Updated: 3 May 2010
Of Ventura He will say
Their watchmen slept at Eastertide
While that which was written
Did come to pass...
19 Apr 92
Commentary on “Inquisition”
Having written “Nineveh Revisited” the previous summer, I found myself feeling pressed to register my objections to what seemed to me an unwise and terribly wrong Church policy of intimidation of the Mormon intellectual community. The only way I could imagine to voice my concern was by raising my hand in opposition to sustaining the Church leadership during the annual
stake conference. Mine was the only hand so raised amid a congregation of about 5,000. Frank Davis designed to sit beside me, wanting to witness my pre-announced and carefully prepared act of disapproval. Needless to say, my objection did not go unnoticed, nor was it appreciated. Indeed, it turned the very process of intimidation, about which I had complained, in my own direction. Despite this pending threat, and Frank Davis keeping me abreast of its evolution because of his access to the Stake President’s personal intensions, I was asked by the Stake Relief Society President to present a musical program to her Relief Society in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of its founding by Emma Smith. I was pleased to do so and spent a very long time reflecting and preparing for it. “An Evening with Zhenya” was the name of the program presented, which I had professionally recorded. The event was almost interrupted when the local bishop discovered that it was in process, having been alerted that I’d been secretly banned from singing at church functions. But he was too late to stop it. In fact, he quietly entered the performance room during my introduction of a number, and I paused to welcome him to enter and sit. After the performance was allowed to finish, he came up to me with a hug of appreciation. Despite his personal approval, when the stake president learned that the program had indeed taken place, he ordered the bishop to call every attending sister that very night, to warn them about me as a danger to the church. A week or so later, I received a letter from the Relief Society President that took my breath away and broke my heart. Nevertheless, miraculously, the program escaped having been aborted. Three months later, on June 4, 2004, I faced stake “disciplinary action” and was subsequently excommunicated. Ventura
“Inquisition” recalls “Nineveh Revisited” and refers to the first ten words of 3Ne22.