If You Read the Cult.Hist. of B.o.M.

If you’ve been reading the Cultural History of the Book of Mormon, I think you are far ahead of most who think, worry, argue and puzzle over Mormonism and Mormon history. How many questions can you now ignore, or wonder at the strangeness of their asking? I look over Facebook groups devoted to Mormon matters, and am all amazed at the foolishness they are seen daily offering, confused by the pace that so slowly they are awakening, and then smothering others back into unrestful slumber. The CH series is long, I’m afraid, but it does offer a shortcut through the vast and often wildly overgrown landscape of writings on the subject.

The problem for me, now, is to be able to explain what it is I do believe, and more importantly, why I believe so, without having to point to 10 books as my response.

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14 thoughts on “If You Read the Cult.Hist. of B.o.M.

  1. Good Will says:

    Believe me, they’re not going to let you read your ten books at your disciplinary hearing…and they’re not going to read them, either!

  2. rockwaterman1 says:

    Daymon, as someone who has not yet finished all the books in the series, my great fear is that I’ll do just as you mention above: I’ll say something ignorant in a Facebook Forum that could have been avoided had I finished my education first.

    I have resolved to stop my old habit of reading portions of a dozen books at once and finishing none, but to instead finish one book at a time front to back. For now that book is The Temple Lot Case, a huge phonebook sized tome which I need to get through in order to report on it in a future blog post. But the remaining volumes of Cultural History are the next ones in line, so once I start them I don’t intend to quit until I’ve finished them all.

    In the meantime, I hope that if you see me saying anything stupid that I should have known better about, I hope you’ll call me on it.

  3. DJL says:

    Having read the entire CH series, I can understand what Daymon is saying about the books being a shortcut. One might think that it is too difficult to wade through the generations of folly presented, and not worth the effort. But in order to have a bright understanding of the path ahead (with some options presented in the fantasia of Volume 5), I don’t think there is any other road to take. At great sacrifice to himself, Daymon has given each of us a way out of the fog (along with other-worldly guidance, too, of course). But don’t think it won’t require work from the individual, or that he will or even can hand it to anyone on a silver platter. I would suggest that if an individual is serious about their own salvation and opportunity to be re-deemed, then they would struggle through every piece of information presented in the CH. Only then will they get a clear picture of the mess we have created.

    It is indeed discouraging to hear all the chatter of “the end is near” from the “awake” crowd and “all is well” from the True Blues. Seems like both approaches are destructive, or at the very least distracting. Here we have a curious book, made new again by purging out the tripe, dogma and silly fan fiction of past generations. What mysteries and wonders await us? Yet we continue to sleep in the abominations of our fathers, wondering why things don’t add up. It can be discouraging, no doubt, but I take solace in knowing the God is patient and merciful. He will not shock us awake nor destroy us in our current ignorant state. It is steady as she goes, or so it seems.

  4. Babs says:

    There are so many TBMs who are snobs and seem to act like they know all the answers. That turns me off of becoming a straight up balls to the wall Mormon.

    Then there are ppl like u, who seem unafraid to ask the hard questions then write books about it. But ur “type” of mormon is starting to sound snobby. So im turned off of even looking at mormonism from that approach.

    I think my journey into looking into mormonism is going to lead to being agnostic. There’s just too much BS to sift thru. Whats true? Does God really care that I have a rum and coke once in a while? That I havent become *endowed* with their rituals? Anyone else get my flow here?

    Seems like a lotta snobbery on all sides. Same goes for the christian coalition types.

    1. DJL says:

      I could be wrong, but I don’t think Daymon is championing any “type” of Mormonism. In fact, it is clear that he would be happy to do away with “isms” of all types.

      Perhaps you have a head start on others who have been raised in the midst of all this “BS.” When you pick up the Book of Mormon, you don’t (I’m assuming) read a lifetime of what someone else said about it into the text. That seems to be a great advantage. You may easily discover in your reading (like I did) that God doesn’t give two hoots about what beverage you consume, or what you wear on Sunday, and that he most likely would rather you not get tangled up in the rituals of the LDS temple (as it seems that the performances have been done away). More importantly, you may quickly come to understand the nature of God, what mercy really means, and how to be at one with him. From the little I’ve searched, it appears to all be good news, even for one leaning “agnostic.”

      I can see how it would be a turn-off to be dragged through the junk, if you haven’t held onto it your whole life. Yes, you still have to get past the Holier Than Thou language of the Book of Mormon, but that’s not too difficult a task. But I would hope that you can have a little compassion for those who are a bit slower to realize these things, as the BS has been embedded in their DNA, and it is more of a struggle to take off the dark glasses.

    2. day2mon says:

      Sorry for appearing snobbish as my type of Mormon. I happen to believe the CH does resolve many questions, however, probably some you currently wonder about.

  5. Phil says:

    Hi Damon.

    Many of those in the particularly peculiar company that I keep, seem to be aware of and appreciative of your bushwhacking efforts. So, thank you. In regards to what/why you might now believe – that’s a helluva question these days, isn’t it? I can only offer up some observations and additional questions. What could possibly be your motivation to circumnavigate and then burrow a path through the jungle of overgrowth to help others glimpse the kernel of what Mormonism’s potential was/is?

    1) In your offering up of your life’s work to the world wide web, no strings attached practically for free, (in the volume lies the toll as well as the prize) the typical drive for more and/or bigger stuff is not present.
    Daymon doesn’t believe in Money.

    2) Secondly, the individuals most interested in this offering of yours are …. truly atypical. So, you surely are well aware that there is no potential for a blue ribbon from the typical county-fair types.
    Daymon doesn’t believe in Fame.

    3) If there is a key to this question of what/why you believe, could a more appropriate koan be buried in the prose of the haunting Frost poem that you begin this journey with in Book 1? For me personally, this poem has many worms still wriggling in the can and I keep coming back to it. Who is this guide so willing to accompany you on this epic and ‘Be dragged by you all over everywhere’ in search of this fountain constructed by second rate masons? The guide having glimpsed something in ’85, appears to now somehow be obligated out of decency to join in the pursuit with the next generation. Surely the guide is motivated by more than merely to ‘shut you up’. Who’s errand is the guide on? Who is the “someone” who has called the Mormons off the mountain? Will that Person again rally the wanderers to the trail head? Am I reading into the poem personal misgivings based on the trappings of the Zionistic metatext that I swim in and it’s entirely likely that Frost never could have intended this reading? Is it remotely possible that the questions are more important than the answers? I sure hope so. They certainly seem to be more abundant.
    In conclusion:
    Daymon believes in good poetry – this I know to be true.

    1. day2mon says:

      I still turn back to that, and like good poetry (and Frost gave us more than we deserve) it doesn’t explain itself. It generates thought, and from there, it seems, people can begin to have important conversations which ask serious questions hoping to come to reliable answers. Stopping midway on the journey, though, we are probably better off not asking the guide to take us to that font.

  6. Kevin says:

    A synopsis of your beliefs along with the foundation for those beliefs would be welcomed by many, Damon. Perhaps a primer on how you see things. If you included references to your CH series it would help those of us who value your work to better study it. I hope there isn’t an inevitable ‘council of love’ with your name on the agenda like Will envisions. If the pace continues they’re going to have to create an Inquisition Department.

    I love your example of epistemic humility, Rock. Only by accepting that we don’t know everything will we find the ‘hidden treasures of knowledge’ promised in the D&C.

  7. Toni says:

    I just finished the second book in volume 3. Three more books to go.

    To be honest, as I was slogging through the lesson manuals discussion, I found it difficult to disengage and see clearly because I have been taught this stuff all of my life. Most of the time it was, “So what is wrong with that?”

    Then I came to the Preach My Gospel manual and it was so much more obvious. I understood, better, what you were saying.

    It seems to me that the idea is that we should be reading the book (BofM) and not books claiming to say what the book says. No leading or manipulative questions. No rewards or punishments for regurgitating “appropriate” responses. In fact, a church (institution) was probably a bad idea in the first place.

    I think these volumes will take more than one go-round to comprehend it all. After all, these are centuries of being taught certain paradigms.

    Thanks for all your work.

    1. day2mon says:

      Many thanks for reading, and for writing this excellent summary of what is I think is the task, which is closer to reading a poem than a manual.

    2. Chuck Thomas says:

      Daymon beat me to the punch, but I will say it anyway as well, Toni: beautifully stated. A light went on for me just now. Thank you.

  8. Larry says:

    Daymon thank you for all the work on CH. I have finished volume four, looking forward to five.

    It seems to me that the only way to understand anything is to understand both sides of the issue. After hearing one side of the story for decades it is exciting for me to hear another side. Yes it is work to follow through and read all the information, but I don’t see any other way to do it. With this greater understanding, I enjoy my experiences more.

    Love the CH series.

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