Missing Auckland

Missing Auckland February 13, 2024


dang it
An early morning view of Auckland, New Zealand, in 2009
(Wikimedia Commons public domain photo)

We missed Auckland today.  A mechanical problem with one of our ship’s lifeboats — which was used as a “tender” to transport passengers in the Bay of Islands — prevented it from being raised back into position for departure.  And, of course, the ship was not allowed to set sail without its full complement of functioning life boats.  (Somebody in the maritime trade must have watched the movie Titanic.)  So, instead of departing at the scheduled 8:00 PM, we didn’t embark on the route southward until 5:00 AM.  And that would have put us in prohibitively late for Auckland, so they simply scrubbed that port of call.

Too bad.  I haven’t been in Auckland for years now, and I would like to have seen it again.  I had even harbored the hope of possibly seeing the new Auckland New Zealand Temple, which is beginning to assume its permanent external appearance.  But now I’ll be obliged to return again to New Zealand sometime in the future.  Dang.  What a horrible fate.

Many on board the Ovation of the Seas have been complaining about the cancellation of our call at Auckland.  More than a few were planning to meet friends or family there.  It’s definitely unfortunate, but I’ve been considering alternative disasters:  We might, for example, be living in Gaza.  There are, in other words, worse setbacks.  As I write, having just enjoyed an excellent meal, I’m sailing on a luxury cruise ship on a sea that is as smooth as glass.  The mountains of New Zealand’s North Island are beginning to fade into the darkness, but I was able to see the famous “green flash” from our cabin’s veranda, so that was pleasing.  (I’ve seen it on several previous occasions.)

But our tour group did indeed suffer from not being able to go ashore:  They were subjected to two unscheduled lectures by, well, me.  In the morning, we discussed near-death experiences.  (It was a request from a member of our tour group.)  In the afternoon, we discussed Islam.  Since then, I’ve thought of several basic and important points that I failed to make about Islam and Muslims, so I may return to the topic.

Wanaka, Aotearoa
An achingly beautiful scene in New Zealand   (Wikimedia Commons public domain photo)

Speaking of near-death experiences, here are three passages that I marked while reading Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010).  The first is a specimen of the panoramic life review reported by many who experience NDEs:

My whole life so far appeared to be placed before me in a kind of panoramic, three-dimensional review, and each event seemed to be accompanied by an awareness of good and evil or by an insight into its cause and effect.  Throughout, I not only saw everything from my own point of view, but I also knew the thoughts of everybody who’d been involved in these events, as if their thoughts were lodged inside me.  It meant that I saw not only what I had done or thought but even how this had affected others, as if I was seeing with all-knowing eyes.  And so even your thoughts are apparently not wiped out.  And throughout, the review stressed the importance of love.  I can’t say how long this life review and insight into life lasted; it may have been quite long because it covered every single subject, but at the same time it felt like a split second because I saw everything at once.  It seemed as if time and distance  didn’t exist.  I was everywhere at once, and sometimes my attention was focused on something and then I was there too.  (36)

The next two are examples of the conscious return to the physical body:

When I came to in my body it was dreadful, so dreadful. . . .  The experience had been so beautiful that I didn’t want to come back.  I had wanted to stay there . . . and yet I came back.  From that moment it was a real struggle to live my life inside my body, with all the limitations I experienced at the time. . . .  But later I realized that this experience was in fact a blessing, for now I know that the mind and body are separate and that there’s life after death.  (40)

Before I get a chance to turn around and dive into that heavenly light, I notice a slender hand on my back, from my right shoulder down to my waist.  This large hand pushes me very firmly yet lovingly back into my body.  For a moment I feel like I’m doing a couple of somersaults in the air.  Then I realize that I’ve landed back in my body.  Back to the pain and to the doctor’s deafening screams and slaps.  I’m furious, incredibly furious!  I don’t know if I actually uttered all the insults that came to mind. . . .  I think I did, because I felt a sense of relief afterward.  I’ve never felt a fury like this rage. . . .  (40-41)

New Zealand sheep
New Zealand or Aotearoa (“The Land of the Long White Cloud”) is famous for many things, including sheep and wool. It should also be famous among Latter-day Saints for the wonderful history of the Church that has occurred there.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

I look forward to seeing whether this proposed prize elicits any significant responses.:  “Announcing the $1 Million Challenge to Replicate the Shroud of Turin.”  I’ve been interested in the Shroud of Turin since I first heard about it decades ago.

The terraced slope of Mount Eden, the location of a former Maori "pa" in the Auckland volcanic field
The terraced slope of Mount Eden, the location of a former Maori “pa” in the Auckland volcanic field   (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

I found this item in the vicinity of the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File™:  “The case for marriage: Science says it’s the key to happiness: A variety of studies show a good marriage is something worth working for”

vjejfeofje oejvfeoijrfv
The Sky Tower in Auckland   (Wikimedia Commons public domain photo)

And this litany of abominations that have recently been perpetrated in Australia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Japan, Lithuania, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Russia was found directly in the actual Hitchens File™:  “Latter-day Saints around the World: February 12, 2024: Church provides aid to Japan following devastating earthquake, orphanage center in the DR Congo receives mattresses and food, and donations gathered for those in need in Australia”

Posted from the South Pacific



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