Cult.Hist.5.3

Third installment of the fifth volume of the cultural history of the Book of Mormon.  One more to go!

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I don’t have any words of wisdom concerning or specific to recent moves by you-know-who, but can only draw on what I’ve written already.  Just a few notions I happen to subscribe to, generally:

It often is not as clear as false-true, fake-authentic.  It seems God will speak to us through our idols, as he did in the past.  Joseph Smith opens his church with this talk-about-talk.  But the True Speaker will often appear reluctant, should the audience worship the idol, rather than the voice and its stories.  When the idol’s voice no longer draws from living waters, as it were, it will spout out re-circulated waters, and attempt to impress by its synchronicity to popular tunes, its colorful lighting, grandeur of architecture, or other spectacles turned to during certain semi-annual conferences.  By re-circulated, we can also understand many things falling under the term “Restoration.”

There have been eager groups in times past, sincere and so on, seeking for Restorations (of powers of Godliness, of miracles, of…).  I would be reluctant to participate in a Restoration of Anything I wasn’t previously familiar with, or could verify by some independent means (a text, a map, a reliable, explicit supernatural being, etc.).  Something or someone must be really connected to that lost thing needing restoration, and I would prefer the more public evidence over the private and personal, when it comes to restoring houses, electricity, or life.  Dr. Frankenstein was a restorationist.  Private definitions are often the cause of trouble, particularly so when we are looking for something with a name, in the future, while hoping to understand it as we go along encountering it.  Anything potentially could be regarded as a Restoration, so long as we don’t really have definitions or specific notions for what is being restored, and what it ought to look like.  This takes us to the criteria of fruits…

What are the expected fruits, specifically, of some future-oriented cause or gathering?  And be careful that you don’t use a name as the fruit (e.g., Zion), when you can apply that name to whatever happens to come about (e.g., living in Utah, corporate bank-churches, etc.).  Also, private fruits should be linked to public ones, at least, that is what I consider my experience of “reality.”  This is not to say hopes, dreams, wishes, and so on are not “real,” only not quite as alive-real as other things, because they are not independent of our minds, and cannot be shared with or built by other interested persons.

Just because something extraordinary happens, this doesn’t necessarily mean what one might like it to mean.  Obviously.  I’m glad someone is willing to start up something new, and hopefully good, as well.  But, one of the commonest mistakes made is assuming one’s movement, church, community, non-church, or whatever, is the only sprout in the whole vineyard, the single last scion and great hope of Zion.  Perhaps this leads us to taking it too seriously, resulting in hard standards of behavior, growing lists of rules, pride, and a neglecting of other important matters.

Probably gods are busy planting many gardens.  Not every planting may be designed to bring about the One Fruit.  Sometimes gardeners plant flowers near other crops, like tomatoes, in order to keep pests distracted by their pleasing pheromones, vibrant colors, and so on.  But even in that case, the pests are nearer the tomato, I suppose, than they would be crawling about elsewhere.

V5: Cult.Hist of the BoM

The fifth volume, finally!  Book Fantasia

This volume departs from the history describing how readers of the BoM have instituted an interpretive layering upon the text.  Rather than the woeful tale of binding to the Bible, accursedness and deep sleepery, instead this book revisits the text and sees what now can be read and imagined, having gone to great trouble to dissolve so much tradition.  I think you’ll be surprised at what the old book might be saying!

BoMCH5_North

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Cult.Hist. 4B.4

Fourth and final installment of Book B of the Fourth Volume of the Cultural History of the Book of Mormon.  Like I said, this book is quite different from the others…although this section includes some material I’ve revised from the dissertation, for instance, the history of “intelligences” as imagined by Orson Pratt and others.

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Next month: Volume 5!

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BoM Cult.Hist.4B.3

Third Installment of the Fourth Volume, Part B, of the Cultural History of the Book of Mormon. 

If you are reading this series, consider yourself not part of any movement.  Trust me, if you could see book sales and blog visits, you’d realize you are a miniscule vapor of a very small, let’s say, “select” sliver of the population.  Something closer to a readership of one.  We are seldom honestly pluralized when addressed in this forum, really more of a “royal we.” 

So, let’s not worry about being swept away by the crowd of readers, or get too manic about building a city or whatnot.

I’ve realized, having watched local and national morning news after walking my children to the first day of school, that thinking is apparently very difficult work, a somewhat rare endeavor among anatomically modern humans….yes, grapes of wrath are souring in the heat of summer.  Third installment:

BoMChVol4B_West

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