Submitted by Bret
Geoff J over at Cool New Thang recently posted on the subject of unwritten prophetic revelation. In it he points out that their could be lots of this type of thing (and other such spiritual experiences) could be happening a lot even now but rarely hear about it and, if not, why isn’t there as much as there used to be in the early days of the church?
This is the question I propose here but at a different angle. As many of you may know, I recently graduated with a History Education degree from BYU-I and have done a bit of work in the realm of Mormon folklore, as I find the subject terribly fascinating. In some of my research I did a number of interviews with other college students to gather some folklore of today. I came to a few conclusions that I hope to continue researching to eventually verify or alter and/or throw out.
1) Heavenly manifestations are not as common (or are not talked about as much) as in the early days of the church, including Three Nephites or John the Beloved. 2) Most stories now are of Priesthood power and miraculous healing, especially those where someone is healed after a blessing and doctors are baffled. 3) Demonic possessions are out but people still often get their comeuppance through some supernatural happening.
I’m still coming up with other conclusions as well but if anyone is interested, I can email them an essay I wrote concerning these ideas and others. There is also a great post here concerning some great questions and thoughts on the same subject, including a link to an interview with Mormon folklorist Bert Wilson. (By the way, if anyone as any contacts and/or contact information for Mr. Wilson, Jan Harold Brunvand, or others in this area, please let me know:)
Anyway, to me this raises some interesting questions. First of all, why the change is stories? Is it because we live in a more skeptical age that we tend to shy away from stories of heavenly messengers and demonic possession? Do we not have enough faith, because of that skepticism, to have such experiences? Or do they occur but people do not share them and/or change the story to make it more believable? Plus, WHY are we so skeptical over such things nowadays and why were our ancestors not the same?