vendredi 7 février 2014

... And Why Not Mormonism (*grinning*)?

I came across Pearl of Great Price, not meaning the thing so called by Our Lord, namely state of Grace and pleasing God and getting to Heaven, but the text which Joseph Smith called so.

Wikisource : Pearl of Great Price/Moses

Chapter 1[edit]*

1 The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,

2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.

3 And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?

No, that is not God speaking to Moses in those words. Book of Moses in Pearl of Great Price portrays God as a babbler.

I could have added something like "for ... and is not this ..." because I am a babbler, but I refuse to take God for one!

It is not that God would not reason. It is rather that God when talking to men reasons so well that he has no need to point out a lot of things to make the argument understandable.

That is of course the ONE reason why I refuse to believe in Mormonism, which I do on other grounds just as with Mahometanism, just as with Hesiod's Theogony and its Muses or with Odinism. Among these, Odin might even beat the "god of Joseph Smith" when it comes to literary style (see Hávamál).

But the main one is that I draw a very thick and straight line between revelations as in messages purporting to be from Heaven and Revelation as in Heaven showing itself in action, like Christ's Resurrection or things. A revelation is tested by its agreement with Revelation as in Salvation History. Not the other way round.***

There is no hint whatsoever that Joseph Smith got the "Pearl of Great Price" in any way that connects it with Moses. Unlike how Jesus and we get the Pentateuch, for instance.

We get the Pentateuch as firmly from Moses as we get the Lord of the Rings from Tolkien. Joseph Smith got The Pearl of Great Price as little from Moses as Tolkien got Lord of the Rings from The Red Book of Westmarch.

And not only is the "God" of Pearl of Great Price wrong, its "Moses" is wrong also:

9 And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.

10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.

A phrase like "which thing I had never supposed" is basically Malory style or even Howard Pyle style for "who'd have thunk it?" And that in its turn is a very American turn of phrase. Of course it may well have had its precursors in the time of Malory or even Chaucer but to me it sounds like a sort or habitual introspection that became fashionable through Stoics Platonics and through the Christian habits of confession and examination of conscience but hardly entered into the daily habits of anyone at the court of Pharao whatever the Pharao was. It seems - according to recent attempts to harmonise the Exodus with Egyptian history that the Pharao in question was Amenamhet III (whom David Grohl has nicknamed "Mister Grumpy") and I suspect he was more surrounded by people who would remind us of old Arabs with white beards making comments that sound like lessons than by men expressing themselves like Chaucer. Besides, close by Amenamhet III the atmosphere may well have been a bit stifled, like living on a spy mission into enemy country or like living next to Stalin. Not really a school of spontaneity.

Someone I met over the internet reasoned "Moses can hardly have been humble if he called himself humble, considering that humility is a Christian vertue" ... but the thing is, whether he realised that God would accept his humility or not, he was from a place and an upbringing which did not habitually value humble people. It is not like a man these days calling himself "modest" (which would usually be self praise), it is like a man these days saying he has "a self-esteem issue" (which is generally speaking not self praise). When Moses said it he was basically telling God that if he was to speak to the Pharao he risked feeling very uncomfortable and even bungling it all by shutting up when he should not. Which is why God gave him his brother Aaron for help in that errand.**

And I would of course be as suspicious of a text purporting Moses used the roundabout modern phrase "self-esteem issue" rather than using the word humble for it as I am of a text where "Moses" in one breath speaks like a Sufi ("Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing,") and in the next ("which thing I never had supposed") like an English or French but certainly Christian gentleman with the curiosity of an explorer and the background of introspective expressions from centuries earlier - which were earlier than the English or French gentleman, but definitely later than Moses.

The fact that "Pearl of Great Price" includes visions and other supernatural stuff has really nothing to do with my disbelief.

And I suppose the guys who recognise Lord of the Rings as fantasy because they think Balrogs (i e demons taking physical shape and threatening with physical destruction) are impossible will miss Tolkien's real deliberate giveaway to make the very gullible think again. A thing like The Red Book of Westmarch (which Tolkien showed as little as Joseph Smith showed the gold plates he translated Book of Mormon from) is made to make the reader think about such a trivial matter as how did the text come from purported or implied observers to us. The guys who say "it is fantasy because it contains Balrogs" might miss that hint and therefore believe in the manuscript of one Adso from Melk.

I know one lady I was back then friends and sometimes in love with (she is now married to someone else) who actually thought it funny to realise that Adso from Melk is fiction and Name of the Rose is not a Medieval text, even if it is a text by a better Medieval Historian than most of its readers. She laughed at herself so heartily she cannot have been making a show to be ironic.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Adaucus and the Town dwellers
who had him for chief, martyrs
under Galerius Maximinian

* Wikisource, like wikipedia, is a wiki, ok, that means readers can edit it. Not meaning you should unless you see part of the text misrepresented, as in you know the text.

** In the real Pentateuch, of course, not in The Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses.

*** I believed the Palmarian revelation until I found out a quote where Palmarian Catechism disagrees with the cosmology of ordinary Patristic understanding of Christianity (there are three dimensions, not eight!), I doubted about Christ's revelation to St Bridget as to crusade when I thought "heathens in Novgorod" referred to Russian Orthodox (even if schismatic, Christ would hardly call them heathen just for that) but have regained confidence in it since I noticed she lived a century after Alexander Nevski first defended Novgorod against Teutonic Order and then handed it over to very real Pagans - the Yellow Horde. Christ's words to St Bridget were of course a way of telling her and through her the Swedish King that Novgorod needed liberation from the Yellow Horde. He did not listen however. But notice that it is not my view of Catholic Orthodoxy that changes according to what I read in St Bridget's Extravagantes or in ... earlier ... a site by Palmar de Troya. It is my view of these revelations which changes according to as I notice a discrepancy with Catholic Orthodoxy either showing up (as with Palmar) or disappearing (as with St Bridget).

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