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  1. I found it interesting that JS might have ‘tuned into’ the mythical archetypes as his inspiration, making some of his stories inspiring and full of truth. But I like to find truth in whatever I read. So that’s not new for me. The difference is that most authors know their stories are not ‘true’ and don’t pitch them as being real actual events. This helps me to ‘take the best of the BOM, or the ideas found therein’ and leave the rest behind’, as the 12 step groups say. (Ammon cutting off arms with some hatchet kind of sword is sooo gross, and unbelievable except that I had believed the story for years because i’d been taught to take all scripture literally.)
    I’d never heard about the ‘belly of the whale’ part of the journey and like how that gives meaning to the bible story. I’d just read that story to my daughter not too long ago, so she knows the myths of the western world, without actually buying into their reality.

    I wish you’d have talked more about the ‘average’ person’s journey/ s. Carol’s story is fascinating and a great example, as is Harry Potter’s, but little ole me wants to relate this to my life too. I want to be ‘harry potter’ and i’d love to know that I am/ have been at one point or another and maybe that’s why the story resonates with me so much.

  2. Thanks Dan. As usual, another good interview. I find the idea that much of what we find in scripture and in Mormon history to by mythic or not based in actual experience interesting. I am not a literal reader of scripture in all cases but I have come to believe that much if not all is rooted in some kind of real physical experience. The more important question for me is not whether or not the event happened–I will tend towards more of belief that it did–but how much of the prophet’s world view and natural human tendencies are coloring their revelation or the experience they are relating.

    A simple example is Noah and the flood: For Noah, it was the entire earth as he new it. I doubt it was the entire earth as he knew it. Was their a large scale flood? Very likely. Not sure about the rainbow story but I like it.

    Other examples become more complex–like Abraham being told to sacrifice his son. Or Nephi whacking of Laban’s head. I still think they are real events but I’m less certain about God’s direct role in them.

    Lately I’ve been exploring the idea that is promoted in the scriptures of God being wrathful. At this point I can’t square that idea that he is–as defined by current definitions–since it seems to be contrary to how the same scriptures define the character of God as charity, or the pure love of Christ. A vengeful and wrathful God is not one that I have come to believe in nor want to give my allegiance to.

    I did find it interesting how you assumed that David had the same world view that you appear to have–that most of what we have is myth not based in historical fact. I’m expressing it this way to give you the opportunity to clarify if you’d like the impression I have of your position–at least position at this time in your evolution of thought.

    For me, to place the divinity of Christ as a mythic idea, rather than an actual historical fact–however imperfectly that event has been revealed to us rips the heart out of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If Joseph Smith only created myths based in manufactured historical events, then that also rips the heart out of the idea of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

    The idea that a God would come down and live among us, to learn how to nurture us and gain the power to inspire, heal, and raise us from mortality is as powerful a concept as it gets. That’s a god I can buy into. I would reject a god whose intelligence and power is so beyond mine but requires my heart, mind, and strength, while having no concept of the difficulty in requiring such perfection from a mere mortal.

    I understand the value of myths and great stories and enjoy them not only for entertainment but enlightenment. I can see the hand of God in them and believe the timeless and great ones are inspired by a great collective truth rooted in a reality that we can only tap into in an incomplete way.

    At the same time, I can believe that there are actual events rooted in real history (too often embellished I’m sure) that express those same truths but in a non-fiction way.

    I have had too many intellectual and remarkable spiritual witnesses for me to conclude that Jesus Christ is just a nice idea and a profound teacher and not the son of God come down. In the end, it is only a personal spiritual witness that can give an individual a belief in the Christ’s identity. While it can’t be proved, evidence can be presented that he was a God. For me the Book of Mormon is an important tool not only for the physicality of his resurrection but also to engender a witness from the Spirit that he was what the scriptures proclaim him to be.

    Keep up the good work. Thanks Dan

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