Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

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

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

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

Supernova and the Economy

April 13th, 2017 by Zen

As a star (of sufficient size) burns its nuclear fuel, it fights against contraction from gravity without, by pressure from the nuclear reactions within. But when the hydrogen in the core runs out, the star contracts until it is hot enough to burn helium. Once the helium is gone, it contracts more, until it can burn the next available element.

I have been doing some thinking about what makes a nation, or society of nations, fragile. I posted recently about the collapse that destroyed the very powerful nations of the Bronze Age, and left them with Dark Ages. And I have been wondering why we are headed in the same direction. Why is it that Americans have lost their mojo?   1

I think the problem is productivity. I can see a few of you have (Vulcan-like) raised an eyebrow in abject shock, but let me explain.


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April 13th, 2017 23:45:34

Easter & Isaiah 53

April 11th, 2017 by Zen

My wife, who is a former Catholic, complained to me that we don’t do as much for Holy Week as we should. And I have to say, I think she is right. But rather than complain to the Brethren, I think any change on this, ought to start with the members. So, let us remember and worship this season with greater fervor.

In line with that, I share with you, chapter 53 of my Isaiah translation. It makes things clearer to me, and I hope it helps you as well. Of course, the actual text has greater depth, but there is nothing wrong with some training wheels to get you started!


Isaiah: Chapter 53

1 Who believes the prophets? And who has seen the power of God in their lives?

2 The Messiah will grow in the knowledge of God, like a tender plant in a dry, barren desert. He didn’t look impressive. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance. His appearance is not attractive.

3 He is despised and rejected by mankind. He is familiar with pain and suffering. He is excluded from popular company and is ignored.

4 He took up our pain and sickness, and it was he that bore our suffering but we assumed his problems were his own fault, and were a punishment for his own sins. (more…)

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April 11th, 2017 09:46:45

So, how was your 38th birthday?

April 10th, 2017 by John Mansfield

Saturday night I had occasion to try to remember my 38th birthday, and found that I could. On that birthday almost thirteen years ago, I went directly to the temple after work and realized as I drove that it marked 19 years since I received the temple endowment on my 19th birthday, a precise bisection of my life.

As for why I was calling up memory of that day, well, (more…)

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April 10th, 2017 10:29:40

Those are all turning to dust.

April 07th, 2017 by John Mansfield

Anne Case quoted in a Washington Post interview describes our times in a nutshell:

“In a previous generation, you had the chance of getting a good job with only a high school degree — a job where you could move up the ladder, where there would be what we call ‘returns to experience’: that as you grew older, your wages would rise. (more…)

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April 07th, 2017 06:26:30

The demon of bureaucracy (according to Rudolf Steiner)

April 06th, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

Whenever the demon Ahriman sees a committee at work compiling statues, he is in his element! Point 1, Point 2, Point 3… First this will be done, then that; thirdly this member has these rights, fourthly that member ought to do such-and-such. The member would not dream, of course, of respecting these rights, nor doing what it says at all… But this part of it does not matter. The important thing is to compile the statutes and cultivate the Ahrimanic spirit.

Ahriman would like people to be active, but everything must be run along programmed lines. Everything should be forced into legal terms… Every morning, a person should (as it were) find a list lying on his bedspread telling him what to do throughout the day, and he should do it mechanically…

We do, of course, now and again see modern human beings rebelling against the work of Ahriman; grumbling about bureaucracy, which is absolutely Ahrimanic – complaining about the stereotyping of education and so on. But as a rule they only fall deeper into what they are trying to get away from.

The only thing that can lead us out from all this, is a complete change of attitude; a turning towards knowledge of the spirit, to the kind of thing that will once more fill our thinking with genuine spirituality – so that the living spirit can take hold of our whole being, and not merely our head.

From a lecture by Rudolf Steiner – 1921.


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April 06th, 2017 05:44:46

The F Word

April 05th, 2017 by Man SL

Good insight:

In the period immediately following World War II, both of the triumphant blocs moved rapidly to define the word ‘fascism’ expediently. The critical objective, on each side, was to emphasize those features comparatively understated in its own domestic version of the phenomenon, in order to underscore the impression that they had unambiguously sided against it. ‘Fascism’ was, definitively, that thing recently and at an enormous cost defeated. The immense sacrifices – and, in fact, progressive fascist reconstruction of society that had been accelerated during the war years – was justified by the crushing defeat of an absolute evil. Distinction was imperative. Thus, the Soviets drew particular attention to the comparatively muted anti-capitalism of the Axis powers, while the Atlantic allies concentrated upon the exotic trappings of German anti-semitic Aryanism.

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April 05th, 2017 12:36:45

Scott Sterling Hit by Pitch, Steals Second and Home

April 05th, 2017 by John Mansfield

“The baseball season is only a few days old, but already Stephen Piscotty has had what is going to be one of the weirdest, scariest innings of the year.

“The St. Louis Cardinals outfielder managed to get plunked by a baseball three times — in the elbow, the other elbow and finally the head — in roughly three minutes during the Cardinals’ 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

“‘ … [T]hat was probably the toughest trip around the bases I’ve ever seen,’ said Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. ‘You just hope he’s okay.'”


[Note: The Cardinals didn’t win; they lost 2-1.]

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April 05th, 2017 08:07:36

Bill of Rights, Bill of Responsibilities

April 02nd, 2017 by Vader

It’s an old observation that we need to recognize the civic duties that go with our civic rights. Robert Heinlein even performed a thought experiment in which he postulated a society in which this was a matter of law: Only those who served their time in dangerous public service (including, but not limited to, military service) were entitled to vote or sit on juries, on the theory that only those who showed themselves willing to risk their lives for their society were fit to participate in its most important decisions. Unfortunately, Heinlein’s thought experiment, while it made for a rip-roaring science fiction yarn, was not convincing as a political system; for one thing, it has a slight whiff of fascism that I find off-putting.


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April 02nd, 2017 18:10:34

It’s that man again

March 28th, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

Having made a qualified but strong recommendation of the movie version of Timur Vermes’s Hitler satire Look Who’s Back;

Look Who’s Back – Movie recommendation

I can make a whole-hearted recommendation of the audiobook version of the original novel superbly translated into English by Jamie Bulloch and given a perfectly-nuanced performance by Julian Rhind-Tutt.

The narration is in the first person by the man himself, whom Rhind-Tutt performs with a ‘clipped’ German intonation, rather than an accent – and he does all the other voices in class-appropriate variations of the London/ South East accent.

In one sense, the novel has just one conceit – which is that Hitler is always exactly himself, but everybody assumes he is joking – but the variations that are rung on this (tragic as well as comic) are amazingly inventive, and the novel never flags right up to the satisfying and haunting end.

You need a reasonable knowledge of German history to get the references – the translator provides an explanatory appendix at the end of the audiobook, which it might be helpful to listen-to first.

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March 28th, 2017 11:54:49

The Rise and Fall of the Bronze Age

March 26th, 2017 by Zen


At the end of the Bronze Age, the Mediterranean was full of wealthy, powerful nations like the Hittites, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Egyptians, etc. The world was international and cosmopolitan. Then around 1177BC, it all collapsed and the world entered several hundred year dark ages. Over 40-50 years, most major cities were burned or destroyed and were never inhabited again. This collapse was worse than the Fall of the Roman Empire, but like that collapse, it introduced 3+ centuries of dark ages. Other places had more like a thousand years of dark ages. You can see this in the technological primitiveness in the book of Judges.


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March 26th, 2017 14:43:03

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