And Other Supernatural Powers
One little know fact about Mormons is that we have certain supernatural powers. We can do things a lot of other people can’t do. One of these abilities is the power of invisibility. We can not only disappear ourselves when we want, but we can make others disappear as well. Don’t believe me? Read on…
For my first piece of evidence, consider the photo above. I bet you can’t see me, but I’m there nonetheless. A friend of mine decided to take a picture of me having lunch at the Lovejoy Fountain and I didn’t want to be in it, so just as he pressed the shutter button, and poof, I disappeared. Quite a handy trick, wouldn’t you say?
OK, before I become totally guiltridden over the lie I’m telling, I’ll admit that I really didn’t turn invisible. I just got up and walked out of the frame. It’s not really supernatural, but it does take some skill.
I discovered my invisibility skills early in life. Without boring you with a long narrative, let me bullet point the highlights.
- At age three, I disappeared from my aunt and uncle’s care. My mother and her new husband took me away from them and did a runner from Arizona to Oregon with me.
- In the early 1960s, I disappeared weekly from church. As soon as Sunday School was over, I would go outside and hide behind the shrubbery that went all the way around the building. I would stay there until my mother came out and opened the car door.
- At home, I got really good at disappearing when the male that was abusing me was around. Sometimes he found me.
- At 12, I was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood office of deacon. I attended for a few months, but was so embarrassed by my shaggy hair and cheap tennis shoes that I was mortified to pass the sacrament in the company of boys who had nicer clothes and better haircuts.
- I didn’t disappear from church right away, but I had begun a sexual relationship with a classmate at school. My mother would drop me off at the church in the morning for early priesthood meeting. I would wait until she drove away and then disappear out another door and go to my classmate’s house. I stayed invisible, outside of fellowship with the Church, for the next three years.
- At 16, I had a prayer experience and committed to God that I would reappear at church and not disappear from church again.
Since then, I have kept the promise to not disappear from church, but I have learned how to disappear at church. People wouldn’t really know it, but when it comes to things like ward activities, I would much rather keep to myself than be noticed. Sometimes, I find myself sitting alone, and content to be so. I get along with my own thoughts very well.
Enough about my own powers of turning invisible. There are a lot of Mormons with the uncanny ability of making other people disappear. Sit back once in awhile and observe. Listen to the things people say to one another. Some people disappear right in front of your very eyes.
A particularly effective trick to get someone to disappear is when you’re talking to someone that you approached because you want to be nice, but then your very dear friend walks by and you don’t even finish your sentence before you’ve made the first person disappear while you talk, talk, talk with the more desirable second person. The first person may not be entirely invisible, but to you, they are. Others can still see them while you work your magic.
When you’re not in presidency meetings, work to help people stay visible. It isn’t good for people to turn invisible. Remember that The Invisible Man eventually went insane. They had to hunt for him and he didn’t make it easy for them. I think they call that Home Teaching.
So, while we’re on the subject of supernatural powers, make sure that you don’t practice the dark art of shrinking people. It’s not nice to make people feel small. Some of us feel small enough as it is.
Don’t shut people up, shapeshift, fly into a rage, or otherwise misuse the powers you have. We all have more power than we realize. It is best to use it to encourage people to talk, be authentic, and school our angry feelings.
Treating people with kindness takes a lot of practice. I realize it doesn’t come naturally to us. If the natural man is an enemy to God (Mosiah 3:19), we’ll have to work at not abusing our powers and failing to do what we are called to do as disciples of Christ.
There are people in our midst who are all but invisible. We may not even see them if we don’t earnestly, prayerfully, and lovingly look for them. They may not look like they want us to reach out to them.
I remember being like that. I wanted people to notice me and fellowship me, but didn’t know how to receive it. I’m not sure I know even now how to receive it.
One of my favorite memories is when I was a young boy, hiding in the row of shrubs near the entrance to the church building. A tall, good-looking man saw me and came back there with me. He asked my name.
I said, “Rex, but my first name is Stephen, but I don’t use it.”
It turned out, he was my Junior Sunday School teacher. He said he wanted to call me Steve. Every Sunday, he would call the roll and say, “Rex who is really Steve.”
My lip would involuntarily curl up and I would laugh. It was wonderful. He made me appear.
I don’t remember his name and I don’t think he would even be alive anymore. I wish I could thank him. I wish he had been around my whole childhood.