Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More on Word Pairs and Hebraisms

My previous post linked to a significant 1997 article by Kevin Barney that revealed the presence in the Book of Mormon of a recently recognized traditional element of ancient Hebrew poetry, word pairs. There are several other good resources that you might enjoy, especially if you are interested in understanding or appreciating the Book of Mormon. A few more suggestions:

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just read the Sondrup essay, which, as literary criticism, is right up my alley. I then went and re-read the Psalm of Nephi, which still strikes me as a quite obvious and quite amateurish appropriation of the language of the Psalms to serve anachronistically Christian ends. Sondrup's essay? A tendentious and ill-informed misreading. Strip away the voluminous footnotes and what's left is yet another argument about parallelism and chiasmus, neither of which speak to the question of the Book of Mormon's ancient origins.

Sondrup does succeed in one thing, albeit unintentionally, and that is to demonstrate the manifest inferiority of Joseph Smith to truly great writers. As examples of parallelism, Sondrup gives us the following non-Mormon passages:

I am like a pelican of the wilderness
I have become like an owl of the ruins

(Psalm 102)

A time to weep
and a time to laugh

(Ecclesiastes)

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world

(Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass)

Compare the above examples, with their rich vocabulary, poetic rhythms, and striking imagery, with the following from the Psalm of Nephi:

behold my soul delighteth in the things of the lord; and
my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.


In the latter, Sondrup sees a marvelous example of parallelism; I see mainly spiritual fervor expressed with the impoverished vocabulary of a 19th-century man whose writing style is heavily influenced by the King James Bible. There's not a shred of evidence in such writing for any sort of ancient origins.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't equate evidence of ancientness directly with what we think of as great writing. Ancient writing often seems like literary dreck without a devoted and talented translator, and was often repeatedly revised by later writers to make it better writing. Truly ancient literature that look like "good writing" to modern eyes is usually so because it was translated that way. The use of ancient literary devices (and honestly, the huge and hidden-until-recently Alma 36 chiasmus is hard to beat in that category) is evidence of ancientness, not how "literary" the translation seems.

That line (and the rest of the "psalm") fits in very well with Nephi's personality as given in the text -- centered on the conflict with his brothers, which permeates everything he writes, explicitly emotional, all-too-aware of his position in writing for an adoring posterity, and using the "way/road/path" imagery that is all over 1 and 2 Nephi. If the Nephi presented in the text were to attempt a psalm, that seems what it would be like.

Finally, the "impoverished vocabulary" of Joseph Smith is necessary for the Book of Mormon whatever method you find for its production, and whatever date you give to the text. I personally find certain parts of the Book of Mormon beautifully written, "literary", and moving, and other parts much less so. But I could say the same of Leaves of Grass.

Anonymous said...

Jack--forget our differences over the Book of Mormon. If you like Leaves of Grass, you're OK by me.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

Actually that wasn't me, Eveningsun. But even so, I do like Walt Whitman.

As to the post, I think comment #2 hits the nail right on the head. And I add my vote on Alma 36. It is utterly miraculous in terms of both it's structure and meaning.

Jack

Anonymous said...

I certainly don't hold it against Nephi for his impoverished vocabulary but Nephi really had something going on to acquire a 19th century vocabulary because I am sure none of the vocabulary that was used in the above passage existed in 600 BC. If only we all had the wit and style of a Walt Whitman.

The electric company is out to get me!

Steve

Ormsby Family said...

It is humorous to hear folks criticize the language of The Book of Mormon, in light of the manifold translations of The Bible into so-called "Modern English." If Joseph Smith were the nefarious fabricator of the volume, as many have suggested, he would have been better served not to have wasted his time with incorporating the Hebrew grammar so apparent therein.

Incidentally, you see no such constructs in the writing of Spalding, or others purported to be the source of the volume by the persistent stable of simplistic critics.

mkprr said...

As critics trying to associate JS with the occult are so fond to point out: according to witnesses, Joseph smith translated at least most of the BOM with his head inside a hat looking through the dark at a seerstone.

In other words, if JS was a fraud, the BOM seems to have been dictated line by line without JS having access to read off of notes or a transcript. That would mean that every name he kept track of, every plot twist, every jump from one time to another in the narrative, every chismus, and every word pairing was done off the cuff. Pretty dang impressive!

Anonymous said...

Here's a fun little article by Nibley called "Mission Impossible":

http://www.bmaf.org/node/208

Jack

Anonymous said...

Fun indeed. I got a laugh out of it, anyway. I mean, is Nibley serious? Is mkprr? This whole "could YOU have written the Book of Mormon" argument turns on some pretty silly assumptions. It proceeds as if Smith sat down and dictated the entire book in one sitting, straight through, with no prior preparation and no time to reflect on what he'd just written. But of course in reality he dictated several pages a day, and at the end of each day he had ample time to think about what should how the plot should unfold.

Another silly assumption is that said plot is complicated; it's not. It's also very repetitive, as are many of the characters (e.g., the sets of feuding brothers). There's nothing the least bit miraculous about slapping together a dull and repetitive set of stories over a span of a few months.

Nibley, of course, adds another dimension to the silliness when he writes that, in addition to writing the book, the skeptic should find a bunch of witnesses, such as Smith found, to testify to your book's authenticity. The skeptic's answer, of course, is that Smith benefited from some unusual set of circumstances (some combination, perhaps, of the gullibility of 19th century Americans, the human desire to be part of something important or associated with celebrity, etc.--who knows?), which circumstances are unlikely to pertain to one's own time.

It's a bit like me rolling the dice seven times, having them come up 5-11-4-6-7-6-3, and claiming this utterly ordinary result to be miraculous. When you object that there's nothing miraculous about it, I could mimic Nibley and say, "I bet YOU can't do it!" And sure enough, you couldn't! (I believe the name for this is the Barn Door Fallacy.)

Apologetics is a way of making otherwise smart people say stupid things.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

This whole "could YOU have written the Book of Mormon" argument turns on some pretty silly assumptions.

Go for it. Let's see how well you do.

Anonymous said...

Go for it. Let's see how well you do.

Actually, I've already written several books. I've done so while also attending to my day-to-day life. I still stand by what I've written. In these ways, I've already met several aspects of the BoM Challenge. (Unlike the Book of Mormon, however, my books are actually well written.) And I didn't even have to plagiarize 20 percent of my material to write them!

It's true that I haven't started a religion, but then again, I'm not writing at the height of a religious fervor that prompted all kinds of people to do all kinds of crazy things.

Read up on the Millerites if you want to understand what I'm getting at. Smith wrote at a time when lots and lots of people would believe just about any old darned thing, and Smith spoke their language. The closest thing more recently would be, say, L. Ron Hubbard, who seems fairly to have met met Nibley's challenge. He cranked out Scientology and Dianetics and upon it built a church with millions of followers who are every bit as convinced of his prophetic status as you are of Smith's.

Me, I don't have the stomach for that sort of thing, either as prophet or believer.

But I have a challenge for you. You probablly don't believe in the divine stattus of the Quran. Well, do you really think any mortal could have written that text on his own? I challenge you to write something as beautiful, profound, and inspirational as the Quran, and ultimately get a billion or so people to swear by your book. If you can't do that, why, that'll be proof that Mohammed was a true prophet!

-- Eveningsun

Ken said...

Eveningsun.

The Quran is definitely a fascinating read. I would compare it more to the D&C as far as the claims that are made as to what the text is. The Quran and D&C both claim to be books of laws revealed to a prophet from God for a guide to the people. But in either case it does do well in meeting the test posed for the Book of Mormon. Even though it was written over a 23 year period and never published as a book until after his death.
But I would have to disagree with your take on the Quran vs. the Book of Mormon as to the quality of the text and how well it is written. I would give both high marks as literary works, in spite of your claims of plagiarism. By the way, what is your basis for claim of plagiarism against the Book of Mormon? Does not the book give appropriate and accurate acknowledgement to the original work?

mkprr said...

Eveningsun,


Your claim that the BOM is poor literature I think has some merit. I’m not sure why you would expect a colonizer/craftsman like Nephi, or two warriors like Mormon and Moroni to be extra ordinarily gifted linguists, poets and philosophers, but I think you are correct that there is a lot of choppy and dry stuff in the book. Your claim that it is simple however doesn’t hold water. Try reading it again and imagine yourself dictating it with your head in a dark hat, no notes, and keeping it all straight. I recommend reading Royal Skousen’s Book of Mormon, The Earliest Text if you have access to it.

If I had to choose a theory to hold to other than that JS was a translator, I think the only one I could entertain is that all or at least many witnesses of the translation process would have been in on it. The conspiracy theories are full of problems as well but I don’t see any way that it could have been dictated by JS as described by the witnesses.

I don’t see any reason to doubt that Mohammed had supernatural assistance with the Koran though perhaps there are other reasonable explanations for it. I reject the Koran because it denies Christ as the savior of the world and Son of God, not because of how it came to be. But then again, I come from a world view where intelligent independent beings other than humans exist and can interact with mankind which is a different view than what you have. Occam’s razor cuts at a different angle for you because of our initial assumptions and there is really no way around that.

Darren said...

Eveningsun;

Actually, I've already written several books. I've done so while also attending to my day-to-day life.

Excellent. So, what whs the shortest amount of time it took you to write any one of them and how many pages does that book have. Also, I would venture to say that you books most likely have a direct relationshi to your profession, no? It's not like you had to stop farming to translate a set of ancient records which spoke of Christ visiting the ancient Americas.

(Unlike the Book of Mormon, however, my books are actually well written.)

I've no doubt they are well written. i've also no doubt that you spent lots of time thinknig about what to write as opposed to having what to write dictated to you and that the prupose of your books was to sell and therefore you needed to make them in depth iand "entertaining". The purpose ofthe book of mormon is to testify of Christ in the most plain manner possible. Despite its plainess, there's still much depth to the meaning of its passages as well as very good writing. i also have no doubt that you revised and edited your writing at least somewhat extensively before the final publication. And this includes a review of your work before publishing. the book of mormon was published based on a first draft completed within three months time. With this alone the Book of Mormon stands as a literary great unparalleled by anything else written, including the Bible.

The closest thing more recently would be, say, L. Ron Hubbard, who seems fairly to have met met Nibley's challenge. He cranked out Scientology and Dianetics and upon it built a church with millions of followers who are every bit as convinced of his prophetic status as you are of Smith's.


Wonderful. and just how is teaching that Tylenol was given to use by space aliens to control us comparable to biblical teachings?

On Nibley:

It proceeds as if Smith sat down and dictated the entire book in one sitting, straight through, with no prior preparation and no time to reflect on what he'd just written.

It does? How so.

and at the end of each day he had ample time to think about what should how the plot should unfold

Wonderful. When did he think about it and how did he reach his conclusions? Did Emma know anything about this conjuring up of plots by Joseph Smith? What di she say about the translating process? And how did he write so much without any notes? Would he have not at least sribbled different plot twists and endings along the way? Where are those notes? Did Emma Smith thrown them out in the middle of the night while cleaning?

Another silly assumption is that said plot is complicated; it's not.

It is? you mean it would be simple for you to write about a family who created two nations, and one encountered a third and yet a fourth later on in the story and included dozens of characters, each with unique features and characteristics, never contradicted, has established a money system, language, belief system, strategems for warfare, spanning over a 1,000 year period (almost 3,000 when you include the Jaredites). Since you've written well written books, how long would it take you to think all this out?

I say the best explanation is Joseph Smith's explanation. Joseph Smith prayed to God and from there he was divinely directed to an ancient record on golden tablets and by the power and inspiration of God, he translated that record into English. Nothnig made up and no plargiarizing. (Despite what Mark Twain said).

in addition to writing the book, the skeptic should find a bunch of witnesses, such as Smith found, to testify to your book's authenticity

And that these witnesses claimed an angel showed them and that the book would be a book read over and over agian throughout the world. People today believe it just as they believed t in the 19th century with all that "crazy" religiosity "awakening" stuff.



You prove that time and time again. ;>)

Darren said...

For some reason my last italicized citation didn't show up. i think I'm setting them incorrectly as this has happened before. So, here goes:

Apologetics is a way of making otherwise smart people say stupid things.

You prove that time and time again. ;>)

(There, that should work)

bearyb said...

Steve said:

I certainly don't hold it against Nephi for his impoverished vocabulary but Nephi really had something going on to acquire a 19th century vocabulary because I am sure none of the vocabulary that was used in the above passage existed in 600 BC.

Well, Steve, if you were to translate any given book from whatever language to English, what words would you use?

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Eveningsun, let's just recognize that there could not possibly be anything in the Book of Mormon, no matter how beautiful, improbable, impressive, or even miraculous, that you could see as anything other than dull, dimwitted, and obviously fabricated by a crooked 19th century farmboy. Nothing in it can be viewed with anything but contempt from your lofty perspective because, of course, the Church took a stand on Proposition 8 that you utterly detest, and therefore your response to anything associated with the Book of Mormon and the Church will be predictably scripted. I understand that you enjoy this mission of yours, but it makes dialog with you far less interesting than it could be.

Yes, Nephi doesn't wax eloquent about pelicans and owls. That's not his proclaimed goal of using plainness to teach his people the things of God. But in spite of his rough youth and his separation from the literary circles of Jerusalem, he does know of the literature of the Jews and, of course, loves Isaiah and other Jewish writers. When he writes, he does draw upon literary tools from his culture in ways that are difficult to scribe to Joseph Smith's genius. The Psalm of Nephi that you so readily dismiss, of course, is actually quite impressive. The contrasts between the horizontal (travel in the wilderness, the ocean, and desert roads) and the vertical (cries lifted up, being carried by the Spirit to a mountain, angels coming down, God coming down) occur in poetically structured ways. There is quite a lot going on to beautifully express some very personal issues from Nephi.

One resource to consider is this commentary on 2 Nephi 4. And especially see Feast Upon the Word.

I think it then gets especially interesting if we consider the hypothesis that Nephi was drawing upon the writings of Zenos in the plates of brass in writing his own psalm. See Alma 33, and read "Nephite Uses and Interpretations of Zenos" by
Noel B. Reynolds, especially his section on the Psalm of Nephi.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Ascribe, not scribe - sorry about the typo.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Another thing to keep in mind about Nephi is how well his psalm of frustration over his anger resonates with the experiences of abuse victims. I know wonderfully spiritual men and women who have suffered abuse and in spite of experiencing great miracles and marvelous spiritual blessings, still face daily struggles because of the pain that came from years of mistreatment. Nephi's relentless struggle with anger toward his enemies -- his brothers -- is shared with the voice of one who really had suffered and struggled with abuse for years while seeking the peace that the Gospel is supposed to bring. There is much that modern abuse victims can learn from Nephi's profound and poetic words.

Darren said...

There is much that modern abuse victims can learn from Nephi's profound and poetic words.

Amen.

That's how I've always seen Nephi. A voice of empathy and even counsel to those who have been abused in life.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, what prompted you to so grossly caricature my position? I've never described Joseph Smith as anything like "a crooked 19th century farmboy." My own take on Smith is that he was intensely religious and intensely patriotic, and prone to what he thought were visions that not surprisingly integrated the United States into the Christian sacred story (and addressed the hot 1820s issue of Native American origins to boot.) Yes, like many others, Smith had an eye on the main chance, and often had trouble untangling God's will from his own, and in the end he was corrupted by his power--a tragic figure, really, but much more than a "crooked farmboy."

Also, I'm not opposed to the Church merely because it "took a stand" on Prop 8, but because it organized its members to work actively against it, and was part of an effort to do so in such a shameful way, by positing gay rights as a threat to families children. (The Church's understanding of gay people is about as accurate and fair as E.D. Howe's understanding of Mormons.)

I'd like you to ponder the fact that the Church has acted politically in this way exactly twice, once on the ERA and again on Prop 8, which is to say that when the Church has decided to actively engage in politics it has done so in opposition to the extension of full rights to two historically oppressed groups: women and gay people.

The Church has NOT seen fit to exert its political muscle against, oh, racial segregation, or the Bush/Obama dismissal of habeus corpus and embrace of torture and assassination, or any of a number of other issues. Maybe the Church was a little uncomfortable with Jim Crow and lynching (which after all were far, far more damaging to families and children than gay marriage could ever be), but as for working actively to end it, well, apparently it couldn't be bothered. But gay people--well, THAT's a problem: circle the wagons! Our values are threatened!

To put it plainly, the Church seems to be moved to action only when the pursuit of full rights by women and gay people threatens the traditional prerogatives of straight men, and that speaks loudly and clearly about the Church's warped values.

I'm sorry, but the Church's political record is simply shameful. It's sad that your own partisanship has so blinded you to that record.

Do you want Church critics like me to go away? Then do a little soul searching, acknowledge the truth of the record, and take some initiative and reform the Church yourself. Does the Church want its doctrines (including its polytheism and its continuing belief in polygamy) to be shielded from public scrutiny and the often injurious rough-and-tumble of political argument? Then it should get out of politics.

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

bearyb,

It was sarcasm on my part. My prose is a lot weaker than Nephi's and the majority of us cannot write as well as Walt Whitman. I then proceeded to have a little bit of fun with the assertion that the language of the Book of Mormon with 19th century vocabulary, which would be remarkable for someone from 600 BC but not so remarkable for someone translating the text into the current day vernacular. From a believer's viewpoint (me included), we assert a volume of scripture and take that approach. A non-believer's viewpoint is that it is a product of 19th century USA. The analogy of the electric company from the previous blog posting / comments fit equally well on both sides.

Just me trying to have a little bit of fun while conveying it in my weak prose.

Steve

PS - I always thought that the phrase "barbaric yawp" sounded ridiculous.

Darren said...

I've never described Joseph Smith as anything like "a crooked 19th century farmboy."

I'd say a low-lexical plargiarist qualifies, don't you?

Also, I'm not opposed to the Church merely because it "took a stand" on Prop 8, but because it organized its members to work actively against it

I think you meant "for it". But so what? That does not have anything to do (directly) with the Book of Mormon.

and was part of an effort to do so in such a shameful way, by positing gay rights as a threat to families children

The gay agenda is very incompatible with traditional family and with our freedoms. This is just one example of gay activists jeopradizing our freedoms:

A Christian law firm will appeal a ruling by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission fining a photographer who refused to take photos of a homosexual commitment ceremony.

Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jon, who co-own Elane Photography in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are both Christians. So when a lesbian couple asked them to photograph their "commitment ceremony" in Taos, the Huguenins politely refused. In response, Vanessa Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission claiming the Huguenins discriminated against her because of her "sexual orientation." On Wednesday, the Commission found the Christian couple guilty of discrimination under state anti-discrimination laws and ordered them to pay more than $6,000 in costs.


Why would anyone need to pay any fine for refusing to take pictures of a gay couple's wedding? The only reason this is possible is that there are laws, "hate crimes", which declare homosexual couples as sort of protected class. If this couple refused to take pictures, simply find someone who would. My wife and I could not afford any photographer so we simply slicited anyone's help and found more than enough people willing to take pictures at our wedding. This isn't a right but gay activists sure do make it a right. My concern is not that here are gay people so much as gay activists who will and do seek to use the powerfo f governmentto shut down descent of any kind. That's modern-day liberalism for you.

New Mexico commission orders $6,000 fine for Christian beliefs

Darren said...

which is to say that when the Church has decided to actively engage in politics it has done so in opposition to the extension of full rights to two historically oppressed groups: women and gay people

Hogwash. The Church acted in a way which preserves the distinction between men and women as well as famuily and gay activity. The Relief Society is the oldest women's organization in the country. utah was the first to practice women sovereignty (Wyoming the first to make it legal but in practice Utah came before Wyoming). As for homosexuality, the LDS Church holds them to the exact same standards as anyone else. There is no "gay standard" and no "gay commandents" the LDS Church believes in.

The LDS church also took an official stand in Salt Lake city to support a local law baning denial of residency for gay people. they did so after being satisfied that the local bill would sufficiently preserve religious organization's right to oppose homosexuality. Again, as for gay activism, if you think they will not force religions, and are forcing religion to express decent for accepting homosexuality, you're not living in the same dimension as I am.

The Church has NOT seen fit to exert its political muscle against, oh, racial segregation

The Church stays away from politics, as painfal as doing so may be, unless the family is threatened. the LDS church has consistently advocated the equal treatment of all races from government and inidivudals as well as how to treat people which would aooly to including foreign combatants. As for my take on the latter, god riddance to Awlaki and water boarding undoubtadly helped saved thousands of lives in Los Angeles and lead our military straight to Bin Ladin. Good riddance to him too.

Neither Bush nor Obama are under any obligation to offer habeaus corpus to foreign combatants. Period. In fact, releasing folks from Guantanamo has always proven dangerous to the US.

To put it plainly, the Church seems to be moved to action only when the pursuit of full rights by women and gay people threatens the traditional prerogatives of straight men, and that speaks loudly and clearly about the Church's warped values.

It speaks to preserve family, not take political sides. The latter would gravely hurt the Church and all the good it offers.

I'm sorry, but the Church's political record is simply shameful. It's sad that your own partisanship has so blinded you to that record.

Your partisanship is hardly an eye opener, sir.

(including its polytheism and its continuing belief in polygamy) to be shielded from public scrutiny and the often injurious rough-and-tumble of political argument? Then it should get out of politics.

Funny how Hebraic word pairs turn into polygamy and polytheism. What di you say about partisanship blinding Lindsay?

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone need to pay any fine for refusing to take pictures of a gay couple's wedding?... If this couple refused to take pictures, simply find someone who would.

I'm happy to explain why, Darren. Please bear with me.

Imagine that you and your family are driving across the country. You've been driving all day and you're tired. Finally dinnertime rolls around, so you pull up at a restaurant, wake up the 6-year-old and get the 2-year-old out of the safety seat and walk to the door, only to find a sign on it that reads, "Christians only. No Mormons allowed."

No problem, right? After all, this particular restaurant owner has the right to a "conscience objection" aqainst serving Mormons, no? It might look like plain old bigotry to you, but to him it's a sincerely held religious belief. And anyway, if this restaurant won't serve you, you can simply find one that will.

So you load the kids back into the car and drive down the highway to the next restaurant, only to be refused service again. (Maybe it's because you're somewhere in the Deep South where they really, really, don't like your religion.)

But you wind up getting refused again and again and finally conclude that in fact you CAN'T just "find someone who will." (Or maybe the only restaurant you find that will serve you has a dirty kitchen and flies buzzing around the counter.) So you decide you'll just feed the kids stale donuts and Fritos from the gas station. (Heaven help you if the gas station won't sell to Mormons either.) And then the same thing happens at the motel....

Oh dear. Looks like you'll just have to keep driving a couple more hours until you get out of the bigoted boonies and arrive in the sinful Big City where you can finally find a restaurant and motel that DO accommodate Mormons.

No problem, right, Darren?

Is this the kind of world you would like to live in? Is this the kind of country you would like America to be?

For black people, of course, this is precisely the kind of country America was, and might still be if the conservatives had had their way. (Just one reason I'm proud of my liberal politics.)

Would you rather live in a country littered with signs saying "We don't serve Jews," "Swimming pool closed to Negroes," "No gay people need apply," etc.?

You know, a nation where businesses have the liberty to refuse service to anyone they wish?

Or would you rather live in a country where the private businesses that, in a capitlaist spociety, providing the basic public accommodations necessary for human flourishing and fulfillment are legally required to be open to all?

Personally, I prefer that the laws sometimes step on other considerations in order to produce a society where everyone can eat at a restaurant, find a motel room, and yes, even have someone photograph their wedding.

(FWIW, what I'm talking about here is a "compelling secular interest" of the sort that the courts have held can justify a law's overriding of an individual's religious scruples.)

-- Eveningsun

Anonymous said...

Once again, please bear with me, Darren (and anyone else who's still tuned in)....

Neither Bush nor Obama are under any obligation to offer habeas corpus to foreign combatants. Period.

Actually, Yaser Hamdi was an American citizen, but never mind that. Do you really think that habeas corpus is (and should be) a privilege of citizenship rather than a human right? Would you really like to live in a United States where the president can detain foreigners with absolutely no limit to that authority? (Remember, someday the president might be Nancy Pelosi.)

I should mention here that as a signatory to the Geneva Convention, the United States is very much legally obligated not to use torture and assassination. (I would think that people who claim to be Christians would also oppose such things on theological as well as legal grounds.)

The Church stays away from politics, as painful as doing so may be, unless the family is threatened.

The historical record suggests otherwise. Why did the Church stay away from the politics swirling around the terrible (and manifestly immoral, un-American, and un-Christian) threat to the family that was Jim Crow? Was it because the Church didn't realize that lynching, and workplace discrimination that reserved the best jobs for whites, and separate-but-equal schools, didn't threaten black families?

Why didn't the Church rise up in defense of the family then?

Was it because the Church thought black families weren't "really" families?

Was it because when the Church uses the term families it means Mormon families only? White families only?

Or what?

As I said in above, Jim Crow was far, far worse for families than gay marriage will ever be, but the Church didn't think it worth getting involved when the threat was only to black families.

Back then, when the Church said "family," it apparently did so with a wink that meant, "Not black families, of course." Today it's giving us that same wink, only now it means, "Not gay families, of course."

By fighting for laws that prevent gay people from forming stronger and healthier families, the LDS Church is in fact profoundly anti-family, but too ignorant about and bigoted against gay people to realize it, just as earlier in its history it was too racist to realize that black people had families, too.

-- Eveningsun

Darren said...

Imagine that you and your family are driving across the country. You've been driving all day and you're tired. Finally dinnertime rolls around, so you pull up at a restaurant, wake up the 6-year-old and get the 2-year-old out of the safety seat and walk to the door, only to find a sign on it that reads, "Christians only. No Mormons allowed."


Then I'd better learn to pack my own food while traveling. Besides, doesn't this go against freedom of religion? What part of the Constitution says "freedom to be gay"?

And anyway, if this restaurant won't serve you, you can simply find one that will.


Yes, I could do that too.

Maybe it's because you're somewhere in the Deep South where they really, really, don't like your religion

Then I could choose not to travel in the deep south.

(Heaven help you if the gas station won't sell to Mormons either.)

They could do that I guess. That could, however, lead to harm for me and my family. How will not shooting pictures at a "commitment ceremony" going to bring harm to anyone? And if this is a ceremony to plan then plan on someone who'll be there to shoot the pictures you want to have shot. Lesbians do not have a right to have their pictures taken and i do not hae the right to eath at restaurants, denying me food, however, presents an isue at a much larger level than having my picture taken.

Is this the kind of world you would like to live in? Is this the kind of country you would like America to be?

America has changed from anti-Mormonism to accepting of Mormonism not due primarily to government but because of the good Mormons do. Jeff's latest post is about single adults (Mormons) in Shanhai. How inthe world does the LDS Church get to grow in China? One signincant factor, I believe is because mormons elieve in honoring and sustaining the law of the land, including Chinese law in China. This leads to aceptence.

And don't bring up the black issue. no one has a choice as tthe race they are born. Joning a religion and sexual preferences are always based upon choice (even if the choice of religion is forced).

Would you rather live in a country littered with signs saying "We don't serve Jews," "Swimming pool closed to Negroes," "No gay people need apply," etc.?

Nope, I'd stand against that. Al that hurts people, not having their picture taken doesn't.

Or would you rather live in a country where the private businesses that, in a capitlaist spociety, providing the basic public accommodations necessary for human flourishing and fulfillment are legally required to be open to all?

Sounds good. How does picture taking play into this? and you aparently have forgotten that the LDS Church supported legislation in Salt Lake City to not prohibit residence to homosexuals. Like eating and resting in a safe place, that's making sure all people have what they need to survive, taking pictures is hardly within that classification but gay activists sure do want it to be.

Darren said...

Actually, Yaser Hamdi was an American citizen, but never mind that. Do you really think that habeas corpus is (and should be) a privilege of citizenship rather than a human right? Would you really like to live in a United States where the president can detain foreigners with absolutely no limit to that authority?

first off, you can ignore Awlaki's citizenship. He was in Yemen recruiting for Al-Queada to take up arms against the US. I'd havea big problem if he were air bombed if he were in the United States proper but Yemen is not a state or territory or commonwealth of the US as far as I am aware.

Second, what part fothe geneva Cnvention bans assasination and what country did Awlaki represent?

Third, i am not talking about holding foreigners. Of course i don't want the Us to do that but they can, and sholud, and always have, held foreign combatants indefinitely. When in the US history have she not?

The historical record suggests otherwise. Why did the Church stay away from the politics swirling around the terrible (and manifestly immoral, un-American, and un-Christian) threat to the family that was Jim Crow?

When did Jim Crow redefine marriage?

Back then, when the Church said "family," it apparently did so with a wink that meant, "Not black families, of course." Today it's giving us that same wink, only now it means, "Not gay families, of course."

By fighting for laws that prevent gay people from forming stronger and healthier families, the LDS Church is in fact profoundly anti-family, but too ignorant about and bigoted against gay people to realize it, just as earlier in its history it was too racist to realize that black people had families, too.


Such absolute tripe, sir. By opposing gay marriage legislation, the LDS church has helped preserve marriage. Wht ntion hjas propsered by protecting gay marriage? What nation has upheld and preserved freedom of religion and gay marriag simultaneously? The US is tone ofthe only, if not only, country which recognizes and upholds freedom of religion and has traditionally opposed gay marriage. I do not find that a coincidence.

Dave D said...

Back to the subject of the post - I was most impressed by the chapters in James Duke's book about the word pairs and about chiasmus. Both seem to be elements that of which an unschooled farm boy would not be aware - I hadn't even thought of the word pair thing after getting a graduate degree, albeit in engineering. (BTW - for full disclosure, James Duke is my great uncle, but I still liked his book. Also Jeff, I think you go to church with my brother in Shanghai.)