Monday, October 26, 2009

...such is as common to man...

Hooray, its "l'infidélité"!

The last Ensign (September) had a very interesting article on "emotional fidelity." However, I have two quibbles:

1. "[S]top thinking in terms of emotional infidelity and instead use the phrase, 'spiritual fidelity.'" Ten-yard penalty for totally pointless semantic change. Spiritchal fidelity: essenchal vocabilary to priserving your spatial rilashunships. (That text was recorded in the Valley Dialect of the language of Deseret.)

2. "As Paul warned, 'Abstain from all appearance of evil.'" Fifty-yard penalty for repeated and vicious misuse of Thessalonians! Honestly, folks, this mistranslation has been in currency for waaaay too long. Hypothetical: You're driving home from church. It's raining. You see the Relief Society President walking along the side of the road. Do you stop to pick her up? Answer: NOOOOO!!! Your first responsibility is to avoid the "appearance of evil." In fact, just to be safe, run her down with your Suburban. Nothing says "I'm faithful to my spouse" like blood on the grille. Be sure not to miss next week's discussion: Strengthening Your Marriage Through Manslaughter.

Other than that, it wasn't terrible.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Touché, Sister Nunn...

From an article* in the Salt Lake Tribune:

LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks called on Mormon faithful last week not to be silenced by post-Proposition 8 intimidation, urging members to insist on the free exercise of religion.

What really is threatening religious liberty, four gay-rights groups countered Friday in a joint statement, is the church's meddling in a political campaign to deny rights to same-sex couples.

"We have always been taught that it is not 'just to mingle religious influence with civil government,' " wrote Cheryl Nunn, executive director of the Foundation for Reconciliation, quoting Mormon scripture. "How can I face my friends in other faiths if I stand by and do nothing?"

Further analysis and commentary may be forthcoming... if I feel like it.

*I remind my readers that while Tribune articles may be interesting and informative, reading the ensuing online commentary will leech IQ points out of your skull like quicklime. Avoid it as assiduously as you do the equally nauseating commentary on the Deseret News website. DON'T FEED THE TROGLODYTE-TROLLS!

Monday, October 05, 2009

A weekend with Saints...

From fellow religionist Rosalynde Welch of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Mormons follow no liturgical calendar in our worship services. We celebrate Christmas and Easter with appropriate hymns, sermons and scriptures, but the rhythm and mood of our meetings stay mostly the same year-round. So General Conference is the closest we get to a liturgical feast, a high point in our spiritual landscape and a time of renewal and rededication. It’s characteristically Mormon––and I say this with the greatest possible affection––that a pinnacle of our spiritual lives has such a prosaic name. But General Conference, arriving as it does together with the natural beauty of every autumn and spring, is indeed a beloved event for many Mormons. Many of us have developed family traditions that envelope the proceedings in comforting ritual––special foods, favorite activities, the simple pleasures of being together (emphasis mine––see here for full article).

A blessing of such a two-day Sabbath is that one wakes to a new week to find there are prophets everywhere! Hairshirt-clad, chirping like locusts, but sweet as honey. Here's some scripture (demanding stuff!) from one of my very favorites, Seamus Heaney:

From Death of a Naturalist

Mid-term Break

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At ten o'clock our neighbours drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying––
He had always taken funerals in his stride––
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'.
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple.
He lay in a four-foot box, as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

From Glanmore Revisited

VII. The Skylight

You were the one for skylights. I opposed
Cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove
Of pitch pine. I liked it low and closed,
Its claustrophobic, nest-up-in-the-roof
Effect. I liked the snuff-dry feeling,
The perfect, trunk-lid fit of the old ceiling.
Under there, it was all hutch and hatch.
The blue slates kept the heat like midnight thatch.

But when the slates came off, extravagant
Sky entered and held surprise wide open.
For days I felt like an inhabitant
Of that house where the man sick of the palsy
Was lowered through the roof, had his sins forgiven,
Was healed, took up his bed and walked away.

From Squarings


And lightening? One meaning of that
Beyond the usual sense of alleviation
Illumination, and so on, is this:

A phenomenal instant when the spirit flares
With pure exhilaration before death––
The good thief in us harking to the promise!

So paint him on Christ's right hand, on a promontory
Scanning empty space, so body-racked he seems
Untranslatable into the bliss

Ached for at the moon-rim of his forehead,
By nail-craters on the dark side of his brain:
This day, thou shalt be with Me in paradise.