Monday, May 25, 2015


During The Process, Davis Realized
Her Syllabus Could Have Been In Icelandic
And No Student Would Have Known the Difference
Provo, UT—Janet Davis, English professor at Brigham Young University, seems like a mild-mannered Medieval English Literature expert, but in a recent interview with the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer, Davis revealed that for the past 15 years she has been distributing sections of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. And why has the “mainstream Mormon press” not exploded with this news? It is because Davis has hidden those sections where no one would ever find them: in her course syllabus.

Davis told the Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer that just over 15 years ago the angel Moroni visited her while she was on sabbatical in upstate New York. “This glorious personage appeared to me,” said Davis, “so of course the first thing I did was the handshake test.” Davis said that after passing the handshake test, “the angel told me that I was to translate the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon.”

What the angel told Davis next was the most troubling part of the visit. “The angel told me,” recounted Davis, “that my calling was that of Isaiah as recording in chapter 6.” Davis explained that she was told to “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart.”

The command to reveal but in such a way that no one would see it posed quite the vexing problem for Davis. She spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to do something so paradoxical. “The answer came suddenly one day,” explained Davis. “There I was in class, you know, toward the end of the semester, and three students came up to me with questions that were clearly answered in the syllabus. And then it hit me: no one will ever find the scripture I’ve been commanded to translate if I just put it there!” 

Davis has experimented with where to put this additional scripture in her course syllabus. “At first I sprinkled it around, you know, in case someone started to read, but then I just put huge chunks of it anywhere, since no one even pretends to look it over!” Davis said that “at this point it doesn’t matter where I put it, but if the portion is really moving or powerful or spiritually compelling, I put it in the ‘Assignments Deadlines’ section since clearly no one ever looks there.”

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