Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

Why do thy disciples transgress the atradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your atradition?

Mark 15:2-3

Are You Correlated?

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading a fair amount of stuff either written by, or of, Daymon Smith, PhD.  Daymon Smith, for those of you who don’t know him, is the author of a book called “The Book of Mammon:  A Book About A Book About the Corporation that Owns the Mormons,” as well as a lengthy dissertation (here’s a link to the .pdf version, for those interested in an in-depth look at Smith’s take on the correlation process) on the correlation process that has defined the LDS church over the past few decades, more on that later.  I am currently knee deep in the Book of Mammon and have briefly skimmed over and through the dissertation, with hopes of reading it more in depth as I make time to do so.  I have listened to his 4-part interview on Mormon Stories, read an interview he had with Main Street Plaza and finished reading his 9-part interview over at By Common Consent just yesterday.  In short, I have become semi-engrossed in the topic, though certainly there is so much more to read.

The reason I add the above preface is because other, outside sources are proving to provide some small degree of synchronicity with what I’ve read about Smith’s work, and the whole process of correlation.  A more appropriate title for this entry may be, How Correlated Are You?, but nevertheless, as you’ll see, it’s not a measure of how much anymore than it is as simple as checking a box, yes or no.

There are many other topics on my radar which I hope to journalize in the coming weeks, but I wanted to get this all in one post for reference later in my life.  I find it much easier to have convenient access to a topic (as I hope to do here) than to have 100 moving parts on 100 different sites which take time, energy and diligence to pursue – and I run short on all points.  My mind, it appears, is as limited by cognitive chunking as the rest of you.  This chunking, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), plays hand-in-hand with this discussion on correlation, as will hopefully be clear by the end of this entry.

It really is interesting to note the congruence between several different people, all saying the same or similar things, in different venues, surrounded by different audiences and working against (or within) the same system.  Over the past few weeks, these sources include a Mormon anthropologist, an author/attorney, an time monk/urban survivalist and some dude writing to the people over at the CIA.  Talk about a bizarre collection of people.

Returning to correlation, one of my chief beliefs on this topic is that it is (and was) something that was happening regularly and frequently (i.e., there was some behemoth behind the scenes running a correlation committee which felt their imperative duty was to align everything with officialdom).  That was my view and belief, until I started synthesizing some of the information coming in from the four horsemen.

Daymon Smith on Correlation

In his 9-part interview with BCC, the overall message I seemed to get from Daymon was that of the correlated Mormon.  I realize others may have (and likely did) get a different gist – and judging from the comments to each section, that largely appears to be the case – but that was the underlying theme.  Correlated Mormons.  Within this framework, Daymon stated the following:

“So this is the alignment of the Correlated Church, which really makes something like opposition impossible, because if you are different from the correlated or ideal congregation or Mormon, what you really are is just someone who is not yet fully realized as a Correlated Mormon. You can’t oppose it, you can just be situated along a continuum which will eventually lead you into it. You’re just somewhere along the Phase-1-2-3 gradient. … There certainly is a Correlation Committee, but it does very little today. It does very minor things like fact checking. One committee member crossed out the word “love” when it was applied to the Book of Mormon, because you’re only supposed to love living beings. It might regulate the use of certain stock phrases, but this is all very minor. … Another way to say this is that what becomes public Mormonism are those things which are correlatable or are already under the productive gaze of this correlation process that goes back, maybe all the way to the Underground. … And they give you the privilege of going back and reading, say, Plato and restructure his entire arguments around these correlated categories and thus discover for yourself that Plato indeed taught the Eternal and Unchanging Gospel, which in some sense maybe he did, but not necessarily the Gospel of Correlation. My concern with the entire dissertation was to explain how historical processes such as the Underground, or some … theological changes, and political changes, relate to the ways in which we tell our histories. What I argue ultimately is that it changes the way we approach the texts, all texts. …  So history, here, becomes another space for colonization, just like Native America or Latin America. But it’s a very subtle kind of reconstruction, in which we only allow certain things to exist within certain Mormon properties. … It’s almost impossible to resist because you don’t ever confront it, you can’t even see it. It’s the way modern power works. It’s distributed across every point of your interaction, and thus constitutes its own reality, which you could never see, any more than a fish could ever really see water.”

For someone who has written over 900 published pages on the correlation process (and likely much more), it’s likely unfair to pin down Daymon’s topic into a 363 word quote, but that’s just what I’ve done.  And, unfortunately, this may very well be a result of my correlated mind.  By me telling a part of my history, I’m engaging in some of the same abstract logic that he discusses in the other parts of this interview.  This presents an unfortunate obstacle.

The CIA on Correlation

That obstacle is perhaps best summarized in a document on thinking and writing available through the CIA library website and is, itself, a short illustration on mental paralysis:

A centipede was happy quite.

Until a frog in fun

Said, “Pray, which leg comes after which?”

This raised its mind to such a pitch

It lay distracted in a ditch

Considering how to run.

So, how do I proceed, knowing that the obstacle in front of me is no more nor less than a largely correlated mind?  Ah, that’s not really an issue.  We’re all correlated, having grown up in a correlated system, it’s sort of like a crust that’s developed.  Perhaps we can crack out of it, perhaps not.  Why lay distracted in a ditch knowing how correlated I really am?

In this same document, the following quote describes how it is that we process, or try to process, the information that pops into our lives at any given moment and gets back to the chunky discussion (think of the truffle shuffle as you do so):

The heuristic approach is based in part on deeply set mental patterns. “Working memory,” the part of the mind that does our conscious mental work, can handle about seven items at a time. In compensation, it can manipulate those items with extraordinary speed. Cognitive scientists refer to this manipulative capability as the mind’s chunking capacity—our ability to develop conceptual entities or chunks, to build hierarchies of those entities, to alter them, and to bring wildly differing entities together.  We form chunks about any information that interests us, and we tend to believe our chunks are valid until the evidence that they are not is overwhelming. Each new bit of data is evaluated in light of the chunks already on hand; it is much harder to evaluate existing chunks on the basis of new evidence.  When we need to get through large quantities of data, when we do not have to move too far from an experiential reference point, and when a “best possible” solution suffices, heuristics and chunking can be amazingly effective, as Herbert Simon proved in his studies of first-class chess players. Such players are distinguished by the large number of board patterns (50,000, say) they keep in their long-term memories. Talent obviously is important as well, but Simon concluded that no one can become an expert player without such a store of chunks. Developing such a store in any field of mental activity is laborious, and there apparently are no shortcuts: the investment may not pay off for a decade.

George Ure on Correlation

This, in turn, was added upon by a thought by George Ure and his thoughts on choosing your circle of friends.  His thinking, as it were, is to send out an email to your closest friends and ask them where they’d like to spend the rest of their lives, in ideal situations.  If your friends reply with “On a beach loaded with attractive members of the opposite sex and an unlimited bar tab” you might consider a different circle of friends because those bounded worldviews are shared at a deep level.  If, on the other hand, most of your friends would be perfectly happy at the world’s biggest library, or knowledge trapping on the net, well, that would be the mark of the kind of people that tend to be ‘above average’ upstairs.  Or so George thinks.

It’s axiomatic that our thinking is bounded by our inputs.  Although it’s plain as day, most people never quite seem to get around to pushing the envelopes of their thinking in order to expand its boundaries toward unlimited.  When you read certain books on the way people think and how they not only filter what does come into their presence, but also understanding the high level filtering that goes on at the preconscious level such that you don’t even know certain sources exist, it becomes clear that the reason there even is a PowersThatBe class is not so much necessarily because of conspiracy (although it’s a popular notion) but perhaps because so few people have a really burning philosophy of inquiry.

Denver Snuffer on Correlation

Turning, lastly, to yet another discussion I found on this topic.  Though Snuffer has talked extensively on correlation, the following comment was recently made and, in his mind, may have nothing to do (ultimately) with correlation.  Nevertheless, it does to me, at least in the context of the above information.

It may as well be a dream.  It involves our collective slumber.  We get pictures in our head when we are taught some truth and presume that the picture is accurate.  Then after we have repeated the “truth” often enough, we go on to believe the picture must be all-inclusive.  Once we’ve arrived at that point, the truth no longer matters. Our minds are made up. We’ve decided the answers, and no further evidence will be considered.  This certainty is reinforced when more people reach the same conclusion because they share the same picture in their head. You get together with others and testify that you are all in possession of the truth; not only the truth, but ALL of the truth. Before long every one of the group can pass a lie-detector test about the truth as they explain it.  As a result, this herd is incapable of ever seeing the picture differently. They cannot open their minds to the idea that their picture is skewed or off. It is most certainly incomplete.  It is, in fact, so far short of the whole story that when any part of the remaining, missing information is shown to them they are certain it is a lie.


It would appear that this idea could be summed up with a simple inquiry:  are you, or are you not, interested in the truth?

If you believe only the correlated truth, or some portion thereof, then it may be time to rethink things.  And, though it be true that we’re all presented with inputs that are written from the perspective from others, we’re still charged with finding truth, or so I think.  In Paramahansa Yogananda’s book that discusses each verse of the four gospels in the New Testament, his premise in writing that book was built around obtaining the truth irrespective of others opinions.  His premise was that truth should come through unfiltered from the source of all truth.

That, at least, is the goal.  Getting to that goal is a goal in itself.  Correlation, it would seem, is an obstacle to that goal.  For example, in Boyd Packer’s most recent General Conference address he speaks of the Church’s ability to correlate authority and priesthood.  Interestingly, Packer played an integral role in getting correlation started and rolling, being one of the original former missionaries who had served with Native Americans who just couldn’t grasp the gospel as taught by those missionaries.  Their apparent inability to grasp the gospel according to those missionaries was the ultimate impetus for the correlation program.  Those former missionaries were, as the logic followed, smarter and thereby they needed to dumb down the curriculum so that everyone could understand it.  I’ve written about this previously (Taking it Easy on New Members), and my feelings are still largely the same.

In Packer’s talk, he stated the following:

“We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.”  (Emphasis added.)

Some of you may agree with that paragraph and see the logic in it.  Some of you may see no issue in what Packer stated.  And, certainly, given our correlated minds, there may be no need to even question it.  Contrast, however, that above paragraph with what is written in the Book of Alma.  After reading that chapter, how do you personally reconcile the differences, if any, between what Packer stated and what Alma stated?  But, that is only one topic in a very wide cross-section of correlation.  In the end, this whole issue of correlation, comes down (in my opinion) to the idea of how much we allow ourselves to be correlated?  And, is being correlated a bad thing?  And, can the truth set us free if we’re unable to recognize our need for truth?

That, I think, is a good question to end this discussion on correlation with.  So, my fellow correlated minds, which is it?

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” – Galileo

aAnd why beholdest thou the bmote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the cbeam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou ahypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:3-5

I return, today, to one of my most beloved idols.  Beloved in the fact that it has been a part of every waking moment since I was born.  Beloved in the fact that it was the same for my parents, and my parents parents.  We’re going on several generations now, and we all know that false traditions never happen within my family (or yours) – it’s always in someone elses family that those false traditions manifest themselves.  Remember, the application isn’t about how it effects me, but rather how it effects and manifests itself in your life.

I jest, but certainly there’s some truth in those statements.  It’s much easier to acknowledge and witness faults in others – be it your spouse, friend, relative, church, business, etc. – than it is to witness in ourselves.  Frequently, we’re impervious to just how deep the rabbit holes go in our own lives, and there may be a valuable lesson therein.  Such was the experience I had today.

Christ, in giving one of his many great lessons (aren’t they all great, though?), discussed this in a well known scripture:

aAnd why beholdest thou the bmote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the cbeam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou ahypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. [1]

Though this is well known, and even more ritualized than most scriptures, I thought I’d at least raise the Greek interpretations of two of the most important words in these verses.  These words, mote and beam, aren’t terribly accurate descriptors in our modern day lexicon, or at least my lexicon.  In truth, these words probably couldn’t be more different.  Mote, for example, comes from the Greek word karphos, which means a “dry stalk” or “twig” and comes from the original Greek word karpho which means “to wither.”[2] Little more than an inconsequential twig one could find in any field, growing nearly everywhere.  Growing up in rural America, it wouldn’t be hard to walk into any random field and find a mote.  Beam, by contrast, comes from the greek dokos, which literally means, “a beam[3]” and originates from the idea of “holding up” (i.e. a beam of support, etc).

The visual you should be picturing is one of another person with a tiny, inconsequential twig poking out of his/eye, while you’re parading around with a beam whacking everyone upside the head as you walk around.   But, that’s not all, when you think of “eye” in this scripture, don’t think of your physical eyeball, but rather your “faculty of knowing,” or your “eyes of the mind.”[4] It seems, therefore, that the message of this parable is one where we’re judging the beliefs, actions or personal quirks of another, when in reality our own quirks are much more important because Christ would change us (if we let Him), but doesn’t want to change another through us.  The great lesson of religion is that God wants us to have a personal interaction with Him, not some other.  When Adam was praying, after having been kicked out of the Garden of Eden, along pranced Satan and replied, “so, you want religion, do you?”  It would seem, therefore, that religion is the bastardization of our personal relationship with God and Christ and, pray tell, who brought along that “religion”?  Religion and creeds, therefore, as Joseph Smith stated, are those things which have prevented man from approaching Christ and the Father individually, instead forcing man to jump through hoops, observances, rituals, classes, advancements, seasoning, etc.  Joseph stated it this way:

“I cannot believe in any of the creeds of the different denominations, because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to, though all of them have some truth. I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things; but the creeds set up stakes, and say, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further”; which I cannot subscribe to.”[5]

It makes me wonder if Joseph, or anyone in his situation of searching for the unadulterated truth, would receive the same answer today that he received in 1820, namely that all churches (yes, ALL of them)  and creeds “[are] an abomination in his sight; that those professors [are] all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”[6]

Jesus’ words on this subject ring loud and clear in the scriptures, if only we paid more attention to them.  The Book of Luke contains one such instance of his words on this subject and teaches us a great lesson (that we haven’t  yet come to grips with):  “Woe unto you, alawyers! for ye have taken away the bkey of cknowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye dhindered.”[7] Frequently we think this applies to others, that the “law-yers” or “pharisee” title couldn’t apply to us.  Or, could it?

If we really want to come up “into the presence of God, and learn all things,” then we’d be wise to note and avoid those creeds which “set up stakes” and say (or infer, the result is the same), “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further.”  The question arises…do we have any examples of this “no further” indoctrination today?  In a discourse given by Joseph Smith on 13 August 1843, Smith discussed the importance of knowing what happened in the Grand Council prior to our coming to earth to gain a physical body.  During that sermon, he stated that “it is the constitutional disposition of mankind to set up stakes & set bounds to the works and ways of the Almighty.”[8] Not only do we, within organizational religious structures, set up limits for others and what they can do, but in our personal lives we also limit ourselves in what we think God can do, or what God has already done or is doing for us.  We limit what we believe because either we’re too scared, too jealous or too ignorant.

Hugh Nibley discussed this in one of his articles[9] and stated:

“…the Latter-day Saints, who lean too far in the other direction, giving their young and old awards for zeal alone, zeal without knowledge-for sitting in endless meetings, for dedicated conformity and unlimited capacity for suffering boredom. We think it more commendable to get up at five a.m. to write a bad book than to get up at nine o’clock to write a good one; that is pure zeal that tends to breed a race of insufferable, self-righteous prigs, and barren minds. One has only to consider the present outpouring of “inspirational” books in the Church that bring little new in the way of knowledge: truisms and platitudes, kitsch and clichés have become our everyday diet. The Prophet would never settle for that.”

The lawyers spoken of in Luke 11:52 are not the lawyers we’re accustomed to today.  These lawyers weren’t the ambulance chasers we know, weren’t the injury or corporate lawyers who run much of our society and government.  Now, these were men (and possibly women) who taught the Mosaic law, those who clung to the law as their savior, those who felt the law could perfect them.  These were men and women who clung to “anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law…”[10] and, this usage of the word “lawyer” comes from the Greek word, Nomos, meaning to divide, or parcel out.  Law-yers, it would seem, were those focused on established traditions, customs, laws and found satisfaction in “parceling out” or “dividing” the gospel into checklists and programs we need to complete.  The completion of which, naturally, produces the “self righteous prigs” Nibley referred to.   Everything is eventually sequestered into nice, neat boxes and checklists.  The “righteous” can check of their respective lists, while the “apostates” walk out the back door and burn their list in the nearest garbage can, or forget about it altogether.

We like to think that, today, we’re different than those law-yers or Pharisees, but, are we?  Do we focus on the “law” as a way to perfect and save ourselves?  Do we focus on religion – the method whereby we think we can prove our worthiness above others – to seek exaltation?  In my last post, on “Finding Grace,” I shared a link on 2 Nephi 25 and the now infamous “after all we can do” statement Nephi made.  Mormonism teaches that this scripture implies that there is much work for us to do before we can ever hope to receive grace and that is the most unfortunate of interpretations as it forces us into ever more ritualized “works” as we try to perfect ourselves, never fully realizing that the more we try to perfect ourselves through our works, the further we fall.  As a result, we cling to rituals and obligations as a way to prove our worth.

Christ taught us that “this is life eternal, that they might cknow [personally] thee the only true dGod, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast esent.”[11] It’s not enough to simply “know” of them, but we must get to know them, be taught by them, to gain an understanding and “feel” them.[12] Indeed, the word “know” in this instance can also be used as a Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, meaning that we must come to know who God and Christ are at an intimate level and not just the “brotherly kindness” way that Peter admitted to when Christ inquired, “Peter … lovest thou me?” (See John 21:15).  In the original Greek, Peter answered Christ using a different form of love.  Christ used the word “love” which meant to “love dearly,” whereas Peter responded using a different form of the word love, meaning as a friend.  Finally, on the third try, Christ switches to the same form of the word Peter used.  In spite of Peter’s reluctance to accept and love Christ, Christ still loved Peter.  In spite of Peter’s failings, Christ was still there and worked with Peter in the only way Peter knew how.

Instead of this coming to know Christ in the way mentioned in John 17:3, we’ve seemingly replaced this personal knowledge[13] with organizations, structures and programs.  Instead of a relationship driven experience, the same experience both Adam and Christ exemplified (among some others), we’ve introduced religious based systems (the same systems which Satan suggested Adam was really looking for, “religion”) which tell us that we have to go through something in order to access God and Christ.  Richard Scott once stated that too many within the LDS church seemingly instruct people to “Come unto Church” at the expense of “Com[ing] unto Christ.”

To the astute observer, it appears as though we’ve regressed to a point where we could aptly fit the description Joseph Smith gave when he stated, “I cannot believe in any of the creeds of the different denominations, because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to, though all of them have some truth. I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things; but the creeds set up stakes, and say, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further”; which I cannot subscribe to.”[14]

I find it interesting how often the terms “priests” and “lawyers” are used together throughout scripture, especially in conjunction with apostasy and oppressive religion.  Priests being the recognized leaders of the oppressive religion and lawyers, presumably, being their sidekicks who enforce the law, the tradition, the rituals and the ultimate oppressors.  Our God, then, is the law, for that is what we preach. Perfecting ourselves by the law is what we set our hearts upon and what we think is going to earn eternal life for us, and make us a “god”.

Because we’re so addicted to being “law-yers,” we forbid people from gaining intelligence and understanding through our law based performance religions.  Because we’re so addicted to being “law-yers” we prevent others from passing us up on their trip to God.  We do this through age-based classes for our youth, “worthiness” interviews for anyone and everyone and programs of all shapes and sizes.  We do this through our correlated curriculum, correlated manuals and correlated beliefs.  Instead of stretching “as high as the heavens” and searching “into and contemplate[ing] the darkest abyss,” we turn to the correlated doctrine of the church contained in manuals which are written at a 3rd or 4th grade level, at best, and tell each other we have to study it over and over every 4 years because we need “refresher” courses.  We never advance beyond the things we learn in primary.  The result, seemingly, is little more than a “hitherto shalt thou come, and no further” mindset.

Returning, in conclusion, to the “mote” and “beam” discussion, it’s our choice to either listen and obey these governors, or it’s our choice to recognize teaching for what it is – a false and terribly troubling one that we must go beyond in our search to “come up into the presence of God, and learn all things.”  The “mote,” the problem, we cannot fix.  The “beam,” the application of how we personally fix the problems in our own lives, we can and must fix.

That, I think, is where we are today.

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.”
– Winston Churchill

[1] See Matthew 7:3-5




[5] The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 327.


[7] See Luke 11:52j


[9] Hugh Nibley, Zeal Without Knowledge


[11] See John 17:3


[13] See Jeremiah 34:31-34

[14] The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 327.