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Radio Free Mormon: 050: A Whale of a Tale II – This Time It’s Personal!

BREAKING NEWS:  More information has been forthcoming regarding Ensign Blair’s Miraculous rescue of his Navy Ship in a Typhoon

Today RFM informs NEW additional forthcoming details along with hashing up some old ones…. ha ha ha ha ha ha muaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

Ensign Frank Blair (shown in photo above) told Elder Larry Wilson a miraculous story about his inspired resolution to issues aboard his navy ship in the midst of a typhoon during the Korean War.  The trouble is the details of this story are less believable than the tale of the crew of the S.S. Minnow.  Below are a list of issues with Ensign Blair’s story.

#1 – his story has a captain leaving the bridge during a typhoon to make way to Ensign Blair’s cabin. This seems to break navy code

#2 –  his story has the Captain permitting Ensign Blair to go out on the deck to “gather info” during a typhoon w/ 45′ foot waves. This would be against good judgement and dangerous.

#3 – Notice the reason for the fact finding mission in #3 is made null and void by the fact that Captain and Engineer are already discussing a solution to the problem (their gauges told them the issue) when Ensign Blair shows up to the Bridge.  That God in essence sent Ensign Blair on the deck to risk his life to gather info hence discovering a problem the Captain and Engineer already knew. In other words his walking the deck was unnecessary as the gauges on the bridge communicated the same info. The issue was not knowing the problem, but rather deciding a solution.  Why would God put Ensign Blair in such unneeded risk to learn something already known?

#4 – Also the newspaper clipping (shown above and dated August 19, 1955) has him serving on the U.S.S. Marion County. While Elder Wilson tells us the Ship has three engines, it actually only has two.

#5.) Ensign Blair claims to see the propellers (also called screws) from the deck after securing himself to the the deck in a typhoon, at night, with 45′ waves. The propellers or screws as they are called are below the boat tucked away from the outside edge. Think through what angle he would have to be at leaning off the side of the boat to see the crews as they come up out of the water in a typhoon. Think about what it would take to secure himself and manually lengthen or shorten the rope he is tied to. This story is absurd and false.( See sketch below)

#6 – While the newspaper (above) tells us Ensign Blair was a Chaplain, Elder Wilson tells us that there was no Chaplain and Ensign Blair, the upright religious sailor that he was, filled in.  Who informed the Newspaper that Blair held the officer title of Chaplain?  If Ensign Blair himself, then such is a deceptive and dishonest move as to claim a title one did not officially and legitimately hold would raise eyebrows.

#7 – Elder Wilson refers to the propellers as “giant propellers” but as you can see on the image below this style ship had very small propellers, due to the need to get up on land to drop tanks off.

#8 – Elder Wilson starts this story with “During the Korean War”.  Except as seen in the newspaper clipping above (which was dated Aug 19, 1955), Ensign Blair did not begin his 2 year military stint until after the Korean War had ended (Korean War ended July 1953).

Taken in its totality…. This faith promoting story from General Conference… well…. It simply didn’t happen.  Sorry.  God Magic still unconfirmed!!!


10 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 050: A Whale of a Tale II – This Time It’s Personal!”

  1. Bill needs to talk to Frank Blair directly. Also, I’ll bet there are sailors or officers alive that served on his ship that could verify the events (or non-events) of that typhoon.

  2. I think we should be gracious to Brother Blair on at least two counts. First, I don’t think he lied. It is far more likely that he is telling the story as he remembers it. He just remembers something that did not happen the way he remembers it. Second, while his time of service seems to have occurred after the cease fire for the Korean War, he is still clearly eligible to join the Korean War Veterans Association, which accepts those who served before January 1955. I don’t think he is stealing valor to say he served during the Korean conflict. I’m glad I wasn’t there at that time.

    Of course, Elder Wilson had a responsibility to analyze critically any miraculous story he uses to bolster faith. He did not do that, apparently.

  3. Also, would there be any light to show the screws spinning? I doubt the screws are lit up (I can’t see any in the photo) and a storm would be really dark. Lightening is the only thing I could think of

  4. Leaders have a propensity to want to capture the limelight. I think Paul Dunn enjoyed having people listen in rapture. Bruce McConkie certainly did. Could it be pride that influenced Elder Wilson over and above his desire to be accurate?

    It seems that from Joseph Smith on, story telling is considered acceptable provided it builds faith. The ends justify the means it appears, even if the story is fabricated.

    I have a feeling RFM that this podcast, and the work of Bill, will put a dampener on stories. It would be interesting to just keep a tally of who many stories are told each subsequent conference. I bet you will see the numbers dwindle…or at least the miraculous nature certainly dwindle.

  5. My brother was serving in the Karean war in the 60s… just because a war is verbally over doesn’t mean it is completely…

  6. I am preparing to speak as a high councilman on the topic of Elder Wilson’s talk in April 2018 General Conference. I am also a US Navy veteran, with experience in very heavy weather in the Far East in the 50s. I would like to comment on this post, as there are errors in the points made at the top of the post.

    Background: When I first arrived in Japan in 1954, my ship, the USS Jason ARH-1, went out for a typhoon. I experienced seeing waves 40-50 feet above the normal waterline of this 530-ft ship (about 1,100 officers and crew). I SAW and heard the screws (propellers) come out of the water. The ship Frank Blair was on was a much smaller LST, 328-ft long, with a crew of 10 officers and 90 men.

    Here are my comments on what you see as problems. I have photos to illustrate my comments, but I cannot see how to post them.

    #1 The captain left the bridge to Ensign Blair’s cabin? Officers’ quarters were about 2 minutes away, down a single staircase (officer cabins directly below the bridge ), and this would not be a problem at all, with another duty officer on the bridge. Happens all the time.

    #2 The captain permitted Ensign Blair to go on deck during the storm? Perhaps somewhat dangerous, but it is done all the time, even in a typhoon. I went on deck during a typhoon without a line, but I was on a larger ship.

    #3 Reason for mission null and void? That simply is not true. Even on a large ship, officers ask for suggestions and help. The bridge on an LST is very small, with limited readouts of status. The engineer had suggested one course of action, and the captain asked for Ensign Blair’s help.

    #4 Two or three engines? Yes, the USS Marion County has two engines, but it has three main generators. Perhaps Elder Wilson misunderstood the explanation.

    #5 View of the screws (propellers) from the deck? Even in the photo you show of the LST 325, the screws appear visible from the deck, but I have another photo showing the ship in plan view. It shows that the screws actually EXTEND beyond the side of the ship, and that is why the heavy external guard rails are on the stern of the ship. Your sketch is wrong. And yes, you can see them in the dark, as I did, with ship lighting showing them.

    #6 Chaplain or not? Perhaps Ensign Blair told the paper he was an unofficial chaplain, and the newspaper just put “Chaplain” for brevity. Your argument of “deceptive and dishonest” is overblown.

    #7 Giant propellers? The screws are large, even “giant.” In your photo of LST 325 they look to be at least as tall as the man near them, perhaps 6-7 ft in diameter. They could not be “tiny,” because the ship carried very heavy tanks and other equipment in ocean crossings.

    # 8 Newspaper clipping of 19 August 1955? That was when Ensign Blair WAS DISCHARGED from the Navy in 1955, AFTER the end of the Korean War (with Korean action actually continuing after 1953, which I saw). He later must have gone back on active duty in the Navy, because documents available on Ancestry shows he retired in 1980 with the rank of Commander.


    I believe you need to check your facts, as well as your testimony.

  7. I just posted, but I would like to restate my comments on your #8.

    Yes, if Ensign Blair served EXACTLY two years, he would technically have served after the Korean War ended in July 1953 (just barely), IF he was discharged in August of 1955. However, we do not know if his discharge took a month or so (as mine did), OR if he served two-plus years (rounded to two), as is possible. He was discharged with the rank of Lieutenant (two ranks higher than Ensign), so as “Ensign” Blair, he was at the very beginning of his service. I arrived in Japan in late 1954, and my service record shows I “served during the Korean War,” and I wore the appropriate service ribbon. I believe Elder Wilson/Ensign Blair were not wrong. I certainly could have said I served “during the Korean War.”

  8. I thought part 1 of this story was so freaking satisfying, but these follow up events by Bill Reel took that satisfaction to a different stratosphere!! What a deep deep itch this story has scratched. Thank goodness for the ego of the general authority in question or there would have been only half as much fun!! LOL

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