The Mother of All Faith-Promoting Stories, Part II

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time at Jeff Lindsay’s blog. I’m sure he would like to think it was because I was finally waking up to “THE TRUTH OF THE LORD’S GOSPEL” but it’s more because I’m amazed at how naive he really is.

I picked this lovely little ditty up off Jeff’s blog. I know he wants to think he’s learned, and thoughtful, especially when he was spouting all that shit about how Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Abraham just MAYBE might have been real, even though it is “problematic.”

But the truth is, Jeff’s kind of gullible. Don’t believe me? Just read the story below.

One of my favorite stories about the converting power of the Book of Mormon is printed in a talk by President James E. Faust entitled “The Message: Ten Things to Know Before You Go” (New Era, July 2005):

Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy acquaints us with a strong testimony of the converting power of the Book of Mormon: Sister Celia Cruz Ayala of the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission decided to give the Book of Mormon to a friend. She wrapped it in attractive paper and set out to deliver her present.

On the way she was attacked by a bandit who stole her purse and with it the wrapped copy of the Book of Mormon. A few days later she received this letter:

Mrs. Cruz:

Forgive me, forgive me. You will never know how sorry I am for attacking you. But because of it, my life has changed and will continue to change. That book [the Book of Mormon] has helped me in my life. The dream of that man of God has shaken me. … I am returning your five pesos for I can’t spend them. I want you to know that you seemed to have a radiance about you. That light seemed to stop me [from harming you, so] I ran away instead.

I want you to know that you will see me again, but when you do, you won’t recognize me, for I will be your brother . . . . Here, where I live, I have to find the Lord and go to the church you belong to.

The message you wrote in that book brought tears to my eyes. Since Wednesday night I have not been able to stop reading it. I have prayed and asked God to forgive me, [and] I ask you to forgive me. … I thought your wrapped gift was something I could sell. [Instead,] it has made me want to make my life over. Forgive me, forgive me, I beg you.

Your absent friend (Church News, Jan 6, 1996, 16).

Such is the conversion power of the Book of Mormon.

OH. MY. HELL. Jeff? You really BELIEVE this? How many times have you fallen for the Nigerian Scam Letter? Are you still waiting for those foreign lottery winnings to come your way?

This has EVERY single trademark of an urban legend, or in Mormonspeak, a Faith Promoting Story, or FPS.

First of all, banditos are NEVER this literate. Almost never. Particularly banditos from third world countries. Usually, they have a hard time writing at all. This is not a slam on third-world countries, but rather a statement on the sad conditions that exist there. They don’t GET a lot of education.

As for the rest of the idea–that a criminal might be literate–yeah, yeah, there was the whole literary-prodigies-in-prison phase the publishing world went through, but that didn’t last very long. As soon as their paroles were collectively revoked, it was over. Even here in the U.S. Now we just pretend the Runaway Bride and Paris Hilton are capable of literate sentences one-after-another. That’s hot! And that’s ENGLISH.

“Here, where I live, I have to find the Lord and go to the church you belong to.”

I just can’t even begin to think of something appropriate to say here. Maybe, “whoever translated your Spanish probably actually spoke Italian, Portuguese or Pig Latin, and got a few words wrong, here and there.”

First of all, the Book of Mormon is hardly comprehensible for someone who speaks Joseph Smith Jr.’s native tongue, and even then it is “chloroform in print.” (Thanks, Mark Twain.) There ain’t NO way some bandito, read robber, thief, or killer, stole a woman’s purse, and was converted by the book inside. Especially in its translated form.

Not only that, but he gave her back her five pesos? What five pesos? And how did he know how to send it to her? Did he have her driver’s license? Did she write her address and phone number in the Book of Mormon? Did she have a driver’s license? Or was she walking when this happened? Phew, very vague story. Better to keep it vague, or course, so it can’t be rebutted.

Come on, Jeff, didn’t you hear the story of the lady with the big updo who was in the hospital sick for days, before they finally took her hair down and found a black widow spider nest? Or the babysitter on drugs who told the mother, when she called, that the turkey was in the oven? Turned out, it was the BABY! Can you believe that, Jeff? The baby. She thought THE BABY was a turkey, and she put it in the oven and was roasting it! It’s true. My husband’s cousin’s friend’s brother’s wife’s friend’s boyfriend KNEW her!!

Such is the conversion power of an urban legend.


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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7 Responses to The Mother of All Faith-Promoting Stories, Part II

  1. nathan says:

    i think you are slightly niave in your own thoughts and we live in a world where anyhting can happen, even banditos reading. You are a bigot if you think your right.


  2. Shari says:

    Um… Not to split hairs here, but isn’t Purto Rico a territory of the United States? And, wouldn’t that make the currency there the dollar, not the peso?


  3. Chris says:

    The peso is used in Puerto Rico (see Wikipedia)


  4. azteclady says:

    (I know this is dead and done but the misinformation annoys me)

    Chris, don’t see Wikipedia–which is as often wrong as it’s right. Why not ask a person who has live there?

    *raising hand* I have lived there! For six years! Gee, I should know the answer to that, shouldn’t I?

    The currency is the US dollar. Puerto Ricans may occasionally refer to it as “peso” but what they are using are dollars.

    And Puerto Rico is not a territory but a commonwealth–there are rather large differences there.


  5. Kirk says:

    Been gone for a while, but upon returning – have enjoyed the posts and interchanges this past month or so.

    Todd is still Todd. Rick is consistent and patient. Azteclady amuses and provides a mature, skilled presence, Kitty is pleasant.

    I miss the heated exchanges as personalities are exposed and important lessons are there for the learning.

    Come on Natalie! Give us a “meat” topic. Let’s talk about the church-sanctioned book, Massacre. Let’s talk about Joseph, Brigham, Monson. Let’s talk about topics that have toppled church expansion. Let’s talk about Carole Mikita’s devoted pro-Mormon spin on every KSL broadcast. Give us topics other than a 7-year old driver getting out of church.

    Thanks in advance. I know you can do this.



  6. K*tty says:

    Amen, Rick.


  7. K*tty says:

    Sorry about that. I meant Amen to Kirk’s comment.


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