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The most valuable part of the book is the first half, where she constructs her narrative of the Neolithic period. There are similarities with Quinn's model, but some key differences as well. Like Quinn, she categorizes human culture into 2 types and of course one's got the black hat and one wears the white hat. She goes in to futuristic mode toward the end and certainly is speaking in the feminist voice of the Politically Correct. Since this was written in 1987, one has to forgive her a bit since she was at the forefront of that movement. Nevertheless, the myth she builds is compelling. Her basic point, relative to Quinn's is that some civilizations were not full-blown "Takers" but lived in relative harmony with their land and each other, worshipping the Goddess. The key example is Crete, before they were invaded and suffered from volcano issues. Crete, with Minos and Knossos, was where the myth of Arcadia and Atlantis came from. Alternate interpretations of Genesis and other stories are in there too.
It's very much worth reading. BTW, I live next door to a local LDS elder. Boy are they big on Taker practices! They're nice folks, but certainly have an alternate view of reality to mine.
One other myth-teller related to Quinn and Eisler... An author who is not obviously a cultural critic like those two but nevertheless uses an alternate cultural story in his books. This is Paul Pearsall, who is a psychologist and recently goes by the title psychoneuroimmunologist (PNI for short). His early books were "Sexual Healing" and "SuperImmunity."
A book that most obviously states his mythology is "The Pleasure Prescription," where he tells about the Polynesian way to be healthy by altering your way of thinking and behaving. This would involve altering your internal myth or worldview. The Hawaiians would be Leavers I think, and the romantic fascination with pacific island life exemplified by Paul Gaugin still has some cultural pull to it. Certainly most people think of that life as paradise.
Pearsall's books are scientifically sloppy in places (especially his last one) but he still has lots of good practical points to make.
Congratulations on a great site.
Nibley is hardly compelling Imo. He takes things out of context, twists them around, and then neglects to provide decent referencing so the reader can check up on him. He also ignores all the evidence that doesn't support (or in many cases directly contradicts) his position. As Keil et al. state in "Similarity and Symbols in Human Thinking" (p. 21), "depending on the features chosen for comparison, any two arbitrarily chosen objects can be maximally similar to each other. For example, a cloud and a white feather might be considered quite similar if color and ability to float in air are the comparison features, whereas they could not be more different if size and functional affordances are the comparison features." I submit that the temple ordinances Joseph Smith 'restored' are no more similar to early Christian ordinances (or Old Testament ordinances for that matter) than a feather is to a cloud.
If you have a specific reference that you feel is compelling (from the original source rather than from Nibley's spin) please pass it along in full context. I'd be interested in seeing it.
Also, a brief look at the history of Freemasonry may offer some enlightenment. The Freemasons trace their traditions to the Knights Templar, a society of powerful nobles who escorted devout Christians to the holy land. The Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molai, wrote three documents that were sent to different locales the night before his execution at the hands of the Papacy. These documents are the foundation of modern Freemasonry. We can only speculate as to how much he was able to write down in so little time, also considering the fact that he had been tortured for many years before he was finally burned at the stake. So how much of modern Freemasony is authentic, and how much is borrowed from other sources such as the Kaballa? It must remain a mystery.
Sounds like you may like "Foucault's Pendulum". Remember that it is fiction though. ;) The author pokes a bit of fun at folks like Nibley.
If there is any connection to the the LDS Endowment and Freemasony, I would suggest that we search early Christian history. Perhaps the Knights Templar and other secret groups had carried on the rites of the Endowment through the Apostasy, which later became corrupted along with the true Church of Jesus Christ.
What about things like the five points of fellowship? We know when they were introduced into masonry. Why would Joseph have included them in his endowment since they certainly don't date back to early masonry--let alone early Christian history.
Speaking of life, along the lines of what we discussed previously [in a private e-mail discussion] (assigning meaning to anything), Stephen J. Gould stated, evolution has no goal. And in my eyes, life probably does not either. In spite of that, life certainly is a fascinating entity. To find it somewhere besides earth would be one of the greatest and most significant discoveries ever made by Homo sapiens.
Life (and evolution) certainly has a goal--to reproduce. But I know what you are getting at. ;) Life becomes more and more fascinating the longer I look at it. Thanks for the link.
But there is one area of your web page that I think deserves some additional intllectual honesty.
While reading the stuff about how the prez of the church may or may not of insulted athiests, I was drawne to the link on what is considered, apparently by your sited, as to being the churches view on homosexuality.
I read the snipits of stories from several individuals there and did not see a single one where someone had successfully altered or corrected their sexual orientation. And, being one of those who did successfully change, I find the one sided message of your web page at the very least misleading.
I was unaware that anyone had successfully 'changed'. I'll gladly post your experience.
As for whether or not I was gay, no question.. I had hundreds of gay sexual experiences, and only felt 'secure' or 'forfilled' while sharing intmacy with a gay lover. But that is not me anymore.
This is not to suggest that it was an easy task.. it was hell, although not imposed on me by 'church leaders'.
I confessed, if you will, to a bishop in the early 80's that I had been a homosexual, and the bishops approach was almost anticlimatic. It seems no more important than stopping in and mentioning that I had been drinking coffee secretly for years or something like that.
The interview with him had some effect in that I was able to avoid gay sex for about a year or two before I fell again, although later I fell with greater frequency than before and finally, after several years, was virtually given over to haveing a gay lover and participated in intimate experience with men on a regular basis.
About 6 months ago, more or less, my bishop called me in (different bishop) and asked me if I was having problems with homosexuality. To which I answered that I did.
I was terrorifed..
Instead my bishop was kind, considerate, and over the course of the next several weeks, ordered some books for me to read on the subject and the churches view, and more importantly, the views of those in the social service programs that help with such things if one is inclined towards such.
I read a particular book written by a member of the church who had been gay. As I read it, and it clearly was written by someone with the personal experience of being gay I recognized that the things this man was saying was indeed somewhat of a mirror of my own life. And when I read the part about 'it not being my fault' that I was gay, I wept.
At this same time I had a gay lover as well as several 'friends' that I saw on a regular basis for 'comfort'.
Just knowing that it was not my fault altered my view of what was going on in my life. I began to feel empowered to do something about my situation.
Over the course of about 2 or 3 months I cut off the sexual relationships and stopped mastrubating.
I began to ask myself, when I felt the urge, what it was that I really wanted. And it always boiled down to 'I wanted to be accepted by those whom I considered to be more accepted than I', which itself boiled down to 'I wanted to be considered a man, and as good as any other man, and I wanted to know that I was loved by others'.
When I used this suggested or surmized approach from the books I had read, the desire for intimate contact would imediately subside.
I remember well the final gay sex experience I had.. and it was awful, meaning that while I expected it to be like previous riviting experiences, it was boring and unattached.
After seeing a councilor in the LDS social services program a few times following that last sexual encounter, I have not had any real desire to 'be with a man'.
When I look in the mirror at myself I see myself very differently. there is not internal struggle anymore. Men are nice looking to me, but not in any sexual way. And women are becoming increasingly attractive to me. I feel secure, etc.
While I have tried to 'cure' myself for the majority of my adult life, it was always a case of will (or rather wont) power, where I eventually was overcome with desire and went into hunt mode.
It took me a long time to realize, and now only perhaps in retrospect do I see it, that the notion of being strong enough to fend off overwhelming desires for homosexual contact is a fraud, something whereby we have decieved ourselves.
It is as a man trying to hold up a 55 gallon barrel while someone is pouring water in it. No matter how strong the man makes himself, eventually the increasing weight of the barrel will crush him.
i learned how to let the water out of the barrel. I have fixed or had fixed that part of me whereby the symptomatic behavior of homosexuality was empowered. And once the cause was cured (things from my early childhood that formed certain false notions about myself) the desires for gay sex faded away.
What a wonderful feeling of freedom. I am no longer tempted because the temptation was empowered by weaknesses in an area not easly construed as part of being gay.
I still love my gay friends and I see and talk with them regularly. And they know that I have changed. But its not a case of avoiding temptations, which are truely not there, so I see my ex lovers as their closest friend, someone who loves them, and I encourage them to think of how they truely feel about themselves.
I am cured, as it were. And I owe it to the Lord, the Church, the LDS social services, and the experiences of my life that have blessed me with the tools necessary to overcome.
Perhaps you can also share on this page of yours that there are those of us who do overcome, and after years of acting out on our same sex attraction.
The book I read was 'resolving homosexual problems' by the Century Press.. Its about 16 bucks and available via amazon.com ..
Do you think that it is possible for every gay person to be 'cured' or do you realize that there is a spectrum of people out there? What do you think of those who are born neither male or female?
I'm technically a Mormon but I usually attend UU services.
No, I haven't read your entire website, or even your feedback site - sorry. I was just browsing through - I find it interesting (sometimes entertaining, sometimes sad, sometimes just plain dumb) the things people write about Mormons. What can I say, I'm a Mormon. It's a good life. You say you've read the Book of Mormon many times? That's amazing. Especially if you don't believe it's true. I mean here's you, reading the Book of Mormon, and you don't believe a word of it, and then I, on the other hand, who have been taught that spiritual insight will come by consistant reading of the Book of Mormon, have had a difficult time reading through it even once! Amazing. This isn't a joke either. I really admire you for that. You think I'm being sarcastic, don't you. Or that I'm setting you up for something? I'm not, honest! I was just wondering, why did you read the Book of Mormon the first time you read it?
The first time I read it because my parents pretty much forced me to. The second time was in early morning seminary and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I become a true believer. I read it again while in high school too. Most of the other times I read it were on my mission or at BYU. I read it at least a half dozen times on my mission alone--once in Japanese even.
I've only read it once critically though. That's all it took. ;) If you like the church I suggest you don't bother to read the Book of Mormon like you would any other book. Simple faith will keep you in the church much longer than an attempt to 'prove' your faith will. Some try to do so (like the folks at FARMS) but they end up spending the rest of their lives performing all sorts of mental gymnastics.
I highly recommend both of those books. The problem is that if I give all the good books a thumbs up then the thumbs up rating gets a bit diluted. ;)
I agree with your comments about Jerald and Sandra Tanner's publications. They have some good information to offer but too often their views are too colored by their conservative Christian dogmatism and anti Mormon sentiments. One has to sift through their information beyond the emotionalism to get to the points of value. As you say they really should take a good look at Christianity like they do at Mormonism.
I grew up in a Mormon home and became a very dedicated adherent to the faith even filling a 2 year mission for the church 1950-1952. Shortly thereafter I began to question some of the teachings of the Mormonism and after completing my M.S. degree in chemistry in 1955 I decided to take a leave of absence from church activities to look around at other religions and philosophies including different Christian religions and eastern types including Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. I found values in each of these which I began to incorporate into my own personal philosophy. I ended up attending Church of Religious Science most frequently because I found the views expressed there were much more open, uplifting and less dogmatic than in Mormonism or traditional Christianity. My own personal philosophy has evolved into one not connected to any organization or system. It gives me a profound feeling of trust in my inner direction and one that respects others own individual chosen path even though I may differ with their choice.
My path has been very similar except that it has led me to UUism instead of Religious Science.
In more recent years I have been interested in examining in an objective way how Mormonism came about and your web sight has become a useful source of information helping me to understand logically how Mormonism originated and evolved. Thank you for your great service.
You make your webpage sound wonderful and so perfect and totally PRO-Mormon, but then you shove statements like the ones below in my face and they are NOT pro-Mormon.
I never said I was pro-Mormon in the sense you imply. I'm pro-Mormon in the sense that I am "ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made manifest from time to time".
You say "How many "anti-Mormon" sites do you know of that quote positive excerpts..." But lets check the flip side of the coin, How many "Pro-Mormon" sites do you know that say the Book of Mormon is a "prosy detial of imaginary" and a "incorrect history"?
None, since Pro-Mormon sites tend to only look at one side of the issues and that from a faith vantage point. My site looks at both sides of the issues from an intellectual--rather than faith--standpoint. If you can find intellectual problems with the claims and facts on the site then I'd like to hear them.
Also your site is apart of the Mormon webring, that is not a Mormon friendly webring since it does contain Anti-Mormon webpages.
I'm actually in charge of the Mormon webring. It also contains Pro-Mormon webpages (and certainly welcomes more).
The difference between our methods is I welcome all viewpoints and then sift through them to pull out what is most useful and plausible. You seem to view life from a very black and white perspective, and if you don't consider something very white then by default you classify it as very black. We differ in this regard.
On the LDS Webring it is stated as follows "The Mormon Ring contains links to "anti-LDS" pages" and if you are on this webring you cannot join the LDS webring.
This is exactly my point. I don't censor. Some LDS folks do, and that is too bad Imo. Only falsehoods fear critiques.
Just don't say that you aren't an Anti-Mormon webpage when you do in fact include Anti-Mormon material.
This depends on how you define 'anti-Mormon'. I don't consider anything on my site to be 'anti-Mormon' based on the definitions you can find here, here, here, and the introduction page linked above.
"The Book Of Mormon seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history..." -- Mark Twain...
Since you call your webpage Pro-Mormon (since it is not anti it must be pro)
By this logic you must be an anti-Semite, an anti-Catholic, anti-women, and a host of other anti-such-and-suches since you certainly aren't pro-them. Do you understand what I'm saying? I don't think you are really anti any of these things. The world isn't as black and white as rigid neo-orthodoxy in current Mormonism can make a person think.
why don't you quote this great LDS page??
The 17 Points of the True Church
No problem. I'll host it on my site for you.
I could also make a list of several hundred evidences of a false church or cult for you, and all these 'evidences' would point to Mormonism. What would you do then? Cling to faith, discount my evidences out of hand because I'm not entirely pro-Mormon, or something else?