dutcher_Expiation1By Richard Dutcher

Art by Galen Dara

 

CONTRIBUTOR’S NOTE: “The following confession was discovered October 7, 1977 in a clear glass bottle, corked, during the exhumation of the skeletal remains of a male, 5’10” tall, in a canyon approximately 7 miles North East of Kanab, Utah. The remains are believed to be those of Mahonri Moriancumr Thorup, a resident of Kane County, Utah, who disappeared in May 1924 at the age of 27. As to the truth of this confession, I cannot declare. However, the statements made herein do correspond to the evidence found at the site. The bottle containing the confession, which was written in black ink on plain paper, was found in the earth approximately 8 inches above the skeletal remains.” —John Grady, former Deputy Sheriff of Kane County, Utah.

 

September 9, 1931

 

MY FATHER TAUGHT me that we are all born with seeds of evil within us, seeds that sprout in the darkness. And in the blackness, the dark plant grows. If we cannot pull it from our breast, every root and every fiber, the dark plant will strangle the light. It will drive the goodness from our hearts. It will kill our souls, just as a cancer will grow within our bodies, consuming our strength until there is none left. Not even enough to breathe.

Ronny harbored seeds of evil, and one of them sprouted and grew. He tried to tear it from his soul, but the roots remained and the plant grew strong.

I write this knowing that it may never be read. Perhaps someday, long after everyone is gone. Long after anyone who knew me or who knew Ronny is gone.

It is my prayer that my dear Margaret will never know what I have done, until she enters the Kingdom of Heaven where all things are known, that she may see with a full knowledge, knowing my guilt and my shame and the evil I have done, but also the good I have done. I pray that she may see me once again loved and kept in the arms of our Savior.

 

MY NAME IS Isaac Wirthlin. I was born of goodly parents in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and ninety-six. Influenza took my mother during the first January of the new century. Being four years old at the time, I have only dim memories of her. Visions through a glass darkly. My father, Thomas, a rancher, did not remarry, which hurt him in the church. But he sought in life neither position nor authority. He was a good man. He raised me in righteousness.

I have no brothers or sisters. However, I had Ronny. He lived across the road. My earliest memories are of Ronny and me, playing, laughing, and sometimes fighting over long-forgotten offenses, but always the best of friends by the next day. He was younger than I by a year, but always taller. I loved him like a brother. And he loved me.

In some ways, I suppose, it was only right that he chose me. There was no one else who loved him enough to do such a thing. How I have prayed that he had never asked. How I have prayed that I will awake to find that this has all been a dark dream and that Ronny is still here. And that we can talk together, and I can tell him of my dream, and that the dream will fade as dreams do and be forgotten as dreams are. But prayers cannot change the past. I know this. And the prayers of the damned are heard only in hell.

As a child, Ronny harbored no malice in his soul. His kindness extended even to the animals. He reproached me once, severely, for throwing snowballs at the cattle. I mocked him and threw again, but in my heart I was saddened by my actions, even as I continued to throw. After he had turned his back and gone, angry at my cruelty, I stopped throwing, and wept, asking God and the cows to forgive me. I was a sensitive child, yet proud.

The schoolmaster loved him. He was the best of students. Whereas I was often distracted by flirtations with girls and games of sport, Ronny found no interest in these diversions. When I played with other boys, he would sit nearby on the grass and read or sketch.

He had the gift of art, of creation. With no training at all, he could take a pencil or a pen and, sometimes within minutes but sometimes after hours of effort, recreate in lead or ink the likeness of anything that caught his eye.

Once, while escaping into the canyons together, I fell asleep in the shadows. When I awoke, Ronny was gone, but at my side was a penciled likeness of me sleeping on my back on the earth. It was rendered with such exactness that it could have been a photograph or a reflection in a mirror. I have kept the drawing all these years. I include it with this letter. I will need it no more.

One summer, during my thirteenth year, something happened of which I have never spoken. Ronny and I came home from school and ran to a watering hole on my father’s land. We left our clothing on the grass as we were accustomed to do and threw ourselves, laughing, into the cool pond.

Ronny splashed. He pretended to struggle in the water.

“Save me! Save me!” he shouted in a high voice, as if he were a girl.

I laughed. I flexed my muscles and then placed a finger over my lip, as if it were a mustache. In a deep voice I said, “Never fear, maiden! I will save you!”

I swam out and held him as he thrashed. He quickly relaxed in my arms and I pulled him back to shore. I felt him against my body. His warmth in the cool water. The stiffness of his groin against my thigh. I pulled him to the dry ground and we collapsed, laughing.

“Thank you, kind sir,” he said.

We soon began to speak of certain events at our school, and his penis slowly softened and shrank. I pretended to be unaware. Although I was older than he, my body appeared younger. Fine hair had begun to grow at his groin and in the pits of his arms. The only hair of which I could boast was the unruly mop atop my head.

We waited until the sun had dried our bodies, then dressed and ran to play elsewhere. We never spoke of what had happened or what it meant—if anything. But we never swam again, not together. And we never returned to the pond.

In my mind, the incident meant nothing. We were children. It was child’s play, nothing more. But in Ronny’s mind, as I later came to believe, it was the sprouting of the dark seed.

 

EVEN AT TWELVE years old, I was already in love with Margaret Biggs. She was the prettiest and happiest girl in the whole county, and I had decided that we would one day wed.

As the years passed, I found myself spending more and more time with Margaret and less and less time with Ronny. He said he didn’t mind. He had his books and his artwork, and we both had more work than we wanted in the fields and with the herds.

At nineteen years of age, I proposed marriage to Margaret. She accepted. Ronny’s father was the new bishop of Kanab. He presided at our union in Sister Alta Monroe’s rose garden on the sixteenth day of May 1915.

At the wedding party, Ronny announced that he was moving to Salt Lake City to study art with a famous Greek painter who was then giving lessons in the city. It was a day of great celebration.

Less than a week later, I saw Ronny off at the train station. We embraced and said our farewells. Although happy for one another, we wept like brothers parting for the first time. His mother wept with us. His father looked away, scowling.

I told Ronny we would see each other soon, and we parted. As I waved goodbye, I felt the presence of death. If not its grasp, then at least the brush of its cloak. For what is the parting of loved ones if not a rehearsal for death?

As the train pulled away, Ronny peered out the window in my direction. He watched me steadily, and I waved until he was out of sight.

Margaret came to live with father and me. Her presence breathed new life into our home. The farm prospered, as did Ronny’s career in Salt Lake City.

During the winter of 1916, my leg was crushed by a falling beam during the construction of our new barn. It was months before I could walk again. The only blessing that arose from this misfortune was that when the Great War started, my ruined leg disqualified me from service. But it was a mixed blessing. Though no one blamed me for not fighting, I could tell that I was somehow diminished in the town’s estimation.

In the autumn of 1917, Margaret and I traveled to Salt Lake City to solemnize our marriage in the House of the Lord. We lodged with Ronny in his attic loft on East South Temple Street. He proudly showed us his many paintings and sketches. Portraits and landscapes and painted studies of fruit and books and animals. Margaret was delighted, but she soon tired of our conversation, and after she had fallen asleep, a knock came.

Ronny opened the door to reveal a bearded man in a dark, oversized coat. It was the Greek art teacher. The man was surprised to see me. Ronny introduced us, and the Greek nodded in recognition.

“Ronny speaks of you often,” he said. “Fondly.” Then he saw the art that Ronny had shown me, and shook his head in disapproval. “Now show him your best work,” he said.

With some hesitation, Ronny pulled out other canvases, paintings and drawings of nude women and men in various positions and attitudes. The almost photographic detail brought color to my cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Have I offended you?”

“Not at all. They’re so perfectly rendered,” I said.

When the teacher departed, Ronny and I conversed more freely. He told me that he had already sold two paintings and had hopes to sell many more. Then he lowered his voice and said that he had an opportunity to study under a great artist in Pasadena, California, and that he was leaving within the month. And that his teacher did not yet know.

“I think that’s wonderful,” I said.

“Do you?”

“Of course.”

He was pleased. He asked me endless questions about everyone in Kanab. At daybreak we parted near the Temple of the Lord, reluctantly, both exhausted, but both invigorated by our conversation. He wept again as we embraced. I helped Margaret into our carriage.

“Isaac!”

I turned to him. “Yes?”

He seemed to struggle for a moment, then waved his hand in front of his face. “It’s nothing,” he said. “I will write to you.”

“Yes,” I said. “I would like that.”

 

WE CORRESPONDED, AT first regularly. But the differences between our respective lives grew significant, and I became increasingly embarrassed to reveal much about my own. My father died, and with my injury, I found that I was not equal to the task of managing the ranch. It slowly sank into disrepair, as did our finances. Margaret worked her fingers to the bone, and I became painfully aware of how different this life was from the one we had envisioned when we had married.

Meanwhile, Ronny lived near the ocean, painted every day, and had many friends, some of them motion picture actors and actresses. I heard that he served our country for a time in the military, but was mysteriously discharged. When I saw his father, the bishop, on the street, I would ask for news of Ronny, but he did not seem to welcome these conversations, often responding with a growl. “He’s living the life, he is.”

One Sunday, Bishop Thorup announced from the pulpit that one of Ronny’s paintings, titled Expiation, had been purchased by the governor of California and that it now hung prominently in the governor’s own office. Many asked for a description of the masterpiece, but the bishop, struggling to contain his pride, confessed that he did not know its content.

“His name is known in the highest society,” Bishop Thorup boasted. “They often ask the meaning of the name Mahonri. Every introduction of my son is an introduction of the gospel.”

We heard little more of Ronny’s life. In my mind, as probably in the minds of most in Kanab, we imagined him a great success in California society, a great artist who would one day be known to all the world. He was the pride of our little town.

 

I DID NOT see him again until he came home in the spring of 1924.

I met him unexpectedly on the street near the mercantile. At first I did not recognize him. It had been several years. He had grown thin, too thin. His hairline had receded dramatically. He wore spectacles and carried himself with a nervousness and caution completely foreign to my memory of him. I had doubtless changed to his eyes as well. The strain of overwhelming work and bouts of despair had taken their toll on my body.

“Isaac!”

He embraced me, and although there was happiness in his expression, I saw deep sadness in his eyes.

“How wonderful to see you,” I said. “How long are you home?”

“Until the end, old friend,” he said. “I’m home for good.”

He claimed to be on an urgent errand for his father and suggested we meet later. I asked him to join Margaret and me for dinner. He declined, but proposed we meet after services on Sunday.

“It is so good to see you,” he said in parting. “I thought of you often.”

“And I of you.”

“I have a great favor to ask you. A very great favor.”

“Of course. Anything.”

“No!” he said. “You must not say that. You must hear what I ask first, and then decide.”

“Whatever it is, I will do it,” I said.

“You are a dear friend,” he said. “A very dear friend to me.”

And then, as if escaping before his emotions could overtake him, he turned and walked quickly away.

 

AFTER SERVICES ON Sunday, we excused ourselves and walked together, visiting the many places we had enjoyed as children. All the while, he plied me with questions about my life, which I gently avoided.

“How is it that you’ve had no children?” he asked.

“Ask the Lord that question,” I said. “Maybe he’ll answer you. He certainly hasn’t answered me.”

“I’m sorry.”

I shrugged. “And you? All those women in California. You never found that special lady?”

The question seemed to add a weight to his shoulders. He shook his head. “No.”

He told me of his many artistic successes and disappointments.

“They say your painting hangs in the governor’s office. Imagine that,” I said.

He waved it away. “I sold three to Valentino!” he said, instantly pleased.

“To whom?”

“Rudolph Valentino! The motion picture actor!” he said. “He hung one of them above the fireplace in his bedroom.”

He laughed, and I smiled in return, embarrassed that I did not know of whom he spoke.

We soon found ourselves at the pond. We sat on the bank and watched two sparrows play on the opposite bank. We both grew quiet, having exhausted our stories. I looked at him and saw that he had grown morose.

“What has happened?” I asked.

“I fell in love.”

“That’s wonderful.”

A pained expression passed over his face.

“Or did she not love you in return?” I asked.

“It was not a woman,” he said. “I fell in love with a man.”

I did not know what to say.

“I’m an invert, you see. Did you know that about me?”

I shook my head. He sighed.

“Do you hate me now?”

At first I could not answer. I thought back on the whole of our lives together, looking for the clues I had missed. I remembered the drawing he had made of me so long before, the one I had prized as a token of our friendship. How long had he sat, studying me as I slept? What thoughts had gone through his mind? Eventually, I came back to myself and saw his pleading eyes.

“Of course not. You are my dearest friend.”

At this, he wept. I put my hand on his shoulder and he turned. He pressed his face against my hand. Immediately I remembered the incident at the swimming hole, and a wave of disgust arose within me. I wanted to pull away.

“I have tried to root this from my heart,” he said. “But I fear that it is not a temptation of the devil, but a part of my own soul. Can that be?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you remember the man who visited us in Salt Lake City?”

I said that I did, and he revealed to me that the professional affection between them had, at that time, been growing more personal. He had known that soon it would progress to the full physical expression of love.

“I was grateful you were there that night,” he said. “Otherwise I may have lost my soul that very evening. That is why I moved to Pasadena. I knew my love for him was evil in the sight of God, and so I escaped. Just as I had once before.”

But it was in California where Ronny finally fell into great sin. “A fellow artist,” he confessed. The artist was older and well known. He would not tell me the man’s name. “I loved him beyond all description, and I knew I was damning myself the night we consummated that love. But I could not help myself. And it was worth it, being damned, because I finally knew love. It was beautiful, and I was happy. Happier than I have ever been. Can you accept that? That even in sin I was happy?”

I nodded, but was unsure.

“I knew that if I were to ever allow myself to love, I was damned, you see. Choosing between eternal loneliness and damnation, I chose damnation. And I would choose it again.”

But his lover’s affections eventually grew cold. They quarreled. The relationship ended. But Ronny could not relinquish his affections. The man eventually fled to France, hoping that the great distance would sever the relationship, but Ronny followed.

“I shamed myself,” he said. “I was pathetic. But, you see, I had never given myself to someone before. Once I had, I couldn’t let go. I could not allow myself to be both damned and alone. I could not bear it.”

Despite Ronny’s many efforts to speak with the man, he refused all communication with him. Ronny stayed in Paris for six months, then returned to California, heartbroken.

“I became a degenerate,” he said. “I had many lovers. Old men. Young men. Strangers even. I painted during the day, and debased myself at night.”

As he spoke, I stared at the still water. I wanted to walk into it until my head was beneath the surface, where I would hear no more of his confession.

“I was in such despair,” he said. “I grew to hate myself and that hatred brought darkness. The darkness grew within me. Though the sun shined down, it could not warm the coldness of my soul. I grew accustomed to the darkness. I began to love it. For five years I wallowed in it. Then one day, quite unexpectedly, I made the acquaintance of a man who watched over my shoulder as I painted a scene of the beach at Santa Monica. The man asked to see my other work. I showed him. When he saw my name at the corner of a painting he knew instantly my faith. His name was Wharton, a Mormon missionary. He embraced me and called me ‘brother.’ We began to visit daily. Soon I knew the most intimate details of his life and, trusting him, soon revealed to him my sins. We wept together. I soon began to feel a seed of light in my soul. I wanted the light to grow. I begged him to baptize me anew, immediately, in the ocean. But he refused. ‘It is impossible,’ he said.”

“For heaven’s sake, why?” I asked.

“My sins, I learned, were beyond the cleansing power of Christ’s blood. Wharton showed me in his books,” he said. And here he pulled a pamphlet from his satchel and opened immediately to a marked page. He began to read: “It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit. There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days. They must be atoned for by the blood of the man.’ That was President Young. Brigham Young.”

He then pulled a book from his satchel. A Bible, well worn. “Leviticus 20:13,” he read. “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death.”

“Ronny—”

“I understand what is required of me. In order to be forgiven, to remove this stain—this perversion—from my soul. For this reason I’ve come home, my friend. I’ve come home, not to Kanab or to my family. I’ve come home to you.”

“I don’t understand.”

He opened the pamphlet again. He searched for a moment, then found the passage. “Will you love your brothers and sisters when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman enough to shed their blood? That is the way to love mankind.”

“Ronny. No . . .”

“Do you love me?”

“You know I do.”

“Then you must save me. I cannot do this myself. I cannot. Only you love me enough to do this. Only you. My soul is in your hands.”

 

dutcher_Expiation2FOR WEEKS I struggled. I fasted. I prayed. I searched the scriptures and the words of the prophets. Although Ronny and I did not speak of his request again, the subject was in every glance, behind every word, and in every thought.

I remembered a story once told by my father. It was of an elder in Kanab when my father was a child. The man had been caught in adultery. One Sabbath evening, deeply repentant, he walked into the desert with three other elders. The following morning, the three elders returned, but the man did not. The elders testified that the man had made his atonement and that his soul was thereby clean, and that his family would find him in the celestial kingdom of God at the right hand of our Savior.

Ronny came to me late one evening in May. “I must do this,” he said. “I cannot carry this burden one day more. Will you help me?”

I didn’t answer.

He turned to go.

“Yes,” I said. “I will help you.”

We embraced, and he wept.

“My brother,” he said. “My dear brother.”

 

I packed my saddlebags with what I would need. I told Margaret I had to find some cattle that had wandered south. She looked at me through tired eyes and I simultaneously felt regret for the lie and a pang of anger and disgust.

It was not her fault that she had aged prematurely. It was not my fault that we lived in penury.  This was the life God had seen fit to give us: this small, mean, insignificant life. For a moment, I thought of Ronny. His successes, his talents, the beautiful places he had lived, the possibilities in his future. What faith he must have, I thought, to throw that life away to regain his soul. What had I to throw away?

Before dawn, I mounted my best horse, General Lee, and towed a nameless mare behind. I met Ronny a half mile east of town.

He climbed onto the mare and we started north.

He was in unusually good spirits, talking almost without pause about the days of our youth.

“You remember the time we rolled down Biggs’ Hill in that empty barrel? And then Ezra Roundy’s little brother vomited in it, and that was the end of that.” He laughed. “Good thing. One of us probably would have been killed.”

I let Ronny take the lead. He had chosen the location. We soon found ourselves at the mouth of a canyon, red rock rising high on both sides.

“We can leave the horses here,” he said.

I threw the saddlebags over my shoulder, and Ronny took the pick axe and shovel. We started up the canyon and found the chosen spot within a quarter of an hour. It was a large rectangular rock, three feet tall.

“It’s flat on top,” Ronny said. “Suggesting an altar. I thought I’d like to do it here.”

I dropped the saddlebags. Ronny went to a spot about twelve feet from the altar and started to dig.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m not going to make you dig the grave, too.”

I grabbed the pick axe and loosened the soil as Ronny dug a deep hole in the earth. The ground was rocky. Our progress was slow. We only made it down about four feet before we had exhausted our strength.

“This is good,” Ronny said. “I just want it deep enough that the animals won’t get to me.” He laid himself in the hole and crossed his arms over his chest. “This will do.”

He looked up at me and smiled awkwardly. I looked away.

“I brought food,” I said.

We sat on the altar and divided the bread and jerky. We drank water. We ate quietly, neither speaking. The canyon was cool and shaded. A light breeze blew from the north.

As I packed the remains of the food into the saddlebags, Ronny said, “I’d like to pray. Would you mind?”

“Of course not. I’ll go check on the horses.”

When I returned, he was still on his knees at the altar. I sat several yards away and bowed my head. I prayed for strength, for courage. I prayed ardently that Ronny would change his mind. I lost myself in prayer, so much so that I was startled by the sound of his footsteps as he approached. I looked up.

“It’s time,” he said. “The Lord is waiting to receive my offering.”

He laid himself on the altar. I tied his ankles together and then his hands in front of him, as we had agreed. If cowardice rose in his heart, he did not want the ability to struggle or to fight.

“I will offer the prayer,” he said. “And at the final moment, you must do it. Quickly.” His voice trembled as he spoke. I saw fear in his eyes, but no cowardice.

“I understand,” I said.

“Do you have the knife?”

I removed the knife from the saddlebag. It was long and sharp, the same knife I often used to slaughter hogs.

I stood over him, and showed him the instrument.

“Good. Is it sharp?”

“Yes.” I had sharpened it the night before, to be certain that the sacrifice would be quick and clean.

“Thank you.” He took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly.

“Your name is Isaac,” he said. “And yet I am the sacrifice. This is irony.”

He smiled, then closed his eyes. I was seized by fear. I wanted to run. He began his prayer.

“O God, the Eternal Father, I ask thee, in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ, to accept this offering . . . even my blood, to atone for the sins that I have freely committed . . . sins against nature and against thee. Accept this blood as a holy offering, freely given, performed in faith, as a token of my repentance. I allow myself, as did thy son, to be slain for sin. Not for the sins of the world, but for my sins only, that my soul may arise, cleansed, into thy eternal embrace . . . I deliver myself into the hands of thy holy priesthood, that I may be destroyed in the flesh, yet be reborn in the spirit . . . amen.”

“Amen,” I said.

He opened his eyes and looked at me.

“Now, Isaac. Now.”

I raised the knife and I cut his throat.

The knife was sharp, and his flesh was tender, and it was over in a moment.

His neck opened like a mouth and his blood rushed as water from a bursting dam. I dropped the knife. I stroked his hair with one hand, and with the other I clasped Ronny’s hands. His grip was tight and strong as he struggled for breath and choked on his own blood. I wept, and my tears fell into his wound and mixed with his blood.

“I’m sorry,” I wept. “I’m so sorry.”

He moved his lips. No sound came from his mouth, but I deciphered the words he silently spoke. “I love you. I love you.”

I looked into his wide, frightened eyes, and I did not look away until his blood had ceased to run. Until his grip had failed. Until the light in his eyes had died.

I buried Ronny’s body and threw dirt over the stains of his blood on the earth. I returned home with the horses, weeping as I rode. Margaret was asleep when I arrived. I lay in bed next to her, but did not sleep. I stared into the yawning darkness.

The next day was the Sabbath. I attended services with my wife. Bishop Thorup announced that his son had unexpectedly returned to Los Angeles and that, although he had not tarried to say his farewells, he had left a note wishing everyone well. We offered a prayer for Ronny’s success in Los Angeles, that his art would bring glory to the Kingdom of God on the earth and that it would serve to bring souls to Christ.

The holy sacrament was administered, but the body of Christ lay bitter and insufficient on my tongue. I arose and went outside and I spat the bread on the ground.

A dog waiting loyally for its master approached timidly and ate the wet bread from the dirt.

 

THE ACT WAS not innocent.

The ordinance was not performed in righteousness.

For a brief moment as I stood over Ronny with the knife, as he lay completely in my power like a beast at the slaughter, I hated him. What he had done with men disgusted me. In my soul, I had cried out that it was right that he should die. Then jealousy had arisen. Envy for his successes, his travels, his talents. And with this poison in my heart, I had taken his life.

It was not a holy offering. It was an ordinance of darkness. It was murder. I should have stopped myself before opening his throat. My heart was not pure. My love was not true.

 

I UNDERSTAND NOW what Ronny told me about the darkness. I walk in darkness at noonday. It grows in me, consumes me. I live in its belly like Jonah in the whale. My spirit died in the blackness of the act.

My despair spread to Margaret and to our marriage. In sorrow, she conceived a daughter. The child died in her womb. She conceived again, and this time the child was born. We named him Emmanuel, that he might be a savior to our family.

The boy was weak, and after three days he died.

 

I WAS BORN with seeds of evil within me, and I did not heed my father’s warning.  A seed sprouted in the darkness. I did not pull it from my breast. The dark plant has grown too strong. It has strangled the light in my soul. Soon all goodness will be gone. Perhaps I have the strength for one final offering in righteousness.

Margaret is asleep as I write. I have told her that I will ride out at daybreak to find some cattle that have wandered. Before I leave, I will kiss her and whisper that I love her.

I will take my rifle and I will saddle General Lee and I will ride to the altar. There I will ask Ronny to forgive me. For hating him. For murdering him. I will say my prayer and I will offer my own sacrifice. I will not cast this burden upon another.

I will rest the rifle beneath my chin and I will take my life as the sun sets. No one will hear the gunshot. The beasts will come during the night and will feed. They will spread my bones in the canyon.

Someone will find the rifle, but I hope my remains are never found.

 

PERHAPS I AM wrong. Perhaps this act will be a final stain on my immortal soul. If I can obtain forgiveness and salvation in any other way, I pray that the angel of the Lord will stay my hand, as the angel stayed Abraham’s hand.

I am an Isaac without an Abraham, yet I will see the job through.

Stranger, if you should find this note, I ask that you pray for my eternal soul. Do not judge me. It is for the Savior alone to judge.

Beware, stranger, the seeds of evil.

My name is Isaac Wirthlin. I was a loving son and husband.

 

CONTRIBUTOR’S POST-SCRIPT: Isaac Wirthlin was reported missing by his wife, Margaret Biggs Wirthlin, on September 10, 1931. His remains were never found.” —John Grady, former Deputy Sheriff of Kane County, Utah.

 

 
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