Church Bonds? Good As Gooooooold!

Here’s a particularly disturbing set of articles from the Christmas Juvenile Instructor of 1898.

BondsJV1898

The first is a nostalgic report from an elderly Mormon and her sacrifice at Kirtland.  The second is a long advertisement for Church Bonds, which were offered to New York bankers, who said thanks but no thanks; Mormons would now get a chance to get on in this once in a lifetime opportunity!  For some reason Mormons didn’t run to pick up every last bond, and so President Snow would beat the drum of tithing: blessings being the incentive.  Thus rather than being shareholders (no matter how crass that sounds), Mormons would simply be donors of a highly capitalized Corporation which promised blessings in return for cash.  Read at your own peril!

New Political Poll and Polygamy

The NY Times has a summary of a few polls tracking “favorability” of various practices and things, among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.

Polygamy is acceptable by 5% of Republicans (R), 14% of Independents (I), and 11% of Dems (D).  Here’s a list of what is more acceptable than one man marrying two women (the sequence of numbers refers to R, I, and D):

Gay and Lesbian relations (36, 58, 66)

Abortion (22, 40, 52)

Pornography (21, 32, 39)

Suicide (9, 12, 21)

Human Cloning (10, 9, 13)

Apparently if The Mitt Romney of Tomorrow ran for political office, he’d have more success as a gay pornstar abortion doctor, who dabbles in human cloning and advocates suicide as a solution for life’s troubles, than if he treated two women as wives.  The fact that Joseph Smith remains beloved by a great many, studied and admired, despite such prejudice against his lifestyle, shows just how much truth he must’ve brought forward.

 

Sports Illustrated Covers and Mormon Kids

The last two high schoolers on Sports Illustrated covers are Mormon kids:

Bryce Harper, at 16 called “baseball’s Lebron”: Now all of 19 and playing outfield for the Washington Nationals (just picked up a book about his one year at college)

Jabari Parker, hoops star also mentioned in the same sentence as Lebron James

I’d much rather hear regular updates on these apparently wonderful athletes: examples of humilty, discipline, having gifts from heaven, and good-nature, too; than anything about the Mitt, Mall, or Musical.  Or BYU.  Ever.

On a related note, UVU’s baseball team ended their amazing winning streak with a reluctant loss against Utah.  I was there, and both teams played the game beautifully.

 

Being In Impostasy. What is, The Church?

Im pos ta sy: n. The state of being an imposter, which thing somehow also manages to look like it is in apostasy.

Here is a graphic which fairly simplifies cultural processes that give rise to an imagined thing like a religion.

What is “the Church”?  I hear the term tossed around as if one was referring to the sun, or the moon; as if everyone knows what it refers to, and it’s right there before your eyes.  But the church is a word which does something; that is, it has “pragmatic” meaning.  What it does in part is position speakers inside some “referential domain,” all the things picked out by the term at some moment; or lumps them outside that domain; what it does is allow said speakers to project their own desires into the referential domain, picking out those things they like or don’t like.  Thus, to use the word “the Church” is to create a thing in one’s own image, rather than refer to something independent of one’s act of speaking.  (I’ve addressed this problem before in posts on Mormon Studies).

But we don’t remake it entirely.  That our making by speaking is held up in tangible things like buildings, malls, logos, and old men is merely the result of our having stepped into a stream of history where others have been making by speaking for hundreds of years.  That stream resists our remaking.  As they in the past made the referential domain flow, and made the persons who speak of it in such and such a way, including or excluding from themselves something called “the Church,” they also allowed for legal powers, capital, cultural figures, and so on to lock tangible things into place; and to lock speakers into relationships vis-a-vis these tangible things.  That is, the making by speaking is also accomplished by the utterances of judges, citizens, CEOs, presidents, peasants, and so on; they can introduce buildings, territory, political schemes, corporations, malls, logos, and so on as the tangible things that substantiate and sponsor “the Church”.  No single man runs “the Church,” guides it, or whatnot.  Speakers can say “the Church” and add or detract from this making by speaking process.

My own work attempts to undo the entire stream of history, disbursing its current; or at least to allow persons to step outside that stream, and to see what is passing, all the flotsam and why it was dumped, and with what effects on those downstream.

Historical-Cultural Process

The history of this locking into place, of both people and things capable of bearing up as the referential domain of “the Church” can be read in many books.  Only a few of these books actually provide one the means for seeing what is, in fact, being written about; most histories simply take for granted the existence of “the Church” and build accordingly around it.  In such a way these histories participate in the making by speaking; and more insidiously, they project back into history some fictional thing, grounding its reality into the new genre called “history” borne by tangible objects like books.

“The Church” was a legal entity in 1830, or something close to it.  Just a ragtag bunch of believers in the Book of Mormon, without even a name.  Maybe fifty in all, these early figures would all but be driven from “the Church” by 1840, by the very converts they brought in: mostly Rigdonites.

In the early days after the BoM was published, folks like Sidney Rigdon (a reluctant convert at best) built their own movement upon that book by using the word “the church”.  That word was like a great sea monster, sprawling in its reach and suction, swallowing surrounding ships and making a gyre that lived long after, drawing even more into the Book of Mormon.  The church divided believers in the BoM, as much as it allowed non-BoM things to crowd into the movement.  Whatever could be reasonably admitted into the referential world of “the Church” also became Mormonism.  So, the Cambellite doctrines (and liturgy) of Faith, Repentance, Baptism for the Remission of Sins, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost became the central pillars of Mormonism, and of the Book of Mormon itself.  Gentiles claimed they were Israel, and the New Testament Church too.

The Church became the thing ostensibly “restored,” for it had once fallen into apostasy (so the story went).  What did they mean by apostasy?  The never really said, except that they knew it when they saw it: Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists…anyone but the Rigdonites qua Cambellites qua anti-Protestant Protestants.  The Church was a word that allowed all of this to be built upon the Book of Mormon, to shape interpretations of that text, and to remake how one reads it.  The Church as a social entity slowly formed over the early years into the image of other churches: books, conversion rites, liturgy, laws, excommunications, elders, apostles, and all the hierarchy and supersition that many came to despise about the thing called “the Church” (when I reluctantly use the term).  Into “the Church” the early converts to “the church” (rather than merely united by belief in the BoM) also brought “the Bible,” a word for a jumbled bunch of texts somehow, for reasons I cannot discern, said to be The Word of God.  This book–more importantly, a certain interpretation of it–became part of the Church.  Rituals aping those found in the BoM became part of the liturgy of the Church.  Soon Mormonites themselves stood for the Church, when spoken of by their enemies.

The Church as a word allowed all sorts of nonsense to be built upon the Book of Mormon, and upon readers of it.   It was a word that built outward from the Book of Mormon, and organized believers in certain claims made about that text into a community much like those surrounding it; with just as strident belief in the Great and Abominable Church’s Book (and in their own interpretation of it).  But the Church was no more a real thing then, than it is now; it is merely a word that refers to whatever people who say it would like to lump together into a metaphysical whole, including themselves.  And most of what they lump in was simply dumped on them.

By 1890 there was the real possibility that the church declared dead by the Supreme Court would also die a social death.  What would’ve happened?  I suspect the Mormons in the West would’ve still congregated, there would’ve been stakes and wards; and there would’ve been a president/prophet.  But there wouldn’t have been a centralization of capital; and thereafter, of all things capital makes possible; that is, if the Church hadn’t been reconstituted as a Corporation Sole in 1916 and 1923.  At that point, the  course was set for corporate headquarters, Correlation and the Mall and everything I find more than objectionable, and now grouped under “the Church”.

What The Church Means To Me

The Church at various times has referred to many things: the doctrines; the community; the money machine; the corporate headquarters; the building.  When people say “the church” now they  mean something different from what they meant when they said “the Church” in 1829, 1844, 1877, or 1890.  Now, what if you discovered that your word “the cat” actually meant dog a hundred years ago; and elephant two hundred years before that?  Wouldn’t you take a bit more care when using the word, and when reading it in texts from those centuries?

What is “the Church”?  A thing got up in the image of other things called “churches”; and now a thing got up in the image of other things called “corporations”.  Who knows what it’ll mean next century.  But the structure will remain the same: that is, the way it works, how it brings together various things, including humans.  That will not change.  The word refers to a complex, never entirely identifiable, tangle of relationships, products, signage, intellectual property, metaphysical notions, feelings of community; that is to say, it has no real meaning, except as it does something.

What does it do now?  It positions humans vis-a-vis this imagined complex; when said by folks deceived into believing they “belong” to it, or are “members” of it, it can mean all the happy things lumped into the historical stream that flowed from the publication of the Book of Mormon, and locked into relationships by the law, by capital, by cultural traditions, by habit.  Rather than rigidity, however, immense flexibility results for those managing the various locking powers: the law, money, land, IP.  Church leaders thus can redesign “the  Church” whenever convenient, inconvenient, or just by happenstance.  But there is much they cannot simply redesign, and here we find the cultural side of the term offering up its registration of existence.

Racism and sexism and philanthropy and generosity and wickedness are all part of “the Church,” at a cultural level.  One can be pleased with the Church, or despise it; and the next day flip sides.  Why?  Because the term can include all these things, good and bad.  And I don’t mean at the “folk level”; I mean at headquarters, in the “official” doctrines, as much as in the folklore, oddities, branches, and eccentricities that come up, and are not registered with the legal and money powers that in part give life to the thing some people call “the Church”.  Always the word remains flexible, yet structured, but not determined, by the law and by capital.  It wasn’t always so, but it is now.

Whatever has been added to or taken from the referential domain picked out by “the Church” will simply be integrated into the speaker’s own personal definition.  But not everyone comes along for every redefining; for yours, or for mine, or for CNN’s, or the “prophet’s” or “the Church’s” redefinition of itself. When said by those who imagine they have removed themselves from it (that is, from the imagining of it), the word can mean something rather different from what it means when said by “members”.  Now, polygamy, racism, sexism, deception, psychic pain, and hypocrisy can be included in the term.   One has stepped into a cultural stream differing from that swimming by those who see only the good things as flowing from the Church.  Cultural traditions can be called up; rejected “official” doctrines or practices mentioned; utterances by “leaders” reconsidered; sacred books criticized; malls, and so on, defined from a perspective that positions the definer.

There is no standard for correct reference of the term: the “usage guides” provided to news organizations and so on simply allow the confusion to continue, the contention to grow hotter.  When CNN speaks of “the Church” in reference to some Public Relations statement, some practice by Mormons, or some other doctrine, folkway, or legal entity, they don’t use the term in the way that Mormons use it; Mormons in or out of “the Church”.  Bloggers may arise, and argue over what was said, how representative it was of their notions of the Church; are we really racists?  Is that just a fringe thing in the Church?  Nonsense questions which never come to answers, because they are asked of a thing that shifts its being every time it is spoken into being.

When these two stereotypes (the one “in” and the other “out” of the Church) come together (say, at family dinner) to talk about “the Church,” the word conceals divisions or it causes divisions, the catalysts of which the word itself conceals.  That is, these two disputing parties don’t stop and address what they mean by “the Church,” because what each person means is more or less unintelligible to the other.  Why?  This concealing effect, and catalyst for contention is in part the result of The Church being a thing “believed in,” and not merely referred to; the “believing in” thus shapes the referential domain of the word, and so the positioning of humans vis-a-vis an imagined thing continues without investigation.  Even if you don’t “believe” in “the Church,” by imaging yourself “outside” it you do “believe” it exists.

Precisely because it positions people, the word and its imagined referent take on a reality neither really possesses inherently; because now it refers to one’s beliefs about a thing referred to by “the Church.”  The speakers are thus included in the referential domain of the thing they say, a sort of magical entanglement much like the great chain held by Satan, author of confusion.    Clear?  That’s why “the Church” is in Impostasy, and not even capable of apostasy: it can only look like something, and now it looks like a thing in apostasy.  But to say it is, or is not in Apostasy, is to use a term that itself shaped the very beginnings of “the Church”.  To say “apostasy” in reference to “the Church” is to deceive oneself into believing it has a life outside our divine power of speaking.  But once we step aside and let the stream flow by, we can see “the Church” for what it is: an image of what not to do.  Now we know what we should never do, make, create, or imagine up, if ever given a shot at handling the living Church of the Lamb.

A Non-Biblical Dating For The Jaredite Migration

Because of a Catholic bishop’s addition skills, many Christians inherited the absurd notion that Adam was mudded up around 4004 BC.  Given that he lived a thousand years, and Noah another thousand, and that the Tower of Babel is mentioned in Genesis after the Deluge, Mormon writers have simply carted in the guesses that (1) The “great tower” mentioned in Ether is the Tower of Babel, as if there were no other towers in human history; (2) that the Tower of Babel was built around 2000 BC (and the flood occured 2700 BC); and (3) that the Jaredites came from the Middle East, where Babel was said to be.  Below are the relevant passages from Ether.

33 Which Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered.

34 And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord, Jared, his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words.

35 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded.

Note that no “babel” is mentioned (except misleadingly in chapter headings and footnotes), and that only the language of “the people” was confounded; not of all people, but these were apparently a people who were scattered.  One can imagine that for a proud people (like “Americans” in the United States), a small and local cataclysim takes on global proportions, bounded only by their sense of importance and injury as braided with some vast geographical ignorance.  Thus, a small flood, or earthquake, or peopling, becomes hemispherical or even global.

Second, unless other parties left the tower with an unconfounded language, no other history of this age can be regarded as reliable: the people have been confounded, and probably the same could be said of other towers and peoples as well.  Ironically, only a non-confounded people could enlighten us here.

Third, Moroni assumes “the Jews” have the correct account of Creation on down to the Tower; I cannot answer this problem.   Perhaps the account was found in his own plates, and only after this introductory composition of Ether was it “sealed up”; or, it was in the Book of Lehi or the Brass Plates?   The correct account (see the second point above) was apparently taken by the Jaredites from the Great Tower, and thus the plea that their language be not confouded was solved in the same manner that it was with Lehi and the Brass Plates (which text preserved knowledge of “Egyptian” among the scribes, which language is not, I think, even remotely similar to what our scholars call “Egyptian”).  In any case, we clearly don’t have the correct account of things, although Genesis seems to be a decent imitation, good enough to fool most of the people for fifteen centuries, and many Mormons today.  That fooling works in much the same way that Correlated histories deceive Mormons today into believing a false tradition, but close imitation of true history.

No serious bible scholar, linguist or scientist entertains any of the above propositions concerning a literal Babel, and yet Mormon scholars (a standard model here) still seek to bridge the narrative from the Book That Passed Through The Great And Abominable Church with their own scriptures.  And insist it is so; even Hugh Nibley among them, despite there being problems with the bestiary in Ether naming Elephants and other beasts not evident in the Americas 4000 years ago.  Even anthropologists like John Sorensen  only  stretch the Jaredites back to 3100 BC, despite knowing the archaeological problems inherent in that dogma.

Dump The Bible

Let me propose a very tentative alternative: The Jaredites migrated no later than 11,000 years Before Present (BP), during the end of “the Wisconsin” Ice Age; possibly as early as 250,000 BP (!).   The early date has problems, obviously.  No archaeology accepted by the profession justifies it, although the absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.  The later date seems less troublesome, except that this land was preserved for the righteous, and not simply any roaming band or raft that happened this way (and evidence of humans even 20,000 BP is now accepted by most archaeologists).  Also, they wouldn’t have needed ships to arrive here during certain spans, if they came during a glaciation; sea levels dropped enough to bridge continents together.  Maybe 50,000 BP, just for a nice round date?  Whenever they came, the people endured storms and floods, a clearly different geography with many lakes, and brought records of an even more ancient race of men “of reknown”, long since destroyed.

During Ice Age oscillations the “waters receded” and great seas that covered much of North America withdrew into glaciers; while other seas emerged as glacial lakes dammed by ice (e.g., Bonneville, Cahuilla, Lahontan, Missoula, Agassiz).  Ice Age climate changes probably wiped out the Jaredites, or at least precipitated their fall.  All perished, apparently; with the exception of Coriantumr and Ether.  Here’s Moroni’s summary:

20 And in the second year the word of the Lord came to Ether, that he should go and prophesy unto Coriantumr that, if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people—21 Otherwise they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself.  And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr.

Now, if you read the account from Amaleki concerning the finding of Coriantumr by the people of Zarahemla, you’ll note that the Jaredite (a descendent of the Brother of Jared) lived with them for “nine moons”.  I have guessed in an Abridging Works essay that this phrase suggests he fathered a daughter here, thus extending the line of the Brother of Jared into the line of Zedekiah (said to descend from David), and then into the line of Mosiah (and Joseph).   If so, then according to the curse of Ether, Coriantumr did see a people take over the land, but he was not yet buried by them.  Why?  Because he was to outlive all his household, and if he had a child, he was thus condemned to live until that line should fail, and only then receive “burial” at the hands of “another people”.

The remains of their civilization could’ve been swept in a glacial lake flood onto the plains where they were discovered by wandering Nephites, who surmised (perhaps wrongly) that the civilization existed in that very region.  If deposted by flood, our leap from Jaredite to Nephite geography becomes somewhat more complex, but not altogether unsolveable.

The bestiary in Ether gives us Elephants, Curoloms, Cumoms (the more useful and domesticated ones), and horses and asses as well (apparently not as useful, nor entirely domesticated?).  Among the beasts rendered extinct around 6000 to 10,000 BP are the horse (to the anti-Book of Mormon reader’s delight), mammoth, gomphothere, mastodon, camel, giant sloth, giant bear, paleo-llama, giant armedillo, and a host of other “megafauna“.

Rather than insist on the truth of the bible, in the face of physical proofs that the book is faulty at best, we ought to shift our Jaredite chronology significantly backward.  There would be real gains made in knowledge: for example, if we could identify candidates for “curolom” (gomphothere?) and “cumom” (camel?) we could begin to map out the possible expanse of Jaredite civilization.   Such a sketch could help with the Nephite-Lamanite geography, which I think is clearly not to be found in the Yucatan (for reasons I’ll not go into here).  We can, if we push the following passage into duty, cut off as candidates great portions of the North American continent:

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel.

Does “into that quarter” refer to (1) the passage in the wilderness, (2) the “Empty Quarter” of Arabia; or (3) is it a statement regarding the Promised Land?

If the latter (3), then we must call on our Book of Moses, and figure in that the events of Eden, Adam, Enoch, down to Noah occured in North America, perhaps from the Rockies (much of that range said to be formed recently, that is, 60 million years ago) to the east coast of the U.S.   A vast sea once covered much of the land, as well, although the dates take us very far back.  If just a passing (1) where man had not been (which description seems irrelevant to me, and applicable to much of the world in that day), then it’s no help at all.  If (2) is correct, then we’ve got some problems, and not only with ships being necessary to pass vast seas in Arabia.  I realize a great deal of writing has attempted to solve that puzzle, but none of it altogether convincing, and all of it presuming the historicity of the Babel tale, the middle east, and so on.

Much of the above interpretation depends on the meaning of words like “quarter,” “household” and “people” and so on, which is why I give it tentative status, of course.  But it is clear that elephants weren’t in America 4000 BP; that the tower is not named “babel”; that the Jaredites did not necessary come from the Middle East; that they didn’t necessarily live where some relics were found; that no mention is made of Coriantumr’s burial; and so on.  Meaning, the Book of Mormon remains very much a sealed book.

An Ice Age or earlier migration?  Why not?  Give up Bishop Ussher’s 4004 BC chronology in order to keep the horses and elephants?  Why not?  I prefer science to dogma; and at least we can hide our absence of Jaredite artifacts under the cover of glaciation, or related catastrophes.  Perhaps some Ice Age specialist-believer in the Book of Mormon can help me out here?

Yet, I think probably Coriantumr lived for a very long time.  Maybe he’s still alive, even; yet to receive his long deserved burial?  Attempts to give him the usual 70 years, and so to stretch the Jaredite society down to 560 BC are needless, and based mostly on belief in the Bible, some concern to appear biologically reasonable; while not realizing that three others (perhaps wrongly called “Nephites”) were granted lives durable enough to last many centuries.

Geneology, I Am Doing . . . What? Economies of Error at the COB

So, my wife looked up her ancestry on familysearch.org.  She descends from Hyrum Smith, through the sister of Joseph Fielding Smith, Martha Ann.  As I looked up the children of Hyrum and Mary Fielding, I discovered the surprising fact that Joseph F. and Martha Ann have siblings (listed) who were born as early as 1791, and some few born before 1810.  You’ll want to know that Hyrum Smith, father of Martha Ann, was reportedly born in 1800.  Thus, according to familysearch.org, the Lord’s Verily Veritable Historical Experience TM, Hyrum fathered children nearly a decade before he was himself fathered.

And if you click on the child born in 1791, you’ll find his own siblings don’t list Martha Ann or Joseph F., leaving us to conclude that he is a brother to one who is not his sister.  Reciprocating kin terms have no reality in the Correlated world of FamilySearch.  Rather, chronologies are tossed out, physical impossibilities give no guide to algorithms, and truth is decided by anonymous users in a manner that Wikipedia builds its database.  There are no standards, nor peer review; one can just punch in a name, enter a birthdate, and a parental relationship.  In fairness, however, to Wikipedia, they have a good search engine, an intelligent interface, and do not claim to leverage salvation for souls therein named.  And they are, unlike the Church, a non-profit.

FamilySearch allows one to invent persons, or by misspelling or capitalizing, to create new persons, all for the living to save through vicarious rituals.

Perhaps, you say, perhaps the folks at FamilySearch are going on spiritual children, adoptions and so on, when they say that Martha Ann has a sibling older than her own father, but one to whom she is not a sister?  Take a look at John D. Lee’s parents, and you’ll not find Brigham Young listed as his father.

That is, if you can find John D Lee at all, even searching for his birth and death dates.  Born of Ralph Lee, John D. was adopted as a son by Young, and sealed by the holy power of the priesthood.  Indeed, nearly every Mormon was adopted as a son or daughter of a prominent Mormon, and yet none of these show up on familysearch.org as legitimate kin relations.  Only legally recognized adoptions are recorded.  Meaning?

Familysearch.org seems to be undoing the work of sealing that was so important to Joseph Smith and others, they teaching that in the absence of such a sealing link, tying oneself back to Joseph Smith, and then to Adam, that if this failed the earth would be cursed.  Familysearch.org is proof of our cursing, if you’ve ever tried to find anyone using its search engine.  What is going on, really?

The Family History Department of the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop is a real heavyweight at the COB (and that saying something); they always have projects for others to fill their days with, and they get what they want; including several floors in the Joseph Smith Building, and all the computer equipment they desire.  When a new program like familysearch is being tested, a select few get to pick cities where they can set Mormons before computers to try out the software.  Invariably the cities selected are not third world, but rather the likes of New York, Boston, London, Sydney, and so on.  The old ladies and missionaries who test the software apparently don’t tell the User Experience guys that they can’t find anything using it, and that a capitalized letter will throw off a search entirely.  Nothing but glowing reviews, and in reality many endless problems.

Now they rely on “user input” to regulate the databases; keep in mind that there are no standards widely shared by such users for what counts as truth, as verification, or history.  One could decide to contrive a kin relation because one “feels the spirit,” or because two names seem to closely match.  The number of user errors explodes, but the regulation of such errors does not follow that explosion.  We are dealing with a cultural problem framing a content distinction, and that is why one cannot take a form of one thing, and apply it as a solution for the problems of some other thing.

Though contrived in the image of Wikipedia, the content they manage is so different that FamilySearch cannot rely on user input for regulating the content’s validity.  One can write anything about In-N-Out Burger on WikiPedia, of course; but most claims not verified independently are quickly removed by other users who share an interest in the truth, or the image of it; and share methods for arriving at  it; and for agreeing that such and such a claim is acceptable as true.  With FamilySearch, however, we have no shared framework that can be relied on for ensuring accuracy in the database.  Thus, we have the possibility for endless revisions, and of one dead person generating ten or twenty “ordinance” records.  Error and confusion abounds, while their resolution lingers.  Even with their own central figures, like Hyrum Smith, whose progeny are consistently high up on the corporate ladder, even here they cannot minimize error.  Joseph Smith is listed as the father of a “Mr. Smith”.  Seriously.  Mr. Smith.

As a result of their own built-in structural stupidity, the Family History Department and the Temple Department gain greater power and prestige: for every mistake, all their incompetence, only ensures that they will have more work, and bigger budgets, the next year.  How’s that for a business model?  It is no different than what the overall COB is structured by: a metaphor of capitalism, but without the reality of the market to provide accountability to and direction for the work of production.  They have the forms of capitalism, but deny the power thereof; with their wallets they draw near unto it, spending like drunken sailors on whatever the whore of babylon bares for them, but their malls are far from good business, being subsidized in a way that incentivizes stupidity.

In other words, all this talk about saving the dead by ‘ordinances’ seems to not realize that we are sealing up the human family in a manner neither concordant with physical reality, nor fitting our own teachings about spiritual relationships.  We are sealing them up according to guesswork by users, so that we can be sure to go the temple, or so that we can our spiritual high this week; more often than not the dead are images we exploit to satisfy our own spiritual vacuity, just as the corporation exploits our ignorance for its own prestige, gain, and power.  Nevermind the good people there; it is structural.

Those who believe the sealing powers reside in the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the burden of explaining why they are sealing souls to non-existent things, to computer inventions, to errors of spelling, and why they are not re-ordering the Human Family as Joseph Smith said it should be, according to spiritual principles.  I understand that we ought to have charity, and folks do their best; but there is another way, surely.

Instead, all this work and sacrifice and spiritual experience feeds the vast and widening resource sink; rather than feeding the living, we work for our own invented persons, sealing them to the likes of AdOlph Hitler, Adolf HITLER, AdolF Hitler, and so on.   Now the idiocy of the Family History Department can ensure that Public Relations has a plate to keep spinning, in this absurd corporate game called the Church; the whole monstrosity is a mockery of even the minimally intelligent corporate capitalist form.

Not that you asked, but I’m convinced that no work for the dead should be done until the dead person comes to you and tells you exactly what ought to be done.