Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dream of John K. Carmack + strange task

Event: Saturday, 1 Nov 14
Updated: Monday, 17 Nov 14

This may seem strange, if not truly crazy, to most readers. My apologies...

John K. Carmack
On November 1, 2014, I dreamed for the first time of John K. Carmack. In the dream I ask him to do a legal task for me, but he says I can't afford him. Nevertheless, he then begins working on something on his own time (presumably on my task?), wrestling energetically with large, thin metallic sheets that he has brought together to build some kind of assembly. 
      [CREEI score: ?++?--//+++/+++  Anticipatory]

Eugene N. Kovalenko: Brother John, we've known each other since fall 1975 after I returned to the LDS Church that summer, when you were my stake president in Los Angeles. I remember that we had many lively, stimulating conversations face-to-face in your law office and by letters over many months thereafter. The last time we met was in late December 2011, in your Perpetual Educational Fund executive director's office in Salt Lake City. You had been an LDS general authority involved with missionary work for some years between those two assignments.

I actually don't know if you can help with the project I have in mind, but because you have come into my dreams at this time, I take that seriously and want to spell it out here.

John K. Carmack:  I don't know if I can be of any help, brother Eugene, but I'm willing to hear about your project.

ENK: The project task is to locate an original document. Assuming it still exists, it is a single 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper containing typewritten text. There were no other identifying marks on it the the last time I saw it, which was in the fall of 1968. At that time I personally hand-delivered the document, folded in thirds and contained in a plain unmarked envelope, to Newport Beach Stake President Ferren L. Christensen. The document was created in the early morning of July 25, 1965 in San Diego, California. The last time I saw it was during a special re-hearing (at my request) before the Newport Beach stake high council in the fall of 1968.

JKC: So, you want me to locate the document?

ENK: That would be lovely, John. But no, I'm not actually asking that. Rather, I am asking for advice on how to locate it, if it still exists, since you clearly know the mechanics of how the LDS Church system works.

JKC: What other information can you give me?

ENK: When I gave the envelope containing the document to Ferren L. Christensen in his legal, ecclesiastical role as stake president, I said to him, "President, I'm delivering this document into your hands. Whatever you do with it is now up to you. My job up to this time has been to survive long enough to get it into your hands."

JKC: Why should Pres. Christensen consider it important enough to give it his attention?

ENK: Its text message would have been self-explanatory. But, since he and I were long-time friends and he knew a great deal of my recent personal history, I'm confident he gave it serious personal attention.

JKC: And what was the text message?

ENK: I'd rather not say at this point. The substance of the text is not the important issue to me just now. However it's existence and location is.

JKC: Can you give me any more information that would motivate me to continue from here?

ENK: I hope so. Pres. Christensen could have done one of three things with it: 1. ignore it. 2. destroy it. 3. give it to a higher ecclesiastical authority. Can you think of any other options?

JKC: Not at the moment. What do you think is the most likely option?

ENK: Number 3.

JKC: And who would you think that would be?

ENK: President David O. McKay.

JKC: Why not someone at a lower level?

ENK: Because Christensen and McKay were close friends and because Christensen had introduced me to Pres. McKay years earlier (1957) when Christensen was bishop of the Laguna Beach Ward.

Also, years later, when I returned to the LDS Church in 1975, Pres. Christensen allowed me to choose the time, place and person for the baptism. I chose the tenth anniversary of the creation date of that document and to have my 17-year-old LDS priest son Nick perform the ordinance in the Pacific Ocean below the cliffs in Laguna Beach where I'd been served the official LDS Church notification (on Mother's Day!) by two unknown high councilmen that I'd been excommunicated (in absentia) on 2 April 1966. 

Days before that baptism ordinance happened, I faced a hostile high council, who actively questioned my veracity. Pres. Christensen allowed me to have my son Nick with me as witness, which was unusual. At one point during the high council inquiry, when it looked like they were going to deny me re-entry, Pres. Christensen rebuked them saying, "Brethren! This man has had irrefutable experience. You cannot require him to deny that which he knows to be true!" Because of that rebuke, the high council members unanimously, albeit reluctantly, raised their hands to accept me.

JKC: Interesting story, but I'm not sure what it has to do with your task about locating the document.

ENK: You can't see a connection?

JKC: Not yet.

ENK: Hmm. Perhaps you can see a connection to another date, which was 8 June 1978?

JKC: An important historical date, of course, but what does it have to do with the document?

ENK: It may not actually have anything to do with it, but I think it does. That's why I'm pursuing this query. If we can locate it, there may be additional information with it or about it that might support my belief about its significance.

JKC: Where do you suggest we look?

ENK: Either President McKay's personal and/or ecclesiastical papers or President Kimball's personal and/or ecclesiastical papers.

JKC: Please explain why.

Sunday, 9 Nov 14

ENK: I think it most likely to be in Pres. McKay's personal papers, which would be the same papers in which in 2005 a Church archivist, Glenn Rowe, found my hand-written poem "Nathan's Cry". This poem was written on 26 Sep 65 and hand-delivered to Clare Middlemiss, McKay's private secretary.The now-retired archivist was kind enough to scan that poem and email it to me as an attachment. I have tried to contact Rowe recently, but he does not answer his phone and the Church information system does not have him referenced in their data base that I can find...

JKC: That's a fair place to look, I grant you. Why Pres. Kimball's papers?

ENK: That may be even more likely only because it was he who announced the change in Church policy in 1978, despite the previous policy, which was defended by other Church authorities. 

This brings to mind a letter I wrote to Pres. Kimball in November of 1975. He may have recognized my name since he had been my mother's stake president in southern Arizona decades (1920s) earlier. In any case I felt my issue had been heard by him when I learned about a 1976 October general conference address of his entitled "Our Personal Liahona"

JKC: What was your letter about?

ENK: I'm almost positive I sent you a copy of it, since you were my stake president at the time. It had to do with a statement I heard while attending an elders quorum meeting one Sunday that month. (Remember, I'd only returned to the Church a few months earlier.) My letter complained of having heard "the most dangerous statement that can be made in the Church". It was not that the statement was made that upset me, as I explained in the letter, but that no other man in the room was willing to challenge it. The 'dangerous' statement was made by the Elders Quorum president to those in attendance. He said, "When it comes to matters of ultimate authority, the Prophet's conscience supersedes our own." My immediate reaction was a loud, "NO!!! ABSOLUTELY NOT!"

JCK: That was a pretty heavy reaction, brother.

ENK: Yes it was, I confess. And on reflection I could have responded in a benevolent, rather than a reactionary way--in a spirit of Christ's love and understanding. But I didn't. As it was, I simply offended, if not also frightened them. The room became quiet and the meeting was essentially over. No one had anything to say to me after that. That is what motivated me to write to Pres. Kimball and, I'm sure, copy you.

JCK: So, what is your point here?

ENK: It was a plea for clarity regarding ultimate authority in terms of a higher spiritual law: the primacy of individual conscience. 

I would not be surprised that Pres. Kimball and Pres. McKay had years earlier (1968) had a serious conversation about the document in question in those terms. But Pres. McKay was not strong or vigorous enough in those days to present it to the Quorum of the Twelve, let alone to the First Presidency.

JKC: That's a heap of speculation, brother. I know of no way to verify such a conversation other than a careful and thorough reading of the journals of each man.

ENK: Do you really think that if such a conversation had occurred and been recorded in either man's personal journal, that the Church would be willing to disclose it?

JKC: Good question. I'd like to say yes, but I'm not confident about that.

ENK: And THAT's my point, brother John!! By and large, the LDS Church authorities, unfortunately, are more concerned with declaiming truth than searching for it and are too proud to admit that.

Finding that document and any evidence of its having been seriously discussed might bring new light and knowledge to this issue.

JKC: Eugene, your challenge has substance. Let me give it some more thought and I'll get back to you.

ENK: Thank you, brother. Perhaps one day soon, the policy of the Church will include embracing difficult questions, including dissent, rather than fearing them. 

Monday, 17 Nov 2014

In the meantime, I've had other conversations about this, one of which (Margaret Blair Young) has suggested contacting Greg Prince for a name in the Church archivists department. This I will do. One of my youngest sons, a good friend of Greg thinks that is a good idea. Yet another friend is worried that my real purpose in this search is one of "vanity". Because of who this friend is, I must be clear about this in my own mind. So, I'll have more to say about it later...

To be continued...

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