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.