Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 Season's Greetlings

Posted: 23 Dec 2014
Updated: 27 Dec 14

Merry Christmas; Happy New Year!
Birgitta and Eugene (Zhenya) Kovalenko

Friday, December 19, 2014

Searching for the ARTIFACT, Part 2

Posted: Friday, 19 Dec 2014
Updated: Wednesday, 7 Jan 15

Where is it?
On November 10, I wrote to son Nick:
I want to discuss a history "task" with you. It could involve your unbeliever brother Michael and his superior documentary detection skills.  Here is a blog about the idea . Check out the hyperlinks, too.
On December 16, I contacted Stan Larson, retired curator of the U of U Special Collections Library, to discuss his recent article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought about the LDS Church's newly disclosed documents regarding the original version of Joseph Smith's hand-written account of the First Vision. When I mentioned my own search for the 25 July 1965 ARTIFACT, he urged me to complete the search and have it added to the U of U special collections library.

Later that same day December 16, Nick wrote in reply to my note of Nov 10:
OK so we've talked about this.
I will be interested in, and it should speak for itself, the disposition of the original document [ARTIFACT] if it still exists, and whether or not it was involved in any way in the process of changing church policy toward blacks.
It could've found its way up the chain and used or shredded, or could've been shredded by Ferren (does he have memoirs or a collection of papers?) Either way, despite the First Presidenc(ies) seemingly being devoid of authentic revelation and inspiration, and making what could simply have been another prudent political call, the change of mind (but not necessarily the heart) still, by definition of how it all works, involved divine calculations, probability plans & influences.
And i'd still like to know whose words those are [in the revelation].
I'm getting new insight on possible explanations for who might have come through you from reading lorna byrne (irish). Perhaps we should pay her a visit? Are her ubiquitous guardian angels what we are calling spirit guides? She says GAs [guardian angels] never incarnate so perhaps they're different; perhaps we have both dedicated to each of us?!
It seems like the spirit guide is your plan manager and the GA is your protector and source of emotion. Hmmm. I'm ordering her books because she's a modest, straight-forward person who I'm willing to support through patronage. I think you'll like what she says.

On December 17, I spoke to Tom Kimball of Signature Books in Salt Lake City.
Tom informed me that one of Spencer W. Kimball's sons had his diaries, which were probably given to the Church, but which he probably had a copy. Great lead!
24 Dec 14. In discussing this project with son Nick we are now concentrating on contacting family members of Ferren L. Christensen and Spencer W. Kimball for potential access to their respective diaries for certain dates. Also, those of David O. McKay in the U of Utah special collections archives. This will take time, given the holidays....

Friday, December 5, 2014

Searching for the ARTIFACT, Part 1

Where is it?

Posted: Friday, 5 Dec 14
Updated: Monday, 15 Dec 14

Dear readers, please join my quest! If you have suggestions or helpful information, kindly send me an email at eugene.n@kovalenkos.com. 

For those who worry that this search for an original document (ARTIFACT) is an exercise in vanity or narcissism (as some do), please understand that I acknowledge that this may be so. You are therefore invited to ignore this search. :) It may simply be a fool's errand.

For those who can consider this search seriously, please examine the previous blog post. Since (JKC), my old stake president mentioned in the previous post, has not yet reappeared in my dreams or my imagination, I feel pressed to continue the search as best I can.

7 Dec 14.  I talked to my oldest son yesterday (6 Dec), who expressed concern about this search, not because he dismissed the ARTIFACT's origin, but because he thought that if it was in fact produced by a divine source (as I believe it was), then it would be protected.  I acknowledge his concern and conclusion here, yet at the same time feel responsible to follow promptings, such as pursuing this search and letting consequential evidence speak for itself. This is the attitude of scientific inquiry, which became my chosen profession, beginning in late spring 1956. (It also reminds me of one of my favorite Mormon hymns: "Do what is right, let the consequence follow....")

9 Dec 14.  In another conversation with my above-mentioned son this morning, he assured me that should I pass on before this search is finished, he would continue it, himself, since he is uniquely equipped to understand its implications and was witness to much of the process that produced the ARTIFACT. This was comforting to hear.

Strategy for the search:

1. Contact LDS Church archivists who have access to the personal and church records of church presidents David O. McKay and/or Spencer W. Kimball.
2. Suggest examination of correspondence between Ferren L. Christensen and David O. McKay.between fall 1968 and before McKay's death in 1970.
3. Suggest examination of correspondence or personal journal notes of conversations between David O. McKay and Spencer W. Kimball after fall 1968.
4. Be alert to any mention in their records of the priesthood ban regarding members of the Negro race. The ARTIFACT may have been a topic of discussion and/or debate.

Later in the day I wrote to a biographer acquaintance who is familiar with LDS archival sources: 
Can you refer me to current LDS Church archivists who would have access to the personal and institutional records of David O. McKay and/or Spencer W. Kimball?
He replied an hour or so later:
The McKay diaries are not accessible at LDS Archives, but a second set is available to the public at the Marriott Library, U of U.  I am not aware of anyone who can give access to the Kimball papers.
This reply was unexpected, since I had actually thought I'd get the name of someone in the LDS Archives. So, my next step is to contact an archivist whom I know at the Marriott Library.

10 Dec 14. Today I spoke to the Curator of Special Collections at the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library. She asked me to forward my exchange with the biographer [above] and to ask my questions in an email. Here is my reply:
Below is a reply from [GAP], per your request. I am not confident that the Marriott set is as complete as the LDS set. I have only one piece of evidence to back this up, which is a hand-written poem of mine titled "Nathan's Cry" written to McKay and dated 26 Oct '65. I had hand-delivered it personally to Clare Middlemiss at McKay's church office on that date. LDS church historian Glenn Rowe found it in August 2005 among McKay's personal papers (don't know which ones) and scanned it for me [see attachment].

My questions for you:

1. Diaries: Can I inspect McKay's diaries in your library on-line for two periods? 

            a) Summer (probably late July) 1957, when McKay was at his summer home in Laguna Beach, CA. (In those days Laguna Beach Ward Bishop Ferren L. Christensen was the custodian of McKay's Laguna Beach home and personally introduced me to McKay at the local ward.)

            b) Second half of 1968 thru 1970…

2. Correspondence:

            a) Is there any correspondence with/from Newport Beach Stake President Ferren L. Christensen during the 1968-70 period?

            b) Is there any correspondence or notes about/from/to Spencer W. Kimball during this latter ('68-'70) period?

3. LDS archivists: Do you know anyone at the LDS archives that I could contact? Glenn Rowe is no longer reachable.
11 Dec 14. Just called the Curator at U of U Special Collections to follow up.  Yes, she got my email and is "working on it."

Meanwhile, last night (Wednesday) I got a robust (to say the least!) anonymous response meant for those who may think this search is foolish. After getting over the initial shock, I thought it was humorous. Here is part of that response:

"…I don’t give a rats f**king ass if it’s popular or safe... (ROTFLMAO!) I’ve experienced several legitimate, authentic, extraordinary, independently-unique and profound spiritual events that you, if you presume to love and/or be interested in that which is God/Allah and/or the divine process, should want to know about, as well is why, when and how they occurred. And you should be interested in how you might experience extraordinary and authentically divinely-enlightening direct contact with the mind-expanding divine realm yourself. Can you be honest with yourself? Regardless of what your beliefs are and what church you may belong to, isn’t such a thing worth considering and ultimately experiencing?  What could be more important?"
Wow!!! What, indeed, could be more important?!!

In any case, for now I am concentrating this search on finding the ARTIFACT itself. Not copies of it. And not on the experience of producing it or what it says or what it may or may not mean. I'm simply looking for the original single piece of paper with type-written words on it. Those words were typed on ordinary bond paper by a Smith-Corona portable typewriter, which had its own print characteristics. And, if the ARTIFACT has survived anywhere in the LDS archives, it would be interesting to know whether and when anyone in the system ever read or discussed it. For those interested in its origin, here is a link to my blog regarding the beginning of the story. The following three blog posts (in chronological order) flesh out the story of the ARTIFACT's creation.

11 Dec 14, 4:15 PM.  Have just left word for Tom Kimball of Signature Books in Salt Lake City to see if he has info regarding access to the diaries and papers of Spencer W. Kimball....

13 Dec 14. ENK editorial note. There are three relevant back-story items that keep coming to mind, all of which precede the comments above. I might as well download them here: 1) letter from Howard Salisbury, dated 5 May 1965; 2) poem Commitment, dated 17 May '65; 3) poem Birthright, dated 18 May '65.

Item 1 marks the beginning of my experiencing love in ways I'd never before known. Items 2 and 3 followed a decision to imagine an experiment that would allow me to reconcile a growing cognitive dissonance between my scientific training and my emotional experience and upbringing. These marked the beginnings of a major mid-life crisis.

14 Dec 14. "Anonymous" has corrected me in quoting him (above), which I will rectify. He also comments on the contents of the ARTIFACT, pointing out its (or his) difficulties. 

I remind him and interested others that my current search is focused strictly on locating the original document and any attendant discussion of it among LDS authorities and NOT on interpreting or critiquing it. I will gladly take up those issues in a separate blog thread, but not this one.  

15 Dec 14. "Anonymous" acknowledges, "Correction is correct, :) ....Yes, I appreciate the focus on simply locating the artifact and documenting the history of its existence."

To be continued in Part 2....