Leaving DA Camp to Visit the Prophet
Little Cottonwood Cyn
Smith tapped his beige yarn ball to each of the other boys’ chests, changing them into their proper uniforms. “Come, we have an appointment with the prophet. He is our commander-in-chief; we must do nothing to dishonor him. I don’t want you to make us late, to say rude things in his presence, to laugh too loudly or anything. Come.”
He walked the boys back to the garage with several more cars this time and turned them over to Andersen.
“Alright, Gentlemen,” he called. “As Agent Smith has said. We’re going to speak to the Prophet. It is our raison d’être to protect this man. I have a profound love and respect for him. I am hoping you do as well. Do nothing to embarrass yourselves and more importantly do nothing to embarrass me before him. We will not wear our hats in the camp or in any building, but here in the garage, we must as we will wear them at all times when out of doors. As soon as we step through the threshold of the Church Office Building, or COB for short, you will remove it again. Hang the strap behind your neck. When in any building, wear the hat on your back with the strap in front of your throat. Any questions so far?”
He looked around, nodded and continued. “Your duster, this coat you’re wearing,” he pulled on Owain’s lapel, “is to be worn whenever you are out of the camp, except at church. We’ll give you a suit coat to match your baggy pants for that. Now, look at the blue circle at the bottom of your tie. That’s the logo for the Destroying Angeles. Do you see the silhouette of the Angel against the blue clouds? Most people won’t. They’ll think the cloud is what they’re supposed to look at. Most people won’t even comment because they’ll think it’s merely a blue design on a black tie. If anyone presses you for an answer, tell them ‘It’s just a logo.’”
He paused scanning the squad. “I think we’re ready. Talk in Mananok to each other or to us, but smile and say ‘Hi!’ to anyone who smiles at you. However, when protecting a General Authority, don’t smile or interact with anyone. Stay with me and remember the hat at the door.”
The three men walked to the nearest parking stall and stood at the end, shoulder to shoulder. Andersen turned around. “Stand behind us by bunks: Luc and Matt. Owain and Joel. Justin and Nehto.” He had pointed to places on the floor of the garage for the boys to occupy. He moved his arms in an obscure gesture, then thick fog filled the stall. A slight breeze carried the fog forward. “Walk, boys. Stay together.” They stepped through a portal from the cave system into bright sunshine twenty-four or so miles away in the parking lot to the west side of the COB.
“Sir, isn’t the fog kind of obvious?” asked Matt, standing beside a very busy lane of traffic. Cars were rushing to fill up every stall in the parking lot. Sounds of pressed and busy people trying to accomplish a day of events in a few minutes filled their ears.
Andersen had to raise his voice to talk louder than the traffic. “Only to those who can see Mana. It makes the eyes of the rest of humanity not notice it at all. They can’t even look at it. Nor can cameras. As we walk out of the fog, they begin to notice us a tiny bit at a time. Most just continue to ignore us.”
Matt smiled, he was liking this mana stuff the more he learned about it. He looked over the manicured gardens and interesting buildings. “What about the tunnels under these Church buildings?” he asked.
“What about them? said Brumley. “They help the Church officials get from place to place without getting snowed on. We can do that much easier with a portal.”
Matt was also impressed with the COB. It was a sleek looking skyscraper. But it was not the tallest one in Salt Lake City, by far. They walked up the sidewalk and into the main building. It was almost a hike to keep up with Old Man Smith! He looked 112, but he seemed to have the stamina of a man in his thirties. The rode the elevator and soon they were standing in the small foyer of the Prophet’s office.
“Hello, Agent Smith!” said a perky receptionist for the Prophet from her functional desk in an office that would not have stood out in a contest for most boring business place. It was done in shades of gray and white. “The President is ready to speak to your new batch of Cherubs.” Smith thanked her and walked straight in leaving the boys to cool their heels in the foyer.
“Cherubs?” asked Justin. “She called us ‘Cherubs’!”
“Have a seat, Cherubs!” said Andersen, in English pointing to two of the couches. He then continued in Mananok. “Yes, she called you cherubs, but not Cupids. In the old Testament, Cherubs are young and they have swords. Take it as a compliment.”
“Is that our rank or something?” asked Joel.
“No, your friends and the government need to think you’re probationary officers with LDSSecurities. But we like to kid around and call you Cherubs sometimes. Or Baby Angels. And the name Destroying Angels is good for our reputation among the Mage Community at large.”
“So,” said Matt. “We’re agents to non-mages and Cherubs to manamancers?”
“Basically,” he nodded. “For two years. Then you get to be angels like us. --And we call the non-mages Earth-bound.”
Smith poked his head through the doorway and said, “Matthew, you’re first.”
His heart froze. He stood and stumbled a bit. Andersen caught his arm and whispered, “Treat it like a Personal Priesthood Interview.”
“Oh, believe me, I will.” Matt steadied himself by holding on to the doorway then walked in.
“Brother Hamblin, do come in.” The Prophet spoke in English. He was old and wizened. He was not much over 5′5” tall but he had an energetic air about him that drew Matt right in. However, he didn’t glow with mana. He held out the hand and Matt grasped it. Not wanting to break the elderly man’s hand, he expected a grip like Luc’s frenchified handshake. But he got such an unexpectedly firm grip that he understood how Luc must have felt.
After a few pleasantries about family and school and future plans, the Prophet began asking what sounded like routinely asked, memorized questions, mostly about faith and worthiness. When he asked ‘Have you ever been married before and do you keep your financial obligations to your former spouse,’ Matt burst into laughter. The Prophet looked almost shocked. “Why are you laughing?” he asked. “This is a formal worthiness interview.”
“I’m sorry President, but I’m only fifteen and I haven’t even had a girlfriend yet. So when asked of me, this question is blatantly ludicrous!”
“You’re only fifteen?” he asked surprised.
“Yes, I’ll be sixteen next month.”
“Oh, okay. Well, answer the question, then.”
Matt tilted his head slightly to the right and smiled faintly. “No President, I have never been divorced.”
He finished with “Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house?”
Matt said “What for Baptisms? Yes, very much.”
“No, Brother Hamblin. For the main temple ceremony: your own endowments.”
“My own endowments!?” Matt said. “Aren’t I a bit young for that?”
“For non-mages, yes. But, ever since the Destroying Angels were set up, the Cherubs have been ordained High Priests and endowed upon joining. Are you worthy for this?”
Matt just sat with his mouth partially opened. Then he closed it and said, “If this is what the Lord wants, then I am ready.”
“Good, I’m pleased. Thank you, Brother Hamblin. Go and tell Brother Allred to come in. And don’t tell your colleagues what we talked about until they’re through.” He signed a small slip of paper, which he handed to Matt along with an envelope. “Give this recommend to Agent Smith and the letter to your ward bishop.”
Matt nodded and left. “Joel,” he said, “It’s your turn.” He stepped up to Andersen. “The Prophet’s not a mage, is he?” It was more of a statement than a question.
“No. He’s Earth-Bound. His power comes from the Priesthood, not from Mana.”
“But, High Priest? Endowment?” he whispered.
“Why didn’t you tell us?”
“The Prophet feels this is a more accurate reading of your soul. The same thing happened to me when I was a cherub. Now, shhh.”
After another forty-five minutes or so, the last interview was over and they were all called back into the Prophet’s office. “Have you any questions?”
Justin raised his hand. “What is the reasoning behind giving us the office of High Priest? Aren’t High Priests old men?”
The Prophet alternated between a slight frown and a smile. “John the Baptist had the Holy Ghost with him ‘from the Womb’, not at age eight,” he whispered. “Since the time of Orrin Porter Rockwell, the Cherubs have been given this priesthood. So, that is the standard procedure that we follow for the Angels even to this day.” He addressed Justin directly, “Brother Nickerson, are you having second thoughts?”
“No President,” he said. “I’m still surprised by all of this.”
“Alright then, shall we proceed to the temple for your endowments?” The Prophet stood up and ushered them directly to the temple through one of the underground passages. Matt was thrilled.