August 6th, 2007

science wins

Tocqueville & the Book of Mormon (Part 1)

Lest anyone be concerned, these topics are not particularly related, except that I completed an audio lecture of the one and started listening to the complete text of the other today. The Book of Mormon alone will continue in later posts.

For now, the lecture on Democracy in America had a different emphasis than the Teaching Company lecture I'd listened to on the same topic many years ago. (This one is by Knowledge Products.). This one emphasized Tocqueville's belief that religion bolstered liberty, freedom and democracy, if only it could be released from its ties to despotic regimes. It made the listening difficult at times because this is certainly not my experience, given the hierarchical and authoritarian nature of most major religions. But I was gratified to hear that at the end of his life, as he laboured over a new book on the French Revolution, that experience had taught him that this belief was likely in error, particularly after the way that the Catholic Church supported corrupt French regimes.

After I finished that, I started listening to the Book of Mormon. Oh, wow... Can we say boring? Can we say insane?

Let's just start out by saying I can't stand the constant repetition of "it came to pass". It's like every other frakin' sentence! I have no idea how I'm gonna make it through 21 CDs of this.

Oh, and I love the part where it talks about how it's better to kill one man than lose a whole nation to unbelief. (That's really comforting.)

The introductionary parts about how Joseph Smith came by this stuff and the testimonies which are supposed to constitute proof are also hysterical. He gets these gold plates from some angel and then he can't show them to anyone, and then the angel comes back and takes them away. Really rich. And seriously, what is the point of using gold? It's not like it's sturdy. It doesn't corrode, but if I can bend it out of shape with my teeth... And what is it about prophets who have these persecution complexes? Mohamed had one, and so did Joseph Smith. I'd be far more likely to believe he was deranged or simply suffered some kind of seizure with accompanying visual hallucination. Especially after how he described falling down unconcscious during one of them.