We have all heard the stories. A friend of a friend heard it once in a Testimony meeting. Or an Elder you knew on the mission says his father knew a guy. These stories that seem just a little too far-fetched to be true, but make enough sense that they might be true. Mostly these are good faith-affirming stories that prove some gospel principle, like the story that Brigham Young, when planning the Salt Lake Temple left large gaps in the plans that eventually came to be used as elevator shafts and for electrical wiring. This story shows the prophetic vision that he had. But really, elevators in buildings had been in use in New York since the 1850s as well as electric lights and telegraphs, etc.
Nonetheless, these stories are fascinating. A friend of mine, Ted, has been interested specifically in Missionary stories, as missions provide a very unique and interesting microcosm, where each missionary has a very short lifespan (18 months – 2 years) and stories get passed on again and again throughout the ‘generations’. This allows stories to be quickly embellished and developed. But I love to hear all of these types of stories, all of this Mormon Folklore.
I would be very interested in gathering these stories and hopefully, eventually publishing some sort of Anthology of Mormon Folklore. I believe that the stories we tell give great insight into our culture and the virtues that we value. We learn what a society holds dear by what they value, by who succeeds in the stories that they tell. The stories that Mormons tell are very unique to Mormons and almost incomprehensible to outsiders, but they reflect what Mormons believe, at least culturally if not officially and doctrinally. Stories about the Three Nephites wandering around doing good, stories about unbelievable, inexplicable healings, or stories about premonitions or warnings that turned out to be lifesaving. All of these show some hope or desire for modern miracles. We do believe that miracles have not ceased, but we do not always see miracles of biblical proportions in our daily lives. These stories seem to fill that need.
Please, if you have heard hints, rumours, legends, Mormon Myths, whatever, share them with us. We love to hear from you. And occasionally we’ll post some of the best and most prolific stories here. Fill out this form and send the link to all of your friends. The more the merrier, especially with folktales!