Of course you all know which conspiracy I mean, right? The conspiracy of “the Brethren” to promulgate to the world and to the membership of the LDS Church “obfuscation, evasion, and half-truths,” (as my friend Equality would put it), regarding certain historical events in the lives of Joseph Smith and others. Well, this week it failed, again!
Apparently, someone in the “Strengthening the Members” committee, a supposedly shadowy group hidden somewhere in the bowels of the labyrinth, cubicled realm of the Church Office Building, whose name continually reverberates ominously in the ears of all DAMU-ites everywhere; apparently someone in that committee forgot to send the obfuscation memo to my Elders’ Quorum Instructor this last Sunday.
The lesson, taught by one whom I assume (based on the conspiracy theories so often whispered by anxious “NOMs” everywhere) will soon face a disciplinary council for his blatant disregard of correlated lesson materials, was Lesson 1 from the new Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith manual, entitled “The First Vision: The Father and the Son Appear to Joseph Smith.” He prefaced his lesson by teaching some details about the economic situation of Joseph Smith’s family, such as how they moved to Palmyra, NY because Joseph Smith, Sr. had lost the family farm after his business idea (growing ginseng and selling it to China) failed.
In conjunction with discussing the religious fervor rampant in the area at the time, the instructor mentioned that during that time there were several accounts from various nearby and faraway places of glorious visions where people claimed to have seen the Father and the Son. Then, prior to recounting the “official” version of Joseph Smith’s “First Vision” penned in 1838 (some 18 years after it occurred) and subsequently canonized into LDS scripture, the instructor proceeded to remind us that the version in the lesson manual was not the first version that had been written. Amazingly, given the LDS Church’s supposed efforts over the years to suppress this information, nobody seemed surprised or shocked in the least by this information, solid evidence that this obviously is not the first time the LDS conspiracy to keep its members oppressed through “lies and half-truths” has failed. Indeed, there were no sudden sighs of dismay, no offended reprimands, no rolling eyes- not even a raised eyebrow that I could see as I looked into the faces of my brothers in the Quorum.
The really amazing thing actually happened at the end of the lesson hour. After we discussed for a moment the ramifications of the various vision accounts, related by Joseph Smith at various times, for various reasons, to various people, the instructor then had us close the meeting by reading the canonized version of the “first vision” account, which is this, in Joseph Smith’s own words:
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
As we read those words recounting what Joseph Smith witnessed that day, a sacred stillness enveloped the room as each Elder who paid attention once again received a special witness in his own heart that Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I know I left that meeting with a renewed commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church, as restored by Him through Joseph Smith, whose prophetic words still rang in my ears all the way home, and brought a quiet, assured smile to my face.
But you know what’s really odd about this whole thing? I know it’s only Tuesday today, but I have not even heard one whisper of a rumor that this good brother will be reprimanded for teaching truth on Sunday.
Where is the “white shirt brigade?” Where is the “court of love”? I’m just disappointed that the conspiracy I have worked so hard all these years to protect has apparently failed, again. What’s a good mormon boy to do?
(You can read about another huge conspiracy failure here. This time, they failed to “obfuscate” where it matters most- with the teaching of our children!!)