Chapter 4- A Large and Spacious Building
After a brief continental breakfast the threesome began their procession to the LDS church office building. The black sedan with very dark tinted windows drove slowly up south temple past temple square as the sun shown softly through the Utah skyline.
“Now that is a large and spacious building” exclaimed agent Mathias.
“It sure is” agreed special agent Driggs.
Immediately laughter followed from the back seat.
“What is so funny Agent Robertson” queried agent Mathews.
“Well, there are a few things that I find amusing about the profound observations you both made.
One is that you were both looking at different buildings as you were agreeing with each other. Agent Roberts, you were looking to the left at the LDS conference center. That is where the semi annual LDS general conferences are held every year and it is an amazing edifice. The 1.4 million square foot Conference Center seats about 21,000 people in its main auditorium. It was completed in 2000. It is large enough to hold two Boeing 747s inside.
We need to take you on a tour before you leave the city of Salt. The waterfall on the property utilizes water from a natural spring found underneath the building during construction. City Creek flows in a rough-hewn riverbed, complementing the Conference Center.
Agent Driggs, you were looking out of right side of the car at the LDS church office building. It was the tallest building in Salt Lake for a numbers of years. I don’t know if that is still the case.
At 28 floors I would have to agree that it qualifies as being large and spacious. BTW, that is where we are going to meet with President Monson and President Eyring this morning.
It just seemed funny to me that the two of you were agreeing with each other about how large a building was, even though you were looking at two completely separate buildings without even knowing it.”
There was a short pause. Mathias and Driggs both glanced at each other and then at the building the other one had been looking at. They both smiled at Robertson but clearly were not as amused as he was.
“What is the other thing that you found amusing about our bifurcated observations” asked agent Mathias.
“Well…” said agent Robertson, “it is kind of an inside joke. You would need to be LDS and be familiar with the Book of Mormon to understand. You actually quoted a passage out of the Book of Mormon. Perhaps you will better understand once you have become proficient with the Mormon scriptures.
If we are going to be successful in the mandate we have been given in cracking the poemic code in the quatrains and preventing the seven terrorists from initiating the terrorist attack I suspect each one of us is going to have to become much more familiar with Mormon Doctrine. And hopefully within seven days!”
Just then Agent Robertson’s scriptures that had now become part of his professional responsibilities fell off the seat onto the floor. As he bent over to pick them up, agent Mathias looked back from the front seat and exclaimed
“wait! Don’t close them until you see which scripture jumps out at you!
That’s an old tradition my Baptist father had. He always believed that you could randomly open the bible and a verse having to do with what the Lord wanted to teach you would be on one of those pages. Perhaps there is a key to deciphering the quatrain.”
Of course Mathias was being facetious as he made the statement but his dry sense of humor didn’t indicate that to be the case.
The statement piqued Robertson’s curiosity and he picked up the scriptures and looked at them before closing them. They had opened to Isaiah 21.
The verse that jumped out at him was…… “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.”
“what does it say?”
Robertson read it to his two companions in the front seat.
Agent Mathias replied,
“I told you it works. That passage is obviously referring to the important role the three of us are playing in watching out for this great nation of ours. We are acting as watchmen on the tower!”
Driggs rolled his eyes.
As the three gentlemen took the long elevator up to the 21st floor Robertson pondered how good it felt to be back in Zion. (a nickname for Salt Lake City and other cities in Utah which is often used by Mormons)
His schooling took him out of state where he had been romanced by the FBI training academy.
He was part of the disproportionate number of FBI recruits who came from Mormon backgrounds . He scored very favorably on the aptitude and personality tests because of the strong “blind obedience to authority” that his parents and religion had indoctrinated into him from early childhood. He had the perfect profile that spy agencies look for. A profile that indicates the candidate will follow orders without concern for any moral or ethical implications.
Finally the elevator delivered them to the magnificent and opulent offices of the First Presidency located in the celestial realms of the church office building.
The administrative assistant to the First Presidency was waiting for them. Little did Robertson realize he was in for a real surprise.
Chapter Five- The Secret Hand of Fellowship
“Hi, I am special agent Roberts with the FBI, this is special agent Mathias from the NSA and this is special agent Driggs with the CIA.
Agent Mathews and I were here about a month ago and we are here for our follow up interview with the First Presidency.”
“Yes I recall..” replied the receptionist, “Come into the conference room gentlemen, President Uchtdorf is out of town on assignment however Presidents Monson and Eyring are expecting you.” She replied.
As President Monson and Eyring walked into the room Special Agent Robertson embraced President Monson and said “President Monson, you will remember Special Agent Mathias from our first meeting and this is special agent Driggs who was unable to attend that meeting… he is the representative member of this special task force from the CIA.
“Hello Special Agent Driggs”
“Hello President Monson”
As Director Driggs and Monson came together to shake hands agent Robertson froze at what he thought he saw out of the corner of his eye when the two shook hands for the first time.
It was a special secret handshake that he was intimately familiar with, but he had never seen it performed outside of the temple endowment ceremony.
He was speechless.
It was the handshake that he had received when he went through the mystical temple ceremony before going on his LDS mission.
Was he mistaken or did he really see what he thought he saw, he wondered.
Robertson thought to himself, How is it possible that two people who have never met each other before, clasp hands in that secretive way when one of them has not been initiated and is not a Mormon!
It reminded him of pictures he had seen on the internet of Monson’s predecessor, President Hinckley exchanging a similar handshake with Dick Chenney and also one with President Monson exchanging the secret grip with President Obama.
President Monson took charge,
“Have a seat gentlemen and tell us how you are coming in your special investigation. We are anxious to know if the referrals and recommendations that we gave you in our first meeting have brought forth any results and we are happy to continue helping in any way that we possibly can.”
President Monson directed the three into the conference room table.
As all five were getting seated, Director Driggs turned to agent Robertson and said,
“Agent Robertson, perhaps you would be willing to review what was discussed at the first meeting for my benefit. Then you can brief Presidents Monson and Eyring on where we currently are in this investigation.”
“I would be happy to Director Driggs” replied Robertson, who was just getting over the shock he had just experienced.
He looked deep into the eyes of Driggs as he responded wondering to himself if in fact Driggs could possibly be a closet Mormon, despite the intel his agency had given him to the contrary about Driggs.
His own Intel informed him that Driggs was a publically declared atheist, however he had been trained at a catholic school by the Jesuits and had very close ties to the Vatican.
“in our initial meeting with the First Presidency, we informed them that some of our top scientists began intercepting mysterious radio messages that are being transmitted from an unknown source… some feel the signal is possibly coming directly from the Sun or at least from outer space. Others feel they are originating from somewhere on this planet.
These messages contain what appears to be a cryptic message within a poemic set of quatrains. The poem is laced with biblical words and phrases pertaining to various prophecies from the Old and New Testament.
We initially did not take the content very seriously until some of the events and associated dates alluded to within the poem actually took place at the predetermined times. At that point, we realized that the messages appear to be transmitted by a secret organization which is planning to make a military strike within the United States and to take over this country and eventually the world.
It appears from the quatrains that this foreign enemy has been planning on invading our nation and planet for a long time and they have a predetermined date when this is to take place. The quatrain speaks of a prestrike assembly that is to take place in Jerusalem.
We assume that the poem is a cryptic way of communicating their plans to their confederates located here in America.
It is our intent to decipher the content of the poem and to prevent the initial pre-strike assembly from taking place. By doing so we hope to prevent the primary military action from taking place.
We are acting under the direction of the highest levels in the military and the Whitehouse. We represent three federal agencies that are working jointly on this project, namely the FBI, the CIA and the NSA.
We informed them that this mission is so important that President Obama is being briefed on it daily.
We told them that we were not at liberty at the time to disclose very much information about the Intel we had received but that some of the codes we were trying to decipher seemed to be steeped in biblical, apocalyptic language. Interestingly, some of them are direct quotes from LDS scripture, and therefore, we desired to recruit not only the expertise of numerous biblical scholars with extensive knowledge in bible prophecy, but also LDS prophecy scholars as well and asked them if they could recommend some to us.
I told them that current members of our prophecy master mind group included Jewish prophecy scholars and scholars from the Catholic church as well as many of the major evangelical divisions of Christianity.”
Suddenly the meeting was interrupted by the administrative secretary. “I’m sorry to interrupt this meeting but there is an important message I think you need to take President Monson.”
The four that remained sat quietly as President Monson excused himself.
Chapter Six- Jerusalem, Jerusalem
After a few minutes President Monson return looking a little shaken.
Excuse me gentlemen, I am sorry about the disruption….
Is everything ok President? Quizzed President Eyring
Nothing earthshaking really, it appears that some historical documents containing very sensitive information are missing from a secured area of the historical library and perhaps even some historical items that should have been kept in our vault in the temple.
“I’m sure it will be resolved soon. Probably someone just misplaced them.” Please continue with your briefing to Agent Drigss, Agent Robertson.
“Thank you President Monson, as I was saying director Driggs, the main purpose of the previous meeting was to briefly inform the first presidency that there is a major concern about possible impending events that could affect national security.
We are frantically attempting to understand the ominous apocalyptic passages and decipher a cryptic messages within the quatrains. We also informed them that our current mastermind group had been working on helping us decipher the embedded messages for over six months, our research and brain storming sessions included several trips to Jerusalem and other ancient biblical sites in an effort to identify the exact location of the prestrike assembly place and find clues and to break the code but we have not had any success.
Finally one of the members of the research group noticed a phrase in the code that he remembered being associated with Mormon theology and he suggested that we invite some Mormon theologians to the mastermind group to bring the Mormon perspective and perhaps challenge the group to view prophecy through a different lens and think outside of the box.
At that point, agent Driggs, we asked the first presidency to recommend some of the top LDS theologians and to encourage those who were recommended to participate in a master mind sessions as we try to decipher the code.
It was at that time that the First Presidency recommended several scholars at BYU as well as some of the popular higher profile LDS prophecy scholars such as Duane Crowther, Avraham Gileadi and Gerald Lund and a few others ”
“Very good”, replied Driggs. “Thank you for that briefing. Please allow me to say at this time how much we appreciate the support of the first presidency.” Said Driggs.
“You are very welcome” replied President Monson. “I hope the people we recommended have been supportive and helpful.”
Robertson continued, ” We contacted every candidate that you suggested and every single one of them without exception was very responsive to our petition. Each one has participated in several sessions and has contributed to the discussions.
Unfortunately, after numerous sessions and several more trips to Jerusalem we still find ourselves at a dead end.”
Agent Drigg then asked agent Roberson, “so.. you didn’t review the content of the quatrains with the First Presidency?”
“No” said Agent Robertson, “at that time we were keeping the existence of the quatrains and the content thereof highly classified. The poem was to highly classified to be sharing with anyone outside of the agencies.. although we have read various keys words and phrases to the prophecy master mind group.”
“Well,” responded Driggs, “things are getting desperate, we are running out of time, I think it is time we release the contents of the poem to the mastermind group so that they can analyze the whole thing in it entire context against the backdrop of prophecy.”
“I was going to make the same recommendation agent driggs.” Inserted Mathias. “In fact, it seems to me that perhaps the most inspired interpretation of the cryptic poem might well come from the first presidency..”
At this statement President Eyring quickly intervened and interjected, “perhaps it would be wise to leave us a copy of the passages you would like President Monson to review and we can contact you if he should find anything in them that he feels you should be aware of.
Otherwise, I think that the prophesy scholars that we have suggested are probably the best ones to provide feedback on what they might be referring to.”
At this point Robertson injected, “Excuse me, agent.. but I know that President Monson is a very busy man. I think perhaps we need to get right to the main point of why we are here.”
At this suggestion special agent … noded his head in approval while agent Roberts watched President Monson intently to see his response.
“We would like to request full access to your religious center in Jerusalem. We need to do a complete search of the premises.”
There was a look of surprise on the faces of Presidents Monson and Eyring.
“What exactly is it that you hope to find gentlemen?” President Monson asked.
“We realize this is a long shot agent Robertson responded, “but, the quatrain appears to indicate that an assembly of the terrorists will be taking place in a temple in Jerusalem before the military strike takes place. Several very vivid descriptives have been provided about a temple and additional paraphernalia that is usually associated with a temple. As you know, the Jewish temple is no longer standing. Even though there are rumors that a group of Jews are planning to rebuild the temple in the near future, the quatrains indicate that the assembly will be taking place very soon, possibly within a week.
As you know, about a month ago we realized that the quatrains contained some passages linked closely with Mormon prophecy; we therefore cannot dismiss the unlikely possibility that the temple or sanctuary mentioned in the quatrains is the Mormon center located in Jerusalem. Silence fell over the room.”
“Are you insinuating that the terrorists are linked with the Mormon Church” asked President Eyring in disbelief.”
“Of course not” said Robertson. “We simply need to exhaust all possibilities.”
“We do not mean to imply in anyway that the church leadership or membership is involved with the terrorists. Our concern is that they might want to invade the temple for their own religious ceremony. Perhaps they are an offshoot of Mormonism or a group of disfranchised members who have adopted a radical apocalyptic world view”
“Well you are certainly granted access. We have nothing to hide.” Said President Monson.
“Thank you… we appreciate your willingness to cooperate.” Replied Robertson.
“Anything else we can help with?” Asked President Monson.
“”Just a few questions pertaining to the center in Jerusalem.”
“We need to know if you have used any part of the center for temple worship or temple related ordinances or endowments?”
“No.” Said President Eyring.
“Do you have a veil or an altar in any of the building associated with the center?
Do have or have you ever had the arc of the covenant secured within the center?
Do you have any pictures or symbols or wood molding within the center with any designs that might look like a swastika?”
Robertson then interjected, “we know this all sounds rather strange but we are required to turn over every stone we possibly can to get to the bottom of this mystery.”
“I can assure you that we have not been using the center for doing temple worship of any kind” said President Monson authoritatively.
“Furthermore, the swastika is not a symbol that we have ever used in any of our temples and if we had discovered where the arc of the covenant has been hidden for the last several thousand years we would certainly let the world know it.”
“That’s what we thought” said Robertson. “Please forgive us for having to ask these absurd questions. Who shall we contact at the center to arrange access to the building.”
“We will provide you with all of the necessary contact information as soon as we contact the center and make the necessary arrangements.” Said President Eyring. “We’ll have that information to you by early tomorrow morning.
You know gentlemen, this is quite interesting to see government so interested in religion! Perhaps we should invite President Obama and his staff to attend our next general conference”
With this everyone began to laugh a little and the seriousness and tenseness of the moment seemed to dissipate.
President Eyring continued… “the church has really evolved over the last 180 years. It used to be that the first presidency and the quorum of the twelve were intimately involved in teaching doctrine and expounding on prophecy, however, as the church has grown, our callings have become much more focused on administrative responsibilities. It is a tremendous job managing the growth of this church!
We have come to rely quite a bit on those who have been trained in the theological areas that we have been discussing.
I am sure that President Monson would be happy to review the cryptic poem if you would like to leave it and if he has any thoughts on it, he will be happy to get back with you but I don’t know that it would be appropriate at this time in this meeting to expect him to discourse on it without any time to study it out and consult with his doctrinal advisors.”
“yes..” interjected President Monson, ” As always your inspired council in these things is very much appreciated President Eyring, I see the wisdom in your suggestion. Speaking of how busy we are in directing the affairs of the kingdom, I think we have another meeting that we are running a little late for.. I apologize for the confusion of having overlapped two different meetings.. however if you should have anything urgent come up that we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact us”
President Monson looked down nervously at his watch as he acknowledged that a scheduling mistake had been made.
“that would be fine. Perhaps we can leave this copy of the poem with you and you can contact us if you have any thoughts regarding its interpretation and the location of the “holy place”. Said Robertson anxiously.
“Very well, said President Monson” as he arose and shook hands again with Director Driggs.
This time Robertson had his eyes fixated on the hand clasp, he wanted to verify that he had not been hallucinating.
Sure enough, there it was again. It was unmistakable. The secret grip
As the three agents got into the elevator to descend down into the telestial world, Roberts was mystified.
He looked downward as he was processing what had just taken place. He noticed the Masonic ring on the finger of Director Driggs.
As he stood next to driggs he looked straight ahead at the elevator door, again, processing what he had just seen. Then, against his better judgment he said, “was that my imagination or did you just exchange a secret grip with President Monson.”
There was silence for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, Driggs said, in a very quiet and irritated tone, “I am going to suggest that you consider using a little more discretion and prudence in your public remarks.”
Public! Robertson thought to himself, the only other person in this elevator is agent Mathias!
Mathias, upon hearing the exchange between his two partners simply stood there smiling at the naiveté of Robertson.
Little did Robertson realize it, but he would be losing a little bit more of his naivete before he retired for bed that evening.
President Bush shakes hands with President Monson
President Hinkley shakes hands with Vice President Cheney
To be continued…