Monday, October 01, 2007


Some grab-bag bits:

Here's a fantastic interview with Orson Scott Card and the host of the famous blog

•I was just made aware of a positively craptastic CES policy. Yeah, yeah, the church is still true. But remember kids, all is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth.

•New cool blog here.

•Oh, Robert Jordan is dead. The nerve of that guy; the ultimate cliffhanger. We ought to bring him back, make him finish the last volume, and then shoot him.

That is all.


dixonfamily said...

Enough with the anti church policies!

Latter-Day Guy said...

Silly Hobbitses, never anti-Church. (Only anti-CES.)

The Olsen's said...

Don't you think that in a volunteer church it might be okay to have different policies for volunteers and employees. Besides don't you think the bigger issue is priestcraft anyway. Why are they getting paid to teach the gospel? The Book of Mormon is pretty clear that's a no-no. Just a little more fuel to a different fire. Anyway, I love you, but don't you have enough problems in your own sphere of influence than to go and borrow trouble in a policy that doesn't even effect your life...unless you were planning to be a full-time seminary teacher and you just haven't told us?! Ha! You need to stop reading your heretical blogs and do your damn homework. Ha ha ha. I told you I would swear on here eventually! Love yer guts...

Latter-Day Guy said...

RE priestcraft: don't you think the issue is really more about being paid to perform ordinances as opposed to teach? The one is being forced to pay for something salvific. The latter is paying for something which may or may not even be true. (And don't tell me you haven't been in some BYU religion classes that crossed that line.)

As a BYU student, I think that CES policies DO have a direct bearing on me: I am at a CES institution! But more importantly this is just another example of "Hyacinth-ism" in the church. That is, "keeping up appearances."

Some lovely quotes from a speech by Hugh Nibley:

"To quote one of the greatest of leaders, the founder [Brigham Young] of this institution, "There is too much of a sameness in this community. . . . I am not a stereotyped Latter-day Saint and do not believe in the doctrine . . . away with stereotyped 'Mormons'!" Good-bye all."

"If the management does not go for Bach, very well, there will be no Bach in the meeting. If the management favors vile sentimental doggerel verse extolling the qualities that make for success, young people everywhere will be spouting long trade-journal jingles from the stand. If the management's taste in art is what will sell—trite, insipid, folksy kitsch—that is what we will get. If management finds maudlin, saccharine commercials appealing, that is what the public will get. If management must reflect the corporate image in tasteless, trendy new buildings, down come the fine old pioneer monuments." [Here "management" is a euphemism for church leadership.]

My beef is simply this: So much focus on appearance, on image, on unity of look (as opposed to unity of heart)--ahem, some aspects of BYU's dress and grooming code, anyone?--has led to the destruction of a chance at a decent, vibrant LDS culture. We have replaced it all with absolute pap and jello jokes. Those who excel choose to do so outside of an LDS context, or they are oddballs. For instance, Richard Dutcher was one of the best craftsmen in film making to ever come out of Mormondom. Now he's decided to leave, because the climate is too stifling. Yeah, he threw the baby out with the bathwater, but the impulse is understandable.

Aren't we supposed to be preparing for the coming of the Lord? Do you think he would be pleased with most Sunday School lessons? The same questions followed with the same answers every week, that have nothing to do with the scriptures, only the caricatures we make of them. I can never ask the questions I really wonder about because I know it would offend the teacher (having asked one or two in the past). I can only discuss religion after church because I can only do so with family or close friends or on "heretical blogs."

Aren't we supposed to study, not just parrot all the cant phrases? Who needs the scriptures? Just write a Mormon catechism and memorize.

Listen to nothing but Kurt Bestor and Janice Kapp Perry, never Stravinsky. Read nothing, or, if you must, only digest past editions of the New Era, never Dostoevsky. Plaster your walls with Simon Dewey and Liz Lemon Swindle, but never Caravaggio. Watch only Legacy and the Living Scriptures, never anything like The Mission: it's violent, it has naked people, and--gasp!--it's catholic.

So, I'm ranting. It's just that there used to be a culture in the Church, but I think we have lost it out of unworthiness. We still have true doctrine; it just rarely gets brought up in church. We still have the gifts of the spirit, but because of technology and technique we no longer need to seek them. I meet so many Mormons when I go to church... and very few saints.

Now, I have to go do my damn homework.

dixonfamily said...

Nicholas, I agree with what you are saying, but isn't the gospel all about the Atonement which gives us the opportunity to repent and do better. We are imperfect, and fall short in so many ways, but we can change. We have to allow people to start where they are and show them the way by our example. You have to give people the chance to handle the "milk" before you give them the "meat." We also need to just focus on the basic truths of the gospel and master living them. The primary answers are the right ones, but most of us aren't living those simple things so how can we expect to get anything more. I totally understand and agree with some of what you are saying, but spending your time pointing out some of these failings of church programs and leaders is going to do more harm than good. The people who read your blog or listen to some of your opinions on things are probably not going to be more motivated to do better, but are going to become negative and pessimistic and contentious. I am not trying to find fault with you. I think you are a wonderful person who has much to share with the world. I love you! Now get back to your homework!