China Syndrome | Deep End | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

China Syndrome 

An expert tells how the LDS church’s Beijing buyout fulfills Mormon prophecy.

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The latest blockbuster buy-out—the Chinese government’s purchase of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—has totally overshadowed the Chinese takeover of Rio Tinto and its Utah subsidiary, Kennecott Utah Copper.

“It’s big, really big,” said church spokesman Boyd Smoot. “Here at headquarters we’re all very excited about the deal, which was, as you no doubt recall, prophesied in the Book of Mosiah.”

Elder Smoot declined to comment on rumors the cash-strapped church went looking for buyers after two straight quarters of weak earnings. According to analysts, the slowing economy has reduced the flow of tithing to a trickle, with church members, even the most faithful, forced to hide their tithing money under their mattresses.

Church general authorities, speaking anonymously, said the big buy-out is a blessing in disguise. “They have billions of people over there, and once we get our missions up and running, we’ll have folks lined up around the block to get baptized,” enthused one high-ranking apostle. “China has a totalitarian regime, so all in all, it’s a pretty good fit. It’s not so much a take-over as a merger.”

Spokesman Smoot wanted to assure members of the church that they wouldn’t notice a lot of changes immediately. “We might start adding fortune cookies to the sacrament tray, which everyone agrees would be a fun thing. But in terms of large scale theological shifts, I doubt you’ll see anything dramatic.”

One noted Mormon theologian, however, expects huge changes in the days ahead. Dr. Curtis Roundy, adjunct professor of ancient languages at Brigham Young University, thinks the Chinese buy-out will open the floodgates to new interpretations of the Book of Mormon. For years now, Mormon scholars have talked in private about the content of the 116 so-called “missing pages” of Joseph Smith’s golden Bible.

“It’s going to be very difficult, now that the Chinese are in the picture, to keep mum about what those missing pages reveal about the history of the Lamanites on this, the American continent,” Dr. Roundy told us in a recent phone interview. “And, on the whole, I think it will be a positive development for the church, since it will silence stiff-necked skeptics and Mormon-bashers forever.

“I’m talking about the so-called disappearance of the Lamanite peoples from the historical record. A lot of believers were thrown for a loop when DNA evidence showed that American Indians were descended from folks migrating thousands and thousands of years ago from Asia, instead of being descendents of unrighteous Hebrew Lamanites who killed off the delightsome Nephites a few hundred years after Jesus appeared in America.

“Well, the good news is that the Chinese deal will give us an opportunity to make public those missing 116 pages, which instead of being burned by Martin Harris’s wife, were actually hid up by Parley P. Pratt in a cave south of Kamas just before he got himself killed in Arkansas by an angry husband.”

Dr. Roundy was reluctant to go into much detail about the content of the missing 116 pages, but did indicate, after persistent but gentle questioning, that they told of the journey of the last band of Lamanites as they wandered this way and that, hither and yon, over hill and dale, guided by a malfunctioning Liahona, until they came to present-day China, which therefore explains why we have no evidence of Hebrews having been on this, the American continent.

The band of Lamanites who ended up in China told the natives there about the land they had abandoned, and the Chinese, curious about the land of Zarahemla, packed up their belongings and hightailed it for America where they became the ancestors of American Indians. Meanwhile, the Lamanites became assimilated into China of the Tang Dynasty, contributing their DNA to such luminaries as Confucius, Buddha (which is a transliteration of the Reformed Egyptian name Aha into Chinese), and NBA great Yao Ming. Scholars who have perused the missing 116 pages now believe that Jesus, later a Jewish rabbi, got his start as a Buddhist rabble-rouser named Yeh Su Kee Rice. Most tantalizing are hints that Joseph Smith, who translated the Book of Mormon, had an ancestor in ancient China named Shih Mi Yueh Se, which transliterates as Smith Joseph.

These historical connections between ancient Mormons and the Chinese people are said to have clinched the merger between the two entities. Already the statue of the Prophet that stood in the lobby of the old Hotel Utah is winging its way to Beijing.

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