BoM Cult.Hist. Reading Project VOL3 BETA

This month we begin Volume 3: Cycles of Deep Sleep.

First up for your downloading pleasure is BETA WAVES.


The first part of Volume 3: Beta Waves sees the author reconstruct how the modern institutional church arose from the Sunday Schools and YMMIA organizations, showing how the Book of Mormon was reshaped as curriculum taught by generic instructors to imagined pupils. Central to this reshaping was the creation of an imagined Book of Mormon World, a work of writers like George Reynolds, Moses Thatcher, James Talmage, and B.H. Roberts. Their metatextual labor integrated the imagined World of the Book of Mormon with the rising administrative structure to give us a very different way of reading that book.


In addition, you can now purchase from the publisher the “unified” Volume 3: Cycles of Deep Sleep.


And also, unified VOLUME 4: The Imaginary is now available.


1 Comment

  1. Hi Daymon,

    I haven’t made it into volume 3 yet. I keep going back to chapter 7 in book 2b, where you take up Giorgio Agamben.

    Are you at all familiar with John Millbank’s Radical Orthodoxy movement? I’d describe it as a kind of restorationism within the Orthodox Christian tradition. Finding themselves in a world where religion has been rendered into a materialistic, secular space, Millbank and company have done something maybe not unlike your Cultural History. They have looked back with a critical eye, perhaps somewhat less encumbered by tradition, and examined how things emerged.

    Agamben notices a shift from “economy of mystery” to “mystery of economy.” Millbank finds a similar sort of thing in the development of a religion fixated on problems of epistemology. He places the crux of this shift around the scholastic period, with John Duns Scotus in particular. Duns Scotus developed arguments for the “univocity of being” which claims that at some point along a taxonomy we share an ontological category with God. We exist in the same way that God exists, not merely as flatlanders in a universe painted by someone who was not himself painted.

    Univocity I think trends against conceptualism and lays a foundation for certainty and determinism. If God exists as we do, then we ought to be able to know and say something about that. Words no longer equivocate. Now there is a via positiva rather than an apophatic one or an analogical one. If religion was once sung and danced and lived (and eventually regulated by a priesthood), now it might also be justified… or debunked–and that is where atheism and secularism enter the scene. In any case, religion today is something that one “knows” about; one witnesses to knowledge. I think that has some bearing on what emerged as Mormonism. So, maybe you’d be interested in Millbank’s work.

    Even further along the line of development, we encounter Ockham and his struggles with papal power. Angus Fletcher takes up Ockham in his essay entitled Allegories without Ideas (i.e. allegories without universals). This seems relevant to Mormonism because we have a system where truth is no longer a thing that demands to be understood. Instead, truth is something about which we must feel right. Feeling right indicates that one has received “the Holy Ghost” which is how we are to know “the truth of all things.” So, for example, I see trite comments from GAs rendered instantly into internet memes, complete with flowing fonts and dreamy landscapes. The “gospel” is thus commoditized and marketed, and few buy it because it makes sense. It just looks good and feels right; it’s a happy place full of wishes. I wonder what you would think of Angus Fletcher.

    Anyway, those are some tangents I got onto because of your chapter 7, which is my favorite chapter so far, even though I (being unschooled) still don’t understand all of it. I hope to get into vol. 3 soon.

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