdon Pitt = Boyd K. Packer
David J. Marshall = Russell M. Nelson

Your turn ......
_Bob Bobberson
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Bob Bobberson »

- THIRTEEN -




INCIDENT REPORT No. 20166 Entered on 9/25/1992 – 22:54

Date / Time of Incident Location
9/25/93 18:20:00 100 E 700 N

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Incident Type/Violation Reporting Officer
1. ASSAULT & BATTERY TAFT, NEPHI J. (145)
2. BREAKING & ENTERING
3. THEFT

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Persons

Name: Role: Sex / Race / DOB
MUNSON, JOSEPH witness/vic. M White House. 4/15/50

Phone: 801-XXX-XXXX Address: XXXXX, Orem, UT

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Perpetrators

Status: Name: Sex / Race / DOB
Wanted John Doe M Am. Indian N/A

Phone: Address:

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Vehicles

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

REPORT:

On Friday, September 25 I was operating my police cruiser on a routine patrol near the BYU campus when I received an ECC report of a break-in and assault on the south side of the campus. I responded immediately and requested that ECC notify the complainant to meet me out front.

Upon arriving, I exited my cruiser and approached the building, and was met by the complainant, a caucasian male named Joseph Munson, who reported that he had been working the area on a security detail for the university. He had sustained minor injuries to his head but apart from that he appeared lucid. I followed him along the cement walkway towards the building, which is known as the Museum of Peoples and Culture. Mr. Munson directed my attention to a side area where I observed that a window had been broken from the outside, apparently using one of the large stones surrounding the building. Munson explained that he had heard the sound of glass breaking and had come to investigate and that it was at this juncture that he was assaulted. The assailant struck him on the back of the head with a hard object of some kind and he was momentarily stunned. Mr. Munson stated that he was not knocked unconscious, though he was unable to move. He reported that it was “like I was paralyzed.” While he was on the ground, he was able to get a look at the assailant, though it was quite dark in the room. He stated that the perpetrator was dressed in slacks and a white dress shirt, and that he had shoulder length hair tied in a pony tail. The individual appeared to be of American Indian descent, or perhaps Hispanic. Mr. Munson observed the suspect lifting the glass display box off of a pedestal which held a ceramic or clay box of some kind. The perp manipulated the box somehow so that its top sprang open. He then removed an object from the box and placed it into his pocket before exiting the premises. Mr. Munson stated that the object taken from the box appeared to be a glass orb of some kind, approx. the size of a peach. After the suspect fled the scene, Mr. Munson’s motor abilities were restored to him, at which point he placed the call into ECC.

I entered the premises to inspect and secure the location prior to the arrival of FU personnel. I observed that little in the building had been disturbed. Apart from the broken window, the only other disturbed item was a glass display case. The assault occurred in a room devoted to displaying items such as Navajo blankets and American Indian pottery. The appearance of the room seemed to confirm Mr. Munson’s account of the events. I observed that the glass case had been placed on the floor. I asked Mr. Munson if the perpetrator had lifted it using his bare hands and Mr. Munson said “Yes.” A preliminary inspection of the glass case did not reveal any fingerprints, however. I did not observe any other incidental evidence left by the suspect. The ceramic or clay box from which the suspect took the glass orb had been left on the pedestal. I observed that the box was approximately 7” x 7” and that it had inlays of turquoise and a pebbled surface. Inside the box were what appeared to be old corn husks and I concluded that these had been used to help cushion and protect the glass orb.

At that point I noticed that EMT personnel had arrived to treat Mr. Munson’s minor injuries. I assisted him in moving out to the area where the ambulance had parked and waited for FU personnel to arrive.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
ADDENDA:

FU Officer Kalvin reported that no significant forensic evidence was found at the crime scene. Fingerprints taken from the glass case were all found to be matches with BYU staff.

A sketch artist from Salt Lake City was requested to help develop an image of the suspect based on Mr. Munson’s recollections.



....Next Time: The prophet's confidant....
_SteelHead
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _SteelHead »

Good stuff Mr Bob
It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener at war.

Some of us, on the other hand, actually prefer a religion that includes some type of correlation with reality.
~Bill Hamblin
_Dr. Shades
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Dr. Shades »

Damn, that first paragraph seemed INCREDIBLY authentic. . . Almost like you had put in some actual time with law enforcement.
"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
_Bob Bobberson
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Bob Bobberson »

- FOURTEEN -

It was some time in the afternoon, well after President Baylor had attended to all his morning meetings and duties and an hour or two after he’d taken his lunch, when a knock sounded on the door of his spacious, curtain-darkened office in the Church Administration Building. He had set aside this slot of time to review letters from the membership. It was so seldom that any of the Brethren were able to review the thousands of letters that poured in every day, and even more rare that the letters were answered—hence why the Brethren had repeatedly tried to discourage the saints from writing. And yet, President Baylor felt a sense of duty to at the very least make a regular effort to read what the Saints had written to him. So, he had his secretary, Sister Phyllis Birch, and her support staff, cull through the letters and provide him with a weekly sample to read. Often the members asked for clarification of doctrine (despite having been specifically advised against doing so), or they asked for blessings—either for themselves or loved ones—or else they simply sent warm wishes. President Baylor cared for each sort of letter equally, and he was perpetually amazed at the spirit of love which permeated each of these epistolary efforts, including the one in his hand, which read:


Dear President Baylor

My name is Dierdre Sorenson and I am thirteen years old and live in murry utah. I always go too church and take the sacrament. I think that you are a true prophet and im thankful for hevenly father that you are a true prophet of the church. I was wondering if I could get your autograph cause I have a autograph colection which I am working on. So please president Baylor could I have your autograph. I have sent a envelope so you could mail it to me.

Thank you verry much and verry sincerely,

Dierdre Sorenson



It nearly broke his heart that he could not send a reply. It was the same old story as anyone who held a position of power—there was only so much you could ever do. But President Baylor always made an effort to think of such gentle souls as Dierdre Smith in his nightly prayers. He loved each of them equally, in a paternal, grandfatherly sort of way.

He set the letter aside and called out, “Come in.” The door opened, and Elder C. Rigdon Pitt shuffled into the office.

“Good afternoon, President Baylor,” he said. “I was wondering if I might take a moment of your time.”

“Sure, why not?” he said.

Elder Pitt came forward and sat down and spent a few moments scanning over the bits of Americana which adorned the Prophet’s office: a bust of Thomas Jefferson; a stuffed Golden Eagle mounted in a corner of the room near the ceiling; a painting of Joseph Smith and another of Brigham Young. There was a paper weight, too, which had been given to President Baylor by the President of the United States during his last visit to Salt Lake.

“So, what is it?” asked the Prophet.

Elder Pitt stared across the large, heavy desk for a long while and let out a sigh. “The spirit prompted me to come and see you, President Baylor. I worry about you. Myself and many of the Brethren worry about you these days. We know that the Lord blesses you, and that you speak with genuine inspiration.” He reached up to tug at his earlobe. “That shadow on your countenance, which I mentioned before the prayer circle—I’ve seen you wearing it far too often these days.” His voice was a soft purr, raspy and low. “I can tell that something’s been troubling you.”

President Baylor regarded him through his horn-rimmed glasses. What did Pitt know? The Prophet intuited that Elder Pitt had been made privy to the dreams—nay, the nightmares—somehow, though he himself had spoken of them to nobody, not even his wife. Up to this point, it was a matter which had remained purely between him and the Lord.

“I’m not sure what you’re talking about, Elder Pitt. Perhaps I’m just old. Or perhaps you’ve forgotten that there is opposition in all things.”

Elder Pitt’s mouth turned up at the corners and he squinted behind his wire-framed glasses. His head had a slightly uneven, potato-like shape, and now he leaned it forward in a gesture halfway between a nod and an inquisition. “It looks like a sign of weariness to me, President Baylor. But it also looks like worry. Something is troubling your conscience. I can see it.” He leaned back in his chair and settled his arms comfortably on the rests. “It seems to me that the Lord has told you something you’re not prepared to accept.” A narrow smile tightened his dry lips.

“You have no business speaking to me in that fashion, Rigdon. I am the one who holds the keys—not you.” He leaned across his desk and pointed a shaking, accusatory finger.

“You’re right, you’re right. Please forgive me. I misspoke.” His tongue darted out three times in rapid succession, as if he was trying to lick away a stray crumb. “I merely came to see you in the spirit of peace and goodwill, and in the spirit of brotherhood to which all of us pledged. And as President of the Twelve, I hoped I could offer some council to you. And besides all of that, you and I go back so many years. We’ve entrusted countless things to one another. We’ve both long been protectors of the Kingdom.”

President Baylor’s heartbeat had been rising, something he knew was not good for his increasingly frail health. Indeed, as he sat in his big, well-padded leather chair, he began to feel a trifle bit faint. Did the Lord truly mean for him to confide in President Pitt?

“I understand, President Baylor, the great mantle you are meant to bear. As I have stated many times, we are in the midst of a war. We have to do something about it. We have to. I know you know of these things of which I speak.”

President Baylor had lowered his head. “What can we do, though, Baron? All that happens has been pre-ordained by the Lord. This Church is guided by revelation, and I hold the keys.”

“Nonetheless the Lord has blessed each of us with free agency. We are meant to choose our actions in this life. You therefore can choose which questions to ask our Father in Heaven.”

President Baylor wondered: was it really his place to engage in this “war” that Elder Pitt spoke of? The Church had always been under attack from all manner of fronts, but Pitt had been suggesting for some time that the attacks were escalating. Was it true? Baylor didn’t know. There were the endless anti-Mormon publications, but it had been that way since the days of the Prophet Joseph. And there had been that odd break-in down in Provo last week, which Elder Pitt had been quick to blame on anti-Mormons. President Baylor had long had misgivings about Pitt on a variety of issues but there was really no discounting his intuition and his penchant for revelation. Obviously, the Spirit had told him something, which fulfilled a certain ancient logic. Pitt’s ancestors, like Baylor’s own, had been with the Church since the Restoration. They had known and had spoken with the Prophet Joseph. They had crossed the plains during the bleakest of winter months and had seen family members perish in the midst of persecution and strife. And they had helped to build the Kingdom here in Zion. They were true brothers and sisters of Deseret. Elder Pitt was here for a reason. He had been sent by the Lord; he was a messenger.

“Baron,” President Baylor began. “I can tell you that I have been troubled as of late by the most disturbing dreams. I tell you in confidence that they have been troubling me even during my waking hours, and the Lord will not let me be free of them.”

Elder C. Rigdon. Pitt, the President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, folded his long-fingered hands across his rather protuberant stomach, and he made himself comfortable in his chair. “Yes, I know. The Holy Ghost has told me of such things,” he said, nodding solemnly. “Please, my beloved Prophet—tell me everything."



...Next Time: Everything will change....
_Bob Bobberson
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Bob Bobberson »

- FIFTEEN -


Elder Burton, the Prophet’s junior body-guard, meandered down State Street, past the ZCMI Center, until the temple was in full view. It sat heavy and serene and castle-like behind the spiked black fence. Near it was the domed tabernacle, and its metal, tortoise-shell roof gleamed in the autumn sun. In his mind, he could hear the chorus of voices, the harmony of the choir, rising up into the heavens, and it reminded him of his mission, when he was allowed to listen only to the Tabernacle Choir and no other music. He had been sent to rural Brazil, and during the miserably hot southern hemisphere winters, he would sip a maracuya while he listened to the Mo-Tab and the voices would make him think of the cool Salt Lake autumn.

Just then the microphone in his ear crackled and he was told to prepare to join up with President Baylor, near the western exit of the temple. Burton lifted the cuff of his jacket to his lips and spoke into the transmitter:

“The western exit? Well, is somebody bringing a car around?” The prophet nearly always used the tunnels beneath the streets.

“I guess not,” came the voice. “Elder Ledbetter signed off on this, so I guess it’s coming from the Prophet himself. He wants to walk or something. You know how he is.”

“All right, if you say so,” said Elder Burton. There were a few dried leaves that hadn’t yet been swept up and a small dust devil scooped them up and pushed them across the sidewalk as Burton made his way towards the temple. It made him nervous; he didn’t like the thought of having to escort the Prophet out and about in broad daylight. He would have help and there would be other Church Security personnel watching from various points around Temple Square, but his training, including stints with both the Bureau and, very briefly, with the Secret Service, essentially guaranteed a higher level of alertness. Out of habit, he began scanning the streets, looking for anything out of place, and he kept moving. It was a quiet Thursday afternoon, not terribly busy. Elder Burton arrived at the temple’s western entrance just as the door opened. The Prophet emerged, moving haltingly but of his own accord, accompanied by Elders Young and De Vries. Burton wanted to ask De Vries—the senior of the two—what had happened to Ledbetter, but he knew that it wouldn’t be appropriate in front of President Baylor. He was there to offer security, after all. Plus, he remembered that Ledbetter’s daughter, Julie, had been ill. Maybe he went home to look after her.

“Good afternoon, young Elder,” said President Baylor.

“Good afternoon, sir,” said Burton.

The prophet squinted his eyes in the light of the setting sun and cast his eyes about the sky and the surroundings. “It seems I don’t get out as much as I’d like to.” He made a show of scrunching up his face and drawing in a deep breath of air. “Ah. Clean and as refreshing as can be. It is a lovely afternoon, and I’d like to get my circulation moving a bit, if you don’t mind, Elder Burton.”

“Sure thing, President Baylor.”

Elder Young hung back to radio the prophet’s position to the rest of the staff, and Burton and De Vries positioned themselves on either side of the old man as they set out. It wasn’t but a couple of blocks to the Prophet’s home at the Eagle Gate Apartments. Burton kept expecting President Baylor to talk, to patter on with some story about the old days, or else to fire off a bunch of questions about the respective men’s families, or to provide some small moral lecture on the ways of the priesthood, but the old servant of the Lord said nothing. He simply shuffled along, taking his time, feeling the cool autumn breeze in his hair.

It hadn’t been all that long ago when Church Security was much less extensive. The need for security forces had waxed and waned throughout the Church’s history. In the beginning, Joseph Smith had faced persecution no matter where he went or what he did, and thus there had always been need for a powerful and effective private security force. Elder Burton knew all too well who the Danites were. Later, when the Saints had migrated to the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young had needed a defense against the U.S. government. After that, though, and especially after the issuing of the Manifesto that ended polygamy, the Church had settled into a kind of peaceful pact with the world and the need for a large, active security force had dwindled somewhat. Things were changing yet again, though. Burton could remember hearing the news about a schizophrenic man who’d made his way to the upper floor of the Visitor’s Center and had used a mallet and chisel to knock the hands off the Christus. Such a thing was unthinkable today, what with the beefed-up security. Not long after that came the Mark Hofmann incident, something Elder Burton couldn’t think about without getting angry. And then there was the time, about five years ago, when President Baylor’s predecessor—President McCorkle—had nearly been shot by a crazy anti-Mormon woman who’d managed to sneak a gun into General Conference. Perhaps it was all just a warning from the Lord that the saints had grown too comfortable and complacent in Zion.

As the three men continued on through the plaza and past the large globe at the foot of the towering Church Office Building, President Baylor was pointing to the trees and carrying on about how splendid and glorious the fall colors were—magnificent reds, yellows, oranges, and browns—the Lord’s means of putting Mother Nature to sleep for the winter—how he never tired of it. Elder Burton had tuned him out. Instead, his attention had fallen on a man in a pickup truck at the far end of the plaza. Burton wasn’t sure about it, but he thought he saw the man speaking into a walkie-talkie. They kept moving, and Elder Burton lifted his arm and whispered into his sleeve: “Hey, the guy in the truck. Is that one of ours?”

The earpiece crackled: “No. I don’t know who that is. Why do you ask?”

“I think I saw him use a walkie-talkie.”

There was no reply.

Odds were that the individual in the truck was simply yet another of the endless stream of anti-Mormon persecutors. The big seasons for anti-Mormons were the two meetings of Conference in the fall and spring. For every session of General Conference, a huge congregation of them always appeared around Temple Square, often sporting offensive and derisive signs and sandwich boards, sometimes desecrating sacred Mormon clothing and texts. It was always a sickening sight to behold but there was only so much you could do. Christ always taught that one should turn the other cheek, and the anti-Mormons, when they got out of control, always leaned hard on their First Amendment rights. But it was bothersome no matter what. The rest of the year, one saw the occasional nut or protestor but it was nothing compared to the crazies that always came out for Conference. And so they walked on.

It was at this point that Elder Burton could tell, without any question, that the man in the pickup truck was watching them intently. The man was wearing a cowboy hat, and he seemed to be fumbling with something in his lap. Then he made a motion as if he was looking at his watch, and he slid across the bench seat, opened the passenger side door, and climbed out. Meanwhile, President Baylor continued to rattle on, something about his old farmstead, or something like that. Burton watched beneath the bed of the pickup, trying to see the cowboy’s feet, but he couldn’t see anything.

“Sir? President Baylor? I’m sorry to interrupt, but why don’t we go over around this way?”

“Oh, nonsense, boy. I want to walk and I won’t have you telling me what to do.” He didn’t stop and kept pressing forward.

Burton’s earpiece crackled: “Hey, Chris? You know that pickup you mentioned? Well, I got a guy who just exited the vehicle, and he is bookin’ it.” He was still holding his hand up to his ear when he saw the spark beneath the truck. He yelled—or thought he yelled—“Get down!” and he immediately dove to the left, tackling the prophet, cradling the old man’s head and pinning him to the ground. The first thing he felt was the shockwave, the force like a mammoth slap across his whole body, the sensation of tons of air being moved in a split second. Next he heard the explosion, and in his peripheral vision he saw the fireball move out across the plaza in a low-lying mushroom. Finally, he heard glass and metal: glass raining down like brittle hail and metal clanging against concrete. He also heard somebody say “ungh,” and he looked up in time to see Elder De Vries fall to the ground.

He scrambled to his feet and helped the Prophet into a sitting position. “Sir? Sir? Are you okay?”

“Oh, Lord. Oh, my God,” said President Baylor. His eyes weren’t looking at anything, though.

Burton did a quick once-over of President Baylor to make sure he was okay, and then he scanned the plaza. There were a few people on the far end, but he couldn’t tell if they were hurt. Off at the edge of the sidewalk, Elder Young, whose pale face was smeared with soot, was clutching at his ears with both hands, but apart from that he seemed to be in one piece. Elder De Vries was on the ground, though, and he was bleeding badly. The blood was pooling out of his abdomen, and Elder Burton could see a piece of jagged metal sticking out of De Vries’s body. Burton left the prophet’s side and went over to get a better look at De Vries.

“Don’t move. Don’t even try to move,” he told him.

“I won’t,” said De Vries.

The blood was slick on the concrete beneath Burton’s shoes. Right below De Vries’s ribcage was the protruding metal fragment—blood-spattered chrome, perhaps, maybe from the pickup truck’s fender. Based on its location and depending upon how deep it was, it might have severed his aorta, in which case he wouldn’t make it. Burton glanced around again as people, including more Church Security agents, began trickling out into the plaza. In the distance, he could hear emergency vehicle sirens echoing among the buildings of downtown Salt Lake City. He looked back down and laid his hand on De Vries’s forehead.

“You hang in there,” said Elder Burton. “I can hear the ambulance.”

“Okay,” said De Vries.

He had already gone very pale, and the blood continued to spill out of him. Burton figured there was no way he would make it. He glanced back towards the prophet, and saw that four fresh Church Security men had arrived to escort him away from the scene. Another agent was attending to Elder Young. There was a tinny ringing in Elder Burton’s ears and the air smelled like petrol. To his right he saw an ambulance round the corner and drive up onto the sidewalk. As it drew closer, he noticed that one of the trees near the blast looked strange, and he realized that its leaves had been blown off in the explosion.



...Next Time: The Ruminations of Elder Steele....
_annie
_Emeritus
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _annie »

Excellent! I check the board every day at lunch time, hoping for a new installment. Can't wait for the next one.
_Always Changing
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Re: A Great and Dreadful Day, Part II: Continuing Revelation

Post by _Always Changing »

Good work! I would suggest a more accurate representation of peripheral neuropathy. Remember that he has the best of medical care.

Bob Bobberson wrote: He took his eyeglasses from the side table and then, moving with some care, with a bit of creakiness in his limbs, he swung his legs over the edge of the bed and slid his feet into the slippers on the floor. These days he barely had any feeling left in either of his legs from the knees down. The skin on his ankles had purpled, and though he managed well enough, he wondered often if it would be much longer till he was in a wheelchair. Regardless, it would be in the Lord’s hands. ...

President Baylor made his way over to one of the windows near the center of the hall. There was a long, brass bar, like a ballerina’s practice bar, underneath the row of windows, all of which were made of bulletproof glass.
He would be using a walker first thing in the morning. Ankle/foot orthoses to hide his condition during the day. After a night's sleep, his ankles would have returned to a more normal color. The purple would be at night.

Bob Bobberson wrote:- President Baylor steadied himself with the handrail as the elevator lurched downwards......

President Baylor knelt down gingerly near the window and folded his hands in his lap. He would have a difficult time rising once he’d finished, but so long as he held the office of President, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ, he would be damned if he did not get down on his knees in the presence of the Lord.

Using his hand to balance himself, the Prophet got his feet underneath him, and then he slowly and tremblingly stood up to his full height, his joints popping audibly.
Better put another ballerina's bar across the window for him to pull himself up. Maybe a padded box for him to kneel on, since this is part of his daily routine.
Last edited by Guest on Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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.
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