Norman Zucker, the Man from Zarahemla
[The following is a condensed old story by Ron Brawdy, © UMI, Marlow, OK.]
It was a beautiful August day, 1850, in Sweetwater. A lone, dark, stranger rode into town on a rather odd looking animal. Pete Boggins, the town drunk, strolled over to see the weird varmint and to question its rider. "Where you from stranger?", asked Pete, "and what kind of critter is that ye're ridin?" The stranger looked intently at Pete and replied, "the critter is a curelom, and my name is Norman Zucker. I just rode in from Zarahemla." Pete scratched his brushy face. "Zarahemla, huh? Ain't never heerd of that place and ain't never seen a curelom before either," stuttered Pete. The stranger bristled a bit, chaffed somewhat that this fuzzy-faced man would question the identity of his curelom and his home town. "Zarahemla is ten miles south of Amlici," said Norman Zucker, "and my curelom is part horse and part elephant." Pete burst out laughing and laughed so hard he began hiccupping uncontrollably, fell to the ground and rolled around in the dirt. Norman, greatly perturbed, grabbed Pete by his collar and yanked him to his feet. "Listen you little twit, I don't like people laughing at my curelom," said Norman. Pete winced from the pressure on his neck. He felt like fainting but somehow held on to consciousness. Then Norman did a strange thing. Reaching into his pocket, he produced a strange looking coin. "You got change for a senine? I want to buy a bottle of Gatorade." How strange! This guy from Zarahemla, riding a curelom wanted change from a senine to buy a bottle of Gatorade.
This man was truly an enigma, but enigmas are attractive to human curiosity, and soon a large crowd had gathered round Norman, his curelom and Pete. Someone commented that the curelom looked like a deformed horse with exceptionally large ears, but Norman would have none of that. Someone suggested that a hat be passed and the collection given to Norman so he would have real money, but Norman held tightly to his senines, insisting they were genuine, valid currency. Following a series of guffaws and outright jesting, Norman mounted a stump and began to preach things stranger than any imaginable fiction. Norman read from the book he called "The Book of Norman," a book given by an angel, claimed Norman. "Listen to me people and you will hear the most sublime words ever spoken. I want to read from Fourth Kneehigh, chapter one and verse six. 'And thus did the thirty and eighth year pass away, and also the thirty and ninth, and forty and first, and the forty and second, yea, even until forty and nine years had passed away, and also the fifty and first, and the fifty and second; yea, and even until fifty and nine years had passed away.'" A man renown for his literary skills stood up and said, "Sir, that is chloroform in print." Norman ignored the jeering crowd and droned on for hours, speaking of animals, cities, currency and people never before heard of, and a theology totally foreign to his listeners. Day after day Norman rode his curelom through the streets of Sweetwater, carrying a sign that read, "All churches are an abomination before God."
...Pete saddled their cureloms and headed for Zarahemla, Norman's base of operation. Isn't it strange what association does to a person? Pete, who previously didn't believe in cureloms, Normanism or Zarahemla, was now riding a deformed horse with exceptionally large ears (which he now actually blieved to be an ancient creature), was headed for a town he once doubted the existence of, and, what's more, feeling good about it all because Norman had filled his pockets with senines. Had the senines made Pete senile?
As they rode slowly toward Zarahemla, Pete read voraciously from "The Book of Norman." Although it wounded suspiciously like the KJV [King James Version] in many places, he had reached the place where fictitious religion was thinkable and palatable. At first he tried to strain out the gnats of doubt, and being successful, he soon swallowed an entire curelom. "We're almost to Zarahemla," Norman called out to Pete. As they rounded a group of trees they met a woman carrying water pots, who Norman introduced as his wife, Louise. Fifty yards further they met another woman who Norman introduced as his wife, Linda. This scene was repeated nearly forty times and Pete was stunned into silent disbelief. Pete recalled the beginning of mankind as recorded in Genesis. He had read of Adam and Eve but the idea of Adam and Eve plus Joan, Alice, Sue, Betty, Mable and others seemed incredible. "Surely," thought Pete, "with this many wives around there must be a Zucker born every minute." As Pete though on these things they soon arrived at Zarahemla, which was actually fifteen tents in a desert area.
...It appeared that Pete had checked his brain in at the church door, and had totally swalled all the tenets of Normanism, logical or illogical. Norman called that FAITH and soon Pete believed it was faith too. Yes, Pete reasoned, I am not misled or ignorant, I am FAITHFUL!
After changing hundreds of diapers and refereeing dozens of fights, Norman and Pete decided it was time to spur their cureloms and spread the gospel of Normanism. They were very successful in their efforts and today Normanism can boast of millions of devoted followers. Thousands of cureloms have been sold (sight unseen) and many pockets jingle with worthless senines, and the Norman Church still believes in an ancient city called Zarahemla (although still undiscovered 150 years after the writing of The Book of Norman).
Today God's men try to expose the errors of Normanism, finding it incredible that people still accept a book filled with peoples, animals, cities and coins that have never existed, and a theology only Mother Goose could dream up.
If you are riding cureloms, jingling worthless senines in your pocket, and looking for a city called Zarahemla, pray that God will deliver you from the darkness of Normanism. No doubt an angel of light did appear to Norman, and no doubt it was the personage described by Paul in II Corinthians 11:14, "For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
A curelom is an animal no one has ever seen, a senine is a coin no one has ever spent, and Zarahemla is a city no one has ever visited. And Gatorade hadn't been invented yet! However, heaven and hell are actual places, and we will spend eternity in one or the other. Jesus said, "I am the way..." (John 14:6a).