It’s not often that you find yourself at a dinner party that suddenly turns into an epic murder mystery. Well, I hope not. Honestly, if that happens to you regularly, that’s a little suspicious.
Regardless, that’s exactly what happened at the Buena Vista Institute the other night. We all showed up for yet another pleasant, laid-back Institute activity. We were innocently chomping down on our breadsticks when all of a sudden, some guy who was talking to us named Warren Sterling just fell over dead. He was poisoned! I was like, “That guy totes just got murdered!” My date was like, “That escalated quickly.”
I haven’t been a big part of these murder mystery things before, but I had always assumed they were handled through the normal legal channels. But in a fascinating experiment in spontaneous order, we somehow decided to just deal with it ourselves. Charlie Smith stood up and told us he was the master of ceremonies. Frankly, the fact that he had such a great handle on the situation made me a little suspicious, but everyone assured me that the master of ceremonies can’t be the murderer. I figured that they had read more murder mysteries than me, so I let it go. Although, that might be a fascinating concept for some sort of post-modern retelling of the standard murder mystery.
Anyway, under Charlie’s masterful and ceremonial leadership, all the members of the Sterling family started laying out what they thought was going on. That was one dysfunctional family, let me tell you. Years before, Warren and his daughter’s boyfriend, Toby Westwood, had threatened the life of his father and essentially driven him out of town. The whole family was divided against each other, and they all started accusing each other.
I didn’t see any way out of it, but I had underestimated Charlie’s master-of-ceremony skills. He told us that the vital clue was in the eighth chapter of Ether in The Book of Mormon. That’s when my suppressed memories of four years of early-morning seminary suddenly resurfaced. Ether 8 is when Jared wants to overthrow his father King Omer. He enlists the help of Akish, who was in some sort of relationship with Jared’s daughter (Facebook would probably just say, “it’s complicated”). Omer is warned by the Lord of the murderous intentions of Jared and Akish and runs away, leaving the kingdom to Jared. But then Akish decides to murder Jared in order to claim the kingdom for himself.
Don’t you see? The story in the Book of Mormon was parallel to this murder mystery. Warren (who corresponded with Jared) had driven away his father (Omer) with the help of his daughter’s boyfriend, Toby (Akish). So just like Akish ended up killing Jared, we knew that Toby had killed Warren. I was kind of like, “I don’t know guys. This isn’t really definitive evidence.” But when we confronted Toby, he basically admitted to everything. He even tried to stab Brett Cain with a plastic knife, which was weird.
So it was a happy ending. I mean, people died, but we solved the mystery. On top of that, we got to read some Scriptures and liken them unto us, which is important. And the food was really good. Way to be, Institute.
(Post by Alec Johnson ’14. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)