Thursday, December 14, 2017

What I'm hoping to see in "The Last Jedi"

Note:  this post contains no spoilers for Episode 8: The Last Jedi, but will thoroughly discuss the other movies.  If you haven't heard that Vader is Luke's father, stop reading now.

I've been a Star Wars fan as long as I can remember, and, according to my mother, even longer than that.

The diminutive Yoda was a dead ringer for noted shorty Spencer W. Kimball, and the Force was the priesthood power I really wanted to have.

In Luke, I saw his transformation from whiny kid to calm, confident Jedi who had no fear of death parallel that of Joseph Smith, long before I ever heard of Joseph Campbell or the Hero's Journey.

With the prequels...well, lets just say that I had to put some things on the shelf.

Even so, meesa thought there was still a lot to like in the prequels.  The Republic became an the Empire through a secret combination that would make Amalikiah proud.  Palpatine played both sides of a galactic civil war to create an Empire with himself as Emperor.

But one thing that bugged me was the Jedi Council.  There were so many Jedi, and they still couldn't see the dark side threat right in front of their faces, and when it was finally revealed, they couldn't deal with it.  They lacked the power of discernment that one might expect a prophet to have.

But why?

Maybe it was because they spent too much time worrying about ranks and hierarchies.  Maybe they thought they had a guarantee that they would have the foresight to see any possible Sith menace.

The Jedi had become, as Nibley described, "churchmen."
“Unlike prophets, churchmen are the product of institutions.  In the safety and permanence of institutions they put their trust.  They resolutely oppose the prophets whom they accuse of disturbing their repose and rocking the boat” (Nibley, The World and the Prophets, p. 175).
The Jedi Council had true Buddhist teachings about desire and attachment--"train yourself to let go of anything you fear to lose."

But they took this teaching and built a hedge around it:  they banned all attachments and romantic relationships because they might lead to jealousy.  Read log's post on hedging the law here.

Another teaching that Yoda had right was about fear--

But the motivations behind hedging the law are, as far as I can tell, out of a fear of sin.   Fear of jealousy led to a Jedi Talmud of sorts--the traditions of men supplanting the revelations of God.

So what am I hoping to see out of The Last Jedi?  I hope Luke finds a restoration of the true teachings of the Force.  I have seen hints around the internet of something called "The Journal of the Whills".

A snippet of Journal of the Whills appeared in the novelization of The Force Awakens.

The phrase "the resolving of gray through refined Jedi sight" feels reminiscent of Max Skousen's view of the Tree of Knowledge vs Tree of Life-- not believing that you have all the answers, and trusting in God's ability to save us.

In summary, what I'm hoping for in The Last Jedi, is that after the Jedi, will come something better than Jedi.

Next week:  How Rick is a metaphor for Denver Snuffer and Morty is a metaphor for Log.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What does it take to get rejected?

Something else that's been on my mind is that, given the fact that this movement has no assurance of success, (Israel can do Zion without most of us) I worry that we might be failing and not know it.  If we believe PTHG, then although the Nauvoo saints were granted "sufficient time", the clock ran out on the LDS in 1844 and the church was rejected.  Those arguing against PTHG mention that Joseph didn't make much effort to warn the LDS that time was running out.

This is all PTHG says about Joseph's warnings:

It is critical to know when the time period of that “appointment” ended. Latter-day teaching assumes the appointment was kept, and the condition met. The presumption is based on the fact that a small group of saints left behind to complete the work on the temple after the church abandoned the site, dedicated it just before they also abandoned the city. 
Two and a half years after the revelation was given, Joseph reminded the saints they needed to complete the Temple. “He said that he could not reveal the fullness of these things until the Temple is completed[.]” 
If the saints seemed unmoved by a fading opportunity to receive what was offered to them, Joseph Smith was not. He returned to the issue again early in 1844, this time warning the saints the opportunity might be lost to them: 
    . . . And I would to God that this temple was now done, that we might go into it, and go to work and improve our time, and make use of the seals while they are on earth. 
    The Saints have not too much time to save and redeem their dead, and gather together their living relatives, that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten, and the consumption decreed falls upon the world. 
    I would advise all the Saints to go with their might and gather together all their living relatives to this place, that they may be sealed and saved, that they may be prepared against the day that the destroying angel goes forth; and if the whole Church should go to with all their might to save their dead, seal their posterity, and gather their living friends, and spend none of their time in behalf of the world, they would hardly get through before night would come, when no man can work; and my only trouble at the present time is concerning ourselves, that the Saints will be divided, broken up, and scattered, before we get our salvation secure; for there are so many fools in the world for the devil to operate upon, it gives him the advantage oftentimes.” (TPJS, p. 330-331.)

That's not much.  One would think that Joseph would give a talk on this every week if the saints were in danger of being rejected over it.  But again, I'm not worried about the Nauvoo saints.  I'm worried about us.  Given the paucity of Joseph's warnings, it is possible that we are also in danger of being rejected and we don't know it.

But why would there be such little warning given the stakes?  Let's go back to D&C 124:47:
And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my nameand do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
If Joseph had threatened the Saints with rejection every week, he possibly could have gotten a temple built before June 1844, but without the saints doing the things God asked, the result still would've been the same.

We might have a similar command hanging over our collective heads, where "if we write a guide and standard, and do not the things that [God] say[s], [God] will not perform the oath which [He] make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at [His] hands.  

So if we write the best guide and standard ever, but neglect to keep the commandments in the process, either by going beyond Question 2 in the content of the G&S
Second: Do you have faith in these things and receive the scriptures approved by the Lord as a standard to govern you in your daily walk in life, to accept the obligations established by the Book of Mormon as a covenant and to use the scriptures to correct yourselves and to guide your words, thoughts and deeds
or by going beyond Question 4 in the process of creating the G&S
Fourth: And do you covenant to seek to become of one heart with those who seek the Lord to establish His righteousness?
---then God may not provide the promises that we expect.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Usually folks wait 'til a prophet is dead before they turn him into their ventriloquist puppet.

We trust Dave.  I trust Dave.  But we have to be able to have more prophets than Dave.  We almost did.  Jeff Savage wrote some stuff and it almost got included in our scriptures.  I'll leave it for the readers to decide whether it was God's words or not. At any rate, the early Statement of Principles was rejected and the assignment was changed.  If our hearts were right it would have been a light thing.  It has not been a light thing, therefore our hearts must not have been right.

While the Answer and Covenant forbids Dave from participating in this process, he has refused to participate in the process going back as far as the June meeting at the Bartels' house.  If I might speculate on why, this blogpost might shed light on Dave's motivations:

Standing Aside, September 2014
It was easy for Joseph to make himself indispensable. It was tempting to do so. But he and the saints would have been better off had he refused to shoulder responsibilities that belonged to others. There are incidents along the way that can be identified as moments when Joseph could have seen a pattern emerging. One example was in November 1831 when a conference was convened to approve publication of the Book of Commandments. The book would need a preface. A committee was assigned to draft the preface. “[William] McLellin said that he, Sidney Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery had been given the assignment to write the preface to the Book of Commandments, but when they presented their draft to the conference, the ‘Conference picked it all to pieces’ and requested that J[oseph] S[mith] petition the Lord for a preface. After J[oseph] S[mith] and the elders bowed in prayer, JS, who was ‘sitting by a window,’ dictated the preface ‘by the Spirit,’ while Rigdon served as scribe."(Joseph Smith Papers, Documents Vol. 2: July 1831-January 1833, p. 104.) He then dictated what has become D&C Section 1. 
What if Joseph had refused? What if he told them God had a revelation, but the committee should receive it? What if Joseph insisted others perform their duties, rather than relieving them of their responsibility? Had he declined in November 1831, would the talk given in May 1842 have been necessary?
We are going to make mistakes, but we should not make the same ones. Sometimes the only way for people to become better acquainted with the Lord is for those who know Him to remain silent and allow others to go before Him in prayer for themselves. Why intervene to prevent others from gaining strength and experience for themselves?
Joseph handicapped the saints by taking too much of their responsibility on himself. The saints refused to let him alone and required him to be their answer-man. The best thing Joseph could have done would have been to keep riding when he crossed the Mississippi River with Hyrum. He should have headed to the Rocky Mountains. He didn't. The saints continued to depend on him. When he died, they were unable to call down a revelation for themselves. No one proposed to solve succession by revelation

This exact scenario has been repeated.  Someone besides Joseph/Dave was given an assignment to write a preface to the scriptures.  And the people didn't accept it.  And now the assignment has changed from being just a statement of principles to a statement of principles "to be added as a guide and standard for my people to follow."

But Dave has refused to repeat the mistakes of the past by getting a revelation for us.

So, instead of Dave volunteering to write a statement of principles for us, we have conscripted him to write one for us against his will.  Not in the Misery sense of course, we aren't savages, but we've just decided that we will reuse reissue, repackage, reevaluate Dave's words to form our statement of principles. (I know, I know, I should have brought this up before the lots idea was voted on.)

What we've done might be a first in the history of religion.  Usually people wait until a prophet is dead to repurpose his words.  But we've done it while Dave is still alive.  And if Dave told us not to, then he would be participating, and hence doing the strongman thing he's tried so strenuously to avoid.

In summary, even if we're doing the G&S wrong by making  Denver Snuffer participate in the process, if not in body but only in the use of his words, we can't expect Denver to tell us we're doing it wrong, because then he'd be participating.

And if Dave starts off his next talk with a rendition of Moon River, (no offense to Dr. Platt) it's because he's getting used to the sensation of a covenant people putting its collective hand up his ass to make him our ventriloquist puppet.

(As always, I claim no revelation in this matter and I could totally be wrong.  Also, I am not dissenting or disputing.  I'm just a jackass mocking.)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Which one would serve a stranger the best?

The Rock of Jesus Christ--the DoC and the Sermon--for some reason, has been omitted from the next round of voting.  I think this is done in error.

Just because Log is a bit...intransigent about this doesn't mean that his proposal should be automatically disqualified.

It fits the criteria:

1.  Log has repeatedly invited input on it at .  It isn't just Log's statement--my wife and I, and I imagine others, have given input.
2. It is a statement.
3. It has just as much mutual agreement as any other G&S, which is to say, it doesn't.
4. It is the most important stuff for a newcomer to know.  Additionally, it is parsimonious--it says the most important stuff in the fewest words.
5. Except for two introductory sentences, it is entirely made of the words of Christ, and the most important ones at that. What could be wiser than the words of Christ?

I'm not saying that the DoC and Sermon absolutely has to be the only possible G&S, but it would be Bold AF to say that the DoC and Sermon is who we are striving to be.

I'm willing to bet a thousand dollars that The Rock of Jesus Christ--the DoC and the Sermon--would get at least 33% of the votes if it was put to a vote against the Aug 5 document, the 7 Lotsters' document, and the original Savage version.  It should be included in the voting process.

If Keith Henderson is willing to act as Central Bookie, I offer this bet.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

Contradictions Part 2: Where do we go from here?

Part 1 here

So why have we been set up? Just as with Adam & Eve, I think it’s all part of the plan. If the contradiction can’t be solved, then it must exist to teach us something.

What does God really want with us?

God wants a people who can live in peace.  And He wants a society of prophets.  But living in peace is more important than being prophets.  It has to come first.  Because an asshole with the gift of prophecy becomes a much bigger asshole.

If we are the type of people who use our prophecies to coerce others, then we can't be prophets.  And Zion needs to be a society of prophets.  Even if you have many revelations, you still have to use persuasion, long-suffering, etc.

In the Garden of Eden, God gave contradicting commandments.  Multiply and replenish.  Don't eat from that tree.

Here and now, God has given contradicting commandments.  "Seek to become of one heart with those who seek the Lord to establish His righteousness" (Answer & Covenant, p.10).  " I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people."

Right now, given the current state of our hearts, mutual agreement can only happen through coercion.  

How were Adam & Eve supposed to resolve the contradiction?  By waiting until God returns to give further instruction.

I can't tell you what to do.  I'm no prophet. I don't know God's will in this matter.  I worry that I'm wrong, that "if you cannot do so you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands." Eagerness to finish this matter in order to get on to the next things could turn out badly.

"If your hearts were right it was a light thing I have asked. You hinder and delay and then you say I require too much of you and do not allow you time, when, if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves you could have finished this work long ago."

But our hearts aren't right.  At least mine isn't.  And even if my heart was right, I would be then tempted to use my pure heart to convince others that they should listen to me, or to remove the less pure hearts from the body. And then my heart wouldn't be right anymore.

The tl;dr is this:  We aren't capable of mutual agreement without coercion right now.  Attempting to have it in our current state will, and has, led to much mischief.  If we were gathered throughout this whole process, I probably would have murdered someone's sheep by now.  And we would definitely be doing the whole spiritual wifery thing.

I will abstain from any vote.  I will not hinder anyone else's attempt for mutual agreement, but I just don't think it can happen right now.  I'm going to wait for further instruction on how to live in Zion, which, I have heard, does not currently exist in our scriptures.

In the meantime, I need to learn how to live in peace in my household, and in my fellowship.  I need to learn how to avoid coercing others in my own home.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Contradictions: What if we're going about the GP all wrong?

God starts off this mortal world by leveraging a contradiction:  Multiply and Replenish the earth.  Don't eat the fruit of that tree.

God saves the earth by leveraging another contradiction:  The demands of Justice must be satisfied.  An infinite injustice (the murder of Jesus, robbing Him of an infinite lifespan) gives Jesus the means to satisfy the demands of justice and offer mercy to those who will accept it.

But that's not what I really want to talk about.  I want to talk about the GP clusterf**k.  If we had just accepted the original Savage version, this would've been over months ago and, I assume, we
would all be neighbors with Enoch today.

But the fruit was eaten too early (I don't blame you momma Eve--it was all part of the plan) and we now live in the darkest timeline.

In the darkest timeline, Jeff Savage, Denver (even the Servant David, blessed be his name), and the scripture committee were chatting and Jeff suggested that D&C 20 wasn't reliable and should be removed.  The Servant Dave (blessed be his name) suggested that it be replaced, and the committee stuck Jeff "I got excommunicated from the LDS Church for writing a statement of principles that wasn't even accepted" Savage with the job. Dave said that was a good idea, and Jeff should write it.  Jeff wrote it, people didn't like it, meetings happened, hearts were gladdened, votes were taken (see here for a recap).

After this initial failure God added an onerous clause to the Answer and Covenant:

"But I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people, for if you cannot do so you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands."

In the darkest timeline, a vote was held, with 91% in favor.  It was decided that mutual agreement was to be defined as 100% acceptance (and those who decided so were probably right according to dictionary definitions).  And so most of us (87%) almost-mutually agreed to cast lots to select 7 souls to write a GP using only the words of scripture and The Servant David, even Denver Snuffer (blessed be his name).

As can be expected, mutual agreement has not been reached on the document produced by The Seven.  While no vote has been taken, at least one dissenter has stepped forward.  (As an aside, I think it would be a very bold and audacious statement to put forward the Doctrine of Christ and Sermon on the Mount as our GP that we hope to live by, but that's neither here or there).

Without mutual agreement, what then?  Should we continue to persuade others that our favorite GP should be the GP?  Alternatively, if we can't redefine "mutual agreement", maybe we can redefine "my people" to not include those who disagree?  Remove them from the body of Christ and the body is in agreement.

Alas, we have no High Sparrow to enforce the will of The Seven, and that's probably for the best.  So if we can't excommunicate the dissenters, then it's back to the mutual agreement by persuasion option.

The thing agreement will never work.  Given that there are a few hundred people who have assented to the covenant, as long as there is one person who says "I will never accept a GP that doesn't contain A, B, and C" and another who says "I will never accept a GP that contains A or B or C" among the hundreds of us, mutual agreement will never happen.

The reality is, we've been set up.

The contradiction is this: mutual agreement is required, yet free will exists.  Barring Old Testament-style death cursings of, say, everyone who disagrees with me, we have been given an impossible task.  Not impossible (but really possible in the nothing is too hard for the Lord sense) but actually impossible (in the sense of God would cease to be God if he abrogated free will).

In Part 2 of this series I'll point the way forward to how we will resolve this contradiction and establish Zion. Unless someone else wants to write it.  I mean, I'm totally cool with nominating someone else to resolve the contradiction.  I don't want to hog all of the attention.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

New Names

So I was thinking...if God was willing to give Denver Snuffer a new first name (Dave), do you think we could talk Him into giving him a new last name too?

Boulevard of Broken Zions

Last night I had a dream.(I did not have a dream, I'm making this up.)  I was in the spirit world.  I was having a conversation with people from all times, nations, and dispensations.

We each talked about our unique situations.

"I lived in the time of Moses," one said, "as we were led out of Egypt."

"I lived as a Nephite near the time of Jesus."  "I fought alongside Coriantmur."  "I was a pioneer who crossed the plains and settled Utah." said others.

Finally it was my turn.  "I lived in the days of Denver Snuffer," I said.

A hush fell over the crowd.

Then they all started laughing.  "You were part of the group that failed because they couldn't come to mutual agreement on a statement of principles," they said with tears of laughter.  "We failed over golden calf orgies, secret combinations, genocide, and polygamous secret combinations!  We got rich and got laid," they said.  "What do you have to show for your broken covenant?"

"Ummmm...I had a really cool iPhone.  I mean, I didn't have to break a covenant or anything to get it,  but it was still cool."

I woke up, really, really embarrassed.

I guess I'm willing to support the G&S.

It's not the one I would've written.  It's not even in my top 3 preferred G&S versions.  Although I hesitate to accuse any of blasphemy, Shalyce's words voicing God don't ring true to me.

But I have little faith in the ability of the group to mutually agree on anything else.  I really hope that God doesn't interpret the phrase "mutual agreement" to mean 100% of covenant takers.  If it does mean 100% then I don't like our chances.

I don't like the idea that 100% is obtained by removing any non-supporters from the covenant body.

I don't know how we get to Zion from here.  But I remain hopeful, believing that Christ has accomplished harder things.  I ask Him to have mercy on us.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Dave's Strongman Catch 22

It is my impression that Denver really doesn't want this to be the church of Denver Snuffer, LDS 2.0. He doesn't want to be our strongman.  He doesn't want to be our leader.  He doesn't want us to canonize his non-revelatory statements.  What if he meant it when he said

"The “Strongman” model with only one prophetic figure will not work if you seek Zion."*
        *(Yes I am quoting Dave's Lecture 6 here, but then, I'm not canonizing my blog)

What if Denver doesn't want to be our Ezekiel 14 idol?  

So if my impression is accurate, how should Dave react when people call him "The Servant" or "The Servant David"?  Should he order us to stop making him our idol?  If he did, would that be an act of unrighteous dominion on his part?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Parable

The Baker 

Some time ago, a hungry young boy in NYC decided that he was tired of the stale bread the local baker made. So he set out to find a better bakery.  He went a few blocks south and tried another baker’s bread.  It was a bit more fresh, but it was overcooked.  He kept walking.  The next baker’s bread was flat—it hadn’t risen properly.  He kept walking.  The next baker’s bread, well, he didn’t know what was wrong with it.  He wasn’t even sure it could be properly called bread.  He kept walking.  After tasting many breads and after walking a long way without any satisfaction, he ended up in the park.  

In the park he saw an old man feeding the birds some bread.  He had never seen so many birds one place— he was actually a bit frightened to see what seemed like thousands of birds flocking around the old man and the bread he was feeding them.  The boy approached the old man and asked him about the bread he was feeding the birds.  The old man offered him a piece. Never had he tasted such scrumptious bread.  It was moist, and so, so sweet.  The boy asked the old man where he could get  such amazing bread as this.  The old man replied, “there is no bakery anymore that offered this kind of bread, but if you want to learn how to make it yourself, I will teach you. By the way, I call this bread, ‘cake’.”  

“Cake,” the boy replied.  “I would like to learn to make this, cake, as you call it.”

So the boy learned from the old man how to make cake.  Not just the same cake that was used for bird food, but also many different kinds of cakes.  Chocolate cakes, lemon cakes, light chiffon cakes, buttery pound cakes, crumbly coffeecakes, layered cakes, sheet cakes.  While all of the cakes were different, they were all delicious to his taste buds.  Through making a variety of cakes, he learned the underlying science and art of how great cakes are made.

After years of training, the old man told the boy that he was ready to start a bakery of his own.  So the boy started his own bakery in the city, making the cakes to the best of his ability.  No one had ever heard the word ‘cake’ before, so the boy advertised his cakes as bread.

On opening day, there was a long line of people eager to try the new bakery, although the other bakers nearby were less than thrilled at the new competition.  But they didn’t worry too much—they surmised that since this boy didn’t go to any of the baking schools they went to, it was unlikely that his bread would be very good.  And the bakers were right, from a certain point of view—most of the customers found the boy’s bread repulsive.  It was unlike any bread that they were used to.

A few customers looked past the newness of the bread and realized that this was something they’d been waiting their whole lives for.  It wasn’t bread—it was something better.  The boy explained the concept of cake to these few customers and they were hooked.  These few customers spread word of this cake all around the five boroughs, and the bakery got a bit of a following.  People started taking subway trips just to sample this boy’s cake.

City regulators heard of the boy’s “bread” and found that it did not meet the legal definition of bread—bread wasn’t supposed to be this sweet, nor was it supposed to come in this many varieties.  On top of it all, the boy didn’t have the necessary permits to operate a bakery.  So the regulators had the police come to the bakery to shut the whole operation down.  

Undaunted, the boy decided to leave the city behind, and open a mail order bakery.  He decided it would be a cake-of-the-month club, where he would come up with a brand new recipe each month to share with his few loyal customers.  By leaving the city, and by advertising on a global scale, the boy found that he was able to reach even more customers than ever before.

Once, when a cake was mailed to the wrong address and returned back to the boy, he tasted the cake.  It tasted great, but not as good as the fresh-baked cakes.  The boy realized that the cakes were at their absolute best when eaten fresh out of the oven.  So, in addition to his mail order business, the boy decided he would make a series of VHS tapes where he would teach people to bake the cakes themselves.

Most people weren’t interested in watching the videocassettes, but a few did.  However, of those that watched the videos, none successfully baked a cake of their own.  But all the customers continued enjoying the cakes up until the time that the boy, now a grown man, died unexpectedly.

By this time the mail order business had grown into a respectable enterprise, and someone had to take on the job of keeping the business going.  The man had hoped to leave the bakery to his sons eventually, but they were too young to have been taught how to bake cakes.  The man’s nephews kindly took upon themselves the burden of maintaining and expanding the business.

In an effort to reach more customers, the nephews sold stock in an IPO to raise money to expand the business.  Through standardization of manufacturing procedures, wise financial planning, and, some seemingly minor changes to the recipe, the company experienced a period of exponential growth.  Customers were fed, and the business was very successful. While the nephews had plenty of business acumen, when they tried to make new recipes some very bitter cakes were produced.  After a massive and expensive product recall, they went back to the old recipes that were successful in the past, and they replicated them reasonably well.  The business resumed its trajectory of expansion and success.

It is generally the case that Wall Street expects exponential growth in perpetuity, even though it is a mathematical impossibility.  But that doesn’t stop companies from trying.  And Little Joey’s Snack Cakes, as it came to be branded (with a picture of cute little Joey as it’s mascot), was no different in trying to maintain growth levels.  They did this by making concessions in both the ingredients used and in the manufacturing process itself.  

Eventually, the business lost its distinctive advantage in the market, and began to lose customers.  Some thought that if this was the best of what the cake world had to offer, then cake wasn’t really worth the high price.  Other customers wondered if perhaps there could be a better cake out there.

By this time, VHS tapes had gone out of fashion, but some internet pirates put the old VHS tapes up on youtube, and some loyal customers watched the videos of Little Joey making his classic cakes.  The customers never tried the baking techniques, but they could tell just from the grainy videos that Joey’s cakes were nothing like the cakes they had been eating their whole lives.

Eventually one old, loyal customer tried to bake a cake using the techniques he saw in the videos.  He couldn’t say for sure if his cakes were as good as the boy used to make, but they were delicious, far more so than the current offerings of the Little Joey’s Snack Cake Company.  The old customer started making cakes for a few friends, but soon received a cease and desist letter from LJSCC, that he was infringing on LJSCC’s intellectual property by using the techniques from Joey’s VHS tapes, although the tapes hadn’t been sold since Joey’s death.  Nevertheless, LJSCC prevailed in court, and the old loyal customer was forced to relocate to China, where intellectual property laws were not so rigorously enforced. LJSCC also successfully sued others who distributed pirated copies of the VHS tapes, and some of them also moved to China.

Meanwhile, the old customer continued to send cakes to friends.  He tried to emulate Joey’s operation with a cake-of-the-month until one day, the old man tasted a cake that was returned to him.  It tasted great, but not as good as the fresh-baked cakes.  The old man realized that the cakes were at their absolute best when eaten fresh out of the oven. He released a free  series of youtube videos teaching others how to bake cakes.   

Most people weren’t interested in watching the youtube videos, but a few did.  However, of those that watched the videos, none successfully baked a cake of their own.  So the old man found a boy, who was not one of the internet pirates who had to move to China, and told him that it would be up to him to come up with the recipe for the next month.  The boy, daunted as one might expect, agreed to the task.  He worked tirelessly and eventually came up with a new recipe for the month’s cake.  The boy sent it out to a few of the old man’s loyal customers.  Many customers liked the new recipe.  It wasn’t as good as the old man’s cakes, but it was delicious.  A few of those who sampled the cake were upset that the cake wasn’t as good as the old man’s cake.  The boy knew his cake wasn’t as good, and so he commissioned a focus group to improve the cake before sending it out to wider distribution.  

Some said “My family is gluten-free—we will not accept a cake made with wheat flour.”  Others objected that a boy, who wasn’t even one of the original internet pirates, was chosen for the  job.  Some others were upset that they weren’t the ones chosen to bake the cake of the month.  "Surely there are better, wiser people more suited for this job,” they said.  And certainly there were.

Eventually the customers decided together that the recipe would only include ingredients that all the customers could agree on.  That way, everyone would be satisfied with the month’s cake.  But the customers couldn’t agree on what kind of cake should be made.  Some wanted an angel food cake, which contains only egg whites, and no egg yolks or butter.  Others wanted a pound cake, which contains butter and egg yolks, and only minimal egg whites.  A third group said that a sugar-free carrot cake would be the optimal compromise, since it contained an equal ratio of egg yolks to egg whites.  The first two groups could at least agree that either an angel food cake or a pound cake would be preferable to a sugar-free carrot cake.  They considered a layer cake, with pound cake on the bottom and angel food cake on top, with cream-cheese frosting between the layers, but that was quickly rejected.

Next the group decided to make a cake using only the ingredients common to all recipes, so everyone could feel like their preferences were met.  But the only ingredients that everyone could agree on were flour and egg whites, resulting in a strange flatbread that could hardly be called a cake.

The group settled on a plan that the month’s cake would be a cupcake-sized sampler of the old man’s previous recipes for angel food cake, pound cake, and carrot cake.  Everyone agreed that this would satisfy everybody.  And everyone was somewhat satisfied.  The customers agreed that this process would be used in the future whenever the old man wanted someone else to come up with a cake of the month.

And the customers continued to enjoy the old man’s cakes-of-the-month, hoping that the old man wouldn’t die unexpectedly.