Wednesday, November 25, 2020

D&C 34: The Traditions of our Father

This section has a lot of God's oddest quirks collected in one convenient eighteen-verse package.

Who Even Is God?
The long-standing question of whether God is one person or more than one person is further unclarified starting in verse 1:
My son Orson, hearken and hear and behold what I, the Lord God, shall say unto you, even Jesus Christ your Redeemer;
After an honest attempt to parse the poor grammar here, it sure sounds to me like the speaker is announcing himself as being both the Lord God and Jesus Christ the Redeemer.  Those, of course are two figures who are theologically distinct in 2020 Mormon doctrine and theologically indistinct in 1830 Mormon doctrine.

It doesn't help that, due to some truly irresponsible semicolon usage, the phrase "who so loved the world that he gave his own life" in verse three is syntactically linked to the opening lines above, which means that God is referring to himself as being both the Father and the Son in both the first and the third person all within the same sentence.

More Favoritism
God's long-standing tradition of following nonsensical methodology for choosing targets of his divine favor is on display in verse 5:
And more blessed are you because you are called of me to preach my gospel—

That's really good news for Orson Pratt, I suppose, but who was it that decided to call Orson to preach the gospel?  God is pretty much saying "blessed are you for something I decided to do on my own."  Which, in turn, can be roughly simplified even further to "I'm blessing you because I'm blessing you."

I hope his justifications for dumping on the people who have drawn his divine disfavor are a little more complex than that.

The End Is (Perpetually) Nigh
This section also continues God's long-standing tradition of convincing people to do missionary work by emphasizing an unfounded urgency.  Take verses 7 and 12, for example:

For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, the time is soon at hand that I shall come in a cloud with power and great glory.

And verily, verily, I say unto you, I come quickly. I am your Lord and your Redeemer. Even so. Amen.

In just the last section, I pointed out that the Lord has been coming quickly for 190 years now—and it wasn't the first time that had come up.  We could take into account God's skewed perception of time again, but even as this revelation applies to the specific person who God was addressing, the time was not soon at hand—Orson Pratt died in 1881.  Why stress the urgency to him if he had another five decades of life ahead of him and he would still miss the Second Coming by more than a century?

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