It is what It is

A question came up in class today concerning the “foundation” of human culture, and whether some things exist outside of it, say, a tree before humans began harvesting, pruning, climbing, and so on; before human interaction began.  Nature, but not “nature” as culture has created it.  A helluva question, for a 101 class.

My response was, yes, everything, even in human culture, is what it is.  Culture takes some parts of that “is” and matches it with other “is-es”, creating boxes and classes, hierarchies and categories. I even got to speak of “Firstness”!

So, is there a human-is-ness before human culture, I was asked?  Again, the sort of question that makes teaching 101 classes so disruptive and adventurous, at times.

Yes, but we don’t have a word for that “is”.  You are what you are, and maybe “you” is as close I’d care to give you a name.  “You” are being addressed by “me.”  Notice that while we can speak of humans outside of culture, we cannot speak of them outside language.

You are what you are, and that Is is inherently, essentially, or otherwise is-ed by Language.

What is Language?  not words, written or spoken or signed.  These are representations of Language.

“I am that I am” must be saying something about Language, capital L.

What It Isn’t

Jewish mystics reading these texts in the Middle Ages about “I am that I am” developed a mystical explanation concerning the Name of God, and those explanations got rolled into magical practices concerned with occult manipulation, action-at-a-distance attempts to get Powers and Forces to Do Something.  The secret doctrine they espoused was that speaking the Name got one access to the Name’s powers, effectively enabling one to gain power over the thing named by having its Name.  I think such doctrines are wicked, at their heart, although well intentioned. Inevitably, priests and mages postured as if possessing the Great Secret of the Name, and taboos on speaking the Name allowed their posturing to continue.

If one knew the Name of God, I suppose that would be one among many names used to refer to or address that Being.  What about being Baptized in the Name of God?

That mysterious L-anguage not only “represents” stuff, but it also creates stuff, indeed, most of what we think of as human is created by L, including our thoughts.  We are of the Word, perhaps.

Maybe L and the Word, and what-ever-Is-is are really “just” light?  Different kinds of Light?

Well, that depends on what you mean by “light.”  Probably, what we call “light” is not more “Light” than what we call “language” is really “Language.”  Sunlight, electric light, and so on are probably just representations of light: or, Light acting like light, to beings (acting like humans).

We cannot understand Light-Language by taking it apart, and gaining perspective over it.  We can create representations of L, and study those, of course.  But L will just look or act like what we are looking for or are acting like.

How can we understand L? or EL?

It would be convenient, I suppose, if we could Google it, and have our answer.

Or, if someone proposed a five-step program to take us to L, or to really know L.

I suppose we must believe that L created what L created, and that by understanding L’s creations, we don’t understand L, but we can comprehend how to create in a manner like unto L.  Does that make us Like Unto L?  Not at all, except as we’ve confused ourselves into believing that imitating a person gets at what that person really is.  We have confused acting, say, on a stage, with the character acted out; as if actor and character were really the same, or, like unto one another.  They may act like one another, and yet be whatever they be.  All are alike unto L.  But L doesn’t act like L.  L is L.

So, I don’t think we are trying to become like L, or at least, I don’t think such attempts are wise.

What about, then, being Baptized in the Name of God?  Would it be correct to say, Immersed in the representations of “God”?  Whose representations?  We are all baptized in somebody’s representations: Sidney Rigdon’s, Joseph Smith’s, Aristotle’s…But who has been immersed in the Named One’s representations of God?  Surely, all of us.  Though we rarely let that little light shine, as the song goes.

When one is baptized in the Name, one apparently, following Nephi here, learns the tongue of angels.  Is that tongue able to represent L more correctly than, say, English?  Apparently.  But, still we are dealing with representations, in this case, angelic rather than human.  Better, for sure, but not really transcending the divide between the name of L, and L.

Maybe being baptized in the Name is like being immersed in L?  At some point we might even find ourselves no longer merely content to represent L with language, being immersed (a-timely) in L?

But isn’t that all just mysticism?  The whole I-can’t-explain-but-I-feel-it stuff?  In a way.  Also, it means one cannot create a public institution to teach people how to immerse in L, or to rank one another based on how much L they’ve been immersed in, and so on.  The end of the World is probably not the End of the Earth, but at least the end of institutions-representations-power (most recently, Gentile).

What about Zion, then?  Maybe they are scattered, and few, because they don’t organize, or “gather” as we understand the term?  maybe they all have been or will be immersed in L, and that is what “gathers” them, in a union they are not conscious of, as in, “I belong to Zion” sort of consciousness?

I came across this representation of an idea, called a Klein Bottle.  It is a flat surface folded in at two corners, and then at the other two corners, as though a flat plane was made spherical.  And yet, there is only one surface, not two.  It is like unto a Mobius strip, indeed, if one placed a Left-handed and a Right-handed strip together, one has a Klein Bottle.  They don’t exist here as bottles, but we can describe them.  They exist in L. If we attempt to create a Klein Bottle, we are forced to put that thing described into a fourth dimension, and yet, when it is a stable thing, that means the bottle’s “neck” penetrates the bottle at it’s “base.”  In reality, that does not happen.  Only in two-dimensions (say, on a computer screen) can we represent the Klein Bottle, without that neck-through-the-base problem; but we then sacrifice one of the other three dimensions (e.g. depth).  But that is our best attempt to get at, physically, a thing we can describe with language.  In our imaginations we can represent it, however; and yet, what dimension does that Imagination exist in?  3?  4?  1? And that is a L-uva thing, don’t you think?



O.L.G.A: What is it? (repost)

After advocating a sort of don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy regarding “deviated sex practices,” and having notified all the quorum of the position of the First Presidency, a change in direction was taken in the late 1970s, due, of course, to the hippies. And the communists.  And probably Feminists wanting equal you-know-what for equal work.

Apparently displeased with either the ambiguity of the previous reply to the inquiry of Mrs. Luci Atwater concerning deviated practices, or perhaps because that reply was not issued to all the units of the church, a Rae Huish asked for clarification (or permission) regarding “oral sex.”  Better to ask for forgiveness, you know, than permission.

The reply was swift, and unambiguous:  1977 Oral Sex Response Letter

Oral Lovemaking in the Genital Area was forbidden.  Soon the church issued t-shirts to all the priesthood and relief societies of the Church, “OLGA is No-Go” and the Sermon on the Mount was changed to read, “Ye have heard it said, by me just now, thou shalt not ogle they neighbor’s wife, but I say unto you, this, also, which I forgot to mention: if thou hast committed or permitted OLGA, at any time preceding or following the sealing ceremony for time and all eternity, even the marriage of one man to one woman, with any woman, including thy own wife, helpmeet, or husband, thou hast done it unto thy neighbor’s wife.  And that’s bad, too, obviously.  Worse if you are a dude, and you married a dude.  That’s even worse, like unto murder.  Murder, I mean, of a non-white of a white person, like, that bad.” (Matt. 24:21).

To give you some sense of how totally white this church was in the 1970s, there was more uproar about men with slightly more melanin in their skin being ordained to priesthood, than there was in declaring certain practices between husband and wife, “forbidden”.


While you are here ogling my blog, why not read an excerpt from the Cultural History of the Book of Mormon?  It is, in my estimation, the sort of book which can very much change you, and your experience of Mormonism, and your reading of the Book of Mormon.  If you’re into that sort of thing, I mean.

The Boredom Trilogy: Part Three: is True Beliefs


the truth, and that’s why I think his recent excommunication is pure unfortunate inconsequentiality.

Look.  Let’s be honest and scientific about this whole problem.  John Dehlin clearly has been excommunicated for what he doesn’t believe in.  That is really wrong, in the universe of nihilism.

I mean, it’s obviously that Brother Dehlin really does believe in the Book of Mormon, as a modern scripture written for our day, this Thursday, in order to reclaim the Indians from their benighted weekend.  Although he has publicly denied believing it is, as he really believes, a translation done by the “work and powerful powers of The God,” as we Orthodoxers do, it is obvious to the rational person–to the thinking person–that he really does believe it to be such a work of miraculous, even perspicacious translation.   (I put it in BOLD, to make it more true.)

And I will go you one step further down the rabid whole of truthification: Let me proothify it to you all.  I got this from Godgle, where I earned a Master’s degree in Religioned Studies by looking all the way to the fourth page!  Two more pages deep, and I was looking at ABD status!  But alas, to air is human.

Brother Dehlin has but one wife, as the Book of Mormon plainly advocates for.  He doesn’t kill Lamanites.  He did not marry an accursed women suffering the blemish of browner-toned skin.  He lives northward of the River Jordan, near the Land of Bountiful.  He does not kill, steal, nor do anything that is forbidden by the Law of Moses, right?  He even lives in the Promised Land of North America Zion!  This clearly adds up to the sum of the multiplication of the fact: He really believes in the Book of Mormon.  Indeed, might even be of Nephitic blood himself.  Possibly he is the Man Seer it prophesies will come forth on Thursday?

So, the puzzle I’m here to solve!  Yes, that should’ve been a question mark, but it’s exclamatory!

And that’s why I believe John Dehlin really believes the Book of Mormon to be true.  Why does he not have the courage of his convictions to say so, publicly?  Ah, let’s think about this rationally.

Obviously, he has been under threat by his followers to say what he initially said, probably or likely or simply in order to collect donations from them.  So, he lied a bit, at first; and Brother Dehlin told them he didn’t really believe the Book of Mormon to be an ancient work.  It was a little fib, so?  But we all know, now, here in the Future, that he was at the time suffering from Religious Affiliation Misrecognition Disorder.  RAMD is regarded as a serious disease in the professional professions!  Take care you do not contract it, or inherit this SAD disorder!

Yes, the TRUTH is finally revealed: John Dehlin is actually a believer in the Book of Mormon, as an ancient record translated from Gold Plates by the Seer, Joseph Smith.  Must I proofify it to you again?

More Proothification Pudding:  When has he ever told his followers, O Ye of Mormon Storiesdom, that he lied about lying?  Never.  That’s right.  He never told them he lied, ergo, he clearly believes his own lie!  That is the key marker of RAMD.  And moreover, case in point, for instance, and QED:

He also believes in Thomas S. Monson being the Mouthguard of the Lord.  Indeed, what proof do you have to the contrary?  WHAT?  You say he said he didn’t believe TSM was the M of the Lord?  And yet, in the Future, we all know, thanks to Godgle, that his denial of his true belief is yet another symptom of that most unfortunate of disorders, RAMD.  Moreover, OED, and Cogito Ergo Sum, I add this to your instances of proofisication:

1. He has not ever killed Thomas S. Monson.  Just as we might expect a True Believer to do.

2. He has never sacrificed his own children to Moloch.

3. He has attended semi-private meetings in various non-private buildings owned by the Corporation of the President, buildings designed to inculcate believers into the strange beliefs of this cult.

3.2 He once, in my presence, sang a Mormon hymn, no doubt beloved to him: “Give, Said the Little Stream.”  Sure, his audience then “gave” as the little stream suggested, and who else would go around soliciting donations for a religious endeavor, other than a Mormon?

4. He even and also talks about being a Mormon.  Everyone knows that the Dictionary says, “A Mormon belongs to the LDS Church, and believes in the President of the Church, and in the Book of Mormon.”  Confession!  From the Horse’s Mouth!  Oh, Brother Dehlin, how we’ve failed Thee!

4.5 He has the DNA of a Mormon.  It’s right there, in his DNA!

5. He was married in a Mormon temple.  Duh.

6. He has only one wife.  And it’s not a dude.

7.  He has more than one child.  Mormon, anyone?

8. He lives in Utah.  U-T-A-H.  And he sometimes does NOT pronounce T, as in, “Moun-en.”

9. He does not partake of forbidden foods, such as possum, crickets, and vodka.  Just like a Mormon.

10.  Somebody told a person whose website I came across that he got his idea about telling people he didn’t believe from another person, possibly even an evangelical.  Or an angel.  It’s in a book, though.

pre-11.  This article blog post thing will be quoted in the Future, and then re-quoted by others, and that also will be used as prooth.

11. He is a product of his cultural circumstances and historical times, alongside a minor vectorification of the society, to the 34 degree; and even somewhat from the worldview of his world.  These abstractionated nouns all forced him to tell that first little lie, and gave it Super Awesome Power over the Minds of his benighted followers.

Oh!  Wo!

We can see from his actions that his confessions have been driven by a FEAR of persecution.  What is he afraid of?  or, WHO is he afraid of?  Or WhoM is he afraid of?  Hmmm?

Of the Mormon Stories Mob, obviously.  ‘Tis sad, how brainwashed they are by the cultural peculiarities of their own folk magic!  What if he came out and confessed, “I really lied about not believing in this stuff.  I really deep down, though even I fooled myself for a time, feel that I do believe in my belief in the Mormon Church and the Book of Mormon.”  What would THEY do?  Good Question!

They’ve given their leader minor fame and some fortune.  Perhaps he was just so caught up in the dangled web he wove, probably at first just as a form of PODCAST FICTION, that he couldn’t break their hearts?  Maybe he was doing good, with his lie about not believing, and thought to himself, “Why tell them the truth?”  And as he has tacitly admitted, by his own actions, he even believed the fib himself, for a time!  Oh, RAMD, why do you plague us so???

Well, now the persecutation has come to a tragic conclusion: THE LDS Church has excommunicated a True Believing Mormon?  Yes.  One who adheres to all the commands of the Lord, who raises his hand in support (in his heart, anyway) of the Brethren.  Whose actions belie his underlying beliefies in their Infallibility to be Fallibly Infallible.

Are you now, Faithful Brothers of the We-Aren’t-A-Church-Because-We-Are-So-Smart suffering from a Saving Face Crisis, I mean, a Faith Crisis?  Let’s take it up a notch, to a Faith Transition!  VrOooom.

Do as these your leaders have done, as the scriptures say.

Proclaim you believe Joseph Smith made it all up in order to get fame and fortune.

Don’t worry that you don’t really believe that, that you really believe Joseph Smith was a True Spokesperson for Adam-Michael God the Father, grandson of Super God.  We must tell a lie in a season, as the Bible says.  I mean, as long as the Bible wasn’t lying about that, right?  Erm.. .  anyway, it wasn’t.

So, Faith Crisis solved, right?  Secretly you can attend Sacrament Meeting, and eat all the white bread and water you’d like!  No one will ever know.  And if you happened to dabble in a bit of General Conference now and then, who’s the wiser?  Sometimes we need a break from all the liberties of the world.  In the Future we shall call you, and your intrepid companion Pioneers, who feign unbelief because of persecutation by the Loud Majority, the Noble Crypto-Ex-Mormon-Mormons.  ye, even the leaven of the loaf that has gone sour.

Forced to pretend to donate money to Ex-Mormon causes! Compelled by mobs to read books (or, at least to listen to a podcast of a guy who said he read a book)! Unfortunate Soul!  In the Nowhere and Nothing that awaits us all after Death, you shall find your reward: a church to call home, and a faith ready made for easy answers, and convenient living.  Smart people in this Future Myopia will always tell you, “you are right, and always have been.  Never again shall you be wrong.”

And you’ve heard of Jeremy Runnet, obviously.  What?  You haven’t?  He’s the most important Importance Nowadays!  He also believes as Brother Dehlin, but doesn’t have the gumption to say so.  he wrote a fictational letter to his imaginary CES friend, and it was published by people of Hard Hearts.  And now, Dear brother Runnet is forced to pretend he really believes that Joseph Smith made it all up, just to get a little on the side.

Thus, we see a conspiracy of believers to pretend to not believe!  So you see  [return to top]

Brothers!  Should you comment below, adding affirmation to my discovery, please DO NOT leave your real names!  They are looking for us! And, for your own sake: pretend you do not agree with me, and call me names, and make fun of how I write, so that no one will think we are a movement.  We must stay in the shadows, until such a time as we can all come out and go to church on Sunday, free of the persecutation of The Them. 


Inviting All Clever Geniuses!

A Challenge to Clever Scientistical Genius Unbelievers:

I am saying ____________________________.

Thus, _________________________________.

Fill it in, however you’d like, and argue against it. 

Your Challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to misunderstand what a person is saying, and then to argue against what they are not saying!

Let this post stand in, whenever you feel the urge to read a post concerning something you’ve decided is built by fraudulent (legal term!) designing men.  Why bother reading a blog post about something you’ve decided is fake?  In order to patrol the boundaries of truth, of course!  We mustn’t allow a person to say something disagreeable, without pointing that out!

You have been called to the Correlation Committee of the Ex-Mormon Church.  So, Patrol away, free thinking liberal minded scientistical geniuses!  Insist that I am saying X, and that X is stupid!

I’ve also provided a list of “smart” sounding terms and phrases you can use in your reply to my absurd claims.  Consider it free therapy.

Fool, dummy, lazy, ignorant, don’t you know about ___?, straw man!, Ad Hominen!, Modus Tollens!, QED, Ergo, Liar!, Idiot, Plagiarist, and so on. 

Feel free to add your clever replies below!

Seriously, use your anonymous monikers to comment on something no one said, and then call me names, having read nothing I’ve written, not even the post.  So much arrogance, vanity, and ignorance all rolled up in a blog comment does make me laugh.  I do reserve the right to change your comments into even funnier ones. 


Scripture Challenge: Calling Unbelievers

UPDATE:  You’ll notice from my responses to comments, that some simple readings of this post have generated foolish rejoinders to it.  Look.  I am NOT saying, “You must conclude Joseph Smith was a true prophet, because look how he suffered!”  That would be stupid.  And so, you should NOT say below, as if confounding my argument, “Look at so-and-so, he also did similar things, and he was a fake!”  Or, “Joseph Smith was crazy, because he did X!”  I am not making the case for Joseph Smith.  I am saying, “If you say Joseph Smith did X to get Y, and YOU also do X to get Y, I will believe that you believe your theory is correct.”  Otherwise, I respectfully retain doubts about whether you really believe what you are saying about Joseph Smith, or whether you are merely saying them to get A, B, or C.  Got it?  Excellent!


So, I’ve come across a few texts in my occasional reading of Mormon history, and even written a few myself.  The most recent attempts to explain the Book of Mormon, or Joseph Smith, or “Mormonism” (whatever that means) are not new, nor original, nor to me very convincing.  A select few of these proponents are prospering by a reverse priestcraft, selling “truth” to free believers from “religion.”

I hereby issue the following challenge to anyone who concludes, “Joseph Smith (and others) made up the Book of Mormon to get a bunch of money or women or fame, and that explains it all.”

The Unbeliever’s 10 Step Challenge:

1.  Write a book with a story.  I’ll give you a pass on complexity and other literary matters, even length.  100 pages of story you know isn’t true.  Take as much time as you’d like.  Maybe you could draw on the most obvious books for inspiration, like, the Bible?  No one will notice the similarity, right?

2.  Pass off the story as true to your family, parents and children included.  Or include them in the deception, and hope they don’t rat on you.  Work out the risks yourself, I suppose.

3.  Let others take this fake book, (often without payment!) and present it to still others as being really true, as this is part of your plan to make money.  There aren’t any fiction best sellers yet, so what option do you have, right?  Consider it Viral marketing.  The money will come.

4. Let mobs attack and assault you and your family, your friends, and others brought into your deception, until your only option is to flee to the stix, middle-of-nowhere (like Ohio, ca.1830s).  Your new friends expect you to dress up and act like some figure in the book you wrote, which you’ll do, because eventually you’ll get totally rich from it.

5.  In your new town, you realize your plan for money might finally happen.  So, join with a group of weirdos who share their money and property.  And they are mostly poor, so you are now living in a single upstairs room, with a few other passing strangers.  Above a store.  The plan is working well, right?  Do this for like, five years, and send me all your income.  Maybe start a fake bank, and then go for broke once and for all?

6. Your little deception is finally paying off.  You have a house, after a few years; but sometimes mobs come in and drag you around, and threaten you with castration.  Sometimes they pour tar or oil on you, or attempt to poison you.  Sometimes your children die, for lack of food, shelter, or care.  How’s that plan working now?  Keep sending me all your money, so I know you are not really making money.  And if women is your thing, or power…well, good luck with that, Mr. Prophet of the Campbellites.  There are easier ways to satisfy these lusts.

7.  Keep up the deception for another decade, and make sure the dozens of people initially let in on the plan (who remain as poor as you) don’t sell out and tell the truth.  Let the mobs attack them, and hope they don’t all come out and say, “you know what, we totally lied.  Sorry guys.  We’re all cool, now, right?”  No doubt your fellow conspirators will fear your threats of retaliation more than the shotgun that just blew off the face of their only child.

8.  You should go to jail a few times yourself, leaving your family to figure out how to feed and shelter themselves, in the middle of winter, too.  No problem right?  Jail is super awesome, as Brother Jake would say!  Oh, and the reason you keep going to jail?  Because all the people you fooled don’t do what you ask, and those in on the initial story-fabrication have abandoned you. Without giving an expose, lucky for you!

9.  Repeat steps 2-8 for another half decade.  Maybe run for president?

10.  Go to jail, again, dragging your brother and others into your deception.  Watch them get shot in the face, and then get shot yourself, and then die.  Bankrupt.  But you did get to dress up as a general, once in a while, right?  And don’t forget all the hot ladies?  See the silver lining?  You did fool a bunch of people, and that’s pretty cool.

If any unbelievers follow through with this challenge, I will at least be forced to admit that your theory about Joseph Smith “making it all up to get X” is something you at least sincerely believe. And is NOT something you are saying merely to make money, or get women, or to get famous.  Put up or shut up, the Book of Mormon says somewhere.  

Your own death, unfortunately, won’t prove another guy didn’t take a similar route for different reasons, of course. 


More Scripture Fun: Baptism as Baptism for the Dead

Letter from Joseph Smith to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nauvoo, Illinois, September 6, 1842. History of the Church 5:148-53.

D&C 128:1 As I stated to you in my letter before I left my place, that I would write to you from time to time and give you information in relation to many subjects, I now resume the subject of the baptism for the dead, as that subject seems to occupy my mind, and press itself upon my feelings the strongest, since I have been pursued by my enemies.  I wrote a few words of revelation to you concerning a recorder…

Now, we’ve been told this recorder is to give us the names, dates, and other mundane information, as certified by another, and stamped by some other authority.  Yet, these are no mere accounting books:

128:5 You may think this order of things to be very particular; but let me tell you that it is only to answer the will of God, by conforming to the ordinance and preparation that the Lord ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world, for the salvation of the dead who should die without a knowledge of the gospel.  And further, I want you to remember that John the Revelator was contemplating this very subject in relation to the dead, when he declared, as you will find recorded in Revelation 20:12—And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Let’s leave out why Joseph would quote from Revelation, and suppose he is speaking to them through their idols.  What Joseph says about the scene, the dead being judged according to their works, and writing and not writing on earth or on heaven, is important.  Yet the linking of heaven and earth by books is not simply to keep track of who did what to whom in a ritual.

128:9 It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah.

So far, we can read this description of “a power” as the sealing power so often spoken of by General Authorities of the LDS Church, and by others using their words.  But maybe not?  Maybe these men did things which became law, say, giving laws (e.g., Moses) or making promises?  The secret of the whole matter—how to write here and have it law there, and vice versa—is something they, the Mormons, are to seek for; not something they had even in 1842.   Moreover, this power is not simply to unite me and my great-granddaddy into some sort of heavenly church quorum.

128:11 Now the great and grand secret of the whole matter, and the summum bonum of the whole subject that is lying before us, consists in obtaining the powers of the Holy Priesthood.

Not “in obtaining the Holy Priesthood,” but Joseph clarifies, “the powers of…”  What are these powers?  The letter has been versified, and so the following sentence is presented as if clarifying the preceding line about the grand secret.  Yet it follows more closely as introducing “glory and honor”:

For him to whom these keys are given there is no difficulty in obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living. Herein is glory and honor, and immortality and eternal life:

The ordinance of baptism by water, to be immersed therein in order to answer to the likeness of the dead, that one principle might accord with the other;

To be immersed in the water and come forth out of the water is in the likeness of the resurrection of the dead in coming forth out of their graves;

Hence, this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead.

Now, here we’ve taken a rather surprising turn, but maybe not noticed?  If we read carefully, we’ll find Joseph saying something like, “the ordinance of baptism by water” was instituted “in order to answer to the likeness of the dead,” and that immersion in water, as an ordinance, “was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead.”  Well, you are probably saying, that would make baptism in the water something done after baptism for the dead?  Yes, I think it would.  So, Joseph explains, as if not simply reciting something Christians had said for a thousand years:

128:13 Consequently, the baptismal font was instituted as a similitude of the grave, and was commanded to be in a place underneath where the living are wont to assemble, to show forth the living and the dead.

After stating how important this matter was, for their own salvation and for the dead, Joseph brings in Elijah and his priesthood (“personages”), who will bind.  So, what is the entire “curse of the earth” hinging upon?  Not baptism.  Baptism for the Dead.  It is this which will make just men perfect.

128:18 I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect.

Baptism by water was instituted, it seems, in likeness of the Baptism of the Dead, maybe to remind by re-enactment of their burial (by water), and their hoped-for resurrection from the earth where the dead are assembled.  This particular Dead.  Not simply everyone who is dead.  Those Dead in Peter’s letter, discussing those who are dead, and have waited since the days of Noah,  having perished in a flood.   Their brethren maybe are that priesthood, say, residing in Zion; and their resurrection long awaited, when they can be judged by the books yet to be written concerning their works.

We are told: Baptism by water was the rule, and then the rule was applied to the dead who weren’t baptized.  They must all be baptized, right?  Why?  Because…its symbolic of blah blah.  Wouldn’t it have been smarter to simply have a rule that everyone must be baptized the moment they are born?  Oh, yeah, that’s been done…All sorts of elaborate but ultimately nonsensical explanations have been given for the ordinance (rule) concerning the ordinances (like baptism) and the rules around their necessity and operation.

Yet, why are the dead baptized, if the dead rise not at all?  They must come forth from the grave, and so, must be baptized.   Why baptized?  Not because the living must be baptized, but because the baptism for the dead was the agreed upon link for the exercise of the powers of the priesthood in Zion.  Our baptisms for the dead are in the image of some (future) baptisms for the Dead, and our baptisms by water merely instituted in likeness of the baptism of the dead (in water).   The living, it seems, are baptized in the image of the dead, in relationship to the baptism of the dead, which is the welding link.  Perhaps this was cause of dispute in Bountiful, they having a tradition of baptism by water which had been severed from the more ancient baptism of the dead?  Maybe Moses introduced a ritual cleansing, and this became confused with baptism?  And Alma having giving a “law” concerning baptism as a rite of fellowship, also introduced a ritual which confused the matter, only to be resolved by Jesus, after he visited the Dead waiting since the days of Noah, being resurrected?

What do you mean????  Won’t you make it plain???

Let me try, a little.  The sons and daughters of God who were imprisoned after a flood in the days of Noah, and the men who perished in another flood, were left to perish by the City of Enoch.  But Enoch must return, and with him will come the priesthood (and Michael, the most high god).  In the right place they will baptized for their dead, who will finally rejoin their brethren, being resurrected by the same “ordinance.”  Someone wrote this as a law (presumably Enoch or Michael), and so it became a rule: baptism for the dead was the welding link across generations of men and the fathers.  Later, various cleansing practices, like bathing, also became understood as a “baptism” (or dipping).  Jesus then simplified the matter by being baptized for the dead, descending under the water and returning a resurrected man.  In Bountiful he gave it as a law that all (perhaps those he addressed) must be baptized, even as men must be baptized in the Name, in the Spirit, and so on.  Yet, by our age of the world, we lost the original welding link and instead practiced baptism as a rite of a church, offered by priests who would claim to clean us of sin, so that Jesus-God wouldn’t torment us in Hell forever.  I don’t know if that is more plain, but sometimes we have to figure it out own our own.

Scripture Fun! An Often Confused Report

Some Comments on a writing attributed to Moses, via Joseph Smith:

Chapter 6, verse 55: And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good. 56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.

57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.

Now, it is clear that the Lord is telling Adam what to say to Adam’s children.  And these children are told that Men may inherit the Kingdom of God, but under strict conditions: namely, they cannot dwell there, except they repent.  As if his children cannot bring them to the kingdom, until they repent.  How can they repent?  Adam (now honored with the title, Man of Holiness) is then given a command to teach “these things,” that is, the following, to his children.  He is to give the text exactly, as if the Lord is scripting Adam’s words to his own children (in contrast to the above teaching about Men):

58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water and blood; and the spirit which I [Adam] have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

Adam is speaking of himself, using words given to him by the Lord.  He is talking to his children, who were born(e) into the world by water and blood, and the spirit Adam made, living souls now become “of dust.”  Like Men, who must repent, his children “must be born again into the Kingdom of Heaven,” and this time, they will do so by being born also into the kingdoms of water and of the spirit, and by taking on blood which will cleanse.  Whose blood?  Not Adam’s blood.  Not yet, anyway.  The blood of “Mine only begotten,” that is, Adam’s only begotten (who just happens to be giving this script to Adam).  Need a breather?

Thus, Adam here learns about the Lord, from the Lord: how salvation will come to men, who must repent, and also will come to his own children, at this time beings of spirit become of dust (but needing rebirth as Men).  They will enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and the world to come, and immortal glory.  And so, Adam gives his children (not Men, not yet, anyway), the record of heaven, the comforter, and so on (These Children are either the Record of Heaven, or are given it):

60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified; 61 Therefore it is given to abide in you, the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

Adam’s children are given these gifts, and then Adam tells them about men, too.  He is to tell them what he was just taught by the Lord about repentance, rebirth, blood and salvation.  And this no doubt surprisingly revelation: that he, Adam, is their father as well, of the spiritual and temporal:

62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time. 63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me [Adam], both things which are temporal [Men], and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.

Here the script Adam is given by the Lord, and which he is to say to his children finally concludes.  Thus, Adam is the first to carry out the new plan and commandment, concerning men and his own spiritual heirs:

64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

Is the story more true because I have tied it to “scripture”?  Or less true because I didn’t say, “An angel told me so”?  I’m just looking at who is talking to whom.  I could be wrong, obviously.  The comforter is not necessarily given to Men at that time, which is why Jesus seems to make something of a big deal about giving it to Men, after the Lord resurrects as a Man.  Who must be born again? Not Men, but the children of God, at that time spirits by their own fall “become of dust.”  Many different “families of the earth” are to unite under Michael, raised up as their Father by the Lord known to us as Jesus. 

Some scripture chase questions: Where did the original fathers of men come from?  What was Adam’s transgression?  Why did Eve declare Cain “A man got from the Lord”?  Was he of a different order of being than was Able, and the later Seth?    What was the fate of his children who refused this rebirth, and what of their redemption?  Does baptism figure in, if so, how?  Discuss how to apply this symbolic principle to your daily lives.