Cult.Hist.5.3

Third installment of the fifth volume of the cultural history of the Book of Mormon.  One more to go!

BoMCH5_West

I don’t have any words of wisdom concerning or specific to recent moves by you-know-who, but can only draw on what I’ve written already.  Just a few notions I happen to subscribe to, generally:

It often is not as clear as false-true, fake-authentic.  It seems God will speak to us through our idols, as he did in the past.  Joseph Smith opens his church with this talk-about-talk.  But the True Speaker will often appear reluctant, should the audience worship the idol, rather than the voice and its stories.  When the idol’s voice no longer draws from living waters, as it were, it will spout out re-circulated waters, and attempt to impress by its synchronicity to popular tunes, its colorful lighting, grandeur of architecture, or other spectacles turned to during certain semi-annual conferences.  By re-circulated, we can also understand many things falling under the term “Restoration.”

There have been eager groups in times past, sincere and so on, seeking for Restorations (of powers of Godliness, of miracles, of…).  I would be reluctant to participate in a Restoration of Anything I wasn’t previously familiar with, or could verify by some independent means (a text, a map, a reliable, explicit supernatural being, etc.).  Something or someone must be really connected to that lost thing needing restoration, and I would prefer the more public evidence over the private and personal, when it comes to restoring houses, electricity, or life.  Dr. Frankenstein was a restorationist.  Private definitions are often the cause of trouble, particularly so when we are looking for something with a name, in the future, while hoping to understand it as we go along encountering it.  Anything potentially could be regarded as a Restoration, so long as we don’t really have definitions or specific notions for what is being restored, and what it ought to look like.  This takes us to the criteria of fruits…

What are the expected fruits, specifically, of some future-oriented cause or gathering?  And be careful that you don’t use a name as the fruit (e.g., Zion), when you can apply that name to whatever happens to come about (e.g., living in Utah, corporate bank-churches, etc.).  Also, private fruits should be linked to public ones, at least, that is what I consider my experience of “reality.”  This is not to say hopes, dreams, wishes, and so on are not “real,” only not quite as alive-real as other things, because they are not independent of our minds, and cannot be shared with or built by other interested persons.

Just because something extraordinary happens, this doesn’t necessarily mean what one might like it to mean.  Obviously.  I’m glad someone is willing to start up something new, and hopefully good, as well.  But, one of the commonest mistakes made is assuming one’s movement, church, community, non-church, or whatever, is the only sprout in the whole vineyard, the single last scion and great hope of Zion.  Perhaps this leads us to taking it too seriously, resulting in hard standards of behavior, growing lists of rules, pride, and a neglecting of other important matters.

Probably gods are busy planting many gardens.  Not every planting may be designed to bring about the One Fruit.  Sometimes gardeners plant flowers near other crops, like tomatoes, in order to keep pests distracted by their pleasing pheromones, vibrant colors, and so on.  But even in that case, the pests are nearer the tomato, I suppose, than they would be crawling about elsewhere.

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9 thoughts on “Cult.Hist.5.3

  1. cesc101 says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
    Don Bradley shared something elsewhere that I feel applies here: ” We’re all nonbelievers in some foundational
    religious claims believed in by others. We can [either]
    understand those who put forward the
    claims we don’t believe as deluded, or as
    frauds. Or we can take an approach that
    recognizes that another person’s religiosity
    may involve beliefs that open up possibilities
    for them that aren’t possible for us.”

  2. DJL says:

    The above-mentioned “you-know-who” often talks about patterns to be observed (and followed). I have a pattern for you:

    (1) A group of people become restless and unsettled because the traditions they have been taught aren’t aligning with the promised fruit
    (2) A man comes along who claims to have been visited by God, but he says, “Be very careful in following me.”
    (3) People (who consider him a prophet) follow him anyway and ask (whether to him directly or to God) that this man can lead them
    (4) The man petitions God to give the people an acceptable “form” of organization which they can follow
    (5) God agrees and gives the people some rules to obey which “this time” will actually work because, hey…. someone new has the “keys” (whatever those are) or “authority” (whatever that means)
    (6) The people, vowing to not be like the group they came out of, follow the new rules
    (7) Confusion, chaos and contention ensue, along with some miracles and gifts of the Spirit (but those miracles are not as a result of following rules, but having sufficient faith)
    (8) The promised fruits are not manifested

    (return to the beginning and repeat the cycle)

    So am I talking about Joseph Smith or someone else? (the answer is “yes”)

  3. Max Faktur says:

    Djl-

    the nail u hit on the head just got closer to the wall. Right on.

    Daymon-
    I particulary like what u said about a restoration being possible only if and by someone or something can beconnected to the thing originally lost.

    Is it possible that the Servant in jacob 5 is one who is comnected to such? Could d&c 101 bedeclaring that Joseph Smith is this Servant who returns and do you feel that jacob 5 is confirming?

    1. day2mon says:

      No, I don’t think Joseph is the servant who returns to restore. Someone connected with the events in Bountiful, in 3Nephi, is necessary; three would be better, as witnesses and instructors go.

      1. Chuck says:

        Yeah, it would be an interesting exercise to try to imagine what Joseph would be a legitimate restorer of…

        There seems to be ongoing confusion, even here, around Joseph’s role in the creation of what continues to be called “the church”, and what with the branding, by some, of those since charged with commanding that old ship to nowhere as being “in apostasy,” I suppose it easy to look forward to the expected re-fitting of that which they feel Joseph restored (once before), in purity, back in the day.

    2. DJL says:

      That being said, I think it’s a worthwhile experiment. Maybe there are enough of our follies and abominations visible now that the same mistakes can be avoided… Providing, of course, that there is a view of what really went down in Bountiful.

  4. jps_seeker says:

    There are many gardens in bloom, planted, as it were, without hands, among many people. Even the Amish. (TLDR, start at about minute #38). It may be that a ‘sign’ of the real fruit is the opposite of your quote above:

    “resulting in hard standards of behavior, growing lists of rules, pride, and a neglecting of other important matters.”

    Behold, the Amish willing to leave behind the traditions of their fathers, in search of their Father: https://youtu.be/HtNXvE_rLoE

    FWIW, I see a similar movement among a small group of Methodists who live close by (NOT in Utah). (I want to quote something spiritual, which will give my words more ‘uumph’, like “he who has eyes to see, let him see!”. Instead, I will offer up this example, and my own weak witness that there is a stirring in the hearts of men, yearning for “more.” Whether that “more” will be realized, or we will sink back to the same tried-and-true ‘respect-my-authoritay’ ways, like the dog to its vomit, is yet to be seen. I see some small reason to think that there are those making progress. But I would be more hopeful if I had another witness, other than dreams, visions, and learning more from the scriptures than in my earlier, True-Blue-Mormon ways. We’ll see.)

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