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“DOCUMENTARY APPENDIX 1” by Gabriel González Núñez

Read the original Spanish version here. To discuss this and other finalists, visit Mormon Lit Lab.

“DOCUMENTARY APPENDIX 1”

written and translated by Gabriel González Núñez

Omar Ibayú was born at an unknown date before 1800, probably in San Francisco de Borja. The lack of documentary evidence about this early period in his life has created a number of mysteries. This has resulted in several unfounded legends about his youth, e.g., that he often spoke with the deer and birds that lived in the town he grew up in. Fortunately, the period of his life in which he carried out his ministry is well documented. He kept many records himself through letters, journals, reports, and so forth—always in his elegant handwriting, which he probably developed in the years when he is believed to have lived in Purificación. Below, we transcribe a fragment from the very first known account of the Glorious Vision. This text comes from a letter he wrote in 1823 to Father Damian, a Franciscan priest in San Miguel Arcángel with whom Ibayú had, up to that point, a close relationship. The letter clearly shows the profound difference in worldviews that would eventually lead to the Flight of 1825:

“I have always trusted you very much. It is because of it that I am now pointing out to you, with all the brotherly love found in my heart, that the time has come for the people to open their eyes and see all that the Lord wishes to show them. God has always shown kindness to the natives of this land. If, in his infinite wisdom, he has suffered us for a season to be in bondage, it is because he desires to cleanse us so that as his people we can take his sweet gospel to every corner of the earth, in the manner in which he himself commanded his disciples in former days. Wickedness shall not triumph, for the Heavens protect us, and this the natives of Paraná and of other lands will soon know. I myself was once ignorant, having no knowledge of these and many other things, until my kind God in his infinite mercy sent to me three Indians from Colombia. They came to this San Borja reduction after crossing all of Tawantinsuyu.  I cannot reveal their names, but let it suffice to say they were disciples of the Lamb of God.

“On a Monday evening after mass, I was making a harp out cedar when three men of short stature entered the workshop. I could tell they were American Indians, like myself, but their appearance was different from the Spanish or other American natives. They wore long blue ponchos and blue hats. Their espadrilles had no upper so that their soles were held to the foot by means of rope only. Instead of wearing their hair loose, they tied it behind their back in a long and curious braid. They communicated with each other in a language they indicated was the language of the Kichwa. Because they had no knowledge of most languages spoken here, for they knew no Guarani or Portuguese, we spoke in Spanish. They earnestly asked for water, so I took them home and gave them to drink. We conversed for many an hour in a manner such that, had it been heard by others, it would have been considered nonsense. They explained in all manner of details the error in the superstitions of the natives in these lands, who refuse to follow our Lord Jesus Christ and instead worship other gods and fear the spirits. They explained many other things which I have laid before you above, things regarding how the hour of deliverance for the natives of this land is near. Moreover, they invited me to pray in seclusion that I might know the will of the Lord God.

“That same evening they took leave and headed down to the river without revealing their final destination. Many of their words penetrated deep into my heart, affecting my mood for several days. It became difficult for me to give all my might to my duties. I so deeply pondered the words of the three foreigners that I even failed to show for the harvest of lettuce and beets. It was in this manner of circumstances that I decided to retreat into the jungle to pray as commanded. After having walked about a league, I bent my knees and made the sign of the holy cross. Straightway I heard some noises around me, as if a troop of bandeirantes was circling about, and a great fear took hold of my thoughts. I wished to stand but a dark mist came down upon me, and I felt as if bound by heavy chains.

»In terror, I cried out to my dear God that he would have mercy on me. It was then that a marvelous miracle occurred as thousands of white butterflies descended all about me, on the soil, on the shrubs, on the treetops, and with the flapping of their wings, they dispelled the evil mist. I looked up, and I saw two beautiful, glowing men standing in a gigantic burning flame in front of me. One of them, who had flowing black hair and beard, pointed to the other, and speaking in my beautiful Guarani tongue, said to hear his Beloved and Holy Son. The other took a step forward and raised the palms of his hands, showing me the bleeding wounds of his crucifixion. I looked down at his feet, and there too were found the infamous injuries. When I looked at his eyes I noticed his face, his weary face, under the cruel crown of thorns, all of which was greatly moving. In his eyes, I saw pure love as he tenderly told me to renounce my religion and the Mother Church, for her sole purpose was to prepare the hearts of men to receive the true gospel, which would be revealed to me by the mouth of my forefathers. He expounded to me many other things, after which both of them walked away among the tree until I could no longer see them, and all the beautiful butterflies, who had silently witnessed this glorious vision, flew after them. As I write all of this that has happened to me, the recollection of it makes my hand tremble, but not my heart, for it overflows with infinite gratitude due to the greatness and kindness of my dear God and his tender Son, who loved me so much that they appointed me to be their prophet in these Americas!

“The reason I had not yet revealed any of this is because they commanded me to say nothing until divine Providence would make it clear that the time had come to do it. That time is now, as was manifested to me last night, next to my own bed, by another pious and beloved apparition. With your permission, I shall now recount this second vision, and all that in it transpired…”

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