Here’s a good starting point for imagining how languages give shape to our imaginations, if I can use the word “languages” as an agent, animate to shape the other imagined thing, “imaginations.” Volume 4B of the Cultural History of the Book of Mormon orients these insights towards a reading of the Book of Mormon, or various misreadings of terms like “atonement” and so on.
Obviously I’ve not been posting on the blog very often, lately. I feel like I’ve said what I want to say about scripture, religion, and so on, for now. Probably in the future I’ll write about Language, in general, drawing on Wittgenstein and my own studies. That’s the plan…
There’s no single way to determine whether someone is speaking a pidgin, a creole (said to have developed from a pidgin), or a “mature” language. Various tests can be given to diagnose, as it were, the nature of the speaking. One significant feature lacking in a pidgin, however, seems to be the ability to speak about the pidgin using the pidgin. It lacks reflexivity. Another feature is the lack of oral traditions, in the form of stories. No one philosophizes in a pidgin, nor tells their own mythologies with a pidgin. Meaning, a language also is a mythology, a speculative tradition, an imaginary.
Languages generate a speculative framework (covered in my 4B volume in the Cultural History of the Book of Mormon) governed by grammatical analogies. Importantly, the products of said framework can appear non-linguistic (in origin, operation), as philosophy has been perhaps identified with by Wittgenstein; or theology, and so on; as if merely a matter of “mind” or whatnot.
So, one thing speaking a language does, is generate misunderstanding about language, and also create many superstitions (regarding mind, causality, etc.). But perhaps this is akin to a pidgin lacking reflexivity altogether? Meaning, we don’t take up absolute reflexivity — transparent understanding of Language itself — when taking up a written-spoken-signed language used, say, in professional disciplines. As a result, we don’t understand Language, except in as much as Language reveals Language through language: a mythology, a philosophy, an ethical code, and so on.
My son wears corrective lenses, and yet when he tries on frames for the lenses at the optometrist, he cannot see if he would “like” one frame or another, without putting on his old glasses. And of course, the practice of optometry itself presupposes a certain vision, say, 20/20, when one fabricates eye-charts, machinery, and so on. Imagine if the first person to design an eye-chart had been far-sighted?
I’m wondering what a language would do, if alongside speaking and writing, it also gave us insight into itself? Rather than what modern languages seem to do, which is confound speakers/writers, particularly when they turn their language-game onto itself… are we stuck with Doing, and looking at what we’ve done through the lens of a language?
I spent some time watching a few misering-inducing clips of the Mormon Leaks on YouTube.
There’s two different things going on with the various films. First, presentations from some “authority” on a subject, a BYU professor or whatnot. He speaks on the topic, and then the men in the room make comments or ask questions.
Regarding the presentation on “Young Single Adults,” we are told by the presenter that “activity rates” in the U.S. are at 30%. Five minutes later the same guy explains that they have no way of recording activity rates. So, whence the 30% figure? Apparently, someone asked some number of bishops to more or less go over the ward rolls (in YSA congregations, not “home wards”) and give then some figure of activity rates. Right, 30%…the presenters explain various things, from Somali pirates to Credit Default Swaps, sometimes as legitimate authorities on a subject, but generally with no more understanding than I would find among college freshmen. I get the sense that a group of men have found themselves with no understanding of the world around them, which they are supposed to shepherd into Eternity, and this is their cramming for a final exam.
So we are on to the men in the audience, prophets, seers, revelators, authorities general. It’s like listening to a stereotype of the “Crazy Old Uncle,” where he talks about “The Homosexuals,” and speaks of “the Africans” (African-Americans), and how “the Media” and “the World” and so on are out to get him. They are comfortable, assured of their own salvation, apparently, and mere bystandings to a world rolling to Hell. They seem to have no grief over the problems of living on this world, and only want to point out whose a homosexual, and who is causing all the trouble.
If you watch how L. Tom Perry reacts to anything said by Packer, it is obvious the Quorum is not marked by universal respect of one man for another. Perry has the look of a man seated next to a human embarassment. They display no wisdom, nor understanding of our lives today, and how we are shaped by economy, politics, and so on.
All of their concerns and the resultant problems they cannot solve can be reduced, I think, to a single slide:
Minute 14:14 of the clip, “In Which They Fret Over The Young Single Adults”
Summary of Findings:
We are losing an increasing number of our young single adults.
This poses a threat to the growth of a multi-generational Church.
Paradoxically, we are losing them because we aren’t using them in meaningful ways.
What of their happiness, their souls, their future in Hell or Heaven? Nothing. What about Jesus or God or the truth or love? Nothing.
They display no concern about souls, only about the expansion of their imaginary corporate empire, for which they still require humans, apparently. The threats are to the Church, film after film, this is clear; not to souls, nor salvations, nor happiness, joy or eternal life. Their minds are darkened, and run on the hamster wheels common to powerful, ignorant men: “We are losing [them]”, meaning, they aren’t showing up, and they aren’t showing up, “because we aren’t using them in meaningful ways.” Using different phrases to confuse cause and effect: people aren’t there, so you can’t use them. Using them doesn’t get them there, because they aren’t there to be used in the first place. The threat is to the Church, not to them. Yep. Exactly.
My wife Amber delivered a healthy little boy today, and I thought I’d share it with friends here. We are wavering between naming him Kew Finn and Finn Kew…
NOTE: The above post is an unrelated personal matter, which I hope doesn’t offend the very serious, time-constrained readers who want only The Truth All The Time (for free! without delay!).
Here’s a little essay I wrote up for a few friends. It attempts to rely on the Book of Mormon to locate ourselves on a gospel map, of sorts, summarizing a little of what I’ve already published. By “Gospel” I mean a good spell/story.
There’s actually the City of Saints not pictured, a little Libretto I rather enjoy; and my dissertation, of course.
And I started this blog five years ago, and have met some good friends, from it, and am a very different person than I was when it started.
At some point I’m planning on publishing in book-form what I’ve published here (two more volumes!), alongside a few stray essays (like the promised presentation on Doubt).
Incidentally, it may surprise readers that I do believe the Book of Mormon is what Joseph Smith said it was. And that Ezekiel 20 has superseded Ezekiel 14, in my mind. Enjoy and thanks for reading (from among) that stack of books…and for helping me, and for helping me think.
Just a few thoughts.
Do we really want God coming back
and messing with YouTube, Apple, Google,
Science, Dollars, Robots, all that?
Carnal security ain’t so bad. Sofas for souls.
Nephi, howdoya feel about that?
He’s unpredictable, we know that
from Moses, and Jesus, Jeez, and so
on, trust us; Moroni’s face zapped off, and black’d
at Bountiful, are we sure we want him back? Yet?
Maybe just wait a little, Old Man, we’ll get back on track
no need to bring back thy unruly reign, terrible
to crooked shepherds, grinding shiny hypocrites’ faces,
lawless it seems, unbeatable rule, just, like…
like Shaq, on crack, Macklemore said that
about a bouncer, his fake ID did he take,
in a song attack, warning every ear,
Hear hear: never take an MC’s fake ID.
So it is with us Mormons, sure, fake IDs we have,
with “Zion, established 4004 BC, WASP, Eyes…Not for seeing,”
IDs that got us dirtying a lot o’ holy places,
like souls, hearts, books, Iron pen engravin
foolish notions, atonements as payments,
and yep, we’re really just a lame corporation.
Will lightning bolts to Moroni’s face fix all that?
Insurance we have, redeeming bolts, tornados
tsunamis, floods, all your crazy YahWay.
Will signs in the heavens fix all that, a corporation
in the business of salvation, temples oath making
to whom, exactly? We’re not saying. Fix that?
Probably not, and so, God, what’re ye gonna do,
if we just go on doing what we do? Zap us? hah, you won’t do us like that.
We’ll go on, proclaiming our gospel,
reverently, in Tweets, on Apostle FaceBook Feeds,
singing hymns about Him nailed up and bloody, ugh,
and gushin’ bout his establishin’ freedom of business religion,
maybe excommunicatin’ a dude or two, just
for believin somethin diffrent, Lou, a dad
looking for real religion, drinking his sacrament
and teaching bout vision, just seeking something
you ain’t offering, like can he hang with Jesus,
the One calved son of Kendrick’s Gansta, deity.
“I know the Devil fancy me, but that don’t mean the mXfX get to dance with me”
-Macklemore, St.Ides , is the caption, censored, true;
just as God cannot speak but through our Idols, say Zeke 14,
our idol is Temple, Hollow Statuary, verily Apostolic Posters in Seminary
Memes dishing salvation to tweens hauling wagons,
in Wyoming of all places. Speak through these, uncensored,
old man. It’ll just be nonesense, trust us. Gibberish.
Jesus, Abide! Wait your time, you know your place is.
not here, not with false Zion, we won’t awaken
don’t anticipate it, movements won’t make it.
Happen. Nothing of our will. Will. So we go on,
you see, pretending to be like unto thee. Speak through
an image of thee, of our own making, and you
will only say, what we’ve already been saying.
Worship Nothings, Fill thy soul with Hannities.
Ah, But Now we have Zeke 20, and more, being read,
saying that God is done with Idol speaking, if Israel we like to be.
and again leaves us to hear our own thoughts, nothing
and the voices of whatever, in our heads creeping.
Hush. Church Over? Everyone’s leaving? Why do you think?
because Google Facebook Psychology,
genetic geniuses, have disproven God’s being,
and his gold bible, that’s just a relic,
really? Maybe. Maybe because God is about
to start speaking. For himself. Hush. And hearing
cussing from his mouth, will be
the least of our worries.
Are you sure you want Him back, you can’t send Him back.
It’s one way from Kolob to Zion.
What’ll you do, if he treads holy places, and at Zion’s Meeting
camping Adam-on-di-Aman, sets
angels to rapping, thrice, but not for white ritual,
No: they’re waiting ‘pon Compton, sealing the poor
and the black, the downtrodden, with the rich, learned, the wise,
white red yellow too, altogether, good feasting in Christ?
If Lamanites with Rephaim, seated near Thor,
Buddha, the Dude who abides, that drowned refugee,
folks you’d never expect to see, and the bass is so loud
at Zion House Party, if that light you see, be really
a spotlight on purple, light tunnels to stars,
calling more, come live free?
What if he shakes down your temples, your states,
overturns the foundations, your Constitutions
are burned being nothing but paper, liberation
proclaimed by some tiny bell, shaken
by smiling children, nappy headed, former slaves
by NRA targeted (they won’t make it), guns
into ploughshares beaten, your powers forsaken?
what then? Tell Him, Wait…for a second, wait?
We’d like to keep some keepsakes: False Zion,
White God Business, Gay Pride, Black Anger…corporations,
memento Dollars, Wall Street, TVvangelists,
Epic Fails, shirts with collars, broken colleges,
tenured fools, lucred administration, textbooks, too,
booze and drugs, anatomical illustrations (for excitation),
stats, analysis, Big Data. Then we’ll make our demands,
if with us you’d like to stay, Jesus. We ain’t Satan!
Will he stay his ire, many angelic frustrations
at our taking up space that ain’t ours to be taking?
Of our making up truths that ain’t ours to make?
Making up kings to lead us to Satan?
I doubt it, though he’s patient, long suffering
maybe pleased, even, by some art, sport, science not ism-ed,
we’ll get to keep a lot, in the Millennium:
Falcons, Skywalkers, Hobbits, Elves, playstations.
But not Our justice, not our policied traditions,
political correcting masking evil intentions,
police military violence to please us,
gain seeking, drone killing, easy forgetting,
drug fleecing, bribery, mantras, advertisements,
dogma, and probably a whole lot more will be going,
the way of the dodo, extinct cliches of Satan,
never again walking in darkness,
whispering, none see us, who made us?
He sees you.
The ax mocketh the maker, the smith, the wood that wants chopping.
Listen to the ax, or grind it to sharpen?
Hasten the work? Ha. Stay your labors, suckers,
he’ll come when he’s ready. sweaty from logging
time in Hades, with David, Elijah, Ty Cobb, some mason,
without a shower, he’ll come, splitting rainbows,
And then, my friends, hold on to your butts,
a friend’s fond of saying,
when Jesus comes back, because bros, sistas, fathers, mutha-
That shit? Zap. That shit gonna get real.
A little story about internal research at LDS.org has been picked up by various news outlets, though it isn’t clear how this will affect the actual project discussed in the report.