For The Record

OK. The NOT Articles of Faith.

Just in case someone cares, let me interview myself:

Q. What is your agenda?

A. Here’s what I’m NOT trying to do, and NOT saying, for the record:

1. I’m not trying to change the Church or its leaders. It’s not my place to do such things.

2. I’m not saying the Church is in apostasy. It isn’t.

3. I’m not trying to get priesthood for anyone, or deny it. Priesthood as I understand the word is not a power, nor a thing one can “get,” any more than I “get” a neighborhood, womanhood, or brotherhood.

4. I’m not advocating joining any group or following any leader. Obviously.

5. I’m not doubting the metaphysics of Mormonism. For obvious reasons found in that sentence.

6. I’m not doubting the Book of Mormon as a historical record of an ancient people.

7. I’m not saying President Monson is a fallen prophet. He isn’t.

8. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to be wrong, to worship idols, to be confused by words and histories. You do, so do I, and we both regularly exercise these rights as Mormons.

9. I don’t think the Church should change. Whatever people mean by that word, it’s their business. I’m content to observe it, on the path it is taking, as I understand that word.

Q. What do you think about what is currently splashed on the internet regarding Mormonism, Women, Gay Marriage, John Dehlin, etc?

A. Um, I think people should not go out to sing until they’ve learned their song well, nor to teach until they’ve be taught.

I think “equality” is not a good word, not to be spoken as a wedding vow: As Bob Dylan said, the only thing people have in common is they are all going to die. Prepare for that.

So, in summary: I really couldn’t care less about players on a stage competing for imaginary things. Although, I am working on an opera…

Ordain me…I want your magic, invisible power

The easiest trick to pull on children is to tell them you have a magic token in your hand, which is invisible. It is this token which I will now hide from you, I then explain, should they try to grab it. Everything that happens for good in my day comes through the power of this magic token.

Or, as Lisa Simpson tried to explain to her father:

 

In more recent cases, by not allowing someone to have this magic, invisible token of power, I ensure that they will organize a movement presupposing its existence, and arguing for its distribution to those arbitrarily precluded from taken it on.  The more arbitrary the exclusion, the more powerful the desire to see the power distributed, strangely enough.

Then I will proceed to initiate sanctions on the persons attempting to acquire my invisible token, and by sanctioning them, only show that indeed I have the power they seek.  I have now punished the children for searching for my magic token, which is, of course, invisible. Only those with special powers can sense it, see it, and even use the magic token. I have the power of the power, the keys to hold the keys to the magic token, which is really the right to hold the magic token, contingent on my assessment of your invisible purity, as measured by vague standards I alone am privy to, and won’t explain to anyone.

The more opposition that is given to my arbitrary exclusion of others from my magic token, the more others seek for my magic token, the more it gains power over them, until they believe it to be real, and then they might offer their lives for it.

But I don’t have the magic token at all, that is why it is an invisible power.

God does not conceal his power, but we conceal our lack of power by performances and rationalizations: magic tricks designed to use belief to stand in for power.

If someone has The Power, the real stuff (which I believe exists), it is pretty clearly explained in accepted LDS scripture what they can, and sometimes, are doing with that power.  And ceremonies and administration duties are not the most interesting of these abilities.

I’d say, if Monson were turning the course of rivers, moving mountains, by the word of power raising the dead, opening the heavens, lifting cities to Enoch; if he was communing with gods and angels (and showing some tangible evidence of doing so), altering weather patterns, and so on, then I’d be pretty anxious to get some of that.

What Priesthood Power can he offer you, Homer?  Lisa replies: Power over others who believe you have that same power.

New Doctrine: Thou Shalt Be Ordained, My Daughter

In an obscure bit of history, I provide this transcript I found after many seconds of searching. 

It concerns a certain woman, who desiring to be ordained to preach, was told the following. 

 

Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, my daughter; for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom.

A revelation I give unto you concerning my will:

And if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion. Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called. Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come.

And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, thy husband, in his afflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness. And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant, whithersoever I will.

And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit. For he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much. And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee in the church; for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith. And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.

—————————————————–

Of course, she was not “given” the Priesthood by this ordination, because “the Priesthood” didn’t yet exist as something one could pass around to other folks, not yet, anyway.  That special combination of power and office, so useful for purposes of mystifying the mind, would not come into The Church of Christ until the Campbellite-Restorations of Morley’s Farm took up the name of Mormons a few months after the text above was spoken.  For details, consult

The Cultural History of the Book of Mormon, Volume One: Setting, A Foundation, Of stones to stumble over.

Have Ye Inquired?

NOTE: The BoM Reading Project is at the end of this post.

 

Once a little girl was being babysat by her older, wiser, taller and wealthier brother. The brother and the sister decided they’d like some chocolate chip cookies, and the brother proceeded to gather the ingredients and to mix them according to the accepted, traditional recipe given on a slip of paper found in the kitchen.

“Can I help mix the dough?” asked the sister.

“No, I’m sorry, it doesn’t say here you can,” he replied.

“Oh. OK. Can I eat the cookies?”

“Of course, you can eat all the cookies you’d like,” brother answered wisely.

“But does it say I can eat all the cookies I’d like?”

“Well no, it doesn’t need to specify everything, and Father said you can eat cookies, right?”

“Yes, I suppose he did. SO I shall eat until I am sick of eating cookies.”

“Excellent.”

 

 

The next time big brother watched over little sister, she had grown taller, and thought perhaps mixing walnuts into the dough might be a delightful change from the now traditional chocolate chip cookie brother so often mixed up.

“Can I mix the cookie dough, this time?”

“Well, why not. You’ve grown. Here are your instructions.”

“Must I follow all the instructions?” she asked, meekly.

“Yes, we must follow all the instructions on the recipe, or the cookies may not turn out.”

“But what if I want to add walnuts? Can I add walnuts? Just one, and I’ll eat it myself?”

“Of course not. It doesn’t say here to add walnuts. SO you must not.”

“Does it say I should not add walnuts?”

“Well we can’t expect the recipe to specify everything that cannot be added, why, the list would be enormous indeed. Silly girl.”

“But I can mix how and when you instruct?”

“Yes, that is your privilege, to turn the dough which I have provided, and of course to eat all the cookies you’d like.”

“But not walnut?”

“Not walnut.”

The last time big brother watched over little sister, she was taller even than the boy, and had grown wiser and had seen her friends eating many different cookies, even some they had made themselves.

“Brother, can I now mix the dough as I’d like, without your supervision, even when you are not around, or don’t approve of my mixing and baking?”

“WhaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaat??????? Father said no. You recall in the Garden of Eatin’ when Father gave me commands to not partake of that fruit on the salad bar, and you did partake? And he banished us from the restaurant, because of your inquisitive eating?”

“Well, you never told me not to eat that fruit.”

“That’s not the point. The point is, Father told me, and you went against it. Now I’m telling you — ”

“–this time”

“– this time, yes, that father has a rule that you cannot mix the dough on your own, add to it what you’d like, though you may mix as I instruct, and eat all you’d like. What’s the problem? You have all that I have to give.”

“I’d like to mix cookies on my own, I suppose.”

“Why? Are my cookies not good enough? Is the recipe not good enough? Is Father’s wise recipe book, and his instructions to me, not good enough for you?”

“Geez. Umm, look, I’d just like to make cookies without you watching over me, telling me what to do, when to do it, and so on. You can understand that, can’t you?”

“I can understand. But you are saying the way Father has established now needs some variation or alternative. Do you think you are wiser, smarter, better than God? He made everything!”

“No, no, I’m not saying that. Only tell me this: Have ye inquired of Father whether he will now let me make cookies on my own?”

——–

Your weekly dose of the Cultural History of the Book of Mormon,

Volume 3: Delta Cycles of Deep Sleep, part 2

BoMVol3deltaProject_East

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a week off

taking a week off from posting the usual BoM Reading Project. We will start on Volume 3: Delta Cycles next week, and begin Volume 4A in July. 4B will fill out August, and volume 5 will take us to the end of September.

Thanks again for reading this work, and for taking it seriously. If you have questions about chapters or books, respond in “comment” to this email, and I will do my best to answer them. It may be a good time to resolve questions, before embarking on 3Delta.