still alive

All the pdfs I’ve posted this year have been removed.  If you are missing some part of the cultural  history, let me know.  I’ll not entertain, “can you send me the whole thing?” sort of requests, but if you’ve been reading along, and missed one, I will send that.

Let me give just a few thoughts and responses to questions, drawing on a request quoted below:

“…would you please do YOUR version of the ‘articles of faith’ (kind of) to set the record straight as to the many BoM intricacies ie:
-actual geography?
-joseph a prophet/seer or not?
-d&c true or false, or which parts are specifically?
-d&c 76 bogus? Rigdon didnt really see the vision?
-sect 124 true?
-who the heck are the lamanites?
-all accounts of healings and angelic visits in e as rly lds history bogus?
– etc etc”

Good questions.  Answers?

I’m not going to explain why I believe what I write below to be true, because I’ve written nearly 2000 pages, and freely distributed them, giving in these writings what evidence I find reasonable.

The first answer I give, as I see it:

Yes, Joseph was a prophet/seer, as I understand the term.  How do I decide in his favor?  The Book of Mormon is evidence enough for me…add to that his other sermons and generally ridiculous way of living and dying, and he comes out more than a prophet and seer.  If you have questions about the Book of Mormon, (“what about this or that, steel, or Indian DNA?”), I say, read what I’ve written, and then we’ll talk.

Does that mean everything someone says Joseph said, is really true and inspired?  No.  Aside the problem of accuracy in reporting, infallibility is not something we can attribute to him.  Moreover, Joseph prefaced his entire career as the on-going prophet of the Church of Christ with his reading of Ezekiel 14.

It seems to me the question about Joseph, this question is asking something like, “Do you believe there are still puzzles, or has mankind discovered and explained everything already, (i.e., the universe will suck in on itself and nothingness alone will be, just as it is after death, if nothingness can be)?”

Do the atheists have it right, or, Should we believe in Gods, this late in the history of the world?

They are old, and tired, but still around.  The Gods, I mean.

Not the atheists, who more often than not are young, energetic and ambitious.

I think the spirit lives after the body dies, and that darkmatter is bullshit.

Re: Science.  If you want to see what scientists are really firm on, in terms of the nature of things, read some scientific journals.  Try it.  You’ll learn quickly that very little is as definite and settled as it is portrayed in popular science writings, or worse when it comes to simplification, in PBS or FOX specials.  This is true for physics, biology, genetics, archaeology, food science, medicine, and so on.

If you come away in despair from your reading of the ongoing and ever present disputes in science journals —  how it seems no one really “knows” anything, at least, not without facing equally reasonable doubts among most of their peers — if this discourages you, it may be because you are looking for religion in the wrong place.  If you come away pleased that the world is not so narrow as you’d been told, you have the right to wonder about it.

The universe wasn’t created, and it isn’t going away, I’m guessing.  If we are condemned to exist always, we might as well start doing what we really want to do, and that might as well be good, rather than evil.  No one can kill me, and I am not my body of flesh.  We are, that we might have joy.  Whatever we are, it is “ontologically” found in what we sometimes call “joy.”  Or light.

Now, if something being created will be destroyed, what do we make of our resurrected bodies?  Apparently, either temporary things; or they are “made” from what is eternal about us, “restored” in the image of the body’s primordial creation in the Beginning.  Just another puzzle to wonder about.

That takes us, I suppose, to D&C.

I would say anything purporting to be “revelation” received or given before 1832 should be treated as an apple from an old, long nosed, wrinkly hag.  Maybe it’s just an apple, maybe a magic one, and maybe that magic is good.  Or it will put you into spiritual sleep, to be looked after, and over, by seven homely dwarves (or is it twelve, plus three)?

If we look into D&C 76, we can begin to discern more reliable from less reliable “revelations,” on principles having nothing to do with “what is said.”

First, if written from someone’s perspective, a vision, for example, such a writing must be read as being written from someone’s perspective.  In the case of D&C 76, it is clearly Rigdon’s, and clearly run through Campbellite restorationist dogma.  Does that mean he didn’t see anything?  Not at all.  I think D&C 138, for instance, reports a real vision, but that Joseph F. Smith saw it through a cracked lens.  It seems rare that we do as Joseph Smith, the Original (junior), taught: if we receive a vision, ask for the interpretation, as well.  And then write it down, without interpretation by you, or in an attempt to prove some notion or belief is really correct.

Second, if one hears the Voice, and feels that light which comes with it, and the Voice speaks in clear English (maybe even complete sentences), I would say the report of that Voice’s saying is probably accurate.  The interpretation?  Well…

Second-and-a-half: No, the strange visions and miracles of the early church of Christ weren’t all bogus, but they weren’t all legitimate, either.  There were liars then, as there are liars today, from top to bottom and to the side.  And people then, as today, used their words in ways that allowed for others to interpret what they said as saying something miraculous happened, when maybe it wasn’t really quite so concretely miraculous.

Where does a “vision” start, where the “voice of the Lord” begin, as something distinct from ordinary vision and hearing?  Maybe there’s a big neon sign that says, “You are having a vision, starting now!” Or, “Hey Daymon, it’s Jesus here, can we talk for a minute?”  But it seems that one can call anything a “vision,” or a “revelation,” and just (silently) redefine what one means by these terms.

Until we have clear boundaries, of what we mean by terms like “vision” or “revelation” or “second comforter,” we might as well wander into minefields, meadows, or minds without concerning ourselves with the practical differences.

Perhaps our language has built into us a measure of unbelief?  Where did we learn to speak of visions distinct from vision, of some feelings being “special,” or some voices not being our own?  This is the sort of question that in answering, would require greater knowledge than I can even begin to outline.

Third, if one says, “I was told to say, ‘such and such,’ and now I have,” one can treat this as either a true message or not; reported accurately or not.  Moreover, if the messenger fails to distinguish between his/her message or interpretation of the message, and the message he or she was to give, I would say, that is not a reliable messenger.  If they don’t draw clear open-and-close-quotes, I mean.  Not evil; but like a mailman or postman who takes your letters home and adds his own content, without clearly marking it as such. Maybe he did so with good intent.  In the case of material published in D&C, we don’t have too many passages clearly reporting the Voice’s message, as signed off by Joseph Smith, falling outside the warning of Ezekiel 14.

What about D&C 124?  I think this is one of the rare, reliable ones.  But the traditional interpretation of what is being said is not correct.  How to avoid the plain facts: Mormons were driven from their place, did not receive the priesthood removed anciently? (By “priesthood” I mean, a group of priests; as a neighborhood is a group of neighbors.)  Again, we cannot think without being aware of our words.

We stumble around the darkness when we talk of “priesthood” as a sort of mojo one has or does not have.  The mojo, such as it is, seems to consist in one’s trust among other priests.  If there is a power one might “have,” we can call that, “faith.”  And by “Faith,” I don’t mean, “belief plus action.”  These other priests may have power, because they have faith.  Nobody “has” or “holds” the priesthood.  Faith comes by hearing the Word; I’d say, that Word is something like the story of the world.  And knowing how that story is to play out, would indeed give one a measure of “power,” if only because one could be patient, not mislead or be misled, nor be drifting about at every wind of doctrine.

This brings us to the “Lamanites.”  Recall that no one left alive in the Book of Mormon after Christ has descended is really, “ethnically” Lamanite.  After a few generations, some folks call themselves “Lamanites,” but apparently the lines of Nephi and Laman were mingled during Zion’s brief golden age.  So, who did all the killing in the fourth century?  People calling themselves “Lamanites.”  Do they have a promise?  No.  They did not dwindle in unbelief, but willfully rebelled against the light, and are sons and daughters of perdition, I’m afraid.

Who are the Remnant, then?  That piece of carpet, as it were, given the land as an inheritance by Jesus, when he came and taught them.  I don’t mean their descendants…whatever Indian tribe you have in mind.  I mean, them: the people at Bountiful.  You do the math, and go back and read Third Nephi.  And Helaman.  And Alma.  Not all of them remained alive, of course, but some few did, and this land is their land, collectively.  Which land?

Well, I don’t know how the boundaries are drawn on the maps in Heaven.  But, I would say, since I can guess and there’s no harm in being wrong here, that the events of the Book of Mormon took place in what we’d call California.  Southern, mostly.  Some parts have since been swept into the sea, or buried, or whatever, but I’d say that’s where I’d like to live, assuming they get rain at some point in the future.  I don’t understand how millions of Mormon can talk of the Yucatan, or Peru, or Michigan as being the Promised Land, and not have any desire whatsoever to move there.  Seriously, imagine California as just land and sea…who wouldn’t want to live there, at some point in their lives?

What evidence there may be for my fantasy, I give in the Cultural History, mostly Volume Five.

Finally, as concerns current events: It is this Remnant alone I would listen to, if anyone comes around talking about “Restoring Zion.”  At least three are reportedly still around, and probably a few more, as well, from that “second generation from Christ.”

Really finally: Do I need to explain why the recent, semi-annual ass-kissing WrinkleCon 2014 is our Mormon dark-matter?   Restoration, priesthood, Ezekiel 14…

VPB

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14 thoughts on “still alive

  1. lemuel says:

    [quote]”Now, if something being created will be destroyed, what do we make of our resurrected bodies? Apparently, either temporary things; or they are “made” from what is eternal about us, “restored” in the image of the body’s primordial creation in the Beginning.”[/quote]

    We say it a lot that anything that has a beginning must also have an end. Is there a logical or revelatory proof of this? Just curious.

    Great post. Lots to ponder.

    1. day2mon says:

      About proof, re: beginning and end. It sounds right…is that good enough? I can’t recall not existing, can’t imagine what that would be like, and yet, I can remove from my mind things which entered into it at some point, say, a desire for a new car. Some thoughts can be removed, while others seemingly cannot. Kant worked this vein, of course. What cannot be removed from our thoughts seems to be those things which are not in any conceivable way, “created,” and thus, I’d say, are unlikely to have any end.

  2. lemuel says:

    “I would say anything purporting to be “revelation” received or given before 1832 should be treated as an apple from an old, long nosed, wrinkly hag.”

    Why 1832? The Book of Mormon is “the most correct book” and it came before 1832.

    1. day2mon says:

      Well, it was clearly published in 1830, and not merely purporting to be so. I mean, we don’t have actual documents dated to 1829; only texts purporting to be transcripts of revelations, yet these were almost always written after 1831.

  3. lemuel says:

    “if one says, “I was told to say, ‘such and such,’ and now I have,” one can treat this as either a true message or not; reported accurately or not. Moreover, if the messenger fails to distinguish between his/her message or interpretation of the message, and the message he or she was to give, I would say, that is not a reliable messenger. If they don’t draw clear open-and-close-quotes, I mean.”

    Bigger picture question: Why don’t we hear the voice of the Lord more clearly? And why don’t we have any reliable messengers? God could certainly provide them if he wanted to, I think (perhaps not if no one was willing to be a reliable messenger).

    1. day2mon says:

      Good questions, about reliable messengers and the voice of the Lord. I’d say, guessing, we hear the words of the Lord, and maybe that is enough, for most folks. The actual “voice”? There’s a song by Vampire Weekend called Ya-Hey, which speaks to this question, as Jews see it. All he seems to say is, I am that I am. What else is there to say? The matter of reliable messengers, again guessing: our thoughts get entangled with what we hear, and are bent to the idols of our minds. Maybe we can’t eliminate idols, but maybe we could make them as void as possible, and thus, less massive in their bending of these messages?

  4. jenheadjen says:

    “Who are the Remnant, then? That piece of carpet, as it were, given the land as an inheritance by Jesus, when he came and taught them.” – my fav line in the whole post.

    Also I love how it highlights in red when I try to copy and paste.

    I kinda miss the tentacles all over the borders, Daymon. Appreciate hearing what you have to say on all this!

  5. TG says:

    Daymon, How would you like to “do” the Lectures on Faith for us some time? I would really like to know your thoughts on that.

  6. DJL says:

    “Do they have a promise? No. They did not dwindle in unbelief, but willfully rebelled against the light, and are sons and daughters of perdition, I’m afraid.”

    From what I can see, the two groups left to fight each other (and like you say, weren’t necessarily ethnically part of their respective names) were Lamanites, who “revolted from the church,” and the Nephites, who became corrupted, proud in their riches and eventually sold Christ “for gold.” It was the Nephites who boasted in their strength, which was really God’s power. And as Alma says, “if ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable.” He chastised his son, Corianton, in large part because of this boasting.

    I don’t see where the post-Christ Lamanites did the things which condemn them to be sons and daughters of perdition. Their group was defined as Lamanites because they revolted against the church (not necessarily revolted against the Holy Ghost); therefore, they wouldn’t be “selling Christ” for gold, nor would they be boasting in their strength and wisdom, because it seems to be the power of the ministry which gave them that strength of which they boasted.

    It is my conclusion, therefore, that THIS group of Lamanites are not sons and daughters of perdition. That doom belongs to the post-Christ “Nephites” who were the ones who did the thing which was “most abominable.” However, I suspect that all is not lost for them either, because “whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, IT IS NOT EASY for him to obtain forgiveness.” As was said in Dumb and Dumber, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance….”

    I guess it all comes down to which group you are referring to when you say “Nephites” and “Lamanites,” or which groups the Book of Mormon prophets were talking about. “For behold, the promises of the Lord are extended to the Lamanites…” and “there are many promises which are extended to the Lamanites” and “in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge, the Lord shall be merciful unto them.”

    I suppose it’s possible that the prophets before Christ could have been talking about the ethnic Lamanites or even the Ammonites (which ethnically included Zoramites), but it seems like it would be a weird thing to prophesy about a “group” which would completely change its identification halfway through. (“These are not the Lamanites you are looking for”).

    But I would concur that the native tribes on this land aren’t necessarily those who are being referred to as “Lamanites.” Regardless, it seems to me that it’s not even our lot to find them at this point. I think that assignment was given to Oliver Cowdery.

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