Wednesday, April 21, 2010

His face in a hat? Good? Bad? or just ugly?

I recently had the privelage of talking with a former general authority. He was a seventy and has been released but since has joined with FAIR and the Neal A Maxwell Institute in fighting the good fight (allbeit off the record) and helping those who have strayed by confounding them. We had a great chat at his home and he was very non-contentious. We discussed many things from the first vision to American politics. One thing he brought up that was not actually one of my questions was the issue some people have about Joseph Smith translating the book with his face stuck in a hat. This thing was new to me until recently and I never really thought about it. It seemed kind of odd and it really makes the founding prophet look like more of a goofball than a respected translator, but until the apologist brought it up, it had not occured to me that it was anything but an oddity.

"Sure he translated that way! Sure he did! That is the only way he could see the stones properly. Why do people have such a problem with this. It should be common knowledge but there are people who have left the church over this."

He tried to pass it off as just part of the process, insignificant really. What matters is the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ brought forth in the latter day by a prophet of God called and chosen.

Is it significant?

Number one, it is significant enough that it is left out of the history. It is not taught by missionaries. It is not taught in Sunday school, yet it is the manner in which the most correct book on Earth was brought forth. To what significance do we hold the actual manners in which holy writ is brought to us? The fact that this part of the process of translation has been omitted from our history is compelling enough for me to ask more questions.

What use are the plates?

If he had to keep his face buried in the hat to shut out the light so he could read the interpreters, then what use were the gold plates? I have read that for most of the time the plates were not present and when they were they were not visible. If the characters on the plates were never looked at and translated by Joseph, then why did he even need them? Nobody saw them. The witnesses only saw with spiritual eyes and we don't even have their witnesses but a draft Smith wrote and had them sign.

So here we sit with the conclusion that the face in the hat thing is true. He did that. How did most of us learn that though? An episode of South Park. Yup. Of course it was probably dismissed as bunk because it was on South Park, but those guys aint dumb. They did not misrepresent what was going on as far as the hat went.

Does it matter?

Does the way in which the true gospel was restored in this dispensation matter? Does stuff like this being kept from us matter?

When I talked to the former GA I got the sense that he was trying to make it seem like I should have known this thing about the hat already. Crafty. " What? Oh you didn't know about the hat? Oh funny, we thought you knew about that. Common knowledge. Shouldn't raise concern. We are all cool with it so why can't you be."

For me it is just one of those things that is water off a duck's back. There are so many other things that raise more alarm that I could care less about piddling my britches over Joseph mumbling to Martin with his face in a tophat, but to pass it off as insignificant is just a device to deal with the issue without facing the problems that it creates.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book of Mormon Geography? Controversy?

Infighting! There is an argument in the church among "scholars" about the book of Mormon taking place in the United States

I love this! Those of us who have reasonably concluded that Joseph Smith did not provide for this issue when he embellished on a borrowed idea can sit back and giggle at the true believers trying to work out this conondrum. How does a guy quiet the cognitive dissonance when on the outside there is competetive dissonance from within the church? It is this sort of infighting that we need to encourage by asking questions like that.

Who should answer the question?

Ask yourself who is answering the question currently and if they should be, then ask yourself who should be answering the question and isn't. Then quiet the dissonance that arises with your method of choice.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Noah's Arc, Water to Wine, and . . . . . how much is it going to take.

There are many instances in the Bible that give us pause, especially those of us who are true believing Mormons. Some have been cleared up for us and others remain obscured. I am curious how our church treats the Bible and the stories in it. Literal or figurative, inspired or uninspired, the way the church has treated difficult stories of the bible is really telling to their claims of legitimacy.

Noah's ark.

We Mormons believe this. We believe that despite the surface area of the earth, Noah somehow composed a team capable of speedily trapsing the globe, finding every animal (excluding fish and birds) and then taking care of the only two of every animal without losing a one of them. We believe this!

The story of Job.
God makes a bet with the Devil over the soul of Job.

Here is one that has been trumped as figurative. It is a parable. The brethren have determined this. God can not make a bet with the Devil. That is gambling and God can not gamble. We are told not to take this one literally. . . . . . ??????????

Sodom and Gomorrah

We believe that Lot was a holy prophet. We believe in all the experiences of those sinful cities, but we have trouble with his wife actually turning to salt. It was actually a metaphor for his wife returning to the city to become as salt trodden under the feet of man. We are cool with Jesus turning the water into wine--er--new wine . . . . . ummmm grapejuice for those of you naive enough to believe that the Son of God would actually drink an alcoholic beverage, but we doubt the Lord actually turned Lot's wife Rhonda into salt. . . . . but the Noah thing is real.

So Lot and his family take off running for the hills, right? They hunker down in the warmth of a friendly cave and are feeling snuggy and cozed to the max, then Lot gets into the wine and gets totally hammered. (Holy man. He is a prophet of the old testament and a very sacred figure) Did he not know that the wine had turned from new to old wine? Thoroughly sloshed Lot the holy prophet, vessel of the Lord, passes out and his two daughters get to thinking. Aint nobody to carry on Dad's legacy. What do we do? . . . . . Hey I know! Lets have sex with Daddy! So they took turns getting ensemenated by good old drunken prophet/father! You think Heavenly Father would have nudged him a favor and told him about that integral law of health. Maybe then he wouldn't have boinked his little princesses while intoxicated.

The earth is only seven thousand years old.

Yup. We are with the Christians on that one. There were no humanoids before Adam and Eve. They are the first people ever. No question. You science types can babble on and on about your big dumb Neandrethals, and your "evidence of civilizations older that what we say the earth is." We don't care! We know Adam was the first man and he was also a prophet!

Moses parted the red sea.

It could happen.

The series 24 is based on true events.

Sandra Bullock is attractive.

Cain is still alive, and so is John the revelator.