In 1850 John W. Gunnison was wintering in the vicinity of Great Salt Lake City when he attended a social event. In a letter he describes what must have been a most painful evening as "it was midnight before being liberated last night;- and I had then listened to seven mortal hours of preaching... It was a discussion between two professed illuminati, of Swedenborgianism & Mormonism - or the Church of the Latter Day Saints and the New Church- ... The part I took was to keep them in there track so as to know what each meant, for they were mutually ignorant of terms peculiar to their philosophic notions. You may possibly imagine the flight of time- Here were two men, well "posted-up" in doctrine."
Most readers of this blog probably have some notion of Mormonism and have not heard of Swedenborgianism. The latter is based upon the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Swedenborg believed that God revealed the true meaning of scriptures to him. Like Joseph Smith he left writings that became the foundations of Church doctrine. Unlike Joseph Smith, Swedenborg neither become the head of his own church, nor did he found one. Swedenborgianism has survived into the 21st century.
Gunnison found himself in the unenviable role of refereeing a match between the disciples of two different prophets (Smith and Swedenborg) both of whom supposedly based their faith on the same religious book (The Bible) and both of whom had been given rather different doctrines through their prophets' communications with the Almighty. It was clear to Gunnison that they could not be talking about the same Bible.
The seemingly endless "conversation" drifted from topics like casting out devils, speaking in tongues, angels, faith healing, consuming poisons with no harm, revelations, etc. Of course there was no resolution. The evening ended with he Swedenborgian politely declaring he thought much better of Mormonism than before the epic conversation. The Mormon less politely declared that since he had been granted the power of discerning between truth and error he knew the Swedenborg's revelations came directly from the Devil and contained just enough truth to make them palatable. Remember, the Swedenborgian was playing an away game that night and the home team representative had to be aware of the presence of other home team members within earshot.
Gunnison clearly did not have a pleasant time in his personal no-man's-land between two true-believers. He considered both men to be "fanatically earnest" but thought they had placed their faith too much in men. He had learned a profound lesson that evening, it profits a man to excuse himself whenever prophets contend.
I've struck those two illuminati off all of my future guest lists.