Archive for the ‘ Religion ’ Category

How Mormonism Developed

This is my own analysis – and reaches conclusions most Mormons will disagree with.

I might as well state how I view Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism – that should be called JosephSmithism. He was, in my opinion, a religious scoundrel.

As a young man, he was a diviner of buried treasure. People believed treasure was buried in their property. How widely this belief extended, I do not know, but it was common in parts of lower New York State.

They knew this buried treasure existed – but didn’t know where it was. They employed the services of young Joseph to find this treasure. He used a Seer Stone, to see where the treasure was buried. He put the Stone in his hat, and placed the hat over his head and eyes, With his eyes in the dark, his Stone revealed the location of the treasure. That was never found.

He had special abilities. These special abilities would occur again and again, in different contexts – in the story that follows.

However, his skills became illegal in some counties, and an inquest was held to see if he should be tried in a legal Court. It was determined that he was a Juggler, and should be tried. He quickly moved to other counties. I got this information from the book The Making of a Prophet – although I may have gotten some of the details wrong.

Young Joseph had to find new sources of income. And he decided to write a book, similar to another book, about how some of the tribes of Israel came to the New World. He acquired some Golden Plates, on which this history had been inscribed. His wife, Emma, kept them, covered with a cloth, so no one actually saw them, on the their living room table.

The room was divided with a blanket, into two parts – with Joseph, interpreting the writing on the Plates, and dictating what he saw – and a person on the other side, writing down what he said. This person was his wife, at first, but other people were also employed at this task went along. What eventually happened to the Golden Plates is not known.

Eventually, after some mishaps that will not be described here – a manuscript was taken to a printer – and the Book of Mormon resulted. Joseph considered this a business venture, and tried to sell it. He had attracted followers (he always did) and he received a revelation that a buyer would be found in Canada – and he sent his followers off to find him. But they returned empty-handed.

Meanwhile, missionaries had gone to England, carrying the Book with them. People there were very impressed with it, and thought it had a divine origin. How anyone could be impressed by it, I cannot imagine – but they were. They thought Joseph was a Prophet of God!

This was a new idea to Joseph, but he soon felt it fit him very well. And he organized his own church – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – LDS, for short – in 1830.

The LDS Church moved frequently. First to Kirtland, Ohio, then to Independence, Missouri. Where Joseph led a military uprising against some Missouri forces, failed, and was jailed.

He was allowed to escape from jail, and formed a new town in Nauvoo, Illinois – that quickly grew to be the largest city in Illinois. Many converts were coming all the way from England, and then up the Mississippi River.

He was a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, also from Illinois – but the two never met.

In 1844, he was killed by a mob.

The Miracle of the Computer

People have always been religious, and these religions have taken many forms. The most recent one being the Computer.

It certainly did not start out to be a religion – it was just a mechanical calculator. But with the addition of Software, that made it easy to modify, and to expand its behavior – it became a miracle!

I can now sit, in my pajamas, in front of my laptop computer, with a fast Internet connection – and write this blog, that will reside on the computer Cloud. Another miracle, composed entirely of cheap hardware, located all over the place, united by miraculous software.

I was part of this religion from 1980-2000, in high-tech California – when some religious wars took place. No one was killed – but blood flowed between the cubicles. And companies arose and died like mushrooms growing on manure. This was too crazy for me, I had to get out, and I now live in Costa Rica.

The worst kind of people were attracted to it – because this was where the money was! And a lot more people (like me) who only wanted a job. The Hardware World was ending and the Software World was taking over.

The few who were able to join this religion – able to become new persons, baptized in the blood of this new religion – were rewarded with positions of power.

Those who were left out in the cold – went crazy, and proceeded to wreck everything. Everyone can see this wrecking, with the election of Trump. But few are aware of the new religion that is destroying the previous religion.

Changes this fundamental always happen under the hood – where few can see them.

Understanding Power in our Time

This should be one of our primary obsessions – to understand how power works on us now. But we are not doing this – and seem to think, the less we think about this (or anything else) the better off we will be. Power is so powerful in our time – because no one wants to think about it – or know about it.

How did this happen? I think it happened, because things got out of control, and we did not want to admit this. That they were in control, and not us. This was revealed in the Panics in our Economy – over which we had no control. We could not control it – but it could control us!

The next step was crucial – we decided we were the problem, and we had to eliminate us – by deciding to not be, and getting us out of the picture. Once we were gone, things could work right again!

This is clearly insane – but like all insanity, it has its own strange logic, imbedded in that crucial step – where we decided against ourselves. It was such an easy solution, it had to be right! And those in power agreed with this solution – get people (with their human needs) out of the way, and let Power take over!

This fits in with our religious background, and our belief in God. Power was God! As He was revealing Himself in our time.

No one made this claim out loud – but they did’t have to. It was kept safely in our collective unconscious – where it could act, without our being aware of it.

And act, it most certainly did.

The World is Bad, But We Are Good

My religious family took this for granted, back in the Fifties. Their neighbors thought this an extreme position – but one they could tolerate. After all the RLDS were normal in every other way.

During the next fifty years, or so – a lot changed. And Americans decided to adopt the same attitude themselves, but in a more extreme form. Since people are part of their World – they must be destroyed, along with it. But this belief,  and and the actions resulting from it – had to be pushed into their Collective Unconscious. Where they can be safely denied.

An example of this, was the transition of LBJ’s Great Society into the Vietnam War.And more recently, the election of Trump. Both of these were sudden events – but the basis  for them had been building, in the background,  for some time. The belief in an evil world, that will be destroyed in the Later Days – is part of our Christian heritage.

Americans are now living in another Reality – one they constructed themselves. Other countries have also adopted this position – and rejected the liberal attitudes, that were once common – in favor of more authoritarian ones.

Money and Morality

There always has been, and always will be a, conflict between these two. Beware of anyone who says otherwise. I should add that Morality is the same as Ethics.

I was taking a MOOC on Just Money – banking as though society mattered, from MIT, on edX. These gals were telling us how to do this, in considerable detail. And showed it could be done – and, indeed, is being done in a few places.

They did not explain why it was not happening in more places. That would have meant dealing with this hot potato that no one wants to handle.

Everyone wants to be moral (or at least thought to be moral) but everyone want to be rich also – or at least thought to be rich. The two categories in the human mind often overlap.

Sometime in the last several thousand years – we should have made it clear to ourselves that this was a problem, and a serious one. But we did not.

Christianity did not help. It started off well, with strong support for a poor, ascetic lifestyle. And this turned up often in later Christian movements – such as the Franciscans. But as the Christian Church developed, in the second and third centuries, it adopted Roman values and become wealthy.

This carried over easily into the world of Business- that became wealthy, and immoral.

And no one can understand why.

From Belief in the Supernatural to Being Supernatural Ourselves

This was an easy line to cross – and the crossing of it had serious consequences.

But let’s start with the beginning. It was obvious to us that everything had its own spirit. And in our time, this is still a useful concept -for Software Developers, for example. Different software packages behave their own way – just a different people behave their own way. Everything behaves in its own way – including the basic particles of physics.

The next big step was the discovery of gods and goddesses. Supernatural beings of all kinds that – let’s be honest – we invented ourselves. Because we somehow knew they had to exist. So they existed – in our minds – a very important place to be. Without being too philosophical about this – we can just note that being in people’s minds is being real – as far as people are concerned.

If we believe the Earth rotates around the Sun – it does, although this belief makes no difference to the Earth or the Sun. We have to face it – we are strange creatures, very strange. And this gives us our strengths and weaknesses.

Fast-forward thousands of years later, to the beginning of the Modern World – about 1400 CE. We have now forgotten this – but it was a very big deal. In only a few hundred years, amazing things happened. We invented banking and markets – and most of all – Machines. All kinds of machines, that were powered at first by water and air power – and then by fossil fuels.

But this was nothing compared to the effect of all this on human minds – we became supernatural beings ourselves! In our own minds. And we set to work enforcing this belief on everything else. They would soon know who was boss! We had taken the place of God.

In a way, this was an improvement – we had taken back the power we had given to God – and we were now responsible for our own actions. Except it didn’t work out that way. We ended up in a complete mess instead – the American Civil War, WWI, the Depression, and WWII, with the Holocaust. We could not possibly have gone more wrong.

Did we know this? No, we did not. We were strange creatures – divine beings, with nothing in our minds.

Something new in the world!

The Religious Reaction to Modernity

We have flattered ourselves into thinking that we have evolved into Enlightened beings. When it is perfectly obvious that we have not. What really happened?

Two things happened at the same time. We became technically advanced – but socially retarded. The technical side of this equation has well-documented – but the social side has not.

It is my position, that underlying this technical advance, there has been a stubborn, unconscious rejection of it – based on religious values.

These religious values were developed during the thousand years of Medieval Christianity. Plenty of time for them to become well-entrenched – and to form the unconscious rejection of the Modern World that followed it.

We developed a split personality – a technical personality, that became very advanced with the Computer – and a Religious personality that was determined to sabotage it.

Computer people have been baffled by the response of the Other people when implementing their improvements. This is similar to what happened in the Thirties, with the rise of Fascism. The Nazis were delighted with their new tanks and airplanes – and used them to destroy themselves, and plenty of other people as well.

The mass of the people, in the 21st Century, are now doing the same thing – delighted to make everything stop working. They are surrounded by material abundance – but deep inside, they know what is really going on.