December 13, 2009

Wizards and Men

Near the end of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her companions are shocked to discover that the person they had revered and admired as the "all powerful" wizard was nothing more than a mere man, hiding behind a curtain, pushing buttons and turning dials that put on the appearance of superhuman abilities. He was just a simple man from Omaha who had gotten lost in the land of Oz, and was hailed as a mighty wizard by its inhabitants as they witnessed things they did not understand. The man proceeded to live out his role as a leader, slowly building up new ways to impress and awe his followers until he had perfected the deception. By the time Dorothy and the others had arrived to call on him, his reputation preceded him; everyone knew he was a wizard, because he had all the deception in place, structurally and socially.

While he may have brought order to the Land of Oz, and perhaps his reputation kept the wicked witches at bay, he was a fraud, in far over his head, and eventually was discovered.

I often wonder if this simple man from Omaha was in a position similar to that of the so-called modern day prophets. I doubt he had a malicious and power-hungry motive in taking the seat of power that was set in front of him. More likely, he did what everyone expected of him, and fit the role that he felt was needed. Similarly, I find it noteworthy to read some of the things past presidents and apostles of the church have stated regarding their personal experiences which separate them from other members (click here).

It seems to me that the leaders of the Church today are not that different from the little man from Omaha, putting on the show that the followers expect, pushing buttons and turning dials that keep up the deception that they have superhuman abilities. Whether the man is hiding behind a curtain, or claiming to see beyond the "veil", the principle is very much the same. And just like the trusting people of Oz, believing members of the LDS church trust that Thomas Monson is exactly what he is built up to be, paying no attention to the mysterious curtain (i.e., problematic history) that would expose him as a mere man.

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