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Monday, February 20, 2012

So Just Who Do These Mormons Think They Are?

And why should anyone pay attention to them?

In the Book of Mormon, 1 and 2 Nephi, we read of the highly stressful relationship of the two oldest sons of Lehi with their brother Nephi. This young whippersnapper, though he is the the fourth son, keeps taking over the leadership. On the trek back to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates from Laban, Nephi refuses to allow them to return to their father empty-handed. Even a good beating from them can't make him see the clear sense of the thing.

When his bow breaks he makes a new one, enabling him to continue to hunt and bring fresh meat to the cooking fires. Apparently he thinks they are all dependent on him. Then he gets the crazy idea that he can build a ship. Well, actually he does build or at least supervises the building of the ship. So he wants us to load our wives and children and our aged parents on board this thing and set out on the boundless ocean. What if we get caught in a storm far from land? Another beating ... he deserves it.

Laman and Lemuel seem to be constantly angry. The clear supremacy of their position as the older sons is being threatened, ignored. Why should they bow to the authority of their younger brother? Just who does he think he is?

Now go even further back in time to Joseph the son of Jacob. He had ten older brothers. Joseph is the son of Rachel, the greatly-loved wife, and their father keeps playing favorites. Then we are told of a series of dreams,(Gen. 37:2-11), in which Joseph is shown to take precedence over his older siblings.

They react about like Laman and Lemuel would many centuries later. Not daring to kill the smart-alecky little brother outright, they try to rid themselves of him by selling him to slave traders bound for Egypt. Eventually he is proven right of course, and saves them all from famine.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana

We  see the pattern set by Joseph and his older brothers (and indeed by Cain, the elder brother, and Abel, the favored son) and followed by Laman, Lemuel and Nephi repeating itself in the Christian world today.

In the early decades of the 19th Century, a young boy with the everyday name of Joseph Smith had the temerity to proclaim a new version of the Gospel of Christ.

What?? cried the priests of the old traditions. How dare he? How dare he claim that he knows something of God that we don't know? Haven't we been to seminaries? Don't all those letters after our names mean anything to him? We've studied all the commentaries while he can barely read English. His handwriting is so poor that he must have someone else write down what he dictates. And he talks about translating ancient documents!

Now he claims to have seen God, or rather Gods. God the Father and God the Son; separate beings, he says, when we have proclaimed for centuries that "they" are one, that they have no physical, visible bodies. Joseph Smith hasn't even been to church enough to have learned the Nicene Creed!

Then this lunatic had the nerve to try to tell us what to eat, and how to care for our bodies: eat fresh fruits and vegetables, he said, cut back on the meat. No coffee, tea, alcohol or tobacco, either. (D&C: 89) How does he think men can get together and talk things out without a little nip? Know what I mean?

He raved about space-time: Doctrine and Covenants 130:4–5.
Is not the reckoning of God’s time, angel’s time, prophet’s time, and man’s time, according to the planet on which they reside? I answer, yes.
He talked about the conservation of matter/energy:

The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but never destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end. (TPJS 350–52)
O the impertinence of it all!

This farm kid, who'd never been to university, thought he knew things that ...well, you see the problem.

Today there is a great deal of talk about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and their "strange"  "new" ideas. Of course these are not new ideas at all. They only seem new to those who have not familiarized themselves with the very old ideas.

One of our number seems headed in the direction of the White House, and our "older brothers" in Christianity are in panic mode, kicking and screaming as in days long gone by.

Just who do these Mormons think they are? And why should anyone pay attention to them?

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