Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bus Ministry

Posted: Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013
Updated: 7 Apr 13

People on the bus
On Monday, 25 Feb 13, I dreamed of traveling on a bus with Pastor Bruce and others. I turn to Pr. Bruce and ask, "What is the difference between priest and psychologist?" Before he can answer I say, "None!" 

Smiling silently, Pr. Bruce motions to me and others to gather near him for discussion as I close bus windows to reduce external noise and then awaken.

CREEI score: ++++++//+++/+++   Pattern: Transformative (confirming, comforting)

In reflecting on this dream I recalled a comment from the Russian Orthodox priest who chrismated me into Orthodoxy over four years ago. "The role of a priest is to love the people of his parish, nothing more!" he exclaimed. On further reflection I recalled my last telephone conversation with a high level ecclesiastical representative of the Mormon Church shortly before his death in early 2007. Knowing of my twice-excommunicated history since 1956 in the Mormon Church, he asked, "What is your view these days of the [Mormon] ecclesiastical system?" It felt like a strange question for him to ask at that time (which was well before I joined the OCA in November 2008), but now today it suddenly occurred to me that my Orthodox priest's statement answered the Mormon leader's question! Extending the priest's statement to include and transcend the Mormon's question, I would now answer that the purpose of any ecclesiastical (priestly) system, be it Mormon, Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, Unitarian or any other, cannot be more than simply loving its people. For it to be more (or less) is to risk being a controlling system and thus an oppressive one!  This is why the field of psychology came into existence in the mid-19th century, which would eventually evoke Freud's classic paper "The Interpretation of Dreams" and followed by many divergent schools of psychological thought. 

Later in the morning, having awakened from the above dream, I met with one of the on-going dream seminars at the local Bethlehem Lutheran Evangelical Church to discuss our respective dreams. When I presented my dream along with those of others, seminar member Bob offered a famous quote from Reinhold Niebuhr, who said, "The first job of a priest is to listen."  He then pointed out that the 'Pr. Bruce' in my dream had not spoken, but had obviously listened. This evoked from me an "Aha!" of recognition, as I felt enlightened and blessed by Bob's observation.

On Sunday, 3 March 2013 at ~4:30 PM, I wrote:

What is next to do is an IDL [Integral Deep Listening] interview of the dream bus! And after that an interview of my inner Pr. Bruce...

On Monday, 11 March 2013 at ~10:00AM, Eugene interviewed the bus using Joseph Dillard's IDL protocol:

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?
1. Communing with the past in terms of dreams and people
2. Communing in the present with dreams and people
3. Communing with the future in terms of expectations and people

Tell me a dream you remember. It can be an old one, a repetitive dream, a nightmare, or one that you’re sure you understand.
See dream of 25 Feb 13 (above)

Why do you think that you had this dream?
I was reminded of a dream I had a few weeks earlier, at the end of one of the scheduled seminars at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, in which a Pr. Bruce-like character named "Morris" described his role as leader in the community as one of "evaluating and giving dignity to the initiatives of the members." That reminded me of a Mormon mission president named Morris in 1962 who asked me to be his counselor in the mission presidency because he was tired of "yes men", and which I had tried to contact without success the day before in Salt Lake City.

If this dream were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee?
Bruce on bus.

These are the characters in the dream, besides yourself…
Bus, Bruce K, a few other passengers

***** Part A *****

If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor? It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are this or that character in your dream and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind. If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering - that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Bus, are you a character in Eugene’s dream?
Of course

Bus, look out at the world from your perspective and tell us what you see...
I see a bustling community, going about their business and actively interacting with each other.

Bus, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?
I am an ordinary municipal bus traveling around town on a regular schedule and transporting anyone who gets on and want to use my services. 

Bus, what do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?
I am well made, dependable and convenient

Bus, what do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?
Nothing to dislike, no weakness

Bus, what aspect of Eugene do you represent or most closely personify?
His utility in being available to serve the community.

Bus, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?

Bus, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing? Why?
Confidence, 0-10. Why? 10, because I know what I am and am functioning well
Compassion, 0-10. Why? 10, All are welcome who need my services
Wisdom, 0-10. Why? 10, I see many people and hear many stories
Acceptance, 0-10. Why? 10, All are welcome
Inner Peace, 0-10. Why? 10, quietly doing my job
Witnessing, 0-10. Why? 10, I see how the community is functioning

Bus, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different? If so, how?
I'm the same

Bus, how would Eugene s life be different if he/she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?
He would be more at peace w/himself and others whatever the circumstances.

Bus, if you could live Eugene’s life for him/her, how would you live it differently?
He would be more routinized for the sake of the community.

Bus, if you could live Eugene’s waking life for him/her today, would you handle Eugene's three life issues differently? If so, how?
Not for me to say

Bus, what life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Eugene s life?
His are OK

Bus, in what life situations would it be most beneficial for Eugene to imagine that he is you and act as you would?
Within the community amid uncertain weather or other conditions.

Bus, do you do drama? Do you get into playing the Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer? If not, why not?

Bus, What is your secret for staying out of drama?

Bus, you are imaginary. Why should Eugene pay attention to anything you say?
I am clearly within him.

Bus, why do you think that you are in Eugene’s life?
To give him new perspective on the virtue of routine service.

Bus, how is Eugene most likely to ignore what you are saying to him/her?
He won't because he values what I am saying 

Bus, what would you recommend that he/she do about that?
Continue to record dreams and be available.

Bus, why do you think Eugene had this dream?
To give him a new appreciation of routine service.

Bus, why do you think Pr. Bruce was in the dream?
To give Eugene a deeper connection with Pr. Bruce

Bus, why should Eugene pay any attention to what you have said? Aren't these just projections of Eugene’s own wishes and projections?
Already answered above...

Thank you, Bus! And now a couple questions for the person that dreamed you:

Eugene, what have you heard yourself say?
I am aboard a vehicle of service that has a well-established and dependable routine.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your inner compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?
Listen more. Be more attentive to inner wisdom and counsel even though no one gets on the bus or comes to the seminar.

***** Part B *****

If a second character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?
Pastor Bruce

Pastor Bruce, are you a character in Eugene’s dream?

Pastor Bruce, look out at the world from your perspective and tell us what you see...
I see people of all faiths and persuasions going about their lives as best they can. Some are asleep, others wide awake.

Pastor Bruce, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?
I am senior pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Evangelical Church and am concerned about the spiritual well being not only of our congregation but of the community at large.

Pastor Bruce, what do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?
I like my belief in Jesus most of all and am open to how He, via the HS, manifests in my life and the lives of other believers.

Pastor Bruce, what do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?
I sometimes get discouraged when we, the congregation, are not aware of the needs of others or are unaware of problems within the church.

Pastor Bruce, what aspect of Eugene do you represent or most closely personify?
His concern for the spiritual lives of others.

Pastor Bruce, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?
I am happy to be where I am as I am…

Pastor Bruce, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing? Why?
Confidence, 0-10. Why? 10. Am secure in my relationship with the Lord
Compassion, 0-10. Why? 10. I identify with Jesus
Wisdom, 0-10. Why? 10. I can call upon Jesus and the HS
Acceptance, 0-10. Why? 10. I accept all who come.
Inner Peace, 0-10. Why? 10. I’m secure in Jesus’ embrace.
Witnessing, 0-10. Why? 10. I can see through Jesus’ eyes.

Pastor Bruce, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different? If so, how?
I’m there.

Pastor Bruce, how would Eugene’s life be different if he/she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?
He would be in a secure ministry helping others.

Pastor Bruce, if you could live Eugene’s life for him, how would you live it differently?
I would live it with more discipline and regularity.

Pastor Bruce, if you could live Eugene’s waking life for him today, would you handle his three life issues differently? If so, how?
I think they are interesting

Pastor Bruce, what life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Eugene’s life?
1. Meditation
2. Prayer
3. Reflection

Pastor Bruce, in what life situations would it be most beneficial for Eugene to imagine that he is you and act as you would?
When he is conducting seminars and workshops

Pastor Bruce, do you do drama? Do you get into playing the Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer? If not, why not?

Pastor Bruce, What is your secret for staying out of drama?

Pastor Bruce, you are imaginary. Why should Eugene pay attention to anything you say?
He values my presence.

Pastor Bruce, why do you think that you are in Eugene’s life?
To help him relate to others in a spiritual way.

Pastor Bruce, how is Eugene most likely to ignore what you are saying to him?
Not likely. 

Pastor Bruce, what would you recommend that he/she do about that?

Pastor Bruce, why do you think Eugene had this dream?
To give Eugene an opportunity to better interact with the community.

Pastor Bruce, why do you think the bus was in the dream?
To make Eugene aware of the transitory nature of interacting with others.

Pastor Bruce, why should Eugene pay any attention to what you have said? Aren't these just projections of Eugene’s own wishes and projections?
I am a reflection of Eugene’s experience with me and my congregation.

Thank you, character! And now a couple questions for the person that dreamed you: What have you heard yourself say?
I need more spiritual structure and discipline to be more effective in a ‘grace-filled ministry’.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your inner compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?
Be more disciplined spiritually.

On Tuesday, 19 March 2013, at 10:57 AM, Eugene wrote to Joseph Dillard:
...[On Friday, 15 March] I had lunch with Pr. Bruce at his invitation after I'd written the IDLs [above] and then read them to him after we discussed what he'd wanted to talk about. He didn't object to my wanting to post it.

At 11:18 AM, Joseph Dillard wrote:
Dear Eugene, As I read your post and Bus interview, what came up to me was, "Eugene is already in the role of a priest and is already in the role of a therapist. And he is more effective than both because he doesn't carry the weight of the training and expectations of those two professions." This was only strengthened by my reading of the second interview. love and blessings, Joseph

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Revisiting 2001: A Space Odyssey

Posted: 26 Feb 2013
Mysterious last image

In reflecting on the previous post regarding George Adamski's experiences, it occurred to me to view again the 1968 film classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. A new Netflix release contains current commentary by the two lead actors Keir Dullea (Dave) and Gary Lockwood (Frank), as they look back on their initial experience in the original production. This was the most interesting part of the experience, after having reviewed and been bored by the film itself. Dullea's and Lockwood's comments gave me a whole new appreciation about the historic value of film-maker Stanley Kubrick's and science-fiction-writer Arthur C. Clark's work.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

George Adamski revisited

Posted: December 2012
Updated: 6 May 2013
(click on photo to enlarge)
Adamski photo of Venusian Scout Craft
December 13, 1952

Recently (December 2012) in one of my dream seminars, I had occasion to refer to an old dream  (1977) where I am awed by a great floating city--a giant space ship--and wrote an essay about it at the time. 

(click to enlarge)

Reflecting on this event from today's perspective (December 2012) led me to reconsider when I first became fascinated by the subject  of flying saucers on April 23, 1965. At the time I was a nuclear materials research scientist at the La Jolla laboratory of General Atomic. As my fascination grew on that April day, I contacted my brother then a U.S. Air Force officer to see if he could tell me something about the subject from within the service that was not generally accessible to the public. He produced a few crude newsletters written by a man named George Adamski for his followers, who lived near Mt. Palomar and claimed to have been visited by aliens from outer space. I learned subsequently that Adamski had written three books: Flying Saucers have landed, Inside the Space Ships and Flying Saucers Farewell, all of which were on the San Diego city library shelves. I read all three books quickly in a state of excitement, believing that Adamski was not making this stuff up. 

When I tried to locate Adamski personally a week or two later to see if he would come across to me face-to-face as convincingly and compellingly as he had in his books, I was shocked to discover that he had died on the very day that my fascination began! That synchronicity became an anchor point for my fascination and has sustained it over the years since.

I have just now finished a careful re-reading of the first two of the three books since those wild, up-heaving 1965 days. And, in light of recent-year NASA and other space age discoveries, I have new questions and things to wonder about since my first reading of over 47 years ago.

January 12, 2013.
Having carefully re-read Adamski's Inside the Space Ships, I noticed the writer of the introduction to Book Two in the 2001 Revised Edition, Fourth Printing. See below:

(click on image to enlarge)
Inside the Space Ships
Table of Contents

The introduction by Charlotte Bloget caught my attention, since I don't recall it having been in the first edition I read in 1965. Especially was I intrigued by her personal story, since she mentions living in the Bahamas. My visit to Bimini in August 2010 only whetted my curiosity. So, naturally, I did a Google search and came up with another person looking for Bloget.

That's where this narrative becomes more interesting. This other person, whom I will refer to for now as "EHD", turns out to have a similar connection to the "Adamski scout" ships via her mysterious father as far back as 1955 in her own experience. Her father's goes back to at least 1928!, whereas Adamski's first contact with ET aliens was November 1952 in the southern California desert.

EHD and I are now in serious communication to "connect the dots" to her and her father's story and my own. The parallels are eerie--which include La Jolla and the Berlin tunnel!

February 24, 2013
In our respective efforts to "connect the dots", Linda Brown (aka 'EHD') and I have made what appears to be an amazing discovery. Her father, the late Thomas Townsend Brown (TTB) came to visit the Berlin tunnel in March 1956, which was about the time I left it. As bizarre as it now seems, TTB's apparent purpose had been to meet me, of all people! [And it could only have been because of those curious "pop-ups" that I had been receiving and relaying to the CIA section chief who found them valuable, but which I did not myself understand!] Because of Linda's insights I can now understand that TTB might have come to the tunnel to find out why the "pop-ups" had stopped coming, presuming he was privy to their content. I can understand this because Vyrl, the CIA section chief who had hired me because of the information in the pop-ups, was suddenly replaced by a new man, who apparently knew nothing about them. Nor did I did volunteer any information to him, having already formally agreed to return to the tunnel after separating from the Army in New York City and returning to Berlin after reprocessing into the agency.

But the presumed rendezvous was frustrated by my having left the project just before TTB arrived.

March 22, 2013
Having just finished a careful rereading of George Adamski’s 1961 book Flying Saucers Farewell, I feel ready to enter the 'Lady of Light Forum', which is dedicated to Linda Brown’s  issues, particularly her attempts to understand and evaluate (if not also validate) the work and intentions of her enigmatic father, Thomas Townsend Brown (TTB). [Note, my first reading of all three of Adamski's books was in May 1965.]

(click on image to enlarge)
Flying Saucers Farewell
Table of Contents
On page 190, at the very end of Adamski’s aforementioned book, he says:
The knowledge shared by our space brothers must now be put to work. I have been advised to proceed in two fields that are vital to our progress—space philosophy and technology—which, we will learn, are inseparable in establishing a peaceful, productive society. 
The information conveyed to us must be put to peaceful productive use, that we might in time achieve the same dignified existence enjoyed by men of other planets.
It appears to me, in reading early editions of Linda Brown’s memoirs, that TTB was in contact with the space brothers as early as 1928, well before Adamski’s first encounter with them in a southern California desert on November 20, 1952.

First, I need to get this impression verified.

Second, given the above quote by Adamski, I need to ask Linda why her father would have dealings with military people such as General Curtis LeMay, since Adamski’s space people made it clear that their intentions are strictly peaceful.

Third, when did Adamski and TTB first meet--if they ever did? 

Fourth, how does the 'Mormon factor' fit in--if it does?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Luther Day Saint

Posted: 3 Feb 13
Updated: 3 Mar 13

Martin Luther

The Huffington Post recently featured a bold Mormon grass roots initiative in its daily Religion blog by an anonymous man calling himself  "Luther Day Saint". On Sunday, February 3, 2013, I alerted many people--family, Mormon, Lutheran, Orthodox and Evangelical Christian friends to respond to this initiative. Below this Luther Day Saint announcement are some selected responses.


Luther Day Saint prefaced his initiative this way:

"In 1517, Martin Luther posted a list of 95 Theses on his church's doors. His actions exposed the corruption of the Catholic Church and started what came to be known as the Protestant Reformation."

Between the hours of 9 PM Saturday, February 16 and 9 AM Sunday, February 17, 2013, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others attempted to post a list of 95 LDS Theses onto the doors of LDS churches around the world.  

The purpose of this event was two-fold:
1. Educate the membership on hidden and revised aspects of Church doctrine and history.
2. Influence Church leaders to officially address topics that have long been dodged and dismissed.

In order to bring about a Mormon Reformation

I took Luther Day Saint at his word re his two-fold purpose and alerted family, Lutheran and other Christian friends, LDS friends and other acquaintances. 

Below is my account of how the initiative developed. Note that as of February 20, "Luther Day Saint" has deactivated all but the 95 LDS Theses on the links above and below. You can find the "Theses" at the end of the February 20, 2013 post:

Saturday, Feb 2, 2013

At 1:50 PM, I wrote:
Friends with Lutheran reformation backgrounds, thought this Huffington Post article would interest and inform you….

At 3:08 PM, a local retired Russian Orthodox priest responded:
WOW!!!  Fr John H

[Personal note re friend Fr. John H: Born and raised in the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. Became Episcopal priest in South Dakota serving the Lakota Indians from which he retired after 47 years. Subsequently became Russian Orthodox and was ordained Orthodox priest in 2007. We became friends when he heard me sing an Orthodox chant in the basement of the local parish, which launched a years-long conversation upon learning of my Mormon background. Fr. J is a long-term admirer of the Mormons, due primarily to the attitude of his grandmother, who venerated the courage of the Mormon Pioneers. Fr. John wanted to know more about the Mormons from my experience, while informing me about the Russian Orthodox tradition of my father's people. It was he who eventually chrismated (confirmed) me a member of the Orthodox Church in America.]

Sunday, Feb 3, 2013.

At 10:19 PM, I wrote to my family:
Dear family, I think you will find this important Huffington Post article of vital interest because of our Clawson family's Mormon Pioneer heritage and its current challenges in consequence of the recent presidential campaign. I'm [hoping] to encourage a new and honest dialogue among us.

Here are some responses from family and friends:

Monday, Feb 4, 2013

At 5:52 AM,  son Steve replied:

Thanks Dad...very interesting. Can't wait to read all 95 points.

At 1:02 PM, Steve's mother also replied:

Very interesting...

Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013
At 1:08 PM,  Steve's oldest brother, Nick, responded:
WONDERFUL! Long overdue and I fully support such an action. Just about everything is consistent with what I learned from my "divine conduit opening" experience in 2001.

At 1:17 PM, Russell Pack (former local LDS stake president) wrote:
Hi Eugene, I looked at the list. It just consists of the standard anti-Mormon lies and misrepresentations. All of these arguments have all been thoroughly answered. I am surprised that you are taken in by them. You ought to know better and be up on the answers to them. If you will pick just one that you think is really important, I will tell you where to find the answer to it. Why do you continue to serve Satan in such ways?

At 3:16 PM, I replied to Nick:
Russell Pack, a former Santa Fe stake president, whom you may remember meeting in 2005, has taken exception to my recent email. You will see that his response is much different than yours. Since Russ does not consider my intent as you do, perhaps you would care to reply to his question at the end? He may consider your comment more seriously than mine, since you are a member of record in the Mormon church.

At 3:27 PM, Bob Rees [visiting professor at Graduate Theological Union at UC Berkeley] responded:
Gene, Only 95 theses? Surely you [Crystal Group] guys can come up with more than these!

At 4:38 PM, I responded to Bob:
Yes, I'm sure there are more, as there were in Martin Luther's day, but that would defeat the precedent our anonymous modern "Luther Day Saint" is counting on! Your response is much more good humored than was that of your old buddy Russ.... He thinks I'm serving Satan. If you've checked into "Luther's" blog response post, it is certainly stirring the pot! Not much serious conversation yet. Lots of reaction. So, that means to me there is much "PCE" (potential creative energy) to tap. We need to let it heat up for a while and "recrystallize" and anneal. Then perhaps it will be a little more easy to shape it into something more useful...

I'll be interested to see what the rest of the Crystal Group guys have to say about this...

At 7:06 PM, Rex Mitchell [Crystal Group] (retired university professor) wrote:
Interesting set of criticisms, some of which have troubled me at times. The stated objectives of the project are: 1. Educate the membership on hidden and revised aspects of Church doctrine and history. 2. Influence Church leaders to officially address topics that have long been dodged and dismissed.

The 95 theses seem primarily focused on #1, with a small minority dealing with current practices. This is OK, although I like the focus of Bob Rees' project on desired current changes more.

The Mormon Reformation emphasis is rather different than Luther's, which was a specific critique of the then-current abuse of indulgences. Comparing the two sets of 95 makes this clear (see Luther's list, for example).

I found these commentaries on Luther's project interesting:
*[First commentary] The ninety-five theses are not a list of ninety-five grievances against the Catholic Church, but a structured argument of linked premises that ultimately results in a denial of the efficacy of indulgences. It is a theological 
argument, not a complaint against clerical abuses. The very title, Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, immediately reveals the nature of the document. Luther’s intentions are expressed in the following words:

"Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place.

"Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

"In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

*[Second Commentary] The only thing condemned by the 95 Theses is the abuse of indulgences—and even here, Luther put his Theses on the door of the Roman Catholic “church” in Latin, so that the common people could not understand what he wrote. He only intended to debate in Latin certain abuses of indulgences with other faithful servants of Rome. Indeed, many of Luther’s theses would be heartily endorsed by the Catholic counter-reformation. I give a sample of his theses below, with brief comments...

Any comments re this?

At 7:07 PM, Ken Price [Crystal Group] (retired social psychologist, university professor) wrote:
I've got to hand it to Luther. Every anti-Mormon item I've ever heard of is included. The Church will have to respond to this since questioning LDS, especially young ones, will hear about it and want some answers. Saw a wonderful HBO documentary special last night Mea Culpa or something like that dealing with the Catholic Church's cover up on the terrible child abuse that has happened in the U.S. Germany, Ireland et. al. It is partly related to the belief coming from philosophy that the keeper of the "host" is really almost God. . Other news is that the Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America (Obama) has urged BSA to admit gay leaders and Scouts. The bad news is each area can make their own call. The Catholic and LDS will have to deal with that issue - the good news is, though there may have been some pedophiles in the scouts, because of our lay leadership - compared to the Catholic Church - I think it unlikely that Church leaders would have covered things up.
It is nice to have colleagues like Crystal and Bob Rees to talk with about these kinds of things.

At 1:19 PM, Ken Price [Crystal Group] replied again:
I wasn't trying to be casual in my first response to Luther. It really does include much of the anti-Mormon  historical stuff. I went over the list again and identified some issues I have wondered about: These are really the only ones I want to get into.
42: Change in Word of Wisdom to a requirement, though I think it is an inspired health plan
73: Lorenzo Snow's phrase is taught in the Church and is the most recent manual by Lorenzo Snow for Priesthood and Relief Society. I covered it in class two weeks ago. It is one of its most incredible statements about the nature of God, which I happen to believe without quite knowing how it all happened
80 Issue of the Blacks and the Priesthood. I never thought it made any sense
82 Church has not dealt correctly with women. LDS believe it takes two- man and woman together to get into the Celestial kingdom. I suggested one idea to Bob Rees was to assign young women as junior companions to Relief Society visiting teachers as we do with young boys working as companions to the Home Teachers. Incidentally, in the Temple women workers are ordained to use the Priesthood in their temple work
85.Church hasn't figured out the Gay question!
89. He's right regarding pay to Church leaders. I'd like to know more about that.
It will be great to see the counter points which Church historians should provide to this list. Could be a most interesting exchange.

At 9:15 PM, I replied to Rex [Crystal Group]
Thanks for taking this initiative seriously and giving it a thoughtful response...

Apart from its substance, I am especially pleased by its tone. This is a result, of course, of a long-time friendship in which we have learned to know each other and our intentions well. Except for one of my sons and Ken so far, I have got only defensive reactions. I am obviously not yet skilled enough not to evoke such reactions! Russell Pack's reply exemplifies a typical attitude of the kind of ecclesiastical Mormon leader that the initiative has targeted.

It seems to me that a conciliatory tone or positive attitude is a first essential step before getting into specifics. This reminds me of something I said back 1961 when our first dialogue group was formed [in] that long-ago (1961) "Man with an Idea", published by the U of Utah Alumni Magazine: "A man whose mind is clouded by suspicion will not easily change his attitude". (I'm a slow learner!) That's the main obstacle to be overcome.

But to your points. I think you are right in comparing Martin Luther's purpose and strategy. The current initiative clearly has a different approach than Luther's, but is using Luther's example as a device to be heard today. As you say, " It is a theological argument, not a complaint against clerical abuses." Further, Luther put his Theses on the door of the Roman Catholic “church” in Latin, so that the common people could not understand what he wrote."  The current initiative wants as many "common" people as possible to know the nature of the complaint, if not also clerical abuses.

I also like Bob's [changes in the Church survey] approach better, but we don't have access to his results, like we have the immediate responses of the blogosphere that our Luther Day Saint is provoking. As I understand, Bob's stuff will eventually be distilled into a scholarly article. In contrast, the Luther Day Saint initiative is, as Tom Rogers [Mormon patriarch to Russian-speaking Eastern Europe] observes, a "shotgun" approach to the general "common" public. Many leaders might be tempted to see it as merely 'rabble rousing'.

Thursday, Feb 7, 2013

At 10:25 AM, Ken [Crystal Group] replied yet again:
One more thought. William James said that "Truth is what works." I think the Gospel is true because it works. If people follow the general principles they become better people, more Christ-like. The Gospel is true, but the Church has some problems.

At 10:41 AM,  Oldest son Nick replied to my and Russ Pack's exchange of 2/5:
As someone who remains an inactive member of the misguided LDS Church, I am amused by the simplistic notion of Satan that Brother Pack asserts you serve.

With regard to the "Mormon Reformation" (which IMHO could use a bit of refining), I'd be interested in what brother Pack has to say about:

#59. Members of the Church are taught that prophets talk to God and speak for God. But some modern-day prophets admitted that they had never seen, heard, or received revelations from God.

#60. The Quorum of the Twelve and members of the First Presidency are sustained as "prophets, seers, and revelators". Regardless, they haven't prophesied, seen, or revealed much of anything over the last 100 years.

Additionally, i'd be interested in what brother Pack has to say about:
a. what is the singular, most profound "spiritual key" that the Church has to offer the world
b. what is the most profound spiritual event he has experienced personally

At 11:44 AM, Rex [Crystal Group] replied:
Good points...  I don't think your email itself evoked defensive reactions, merely the project and/or tone of some of the theses (not particularly conciliatory).  It will be interesting to see what comes from the project.  Please share anything you hear.

Friday, Feb 8, 2013

At 7:01 AM, I replied to Ken [Crystal Group]:
Thanks for seriously considering this "Luther Day Saint" thing. Yes, it serves as a good catch-all for all the complaints many have had--and continue to have--about the institution over the years. And I believe it deserves intelligent attention. I'm glad you, like Rex, are responding to me about it, rather than reacting as many other Mormons are doing. It's an opportunity to heat up the situation a bit so that a lot of those locked-in institutional stresses--and obstacles--that prevent honest dialogue and responsible change can be relieved. (You remember my 2006 Annealing and Healing Sunstone paper, yes? And the "Recrystallization of the Church" dream that inspired it? Which gave our Crystal Group its name?)

How do you want to discuss the issues you list? Email? Crystal Group conversation? Besides #82, are any of these on the list of changes you'd like to see in the Church that you sent to Bob Rees for his "Change in the Church" survey at Graduate Theological Union at UC Berkeley?

Russ Pack, Bob's old friend when they both served as Seventies long ago, who was a recent stake president here in Los Alamos, thinks I am "continuing to serve Satan" in even bringing this subject to anyone's attention. He asserts that all issues have already been dealt with, which I don't accept, which of course is why they are still hot. I'd like to see how he would respond to your list. Maybe he'd be willing to do it for you and the others in the Crystal Group as well as two of my inactive Mormon sons, who have their own issues with the Church. That is why I am copying him and Bob and interested family members and friends in this message. With Russ in mind who is a retired theoretical chemist from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, I see this conversation as an opportunity to contribute to "How the Bomb corrupted the world and how Mormons and American Indian Shamans can help save it", as well as further contribute to that 1961 U of Utah stake festival speech Rex and I participated in on the theme "How can we build the moral strength of our Nation?" Rex and I, along with Eugene England and two other guys began a dialogue group back then that eventually morphed into Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought after Gene E went to Stanford a year or so later. I remember when Neal Maxwell, then bishop of one of the U of U student wards came to one of our meetings and predicted we'd make things happen. Rex was one of his counselors.

At 8:40 AM, Tom Rogers [LDS patriarch to Russian speaking Eastern Europe] wrote:
Your friend Kendall makes a lot of good sense.  As you and others go forward with this discussion, please also consider what I just wrote you:

"I took no particular umbrage at your sharing that list with me, Zhenya.  I did not view your doing so as necessarily some kind of endorsement.  You made that fairly clear.  Kendall Price's response is, yes, far less 'defensive'.  Based on my own experience, I strongly concur with his conviction and appreciation regarding how the Church has blessed our lives.  In the spirit of what I've most recently written you [my February 6 comments on "Annealing and Healing"] and the stance I take there, note my phrase Based on my own experience.  I have no serious qualms about those presently at the Church's helm or doubts that they will in an inspired fashion "do their best" (Art Wiscomb's expression) to continue as its and the restored gospel's guardians (to my mind, one of their most important duties), while coping with further challenges and in due course adapting to what still needs 'fixing.'  The Church is far more dynamic and flexible than most other traditional religious institutions.  The principle of "continuous revelation" and numerous lesser instances of, yes, pragmatic adaptation account for what we might properly consider the Church's ongoing evolution.  (See Charles T. Harrell's 'This Is My Doctrine': The Development of Mormon Theology (Greg Kofford Books, 2011).  The abrogation of polygamy and President Kimball's declaration regarding the universality of priesthood for all worthy and willing males are two of the most prominent examples.  In our own time we see increasing tolerance and understanding toward homosexuals with, I predict, no further political agitation like that just a few years back in behalf of California's Proposition 8.  (We learn from our mistakes.)  Gene England's provocative essay "Why the Church Is More Important than the Gospel"  should also be thrown into the mix."

At 11:02 AM, Tom Rogers [LDS patriarch] wrote a PS:
As I head for the airport also allow me, Eugene, to toss in for the others the 'Confucius say' nugget I just sent you: 

"Here, Zhenya, is a kind of equation:

"A person's cherished beliefs, true or not true--his or her beliefs about the purpose of his or her life, etc.--can neither be proved nor be disproved. They are part of that person and therefore sacred to him or her.

"Therefore, whenever another, however unintentionally, impugns the source of those beliefs (if truly, earnestly held) also does damage to those beliefs and, hence, to that person's sense of him- or herself."

At 11:55 PM, Bob Rees wrote:
One of the problems with the Luther list is that some of the entries are based on rather speculative scholarship, weak science and questionable logic. I’m not an expert on many things, but I am on the Book of Mormon and after a lifetime of serious study and a consideration of the various challenges to the official narrative as to its provenance, I can come to no other judgment than that it is what it purports to be: an authentic ancient document translated by the gift of revelation (or whatever spiritual gifts were necessary to render it into modern English). I have read most of the critical literature on the Book, pro and con and in my judgment no one has been able to demonstrate with any credibility that it is a product of Joseph Smith’s mind or imagination—or anyone else’s living in 19th century America. The text is far too complex, sophisticated, and consistent for someone (anyone!) in Joseph Smith’s information environment to have produced it. See my attached article, “Joseph Smith the American Renaissance and the Book of Mormon” in which I compare JS to his more educated, talented and imaginative contemporaries—Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Hawthorne and Whitman. Also, the book has examples of great linguistic and dramatic irony, something not characteristic of the writings of Joseph Smith (see my other article, “Irony in the Book of Mormon.”)

Whatever evidence, scientific, historic, archaeological, genetic, etc. that might be marshaled against the book, the most significant evidence we have is the text itself and that is what we have to consider primarily. And the idea that Joseph plagiarized it from Solomon Spaulding or anyone else simply does not hold up under careful scrutiny. As Hugh Nibley said many years ago, “if Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon it is a greater miracle than if Moroni delivered it to him!”

Saturday, Feb 9, 2013

At 8:44 PM, wife Birgitta wrote:
Zhenya, here are a few thoughts I have regarding:

1.  About Tom Roger's  comment of 2/9  "…how the Church has blessed our lives". Is it the church of LDS, or the Christ of the church that He has built that includes all his followers in all the various Christian denominations. He said He would build His Church on the rock which I understand to mean Peter's reply  "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" (Matt.16).

2.  About the "guardians" of the Church and the restored Gospel: What Church, and what is the gospel they are guarding? Isn't the Gospel the TRUTH that Jesus came to heal the sick, set the captives free, and to bear the sins of the world. God sent Jesus to open the eyes of the blind and the eyes of those who believe in Him will see more and more of the absolute truth.  I believe the truth is so much greater than any ism. Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me." Doesn't that imply that you you can't come to the Father through any dogmatic teaching or rules or "church", mental ascent to any teaching . You can only come to the Father through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

At 9:12 PM, I answered Birgitta:
My love, thank you for your contribution to our discourse. Below is my response, to which others are invited to add...:

 1. You refer to a passage in Matthew that is super important and controversial to many Christians of many institutional denominations. I find the controversy distracting and unnecessary, but many believers do not. Defining the "rock" Jesus refers to in this passage is a stumbling block to many. Many Christians, especially Catholics, claim emphatically that Jesus was referring to Simon Peter because the name "Peter" means stone or rock. That simplistic explanation makes no rational sense to me, but it does to a huge number of others.

The complete scriptural reference is Matthew 16:13-20, which is translated variously in many versions of the Bible.

The Mormon view of "The Church" is that it is an institution, an outer structure (even a legal corporation!) which Jesus would build on the "rock" of revelation rather than on some person such as Peter, regardless whether or not the name "Peter" means rock or stone or whether Jesus actually said what Matthew presents. They place great emphasis on what they feel is the congruence of the meaning of Peter's name and Jesus declaring "Thou art Peter and upon this rock (meaning Peter) I will build my church. The Jesus Seminar, for example, does not accept that such words were ever spoken or taught by Jesus. If so, it is an after-the-fact insertion by those seeking clerical power.

In reflecting on the Mormon tradition, beginning with Joseph Smith's First Vision, which allegedly was a consequence of JS prayerfully seeking to know which church to join, if JS ever actually in fact talked to Jesus, who allegedly told him to join none of them because they were all corrupt and explaining "They speak for doctrine the precepts of men, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof". So JS says Jesus told him. If such words were actually spoken, I suspect that JS wasn't listening when Jesus then added "and don't start another one!"

2. As far as guardians of the church or of the truth, I agree with you. Truth needs no defense. Christ's Church as the kingdom of God within needs no guardians. Dogmas and ideologies do. A personal relationship with Christ needs no intermediary.

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013

At 2:34 PM, Birgitta added to her comments above:
The comment I had forgotten to send you was in connection with the revelations to JS. How can we be sure that they were not given by lying spirits. In II Cor. 11:13-15, Paul warns against false apostles where he says that Satan comes as an angel of light to deceive the elect.

At 2:44 PM, I responded to Bob Rees:
Bob, I am persuaded to agree with your view of the Book of Mormon and think Hugh Nibley's statement is a laser focus on the point. Whether JS produced it precisely as the Church officially claims or by other devices [that] the critics claim is really beside the point. The point being the importance of telling the history of its production straight, whatever or however uncertain the truth can be told. If it's uncertain, the Mormon Church authorities ought to be honest and confident enough to say so. Truth doesn't need defensive, dogmatic or fearful apologists  The book's content speaks for itself if read with an open heart and mind. That said and if true, a whole lot of the other "95 Luther-Day-Saint theses" are rendered moot. Reminds me of a comment legendary Ricks College professor Howard Salisbury (a favorite of Harold B. Lee and close friend of C. Jess Groesbeck) once said, "Remember, the prophet might also be a horse thief!"

The same thing can be said of Helen Schucman's more contemporary product called A Course in Miracles, published in 1965. The contrasts and similarities between her and JS are remarkable. Contrasts: unschooled farm boy versus highly educated older woman (clinical and research psychologist); JS claimed credit for producing BoM versus HS refused to have her name associated with ACIM until after her death. Similarities: both claimed Jesus to be the real focus and source of their product; both would pick up where they left off no matter how long the pauses between dictating the text. Whatever you want to call how they produced their respective writings, it was a mystical, miraculous process. And their respective writings have influenced hundreds of millions of people for good.

Might we agree that the Holy Spirit is not limited by whom to use or how to reveal its truths?

At 9:55 PM, I replied to Russ Pack (from 2/5):
Russ...Regarding your last question, I'd prefer that you see me as a "smith that bloweth the coals in the fire" (3Ne22:16a), rather than the entity you identify....

At 10:27 PM, Clark [Crystal Group] (industrialist, psychotherapist, counselor, artist, former professional athlete and Canadian Baseball League owner) wrote:
I read the 95 Luther LDS Thesis and decided I would not take the time to respond to it specifically.  I say this because I don't care whether any of it is true or not, I do not base my belief on what other people believe or don't or what some one thinks is a fallacy or misrepresentation.  For me the fundamentals stand on their own merit, I use them to guide my life - do I make mistakes, absolutely.  Do I agree with everything that church members (including leaders) do or say, no – they are just good men and women doing the best they can.  Do they make mistakes, mis-interpret intuitions for inspiration, self interest for divine guidance, maybe.  Are members  doing the best they can given their level of knowledge, understanding and personality, are they doing what they think is right, I think so. Could we (members) do better, yes.  Are there boundaries set which have consequence if they are crossed, yes - but we all know what they are, are some of the consequences arbitrary, probably.  Does each leader understand and interpret them in exactly the same way, no.  Are some more authoritarian and some more forgiving, yes.  Do some have a better understanding than others, both members and leaders, yes.  Is the [LDS] church perfect, no, it is a work in progress like the rest of us.  I would guess that is what eternal progression is about, to be better tomorrow than we are today. 
I am amazed from a leadership perspective at the ability of lay leaders to keep an  organization as big as the church focused, the teaching fairly consistent and moving forward. Imagine the variety of people, views and beliefs coming into the church.  I can in a small way empathize with what the early leaders had to go through given the newness and radical views being presented, against those held at the time or for that matter now.  

I spent a number of years in the public spotlight (newspapers, radio and television). My experience was that most of the news paper reporters, radio and television commentators were more interested in slanting what I said or did to create a controversy, even if they had to take it out of context, to sell more papers, or gain a larger audience.  The result: more people came to the ball park either to boo or cheer (but they came).  Some of the reporters liked me an some would have run me out of Canada if they could - did I like it - yes and no.  I had death threats, [was] approached on the street about what a disgrace is was for a young American to be running the Western Canada Baseball League with all of the people who were Canadian who could do a better job.  The Calgary Herald published a story on the front page of the sport section about me, supposedly from a reliable source in Los Angeles (it alleged I was a criminal hiding out in Canada).  The Herald was an early morning newspaper.  I got a call from a fan who worked at the paper about 11:30 that night alerting me that the article was coming out the next morning.  I called my attorney, told him how to get  proof the story had no foundation whatsoever and had him tell them publisher [that] if the story was not withdrawn I would sue the paper --- the story was pulled, the paper came out late the next morning without the story.  The paper issued an apology to me personally and fired the reporter.  What do you think would have happened if the story had been published?  How many times would it have shown up over time to haunt me?

Enough for one night.  Clark

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

At 12:29 PM, Tom Rogers (current LDS patriarch to Eastern Europe) wrote:
The young actor who a few years ago played the lead role in the Dixie College production of Huebener just sent me the following. Let those dismissive skeptics who deep down have an axe to grind and are, in addition, so certain of themselves weigh it with the rest--not that it will change their minds. 

Or, in the words of Justice Learned Hand, "The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right." That spirit applies in all directions--to the ultra pious and as well as their detractors. 

At 4:56 PM, Eugene replied:
Most impressive, Tom!  While I personally do not doubt this story or the veracity of the teller, it would be far more impressive if: 1) we had something actually written by Professor Felix Mynheart referring to his efforts. It's hard to believe there isn't something somewhere (I googled and couldn't find anything) and 2) the Church had snapped up Mynheart's offer of his Egyptian translation. I can't imagine such an offer wouldn't have been accepted immediately. 

At 5:10 PM, Bob Rees (visiting professor at Graduate Theological Union, UC Berkeley) responded:
I had the same impression. I have tracked down some of these kinds of stories only to discover that they were urban myths. My skeptical antennae were conflicting with my faith ones on this. It seemed a little too pat.

At 5:15 PM, I answered Clark (from 2/11)
I loved your response! If it were ever necessary, I wouldn't hesitate to go into "combat" with you and the other Crystal Group guys and some of the others copied...

Having said that, what good does this "95 LDS Theses" initiative do? At the very least it brings people of varying experience, attitudes and beliefs into discourse, as these exchanges between us in the Crystal Group and others exemplify. At best it brings unconditional-love energy into the conversation to heat it up to a level such that residual stresses and dislocated ideas, principles and concepts can be relieved, which then allow problem solving, structural change and strengthening support. It further gives us the opportunity to give those with differing views a dignified hearing. The best modern example I know of this is that of Russian Orthodox priest Father Arseny during the Soviet gulags.  It gave me a whole new understanding and appreciation of how such a man applied the example of Jesus under the most horrific conditions, at the time when I personally could not accept the treatment of the two Mormon Church tribunals, which I experienced. And it is largely because of this, as well as your own example, that I have accepted this initiative and subsequent dialogue.

Wednesday, Feb 13, 2013

At 6:30 AM, Tom Rogers (current LDS patriarch to Eastern Europe) wrote:
Like his sentiments, Eugene's friend Clark must be a gem.  I appreciate [Eugene's] appreciation of the same.

Here's sharing with you and your friends, Zhenya [Eugene], the thoughts of another OC [Russian Orthodox Church] priest who courageously held forth from his Moscow pulpit during the same dark Soviet era and was also eventually imprisoned.  His wont was to sermonize by answering his parishioners  various questions.  KGB plants would hassle him like the hobbyists do our missionaries in London's Hyde Park (and did me in 1958 as I returned home from Germany).  Fearlessly, Dmitry Dudko always got the best of them.  From Our Hope, the St. Vladimir's, NY Press publication of his words: 

"You know, Russia is Golgotha, and where Golgotha is, that too is resurrection.  Therefore, I think that people believe better in Russia, just like the first Christian martyrs.  But we must overcome our fear of suffering.  Only then will we become really free, active and invincible.  Sufferings become the only reliable proof.  It's blasphemous towards the resurrection for anyone who's afraid of sufferings or who runs away from them to talk about Christ's resurrection.  To endure, to experience sufferings--or at least to do so through compassion for your neighbor--this is the path of free faith in Christ's resurrection.  Let's make use of the Apostle Thomas's proof.  Let's thrust our fingers into Christ's wounds.  This will be the most reliable proof of the resurrection.  The atheist doesn't understand that sin is the major unhappiness, and he perishes in this sin.  He seeks a way out, freedom not from sin, but from secondary causes.  Only God gives happiness.  What peace and rest shall there be for him who has already had peace and rest here, without enduring anything?  Where would God's justice be?  'We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.'" 

Then, Zhenya, there is one of my own most influential spiritual mentors--Aleksandr Yellchaninov, who, as a young man, was the devotee and personal associate of the noteworthy symbolist poets in St. Petersburg (Blok, Bely, Akhmatova, etc.) before the Revolution, shortly thereafter emigrated to Paris, was ordained a priest there and toward the end of his life headed the Paris OC cathedral.  See his wife's compilation of his thoughts in The Diary of a Priest: Alexander Elchaninov (London: Faber and Faber, 1967).

At 9:59 AM, Joseph Dillard (psychotherapist friend in Berlin) wrote:
Dear Satan, Er...I mean Eugene...
Socrates would be proud. I suspect Luther would as well, although he was too much of a racist bigot for me. But Jesus? Yeah. He would be proud.
love,  J

At 3:09 PM, I replied to Joseph:
Thanks for this!!!

As for how this might apply to LADDOF, I believe the second respondent's attitude is what's holding progress up here. Boy am I glad my son Nick was the first, which was only 9 minutes earlier! [Actually, to be accurate, Nick's younger brother and mother were the first to respond the previous day (2/4).] The "Hippie Woman" IDL we did together on the Indigo at Bimini in August 2010 spells out the idea. This "Luther Day Saint" initiative has given me new hope, since most of the respondents [to this blog thread] are respectable, competent and well-placed Mormons. So glad they've stepped up to the plate! The local LDS ecclesiastics are still not talking to me, but with this 'Mormon Reformation' initiative and my blog about it, maybe it will persuade a couple of key people to come to a local dinner table, which Jim Bradbury and I have been considering.

Am now thinking of a long ago dream…..let's see if I can find it…yes! (January 1966) See an IDL of it. Can see all kinds of relevance…. I had this dream when I was homeless and living in the Santa Monica garage of new found friends Russ and Patti Pratt. Russ was a direct descendant of one of the early famous Mormon Pratt brothers, Parley and Orson [but was non-Mormon]. 

During the homeless week or so that I spent in Santa Monica, I serendipitously met Orlando C. Williams--of all people (!), who was the Mormon patriarch [twenty years earlier] in Phoenix who had pronounced a patriarchal blessing on my head at age 9 or 10, my mother being his recording secretary. He and I “happened” meet on the sidewalk in Westwood near UCLA. Of course Williams did not recognize me (I now in my early 30s), but I recognized him and stopped him to say, "Brother Williams, you don't recognize me but I recognize you. My mother Ruth Clawson Kregg was your secretary. The things that you predicted in my blessing are now coming to pass, but no one believes me." Williams' eyes lit up when he heard my mother's name and retorted, "Who are these unbelievers?!" As if it were an ordinary occurrence, we went on our respective ways without further interaction. But I took that synchronicity as a "spiritual sign post" and it was comforting.

This was just a week or two before I met my second wife, Lawrene [a practicing Jungian analyst] shortly after meeting Ken Price, who was then on the editorial board of newly formed Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Ken was then on the faculty of USC and eventually became executive vice president of an executive training company called PEDR. Ken subsequently introduced me to Clark Rex and Bob Rees. You remember the Crystal Group guys, don't you? Any comments before I begin an IDL interview?

At 8:55 PM, Joseph Dillard replied (after receiving the IDL interview):

Good luck with your "Luther Day Saint" project. I would think that Romney's Icarus-like fate has probably shattered some myths among some people, or at least gotten them to question them a bit. 

If [your dream] were my dream I would be interested in hearing what the mountains have to say:  " Am being pulled towards rolling hills, barren-looking hills.  They [in a 'river of humanity'] are being pulled backwards as if they are trying to fight the pull."

Thursday, 14 Feb

At 12:36 PM, Nick wrote:
Dear Dad,
LMAO! Joseph cracks me up [2/13, 9:59 AM)].
The divergence of perspective and opinion between extremely bright, similarly well-intended persons with regard to politics and religion never ceases to astound me.

At 2:58 PM, Joseph replied to my dream:
So Barren Mountain, why do you think Eugene had these dreams?

At 5:52 PM, dream character "Barren Hills" replied to Joseph 
Barren Hills: I am only hills, sir, but Eugene had this dream to give him a perspective in his lostness in those days that he did not then have. He witnessed people struggling against an eternal pull, that he was himself unafraid to face. He has had to learn that how individuals in that struggling stream behave is not something he can do anything about. 

At 11:39 PM, Tom wrote:
Hi, Nick! [12:36 PM] I couldn't agree with you more.  In fact, that very expression (or its close equivalent)--"divergence of perspective and opinion"--occurs in one of my many recent rejoinders to your father.  

Such partisan subjectivity and, with it, the presumption that each of us is more correct than those with whom we differ must be in our DNA, our common human natures.  Therefore, insisting that those of a different inclination conform to our view is not only impolite and unkind but futile and equally deluded.  Still we persist.

Also mia culpa--Tom

Friday, 15 Feb

No posts....

Saturday, 16 Feb  The BIG DAY! Beginning at 9:00 PM....

At 7:54 AM,  I wrote to Tom Rogers (2/14, 11:39 PM) 
Tom, you say:

            "Therefore, insisting that those of a different inclination conform to our view is not only impolite and unkind but futile and equally deluded.  Still we persist."

Well put!  How about instead of insisting on persisting we accept and value others' experience as they present it? Making a choice between communing with others versus resisting their insisting, I'd choose the former. Wouldn't you?

How about you, Nick?

At 8:53 AM, I replied to Steve's (2/4) note:
This is the big day beginning at 9 PM, according to the site rabble rousers. Did you manage to read their "95 theses"? If so, which were your favorites? Anybody out there ready to post this stuff on ward house doors?

At 9:42 AM, Tom replied to mine of 7:54 AM:
If such laudable "communing" produces mutual sympathy without, necessarily, the expectation of any agreement.  The consequent 'valuing' is also a strictly personal matter.

At 8:10 PM, a government official (CGO), raised Catholic, wrote:
...After reading the many of the 95 points and many of the responses, something occurred to me.

Many of the responses assume a reformation of the Mormon Church.  Luther did not reform Catholicism.  He exposed it and in doing so essentially started a new Church (Protestantism).  The end result was not a reformed Church, but two Churches mutually suspicious of one another.  The future of Mormonism?

Tuesday, Feb 19

At 12:46 PM, I replied to CGO:
Your point about Martin Luther's original intent being different from the announced intent of this "Luther Day Saint" deserves consideration! Martin Luther did not intend to spark a reformation as this anonymous current guy clearly has.

And to what end? Another institution full of suspicion? I hope not!

I personally believe there is enough good will on both sides of the current initiative, whatever Luther Day Saint's true motive is, if not as advertised, to achieve a horizontal discourse without it being one of who has the most power or the most dominant argument--or whom God loves more!

Surely virtual open forums such as this for expressions of belief, thought and feelings amid cross currents of disagreement or earnest questioning, can evoke and inspire transforming conversations to solve or resolve many, if not all, of Luther Day's theses in the hearts and minds of those who give them concerned attention. 

At 7:19 PM, I wrote to remind Tom of his 2/12; 12:29 PM note about the BoM in South Africa:
...I'm eager to know if you can comment/answer the two points I make below regarding your young actor friend's report. Note also Bob Rees' comment of 2/12; 5:10 PM.

1. Is there anything available written by Felix Mynheart about his translation efforts from English -> Egyptian --> Afrikaans?

2. Does the Church have his Egyption translation?

Is Mynheart still alive?

Wednesday, Feb 20

At 8:52 AM, Tom replied to mine of 2/19, 7:19 PM
Dear Eugene and Bob:
I'm herewith referring your inquiry to my source, Ryan Christensen, in case he can fill you in any further regarding how he came by Mynheart's statement or anything more about Mynheart himself, etc.  Ryan, feel free to send your reply directly to both Eugene Kovalenko and Bob Rees.
Best regards to the three of you--Tom

At  1:30 PM, Nick replied to mine of 2/7, 12:26 PM:
Dear Dad,
Since we are not talking about metals i use the term refine to mean to improve by making small changes, like to improve accuracy. There's a lot of justification for a "reformation" but from my perspective it needs to go further.

With regard to
"Truth is what works." I think the Gospel is true because it works. If people follow the general principles they become better people, more Christ-like. The Gospel is true, but the Church has some problems.

There are all kinds of non-religious, religious philosophies and clubs that work for people and influence them to be better people. Some things are universal, some are not. While some of the "Gospel" may be true and may have originated from legitimate sources, just like in all religions and churches, some of its beliefs and principles are not so true, or the Church would not have the problems it has.

The fact is, God's Honest Truth (GHT) solves all issues and problems. The extent to which the Church has issues and problems is the extent to which it lacks GHT and comprehension of "God's Will."

Yeah, your dreams seem to correspond and are as usual interesting.


Monday, February 25, 2013

At 1:20 PM, son Nick wrote:
Dear Dad, Brother Rogers, et. al, (please ignore any symptoms of dumbasspergers)

I've always been opposed to insisting on conformity, especially with regard to religious beliefs, as long as everyone agrees with me. ;)

When it comes to any "reformation" or "truth"- based evolution of the Church, instead of arguing about Church history, which from my perspective is ultimately moot in the divine scheme of things, it would be awesome if the Church would engage in a new "spiritual good work," which would be a rescue mission for suicide souls and "speak for itself."

Inherited religious beliefs aside, how many of us actually know what it's like to be in the beyond, where we go when we die, and can describe it from firsthand experience?

What happens to people who have betrayed their principal covenant with God for this Game of Life, which i assert is not to kill oneself, or another?

Could our self-terminated loved ones actually be "stuck" out there somehow, perhaps in circumstances worse than the life they checked out of, and need help?
If so, is there anything we can possibly do to help them from here?
If so, is there anyone who would be willing to help shoulder such a burden?

I can't speak to any other kind of case, but i believe the suicide soul is profoundly compromised and can most definitely use our help.

And i know, from unquestionable, undeniable personal experience, that there is a real, authentic and literal way to help them, using a powerful, absolutely precise, divinely engineered mechanism, which literally resides within one's heart.

And i'm not talking about another mythical, vaporous philosophical religious or spiritual notion that has nothing tangible to show for itself. This is a literal, divinely engineered "plasma-energetic" mechanism that activates under very specific circumstances and conditions, and is triggered by offering to carry the burden, or "sins," or "bad karma" of the suicide soul.

I know this extraordinary mechanism exists because it was triggered in me, quite unwittingly, when i offered to help my brother in 1996, and am certain this mechanism is universal to our species and others can trigger it to help their tragically lost loved ones.

My question is, is my old church interested in exploring and possibly engaging this mission?


At 3:00 PM, I responded to Nick:
Dear son, I and Birgitta stand ready to take on this worthwhile challenge. Please explain to us this extraordinary "plasma-energetic" mechanism so that we can work with you to do all we can to help those who have committed suicide. 

You know, don't you, that your above-mentioned brother has appeared in my dreams in recent years as a helping agent. He has also appeared that way in the dreams of one of your other brothers. At the very least this means that my own grief over the terrible loss of our beloved son has transformed into something hopeful and healthy. If, however, his "plasma-energetic" spirit is as you say still in limbo in any way, we are open to your initiative.
Love, Dad

Saturday, March 2, 2013

At 5:09 PM, Bob Rees responded to Tom Rogers' comment at 08:52 AM on Feb 20 and Ryan Christensen's response to you and me about Afrikaans translator the late Felix Meinheart. 

Eugene, I agree with you that this is likely an urban legend!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

At 5:13 PM, I added to Bob Rees' comment. Both Meinheart and John Pontius are now deceased and thus no longer available for further information. It remains to be seen if the Church has anything to add in answering my two questions of Tom Rogers, namely: 1) is there anything written by Meinheart about his Afrikaans translation that is available to seekers? and 2) Does the Church have the original or copy of the intermediary Egyptian translation that Meinheart allegedly had to make in order to produce an intelligible Afrikaans translation?

It think my questions are not unreasonable and would go a very long way to answer critics of the legitimacy of the Book of Mormon and give additional credibility to Joseph Smith's story.

Below are:
Luther Day Saint's 95 LDS Theses

95 LDS Theses

The Book of Mormon
1. The primary translation method occurred by Joseph Smith putting his face in a hat and reading a rock known as a seer stone. Despite this, the Church frequently misrepresents the method Joseph used to translate.

2. There is 
no archaeological evidence of the Book of Mormon.

3. The Book of Mormon is filled with anachronisms.

4. DNA evidence shows that Native Americans do not come from Middle Eastern heritage. Recently, the Church changed its claim that "the Lamanites are the principal ancestors of the American Indians" to the Lamanites "are among the ancestors of the American Indians".

5. Many Book of Mormon names and places are strikingly similar to local name and places that Joseph Smith would have been familiar with. Such a resemblance is too close to be a coincidence.

6. The Book of Mormon teaches a Trinitarian view of the Godhead. Joseph Smith's early theology also held this view.

7. Rather than translating with Divine help, evidence supports that Joseph Smith 
plagiarized a significant portion of the Book of Mormon from the Bible, Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews and other books contemporary to Joseph’s time. 

8. For a book Joseph Smith claimed to be "the most correct of any book on earth," it is suspicious that the text has undergone nearly 4,000 changes. Most of the changes, apologists argue, are small grammatical or punctuation fixes. However, there have been significant doctrinal revisions as well.

9. The Book of Mormon includes Biblical passages that were later changed in Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible. These Book of Mormon verses should match the inspired JST version instead of the KJV version that Joseph later revised.

10. The story of Laban in First Nephi illustrates that God's command must invariably be followed, even if it means committing murder. This is a dangerous message that inspires religious extremism

11. The Book of Mormon quotes Bible verses written after 600 B.C. In other words, these passages didn't yet exist when Lehi left Jerusalem.

The Book of Abraham and Other Translation Issues
12. Despite Joseph's claim that this record was written by Abraham "by his own hand upon papyrus", scholars have found the original papyrus Joseph translated and have dated it in first century AD, nearly 2,000 years after Abraham could have written it.

13. Egyptologists have found the source material for the Book of Abraham to be nothing more than a common funerary text. Joseph was completely wrong in his translation.

14. The Church has denied that Joseph made Abrahamic claims about the papyrus, but still insists that "a testimony of the truthfulness of the book of Abraham is not found in an analysis of physical evidence nor historical background, but in prayerful consideration of its content and power."

15. Joseph was fooled into thinking the Kinderhook plates were ancient records and even attempted to translate them. This demonstrates that he had no real gifts of translation or Divine revelation.

16. Joseph Smith showed his ineptitude for translation when he declared a Greek Psalter to be Egyptian hieroglyphics. 

Polygamy and Polyandry
17. Joseph Smith illegally married at least 33 women, some of whom were as young as 14 years old. Some of Joseph's marriages were secured by promising salvation or threatening damnation.

18. Joseph Smith married at least 8 to 11 women who were already married to other men . This practice is known as polyandry, for which no reference can be found on the Church's web site. In some cases, Joseph married the wives of men whom he had sent away on missions Brigham Young also married other men's wives.

19. It is known that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, but it is also true that Joseph was accused of sexual impropriety multiple times in several states before the practice of polygamy was revealed and commanded. 

20. Joseph Smith and a young woman named Fanny Alger engaged in what Oliver Cowdery called "a dirty, nasty, filthy affair". Even if Joseph married Fanny as is claimed, he would have had no civil or spiritual authority to do so

21. Leaders of the Church, starting with Joseph Smith, systematically lied about practicing polygamy. Even recent leaders have been deceptive about when and why polygamy was practiced.

22. Joseph Smith routinely lied to his wife Emma about his extra-monogamous activities, often making her feel alone, abused and foolish. Why would God reveal a commandment to His prophet that would require such deception?

23. In 1886, John Taylor received a revelation regarding the practice of plural marriage. In the revelation, the Lord told Taylor "I have not revoked this law, nor will I, for it is everlasting." Four years later, Wilford Woodruff contradicted Taylor's revelation by issuing the 1890 Manifesto.

24. The Church historically lied and presently still lies in telling the membership and outside media that polygamy ended in 1890. In actuality, Church-sanctioned and performed plural marriages continued until 1904 and beyond.

25. Jacob 2:24 reads, "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord." D&C 132:38-39 reads, "David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon ... and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me." This is one example of many scriptural inconsistencies in LDS canon. 

26. The Church allowed an adulterer, Richard Lyman, to serve as an apostle for 18 years before excommunicating him. Although it appears that fellow members of the quorum did not know about Lyman's adultery, these "prophets, seers, and revelators" should have had the spirit of discernment to know of Lyman's unworthiness.

27. Doctrine & Covenants 121:36 teaches that "the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven", and can be "handled only upon the principles of righteousness." Given this fact, ordinances performed unrighteously (such as those by Apostle Lyman for 18 years) should not be acceptable in the eyes of God or the Church. However, such ordinances are rarely, if ever, re-performed.

The Establishment of the Church
28. In defiance of God's command to not join any churches, Joseph Smith tried to join the Methodist Church.

29. Joseph Smith told multiple different versions of the events surrounding the First Vision. He waffled on key details including when it happened and what he saw.

30. The First Vision was not taught in church until at least 12 years after it happened. Why would such a miraculous event not be shared at the outset?

31. Between the time of the First Vision and the translation of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was convicted of fraud for taking clients' money under false claims that he could detect the whereabouts of hidden treasure.

32. Several early accounts published by the Church claim that the angel who visited Joseph Smith was Nephi. This confusion calls into question the veracity of an actual angelic visit.

33. Given its dimensions and weight, the Gold Plates would have been quite difficult to transport. So the story of Joseph escaping from attackers while carrying the plates is far-fetched.

34. The Church uses the testimony of the Three and Eight Witnesses to support the authenticity of the Gold Plates. But there are significant problems with these testimonies, including that one of the witnesses claimed to see the plates only with "spiritual eyes". 

35. Brigham Young claimed that there was a cave located at the Hill Cumorah containing "wagon loads" of ancient records "piled up in the corners and along the walls". No such cave has ever been found. 

36. Although the Priesthood is now taught to have been restored in 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery made no such claim until at least 1834. Why did it take five years for Joseph to tell members of the Church about the Priesthood?

37. The name of the restored Church was changed several times in the first few years after it was established. Why would a prophet receiving revelation have to revise the proper name of God's Church so many times?

The Word of Wisdom
38. Joseph Smith smoked tobacco and drank tea, coffee, and alcohol long after he revealed the Word of Wisdom. In fact, Joseph Smith at one time had a bar in his house and also drank wine at Carthage shortly before he died. 

39. Although apologists argue that the Word of Wisdom was initially a suggestion and not a commandment, Joseph Smith taught "that no official member in this Church is worthy to hold an office" if he neglects to obey the Word of Wisdom. By his own teaching, Joseph was not worthy to hold his calling of prophet.

40. Joseph Smith and other early leaders taught that because animals had spirits, they should only be eaten in times of "dire necessity". Not only does the Church ignore this aspect of the Word of Wisdom, it also acts in direct defiance and hypocrisy by owning and operating the largest cattle ranch in the United States. 

41. Brigham Young owned a distillery in Utah and sold whiskey to saints for Pioneer Day celebrations.

42. The official change of the Word of Wisdom from principle to requirement came with no claim of Divine instruction. On the contrary, the shift seems to have taken place for political reasons surrounding Prohibition and desire for mainstream Christian acceptance.

The Temple
43. Members are taught to believe that Joseph Smith received the endowment through revelation. However, much of the temple ceremony was copied directly from Masonry. 

44. The Church requires an oath of commitment from temple participants before the participant knows to what he or she is committing.

45. Until 1990, the temple ceremony contained violent penalties requiring members to make symbolic gestures of slitting their own throats and bowels. Recent Church leaders have been dishonest about these penalties.

46. The removal of these penalties, among other changes, came not by revelation but as a result of a 1988 survey that found that many members were uncomfortable with the endowment. 

47. As disturbing as the temple penalties are, the fact that the ceremony changed is also troublesome because Joseph Smith taught that "ordinances instituted in the heavens are not to be altered or changed."

48. Leaders of the Church have allowed baptisms for dead Holocaust victims, despite promising not to do so. 

The Death of Joseph Smith and Succession Crisis
49. The Church portrays Joseph Smith as a martyr jailed and killed for being a "lover of the cause of Christ".  He was actually killed for destroying private property, trying to marry other men's wives, sharing Masonic secrets, anointing himself King of the world, and other reasons. 

50. Church leaders teach that Joseph Smith destroyed the Nauvoo Expositor because it told anti-Mormon lies. In actuality, the newspaper truthfully exposed the Prophets extra-monogamous relationships, among other clandestine behaviors. 

51. Joseph Smith claimed that he was going to Carthage "like lamb to the slaughter". What the Church doesn't teach is that Joseph had a gun in jail and shot several of his attackers. 

52. Joseph Smith set apart his son, Joseph III, to succeed him as prophet. Brigham Young admitted this, but ultimately refused to cede his own leadership to Joseph III. 

Failed Prophecies, False Doctrine, and Modern Revelation
53. Joseph Smith taught that the moon is inhabited, and that its inhabitants are 6 feet tall and dressed like Quakers. Brigham Young also taught that the moon is inhabited, as well as the sun.

54. Through revelation, Joseph Smith assembled an army of saints to walk to Missouri to redeem Zion. Known as Zion's camp, this march resulted in the death of 14 men and did not accomplish what it set out to do. However, the church still teaches that this chapter of church history was actually a test for future leaders and ultimately a success.

55. After Joseph Smith's prophecy to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon failed, he explained it away by saying that some prophecies come from the devil.

56. Joseph Smith made a number of other prophecies that never came to pass. Apologists use manipulative tactics to justify Joseph's failures.

57. Brigham Young taught that Adam is our father and God, a teaching that later prophets have admitted as not trueMore broadly, apostles have told us that the Lord permits false doctrine to be taught within the church. 

58. Wilford Woodruff pronounced "the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray." Unfortunately, this promise has been proven to be untrue.

59. Members of the Church are taught that prophets talk to God and speak for God. But some modern-day prophets admitted that they had never seen, heard, or received revelations from God

60. The Quorum of the Twelve and members of the First Presidency are sustained as "prophets, seers, and revelators". Regardless, they haven't prophesied, seen, or revealed much of anything over the last 100 years. 

Revising and Suppressing History
61. The Church has changed the dates of events in the D&C in order to make Joseph's conflicting claims appear more plausible.

62. In the 1980's Church leaders bought forged documents that they believed to be authentic, with the intention of suppressing them. Not only does this event discredit the notion that the Brethren have the spirit of discernment, it also shows the extent to which the Church will try to hide information that disproves the Church's exclusive Truth claims.

63. The "Teachings of Brigham Young" manual dishonestly implies that Brigham was a monogamist by listing only two non-concurrent wives. Church editors have also changed all of Brigham's mentions of "wives" to "wife".

64. For years, Church leaders have told the untrue story that Thomas B. Marsh left the church over "milk strippings". In truth, Marsh left in large part because he didn't agree with the violent practices of the Danites

65. Brigham Young said "I have never preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture." Despite this prophetic utterance, later church leaders have dismissed as non-scriptural the Journal of Discourses, from which this quote and many other of Brigham's teachings come.

66. Boyd K. Packer and other church leaders have openly advocated obscuring and editing history by teaching us that "some things that are true are not very useful."  

67. The Church stifles honest scholarship of Mormonism, going as far as excommunicating people who find and publish history that contradicts the Church's narrative.

Other Dishonest Practices
68. The Church reports inflated and inaccurate membership numbers.

69. The 12th article of Faith states that "we believe in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." One way in which the Church ignores its own counsel is by baptizing illegal immigrants, and even giving them leadership callings

70. The Church has knowingly allowed and at times encouraged unethical missionary recruiting practices including baseball baptisms in the U.K. and soccer baptisms in Latin America.

71. Leaders pursued plans to build a nine-story addition to the Missionary Training Center, despite having promised that no MTC building would ever exceed four stories.

72. Church leaders teach members to bear testimony in order to obtain one. This is a manipulative practice that leads to confirmation bias.

73. When asked whether Mormons believe that God was once a man, Gordon B. Hinckley dishonestly said "I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it."

Violent History
74. Brigham Young and other Church leaders taught that some sins were so serious that they were beyond the reach of Christ's atonement. These sins, Young taught, could only be atoned for by literally spilling the blood of the sinner upon the earth. 

75. In the past, the Church tried to deny Young's violent teaching. Now, most leaders admit that it was taught but denounce it as a false doctrine

76. The Church has never truthfully admitted to, or apologized for, its involvement in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, a tragedy in which 120 emigrants were brutally slaughtered by Mormons at the command of Church leadership.

77. Brigham Young wrote a letter to Bishop Warren Snow of Manti, approving of violent actions taken by Snow. The Bishop had castrated a young man who was courting a woman Snow wanted to take as his own plural wife. 

Treatment of Blacks, Women, and Homosexuals
78. Even though Joseph Smith ordained a black man to the priesthood, the Church institutionally denied individuals of African descent full blessings of membership for over 100 years.

79. For many years, leaders of the Church taught that dark skin is a curse that is caused by inferiority and sub-par valiance in the pre-existence. Some leaders have even suggested that dark skinned "members of the Church are changing to whiteness and delightsomeness."

80. Despite overwhelming evidence of racism in the early modern Church, leaders continue to claim that the reason for the priesthood ban is unknown. As such, the Church has never admitted error or apologized for excluding blacks from the priesthood.

81. For many years, Church leaders taught that African Americans could only enter the Celestial Kingdom as servants

82. Unbeknownst to most members of the Church, early Latter-day Saint women were given a form of the priesthood, which they used to bless others by the laying on of hands. Despite this precedence, women in the Church today do not hold the priesthood

83. The Church has a long history of discriminating against women and teaching that they are to be subordinate to men. 

84. In campaigning against marriage equality on Prop 8 in 2008, the Church violated requirements of  tax exempt organizations. These actions contradict the charge to obey, honor, and sustain the law.

85. Many homosexual members feel guilt, depression, and shame as a result of the stiff anti-gay rhetoric taught by church leaders. Some have even been driven to suicide.

86. In the 1970's, LDS-owned Brigham Young University conducted electroshock therapy on gay students to try to make them straight. 

Finances and Commercial Ventures
87. The Church refuses to disclose its finances, even to its tithe-paying members. This fact is even more discouraging given President Hinckley saying that financial "information belongs to those who made the contribution". 

88. In Kirtland, Joseph Smith set up an illegal bank that ultimately failed and caused many of the saints to lose their money. There is also evidence showing that Joseph intentionally misrepresented the solvency of his institution.

89. Despite being "lay clergy", mission presidents receive a significant amount of financial benefits from the Church. What is more disturbing, however, is that these leaders are explicitly told not to disclose information on funds received, even to tax advisers or the government. 

90. The Church spent billions of dollars for the recently completed City Creek Center. That the "only True and living Church on the face of the earth" would spend so much on a self-serving, for-profit venture is discouraging.

91. Even if no tithing funds were used for City Creek, as the Church claims, nearly all non-tithing funds in possession of the church are derived from tithing

92. The Church, which preaches and expects
 modesty in dress and abstinence from alcohol, is hypocritical in its advertising of the City Creek mall. 

Defending the Faith
93. The Church relies on FAIR, FARMS and other apologists to defend the faith, but intentionally keeps some distance in order to maintain plausible deniability.

94. Church leaders often teach us that "warm feelings" are more valid in determining truth than actual, verifiable scholarship.

95. The Church ignores the issues and questions of sincere truth-seeking members of the Church. We earnestly petition the Church to provide official, honest, and complete responses to these issues. 

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