Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Remembering Kate O’Beirne

April 26th, 2017 by Vader

You sometimes never know what you had until you lose it. In this case, I do not think I had even heard the name before I saw the obituaries this week. This was my loss, if this quote is typical of her:

Feminist fundamentalism holds that the battle of the sexes can’t be won unless women make war on the tiniest enemies of their independence.
And the remembrance goes on to note:
That line had the ring of Kate’s sensibility, or her sense of irony, always engaged, and so she was quick to spot the “irony-impaired Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) [who] explained, ‘I have to march because my mother could not have an abortion.’”
Go in peace, pilgrim.
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April 26th, 2017 10:42:03

Band of Brothers

April 26th, 2017 by Man SL

Early on, back in the Goth and Vandal days, they wrote a German version of the Gospels where Christ was some kind of divine hero chief and the Apostles were his war band.

Maybe that’s not obvious from the Bible, but its not totally wrong either.

The internet is amazing.  There’s this Easter article that looks at Christ and the apostles like they were a band of brothers.  It made me think..  Here’s a quote:


we understand that this männerbund is engaged in a battle. However, we also know that it is not fundamentally a battle against an enemy of this world.

What I thought of was the Doctrine and Covenants.

And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends.

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April 26th, 2017 06:54:28

Mormons and metaphysics – should be more aware!

April 26th, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

If Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living – he was probably referring to metaphysics: metaphysics being the fundamental assumptions about reality, upon which our knowledge and beliefs are built. He perhaps meant that unless we know our own metaphysical assumptions then we are unwitting slaves to them; and freedom, agency can only come from knowing, evaluating then deliberately embracing our own basic assumptions.

We all have metaphysical assumptions; but most people do not explicitly know what these are. And indeed many modern people (eg. most scientists) do not even know they operate from basic assumptions; but instead deny that metaphysics is a genuine discourse – they regard it as nonsense – either sheer idiocy, wish-fulfilment or covertly manipulative. Modern people believe only in ‘facts’ and ‘feelings’…

Yet we all have assumptions even if we unreflectively take them for granted; and we may be accepting assumptions that we would reject if only we were explicitly aware of what they were.

Mormons are, in an important sense, more aware of their metaphysical assumptions than are most people, including most Christians; although Mormons do not identify their metaphysics as such. I mean the Plan of Salvation or Plan of Happiness, which is one of the first and most basic things that missionaries teach and that children learn – is in fact a metaphysical system expressed in the form of a narrative. It describes the main components of reality, their nature, principles and purposes.

However, Mormons mistakenly label their metaphysical assumptions as ‘doctrine’ – that is, as something given by revelation and to be ‘learned’ along with many other doctrines. Yet the nature of metaphysics is that it provides (in broad terms, at least) a coherence and explanation of everything else; metaphysics really is more fundamental than the doctrines that are derived from it.  Mormon metaphysics really does underpin the detailed doctrinces and practices of the religion – and where it does not, then those doctrines and practices probably require examination, evaluation and clarification of their nature.

What is astonishing about Mormon metaphysics is how truly, astonishingly different it is from anything which (so far as is known) ever came before in the history of the world. Certainly it is radically different from the metaphysics of preceding Christians – but also different from anything known to philosophers or theologians; indeed the basic nature of Mormon metaphysics was not described philosophically until a couple of generations later, by William James (who developed his ideas independently, but then explicitly recognised the similarity with Mormonism).

I cannot go into the distinctive characteristics of Mormon metaphysics in a blog post – they can be found in the work of Sterling McMurrin, Blake Ostler and (more digestibly) Terryl Givens (also, before these, in BH Roberts, although I have not personally read him). (I previously put my thoughts onto a blog: theoreticalmormon.blogspot.co.uk).

As I have often stated, I am in love with Mormon metaphysics, smitten by its beauty and truth – I am thus (perhaps uniquely?) a full and unreserved believer-in Mormonism, even though not a member of the CJCLDS. I hardly know where to start in describing it! But if I was to make just one statement of the unique nature of Mormon metaphysics – that which sets it apart from all others – I would say that it is the first and only metaphysical system built upon the primacy of relationships, specifically of the loving relationship between God (i.e. our Heavenly Parents) and children. Whereas, almost all other metaphysical systems are based upon concepts derived from physics (Time, Space, Change, Stasis, the apparent versus the real etc). The idea of Mormonism is that at the very bottom level of reality is family relationships and love – these are the ultimate things.

From where did Mormonism – Joseph Smith in particular – get this astonishing idea? Well, from the Gospels mostly; especially (I guess) from John’s Gospel and his first letter: a metaphysical system built on the princacy of love, the ‘literal’ relatedness of God and his children. To this, Joseph Smith added many other revelations – but the basic metaphysics is based on the Gospels seen from the perspective of a vast interconnected web of personal relationships; this instead of Christianity being seen frm the persepctive of prior-existing Greek and Roman metaphysics with its already-defined categories. Thus Joseph Smith set aside centuries of philosophical tradition and made a new metaphysical system; and it supported Christianity quite easily and naturally.

Not many people know about this – not many people are interested in metaphysics. Secular non-Mormons are ignorant and incredulous: they simply cannot believe that Mormonism could have a coherent and novel metaphysical basis (“Joseph Smith a major philosopher? Per-lees…”). Mainstream Christians – insofar as they do understand the metaphysical differences – usually regard them as logical errors or dangeous heresies; or simply as unChristian.

But Christianity can and should be distinguished from the metaphysics used to make coherent and explain it – one can be a real Christian on the basis of many types of metaphysical assumption.

Yet some metaphysical systems do interfere-with Christianity, do tend to subvert it. For example the mainstream modern (but implicit and denied) metaphysics that everything that happens is either directly caused or else ‘random’ does make it hard to believe in the agency necessary to Christianity. The usual non-Mormon Christian emphasis on reality as being essentially like physics, can make it difficult for Christians to have a relationship with God, or even to be confident in God’s personal qualities such as love, or to know that humans are genuinely agents… and so forth.

Mormon metaphysics really does have many very helpful qualities compared with what went before – and has the advantage of explaining what is most distinctive about Christianity (as contrasted with other religions such as Judaism and Islam); but first we need explicitly to know what our metaphysics is, to understand it – only then can it be evaluated.

So, in the end, nobody is really off-the-hook: we need to know our own metaphysics. It is too much to say the unexamined life is ‘not worth’ living – what about children? – but it does leave us defenceless against the kind of covert metaphysical manipulation (the smuggling-in of false and incoherent – but undetected and denied – fundamental assumptions) which undermines Christian belief, and which has probably been Satan’s most potent weapon over recent generations.

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April 26th, 2017 04:55:26

Communication beyond Words

April 25th, 2017 by G.

There is a form of communication that transcends the power of words

thus Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

All that is best transcends the power of words. All that is best goes beyond our descriptions of it. There is always a remainder.

But just as the body can be a vessel for a spirit, words can be a vessel for that which transcends words.

Other Posts from the Sunday Afternoon session of the October 1975 General Conference

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April 25th, 2017 07:30:01


April 25th, 2017 by G.

Order is always particular. Universal order doesn’t end universal chaos. It ends thousands of particular forms of order.

Yet where particular orders rub against each other is chaos.

The most impressive feat is an order of orders. A way of allowing particular orders to rub along together.

Things like federalism and capitalism, classical liberalism in some forms, freedom and subsidiarity, tolerance and diversity–tolerance and diversity, how beautiful you are, and how badly perverted today!–these are all partial approaches to an order of orders.

But the ultimate order of orders is called the gospel, and only a god can achieve it.

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April 25th, 2017 05:52:13

Two Friends in an Airport

April 24th, 2017 by G.

Two friends were in an airport.

“I don’t get it,” the one friend said. “Your life is so constrained. So narrow. You are standing in here in this little line. You won’t leave it. And then you’ll stand in another line and you’ll shuffle onto an airplane with an assigned seat you’ll have to sit in. It’s so suffocating. Me, I love my freedom too much to ever do that. By rejecting all these rules, I get to wander around wherever I want. I can go down to the luggage return or even out to the parking garage. I get to experience the airport to its fullest. There no limits. Whereas you, you just stand in line. Why do you do it?”

“I am flying to Paris,” the other friend said.

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April 24th, 2017 06:18:39

Define the Modern Left

April 24th, 2017 by G.

The modern left is knowledge class purity spirals.

That’s my entry. What’s yours?

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April 24th, 2017 05:17:17

The Haves and the Have Nots

April 22nd, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

I hvae often seen people pondering about their good fortune in being born among the Haves rather than the Have Nots of the world (and of human history) – meaning that those of us born into the modern West and to wealthyish parents have undeserved good fortune.

(And therefore a reason to feel guilty, or perhaps grateful, for being who we happen by sheer chance to be.)

But for Christians and in a spiritual sense; this is to put matters exactly the wrong way around.

Those of us born into a society of material peace, plenty, comfort and convenience – but of spiritual poverty incuding value inversion the likes of which is unprecedented in its badness.

The compensatory supposed-imperative of the Developed ‘helping’ the Undeveloped nations (via so-called ‘aid’) therefore ends-up being also an inversion: inversion of the traditional idea of Christian mission: because – insofar as it is effective, rather than counter-productive (e.g. funding guns and thugs for warlords) – Western redistribution acts as a potent materialist corruption to infect those more spiritual parts of the world.

We are the spiritual Have Nots; therefore by spreading around our ‘fortune’ we act to make the rest of the world more like ourselves – in our irreligion, alienation, nihilism, anti-morality and despair.


(Note: The spiritual reality is that we in the prosperous West, now;  have been born into the most difficult, challenging environment that humans have ever experienced.)

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April 22nd, 2017 07:53:28

My Neurotransmitters are Reacting to the Infrared

April 21st, 2017 by G.

The sun is warm, and very air feel soft between my fingers and I am at peace… until I reflect that ‘really’ the sun is merely a ball of incandescent gas

-thus Bruce C., in mid-season form.

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April 21st, 2017 05:19:40

Patriarchy Implies . . .

April 21st, 2017 by G.

A friend observed that patriarchy implies succession. Fathers and sons.

God is a father.

Mormons are supposed to have some really out-there views. If anything, the opposite is true. Our notions are childishly simple.

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April 21st, 2017 04:24:30

Mutually Worthy

April 20th, 2017 by G.

We are all slapping SPDI heartily on the back. His latest is even better than his normal high standard of work.

Wisely and eloquently, at root he makes the very simple point: men won’t prepare for marriage if there aren’t worthy women around. And vice versa. We have moved from a cooperate-cooperate to defect-defect.

What I was groping for, but didn’t quite grasp, was the importance of young people trusting that the opposite sex is also preparing for marriage.

For parents, its trusting that other kids parents are also preparing them for marriage.

One very strong definition of community that transcends race and language and all sorts of things, is the group of people whose kids you expect your kids could marry. Ancestral and blood ties, in other words, are often prospective.

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April 20th, 2017 06:02:16

The necessity of resurrection

April 20th, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

It is a puzzle why humans need to be born, die and be resurrected before attaining eternal life. And why even Jesus also needed to do this….

Clearly, this fact implies that the actions of our creator are constrained – in time and space – because it is necessary that this process actually happens requiring bodies and duration. (i.e. God cannot do anything instantly – perhaps especially where he is dealing with agents. Some things must be done via stages.)

One way of understanding may be that incarnation is (for Jesus as well as ourselves) into actual, ‘biological’ human families – and Mormons recognise that this is also our eternal destiny.

So; we were premortal spirits who were (in a sense) inserted into biological matter (derived from our biological parents) when we were incarnated. And therefore there is a tension, and an unintegratable quality about our union of spirit and body, during our mortal lives.

This disunity of spirit and body is solved by death – by the death of the biological body, followed by its re-making in a perfected form, from the surviving spirit. My assumption is that the process of resurrection is not possible until the spirit has experienced life ‘in’ a body – and only after this experience that is it possible to make a new, resurrected, perfect and therefore immortal body – using the experienced-spirit as a ‘template’.

In sum – the pre-mortal spirit cannot be a template for resurrection, because it lacks experience of incarnation; and only after incarnation (and this applies no matter how briefly incarnation is experienced – including those who die in the womb, or at birth). But after incarnation is experienced, the spirit is a suitable template for an eternal incarnation.

The temporary incarnation of mortal life makes the template for the permanent incarnation of immortality.

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April 20th, 2017 02:42:17

Just as Grim as It Should Be

April 19th, 2017 by G.

Via Rod Dreher

To interpret such visceral hatred, I now think it useful to focus on the revolution part of Sexual Revolution. We might look at previous political revolutions to get some idea of where we’re at as orthodox Christians. American historian Crane Brinton, in his The Anatomy of Revolution, was one of the first to analyze the stages a revolution goes through.

Revolutions are typically won by a coalition of political actors working together. Once victory is clear, there is often a brief “honeymoon period” where it seems to the victorious classes that anything is possible. For obvious reasons, this euphoria wears off quickly. Because it’s not long before those who backed the revolution realize that life goes on much as before: Utopia has not been established on earth. A growing malaise combines with the fact that the revolutionary leaders are used to living in battle mode, and thus comes the predictable next step. Moderates among the leadership are accused of not being radical enough in their policies–“We must not give in to these backsliders!”–a purge takes place, and the radicals take over. The ambient ardor left over from the initial revolution is then refocused on two new tasks: 1) ensuring ideological purity; 2) mopping up what remains of the defeated classes, who are depicted as all that stands in the way of Utopia’s final arrival. Thus begins the Terror. During this immediately post-revolutionary period, wholly new planks are often introduced into the ruling committee’s platform, typically of a more extremist nature than what was originally demanded in the revolution.

If we view the Sexual Revolution through this lens of past political revolution, it’s pretty clear where we are at present. The revolution has been won, sexual Utopia still hasn’t arrived (because, duh, it never can arrive) and the only thing that might keep our successful revolutionaries busy for the next decade is mopping up what remains of those who refused to drink the Rainbow Kool-Aid when it was first served–i.e. us orthodox religious people. Religious conservatives must be mopped up because, according to the logic, it is our mere existence that prevents Utopia’s final arrival.

-thus Eric Mader.

I find myself regretting the end of the end of history.

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April 19th, 2017 20:08:41

L’affaire North Korea

April 19th, 2017 by Bertie

Viz. these recent contretemps out Korea way, I will advance no observations, not being one of those brainy international affairs chappies who like nothing better than to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to an foreign entanglement before breakfast.  I did have some hopes that through the good offices of Jeeves and self, something could be done about the sartorial stylings of Kim-Jong Wassname, which cause strong men to wince.  But the dashed State Department flat refused.  Lack of vision, I expect, eh, what?

So now I come to the res, or gravamen, of my remarks.  Nork is fun to say.  Nork, nork, nork.  Its dashed lulzy and rather trips off the tongue.

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April 19th, 2017 06:43:21

Congratulatory Criticism

April 18th, 2017 by G.

There is something deeply difficult, deeply right, and deeply Mormon about being very pleased with what people are doing but encouraging them to do better still.

God bless all of you who are deeply engaged in this program. And if it isn’t quite up to par, bring it there, will you?—in every ward and branch and stake and mission. And let us come nearer to the accomplishment of what the Lord has given us to do.

-thus President Kimball.

I might say the same for all of you.  You can do better, but you guys are great.

Other Posts from the Welfare Session of the October 1975 General Conference

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April 18th, 2017 07:38:56