Joseph Smith and the Lost 116 Pages  - a Drama in One Act>

<i>An example of

Dramatis Personae

Joseph Smith: local farmboy, treasure seeker, conman, and self-proclaimed prophet, seer, and revelator.

Oliver Cowdrey: Joseph's cousin and part-time schoolteacher.

Sidney Rigdon: itinerant preacher and co-conspirator.


Scene: A small farmhouse near Palmyra, NY. We see Joseph sitting at a table staring intently into the fire.

Knocking at door.

JS: It's open.

[Enter Oliver Cowdrey and Sidney Rigdon]

JS: Oh, hi guys. Thanks for coming right over.

OC: What's the big deal, getting us over here on the double like that?

JS: Well, we've got a big problem.

SR: What? Did Emma find out about that Miller girl?

JS: No, no, nothing like that.

OC: Then what is the big problem?

JS: It's about the Golden Bible.

OC: Yeah, go on.

JS: You know I finished the first part...

OC: Yeah.

JS: Well, I let Marty take the first 116 pages home last week, and...

OC: What? Why did you do a stupid thing like that? I mean, you know how big of an ass Martin is.

JS: Well, he wanted to show them to his wife.

SR: So what. You should have just told him no.

JS: Well, you know, he is fronting us the money.

SR: Right, but that's his only role in this game. You know that as well as I do.

JS: Yes. Well, anyway, I guess Lucy was giving him a bunch of crap about wasting his money or something, so Marty thought if he could show her some results she would back off.

SR: What happened?

JS: According to Marty, she burned them in the fireplace.

OC: That's no problem. Just rewrite them.

JS: But that's where the problem comes.

OC: I don't follow you Joe. Why is that a problem?

JS: Well, I was just thinking... What if she didn't burn them?

OC: What in the hell are you talking about? If she didn't burn them, we don't have a problem.

JS: What if she hid them away?

OC: Now why would she do something like that?

JS: You know how she has been against this thing from the very beginning. What if she has them hidden just waiting for us to come out with another copy?

OC: Yeah, so what?

JS: Then she could produce the original copy and show everyone that it doesn't match. Bingo! Everyone knows it's a fraud.

SR: Yeah, I can see that happening. That Lucy is a real bitch.

OC: What are we gonna do about it?

JS: I know! I can go over to Lucy's house dressed as an angel with a flaming sword and demand that she give the manuscript back to me.

SR: Don't be stupid. Martin might be that gullible, but Lucy would never fall for it. She'd throw you out of the house on your ass so fast...

OC: Can't you rewrite it so that it matches?

JS: I don't think so. I mean I took the basic plot from Ethan Smith, and I still have that book to refer to. And the quotes from the Bible and that Revolutionary War book, I could get those right. And, of course, my Daddy's dream about the Tree of Life, I can recreate that. But the rest? Well, I don't think I can make it match.

OC: Well then, I guess that does it. Game over. Good job there, Joe. Our one chance to hit the big time and you blow it!

JS: Look, guys, I'm sorry. I didn't think Marty would let this happen.

OC: That's the problem Joe! You never think. Why, remember last year...

SR: Quiet you two! I've got an idea. We CAN rewrite this thing.

OC: How are we going to do that? Joe here just said he can't make it match.

SR: What if there were two sets of plates? Yeah, that's the ticket! Two sets of plates. The lost pages came from the first set, but when we rewrite it, we translate the second set. That way they don't have to match.

JS: But why in the hell would ancient people go to the trouble of engraving two sets of plates? It doesn't make sense Sidney.

SR: It doesn't have to make sense Joey. Remember, it's all made up anyway. So here's how it works: we call the first set of plates the "large plates" see. It is the historical record of these Zippites...

JS: Nephites

SR: Nephites, Zippites, whatever. Anyway, the large plates are a record of their history. And the other plates, - we'll call them the "small plates" - is their spiritual record. We, I mean you, translate the small plates and we're back in business. And, it will give us a chance to clean up some of the fuzzy theology.

JS: What do you mean fuzzy theology?

SR: Look, Joey, the Bible does not ever mention Jesus' wives. That's in the plural Joey.

JS: I really liked that part...

SR: Shut up Joey! And we need to make a few changes to the story.

JS: Like what?

SR: The part about the Nephites coming over here on a flying machine Joey. I mean really. A flying machine? Nobody's going to buy that.

JS: But we have to have some way to get them here. They couldn't walk.

SR: A boat, Joey. Use a boat.

JS: But, but, that's so, well, old fashioned.

SR: Look Joey, a boat was good enough for Noah, it'll be good enough for Lehi. Oh, and that part about being guided here by a moonman...

OC: A Quaker moonman...

SR: Yeah, a Quaker moonman - that has to go.


SR: Joey, Joey, Joey. We're trying to start a religion here. People can't think it's a bunch of baloney until AFTER they join. Look here Joey. You want to be a poor dirt farmer all of your life? I'm trying to give you a way out...

JS: Now wait just a doggone minute. You know that I also hunt for treasure.

SR: Right. And exactly how much have you found there Joey boy? Look, if you want this to work, it has to be believable.

OC: OK, let me get this straight. We rewrite the beginning of the book and claim it came from another set of plates which contains the spiritual record of the Nephites...

SR: Yep.

JS: But I really liked all of the war stories.

SR: No problem. We can include those. We'll just make it part of the struggle of good against evil. We'll make the wicked people always lose the war.

OC: And we can tie that into the theology.

SR: You got it Ollie. God, I'm so good, sometimes I even amaze myself.

JS: Just one thing. Where are we going to get the story from?

SR: I've got that taken care of too, Joey. I know this guy in Pittsburgh - runs a printshop. Last time I was down there, he had this manuscript by some guy named Simon, or Sonny, or something. I took a look at it - it was about a bunch of Jews coming to ancient America - just like your story, Joey. So we can start with that, make a few changes as needed, then throw in a little theology, and there we are.

JS: But I don't know anything about theology.

SR: Don't worry Joey boy, I'll take care of that part. Remember, I'm the brains behind this caper, you're just the front man. God, if only I had your charisma, I'd cut you out of this so fast...

OC: How do we get our hands on this story?

SR: Well this clown Stanley, or Sylvester, or whatever didn't have the money to pay for the printing, so the shop owner was going to hold it for him until he could raise the dough. This guy owes me a couple of favors. I just hope Stewart, or Solomon, or whoever he is hasn't come up with the money yet.

OC: Brilliant!

JS: Brilliant!

SR: Yeah, I know. Now, I gotta run down to Pittsburgh for a few days. Will you two try to stay out of trouble while I'm gone? Oh, and while you're at it, think of a new name for the book. The Golden Bible isn't catchy enough.

OC: I got it! We'll name it after Joe. We'll call it the Book of Moron!

SR: Nah. Too obvious. Add another "m" in there and you may be on to something.


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