Toni’s comment followed an email from a reader named Tom, which read, “Have you posted anything lately? I've read all the previous posts and am looking for a new one.”“You were going to make new posts twice a month. I've been waiting for nearly a month and a half. *taps toes impatiently*”
Oh my goodness, you know what this means? I have fans!
When I was studying Communications in college, one of the things that impressed me was learning that every letter received by a TV or radio network was assumed to represent the views of at least ten thousand others who had not bothered to write in. So I’m going to assume from these two letters that some twenty thousand more of you are out there clamoring for me to resume. I'm resolved to stop disappointing you.
Seriously though, I'm actually surprised and humbled that even two of you like my stuff enough to miss me when I'm absent. So thanks for that.
Toni is right; I once mentioned my intent to post twice a month, but realistically I've been producing something once a month, and maybe twice. Still, a glance at the calendar and the date of my most recent piece tells me that it’s now been almost two whole months since I’ve written anything. And at the rate I’m currently handling the vicissitudes of life, I’ll be halfway into September before I hammer out my next creation. So I thought I should at least touch base with anyone out there who's even a little interested, and give you a hint about what's coming.
(“Vicissitudes,” by the way, is one of two 'V' words I learned in church that I’ve never had the opportunity to use since. The other is “Viz,” from the 6th Article of Faith. And now I note that in my current scriptures, “viz” has been replaced by the word “namely” which, though less archaic, sounds like a usage more at home in Mad Magazine than the holy scriptures.)
For the benefit of Tom and Toni, I'm writing to let you know that I haven’t quit or run out of ideas; I just took some time off to get some other things done. And frankly I got lazy, because I find it's so much easier to read other people's work than it is to produce any of my own.
A lot of my time at the computer lately has been spent perusing the work of Mormon bloggers with points of view more or less similar to my own, such as Weeping For Zion; Truth Hurts; The Transfigured Word; Finding Mormonism; Zomarah; Just and True; Because I Am Watching; LDS Anarchy; and the myriad of others who lament the way modern Mormonism seems to have drifted from its moorings. Often when I have contemplated writing on a topic, I find that these guys have already covered the issue far more intelligently and concisely than I could have.
In fact, the primary reason I didn't get around to making a blog entry of my own is because for most of July and August I had foolishly allowed myself to get sucked into an intractable debate following a particular post at LDS Anarchy. When a certain young commenter weighed in with an erroneous interpretation, I stepped in to "correct" him. He responded by insisting that I was "a misinformed mind control slave."
Uh-oh. That got my ego involved. Although several others attempted to set junior straight, before long things devolved into a non-stop feud pretty much between just this one guy and me, until weeks later I finally quit with an exasperated sigh. Last time I looked, he was still over there, trying to goad me back into the ring.
So, that's where the time went.
Pure Mormonism: Coming Attractions
For those interested, and in no particular order, here are a few teasers on some of the things I’m thinking about addressing here in the near future:
North American Evidences For The Book of Mormon. Apparently a large collection of colonial era books, documents, and sketches have been found in a neglected corner of the Smithsonian that could support evidence of Book of Mormon civilizations in North America that rival or surpass anything found thus far in Meso-America. What intrigues me about these findings is that apparently there are elements within the Church who are dismissive of this stuff because they are highly invested in promoting South Americans as being the descendants of the Lamanites, in spite of lack of DNA evidence for that position. But from what I’ve seen so far, there may be a handful of tribes from the New York-Ohio-Pennslyvania area that have been found to have traces of middle-eastern ancestry in their DNA, and the number of massive ruins that once existed here before the land was cleared for farming is staggering. The finding of descendants of Lehi in this geographical area would be consistent with what Joseph Smith taught on the subject, while advocates of the Meso-American view have had to invent some pretty odd constructions to justify their holdings, such as speculation that there must have been two Hill Cumorahs. So I’m looking into this and will report my findings here soon.
Also coming up is a review of what I’ll title The Best Mormon Movie You Never Saw, a nice little independent film that was so poorly marketed that probably more non-members than members ever got a chance to see it. It was extremely well received by gentile audiences at film festivals in New York and Houston, but almost completely ignored during its one week run in Utah theaters. I'll follow that up with my opinion of The Worst Church Film Ever Made, a seminary film that had the unintended consequence of scaring a generation of LDS teenagers into having second thoughts about confiding in their leaders.
I’ll also be discussing a reality show commissioned by cable channel TLC a year or two ago called Family Armor, which featured a typical LDS family of today. TLC only ended up broadcasting one episode, which was fortunate because the family actually was too typical of many Mormon families, and featured the parents teaching their children an appallingly unscriptural concept of God in order to frighten them into behaving.
I’m just getting around to reading volume II of Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, and I intend to revisit that topic in the future. Given the complete lack of evidence that Joseph Smith ever engaged in the practice, and his vehement denunciations of those who did, I am more convinced than ever that the poor guy has been given a bum rap. What we do have evidence of is massive fraud in the doctoring of the official Church histories, meant to give the impression that polygamy in the Church was secretly sanctioned by Joseph Smith when it clearly was not. One of the men Brigham Young tasked with tampering with the journals of Joseph Smith left the Church rather than engage in such subterfuge. This subject continues to be a hot-button issue with me, and the matter is far from settled in my mind.
Eventually I want to parse the conference talk of Gordon Hinckley which many members assumed to be an endorsement of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s right, I’m not going to shut up about why no one who calls himself a Latter-day Saint should be participating in any of the wars the United States is currently engaged in.
I’ll also address the question of whether Mitt Romney is good for the country, and whether a Mitt Romney presidency would be good for the church. Spoiler alert: A Romney presidency would be disastrous for both the country and the Church.
Is Boyd K. Packer On The Road to Apostasy? I’ll lay out the case that, based on the criteria set forth by Joseph Smith, Elder Packer has been on that road for most of his Church career.
Why Are We Still Called To Sacrifice? Since the atonement did away with the law of sacrifice, why do we hear so much about how much we as members must continually sacrifice for the Church? I want to present the argument that the age of sacrifice ended with Christ's atonement, which ushered in the era of service. There is an important distinction between sacrifice and service; one is a waste of time and resources that keeps us stuck, while the other carries us toward a Zion society.
Along those lines I’ll address the question, Are You Paying Too Much Tithing? I'll bet you probably are.
In a previous piece I argued that corporatism has undermined and subverted the church of Jesus Christ; I’d like to go deeper in a future post by addressing how the church has been neutralized and muzzled by deliberately acquiescing to government control.
Why A Marriage License? If marriage is ordained of God, why will the Church not allow a couple to enter the temple and be sealed together unless they present proof that the government has given its permission first? And on a related note, Should Gay People Get Married? Who cares? I don't, and I'll tell you why.
There’s lots more in the pipeline, and I'm tempted to now and then go off topic and address current issues not directly related to Mormonism, yet which I feel have eternal ramifications. I hope you’ll continue to check back and see.
In the meantime, I have not been idle. For the two of you who can’t get enough of the the wit and wisdom of Rock Waterman, there is another place online where I contribute weekly opinion pieces not directly related to Mormonism.
Some time ago, I wrote a piece here on the subject of food storage, which came to the attention of the good folks at eFoodsDirect.com. I was subsequently asked to join three other contributors to the blog section at the eFoods website, where I write a column every Thursday morning. The advantage you’ll find to reading my pieces there are that they are much shorter and more concise than the extended rants here.
It fell to me to be the resident expert on water storage, and I hope you’ll check out my series on that. Storing water is really quite simple, but it's important to follow certain steps in the process that cannot be left out, and beware of the popular method of storing water that should be avoided at all costs.
In The Big Uh-Oh, I discuss the catastrophe about to befall my generation, the Baby Boomers, and how I forced myself to wake up and shake off my own slumber.
In recent pieces I discuss the rush into gold, a brazen admission by the former Federal Reserve Chairman, and things you can try if you just can’t afford food storage. I also relate a couple of recent run-ins I had with hopelessly stupid people here and here.
I've also presented a six part beginner's guide on the basics of buying silver, including what particular coin you should buy, what you should not buy, and how to avoid the traps on Ebay.
A complete archive of my eFoods columns can be found starting on this page, beginning with the most recent. I have no idea how many people read those posts, because none of us receives many comments. Please add your two cents so I'll feel like someone's listening.
In the meantime, Tom and Toni, thanks for your interest. Please keep checking back. I haven’t died (or been excommunicated) yet.
UPDATE September 5th, 2011: For the time being, if you order anything from eFoods Direct you can get free shipping. This is a big deal, because food shipments can be heavy and depending on the order, shipping costs can really take a bite. Take advantage of this offer while you can. It's for a limited time; I don't know for how long.