Part 2: The other day a talk was given in my ward based on President Monson's talk "In Search of Treasure." You can find it here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... e?lang=eng Personally, I like the talk and feel that Pres Monson makes some excellent points. During the course of the talk, President Monson relates the story of Benjamin Landart. The man giving the talk in my ward (based on Pres Monson's talk remember) retold the story of Benjamin Landart (which is quite inspiring) and as he told the story you felt that the story he was telling was true. At least, he spoke as if it were true. I had heard the story before but started reflecting on it and was a bit incredulous. A young man in Northern Utah in the 1880s who not only HAS a violin but has learned to play so well that he has a chance to play with an orchestra in Denver? All this while living on a farm with a single mother and several siblings? I suppose it's possible but given the experience in Part 1 I was skeptical. So I went to the internet. The reference for the story was “Benjamin: Son of the Right Hand,” New Era, May 1974, 34–37. I looked up that New Era issue on my IPAD but the story isn't there (not sure why). So I continued to lds.org and found this web page: https://www.lds.org/new-era/1974/05/contents?lang=eng# If you go down to the bottom you'll find "Benjamin: Son of the Right Hand". It's under "Fiction".
There's no link to the story (Again I'm not sure why this story isn't available) But if you want the original text of the story you can find it here: https://www.lds.org/manual/young-women- ... s?lang=eng Interestingly the manual makes it clear that it is a FICTIONAL story. However, I'm not sure that President Monson knows it (or knew it). But below is the paragraph that precedes the story of Benjamin Landart. If he knows that it is fictional, he doesn't make it clear.
Now, this is not an attempt to criticize Pres Monson or that good brother in my ward who related the story. It's not an attempt to make anyone who has sacrificed a little truth in the telling of a good story feel guilty or dishonest. The fact that the story is fictional or embellished doesn't necessarily take away from someone's message or call into question the teller's sincerity. I think it means that in the Church we sometimes have difficulty distinguishing truth and fiction in the stories we tell. It's certainly the case in the stories we listen to. We all embellish, change, adapt, alter for our own purposes. Perhaps this has always been the case. Maybe there is a difference between "truth" (in the eternal sense) and "accuracy." Then of course, there's Paul Dunn. https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/083-35-57.pdfFirst, learn from the past. Each of us has a heritage—whether from pioneer forebears, later converts, or others who helped to shape our lives. This heritage provides a foundation built of sacrifice and faith. Ours is the privilege and responsibility to build on such firm and stable footings.
By the way, none of this bothers me. I just find it all very interesting.