Friday, August 29, 2014

Phone call from writer Steve Vogel

Posted: Thursday, 28 August 2014
Updated:




On Thursday morning, 28 August 2014, I received a phone call from Steve Vogel, former Washington Post reporter and author of Through the Perilous Fight, who asked if I would talk to him about my experiences at the Berlin Tunnel. He said he'd got my name from CIA HQ in Washington, D.C., having read David Stafford's 2002  print documentary Spies Beneath Berlin and also having seen the 2011 British documentary film of the same name.

Delighted by his interest, I offered to provide him with events, names and correspondence from my recollections and files, but with one proviso. That proviso was that he consider seriously a subject that neither author David Stafford nor the British film director had taken seriously, but which was (and still is) central to my own Berlin Tunnel experience. He agreed and we began the process of getting personally acquainted. We then agreed to a more in depth conversation next Monday, Labor Day..

To be continued...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Conversations with David O. McKay and John R. Howard, Part 4

Posted: Sunday, 24 Aug 14
Updated: Sunday, 31 Aug 14


David O. McKay
(click on name for his brief statement)
John (Jack) R. Howard
(President of Lewis & Clark College)













ENK: David, I need your counsel about interacting with George J. in seeking his advocacy with respect to the LDS Church because of how I see the church's role locally, nationally and internationally. So far, our dialogue looks positive, but I'm uncertain how this initiative will play out. How do you see it?

DOM: If you are in tune with our Lord Jesus Christ and are receptive to His guidance, your initiative cannot fail. George appears to be earnest, but I have the same counsel for him. Be at peace, Eugene, and have faith that the Holy Spirit is prompting this enterprise.

On Monday, 25 Aug 14, Joseph Dillard responded to my email containing references to Parts 1 through 3 of these conversations with David O. McKay and John R.Howard. In an earlier Facebook comment, he presented a critique to an "ICH-UNZ Review" article by Philip Girarldi entitled "Fascism in America" about which he wrote:: 
For too long the term “fascism” has been reserved only for description of Nazi Germany and Mussoulini’s Italy. What is it, really? Where does a country cross the line into fascism? It’s not a purely academic question, because the consequences of fascism are horrendous.
I replied to Joseph that I "agree totally! It's the reason I feel a responsibility to figure out a way to wake up Nazi-like Mormons.", to which Joseph replied further: 
Sadly, I know no cure for the disease of bigotry other than the protection provided by laws, cultural exclusion, and compulsion. My rule of thumb is to never argue with bigots, because they are not listening, so I am merely talking to myself. Instead, I attempt to build a dream, culture, and reality that includes, but transcends them, rather like containers for radioactive substances...
I think trying to reason with individuals locked into pre personal and pre-rational belief systems is a basic issue for you. Analogies include arguing with drunks and talking to dogs. In both cases, one is essentially talking to oneself, but getting just enough reinforcement for the highly motivated to stay engaged, with generally unrealistic expectations for both comprehension and appropriate response.

At noon on Tuesday, 26 Aug 14, I replied to Joseph,

ENK: Yes, Joseph, I am indeed talking to myself in terms of these inner figures who have recently appeared in my dreams, however unrealistic that may be. And I like your reference to 'containers for radioactive substances', given my own sense of purpose of being here in Los Alamos. 

My hope in this regard is that scientists here in this legendary town can yet find a way to depotentiate the toxic radioactivity that has so bedeviled the world. A fool's errand? Unquestionably! Nevertheless, I believe one must first envision such a process metaphorically before it can become physical reality.

Because I notice that there are a few 'hits' by viewers to these blog posts, I am encouraged to continue this process. (Perhaps I should better say 'experiment'?) Maybe something will yet come of it. We shall see how unrealistic this approach is. I can't help think of Ken Wilber's counsel about developing 'skillful means' in communicating with anyone at any particular level.

ENK: Jack, I remember your telling me about your visit to BYU when you were president of Lewis and Clark College and headed up an academic accreditation team to evaluate BYU's graduate school program. You and your team reluctantly declined to approve accreditation at that time citing that the university's primary purpose was "declamation rather than search". 

JRH: Yes, Gene, that was long ago. BYU may have succeeded in gaining that particular accreditation by now.

ENK: Thanks, Jack, I will check with the university to see if and how this has changed.



On Wednesday morning at 03:30, 
Joseph Dillard replied to my Tuesday email regarding previous posts of conversations with McKay and Howard:
Dear Eugene,
 Thanks for this.
You are a prophet crying in the wilderness.
The world needs more such voices.
We all need to stand up against injustice and irrationality and speak the truth in a fierce but compassionate way.
Those two things are hard to balance. Those who value truth are viewed by those who value love as cold and uncaring while those who value love are viewed by those who value truth as two-faced, moral relativists, and hypocrites. Finding the balance between truth and love is never easy, but it is important.

Wednesday evening, 27 Aug 14....


ENK: Jack, I called BYU and talked to the graduate studies people. I was informed that the university is accredited by two agencies: 1) the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities located in Washington state and 2) American.Council on Education, located in Washington, D.C. It appears that it is now fully accredited by both agencies.

JRH: Good work, Gene. Looks like the university has come of age.


Thursday, 28 Aug 14.



ENK: David, I had a fourth 2-hour+ conversation with George J yesterday afternoon that I want you to know about. I told him that you had been President Lyndon Johnson's 'father confessor' during the Vietnam War. This surprised George, because he didn't know you and LBJ had ever met. 

DOM: I'm afraid I let him fool me, Eugene. I didn't learn my lesson from having personally endorsed Richard Nixon years earlier.

ENK: I let George know about those three American flags that few over LBJ's inaugural grandstand in January 1965 and that one of those three flags went to you personally after the first two went to LBJ and Hubert Humphrey, respectively. That also surprised him, especially when he learned that Utah in 1964 had voted Democratic for the first time, which apparently accounted for that third flag coming to you. 

DOM: It's true that I received that flag. 

ENK: LBJ was a master politician, who knew instinctively how to find those with political power and how to manipulate them. Do you think he was manipulating you when he came to you for counsel?

DOM: I have to acknowledge that I was not always able to read such men.

ENK: You know now, of course, that I had sent you a super secret "Eyes Only" package at about the same time in January 1965. I did not consider the stresses and preoccupations you were under then, since I was preoccupied with my own. 

DOM: Yes, I can understand that.

ENK: Do you remember that "Eyes Only" package?

DOM: Remind me, if you will...

ENK: When I called your office, after sending it to you per special instructions from Bishop Ferren Christensen, your secretary Clare Middlemiss answered the phone and told me that she  had personally read it to you. I'm not sure you actually saw it yourself.

DOM: It was not something I understood.


Saturday, August 30, 2014


ENK: Yes, when I asked Miss Middlemiss what you said after she'd read it to you, she said that you said "I don't have the strength to go into it now. Have him bring it through one of my counselors."

DOM: Yes, that sounds about right. That was a stressful time for me. What happened then?

ENK: Well, that's when things for me became much more confusing.

DOM: How so?

ENK: I'm sure you know, but that's where the ecclesiastic communication process broke down. Clare Middlemiss did NOT bring that ":Eyes Only" package to the attention of one of your counselors, as you had directed. Instead, she sent it to the San Diego stake president to whom I'd gone originally, but who could not relate to the urgency of the issue and WITHOUT comment or reference to your specific directions. That was the end of the road for me in pursuing this project professionally.

DOM: That I was not aware of.

ENK: I'm sure that is so. And I wonder what else she did without your awareness at the time.

DOM: She was a devoted secretary.

ENK: No doubt. She also kept a private account of all your decisions and experiences, realizing how historic her position was. That no doubt is why she never married, so she could devote her life to yours. This private record of hers would eventually be used by Gregory Prince years later as the primary source for his unauthorized 2005 University of Utah Press biography of you. I'm sure you are aware of this...

DOM: Yes. It wasn't a bad job.

ENK; Even though it was not officially blessed by LDS Church authorities?

DOM: True, but not a bad job though it has personal material that most authorities would not have approved.

ENK: No doubt! Which brings me another item that was found in your personal files that was not reported in Greg Prince's biography, but which was scanned and sent to me by one of the church archivists in 2005. It meant a lot to me that you had kept this poem, which was written 8 months after Clare Middlemiss sent my package meant only for you to the San Diego stake president instead of bringing it to the attention of your counselors as you directed. I hand delivered the poem to Clare at your office and am glad she actually gave it to you!

DOM: I remember the poem well. How could I not, with such a title?

ENK: With such a title, indeed!  I'm glad it got your attention. I'll post it here:


Poem hastily written for Pres. McKay
(after failing to see him face-to-face during personal crisis trip to Salt Lake City)

ENK: I'd like to briefly comment here on what that poem refers to.

DOM: This would be as good a time as any.

ENK: There were five major issues that had come into my experience since Miss Middlemiss sent that "Eyes-Only" (to you) package to San Diego Stake President Barry Knudson. Between January and September 1965, they were:
1. Psi-warfare defense initiative (original issue)
2. Extra-terrestrials
3. Same-sex relationships
4. Polygamy
5. Negro priesthood ban

Obviously too huge a meal to swallow in those days, even by the wisest ecclesiastics!

DOM: I would say so!

ENK: But I was far too naive in those days to know how to present any of those very hot issues in a skillful way such that they could be considered seriously. Dr. J.B. Rhine of Duke University was the only one who could relate to the first (original) issue, but that got shot down by Middlemiss' unilateral personal decision to send my urgent package, meant only for your eyes, to San Diego stake president Barry Knudsen, who had already dismissed it.


Later afternoon, Saturday, 30 August 2014


JRH: Gene, I think I should step into this conversation at this point.

ENK: OK, Jack. I could use some help here.

JRH: Well, you've put out some pretty heavy issues on this [blog] presentation of yours. There aren't many people who will understand what you are wanting to discuss, let alone believe you or that it would be worthwhile.

ENK: That is certainly true! By the time you and I became acquainted in early 1972, I was coming to the end of my 7-year "wilderness" period because of not being able to present or discuss those issues back in late 1965. You remember talking to me about all this, I'm sure.

JRH: Of course. That is what intrigued me about you when we first met in my home after you sang a song in my office at the college.

ENK: I don't remember what the song was, but bless Marianne for setting up that first meeting in your office.

JRH: Yes, she and you made an interesting pair and I wanted more time to explore what intrigued me. You were asking "the important questions", just the kind of mind I wanted on my faculty back then.

ENK: But your faculty didn't want me.

JRH: They were afraid of you, Gene. I'm sure you can understand that. 

ENK: Well, I suppose I eventually understood that, but I didn't like it.

JRH: That was a dilemma for me. I didn't know what to do with you, but so very much did want you around.


To be continued in Part 5.

















Monday, August 18, 2014

Opera on the Rocks: Don Giovani

Posted: 18 Aug 14
Updated: 26 Aug 14

Great fun!  Am singing the role of Commendatore in one of Mozart 's most famous operas. Although I thought I'd lost my operatic voice years ago, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that I can do this role! Thanks to director Alicia Solomon for inviting me to try it out.  It feels perfect at the ripe old age of 80! All I have to do (as a statue) is stand there and in a loud voice call Don Giovani to repentance!
(click to enlarge)
Cast of Characters


CAST BIOS

Carlos Archuleta, baritone (Don Giovanni)
            A native northern New Mexican, Carlos has had a full operatic career, beginning with studying with Andre at NM Highlands, and continuing at the New England Conservatory of Music.  Some of his signature roles were both Figaros, the Count in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Papageno, the Count in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Escamillo, Sharpless, Marcello, Silvio, and Germont, performing with many notable companies including the Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, and Dallas Opera.  Since retiring from singing to help raise his daughter, he has become a Mechanical Designer/Technician for Area 52 (Chevron Technology).

Jeffrey Click, bass (Leporello)
            Jeff studied vocal performance while at UC Santa Barbara; he also attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, where he met his wife, Alicia Solomon.  After spending the past twenty years raising their family, he began singing again, performing King Balthazzar in last year’s Opera on the Rocks, Amahl & the Night Visitors.  Jeff leads a team at LANL that provides on-demand cloud computing services.

Christina Martos, soprano (Donna Anna)
            A graduate of Carnegie Mellon and the Yale School of Music, Christina was also a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist with the Washington National Opera, and performed several seasons with the Central City Opera in Colorado.  Her repertoire includes The Saint of Bleeker Street, The Magic Flute, Hansel & Gretel, L’Elisir d’Amore, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, The Marriage of Figaro, Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Carlysle Floyd’s Susannah. She lives with her daughter in Los Alamos, where she was seen last year in LALO’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
 
Andre Garcia-Nuthmann, tenor (Don Ottavio)
            Andre is Director of Vocal & Choral Studies at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, where he manages a wide variety of choral and instrumental ensembles. He earned a doctorate in vocal performance from Arizona State University, and has been a prominent tenor soloist in northern New Mexico for many years, appearing frequently with the Santa Fe Opera, Symphony, Pro Musica, Desert Chorale, and Opera Alta. In last year’s Opera on the Rocks he was King Kaspar; he and Alicia have been making beautiful music together since 1988.

Jess Cullinan, soprano (Donna Elvira)
            Jess holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Marquette University, and has sung with the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, Chicago Chorale, and the Rockefeller Chapel Choir.  With Los Alamos Light Opera and Little Theatre, she appeared in The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess), The Spitfire Grill (Percy), and Into the Woods (The Witch), and directed LALO's The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 2013. With Opera Alta, she sang Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Fiordiligi and Susanna in the inaugural Opera on the Rocks in 2012. She is also an artist & graphic designer.

Eugene Kovalenko, bass (Statue of Commendatore)
            In a career spanning more than half a century, Eugene has been a military intelligence agent, a nuclear materials scientist, a Soviet-American trade specialist, an engineering manager in aerospace, and a seminar coordinator for Russian & American scientists at LANL.  He still teaches and consults.

Brian Huysman, keyboardist
            Brian recently joined LANL after 30 years with NASA.  With decades as a church pianist, in a Big Band, and over 45 musical theater productions behind him, Brian marvels that only in New Mexico, would he be able to combine his passion for opera with his passion for hiking and backpacking.  He has played for Opera Alta’s “Petra and the Jay”, and all three Opera on the Rocks productions.

Since 2006, Opera Alta (Alicia Solomon, director) has presented performances across northern New Mexico of arias and ensembles from opera and musical theater, a condensed H.M.S. PINAFORE, an original Sci-Fi musical, and for the third year running, Opera on the Rocks at Bandelier.  Personally, Alicia has appeared repeatedly with the Santa Fe Opera, Symphony, Concert Association, Chamber Music Festival, and the Desert Chorale.  She holds a Master of Sacred Music degree, and is Music Director at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos. (Visit www.aliciasolomon.com)












Wednesday, August 13, 2014

More from Yosemite Sam...

Posted: 13 Aug 14
Updated: 22 Aug 14

Nick Kovalenko


This morning (13 Aug) son Nick sent a follow up to his yesterday's comments.
Dear LDS Church,
8/12-13/14:
Who in their right mind, if a god-loving spiritual person, would not want to meet with God, if they could, in their lifetime?
Who in their right mind, if a god-loving spiritual person, would not want to communicate directly with angels in heaven?
Who in their right mind would not choose to obtain/gain their knowledge, insight and information from heaven, versus second-hand/multi-hand written and spoken interpretations of men?
Can any book be more authoritative than the direct Word of God or God’s Angels in Heaven?
What, then, could be more important for a church than to help facilitate authentic contact with God and/or God’s Angels?
The time has come for the LDS Church to step up to the challenge and do that: help facilitate membership’s individual contact with God’s Angels and their eternal family, and then share that significant and profound gift with the rest of the human race.
Later on 13 Aug 14, Tom Rodgers [official LDS patriarch to Eastern Europe] wrote:
Dear Zhenya:
I am deeply humbled by both your Nick's and Michael Quinn's recent expressions and affirmations of faith in so much that is sacred and dear to the rest of us.  Each has just now brought forth a precious "Balm of Gilead"to all who might hear and consider their words...



To be continued ....

ENK

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Response to Michael Quinn from Yosemite Sam!

Posted: 12 August 14
Updated: 
Nick Kovalenko at 57 (photo by Michael Kovalenko)
On August 7, 2014, my oldest son Nick's 57th birthday, his younger brother Michael just happened to stop over in Chicago (where Nick and his family live) on the way to France with  his wife, four-year old son and mother (my second wife) to visit his mother's ancestral homeland in Basque country. 

During their stopover, Michael took the above shot with his spiffy new camera and sent it to Nick and other family members. But when Nick saw it he exclaimed: "Who is that? Yosemite Sam? BACK OFF!! That dude needs a haircut & a face cut. That's just totally scary being that close up to myself. What r u trying to do, scare the rest of the family off? ...i think i'm joking, but not sure..." This photo is fast becoming my favorite of Nick since it captures so much of his witty, alive and intense personality. Bravo, Michael!!

Then, this morning I received an inspired, welcome response from Nick to Michael Quinn's recent message to the 2014 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, which I had forwarded to him..  

From: Nicholas Kovalenko
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 11:11 AM
To: Eugene Kovalenko
Subject: Re: FW: Outline for WHY AN EXCOMMUNICATED MORMON HISTORIAN ...

Very nice. I wrote something i realized last night that might be apropos:

Dear LDS Church,

I cannot adequately express my gratitude to this church, because if it weren’t for what i learned growing up in the Church i never would have asked the questions and ultimately experienced and discovered what have become the most important things in my life, which were two separate & extraordinary, spiritually enlightening metaphysical events.

I learned within the profoundly enlightening second event that the Church was indeed established through divine will & purpose, and that Joseph Smith was truly inspired when he established testimony meeting, which allows me to speak before you today, and when he prophesied there would be significant new revelation that would have a profound impact on the Church and the world. That time has come.

The Church has a purpose that is greater than anything it has ever known or done, and all it has to do is be open to new revelation, as prophesied by Joseph Smith, and the proof will be in the pudding.

Just like the transition between Old and New Testaments, the new revelation will require some adjustments that not everyone will agree with. Some of the old folks might want to stick with the old ways, but the old ways do not provide us with all the authentic and direct, fresh & divinely insightful answers we need to address today's complex issues.

With true direct enlightenment from the spiritual heavens all questions are answered, all issues are resolved, and anyone with a sincere spiritually open heart with recognize and know the truth of this wisdom.

What is, ultimately, the most important purpose of God’s church - this church? Might it be to help the individual spiritual-seeking person to experience and know for oneself, based on unequivocal and profound contact, "God’s Honest Truth"?

If we're honest with ourselves we'll admit that one can’t really know something simply by hearing about it, reading about it or being taught about it. From this, one can only know about what are by definition interpretations of whatever the words describe. But true knowledge only comes from direct, firsthand, personal experience, like the experience of riding a bike, driving a car, flying a plane or jumping off a cliff into a raging ocean.

And shouldn't that be the bottom line for any legitimate church? To help facilitate experience of the Divine Spirit at an extraordinary level, to have authentic & significantly profound spiritual experience?  Who would not want this? Who in this church can come up with anything more important than that?

The profound new revelation, as prophesied by the Founder, is all about this church shifting its focus to help facilitate the direct and authentic, individual personal contact & experience with the spiritual heavens, where one can receive all the answers one truly needs about anything, direct from the Supreme Divine Source of all Power and Creation, which from a missionary perspective would allow what the Church represents speak for itself.

No longer would we need a naive, well-intended but inherently ignorant, indoctrinated sales force. No longer will anyone be required to take another person's book or institution's word or claims for it. One is allowed to know it, firsthand, without any other person’s book or institution’s inherently biased interpretation.

This Church has done its job at the appointed time; it has everything necessary all set up: ubiquitous teaching and training houses (wards) and sacred contact facilitation centers (temples). Indeed, it appears the LDS are in a better position than any to share and facilitate the profound knowledge of God’s Honest Truth, which it will find reflects, in many ways, existing Mormon beliefs.

On Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 12:52 PM, Eugene Kovalenko wrote:
Nick, check this out from ex'd friend Mike Quinn…  (You know he is considered by his contemporary historians as the finest Mormon historian alive, don't you?)
 Love, Dad

From: D. Michael Quinn
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2014 12:23 PM
To: Eugene Kovalenko
Subject: Outline for WHY AN EXCOMMUNICATED MORMON HISTORIAN ...

Hi, Eugene!

WHY AN EXCOMMUNICATED MORMON HISTORIAN URGES YOU TO REMAIN WITH THE LDS CHURCH

by D. Michael Quinn

Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, 31 July 2014


--First, I speak to you from MY OWN VERY PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW, and I do not claim that my views are (or should be) the position of any other advocate.
--Second, to the degree possible, I want these remarks to apply to Mormons who have never had serious doubts, to Mormons who are struggling with serious doubts, to Mormons who continue to participate in the LDS Church despite privately doubting its theological claims, to Mormons who have stopped participating in the LDS Church despite believing most of its claims, to Mormons who have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated from the LDS Church, to Mormons who have voluntarily resigned their membership in the LDS Church, and to those who define themselves as "former Mormon" because they now reject all of the LDS Church's claims.
--Third, because some of you (like me) are no longer IN the LDS Church officially, I've used the word "WITH" in this presentation's title as a distinction I'll explain.
--Fourth, I do not want my words or intentions to be understood as telling any of you what SHOULD be your responses toward the Church or what you OUGHT to do.  I am simply offering my own perspectives and advice, which may be inadequate or inapplicable to you.

     There are many ways to define the LDS Church, but I do NOT think it is the same as Mormonism.   The Church is a subset of Mormonism, an appendage if you will.  Long before a church was organized on April 6th, 1830 in Western New York State, Mormonism was a charismatic teenager, then it was a family--Joseph Smith Jr.'s family, to be precise--who believed in him, then it was a very small group of local believers in Joseph, then it was a series of revelations to this farmboy, then it became small congregations of believers within scattered towns and villages, then it was the handwritten dictation of THE BOOK OF MORMON, then it was the published book, and then Mormonism included a fledgling, organized church.  I say FLEDGLING, because the organized church grew in revelation, in policy, in doctrine, in organization, in self-definition, in membership, in leadership, in geography, and in social-political-economic significance.
     In the process--over the months, the years, the decades, and the centuries--there were mistakes within the Church and its leadership, MANY MISTAKES--large and small, high and low.  As THE BOOK OF MORMON stated on its title-page, "if there are mistakes, they are the mistakes of men."  Above all else, what became known officially as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was (AND IS) a divine institution governed and staffed by the damned human race.  Guided by fallible living prophets, the LDS Church has been as flawed from top to bottom as they and their adherents have been, and as good-hearted and well-intentioned as they have been.  The leaders and we are part of the Church's strengths and part of its weaknesses.
     In the Hebrew Bible's Book of Isaiah, there is a statement about a deeply human problem. The children of Israel said "to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (Isaiah 30:10).  Following the example of THE BOOK OF MORMON's prophet Nephi, I "liken the scriptures unto ourselves" (1 Nephi 19: 23).  LDS prophets and apostles (particularly after 1890) have sometimes said that God does not allow the Living Prophet to "lead the Saints astray." Despite his own mistakes in personal behavior, or errors in doctrine, or mistaken policies, most Mormons have wanted to hear such "smooth things," such well-intentioned "deceits."
     Some may think that I am misrepresenting Mormon history with that last statement, but here is what the Living Prophet Brigham Young said  (and published):  "I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him.  I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security.  Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not."--Apostle John A. Widtsoe, DISCOURSES OF BRIGHAM YOUNG (1954), page 135.
     When you hear or read that a modern member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has recently said in general conference: "We will not lead you astray--we cannot," first remember that he is not the Chief Prophet.  Second, look at the annually published CHURCH ALMANAC, and see in its historical list of the First Presidency and Twelve that five counselors to the Living Prophet have been excommunicated and sixteen apostles have been excommunicated, disfellowshipped, or dropped from office for misbehavior.  Each of those 21 men (who were publicly sustained by general conferences FOR YEARS as "prophets, seers, and revelators") did indeed "lead astray" some members of the Church. Third, God does not prevent the free agency of any prophet to make serious mistakes, even to sin (D&C 132: 50).  Fourth, realize that this modern apostle was doing at the turn of the Twenty-first Century what Isaiah described anciently:  speaking "smooth things" and prophesying "deceits"--because that is what this well-intentioned apostle thinks the Latter-day Saints today want to hear, NEED to hear.  I do not agree with his statement, but I understand its motivation.
     I find no satisfaction in saying that the LDS Church has always been flawed and that its highest leaders have made mistakes--both large and small.  No, I have always believed that they are better men than I've ever been, and I wish that both the Church and its prophets had actually been infallible in the past and in the present.  But that is not the record of even the most officially published history.
     So why do I urge you to remain with this flawed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  For those who have never felt serious doubt, the sufficient answer is that it is God's true church on earth.  From my limited training in philosophy, I would say that is a necessary answer, but not a sufficient one.
     For those of you who feel pain at the LDS Church's fallibility, I have also felt such pain--perhaps for different reasons.  I cannot advise you to remain in an organization that causes you more pain than it brings you happiness.  FOLLOW YOUR BLISS, as cultural historian Joseph Campbell used to say, but I hope that you will eventually find more bliss with the LDS Church than permanently away from it.  Vacations can clear perplexed thoughts or troubled feelings, and perhaps you need a temporary vacation from the Church.  Do whatever works best for you and your relationship with God.
     Those of you who feel seething anger about one or more of your experiences with the LDS Church, I do not question your right to feel angry.  But I have also seen how corrosive such anger was to those who raised me and gave me their love at the same time they manifested seething anger toward each other.  I hope that you do not feel such anger toward the LDS Church and its leaders.  If you have those feelings now, I hope that you will "let time heal all wounds" and eventually get past corrosive anger.
     If your relationship with the LDS Church has moved beyond anger (as in the Stages of Grieving), why do I urge you to stay with this flawed organization?  As a selfish person, I naturally think of my own experiences.  I did not want to be excommunicated, but was surprised that I felt SUCH RELIEF afterwards.  I no longer had to worry about the Church's scrutiny and disapproval, or to withhold criticism of its policies when I answered the media's questions about Mormon history.
     I was free, free to be UTTERLY selfish, and I have never overcome that negative result of being without the Church.  Since the age of twelve, I had accepted assignments every week to extend myself beyond my own interests in order to actively serve others and their interests.  Many of those experiences were routine, and some were dramatic--but more important, I KNOW that I was able to benefit others in ways I would not have without those "Church assignments."  I know that I can still serve others by volunteering to work in a soup kitchen for the disadvantaged, or I can join one of the many religious and secular organizations that provide opportunities to serve others.  But I have not done so and doubt that I ever will.  As a seventh-generation Mormon, the LDS Church provided me with structured incentives and opportunities for compassionate service, incentives that I've not found elsewhere in my self-centered life.  Perhaps you are more self-motivated toward serving others than I am, but the LDS Church's practical compassion is one reason I urge you to stay with this divinely instituted, but humanly flawed institution.
     If you feel only indifference toward the LDS Church and miss none of its activities or associations, then you have found your bliss in some other way.  I cannot argue with your indifference toward Mormonism nor with the bliss you have found.  I understand you to some extent, because that is the situation of beloved members in my own family.
     On the other hand, if you still feel affection for the LDS Church, I urge you to stay with it for the good that your continued association brings to it.  One of the reasons cited in an official letter of accusation against me for apostasy in 1993 was that I had told newspaper-reporters that LDS headquarters currently wants only "cookie-cutter Mormons."  I was never the only duck-billed platypus of modern Mormonism, and every one of us unconventional, off-kilter Mormons provides enrichment to the Church.  To paraphrase some biblical verses, I like to think of us as the liberal "leaven that that leaveneth the whole loaf." (Matthew 13: 33; Galatians 5: 9)
     How can you "stay with the Church," if you (like me) cannot partake of the Sacrament (which was the main reason I attended LDS services) and cannot do sacred work for the dead in one of the holy temples (as I used to do weekly)?  Well, one way I stay with the Church is by emphasizing its multitude of good and inspiring qualities whenever someone expects me to speak only about the negative things that I know or have experienced.
     Shortly after my excommunication, an organization for Ex-Mormons invited me to speak at one of their meetings in Salt Lake City.  In my remarks, I spoke of what I regarded as abuses of power in my own experience, but I also emphasized the many good qualities of Mormonism, the positive achievements of the institutional Church, my continued belief in the LDS Church, and the supportive comments I had received (even privately from some general authorities) during the months-long process of my three disciplinary councils.  This effort at balance by an excommunicated rebel was not what the audience expected, and their applause was tepid.
     Afterwards, a man came up to me from the audience and told me how he had been excommunicated by a stake president in Southern Utah because he would not sell some property to this local leader.  I told the man that his experience was an outrageous abuse of ecclesiastical power.  But hearing my words of sympathetic criticism was not why he related his story.  "I have been out of the Church for 30 years," he said with tears in his eyes, "but I still love it with all my soul."
       So do I.  Whether or not you feel likewise, I wish you God's speed on your own path.
Thank you.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Conversations w/David O. McKay, Part 3 (including John R. Howard)

Posted: 12 Aug 2014
Updated:  1 Oct 14

David O. McKay
John R. Howard














ENK: David, events are going so fast I'm having a hard time keeping up with this conversation and inviting John Howard to join us.

DOM: I'm in no hurry, Eugene. You may take up wherever we left off any time you are ready.

ENK: Thanks David. I wanted to tell you about what surprised me in my meeting with George J., but he has since then written a response to my followup email that further perplexed me. Also, the night after George and I met on 23 July 14, I dreamed of my friend John Howard, which is why I'm inviting him to join us.

DOM: Yes, you've mentioned John already and I welcome his participation.

ENK: George and I are scheduled to meet again tomorrow (13 Aug 14) at the same place and time. Allow me please to defer our conversation here until after he and I meet again.

DOM: Of course. No hurry.

ENK: I'd like to defer John's participation also,

JRH: It's your show, Gene. It's always interesting to see you in action. Always surprising, if not also perplexing!

ENK: thank you both. I'll get back to you!

On August 13 and 20 I met with George J. as scheduled.

ENK:
David, I was pleasantly surprised in my conversations with George on Aug 13 and also Aug 20. I had hoped for but had not expected this result. Earlier that morning of Aug 20, I met with Orthodox priest Fr. John Hennies to discuss my impending conversation with George later in the day. In early 2007, shortly after Fr. John and I first met, I went to him to ask for help in removing a burden I had long felt for the Mormon Church. His counsel to me back then was not to be too hasty in having that burden removed. He believed that the Lord had placed it upon me and that He would remove it in due time. Fr. John was counselling patience and encouraging confidence back then. This morning (20 Aug) I reminded him of that long-ago conversation in the process of discussing my impending conversation with George later in the day.

DOM: Well, Eugene, it would seem that your conversations with Brother George are having the affect of reducing, if not removing that burden.

JRH: And, if I may comment at this point, the fact that I felt to come into your dream picture, Eugene, just after your first recent conversation with George, should suggest that the burden you feel is more than just a Mormon thing.


To be continued on Conversations with David O. McKay and John R. Howard, Part 4..

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dreams of and letters to John R. Howard, Part 3


Posted: 10 Aug 2014
Updated:
Page 1, Letter to John R. Howard, 8 June 1978. 
page 2
Page  3


















This is the cover letter to Volume One, THE AWAKENING  of the manuscript to PRODIGAL PROPHET with a brief outline for Volume Two, THE WITHDRAWAL and the beginning point for Volume Three, THE RETURN. As stated earlier, I had been looking for this manuscript for months, if not years. This cover letter explains the intent of the manuscript. What I have now understood, in reviewing the dream, presented on page 1 of the cover letter, is the reason why John was reluctant to follow through with this project. It's in the dream, which I missed.   [The hand-written note in the upper right of page 1 is to my second oldest son dated 10-6-02: "Jim--note this little 'synchronicity' -- I only, myself, registered it on Johnny's birthday last June when I went to pick him up from jail in Utah. --- Your little brother, incidentally was named for JRH!  Love, Dad"
My youngest son, John, had been born on June 8, 1984.]

On page 3, dated 6-10-78,  the P.P.S. notes that I learned only the day before that the LDS Church had changed its policy on priesthood. That was an interesting synchronicity because that was also the date I finished the first draft of my play "The Defense of Cain".. (Which had been inspired by the priesthood ban.)



Cover page to "The Defense of Cain"

Seminar (on things esoteric) at Lewis and Clark College March 1972
First row: Eugene Kovalenko, 2nd from right; Marianne Francis far right
Second row: John  R. Howard,  far left; Dan Fry, center; Jack Schwartz, far right
Third row: Harvey Freeman, center


Two additional synchronistic inputs from Glenn Steckling & D. Michael Quinn

Posted: 10 Aug 2014
Updated:


A second event on 7 August beyond the serendipitous discovery of the long misplaced Prodigal Prophet manuscript, was a cell phone call from friend Glenn Steckling, Executive Director of the Adamski Foundation, who was on the road to attend the 2014 "Contact in the Desert" conference at Joshua Tree, in southern California. He will set up a booth, even though he was not invited to present. As we talked I asked him a question I'd had in mind for years, after reading his father's and George Adamski's books. Since Glenn's father Fred and George Adamski often mentioned Jesus in their writings, I wondered what Glenn's perception was these days. Being an admirer of George's and Fred's accounts of and references to biblical stories and UFOs, I was dismayed by Glenn's version, which he adamantly claims to be the truth! However, it was so radical in asserting the real historical parentage of Jesus that even I am reluctant to publish it here and will only mention my surprise after he exclaimed, "I've never yet lied to you, Eugene, and am not lying to you now!" We didn't have time to resolve this line of the conversation, since he had arrived at his destination. But I left him with a request to know the actual source of his "true" story.


This year’s theme:
Bridges and Byways:
Traversing the Mormon
Landscape

The third and last event on 7 August was an email statement from friend D. Michael Quinn, one of the 1993 September Six excommunicants from the Mormon Church. It's title is: WHY AN EXCOMMUNICATED MORMON HISTORIAN URGES YOU TO REMAIN WITH THE LDS CHURCH. Apparently this was a short talk given at the recent Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium. This was another surprise and because of how I think Quinn's statement will fit into the implications of all three of the above events, i will cut and paste it here:



                        WHY AN EXCOMMUNICATED MORMON HISTORIAN URGES YOU TO REMAIN WITH THE LDS CHURCH
                                                                                      by D. Michael Quinn
                                                                  Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, 31 July 2014

--First, I speak to you from MY OWN VERY PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW, and I do not claim that my views are (or should be) the position of any other advocate.

--Second, to the degree possible, I want these remarks to apply to Mormons who have never had serious doubts, to Mormons who are struggling with serious doubts, to Mormons who continue to participate in the LDS Church despite privately doubting its theological claims, to Mormons who have stopped participating in the LDS Church despite believing most of its claims, to Mormons who have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated from the LDS Church, to Mormons who have voluntarily resigned their membership in the LDS Church, and to those who define themselves as "former Mormon" because they now reject all of the LDS Church's claims.

--Third, because some of you (like me) are no longer IN the LDS Church officially, I've used the word "WITH" in this presentation's title as a distinction I'll explain.

--Fourth, I do not want my words or intentions to be understood as telling any of you what SHOULD be your responses toward the Church or what you OUGHT to do.  I am simply offering my own perspectives and advice, which may be inadequate or inapplicable to you.

     There are many ways to define the LDS Church, but I do NOT think it is the same as Mormonism.   The Church is a subset of Mormonism, an appendage if you will.  Long before a church was organized on April 6th, 1830 in Western New York State, Mormonism was a charismatic teenager, then it was a family--Joseph Smith Jr.'s family, to be precise--who believed in him, then it was a very small group of local believers in Joseph, then it was a series of revelations to this farmboy, then it became small congregations of believers within scattered towns and villages, then it was the handwritten dictation of THE BOOK OF MORMON, then it was the published book, and then Mormonism included a fledgling, organized church.  I say FLEDGLING, because the organized church grew in revelation, in policy, in doctrine, in organization, in self-definition, in membership, in leadership, in geography, and in social-political-economic significance.

     In the process--over the months, the years, the decades, and the centuries--there were mistakes within the Church and its leadership, MANY MISTAKES--large and small, high and low.  As THE BOOK OF MORMON stated on its title-page, "if there are mistakes, they are the mistakes of men."  Above all else, what became known officially as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was (AND IS) a divine institution governed and staffed by the damned human race.  Guided by fallible living prophets, the LDS Church has been as flawed from top to bottom as they and their adherents have been, and as good-hearted and well-intentioned as they have been.  The leaders and we are part of the Church's strengths and part of its weaknesses.

     In the Hebrew Bible's Book of Isaiah, there is a statement about a deeply human problem. The children of Israel said "to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (Isaiah 30:10).  Following the example of THE BOOK OF MORMON's prophet Nephi, I "liken the scriptures unto ourselves" (1 Nephi 19: 23).  LDS prophets and apostles (particularly after 1890) have sometimes said that God does not allow the Living Prophet to "lead the Saints astray." Despite his own mistakes in personal behavior, or errors in doctrine, or mistaken policies, most Mormons have wanted to hear such "smooth things," such well-intentioned "deceits."

     Some may think that I am misrepresenting Mormon history with that last statement, but here is what the Living Prophet Brigham Young said  (and published):  "I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him.  I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security.  Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not."--Apostle John A. Widtsoe, DISCOURSES OF BRIGHAM YOUNG (1954), page 135.

     When you hear or read that a modern member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has recently said in general conference: "We will not lead you astray--we cannot," first remember that he is not the Chief Prophet.  Second, look at the annually published CHURCH ALMANAC, and see in its historical list of the First Presidency and Twelve that five counselors to the Living Prophet have been excommunicated and sixteen apostles have been excommunicated, disfellowshipped, or dropped from office for misbehavior.  Each of those 21 men (who were publicly sustained by general conferences FOR YEARS as "prophets, seers, and revelators") did indeed "lead astray" some members of the Church. Third, God does not prevent the free agency of any prophet to make serious mistakes, even to sin (D&C 132: 50).  Fourth, realize that this modern apostle was doing at the turn of the Twenty-first Century what Isaiah described anciently:  speaking "smooth things" and prophesying "deceits"--because that is what this well-intentioned apostle thinks the Latter-day Saints today want to hear, NEED to hear.  I do not agree with his statement, but I understand its motivation.

     I find no satisfaction in saying that the LDS Church has always been flawed and that its highest leaders have made mistakes--both large and small.  No, I have always believed that they are better men than I've ever been, and I wish that both the Church and its prophets had actually been infallible in the past and in the present.  But that is not the record of even the most officially published history.

     So why do I urge you to remain with this flawed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  For those who have never felt serious doubt, the sufficient answer is that it is God's true church on earth.  From my limited training in philosophy, I would say that is a necessary answer, but not a sufficient one.

     For those of you who feel pain at the LDS Church's fallibility, I have also felt such pain--perhaps for different reasons.  I cannot advise you to remain in an organization that causes you more pain than it brings you happiness.  FOLLOW YOUR BLISS, as cultural historian Joseph Campbell used to say, but I hope that you will eventually find more bliss with the LDS Church than permanently away from it.  Vacations can clear perplexed thoughts or troubled feelings, and perhaps you need a temporary vacation from the Church.  Do whatever works best for you and your relationship with God.

     Those of you who feel seething anger about one or more of your experiences with the LDS Church, I do not question your right to feel angry.  But I have also seen how corrosive such anger was to those who raised me and gave me their love at the same time they manifested seething anger toward each other.  I hope that you do not feel such anger toward the LDS Church and its leaders.  If you have those feelings now, I hope that you will "let time heal all wounds" and eventually get past corrosive anger.

     If your relationship with the LDS Church has moved beyond anger (as in the Stages of Grieving), why do I urge you to stay with this flawed organization?  As a selfish person, I naturally think of my own experiences.  I did not want to be excommunicated, but was surprised that I felt SUCH RELIEF afterwards.  I no longer had to worry about the Church's scrutiny and disapproval, or to withhold criticism of its policies when I answered the media's questions about Mormon history.

     I was free, free to be UTTERLY selfish, and I have never overcome that negative result of being without the Church.  Since the age of twelve, I had accepted assignments every week to extend myself beyond my own interests in order to actively serve others and their interests.  Many of those experiences were routine, and some were dramatic--but more important, I KNOW that I was able to benefit others in ways I would not have without those "Church assignments."  I know that I can still serve others by volunteering to work in a soup kitchen for the disadvantaged, or I can join one of the many religious and secular organizations that provide opportunities to serve others.  But I have not done so and doubt that I ever will.  As a seventh-generation Mormon, the LDS Church provided me with structured incentives and opportunities for compassionate service, incentives that I've not found elsewhere in my self-centered life.  Perhaps you are more self-motivated toward serving others than I am, but the LDS Church's practical compassion is one reason I urge you to stay with this divinely instituted, but humanly flawed institution.

     If you feel only indifference toward the LDS Church and miss none of its activities or associations, then you have found your bliss in some other way.  I cannot argue with your indifference toward Mormonism nor with the bliss you have found.  I understand you to some extent, because that is the situation of beloved members in my own family.

     On the other hand, if you still feel affection for the LDS Church, I urge you to stay with it for the good that your continued association brings to it.  One of the reasons cited in an official letter of accusation against me for apostasy in 1993 was that I had told newspaper-reporters that LDS headquarters currently wants only "cookie-cutter Mormons."  I was never the only duck-billed platypus of modern Mormonism, and every one of us unconventional, off-kilter Mormons provides enrichment to the Church.  To paraphrase some biblical verses, I like to think of us as the liberal "leaven that that leaveneth the whole loaf." (Matthew 13: 33; Galatians 5: 9)

     How can you "stay with the Church," if you (like me) cannot partake of the Sacrament (which was the main reason I attended LDS services) and cannot do sacred work for the dead in one of the holy temples (as I used to do weekly)?  Well, one way I stay with the Church is by emphasizing its multitude of good and inspiring qualities whenever someone expects me to speak only about the negative things that I know or have experienced.

     Shortly after my excommunication, an organization for Ex-Mormons invited me to speak at one of their meetings in Salt Lake City.  In my remarks, I spoke of what I regarded as abuses of power in my own experience, but I also emphasized the many good qualities of Mormonism, the positive achievements of the institutional Church, my continued belief in the LDS Church, and the supportive comments I had received (even privately from some general authorities) during the months-long process of my three disciplinary councils.  This effort at balance by an excommunicated rebel was not what the audience expected, and their applause was tepid.

     Afterwards, a man came up to me from the audience and told me how he had been excommunicated by a stake president in Southern Utah because he would not sell some property to this local leader.  I told the man that his experience was an outrageous abuse of ecclesiastical power.  But hearing my words of sympathetic criticism was not why he related his story.  "I have been out of the Church for 30 years," he said with tears in his eyes, "but I still love it with all my soul."

       So do I.  Whether or not you feel likewise, I wish you God's speed on your own path.

Thank you.