Friday, March 14, 2003
Utah's wacky prophets.
Every few years, the news from Utah includes a story about a religious (and often criminal) zealot. We'll be hearing more about the strange kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, but here's a start on the "prophet" who abducted her:
Emmanuel was a street preacher often dressed in biblical robes. With an untamed beard and carrying a staff, he alternately preached and panhandled. . .
Mitchell's two stepsons, Mark and Derrick Thompson, didn't think much of their stepfather. Mark Thompson said he hadn't seen Mitchell since last April at the funeral of his mother's father. "We didn't speak. He just yelled at us and called us a bunch of sinners." . . .
A dozen years ago, Mitchell began having "revelations," eventually changing his name to Emmanuel, Hebrew for "God is here," family members said.
Derrick Thompson said his stepfather told him he had taken "10 hits of LSD and talked to God out in the desert" several years ago. "They said they weren't on drugs, but we think that was a lie. We think that's how he could communicate with God. That and listen to the Steve Miller Band." (Deseret News, 3.13.03)
Ah, the Steve Miller Band. Which brings us to Daniel Trotta, who hosted a prophet and two veiled women who wouldn't give their names in his home. Nothing weird about that, right? How did that go?
Trotta met Emmanuel while working at Wild Oats, a natural foods store, a few months before Smart was abducted from her Federal Heights home in early June. Though Emmanuel didn't speak to him at first — Trotta believes it was a spiritual ritual — they still forged a friendship. Trotta would see the wanderer about once a week, and eventually Emmanuel even brought Smart and his wife into the store.
The three visitors were respectful and kind, Trotta said. He doesn't recall the women having any possessions, but Emmanuel carried a backpack. They didn't watch TV, but they seemed to enjoy the different music he'd play for them. In return, the three sang religious hymns to Trotta to show their appreciation. (Deseret News, 3.13.03)
Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 14 March 2003 at 7:21 AM