Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Why are bodies better than spirits? In a word: agency

March 24th, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

Going back to the first philosophers of Ancient Greece – the body is seen as subject to disease, corruption, ageing and death… naturally the spirit was more highly prized; naturally the eternal real was seen as immaterial spirit, where there could be no decay because no ‘matter’…

Yet Christianity insists we will be resurrected into bodies – albeit perfected bodies that are immune to decay, destruction or death. But why? Why bother mucking-around ‘confined’ in bodies when we might we free-ranging spirits…?

Mormonism goes a considerable way towards explaining this, by the insight that God the Father (as well as Jesus Christ) is embodied – and that this is a necessary part of attaining the highest level of creative divinity. (For example, while creation does not require a body, and Jesus Christ created – or co-created – this world; divine procreation – the begetting of spirit children – requires the body; in some way.)

But there is not much indication of why this should be – why ‘bodies are better’ – whereas three thousand years or more of philosophical and religious history suggest that bodies are a limitation, not an advantage.

Why, then, are bodies better – as it seems they must be?


More of this at:


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March 24th, 2017 00:55:46

Impact of the Restoration on the evolution of human consciousness (from a Barfieldian perspective)

March 23rd, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

From the perspective of Owen Barfield (1898-1997; best friend of CS Lewis and ‘the philosopher’ among The Inklings of Oxford); there has been an evolution of human consciousness from the beginnings of Man (the state he calls Original Participation) until now. Barfield never wrote about Mormonism, so far as I know – and exhibits no knowledge of Mormon scriptures, doctrines or theology – but Mormonism can be understood to have a clear place in Barfield’s historical account.

Very briefly, Barfield sees human consciousness as having begun with Man lacking self-consciousness and immersed-in the world (a state resembling that of early childhood, and dreams) – all was unconscious, mysterious, spontaneous, common sense.

Then, through several intermediate phases, there was a developing of increased self-consciousness and a sense of separateness from the world; until (from the 1400s approximately, most evident by the 1600s) a stage of alienation was reached in which each Man felt himself isolated and cut-off from a dead and non-conscious reality. This ‘modern’ phase is called the Consciousness Soul.

One step towards this was The Reformation, when Christian faith became extremely inward, and the near-exclusive focus became individual salvation – with, on the whole, little emphasis on the possibility of spiritual progression towards divinity during mortal life, or indeed after death (as in the phrase, ‘the tree lies where it falls’ meaning that the state of the soul at the moment of death is permanent).

Against this background, the Mormon Restoration, from 1830 onwards, can be seen as a move towards the state that Barfield terms Final Participation – which is one where Man carries-through self-consciousness into an understanding of spiritual progression towards divinity. Final Participation is, indeed, qualitatively the same state as full-divinity – which is why it is ‘final’ – because God is both agent (self-conscious) and also fully-participating in all of creation. It is the state in which there is no limit to knowledge, and all knowledge is potentially explicit.

Mormonism – conceptualised in terms of its theology – can be seen as a very conscious process of spiritual progression; in which – layer-by-layer – cumulative prophetic and personal revelations will clarify and make explicit much that was previously an incomprehensible ‘mystery’ in Christianity.

The first step came with the additional scriptures and revealed doctrines provided by Joseph Smith; but there was a built-in expectation that the process would continue with an unfolding of implications and more specific details.

This has been concisely stated in the LDS church’s summaries of God’s Plan of Salvation (or of Happiness) – with (as examples) greater knowledge of the nature of God; the insight that men and women are metaphysically distinct, and existed as primordial ‘intelligences’ in pre-mortal life before becoming (literal) children of Heavenly Father and Mother; the description of pre-mortal, mortal incarnate, and post-mortal resurrected states – with spiritual progression towards divinity possible in all phases; the doctrine of celestial marriage and a permanent dyadic, creative and fertile relationship of a deified man and woman as necessary for ultimate divine status – and so on.

Implicit in Joseph Smith’s revelations was a completely new metaphysics underpinning the theology – a pluralist, evolutionary, open-ended metaphysics – that has gradually become more evident (for those interested by it) with each generation.

My point is that Joseph Smith’s revelations – as they became clarified by later generations – can now be seen as a qualitative step towards Final Participation and a new, higher, evolutionary stage of consciousness which potentially (if that path is chosen) could begin during mortal life.

This aspect of Mormonism – as providing a basis for the evolution of consciousness towards something very like Barfield’s Final Participation – has remained mostly theoretical; probably because the CJCLDS has been in a state of more-or-less permanent siege from secular culture ever since it began.

(Modern secular culture is the greatest ever threat to salvation; since – by its multiple inversions of The Good – including but not restricted to an inversion of virtue – it is the only society in which official laws, rules, propaganda, practices etc. would tend to make individuals choose to reject Christian salvation even when the possibility of that salvation was believed to be true and real. In a nutshell, modern culture depicts Good as evil – and therefore mainstream society increasingly regards Christianity as not merely false, or sub-optimal, but as actively wicked – meaning that Christianity is tending to promote suffering and misery in this mortal life – in a metaphysical system by which mortal life is understood to be the only life.)

Not many people, other than myself!, have made a serious effort to understand the philosophical basis of both Mormonism and also the ‘Romantic’ tradition – which Barfield traces back to William Blake, Goethe, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Rudolf Steiner. But having done this; it seems to me that the Mormon Restoration provides the proper, and indeed necessary, Christian metaphysical framework – within-which the Romantic tradition can be understood to provide more specific detail and sound guidance for progression of human consciousness towards Final Participation.


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March 23rd, 2017 06:09:16

LDS Best Book Bracket

March 22nd, 2017 by G.

Friend of the JG Jamie Huston has a winsome, eclectic blog.  I hope you are reading it.  He had a recent post on the LDS best book tournament that he thought we would enjoy.  I fail to see how it could not be a vast improvement on reading the worst puns of the age.

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March 22nd, 2017 06:54:27

The Lord is God, and beside Him There is no Savior.

March 21st, 2017 by G.

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March 21st, 2017 14:37:00

Why babies cry

March 20th, 2017 by Vader

My soul comes from better worlds and I have an incurable homesickness for the stars.

–Thus Nikos Kazantzakis

h/t Dan Peterson and “drballard

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March 20th, 2017 14:25:45

My Apologies

March 20th, 2017 by G.

Odin hired a new secretary.  She exceeded expectations in ever particular–except she returned Microsoft Word to its presets.  All of Odin’s carefully built up hotkeys for runes and such were lost.  He had a word with her, and then began restoring his Office suite.  But she did it again!

Although Odin’s first thoughts were wrathful, he reflected that in all other respects, she really was an excellent secretary.  So he asked the Norns to destine her each day not to mess with his customization of Microsoft Word.  The Norns obliged, and all went along swimmingly.

Until one fatal day one of the Norns was sick, and the destiny was not wrought.  What did the secretary do?  Yep.  Norn the less, she presetted.

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March 20th, 2017 14:20:13

You go, brother

March 20th, 2017 by Vader

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March 20th, 2017 14:08:30

The Light of Heaven

March 20th, 2017 by G.

On the sweetness of Mormon life. (more…)

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March 20th, 2017 07:02:50

The Greatest Speeches Never Made

March 17th, 2017 by G.

The Junior Ganymede has come into exclusive possession of a lost draft of General Eisenhower’s Order of the Day for the invasion of Normandy.  

Historians of the era, students of rhetoric, and American patriots will all be amazed and delighted at this remarkable find.  Though a fuller analysis of the document must wait on the opinions of scholars, even the casual reader will wonder why so much of the vigorous and inspiring language of this draft did not make it into the version known to history: (more…)

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March 17th, 2017 05:43:56

Trump as candidate in a nutshell

March 16th, 2017 by Vader

Donald Trump’s was the greatest political strip-tease act in U.S. political history: the dirtier he got, the more skin he showed, the more his core supporters liked it.

— Thus Bret Stephens

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March 16th, 2017 09:28:18

The Pious Rabbit

March 16th, 2017 by G.

A rabbit went a little way down a small woodland path, then stopped and turned as if to poke into some bushes on the side.

A serpent further down the path, perceiving it, hissed “Stay on the strait and narrow path!”  The rabbit, who was pious, desisted from leaving the path and continued to hop down it.

As it came even with the serpent, the reptile hissed, “Be still, and know that He is God!”  The rabbit reverently ceased to move and composed himself for contemplation.

The serpent approached, but fearing that the rabbit would see him and take to flight, hissed, “at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow!” Somewhat perplexed as how best his own rabbit anatomy would allow him to comply with this scripture, of which he had just been reminded, the rabbit settled on prostrating himself to the ground.

As the serpent approached nearer, the rabbit heard the rustlings and asked himself out loud, Can this be a snake approaching?”  The serpent gasped as offended.  “How unkind!” it said.  “Should you not love your neighbor as yourself?”  With that, the serpent struck.

The rabbit, imagining himself engaged in pious exercises when in reality only engaged in folly, died and was eaten.


Moral: The Savior never said, heed your enemies.

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March 16th, 2017 05:38:16

The Embers

March 15th, 2017 by The Junior Ganymede

Friend of the Jg Handle and G. both work in large bureaucracies.  Handle, who is Jewish, wrote this reflection on the experience, which he has graciously agreed to allow as a guest post:

The funny thing is that not all government is like that.


Not yet.I feel in a reflective mood this morning.


Many philosophers ask, “Why is there evil?”  Some say free will, others original sin.


My religious tradition says, “Evil is in the very nature of things.  Suffering, predation, disease, decay, decrepitude, entropy, these are all parts of life and nature and have been features from the very beginning, since the creation, and will be with us until the end.  The real question is why is there any good?  That is new, rare, surprising when less rare, and that is the mystery the answer to which, and the implications of that answer, is where we will find rewards.”


We are all poor sinners.  And yet, somehow, also there are saints. (more…)

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March 15th, 2017 05:53:42

Replacing Christ

March 13th, 2017 by Vader

… for a free people, there’s nothing more dangerous than a government agency hellbent on saving the world.

Thus Stephen Green

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March 13th, 2017 11:30:23

Straining at gnats

March 13th, 2017 by Vader

And swallowing camels.


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March 13th, 2017 09:51:58

What is Due

March 13th, 2017 by G.

I have seen the sunrise and the sunset. I have held my child’s hand.  That is recompense enough.  God owes me nothing.

Yet with both hands He will give.

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March 13th, 2017 06:02:35