Tuesday, February 24, 2015

To Us, the Bloggernacle Is a Mass of Confusion

In a recent email exchange, Anonymous D expressed some frustrations with a couple of posts and endless comments on some "other" blogs of a "different" disposition. In expressing his general contempt for the Bloggernacle he goes on:

We seem, in our modern Mormon intellectual smugness, to be doing the same thing that was done in the 1930's, and which is fashionable every once in a while, which is de-mystifying the scriptures, removing any trace of the supernatural.  (Think Thomas Jefferson's Bible).  It's a nice easy way to have it both ways, to say, well, I like the Book of Mormon I think it teaches great things, but all that nonsense about the angel and golden plates?  If the origin stories are not true, especially of the Book of Mormon, why bother with it at all? There are plenty of nice moralistic stories you can use to lead a better, happier life. I wouldn't bother with the Book of Mormon or the Church if I didn't actually believe it, or Jesus for that matter if I thought He was just a great moral instructor.    
So with that, I wave goodbye to the Bloggernacle forever.  I'm sure I'll be missed what with my zero comments and postings.
 Then, me, and so forth: 
Yikes. That stuff and the comments make me want to blow up the computer or maybe my brain - only metaphorically speaking here - and now I sound like one of the crazies!
I hate to lose you from blogging. I thought ours had a different tone than the Mormon wars but maybe not. To me it is a mass of confusion and I must turn only to God. He has always been there for me in more than metaphorical ways.
I guess I shouldn't be so hasty. I meant that I wasn't going to read the blogs any longer.  If you wanted to post blogs from me that's fine. I generally find nothing of value on the bloggernacle. They seem to fall into two categories, the disaffected looking for similarly disaffected members, or the self-righteous proclaiming their good deeds for the world to see. I don't see myself as either, perhaps that's self-righteous of me. I actually like the format where you share emails. It has a more personal touch than a formal posting.

I am tired of reading posts like those I linked. Perhaps I'm just not very bright but I honestly didn't see what the authors were getting at. Do we take this stuff seriously or not? I'm reminded that nobody took Jesus really seriously either. All that stuff about a man rising from the dead. Where's the body? If I don't see I won't believe. It was just as incredible to Thomas that Jesus should rise as that an angel should deliver a book to Joseph Smith. Of course it's a fantastic tale. Why shouldn't it be?

I have no rational reason to believe any of this stuff, none that I can transfer to you in any meaningful way. All of my experiences with the spirit could be easily explained away as psychological effect. One thing I can't get away from is the intelligence given to me of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the power of the confirmation of the spirit. It has happened repeatedly but not often. Again last week reading from the Doctrine and Covenants in class. I've only felt of that spirit in conjunction with a scriptural or temple format. Never outside of that format. Still I have to have faith. If I'm not willing there isn't much left. Faith is meeting the Lord at least part way.
I'm usually the upbeat one in terms of the world and it's situation. I don't feel that way about the faith of much of the rising generation both inside and outside of the church. I'm concerned about a people who have no capacity for wonder, no capacity for faith. At the same time they have no capacity for faith they seem to be  ignorant to an astonishing degree. We have Elders in our Quorum, returned missionaries who I doubt have ever read the New Testament. I know they haven't read the Pearl Of Great Price. Who bothers with that anymore, outside of "This is my work and my glory..." The ignorance reaches its peak in their ignorance of science. Here, Satan can play both sides of the aisle with them. Those who think of themselves as rational, and I know a lot of them, reject religion out of hand as a lot of mythical mumbo-jumbo. It doesn't match their scientific, rational mind. Never mind that they don't actually understand the science. Some scientist or thinker told them not to believe and with that they're gone. A few years down the road and the scientific theories, which they never checked because they lack the capacity, the conclusions they bought with the faith of a child, are all shot to hell. Do they come back to the faith? Nay, they are too far down the road for that. Take Book of Mormon DNA for instance. We simply do not know enough about Lehite DNA to even formulate an hypothesis to test, not really knowing who Lehi was or how many of them there were or their genetic makeup. You simply can't test it. You don't know the DNA of the population already here, how many there were so forth. All that and the new studies are finding some evidence for some Middle Eastern ties in Central American DNA. Another 20 years and who knows? The point is, what if I took it on the faith of these scientist that this stuff is all made up, leave the church and the gospel and then the theory I used to make my decision turns out to be complete B.S.?
It's all about faith. Do I believe the Jesus was resurrected? If so, on what do I hang that belief? Is it enough? Do I believe that Joseph Smith, with all of his faults, was a prophet of God? One thing I know for sure is that the Joseph Smith I get from history, even good history, is not the real Joseph Smith. He is always filtered. He filters himself, he is filtered by my lack of knowledge about the circumstances, what was told how it was told. What is put in, what is left out. I couldn't at this point in time accurately reconstruct the day my Dad died and it was three years ago. I could give the highlights. What is to be made of reconstructing Joseph Smith after 180 years?
I ramble. Summation. I'm not reading the blogs outside of yours. If I write something of value, feel free to post it.
This looks like a good email chain. I'll take out the direct references and links to the particular blog posts so we don't fall into the trap of leading others into the tar pits. And I oddly still come back to Lloyd Weber's Superstar. You strip the greatest story bare and it doesn't make any sense at all.
I can live with that. And that's right. Jesus and Joseph Smith make no sense at all. That's the beauty of it. As Nibley pointed out of Joseph Smith, lazy charlatans don't write big books. What would be the point of J.S. going through all that when it didn't get him anywhere? The best you can say about the coherence of the Jesus story is that he didn't exist at all. Then you have to account for somebody making that stuff up. Why bother?

Sunday my Elders' Quorum was supposed to be talking about hope. We got mired down in technicalities. The amount of time Jesus suffered, how many times, so forth. Having the loss of my mom still fresh I'd finally had enough. I usually say nothing in church. But I told the Elders that I don't care anything about the technicalities of the suffering of Jesus. What I want to know is did it really happen? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Now that's Hope. Who care how long he suffered, or the amount of pain? Was it enough.
I've grown to appreciate the word of Jesus in the Book of Mormon all the more lately:
Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. . . . And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. 3 Nephi 11:31, 37-40.
*Anon/D:'s Abbreviations there, besides the quick Shakespearean reference (aren't I cute) looks kind of like he is an emoticon of shocked desperation.  D:    
I guarantee you he is not in real life.


  1. I think this is a pretty widespread attitude. Trouble is, the extreme voices are the most vehement, pulling in sympathizers and crowding out those in the "moderate" mindset. Some of the best bloggers and commenters I know rarely comment anymore. So we wander, with no place to rest.

  2. I agree Frank. There is so little wheat left it isn't worth winnowing.
    Anon D

  3. It took me FAR too long to realize that the Bloggernacle I had discovered, that I imagined would be a safe place to call my internet home, was not that. It took far to long for me to realize that I was justifying feeling the same reading these blogs as I felt around certain elders on my mission, who weren't there for the right reasons. Don't get me wrong, I had no idea, myself, most of the time, but expected a feeling of unity that I got when I got paired with a companion who had similar struggles as I, but together we complemented each other. Not like-minded, but like-souled is the best way I can put it. Instead I kept reading words that sounded right, but didn't feel right. And others that resonated with the sound of mischief. I had to force myself to abandon this blogernacle adiction, because I was being tossed to and fro by those with agendas and masters of subtle craftiness.

    That being said, I feel comfort and love here, from the both of you. Comfort that one can struggle with belief, DESPITE "things", and still feel more right within yourself than when considering the alternative. For I have, but still can't ignore my gut.

    And here, I feel that's good enough.

    1. Wow, thanks SG3! You should have been in our e-mail chain. It is gratifying and humbling to know that there are some "like-souled" out there - not that we're starting a club or anything (that would pretty much go against our purpose) - It's just good to make that connection. Carry on! (trite phrase in Britain, more significant in the Great Basin desert, not sure how that plays down your way).


Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!