Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Death and Glory

May 29th, 2017 by G.

This link between memory and prospection has emerged in research showing that people with damage to the brain’s medial temporal lobe lose memories of past experiences as well as the ability to construct rich and detailed simulations of the future. Similarly, studies of children’s development show that they’re not able to imagine future scenes until they’ve gained the ability to recall personal experiences, typically somewhere between the ages of 3 and 5.

-via Isegoria

Memorial Day is a day for looking backwards and honoring the dead. It also reminds us of our own death. In acknowledging the sacrifice of the dead, we remember our own foregone opportunities for sacrifice and wonder for what future sacrifices it is that God has prolonged our lives beyond theirs.

Memorial Day is about the dead and honor. Death and glory. A holiday more alien to the spirit of The Current Year is hard to imagine.

Comments Off on Death and Glory
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill | No Tag
No Tag
May 29th, 2017 08:04:02

Notes towards a definition of freedom, part 4

May 24th, 2017 by Vader

In the previous posts of this series, I developed a definition of freedom as the ability to make meaningful and consequential decisions; briefly discussed the three key concepts in this definition (ability, meaningfulness, and consequence); and described liberty as the set of social constructs we erect to sustain freedom.


Comments (8)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: , , , ,
May 24th, 2017 14:44:16

Notes towards a definition of freedom, part 3

May 15th, 2017 by Vader

In the first part of this series of posts, I proposed a definition of freedom as the ability to make meaningful and consequential choices. I offered some explanation of the three elements of this definition, namely: ability, meaningfulness, and consequence. In the second part of this series of posts, I reflected on the significance of freedom as a gift from God, pointed out that there is strong opposition to freedom, and described liberty as the set of social and legal constructs we are duty-bound to erect and sustain to protect and enhance freedom.

In this post, I will discuss some of the aspects of liberty that support the second element of freedom, namely, meaningfulness.


Comments (11)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: , , , ,
May 15th, 2017 05:19:17

Notes towards a definition of freedom, part 2

May 08th, 2017 by Vader

The first part of this series of posts proposed a definition of freedom: Freedom is the ability to make meaningful and consequential choices. There I suggested that ability implied a free will, understood as a first cause capable of initiating new causal chains. Meaningful choices are ones which can be made rationally between distinguishable alternatives. Consequential choices are ones that have lasting significance. I further proposed that, in the divine scheme of things, lasting significance implies an eternal Judgment of those choices. Reconciling these attributes of freedom with the omniscience, omnipotence, and benevolence of God requires that the causal chains generated by choices exist in a sphere significant to God, but in which He chooses not to exercise His full omnipotence, and which is bounded by His taking the causal chains arising from evil choices into Himself, in the person of the Son, via the Atonement.

In this post, I summarize my understanding of why freedom is a gift from an benevolent God, why it is precious, and  how this understanding informs our approach to liberty, here defined as the social and legal constructs that arise from our understanding of freedom and its worth.


Comments (1)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: , , , , , ,
May 08th, 2017 05:15:20

Notes towards a definition of freedom

May 02nd, 2017 by Vader

A summary of my understanding of freedom and its problems, based in part on things I have long understood and in part on recent insights gained at this blog.


Comments (4)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: , , , , , ,
May 02nd, 2017 13:19:13


April 06th, 2017 by G.

The Bloomsbury Group was just as worthless and mean as you’ve always imagined.

Comments (4)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill | No Tag
No Tag
April 06th, 2017 09:50:27

You go, brother

March 20th, 2017 by Vader

Comments (5)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: ,
March 20th, 2017 14:08:30

What We Can Learn from the Saints about the Benedict Option

February 27th, 2017 by G.

Last year a professor friend of mine let me know that Rod Dreher was looking for some Mormon sources for his Benedict Option book and would I mind talking to him.  I said sure, he passed on my info and told me Dreher was going to be out in my neck of the woods soon and would meet me there.  I begged leaved to doubt it–no one is ever in my neck of the woods, I live in the back of beyond–but just in case I scribbled some notes.  In the event, we never met.

But the book is being published soon and Dreher has just posted about a Mormon response to it.  Check it out.  So I’m going to post my notes.  Comments fleshing them out will be in italics. (more…)

Comments (15)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: ,
February 27th, 2017 06:57:17

Too Young to Work

February 20th, 2017 by G.

On the sweetness of Mormon life. (more…)

Comments Off on Too Young to Work
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill | Tags: ,
February 20th, 2017 07:21:18

May the Saints be as Silver … Indium, Cadmium and Boron

January 27th, 2017 by Zen

“I fear America has attained critical mass: an unstoppable process of reciprocally escalating outrage & disgust, justified via social media”
Thus Jonathan Haidt via twitter

And is what job of the Saints and the Righteous of every denomination? It is to oppose contention and the spirit of the devil. Or in other words, to act as the control rods of society, keeping things as sub-critical as possible, which is the function of silver, indium, cadmium and boron in a nuclear reactor.

If the time comes that the Saints must leave the rest of society, or if they are driven out, then critical mass has most certainly been attained.

Comments (6)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,We transcend your bourgeois categories | No Tag
No Tag
January 27th, 2017 21:59:37

Small Affections

January 09th, 2017 by G.

Saturday you drive a van of youth, ages 12 – 17, 3 hours to the temple.  They talk happily the whole time.  Riddles, books, rubik’s cubes, music.  You are amazed at the health of it.

Sunday one of them slowly, gropingly, fervently bears his testimony about the temple.  It was his first time.

Your Elder Quorums’ President is in a kilt.  His daughter saved her money to buy it for him for Christmas, he says.  So he is wearing it.

You meet a man who is there for the first time.  His family will be joining him in June.  You invite him over to dinner along with your home-teaching family.  It turns out he had been fasting because he was sad from loneliness.


Comments (3)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill | Tags: ,
January 09th, 2017 08:01:10

The problem of unrequited love

December 05th, 2016 by Bruce Charlton


Finwe and Miriel as depicted by ‘steamey’

I was reading in JRR Tolkien’s posthumous History of Middle Earth about how unrequited love and the grief of the bereaved were regarded as a serious flaw in the elven paradise of the undying lands; and it struck me that much the same might be supposed about the Mormon understanding of Heaven.

Even on earth, the primacy (rightly) accorded to Marriage and Family does necessarily challenge those Mormons who (for many possible reasons) lack one or both. And since Celestial Marriage is an essential pre-requisite of the highest exaltation, and current revelation seems to be is that this marriage is monogamous, there appears to be a problem…

At a ‘numerical’ level, there is the matter that there seems to be a requirement for an exact matching of the numbers of men and women, and that each individual will have find one beloved spouse among this number – with none left over.

But of course, all depends on agency, and some will almost-certainly choose not to marry (indeed, some may choose not to be incarnated). And then there is this problem of unrequited love…

I mean when one truly loves the other and nobody else, but that love is not reciprocated. Or that more than one woman a particular man or vice versa – perhaps many-fold?

It seems that the numbers do not add-up and cannot necessarily be made to do so?… This is surely a flaw in the ‘perfection’ of Heaven.

But the problem is illusory – or, at least, not necessary nor permanent – in the context of an open-ended, evolving universe such as Mormons envisage.

In the first place Heaven is not a state of perfection. That is to say: for Mormons perfection is not a state but a process. Heaven changes and the loving creative-process of exaltation is the perfection of Life. The population is being added to (presumably without ultimate limit, assuming the number of ‘intelligences’ is not fixed; and especially once Men become fully divine and can beget spiritual children), and the individual people themselves are each becoming more exalted – they continue to change, experience and grow.

Therefore, over time, there is no reason why everyone should not find a truly-loved spouse; and having found such a person, celestial marriage will of its very nature make an unbreakable creative dyad of husband and wife; such that there is no ‘comparison’ of the kind we experience between potential-spouse A and potential-spouse B.

The perfection of love is both permanent and also a dynamic state ; and will overcome all such temporary problems in the course of eternal time.

Comments (6)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill | Tags: , ,
December 05th, 2016 05:38:58

The metaphysics of opposition in all things

November 21st, 2016 by Bruce Charlton

The phrase Opposition in all Things from the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 2:11) is generally taken to apply to moral development – and the necessity for opposition from Life if people are to experience, learn and progress spiritually.

But I think it is linked also with the underlying metaphysical basis of Mormonism, which is ‘evolutionary’ in contrast with the world view of Classical Theology; and in particular with the unique doctrine that the highest form of spiritual progression – full deity – is only possible for the ‘dyad’ of a man and a woman joined (complementary but not fused – united but separate selves) in celestial marriage. (more…)

Comments Off on The metaphysics of opposition in all things
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags:
November 21st, 2016 07:45:16

My son, my son!

October 31st, 2016 by MC

“Is there any particular scripture story you want to read tonight, bud?”

“How about the one where King David’s son gets his hair caught on a tree and is killed?” You rack your brain. King David’s son? Absalom? Is that how Absalom dies? Yeah, that sounds familiar. But we only read that story one time, and it was at least six months ago. How does he remember it? At first you feel pride at having such a bright little boy, but then it hits you: If he can remember that, what else does he remember? You resolve to start behaving yourself better, lest your misdeeds be recorded on your Permanent Record. (more…)

Comments (3)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill | Tags:
October 31st, 2016 02:34:48

Crisis on the Right

October 22nd, 2016 by G.

These are mere symptoms of a much deeper but poorly understood problem. It can be stated directly in one sentence: Elections no longer change the character of our government.


But along with the increasing concentration of power in the hands of unaccountable experts is the equal concentration of authoritative public opinion in the hands of the experts and their media-academic allies. . .  “Public opinion is in the hands of a national elite. That public opinion, the whole of the public discourse about what is political in America, is in the hands of very few.”

-thus Stephen Hayward


Comments (17)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill | No Tag
No Tag
October 22nd, 2016 05:57:23