Today’s post is by SuperNerd. I would like to give a shout out to all the Ward crazies…Where have you all gone?
Every Ward has them and every Ward needs them for comic relief. You know who I’m talking about, that member of the ward who bears his/her testimony every month and always has a miraculous story about angels, the Three Nephites, Bigfoot, the return of the Lost Tribes of Israel, the building of New Jerusalem or some other end time event.
As a teenager my friends and I used to sit in the back pew next to the door laughing at many of the crazy things members would say and do during sacrament. Unfortunately today, I rarely hear these talks, lessons and testimonies. It could be that I’m too busy wrestling with one or more of my four children. However, I think it’s more likely that less and less of these people remain in the Church today.
Recently my wife and I went to dinner with the Bishop, his wife and two other couples from the Ward. During the conversation the Bishop mentioned how his teenage son likes to read and research Bigfoot stories. Not such an unusual hobby when you live in the Northwest. Reaching deep into my “crazy bag” I pulled out an old reference (1969) to Cain that I remembered reading as a teenager in The Miracle of Forgiveness. Over the years several of my missionary companions, Sunday school and Seminary teachers equated this story with Bigfoot.
“On the sad character Cain, an interesting story comes to us from Lycurgus A. Wilson’s book on the life of David W. Patten. From the book I quote an extract from a letter by Abraham O. Smoot giving his recollection of David Patten’s account of meeting “a very remarkable person who had represented himself as being Cain.’
‘As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me… His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the holy priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight…” (Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, pg 127, 1969)
I was shocked to learn that no one else had heard this story before, no one present had read it in The Miracle of Forgiveness. Perhaps I was the only one who read the miracle of forgiveness? Or maybe I was the only one who paid attention to the strange, odd statements in books written by Church authorities.
Today I rarely hear stories like the one above repeated from the pulpit or taught in classrooms. Although I believe it is a good thing, I do miss the entertainment I used to get from those crazy talks and lessons. My question is how many of you have had similar experiences? Do you still have these experiences today? Or…is this entertaining unique aspect of our worship going the way of the dinosaur?