I am but a simple scribe, just one amongst a host of scribes who toil anonymously deep in the bowels of the Ministry of Truth. We are not well known even to our fellow laborers in the Church Office Building, that forbidding edifice that presides over Zion like a stern old maid chaperoning the junior prom.
For many a year, I have been blessed to provide scribal services for Apostle Boyd K. Packer who, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, is just a heartbeat, or massive brain hemorrhage, away from ascending to the position of Prophet, Seer & Revelator, a position that he has, for at least two or three millennia, regarded as his birthright and rightful inheritance.
Through the years, I have gradually worked my way up the scribal ladder, diligently transcribing, revising, redacting and occasionally consigning ill-considered products of Apostle Packer’s righteous brain to the Memory Hole. Nowadays, I have to stretch my faculties to the fullest, owing to the fact that, for years, the Apostle’s brain has been kept alive in a vat of soupy chemicals, the cerebral cortex sprouting a wild hairdo of wires connected to a gas-powered generator. Only when the Apostle is required to make an appearance at General Conference is his brain removed from the vat and re-inserted into his skull.
At the best of times, when the Apostle was in partial possession of his intellectual faculties, myself and my fellow scribes had to scramble like crazy to smooth over or scissor out public pronouncements before they became part of the eternal record. (We also quite frequently used our powers of the priesthood to emend the eternal record itself, especially when God’s enemies would try to use the Apostle’s words on intellectuals, thinkers, homosexual folks, uppity ladies, etc., to call into question the truth of the Gospel.)
There have been a couple of Apostle Packer’s pronouncements in the past couple of years that have caused a fair amount of consternation in the upper echelons of the Church, not to mention outrage among the stiff-necked Gentiles in various corners of our choice nation. Apostle Packer (or to be precise, his vat-soaked brain) is always eager to inveigh against perversities of the homosexual kind, and a year or so ago, he pretty much said that God wouldn’t organize human bodies so as to experience attraction of human bodies of the same gender. “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”
In other words, no way Heavenly Father was to blame for human homos.
Naturally, all of us scribes once again had to work like crazy behind the scenes to make sure Apostle Packer’s remarks made their way to the Memory Hole. We tweaked the Apostle’s “inborn tendencies” of human homos into “inborn temptations,” which hardly anyone noticed. But we totally deep-sixed the Apostle’s crack about our Heavenly Father not afflicting human beings with homsexualist desires. Folks noticed the change in the official record, but as the Apostle likes to say, tough titty.
At the most recently concluded conference, the Apostle once again had folks scratching their noggins (if they knew it was just the Apostle’s brain speaking, and not his eternal spirit, they might have been more forgiving). For those of you who may have missed the Apostle’s latest loony remarks, they had to do, as always, with his favorite subject: the evils of gay marriage, which he put in the context of the evils of tolerance.
Here is what Packer’s Brain was recorded as saying: “Tolerance is a virtue, but like all virtues, when exaggerated it transforms itself into a vice. We need to be careful of the tolerance trap so that we are not swallowed up in it.”
If any of us scribes had access to the Apostle’s brain before his speech, we would have advised him not to compare tolerance to a trap that can swallow you up, with connotations of indecent oral practices. Whatever the metaphor, the Apostle’s brain breaks new ground in moral philosophy with his declaration that tolerance is a bad thing.
As for his statement that all virtues become vices when exaggerated, it doesn’t hold up when you think about it. Does Packer’s favorite virtue, chastity, become a vice when exaggerated?
All of us scribes have been trying to get a copy of 13th Article of Faith, the one about “doing good to all men,” into the vat where the Apostle’s brain is hooked up, but so far we haven’t had any luck.
D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.