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The Visitor--an inspirational short story series

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"...Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."
For The Strength of Youth

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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
 
Submitted by Steven ODell on 2 December 2010 - 1:47pm. | | | | |

Cast Not Thy Pearls....
Steven G. O’Dell (C) 2010

Cast not thy pearls before swine, lest they turn again and rend you.

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake had struck the city the day before. Hundreds of thousands had been crushed and buried in the rubble. Those who had escaped feared the recurring aftershocks and had assembled themselves in the city parks and open areas where no falling debris could harm them. They had huddled together and shivered throughout the night, most with no food or covering against the chill of the evening. As they discussed what their next move might be, their attentions were suddenly turned to the hillside above them.

“Who among you will hear the word of the Lord?”

The words rang out loud and strong from the two men who stood on the high ground of the city park. It was as if the voice of God had spoken, so great was the effect upon the people who had assembled there after the earthquake. Not only because the words were unusual and unexpected, but there was a power in the words themselves, it seemed. Many felt compelled to listen. Maybe it was the humility that had just been pressed upon them by the recent devastation that caused them to be more in tune or maybe it was the sense of helplessness many felt after losing all they had, but for their lives.The crowds began to gather about the two men, unremarkable in their appearance, but strong and confident in the demeanor.

“The destruction you have just experienced is no accident. It was predicted long ago. The fault is ours. We have not been prayerful to the Lord, nor obedient to his commandments. It is little wonder then that God cannot and will not protect a rebellious people in their sins.”

Many heads began to nod and some broke down in tears. The other man continued, as if on cue.

“God is forgiving and all is not lost, however. Your city lies in ruins, but you still live and may repent and be forgiven. Cities may be rebuilt with mutual cooperation and ruined lives may be rebuilt with the Lord’s help. Ultimately, you are more valuable to God than all the cities of the world.”

“Who are you to tell us what God wants?” The words rang out as strongly as had those of these two men, but the effect upon the soul was diametrically opposed to the effect of those first words.

“We are authorized priesthood representatives. It is our duty to do the Lord’s work and serve his children. And what reason do you have to question our intent?”

“Priesthood?” The man smirked and cast a smug glance at those gathered about. “You call yourselves representative of God and say you have authority to speak to us for him? There are hundreds of churches and they are all different. They don’t even agree with one another. Where do you get such authority to speak for God and why should we listen to you? What makes you any more qualified than any minister of another church?”

“The restoration of the church of Jesus Christ in our day, by and through living prophets of God is what qualifies us to speak in his behalf. Perhaps if you would listen, instead of question, you would know more about this and be able to decide properly whether we speak the truth.” The gaze was intense and there was no intimidation or hint of backing down in the man’s voice. He was about to continue speaking to the crowd when he was again interrupted.

“All you give us is words. What signs do you have to offer? If you have the authority of God, you should have the power of God to act in his name. Show us why we should believe you.”

“You ask for a sign? Are you familiar with the word of the Lord? If so, you know that he has spoken to that point already. And you would know the results of such requests.” He stared intensely at the man and waited for the message to sink in, while the crowd turned their gaze from one speaker to another.

“Yes, I ask for a sign. That’s a reasonable request. You expect these people, after all they have lost, to turn to you for guidance and not question you in any way? I think you are just opportunists who want to feed off these good people.”

Several people now began to murmur amongst themselves and some nodded their heads, apparently taking the side of this nay-sayer.

“You have had your sign already. Should I make it publicly known, here and now?” The intent of the question was somewhat vague to the man and to many of the gathered crowd, but the resolve on the face of this representative of God was unmistakable.

“What sign? I have no idea what you mean. Don’t give us double-talk. If you speak for God, you should be able to show why you should be taken more seriously than any other dime-a-dozen preacher. Otherwise, there is no reason we should take you seriously.” He stood now with his arms crossed in a defensive stance and glared at the men who stood above him on the hill’s crest. His look of confidence was about to be shaken, however.

“Very well. God has said that it is a wicked and adulterous generation that seeketh a sign. That has been reiterated and clarified by a modern prophet.” The speaker now pointed an accusingly finger directly at the challenger and with authority proclaimed, “You, sir, are an adulterer!!”

There was an audible gasp from the crowd and a sense of shock that struck the challenger as all turned to look at him for his reaction. He struggled to gather his wits as a voice from the crowd shouted, “It’s true! I know he is guilty of having an affair with his boss’s wife!”

Another gasp, louder than before, came from the crowd and now the nay-sayer in a frenzy of self-defense, shouted forth.

“That is no sign. I expect to see some miracles, some supernatural sign that no man could do without God’s power. Do that and I will believe you. Do that and all of us will believe you.”

While he may have thought he had gained the high ground, the two men on the hill closed their eyes a moment and bowed their heads slightly, as if in prayer. Meanwhile, the rebellious spirit seemed to gain ground amongst the assembled crowd. Then the priesthood holders opened their eyes, glanced briefly at one another and then at the man in the crowd. When one spoke, it was quietly, with conviction and apparent remorse.

“As you wish. You say a sign of such magnitude will make you a believer. Since you have not felt the Lord’s written condemnation of your wickedness to be sufficient, let this be added. According to the word of the Lord to us, you refuse to hear truth and would prevent others from hearing truth. Your blind eye and evil tongue shall not be allowed to deceive and destroy the souls of those who have suffered such extreme devastation already. Your sign, according to your request, shall be that your eyes, which are blind by choice, and your lips, which speak evil by choice, shall be shut and shall not be opened again until you shall feel to say in your heart that God again speaks to man, through his chosen representatives, his Priesthood holders. On that day only shall you believe. And on that day only shall you see clearly, hear clearly and speak the truth. Let this be your sign, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of his holy Priesthood.”

The smug and demeaning smile disappeared from the man’s lips as the final words were spoken. As the crowd watched, his legs buckled under him and he moaned aloud as he hit the ground and began to weep in such anguish of soul as had seldom been heard even in the disastrous events of the day before. His hands felt at his eyes and at his throat, his lips attempting to speak and unable to do so. He pulled at his ears and then pounded the ground with his hands.

A circle now widened about this man, the crowd moving back in shock, until a space fully thirty feet across was created. The center of their attention reached out violently in all directions, attempting in his rage to grab someone, anyone, upon whom he might vent his anger. Shock was so apparent on the faces of the assembled that many ran from the park in fear, while others looked in rapt wonder at the two men who stood on the hill above them.

Again came the words, as they had before. “Who among you will hear the words of the Lord?”

The listeners were now far fewer, but the remaining listeners were quite sincere and they listened intently, with open hearts and minds. Many new names would be added to the records of the church in the coming months and the city would slowly be rebuilt upon the same ground as before, trusting to God that it would stand so long as the people were obedient and faithful.

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