Broken News! Machines Un-Sea-Lion The Book of Nephi! Re-Reform Egypt Word To See!

I give to you the Machine Translation of the First Chapter of the Book of Nephi.  Newly restored to its Arabic-Hebrew Origins!  Original Chiasmus Revealed, as is the true story of Lehi, in what appears to be a briefly jotted diary of Nevers, aka, Oasis.

The number of Nevers
Office & administration.
Lehi and Sariah‘s wife and children 4 and …
Name: (beginning with the oldest) Samuel, Sam, page, wings.
Lord warns Lehi in Jerusalem, Israel. G-d the people concerned, ONAM.
They want to ruin his life. The trip takes three days.
Into the desert with his family. Man in Nivelles.
Weritornith to Israel after log in.
Jews. Account suffering. They take girls.
Ishmael to wife. They take their families and go.
Talking. Suffering. And in the desert.
During their travel. They come to the water.
Neve brothers rebel against him. He konvondith, and
With the ship. They call the name of the place bountiful. They
Crossing the great water to the promised land, and so on. This
Calculation of OASIS; In other words, me, Neve, writing this record.
Chapter 1
1 OASIS, was born to parents fun! Even I, Learning about learning, my father… And after seeing Many lesion in my day, however, there already a favorite to God all my life; Yes, he has Good knowledge of the mystery of God.  This is why I’m making my record of proceedings in my days.

2 In my father’s language, it: These include the study of Jews and language Egypt.

3 and I know that I give is correct and not to do it. With his hand, as far as I know it.

and 13 early in the freshman year. The reign of zedekiah King of Judah, (my father, Lehi, In Jerusalem at the same time), and in the same year. Prophets ‘ expectations many people have. Repentance, or the great city of Jerusalem must be destroyed!

5 and it came to pass that my father, Israel freedom fighters, also went. Pray to God, but from the heart, On behalf of the people.
6 weviai as he prayed to Hashem, by hook or by crook!  Pillar of fire sat on a rock in front of him, and he saw. I’ve heard a lot, and because of the things which we have seen and heard this:
Earthquake shaking so!
7, Vijay and he returned home. Jerusalem.  He flung himself on his bed to help with The spirit.  The things that he saw!
8 and so it is with the Holy Spirit, In the vision, although he saw heaven opened and he thought it was,
I saw the Lord sitting on a Chair, surrounded by several Netivot angels in the attitude of singing and praising About God.
9 weviai saw one descending In the midst of heaven, and he predicted that Brcko was over The Sun at noon.
10 and he also saw 12 others follow.  Their All the stars in the sky.
11, the name of the Earth! And I came, my father stood before him. Multiple integral, he needs to read.
12 and this time read. Vijay was full …The spirit of God.
13 and he said: Wu, Wu, to Jerusalem. Profanity only!. Yes, a lot of reading to my father. With regard to Jerusalem, it was supposed to be destroyed, and Him; have to die by the sword, and many Should be a prisoner to Babylo.
14 weviai when he called, my father! And see a lot of wonderful things, lots of things. The masters, that’s wonderful!  Your work, Sir, Blessed be!
And a high palate! And, And compassion, all the inhabitants of the Earth, Are you…art merciful, hatch, can’t stand it. Come to you because they will be lost!
15 and after this manner of language did my father. In praise of God, the soul is not happy!  And everything. In full, because the things I see, Yes, Jesus showed him.
16 and now I am, Neve, did not provide a full description.
My dad says that Jehovah God was many things. He saw in visions and dreams; My grandfather‘s House, and he also wrote, “There are a lot of things.” He predicted his children, from….I don’t do full account.
17 but I will make my account in my day. Here I am, my father’s record shortcut:

Dishes made with hands! Why?  After The default for record sums.

Life itself.
18. therefore, you should know that after I see a lot of wonderful things for my father, Lehi, With regard to the destruction of Jerusalem, and here he comes between people and declare them. Things we’ve seen and heard!

Ponderize Us! Managerial Jargon And the Generic Authority’s Bailiwickification

What else is there to say about PONDERIZE?  It’s bad.  It’s good.  It’s silly.  It’s nuanced…let me ponderize a bit, or do I mean pondificate?

Ponderize: It’s a way to say you should PONDER and MEMORIZE in some blend of your thought-box-mind-machine, apparently, while reading some magic book.

What is different about this one?

OK.  Now, what about selling shirts that insist one should PONDERIZE, or that suggest the wearer of the shirt claims to PONDERIZE? Is that bad?  Why is that any different from insisting one should pay money to go the temple?

I mean, is enforcing a demand for payment before temple attendance WORSE, in the scheme of badness, than is asking someone to pay for a t-shirt?   Or, is it, that someone in Generic Authority Durrant’s family hoped to gain monetarily from the sale of those shirts?  Well, is that any different from them getting free tuition at BYU?  Or discounted loans from preferred lenders?  Or eating dinner with their dear old dad, and he pays?  Or him collecting a fee for his work as a GA?  Or going on a LDS mission without paying the monthly fee?  It’s different?  OK, how?

Well, they are selling merchandise with their dad’s GenCon phrase, and it is sacred because it talks about how we should think-memorize someone’s writings. 

But what about all those Be-this and Be-that kitsch that showed up the day after GB Hinckley counted up some number of bees?  How is that different, exactly?  Is it because the prophet can be sold, but not a lower ranking authority?  How is any religious kitsch different from the Ponderize?  Because the guy who said it had family members profiting from the sale of that kitsch?  Maybe it was a family phrase, and isn’t really any different from you selling something your dad says all the time.  There was a best selling book a few years back titled, “Sh*t my Dad said.”

Strangely prophetic, the Sugar Beet News published a story way back in like 2003 that predicted, in coded terms, the whole Ponderize fiasco.  I cannot find the page today, but I happened to save a copy of it years ago.  It reads, in part:

Conference-Themed Products Set Sales Records

By Chris Giauque

SALT LAKE CITY——According to a report from the LDS Industrial Group, an independent watchdog organization that tracks the performance of LDS-themed products and businesses, products based on the spring 2003 general conference are selling faster than any previous conference-themed product lines. ““We got a lot of good, memorable quotes out of the latest GC,” explained Jacob Buhn, president of the group. “It was just what we were looking for——short, snappy lines that promote brand retention in consumers’’ minds.”

The fastest-moving conference T-shirt features a humorous picture of a skunk drenched in tomato juice, with the caption ““Overcome the Stench of Sin,”” a reference to Elder Spencer V. Jones’s memorable talk. In addition, a poster with a picture of the scriptures and the caption “If all else fails——Please! Follow the instructions,” from Elder Rex D. Gerratt’’s talk, is selling very well on BYU campuses.

“The ideal product is based on a memorable line from a high authority,” explained Buhn, “the higher, the better. When Elder F. Burton Howard told the story of his wife’’s silverware set, I knew we’d soon be seeing silverware for sale bearing his tagline, ‘‘If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently.’’ On the other hand, when Susan Tanner, the Young Women general president, said that ‘‘the most crucial and fulfilling thing you will do is build a holy home and rear a strong family,’’ I knew we’d maybe see that on a cross-stitched pillowcase, if at all. No one’s ever managed to successfully market a female quote on a product over twenty dollars, except the occasional book.”
According to Buhn, the success of this conference’s product line can be attributed to several factors. “First, of course, is the fact that with the war, a lot of people were tuned in to conference for reassurance,” he said. “Also, this is the first conference in several years that hasn’’t provided some distraction. For instance, in recent years, we’’ve heard announcements about smaller temples, the Perpetual Education Fund, and new rules for missionary farewells. Don’’t get me wrong——those are all great things, but they don’t translate well into marketable brand images. I mean, how do you put the Perpetual Education Fund on a T-shirt?”

I cannot see why, given what is not merely acceptable, but encouraged as part of LDSism, that selling Ponderize t-shirts is somehow bad.  Or poor taste.  Or silly.  Bad, poor taste, and silly are not words any LDSist uses to describe the activities of General Authorities, no matter what; or of LDS people selling religious kitsch.  It seems like the only difference was the getting caught early in the game, by non-LDSers; rather than letting others profit from the phrase as well, so that it could become kitsch.  So, it’s not the act itself that was bad; it was who was involved.  And they were shamed in public.  And that says a lot about LDSism, and about its critics.

Enough Pondification, on that point.  Let me now proothifize it.

Why should Durrant even pother inventing a word like Ponderize?  What evidence does he have, in his understanding of “the scriptures,” that his unique term describes something new, or useful?  Is this the first time any of his ilk suggested one should memorize, and ponder?  Probably not.

So, why bother with the term?  It’s branding, I think.  Supposedly a way to make something memorable, and to identify it with something else, a phrase or a person.

General Authorities cannot make new doctrines, at least not explicitly (but do so implicitly all the time).  They cannot stray from what someone in Correlation deems to be the correct interpretation of “scripture.”  So we see in this new term what they can do: invent new tools for processing (e.g., Bednarian devices), or new names for the currently existing set of tools most readers already employ.  They can brand.

Ponderize should mean, rather than memorize-ponder, if we follow english grammar, to -ize what one ponders, just as memorize is to -ize what one (re)members (or “memors”).  But he isn’t following the rules everyone else plays by, so he has to explain how he came up with this term.  It’s a blend of two existing words, but a confusing blend at the suffix -ize.  That says something about power and authority, and how it flourishes in the arbitrary; in what is against the rules of the common man.

To -ize?  To make or to subject something to some process or treatment, e.g., legalize, homogenize, and so on.   To ponderize, if Durrant followed the rules familiar to English speakers, would mean, to make something pondered (or literally weighed); or to subject it to a process now branded with this -ize.  In the age of machines, most new -izes are of the second sort, and their makers do so merely to gain fame and fortune, I suppose.

This particular use of the -ize suffix is commonly found in managerial jargon.

In the non-ironically named website, ThoughtLeader,  a list of tired business jargon is given.  At the top of this list is … utilize.  Other -izes are found alongside jargon-phrases, but nearly every single word (rather than a phrase) that is its own jargon-term ends in -ize.  Indeed, the single comment on the page lists a few more phrases, and then adds this, in reductio mockery:


Also annoying are those fabricated words ending in -ize (such as incentivize, genericize, monetize)

…which sparks some ideas for future incomprehensible management memos:


So, we see something of their priesthood here, and its background from which it draws power and authority.  A jargon term is created by a standard business process to describe how one should process scripture, as though one were butchering a corpse.  Efficiently.  As though truth written or read really comes in packets, verses, chapters, words, and so on; rather than in waves of continuous light.  Truth and Light are not taken in by such a process, nor given in units.

His notion of memorizing and pondering is itself drawn from a world of accounting in standard, generic units and measuring their distribution, just as General Conference itself enacts this mesmerizing mystery of monetized capitalism (-ized isms are uniquely academic jargon): standard, generic units of power arranged from more to less, like a pile of coins, now in red chairs; valuable because of their arrangement; and listened to with the same accounting standards and concerns of efficiency, so that Mormons ask the evil questions, “Did that come the Prophet?” “Is that doctrine?” and “Is that author LDS?” and use one’s place on a pyramid to decide how true and powerful are those words.

Now, what about those t-shirts?

Clothing has long been used to identify one as a member of some group, class, race, gender, team, religion, and so on.  T-shirts are simply the cheapest way to do this, and printing an actual jargon-term on the shirt is the egregiously, heavy ham-fisted way of accomplishing such identification.  I recall a few years ago, sweat pants were often printed across the butt with various terms the person wearing the pants apparently wished others to say about him or her, “babe!” or “hot!” or “pornstar” or whatever, as they walked behind their behind.  Again, the most heavy handed way of introducing yourself, with a term you’d like another to say about you, printed on your butt.  Or your business card.  Generally, such trends die fast, because there is no secret in-group reading that develops, say, with knowing the new designer whose name is not actually printed across the shirt.  The real high end stuff doesn’t make itself known in such a manner, and so it works like any other secret handshake: to identify authentic members of the group using secret signs only given to members of the group.

But…what about calling yourself Elder So-and-so, and wearing a suit and tie to show one’s religious status?  Any different?  How so?  More expensive, and not explicit.  So that they who interpret the true signs of religious authority are now also a part of the secret group, even though generally of lesser power and might than are the men whose signs they interpret.

Powerful Rites

“What is that?”  If you have to ask, either you don’t trust me, or you don’t know.  It’s a sign of club membership.  If I have pierced your veil, you ought to know me.  And trust me.

If you have to explain, about your sash, that “It’s an emblem of my power and authority,” I would say, you have no power and authority, outside of your claim about such.  And outside of your display of ridiculous tokens that have no real connection to actual power.  If you have to call yourself a General Authority, in order to be one; and you have to talk at General Conference to get your word out, then you have no real power or authority whatsoever.

If you have to rely on family to create a website that sells shirts with a word you invented, in the paradigm-non-shift of managerial bullshit, you are not powerful, nor any author of anything whatsoever, other than of a word that points back to your own vanity.  Indeed, that is all your priesthood consists of: people saying it is so, and thus it is so.  That is not power of a heavenly sort, however, for marketers, politicians and managers use this fiat regularly for purposes spanning the moral spectrum, from the Evil to the Mundane; but rarely creative of the Good.  Ponderize is not capable of moving on its own, any more than their Restorationist gospel can move without the machines of Mammon.  Ponderize that.


The Truth and Lying For the Lord

What harm comes from telling a lie about a supernatural experience?

What harm comes from letting others believe something you’ve said refers to a supernatural experience?

What if someone “converted” to or otherwise claimed to “believe in” Jesus as a result of said telling?

Take the case of the Boy Who Returned From Heaven.

A recent, relative landslide of boys claimed to have returned from Heaven, following a brief tour during some semi-dead state, to regale us with details of the happy faces and splendid colors found there.  Wonderful!  I can use this to teach about Heaven to my children!  Look, he went there, it must be real! Surely, a six year old boy wouldn’t lie about such dreadful and important things as God, life after death, and so on…

Well, enter a boy named, believe it or not, Malarkey.

Having told and perpetuated a lie for many years, and finding his lie not profiting himself nor his mother, said boy-now-teenager advises us to Get Right With The Bible, and blames others for having believed his tales about visiting and returning from Heaven.  No doubt there are details  I’m missing, some internal family struggles between Mom and Dad (now divorced, with Dad apparently profiting from the book’s publication), sectarian battles being fought over “extra-canonical” Heavenly tourist tales, and who gets paid for such.  Those banal human evils don’t figure into this as a case study in lying for the Lord.

So, what can we expect to happen now, should someone else come out and say, “Hey I really went to Heaven, and it looks like…”?  Well, we won’t say anything to that person, probably.  But if our friend tells us about his tale, he might well laugh, and say, “Man, didn’t you hear about Malarkey?”  What about all those parents who read Malarkey’s book to their children, hoping to convince them that Heaven is “for real”?  I can hear the laughter from the school playgrounds already.


caption: “So, are you telling me the truth?”


Truth and Lies

Shame on you for believing, right?  But there’s more: Not only does his lie and confession of lying make the tales of others more likely to be doubted, both previous and subsequent tales.  It also makes people question the existence of God, Heaven, Life after Death, and so on.

A question, then: Should Mom  Malarkey have come out on her blog and vaguely notified someone reading it that maybe the story wasn’t all true?  The nature of evil, in this case, representing something that didn’t happen as if it did happen, can be seen not in the “false belief” engendered by the story, but in the greater evil that comes of the truth being told about the story.  Suddenly, telling the truth (in some fashion, apparently) adds huge power to the original lie.  How can its evil be stopped, thereafter?  Not with the truth, apparently.  Maybe truth and lies are not opposites, like fire and water?  Truth seems more closely connected with Power: to create, to endure, to grow.  Can Truth be used in a corrupting fashion?  Apparently.

Consider some comments on Mom Malarkey’s blog, which does not, however, very clearly say her son was telling a lie in the book.


Anonymous said…

I was about to read this book but decided to look at the reviews and background information before I started. I would like to start by saying, I am so sorry for your and your families hardships. I can’t even imagine going through such a trial. My purpose in commenting is just of pure curiosity …if the book was filled with such inaccuracies and lies then why not set the record straight with what truly happened? I am of LDS faith and so I am not using others NDE as a rock in which to build my faith but I am genuinely confused about what you and Alex consider inaccuracies within the book and what actually did happen. I did read that you don’t intend to write a book to right the wrongs of the previous book but it might be helpful to write a blog post explaining what really did happen. I’m not interested in the glamour of what lies beyond because I believe I have a testimony of what lies beyond the veil and the true story of what happened to Alex would be more helpful then hurtful to those who have read or are contemplating reading the book.

Anonymous said…

I am glad that I borrowed the book and didn’t pay for it. I read “the” book in one day. After finishing it, I did a Google search to see how Alex was doing today. To my disappointment I found your link within the top three.

I was ticked off to say the least, mostly because I had been had. Fooled.

I am not going through anything traumatic. I am not looking for a blessing. I am though like many people searching for, Jesus.

NDE’s have always intrigued me, and have made Jesus seem to be more tangible. Stories like these are always thought provoking, but I never take them as Gospel.

After reading your blog I wonder why you don’t sue the writer and publisher, especially as it seems that legal documents were never passed between publisher and Alex.Also, if the book is stated as being true, but Alex never had the experiences that are written, then wouldn’t this be defamation, especially where it is against your religious beliefs.

There are many questions on both sides. But only God can and will judge.

I pray for you, Alex and your family for joy and peace.

Anonymous said…

My sister died in 1970 when I was seven. One sad night shortly thereafter,I made up a story that I felt her touch my hand when I was in my mother’s bed. My mother whole heartedly believed my lie, and shared it with family, friends and clergy. I was mortified! When I came clean a few years later it was nearly impossible to convince her that I had made it up. Just recently she referred to my “experience” again! I couldn’t believe I had to convince that it did not happen all over again. No wonder people are able to profit from deception. The living God has spoken. Believe Him! 2 Tim. 2:15, 2 Tim 3:16,17


Fixing, or Retelling A Story?

How does one “fix” or undo an evil like this?  How do you redeem (re-doom, re-declare, re-sentence) one from the Fall?  Not by telling the truth about lying, as in a confession, “Oh, yeah, I totally lied about X, but believe me now…”  Certainly not by telling folks to go read their bibles, cuz its fulla truth.  You lied about God, sure, but I’ll totally believe you when you say to go read this other book about God.  No way did they lie back then.

So, it seems that Lies and Truth are not in the same category of things, one cannot fix the other, like antacid might relieve heartburn.  How does Malarkey fix this lie?  I can only see it will take lifetimes of effort to undo the evil of telling lies about God: meeting Him, having lunch with Him, delivering messages for Him.  Don’t do such things, unless you’d like your hereafter pretty well booked up for nigh unto Eternity.

The same can be said for vague insinuations of having met God, or talked with Him, and so on, as I’ve talked about before on this blog     .

What all these lies and quasi-lies tell us, is that we don’t know very much about the being we call God.  As a result, we are apt to be deceived.  Not “likely to be deceived,” but “apt,” as in, “appropriate or suitable to the circumstances.”  Moreover, we cannot know about God (the being referred to by that word) by hearing other people use that word.  We can make statements about knowledge, and the ways to gain such, but it’s a gamble to believe another person’s claims about God.  When you make the gamble, the test of their truth comes in living according to those beliefs.  Or so we are told.

Well, what if someone says, “Believe in God, go to this building five times a week, give that guy your money, and don’t eat food on Thursdays, and he’ll bless you.”  And, being no fool, you ask, “What do you mean, ‘bless’?”  And he says, “You’ll make $100k a year until you die.”  Even if such a thing happens, that doesn’t mean the story the Someone told you is true.  If I was a Liar from the Beginning, I would go around giving folks definitions of blessings concerned with things I could provide, in some manner; or encourage them to speak vaguely about things I could not provide.

I would also tell them about the “Real Jesus,” by pointing out their belief in the “Fake Jesus.”  Strangely, you can actually get results by searching for “Fake Jesus.”  I don’t even know what that phrase means.

Why does Fake Jesus look like he’s being scolded, and Real Jesus look like a mug shot?


How can we know the Truth?  A feeling somehow “given” in response to an inquiry?  We’d have to come up with something no person could provide, or fake, nor anything imitated or otherwise provided by Liars in any order of being.  Probably that Something is not a something we can Get, Earn, or otherwise Bring About (see the post on Cargo Cults, for more).  Yet, if we came up with it, clearly we have some notion of it; meaning, scratch that thing you came up as a sign of the truth from God.  In other words, the “truth” is not something we can “know” in the sense you can know where France is on a map, or know your friend’s phone number.

We have a definition of Truth, as knowledge of things as they were, are, and shall be.  Odd, isn’t it, that “knowledge” is included in the definition of Truth?  Wouldn’t that mean that to speak of “knowledge of the truth” would be like saying, “knowledge of the knowledge of”?  Nonsense, it seems.  We then would need to introduce other signs of verification (feelings, authoritative voices, and so on) which themselves require verifications and authorizations, ad infinitum.  No wonder folks despair, given this model of Truth.  And that infinite hierarchy of super awesome powerful beings.

Truth as Something Else

We are asked to believe in God, that he is a God of Miracles, and to hope, and to be longsuffering, patient, and so on.  To send rain on the just and unjust, to bless those that curse us, and many other actions which would identify us as the Children of God.  Notice that in these admonitions from the Book of Mormon and from D&C, we are not told to expect any payment in return for our good deeds.  Maybe we don’t “earn” our way to that, no matter how much rain we send, but we learn about God by acting as His children?  Fairly obvious, but there’s something about Truth that remains to be said.

The Truth is not referred to in our words.  It is or is not __ our words, just as it is or is not __ our imaginations, is or is not __ the world.  If you want to add “In” in the blank, or some other preposition, to make those sentences more understandable, go ahead, but know that you have added something I did not.

Now, given all that I’ve warned about people claiming such and such about God, let me add this:

What I Believe

It is somewhat artificial to even say, “I believe such and such,” but that artifice is not avoided by replacing “believe” with “know.”  I’d say we make things worse by using verbs that ordinarily we wouldn’t use, without feeling like we were sort of lying a bit.  Rather than list some set of “beliefs,” instead I will write some words that relative to my experience, are true.  That “are” means, “in the sense of being,” as in, “You are happy.”  Happy is not some quality separate from you that “fills” you up, but is you, for some time.  Not only some part of you, say, your left leg, either, but You.

The being we call Jesus is the Eternal Father, who condescends to “be” a god, or a “man” or a “spirit” or whatever.  He is creating with these other beings he condescends to become, and among the greatest and wisest and goodest of these beings long ago of the order of Gods was Michael, otherwise called by Mormons, Adam.  When Jesus speaks of the Father, he is speaking of Michael-Adam.

Michael and his consort had “spirit children” and also at some point, created also something like “man” children.  Other “men” were brought to this world by Jesus.  Conflict between these children has ruined the House, and Michael refuses to take up his abode with his children, permanently, until they are united and restored to knowledge.  Knowledge about what?  Not the right question, probably.

Michael is a man.  Not a God who once was a Man, briefly; or who just looks mannish; but a Man who sits enthroned in yonder heavens.  A man, different in apparently important ways, but not different in any way that would make him not-a-man but of some other order of being.  Our destiny is not to “become Gods,” but to become just men made perfect, complete, united spirit and flesh; and this is the “goal” (without putting it too crudely) of even the Gods (good ones, anyway).  Being a God is dangerous, as shown by one called Lucifer.  Becoming man is less so, for we won’t likely labor under the delusion that we are “Like Unto” Jesus.  He became a man, not merely like unto one, and was resurrected as a man (not a God).  Gods don’t die, and can’t be resurrected.  But here they can be born, and their children (existing here as “spirits”) can be born again.  Have ye been spiritually reborn?  Maybe that isn’t a question we can ask to just anyone, but is asked of a group of beings who had once been born as “spiritual children” in this world.

Men are spirits pretending to be human.  As spirits, we were not created, but did enter this world “In the Beginning.”  We won’t have an end, either.  We can be born, and born again in some other order of being.  At some point, however, we will be satisfied with ourselves, and will no more die, nor be born again, and yet we will remain mankind.  Then the House is restored, and all are alike, but not the same.

Well, Let Me Take A Position On What You’ve Written!

Have I told a lie?  Not at all.  That word does not apply, in standard usage, to the above sentences.  I don’t “know” otherwise, nor do I claim to “know” the above is “true.”

Truth?  Don’t decide on any basis other than the words’ meaning.  What evidence can I muster?  An absurd question, maybe, treating the above paragraph as if it was a position I maintain in a debate on, say, whether triangles have three sides or not.  How could I demonstrate the logic of my reasoning, and the validity of my conclusion?  I’ve not made a conclusion.  I told a story.  The peace it gives means, I suppose, I have no ambition to compel others to believe it.  Even writing it up now, on this blog, takes effort (and so, errors may enter, or sin, as well); whereas the story has being in me, without compulsion.

And not by my authority, should you decide or believe or whatever; nor by the arrangement of the sentences, nor the big words I use, or my degree, or anything else not in the words’ meaning.  Not because God told me so (he didn’t).  I won’t even allow you to assume an angel visited me and told me this.  That didn’t happen, as far as I know. I didn’t half-die, and go on a heavenly tour.

It either is, or is not Truth.  And you don’t have to decide, for reality is what it is, regardless of what anyone thinks about it.  But maybe soon I’ll give my reading of Moses and Abraham, and prove it to you.  Just kidding.


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.

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. 


Claim Your Blessings Now!

Sunday I happened upon a “sacrament meeting” in some quarter of Zion-Utah, and upon entering, was a bit confused.  Was this a smart phone and tablet instructional seminar, designed to teach the fundamentals of using these new gadgets?  No!  It was a missionary homecoming?  At least, at the podium was a recently returned missionary talking as they typically do, but, I’m not lying, one man in a folding chair in the basketball section of the chapel (near the three point line) was openly playing Solitaire on his tablet, and everyone from teens to moms and dads were flagrantly playing games, texting, or looking at people’s faces on their phones.  The kiddies, of course, were all coloring and markering pre-printed drawings, and generally making a racket that nearly drowned out the speaker.  This is a Mormon church in 2015?  You’ve got to be kidding.  Their batteries will need a re-charge, that is certain.  Their lips are one place, and their hearts in quite another.  The heads, of some, anyway, are generally indistinguishable from what they’ve put on their folding chairs.

Why do we build churches with chapels that will only seat half the congregation, and stretch it into a basketball court, where the others sit on folding chairs?  This expansion across the foul line isn’t an accident, they are built this way.  Someone at the COB actually decides, on a daily basis, to have his fellow Mormons violate the 3 seconds-in-the-key rule, while partaking of the Lord’s Supper!  My batteries are re-charged, and I’ve worked out a new Triangle Defense for the Elder’s Quorum! 

I can see an archaeologist in the future with a rather puzzled look, as she uncovers what appears to be a sports court leading into a classic Protestant chapel.  What sort of cult was this?  And what do these tiny cups mean?  Were they especially small people, who worshipped basketball players for being tall?  Is that painting of a bearded man in the flowing robes supposed to represent The Great Jimmer?

Can you imagine walking into the Temple at Real Zion, and forty feet from the throne of God is a bowling alley, because they just couldn’t be so prodigal as to design separate facilities or rooms for these two generally distinct activities?  Pick up the spare, Jehovah, on that 7-10 split!  Now that’s salvation!  What if we didn’t have all these distractions, and had to actually sit in a room, and listen to what was said from the pulpit?

Imagine I set up a buffet restaurant, and nearly every patron who showed up and paid for dinner refused to eat what I provided, and instead pulled out cold cereal from their pockets for a snack.  How long should I continue this enterprise?  As long as it remains profitable, right?  What hope do I have that my buffet will remain profitable?  Not much.  So, why not simply serve them rubbish?  Why bother with the good stuff?  And maybe I tell diners that by showing up and paying some fee (in time, labor, or cash) they are guaranteed a better dinner next week, or the week after, or after they die?  At some point, my food is too poor and unnourishing even to keep diners believing in that hopeful lie.  Probably the only folks who continue to show up will instead bring their own food.  And that’s fine, as long as they pay up I can stay in business.  The logic of the market place has taken over, at this point.  And when my diners’ bodies are disassociated from their environments, that logic becomes all the more compelling.

So, a challenge to all Mormons: Avoid all distractions, and actually listen to what is said in chapels (or basketball courts) on Sunday.  I did.  How long can you continue, under those restrictions?

Maybe, you reply, it isn’t about what is said, it’s about how I feel.  OK.  Does that feeling have anything to do with what is said?  If not, is it the building’s design, the hollow steeples, the pre-fab pews, the carpeted hallways, or the drinking fountains?  It is built to appear like one thing, and to be from a cost perspective, something else.  Chapels tell us about the image versus the reality, and a hollow steeple high above a satellite dish is all you need to know about our religion.  I admit, church water is a pretty good reason to attend church, but if there isn’t light in the voices of those speaking, there is darkness.  What you report as a feeling can be found anywhere you turn your mind to God, and away from Candy Crush, for a second or two.

Speaking of darkness…Following the missionary was an older man who read to the congregation from a children’s book, apparently following his boss’s insistence that he “keep it simple,” for we are stupid.  Saturday, he explained, is the day before Sunday, making it a special day, a day to get ready for Sunday.  Sunday is special because, well, it is called The Sabbath, and we don’t use strange words for things that aren’t special, right?  And we are to keep the Sabbath Day Holy, meaning, well, special.  You see?  In any case, you will get blessings if you do keep the Sabbath Day Holy, and blessings are whatever you’d like to call blessings.  The most blessed people are the most flexible in their usage of that term.

Again, being unable to explain anything about his own traditions, this man — specially assigned to preach, and not merely a passerby pulled up to wing it — turned to a children’s book designed wholly to instruct toddlers on the merits of Sunday.  Those merits being, because Saturday is pretty awesome, and Sunday is sort of like Saturday, in coming immediately after it.  When this vein no longer brought in the spiritual gold, he offered us the simple equation: Obedience => Blessings.  The marketplace provides the substance of his speculations.  How many parents have had good results by blatantly bribing their children to do unpleasant things, which they are asked to do only in order to get the reward?  Stand on your head, and let that man pour apple sauce over you, and remain still while the flies crawl over your face, and I shall pay you many GoobledyGooks.  What is that, you ask?  It’s invisible, intangible, and comes in forms that we call Everyday Experience of Ordinary Things.  Who does this?

We are leaving blessings on the table if we aren’t Sabbath Keeping the Holy Day, or whatever!  You don’t want to waste blessings do you, young man?  Look at all those blessings Jehovah has cranked out, and you want to sit there and not get all of them?  There are kids in Hell who would kill for a few blessings, and you, shaaaaaame, would rather not show up and sit on folding chairs, playing solitaire near the three-point line, in a suit?!  I must say, Inconceivable!!!  Oh, Noah saw no such wickedness in his day!

But wait… if you show up within the next six days, we’ll double the offer!!! Imagine double the blessings!!!  Double the, um, blessings, whatever you think that is.  No more turning on your spiritual iPhone, and finding it out of charge.  No more running out of spiritual battery when you’ve almost made your little pixel man jump over the final obstacle!  Just pay additional shipping and fast offering.

What I think the entire meeting boils down to is: We Are Right.  We Must Be Right.  It doesn’t matter what anyone says, or that no one is listening because I’m not saying anything but what they can read in their toddler’s book, ironically designed to distract the child so I can listen to the informed man in the suit, who nonetheless is reading from that same toddler’s book.  But I don’t care, because I just got a Jack of Spades, and that allows me to knock out another line in Solitaire, and when I go to show my spouse, I interrupt her texting to a friend about a new toxin designed to reduce evidence of having aged on planet earth, and it’s all good, because me and my family will serve the Lord as we scurry to our separate pens, being hand fed pellets of recycled Chinese newspapers, but in the end, we are Right, because we are Right.  How else do you explain all my blessings?

God sends the rain on the just and the unjust, and blesses those that curse Him.