Reading Project vol.2B

After a week off, we are back to the Reading Project of the Cultural History of the Book of Mormon.
April is devoted to Volume 2B: Follies Epic and Novel.  Many thanks to those who have continued with the project, I hope it is worthwhile.  The community of readers is small, of course, but quite literally global, stretching from Asia to Africa, and far down into South America.

Here is the first installment for this month:


As explained in the original post about this project, the PDFs for Volume 2A will be removed week by week.  And the price of Volume 3: Beta will drop to $17.50.  The entire cultural history is now available on Amazon, Kindle, and from the publisher Createspace.

The fifth volume, Book Fantasia, was published a week or so ago.  A video presentation derived from an essay in Vol.5, regarding the Book of the Lamb, can be viewed on YouTube.



  1. Vaughn Hughes says:

    Daymon, sorry for not taking the time to converse more here on the books, but they continue to be just outstanding–eye-opening in a big way. I finally resorted to just purchasing & reading the paperback editions rather than the online PDFs. It’s well worth the investment and gives me all the note-taking & bookmarking space I’m finding I really need for these.

    A quick question on volume 3A & 3B: do you expect to publish a combined volume 3 the way you did with volume 2 (i.e., do I wait), or are they big enough not to warrant combining them (i.e., get ordering 3A now)?

    1. day2mon says:

      good question. I’m trying to combine the word docs into pdfs of a single file, but my computer crashes apparently because the memory required to convert them into a single file is beyond my laptop’s abilities. I’ll try to figure it out soon. I’m definitely planning on a single volume 3, but can’t promise a delivery date.

  2. yogalife24 says:

    Let me say it is not a hope I feel in wondering if this series you have worked tirelessly on is worth it. I know it is! Such incredible, terrible, and extra-ordinary are the things you reveal!

    Vaughn’s comment above read my mind regarding Vol. 3. Same question.My family and I are purchasing the paperback editions as well, but are also saving a copy to the computer.

    By the way…

    Volume 5…

    life changing! Brilliant and scary! Raw and merciful!
    I find it becoming precious to me. A capstone of true beauty and depth of feeling. Truly humbling and correct.

    I am immensely grateful for your work.

    Stephanie Ripley

  3. Babs says:

    Hi Daymon (or anyone able to answer this or at least give me the definitive truth on this). Who came up with that temple ceremony? Brigham or Joseph? Where can i read about what led up to.that and I mean names of books with page numbers I can go read this?

    1. day2mon says:

      I assume you mean the endowment? It was only written in 1877, after BY had shaped it for thirty years. What did it look like in Nauvoo, before the temple? I don’t know, and there doesn’t seem to be any single account, in fact, I doubt there was a ‘single’ ceremony, but many ceremonies eventually all lumped in under the term “endowment” In vol.2B I go through my argument and the evidence.

      1. Babs says:

        Okay im going to have to suck it up and read ur book now! Cuz I saw that temple ceremony from the hidden camera thats on utube and let me just say i was horrified at how much it looks like an occultic/wiccan/satanic ritual. I read a wiccan ritual on and that prayer circle thing gave me the heeby-jeebies like the wiccan ritual I read. There is no way i can believe the BoM is true anymore if Joseph came up with a satanic ritual as the crowning acheievement in mormondom. And this is the kind of thing i would have to rem ove. my name over if it turns out to be Joseph. I can tolerate mormon snobbery, mormon self aggrandizement they have all “truth”….occultic rituals no. I draw the line on that.

  4. Bryan Benson says:

    I am enjoying this series immensely, along with the great comments from thoughtful readers. The question that keeps occurring to me is this: what do we do with such a deconstruction? “What will become of me (us)?” Nothing to do but keep mulling that over, I guess, until something different is revealed/dis-covered. It could seem that a reading other than the one proposed by our “orthodox religion” is at the same time both more sane and more fantastical. Perhaps I’ll say more about that if I ever find time. At any rate, thank you for making your work available. I, too, will acquire the hard-copies at some point.

    1. day2mon says:

      thanks bryan. I’d agree, that we can at least wait with some understanding of what we are waiting for (a book, it seems), and what to do with it when it comes.

      1. Bryan says:

        Yes, I also enjoyed your presentation on the Book of the Lamb. Thanks for posting that too. It’s not clear to me, though maybe it should be, whether that book is to come to us via a seer.

    2. DJL says:

      Look what happened when the people of King Benjamin “deconstructed,” or in other words, were “born again” and became as a little child:

      “Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifestations of his Spirit, HAVE GREAT VIEWS OF THAT WHICH IS TO COME; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things. And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceedingly great joy.”

      We could say that the “great views” these people had were expansive, meaning that they could see much farther than they could previously. But I like to think that “great” also means “joyful, exciting, optimistic.” If that’s the case, then perhaps we can toss out this whole self-fulfilling expectation of Jesus (or some other “god of this world) descending in blood-red and vengeance on his fiery steed to reap death and destruction of the “wicked.” Instead, what about some sort of “view” of world peace, cooperation, health, longevity and receiving more revelation from God in the form of (promised) records? I think this can be accomplished without some middle management bureaucracy, don’t you?

      1. Bryan says:

        Yes, I take your point. A corporate bureaucracy is sort of the opposite of joyful, exciting and optimistic. And I can imagine taking on an open posture of faithful–if also cautious–watching/waiting. Regarding our possible chiliastic expectations, however, isn’t the Book of Mormon a bit problematic in this regard? It is, after all, Jesus who, prior to visiting the people at the temple in Bountiful, takes credit for having buried some cities and their inhabitants in the earth, others in the depths of the sea, and destroying still others by wind and fire. The inhabitants of these cities are said to have been guilty of the blood of the prophets and saints, which blood cried from the ground against them (the cities). I have no idea how to understand that, but it’s there in the text. There’s something sort of archetypal about it, maybe, i.e., this is what wickedness is, prophets and saints cast out and stoned and slain. But who are the prophets and the saints, and why and how are they subject to such treatment? But not to get too far afield. My point is that even on the Book of Mormon’s own terms, Jesus isn’t simply about peace, love and harmony. That has to be accounted for in some way, vis-a-vis our expectations.

      2. DJL says:

        Remember that The Lord was mourning the loss of the people in his lamentation, which appears to have been addressed to (and heard by?) both sides of the veil. Also, the people had been prepared to abide his coming for generations before that time and had their opportunity to believe the words of Nephi, Samuel, and others. We don’t know that being sent to the spirit world at that time was not less merciful than being consumed by his presence would have been when he came. They had plenty of warning… All the way back from Lehi.

        Finally, It was the “blood” that was crying up from the earth against those who were destroyed, so it appears that justice had something to do with the demise of the wicked, since they wouldn’t claim mercy. If he denied justice to be done, then he would cease to be God.

        I suppose it could repeat when he comes again in our day, but I don’t think it will. If a god descends from the sky ready to zap all the inhabitants, I will assume it is the other guy, because Jesus’ mantra is to bless those who curse him.

      3. Chuck Thomas says:

        Yeah, DJL, I was going to say that Jesus took the credit, but only because some saints’ and/or prophets’ blood was crying for justice. One could ask why they didn’t cry for something else; perhaps something else would have happened (to be fair, Jesus hadn’t given his sermons yet spelling out the “new” way of things…). It is what it is, historically speaking. Different times, I suppose, and more than likely different peoples. What about here and now? Anybody up for something different? How about making good with what we got, and trying to read and understand a book in a way, and for reasons never before read? It just now occurs to me that Mormon probably didn’t give two hoots about the Gentiles’ understanding of the BoM anyway, only that it would be restored to those whom Jesus visited at Bountiful, from the Gentiles. Has it been restored to “that people”? I don’t know, but it’s not hard to imagine that with the ubiquitous nature of the text, they could have seen it by now, and have as a result entered the trial period of their faith regarding it (whatever that means). One could also ask, if “this people” were so blessed when there with Jesus so long ago, then why wouldn’t they recognize the BoM when they saw it again? Why would it be a trial to them?

      4. day2mon says:

        I agree that the times have changed, and that what is now being offered is a different way from crying for blood, and getting destruction. It is possible to pin the destruction in the BoM on Enoch, too, although presumably his work was not ‘bad’ in any sense, only doing what had been asked. There is a tradition in a Book of Enoch (I forget which one) that it was the children of men who pleaded for the flood to come and cleanse the earth, and that the floods were sent because of these cries. Your question about recognition of the BoM is a good one. Would the modern, KJV-ified bible version be so unrecognizable, especially bearing all the baggage of a restorationist church? That’d be pretty far out. Maybe the story is just too difficult to believe, after they’ve stuck around for so long. I don’t know, but maybe someday we will get to ask them.

      5. Bryan says:

        This is one of the parts of the Book of Mormon that I struggle with and do not believe I understand. I do not discount the suggested ways of understanding. But two points: 1. as noted, it is the blood that cries from the ground (just as Abel’s blood cried from the ground against Cain). There’s nowhere even a hint that the prophets and saints themselves cried for justice. In fact, the cry of the blood is not mentioned in every case; sometimes it is just the blood itself the ‘comes up’. Of course we can’t say that the prophets and saints didn’t cry out for justice, but if we stick with the (revealed) text, it was the blood, which, by itself, was the cause of the response, i.e., cries for justice on the part of the prophets and saints themselves would only be supplemental to the deeds (murders), sort of like amici curiae briefs (excuse my reification of our anglo-saxon system of justice). 2. We couldn’t call this natural justice, or natural law, because the destruction of those cities does not naturally follow. Rather, the punishment is caused by Jesus, “that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto to me any more against them.” Don’t we also have to keep in mind that all of this takes place after the suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross, and also after the teachings of his mortal ministry? And yet, he remains, at that point, even if reluctantly and with sorrow, a punishing deity–not necessarily or primarily in response to the cries or pleas of those sinned against, but, again, in response to the wickedness itself. If this is so, I don’t see the ground for saying with any certainty that things are any different now. — This is one way of stating the case. But I’m just trying to think it through. Like I said, I don’t believe I understand it. I find it puzzling, mysterious, problematic.

      6. DJL says:

        You’re right that this is a difficult subject, especially given everything we have been fed. We have been taught (or assumed?) the penal-substitution concept of the atonement, and thus think that god is vengeful and destroys his children whenever they act up. Daymon’s volume 5 takes a good crack at another way to look at things, and I would highly recommend it (after reading the others, of course).

        There are a few things to look at: first of all, we know that one man cannot pay any price for another’s sins/murders. Once a life is removed from the earth, even if the perpetrator is executed, it won’t bring back the victim. There can be no restitution. But I also think that the one who is killed (if they are righteous) is not crying for justice, because if they do, then they themselves are not claiming mercy because they are not giving it. They become the accusers and are not living Jesus’ gospel, which is blessing those who curse you. Lastly, “justice” seems to be nothing more than karma in the Book of Mormon. What you send out comes back to you. The “blood” crying from the earth could be a way of disassociating the “justice” from the individual, giving them the opportunity to have mercy on their enemies, while justice being seen if they were unrepentant.

        Remember that the wicked will eventually be cast into the pit they dig for others. Also remember that Alma and Amulek had to witness the destruction of believers who were cast into a fiery pit by the Ammonihahites, and was prohibited to stop it, so that the blood of the women and children would stand as a witness. These may be the “saints” referred to by the Lord when he came (Abinadi being one of the “prophets” — who also told them what they did to him would be a type of what was to come).

        I don’t believe Jesus is a “punishing deity” but does honor the covenants and laws we have set up here…”justice” being one of them (maybe the big one). But what he shows as the higher way is for us to pray for our enemies and agree with our adversaries, so that mercy can in turn claim us.

        PS – The Book of Mormon makes no reference to a garden. It seems like that would be an important thing for the angel to show Nephi in his vision. Maybe Christ’s at-one-ment isn’t exactly what we think it is.

  5. Michael McAlpine says:

    Daymon, you didn’t mention the reader and possible readers here in New Zealand. I am a transplanted Canadian here near the bottom of the South Island.

    1. day2mon says:

      Excellent! Good to hear from you.

  6. rockwaterman1 says:

    I now have a complete set of all five volumes of the hard copies. I am in heaven.

    1. day2mon says:

      thanks rock, although I hear we are now leaders of some neo-fundamentalist Mormon movement! when shall we have our PEC?

      1. J. Madson says:

        Are you sure you have the proper keys? If you are going to be a movement you should for starters, at least, construct some doors/gates/walls and other demarcations staking out your imagined territory in god’s domain. Without such imagined doors and claims of keys to open said doors who would ever want to follow let alone pay you for kindness in opening a door you put there in the first place

      2. rockwaterman1 says:

        It didn’t occur to me until later that the term “Uncorrelated Mormons” of which you are the wise originator, is the perfect label to put onto those like us, since John insists on calling us something. But the way I see it, we’re regular Mormons trying to sort out the pure doctrine from the traditions of men mingled with scripture. So simply “Mormon” would suffice for me, but “Uncorrelated Mormons” has great appeal.

      3. day2mon says:

        I agree. There is not reason to leave “Mormon” to others. I have no problem calling myself “a Mormon,” “Mormon” or nothing at all. Neo-Fundamentalist Mormon is almost ugly enough to be acceptable, but it needs a few more pejorative prefixes before I can accept it. Maybe “Uncorrelated Neo-Fundamentalist Non-Restorationist Heterodox Mormon of Latter-day Saint descent” or “Gentile”?

  7. rockwaterman1 says:

    Josh, if I ever make it back out to Utah, I’ll perch myself on the bow of your father’s sailboat and declare myself King of the World! I’m hoping that will be enough for me to claim the necessary keys for the neo-fundamentalist kingdom I’m secretly planning to rule over.

  8. Babs says:

    Hi Daymon, Do u go into the death (possibly murder) of Joseph Smith’s brother Samuel H Smith? Which book?

    1. day2mon says:

      nope, sorry.

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