2019: Audio, Map, Website


Audiobooks of Words of the Faithful and of Slumbered may be added to your reading of these texts, as they are mostly oral histories of ancient days, really.  You may also download these files from the Internet Archive: Faithful and Slumbered.  I recommend using the Smart AudioBook player.


Second, a collaborative Book of Mormon/Tolkien/Words website is bringing together these different writings, enriching the story. 

Many thanks to friends who brought to both projects, their own EA!


And here’s a little map, not to scale.

Words map Second Age

O.L.G.A: What is it? (repost)

After advocating a sort of don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy regarding “deviated sex practices,” and having notified all the quorum of the position of the First Presidency, a change in direction was taken in the late 1970s, due, of course, to the hippies. And the communists.  And probably Feminists wanting equal you-know-what for equal work.

Apparently displeased with either the ambiguity of the previous reply to the inquiry of Mrs. Luci Atwater concerning deviated practices, or perhaps because that reply was not issued to all the units of the church, a Rae Huish asked for clarification (or permission) regarding “oral sex.”  Better to ask for forgiveness, you know, than permission.

The reply was swift, and unambiguous:  1977 Oral Sex Response Letter

Oral Lovemaking in the Genital Area was forbidden.  Soon the church issued t-shirts to all the priesthood and relief societies of the Church, “OLGA is No-Go” and the Sermon on the Mount was changed to read, “Ye have heard it said, by me just now, thou shalt not ogle they neighbor’s wife, but I say unto you, this, also, which I forgot to mention: if thou hast committed or permitted OLGA, at any time preceding or following the sealing ceremony for time and all eternity, even the marriage of one man to one woman, with any woman, including thy own wife, helpmeet, or husband, thou hast done it unto thy neighbor’s wife.  And that’s bad, too, obviously.  Worse if you are a dude, and you married a dude.  That’s even worse, like unto murder.  Murder, I mean, of a non-white of a white person, like, that bad.” (Matt. 24:21).

To give you some sense of how totally white this church was in the 1970s, there was more uproar about men with slightly more melanin in their skin being ordained to priesthood, than there was in declaring certain practices between husband and wife, “forbidden”.


While you are here ogling my blog, why not read an excerpt from the Cultural History of the Book of Mormon?  It is, in my estimation, the sort of book which can very much change you, and your experience of Mormonism, and your reading of the Book of Mormon.  If you’re into that sort of thing, I mean.

GenCon14 Reprint: Like Unto = Evil

In the true spirit of General Conference, I am republishing this post, with additional material inserted here and there.


Like Unto = Evil

by  Insert Name Here


I would say, if anyone asked, that the “origin of evil” is probably to be looked for in the description, “one like unto God.” What does it mean to measure a being, especially God, and to suggest that another is “like” Him in some way? It is one thing to say you have your mother’s nose, but even that is somewhat false, as your mother’s nose is not hers, but inherited from another, and there is no origin to that particular nose. It is unique and ever changing; though we might recognize it looks sometimes more like mom’s nose than dad’s nose did at sometime. But we must stop the changing, and invent a representation of that nose in our mind. That representation is not the same thing as the nose represented. And that is the origin of evil.

It denies the absolute abundance of diversity created by God and others, and seeks to understand them according to classes and measurements, by arranging likenesses.
This does not mean “likeness” itself is evil (what Peirce would call “iconicity”), but rather the uses to which likeness are put, these are to be considered very often the means of introducing evil into creation. What comes of measurements of likeness?

Who assesses how much, in what ways, one is like unto God? At Elder’s Quorum on Sunday I was told that we can be Saviors on Mount Zion, and when I asked whether they meant that literally, or were just speaking of church callings with fancy terminology, some men insisted that indeed we could be like Jesus. That is the origin of evil, I’d say. Why, I ask myself? Likeness measured thus requires two parties, and another outside these two who assesses the similitude of the pair. And that assessment typically measures very intangible things like “worthiness” and “spirituality,” and so must rely on external signs of such intangibles. Thus we see systems arising for measuring (e.g., stats), which represent the likeness of an externality (tithing) to an intangible (belief), in order to assess the likeness of one thing to another (me and God, let’s say).

Contrast this easily corruptible approach, that always borders on compulsion and counterfeiting, with the declaration of God that the spirits and intelligences and noble and great ones were all, in the beginning, “good.” They are not like a good being, more or less, generally, but were called good. In opposition to this declaration one arose “like unto God,” but who was not God, who offered a plan for sifting, for measuring, for distributing the creation of God to those who obeyed him. We will prove them, he proclaimed, to see if they are indeed Good. Not content with beings being beings, he apparently insisted that beings must be like some other being, and thus built a hierarchy with himself as the measure for how high one might rise, and by what means.

How can you get evil from beings declared good? That is an important question, I suppose, and I think it comes from our freedom to act. We can fabricate likenesses, and when we believe we are like God for creating likenesses of his creations, we have introduced Evil into his work, and are fallen.

The Origin of Evil, then, in my non-theological understanding, is to be found in measuring representations of living things, a claim perhaps underwriting the prohibition on idols and graven images; and why art critics and book reviewers are capable of such mischief.

Why are you offering those sacrifices, Adam? They are in similitude, and that is the sign of a fallen man: he cannot see the difference between the image of a thing, and the thing imaged.  He imagines one can stand in for the other, and how far off is a market for sacrifices at the temple?

It is foolishness to suppose one man can suffer for the sins of another, and our law is just, and it forbids this, one Nephite said.

Contrast the one like unto God approach, with the advice, “Be Ye Perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect.” If we look to the preceding verses, in both 3 Nephi and the New Testament, we see how our Father is perfect. It is not some declaration for us to seek for “perfection,” in the abstract, and thus, always unattainable, but really trying to be like Jesus, as we’ve imagined him up. It is in the sending of rain on the just and unjust, blessings rather than cursings.

What comes of God being thus perfect? For our lives, I mean, and how we reflect on them?

We have no reason to assume our blessings have come of our own righteousness. This means there is no compulsion nor bribery which leads to righteousness, and no measuring worth doing; for you’ll find that the wicked are often blessed equally, if not in profusion, should you compare how much rain one has received with that sent upon another. If there is no material reason for righteousness, nor fear of wickedness because God will smite you with a plague, the only reason to do good, it seems to me, is because one prefers that to doing evil. And so we really are free to act.

But if we act in a manner that weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of our malice, as one being once was said to do, and suppose that this makes us like Jesus, we are not only fallen, but have introduced evil. Evil is not created, then, but is introduced by our imaginations, and thus it is not eternal, and so I would like to take up a debate with Lehi, someday, regarding the opposition of all things.

Here we have the origin of evil, in making one thing like another (counterfeiting, really), and passing it off as the real thing to unsuspecting souls. And the preservation of freedom is founded in the mercy of God.  It does not require sacrifice, nor involves any debt.   His perfection may well be the origin of us as free souls, and why we are good, although we often confuse a similitude of it for the true thing. Should we set up, say, an association of persons for the reason of discerning the difference, and then distribute through various means our methods for discovering the difference, we have, yet again, introduced evil into creation. There is, you’ll note by reading Moroni’s Promise, a difference between the “truth of it” and whether “these things are true.” True is an assessment of accuracy of likeness or fidelity (hi-fi); truth is apparently very different, and something we must ponder after reading “these things.”

Now, let’s consider Likening things to ourselves.

You can insert your name here, __________, if you’d like.  How do you Liken this to yourself?

You are saying, “It is addressed to me.”  Now, some messages don’t have explicit addressees.  Some do.  If we find a letter addressed to, say, “The People of Nephi, ca.575 BCE,” why would we re-address that to ourselves?

What comes of this kind of Likening Unto Ourselves?  The words are re-arranged.  Types and Figures imagined.  Patterns suddenly revealed.  Folly.  You have used the page to generate idols of your imagining, and are lost in wonder at your creation, and have become subject to them.

You cannot bring about specific events, happenings, visitations, and Zion itself by being a Type.  Lucifer failed at this, being a type of God, rather than just good ol’ Lucifer.  At the end of it all, he remains what he is.  “I am that I am” is a perfect description of an honest soul.  “I am like that person, character, deity…” is said by one who is alienated from itself.  Has been exorcised from its own being, and stands outside itself comparing itself to something else no longer seen aright.  We must have empathy, sympathy, and see the world from another’s perspective.  But we should not, it seems, pretend to be other than what we are.  What are we?  What am I?  What is _______?

If Zion is filled with Types of people, it is not filled with people but with images of them.  Gentiles?  Lamanites?  Gentiles become Lamanites?  Words for types of peoples, if you are thinking of races, nations, and so on.  Why not have, then, Zion be a picture of people?  Or a database?  Or a Facebook group?  What if you didn’t have the word, Zion?  What would you call this future society?  Would your description or guesses have the same weight, if you didn’t call it Zion?

It is clear, however, what ___________ must do, should ________ desire to become a child of our father in heaven.  To be an heir to his creation, but not Him.



Mad Propz, Mod Prophz

My book review of Prezident T.S. Monson’s latest opus, as posted on Amazon:

this be a shoutout to yall Mod Prophz!

HEY OOOOHHHHHH! hashtag #modprophz

Just came cross this new book o scrip-chure:



It’s like straight outta the Bible, yo, this boy, his name be Tommy, he OFF Da HOOK!  ##modprophz

He getz a kray-z notion to light a locofoco, just ta watch the world burn!



But he outruns it, and then some guys come along and puts out da fire.

But for like a page, I was all, “is he gonna make it?  is he?”  and like, “why god, won’t you save tommy?”  He only made this one mistake, and you all, you gonna burn his ass up??  That be harsh, god, mad propz.

And the pichures was like, Wha?????  No he di’unt.

—————————–yes, that is the review.


I will submit it to Mormon Studies Review, I suppose.  They like this sort of intellectual grabassery, being serious pranksters.

But my personal favorite of T-Mon’s revelations is surely, You Gotta Wanna:

Notice his plom de neum, or “pen name” for you philistines out there.









Ritual Spirals

There seems to be a sort of rule about ritual:

When viewed as effecting some indirectly related end, say, the coming of the Messiah, the practitioners tend toward:
1. Explaining the failures of the ritual to bring about that end by blaming the folks doing the ceremony, either the “priests” or the “parishioners”:

Perhaps the Priests have lost their magic power (fallen into apostasy, lost the keys!), or the Parishioners are not pure or faithful enough (apostates!).


In either case, some abstract invisible energy or essence — its absence or presence — is believed to explain both the efficacy of the ideal ritual, and also the failures of the actual practices.  At no point is the ritual understood as a test of the reality of such an invisible energy, and whether it indeed exists.
2. Such explanations (and failures) tend to generate more elaborate rituals with even more rules and more priests and practitioners.  We spiral back to (1), and splinter groups or new priests emerge.  But don’t think the original is the right one, just because you haven’t joined the splinters.  They are both wrong.

Such is the logic behind what we call “cargo cults,” for example, and apparently behind gambling addictions.


The obvious outcome is a growth of the ritual, rather than a test of its effectiveness.  With ritual comes a spiral priests, and with priests, taboos.  With taboos we have new resources for explaining the failures of the ritual, for some one must’ve broken a taboo, and thus, we need to priests to ensure the purity of the parishioners.  Surveillance becomes a mandate of the priests, and eventually they may speak of their deity as an All-Seeing-Eye.

When we add market incentives, or political office and prestige as assuring us the power is indeed present, we can assume that the ritual will begin to take on additional energy.  Indeed, we may begin to say that the power itself is embodied in the priests/parishioners, regardless of the results of the ritual: they have the power regardless, because only they officiate, and that is the power they have.  Perhaps one might even speak of the “end” or “goal” of the ritual as not anything real or tangible, but as “symbolic” or “personal,” such as, for example, insight into the mystery of the ritual itself, into what it represents, which is now spoken of as what it does: it represents, symbolically.


Now, step back and ask yourself:  “If someone said I could have their car, if I performed certain actions, I would expect that car, or call them a liar or a fool.  But if someone promises me an intangible, invisible energy as a result of performing certain actions, should I also be satisfied if I have no evidence of receiving that energy?  Finally, should I simply change what I mean by “evidence”?  Or blame myself for failing to receive the energy?”


If we don’t start off with a good definition of what the magical invisible energy would do, if we possessed it, than we can be sure we will simply redefine whatever is, as itself evidence of its existence or of our possession.


Now we come to doubt:


Often when priests or parishioners tire of the ceremonies, calling them “dead” for example, having realized that one can only speak of “symbolism” for so long before everyone realizes they could get the same symbolism in any other way; rather than stop spiraling, they have learned to seek out some other priest or ritual which runs exactly the same way, except this time, you know, we really have the magic invisible power and the right crop of faithful / pure parishioners.    If you look at Mormon history in 1830, this is what the Church of Christ claimed, against other churches of Christ.  The logic of Restoration runs on this foolish program, it does not alter it.  See Volume One of the cultural history for more evidence…

Do we find the Book of Mormon justifying such cargo cults? 

Individually:  Jesus reportedly appears to Jacob, Nephi, Mormon, and others.  We don’t know why he did.  None of the men say, “I did X, and that brought Jesus around.”  What if Jesus visits whomever he wants, just as you might do?  What if like you he has people he visits for reasons other than to gratify his own pride and vanity, but instead for reasons related to his purposes, or to do good?  Do you only visit one kind of person, the really pure?  Or have you visited the sick, the prisoner, the aged, the impure, and so on, whom perhaps you would not personally call “friends”?

Among your friends, are there some you rely on for some things, but not others?  Are there some who are not quite as “good” as others, or who might have eccentricities, or vulnerabilities perhaps you’d like to help them with?  Do some bring you joy, for various reasons?  Does Jesus deal with the same crop of people, or with people who are either simply pure or impure?  D&C 76…gives us reasons for being better people, but we must look elsewhere for guidance on what “better” looks like, to the Lord.    Perhaps his visits or absences among us come more from, say, thinking, “I don’t want to hang out with Mr. X, because we just don’t jive, and he seems unwilling to see my point of view,” than it is like, “I don’t want to hang out with Mr. X, because he isn’t pure enough to be around me, and I am unable to purify his invisible essence.”

If we open up the category of people visited by Jesus to include the sick, the aged, the sad, those needing healing, his friends and so on, we find ourselves without any rules for bringing him about.  Are there rules for bringing you to my home, in addition to directions and an invitation being necessary conditions?  Perhaps it is an error to think of Jesus as like a Dominos delivery boy, or the ambulance.


Collectively: Rather than the Messiah showing up to ratify their righteousness, he appears and explains to some survivors of calamities that they are simply not as bad as the dead.  Nothing they did, no magic they possessed, brought him to them.  Indeed, he seems to delight in befriending the most stiffnecked people.

When Christ visits them at the temple the second day, he brings his own bread and wine, but not because the people had some magic.  When he shows them miracles, it is because of their faith; but their faith was not the cause of the miracles, it being apparently necessary but not itself sufficient.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a good definition of “faith” as used in this context.  If we did, man, we could create processes for acquiring it, distributing, and indeed, make an economy of faith that promised to bring about the magic of the Messiah, for those possessed of the right amount of some intangible energy.

The cults, rituals, priests and parishioners who believe some invisible intangible energy can be mobilized in such and such a way rely necessarily on idols, and if Jesus indeed showed up, he would it seems be treated as an idol, not as their creator and benevolent friend.