Reading Project 1.2


So far, several thousand have downloaded the first PDF, and hopefully are reading along.  Thank you for passing along word of the Reading Project, and keep reading and asking excellent questions.

The Second PDF in the Reading Project:

PDF Removed as of 3/4

Also, I have provided below a stitched-together illustration of the Scripturalizing Process, for you to use and post as you will.  In the Appendix of Vol.1 I have a discussion of this chart; as I am generally regarded as front-loading my books with the most difficult material, I decided to move that discussion of the chart to the Appendix.  It can be downloaded here BoMCH1_ProjectAppendix



  1. Thanks for this, Damon. Once you get used to the idea of metatext it offers a much broader perspective for looking at all sorts of things.

  2. I am reading along and trying to comprehend to the extent I possibly can.

    There is this guy on youtube called manoftruth. I look at his videos every now and then over the past 4 years. He says Jesus was married, had offsprings, and he alludes to the offspring winding up in the UK. Does Jesus possibly having descendants in the UK have anything to do with the Campbellites coming out of scotland?

    1. Probably not. It’s an interesting idea, but I would say most of what the Campbellites did to the BoM was not good, and so would be reluctant to say they had lineal descent from Jesus. How would you know descendants of Jesus anyway?

      1. You would know by their blue eyes, flowing golden locks of hair, and propensity to caress small children and sheep. Although I hear one of his descendants is an exiled program that runs the night club Hel

  3. I find little in this cultural history (so far, at least) that ought to bother the typical modern Mormon. The only bothersome thing is the tradition itself, which has us believe that God’s manifestation in the early days of the church was somehow novel and spectacular.

    But we clearly don’t believe that this traditional way is how God works today. As far as I can tell, there are actually very few qualitative differences between forward-looking statements made by the CEO of McDonald’s Corporation and those made by the president of the LDS church, understood to be something akin to revelation. It’s just that nobody gets weepy when Don Thompson announces that the new premium McWrap, a delicious new product originating in Poland, has already expanded in 33 countries around the world, with more locations yet to receive this tasty delight!

    Consider our “inspired” church callings. The bishopric sit in council discussing who shall be the new ward Clerk. Brother McCombs comes *a little too easily* to mind: The man is surpassingly boring, he never goes outside, he won’t play basketball, he sits quietly. Yes, a fine clerk. The Lord has inspired, and Brother McCombs is told as much. His unique qualities are just what the Lord needed. What a miracle that he was in the right place at the right time! Thus the church is staffed with schoolmen, lawyers, and economists. Oh, does it now look like a school, a court, or a corporation? Why, that’s just what the Lord called for! This doesn’t bother anyone. On the contrary: It is more evidence of the “hastening of the work,” or whatever the motto is. It’s how God moves His purposes along. We know because it works.

    You could just as easily include in your cultural history an analysis of how the Prussian methods of education, designed to turn out excellent soldiery for the Napoleonic wars, became the Church Education System, its Sunday School, and its Primary programs. You might consider the Rockefeller board of education, whose policies are today invisibly present in every school administrator-turned-general authority. We are not cultivating latent greatness (that’s only what our slogans say), but organizing children and teaching them to perform more perfectly that which their parents now do imperfectly.

    Only, say that this is God’s work.

    All of these things that have been carried along by the culture: Just what the Lord intended! Why should the Book of Mormon be anything other than what it became? What a gross miscalculation, for a deity to reveal a new thing, too subtle in its own language, to a people not devoid of culture and tradition, if the point of it was that it should speak for itself. What kind of god would make a mistake like that?

    Maybe the right way is for the church to commit more fully to this progressive view and to cease taking its early myths too seriously. After all, process and culture are how God is manifested in the world. He takes what is already there, apparently, and His work moves forward. Revelation consists in understanding that all of this complexity is in divine hands.

    How would you engage that argument?

    1. Man, Peter, you are holding my feet to the fire.
      The BoM seems clearly designed for people having a culture and a tradition, and it probably didn’t surprise anyone (although I can’t prove this, of course) Up There that things turned out badly, from my perspective. As you say, how else is this supposed to happen? Fortunately, the BoM does have enough clues to see, after the fact (of course), that it will be misread, and yet, that it cannot be misread forever. At some point, it predicts a readership concerned enough to ponder what it says (and not merely recite it), and to ponder their way to truth. That won’t happen as part of the program of the Church, I think. It is built on a form of power (like McDonalds) which persists, despite having little to do with correctly understanding reality. In my experience, it is presumed by the leadership and the membership (not all, of course) that they are to dictate reality, rather than understand it. With the sort of power currently exercised, there is truth to their presumption and folly, too.

      Should the church commit to the progressive view? It cannot see how it would, without also undercutting everything it has been built on. It seems to me that the Church, whatever that means (the HQ, the Sunday-experience, etc.), cannot take that route without ceasing to exist as the church. Its mythology is bound to its claims of authority, and that is one curse of Restorationism. So, I would say that the Book of Mormon is also designed to run alongside the church of Restorationists, and also at some point to lead some readers to some other reality. That other reality will, I suppose, overtake the image of it that the Church presents and corrupts in its current corporate priesthood. There is power in that book which is not the power of McDonalds and Walmart.

      1. My question for u then is, at what point will u stop participating in the traditional Mormon culture? Even Denver Snuffer still participates and he is excommunicated. I dont see how ppl pay tithing anymore. Im so glad I am married to a nonmember who has consistently stated over the years he will not ever pay tithing.

  4. Babs,
    I’m not Daymon, but I can tell you why I still “participate” in the culture (although my fellow True Blues would probably contend that I don’t participate the way they would like). If you believe in the power of the Book of Mormon, or at least are curious to finally understand what it is really saying, then I don’t see that there is any other culture which would suffice. All other Christian denominations claim the Bible as the absolute word of God, and while most Mormons do the same, there are at least a few who would consider the possibility that the Book of Mormon is telling us that the Bible is a corrupted book meant to keep us in bondage. You can get some of them to at least look at the book while the rest of the world makes the B of M a punchline on Broadway.

    There is still much unraveling left to do, but what I’ve found so far by looking at the B of M with as little outside influence as possible is a story in which I want to participate. Thankfully, that tale doesn’t include a vengeful god descending in blood red to wipe out the infidels, (that I can see), but rather a merciful One who is patiently waiting for us to finally understand his nature and sit at the table to sup with him.

    While many soon expect darkness to cover the land and all of our modern luxuries to be wiped out because of wickedness, I see things with a different outlook (thanks to the Book of Mormon). It is the darkness which is finally being lifted from our eyes, and if we can just get the attention of Heaven, they might actually consider stepping back into the picture and walking beside us. Why would God abandon or destroy those sincerely looking for him, and at last seeing the folly and abomination (Sidney’s Great Work) for what it is and trying something new and different?

    I’m not sure how discontinuing to participate in the culture, even if it has been cursed, is going to garner support from the gods, who are potentially waiting for some few to conjure up a story that they can join in word, in power and in very deed.

    PS – You don’t have to pay tithing to participate in the culture, or to understand it.

    1. So what r u doing to conjure up ur story that might get citizensof heaven in ur daily life? I find no clues in B of M except pray and ask. But in the BofM it seems heavenly beings visit with them quickly, whereas I have asked to meet Jesus for a long time now and still nothing. Church is like drudgery to me. RS just irritates me what with the brown nosing of The Brethern. I’m a bit impatient I suppose.

      Also…where are these brass plates? What does this have to do with gentile chance at repentnace?

      1. I think the first thing to do is identify who “we” (LDS persons) are in the Book of Mormon. We fit the description of “Gentiles,” so I assume that any references to them is speaking of us or our ancestors (I don’t think we can make the claim of being “the remnant of Lehi” or Israel, because that group is said to be confounded, and don’t know themselves who they are).

        So what is it that the Gentiles are admonished to do? Repent, be baptized and come to Christ. The church tells us that to repent means to go to your bishop and confess all the badness you’ve done. To be baptized is to have a ritual performed as a little child (8 year-old) or as soon as one is taught the church’s version of the gospel as an adult. To come to Christ means to obey his commandments (mediated by the church, of course). So we do this and say it is what the Book of Mormon tells us to do (throwing in stuff about “authority” and “restoration” to the early-day church).

        There is a way to tell if we are following the Book of Mormon instructions correctly. Simply look at the fruit. What do we have to show for this rendition of “repent, be baptized and come to Christ?” I think your statement speaks for a great many: “Church is like drudgery to me.” I would even suggest that most active, enthusiastic members consider going to church a pain. But we aren’t told “men are that they might have chores.” The current results do not match the promised fruit of miracles, healings, gifts, tongues, etc.

        So then, I believe, we need take a different look at the meaning of these things. What is it the Book of Mormon says that Gentiles need to repent of:

        “And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor.”

        “…after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb—I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day…”

        There is, apparently, some great “stumbling block” holding back the Gentiles. Nephi says it has to do with the plain and precious parts of the Book of the Lamb being removed by the “mother of all harlots.” It will cause the Gentiles to come down into “captivity” and because of it they will build up “many churches” but put down the miracles and power of God. They will teach their own wisdom for the purpose of getting “gain.” Does any of this sound familiar?

        I would suggest that this is the thing that needs to be repented of by the Gentiles. Daymon Smith, in my estimation, is helping us to do that by showing us how we got where we are, and how a language can shackle a group of people. At the moment, I have no desire to bring the residents of Heaven into my “daily life,” because it seems to me that such desires are what bind us down. For generations the Bible has been used as devotional text for application in our daily lives. We imposed that same tradition on the Book of Mormon and where has it gotten us? Going in circles, which is drudgery, as you say.

        Maybe “repentance” as spoken of in the Book of Mormon is simply looking at a new way of doing things. We have plenty of evidence to show that as a group there is much folly to our current practices. It’s because we do things to “get gain” rather than remembering the covenants made to Israel. What good will seeing Jesus do us if that meeting will only serve to bring guilt and pain on ourselves for our lack of charity for “the poor,” and not seeing the true purpose of the Book of Mormon: restoring Israel to a knowledge of their fathers and the covenants made with God?

        The Brass Plates and other records play into the repentance of the Gentiles, but I don’t think the Heavens will even consider releasing those seeing what we’ve done with the Book of Mormon. But I do have hope that we are finally making the change we need to (aka “repenting” of our stumbling block). I guess we’ll have to see if the heavenly beings visit with us “quickly” and endorse this new paradigm.

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