I should call your attention to the 2022 annual meeting of IANDS — the International Association for Near-Death Studies — which begins today, 31 August, and runs through 4 September. It is convening in-person in the Hilton Salt Lake City Center, at 255 South West Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, and will apparently also be available on-line.
Other than saying the other day that I’m perfectly happy to see the jerk who evidently yelled racist insults and threats at a player for the Duke University women’s volleyball team being banned from athletic events at Brigham Young University, I’ve had nothing to say on this recent controversy. I’ve been saddened, though, to see the University as a whole and its sponsoring church damned on account of the incident, and I’ve thought that some criticisms went far beyond what is justified. In my years of experience at BYU — which represent most of my adult life, as either student or faculty member — I did not find racism endemic or even very common. (As a matter of fact, although I assume that it existed, I never saw it at all.). But I wasn’t there at the BYU/Duke game, and I know nothing about the case beyond what I’ve read. So I appreciated these two articles:
I think that this interview is important, and it’s obviously on a really important topic:
“Episode 99: Former federal Judge Thomas B. Griffith on the importance of religious liberty and political civility: Quoting President Dallin H. Oaks, Judge Griffith says: ‘On contested issues, we seek to moderate and to unify’”
I haven’t heard much in recent years about Kate Kelly, the former leader (?) of Ordain Women. Maybe I just haven’t been listening, or perhaps I don’t move in the right circles. I’m afraid that I also don’t think about her very much. However, in looking for something else, I’ve just run across these two items, from blog entries that I posted all the way back in February 2015, and — I dunno — I still like them:
“Sadly, the Mormon faith has become a place that incentivizes the survival of the least fit. Since strict obedience is demanded and harshly enforced, only the least talented, least articulate, least nuanced thinkers, least likely to take a stand against abuse, and the least courageous people thrive in the Church today.”
Kate Kelly, founder of “Ordain Women,” in The Guardian (6 February 2015)
As I noted yesterday, Kate Kelly, the founder of “Ordain Women” has pronounced the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unfit, untalented, inarticulate, unnuanced, cowardly, morally acquiescent, and conformist.
Now, it seems unlikely to me that the Saints suddenly became inferior and inadequate overnight, just when Ms. Kelley was excommunicated last summer. Presumably, they were already low specimens of humanity even when she was still a member of the Church.
Moreover, her judgment of the Saints seems merely a superficially more civil variant of the description often given of Mormon believers on some apostate message boards, as “sheeple,” “Morgbots,” “Mor(m)ons,” and “Utards.”
So, I confess, I’ve been led to wonder why she was ever demanding to be ordained a leader among such a defective people.
Do successful corporate executives crave appointment as Boy Scout patrol leaders?
Do Nobel-laureate physicists aspire to take first prize at junior high school science fairs?
I suspect that the Lutheran theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wanted to abolish the Hitler Youth, not to join the boys and become their leader.
But perhaps I’m failing to grasp the self-sacrificial and compassionate nobility of her offer to receive ordination and to help us. I’m reminded of Rudyard Kipling’s famous 1899 poem “The White Man’s Burden”:
Take up the White Man’s burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go send your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child
Take up the White Man’s burden
In patience to abide
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit
And work another’s gain
Take up the White Man’s burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah slowly) to the light:
“Why brought ye us from bondage,
“Our loved Egyptian night?”
Take up the White Man’s burden-
Have done with childish days-
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!
I grant that the concept of a “White Man’s Burden” is racist, and that Mr. Kipling’s poem and the Pear’s Soap ad [below] are gender-exclusive. Thank History that we’ve evolved beyond such sexism and ethnic bigotry. But their unashamedly condescending statements of a felt mission to help lesser people, even at considerable cost to oneself, may be relevant here.
Finally, I close with three disgusting stories that I’ve drawn from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File©, followed by a brief meditation on the glorious future that is, perhaps, just over the horizon from us:
The world would very obviously be a much better place if only theism and religious belief were to go away! Pending that utopian future, though, here is some thinking on the topic:
Posted from Amsterdam, The Netherlands