My wife and I are about to move to Washington state. As part of the moving process, my wife has requested that I go through all my "junk" (i.e., all the miscellaneous files I drag with me wherever we go, but which I never read, and which I probably will never even look at again), and discard whatever I don’t want to keep. Intended as a quick project, it has turned, predictably, into an inefficient, interminable nightmare. Yet it is also great fun, as I get to spend countless hours rediscovering papers and pamphlets from my past that I had forgotten even existed, and peruse them at length.
Yesterday, I happened upon a file entitled, appropriately enough, "Mission Garbage." Inside, I discovered a motley assortment of writings that had circulated among various, excited elders in my mission, and which I decided, for some unknown reason, to keep copies of. Only now do I realize the purpose of my having held on to this stuff … A higher power must have wanted me to post these in the Bloggernacle for your amusement!
To qualify for inclusion in my "Mission Garbage" file, the document in question needed to be, well … garbage (in my estimation). Of course, you may disagree with my characterizations, and you should feel free to vocalize your disagreements. In this thread, which will be Part I of three, I have transcribed the entire document du jour below, just as it appears on the page in my hand (retaining misspellings, but adding italics), and I think it speaks for itself:
PROPHECY BY CURTIS GRATIS IN 1739
Curtis Gratis, a Catholic priest, uttered this prophecy in 1739 A.D. It was published with his work and may be found in the University Library in Basol, Switzerland. It was copied by the temple president in Bern, Switzerland while he was on his mission and called
The old Gospel Gifts are Lost: false doctrines prevail in every church in the world. All we do is exhort people to be just and fear God, shun evil and pray.
Prayer and purity may cause an Angel to visit a deep and distressed Soul, but I tell you in 100 years God will have spoken. I see a little band of people led by a Prophet and Faithful Elders, persecuted, burned, and murdered.
But in the valley that lies on the shores of a great lake they will grow and make a beautiful land. Having a Temple of magnificent splendor and they will possess the Priesthood of old having Teachers, Deacons, etc. From each nation will the believers be gathered by speedy messengers and will God almight speak to the disobedient and thunder and lightning and destruction, such has never been heard of or known in history before.
Copied from a copy owned by Eva Rasmussen, No. 9 North 8th West, SLC.
Question: Does reading this kind of stuff give you:
(a) Warm fuzzies, and a jolt of increased faith you haven’t experienced since you discovered those chiastic structures in the Brigham Young manual;
(b) A sickening feeling in your stomach, as you contemplate the gullibility of so many elders buying into the latest, dubious, faith-promoting anecdote;
(c) A feeling of sadness, as you ponder why there’s a market for this stuff among a people who ideally wouldn’t need external evidences to bolster their testimonies;
(d) An intense feeling of ire towards this blogger (yours truly), since I’ve just insulted one of the pillars of your faith;
(e) Disappointment at my cynicism, as you would have expected me to at least entertain the notion that this supposed prophetic document might really exist; or
(f) None of the above.