Hugh Nibley’s Secret Identity

November 1, 2005 | 30 comments
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I think that I have discovered Hugh Nibley’s secret identity. It should come as no surprise, of course, that I believe that despite his veneer of other-worldly concern with ancient history and religious texts, Hugh Nibley was actually deeply involved in the philosophy of law.

Compare these two pictures. For myself, I am convinced that they are the same person. The man on the left is H.L.A. Hart, who for many years was a professor of legal philosophy at Oxford University. The man on the right, of course, is Hugh Nibley, who for many years was a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University. Notice that both men have the same thick glasses, hawk-like nose, and white hair. Notice that both share the same piercing eyes and complete lack of fashion sense. As far as I am concerned the the conclusion is inescapable: H.L.A. Hart, the founder of the modern analytic philosophy of law, was none other than Hugh Nibley in disguise!

Needless to say, the evidence goes much deeper than these two pictures. Philosophically, Hart was a liberal utilitarian while Nibley was a platonic communitarian. In the true analytic tradition, Hart was basically uninterested in history, while Nibley insisted that history was the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe. Think about it! On every major metaphysical and methodological point, Nibley’s alter ego adopted a diametrically opposed position. It was the perfect cover. Furthermore, can anyone testify to ever seeing Nibley and Hart in the same room together? Of course not! It was all part of Nibley’s cunning plan.

The implications for this in terms of Mormon intellectual heft are huge. If Nibley was in fact Hart, then we can truly claim that one of the most influential philosophers in the 20th century was a member. Who needs urban legends about Steve Martin’s baptism when we can claim the man who was probably the most important English-language philosopher of law since Bentham!

Of course, we must still struggle with the now unanswered question of why Nibley did it. Why did he engage in the elaborate ruse of pretending to be Oxford professor of law and philosophy? There are a couple of possibilities. First, in the 1950s when Hart was doing his path breaking work, there was no law school or philosophy department at BYU. Nibley may have created his alter ego as an outlet for his jurisprudential energies that would not require that he uproot himself from Provo. Second, perhaps Nibley was already uncomfortable with the adulation that was being heaped on him by Mormon ancient-studies groupies. He just couldn’t handle the celebrity that would accompany being a philosophical super-star as well. Third, Nibley may have been embarrassed by the philosophical inconsistency of his corpus as a whole. Obviously, the liberalism and utilitarianism of Hart’s philosophy is in serious tension with the views set forth in Approaching Zion or Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints. The alter ego allowed him to maintain the purity of both positions.

Regardless, my discovery of Nibley’s secret identity as world-renowned legal philosopher increases my admiration for his scholarship and gives me hope for Mormon jurisprudence in general. We have already produced one great philosophical approach to the law. We can do it again!

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30 Responses to Hugh Nibley’s Secret Identity

  1. CS Eric on November 1, 2005 at 11:33 am

    Somebody has too much time on his hands.

  2. Russell Arben Fox on November 1, 2005 at 11:46 am

    Isn’t it far more likely that Nibley created the H.L.A. Hart persona because he knew that, in time, the appalling weakness and basic incoherence of the analytical utilitarianism he advocated through Hart would properly taint the edifice of philosophical liberalism as a whole, and thus cause the leading minds of the day to turn against it? By managing to get people to actually take Hart seriously, if only for a brief while, he planted an intellectual time-bomb in the flawed worldview which is liberal modernity. What a brilliant plan! Kind of like how George Bush has spent the last five years calling himself, mostly nonsensically, a “conservative,” and by so doing has hollowed out that ideology to the point of collapse. (I believe the second Bush is a sleeper sent by Bush the Elder to get back George Will, but that’s just a theory.)

  3. Adam Greenwood on November 1, 2005 at 11:49 am

    “Kind of like how George Bush has spent the last five years calling himself, mostly nonsensically, a “conservative,” and by so doing has hollowed out that ideology to the point of collapse.”

    Dream on, Russell Fox. I think this has as much merit as your other political predictions (e.g., that Bush would appoint a Dem-pleasing moderate to replace Miers). I like your ideas, a lot, but when it comes to fingers in the political wind . . .

  4. Russell Arben Fox on November 1, 2005 at 12:33 pm

    Adam,

    1) Are you just disagreeing with my “…to the point of collapse” rhetorical flourish, or are you more substantively disagreeing with my claim that President Bush’s identification of himself as a “conservative” has been, for the most part, nonsensical? I won’t get into an argument about it here, but I’m curious as to your answer; I would have thought that you’d be one of the first to admit that, however much you agree with many things Bush has said and done (as I also agree with more than a few things he has said and done), you couldn’t possibly call him a “conservative” in any proper sense with a straight face.

    2) “that Bush would appoint a Dem-pleasing moderate to replace Miers…”

    When did I do that? Not here. Not on my own blog. Over at Noah Millman’s blog? I don’t think so. Am I writing stuff in my sleep?

  5. Mike on November 1, 2005 at 12:44 pm

    What the crap is this?

    Nibley has a secret identity. He is a critic and heretic.

    Whatever Hibley spouts about the Book of Mormon and the Ancient Middle East has the credibility of the Prophet’s very own words. And Nibley has an incredible knowledge of these areas. But on the other hand he has strong opinions about the way the modern church is going and they are hardly supportative of modern mainstream orthodox perspectives. Nobody listened to him when he went off on these tangents. It has been several years ago and my memory is not good, but as one example I read a Nibley book called something like Sounding Brass and Tinkling Cymbals, (or was it Sounding Brash and Tickling Symbols?) wherein Nibley slammed the modern church as hard as any Sunstoner ever did. I was left with no doubt as to why he was never called into the top leadership.

  6. Adam Greenwood on November 1, 2005 at 12:44 pm

    Or I’m reading stuff in my sleep? I guess I assumed that you agreed with Millman’s analysis, given how highly you rated it.

    I don’t think President Bush’s identification of himself as a conservative has been nonsensical. Strained at times, maybe. This is ‘conservative’ understood as the political/ideological movement of the last 50 years.

    But mostly I was objecting to your ‘point of collapse’ thing. I’m doubtful.

  7. Frank McIntyre on November 1, 2005 at 1:51 pm

    Mike,

    ” I was left with no doubt as to why he was never called into the top leadership.”

    I would guess it was because God didn’t want him to be. :)

  8. Nate Oman on November 1, 2005 at 2:45 pm

    “What the crap is this?”

    A joke Mike. It is a joke…

  9. Mike Parker on November 1, 2005 at 2:46 pm

    Mike #5: I think you badly misread Nibley. Fewer people were stronger supporters of the restored gospel.

    I’m about half-way through Nibley’s biography, and I heartily recommend it. Nibley confounded both conservative and liberal Mormons with his support for the historicity of the Book of Mormon and opposition to war and wealth. He was truly unique, and he will be missed.

  10. Jason on November 1, 2005 at 3:55 pm

    Mike #5:

    ” I was left with no doubt as to why he was never called into the top leadership.”

    Mike have you been called to the top leadership of the church? If not, why not? If so, tell us your last name. I am dying to know which GA makes time for mid-day blogging.

    As I see it, the GAs of the LDS Church are the final judges of orthodoxy. That said, Elders Oaks, Holland, Bateman, and Samuelson all attended the funeral of Hugh Nibley last year. Elder Oaks eugolized the man lovingly; Elder Holland spoke briefly expressing the wish of so many GA’s that they could have attended as well. Elder Holland also read a letter from the LDS First Presidency praising Nibley’s faithfulness and his great contribution to building the Kingdom. Isn’t that orthodox support? And why would the prophetic orthodoxy support a man that didn’t support the orthodox mainstream?

    If there were a Quorum of the Twelve Million Apostles these days, in addition to our current hierarchy, then maybe failure to receive a specific calling from the Lord might indicate some fundamental faith/obedience defect. But there’s not, and I personally hope that neither my salvation nor my reputation for faithfulness ulitmately depends on the hierarchical callings I receive. If it does, won’t the bloggers have a heyday when I die.

  11. manaen on November 1, 2005 at 5:24 pm

    “Needless to say, the evidence goes much deeper than these two pictures.”

    But it doesn’t need to. Nibley’s looking to the right, “Hart” is gazing to the left.*
    Nibley has a lot of stuff to read and everything. Hart’s in an empty world, waiting for Nibley’s Edgar Bergen to animate his Charley McCarthy.

    * which explains: “On every major metaphysical and methodological point, Nibley’s alter ego adopted a diametrically opposed position.”

  12. Tahiti Boy on November 1, 2005 at 6:34 pm

    Silly. Besides, those two pictures are too small to make any valid judgement. A whole set of pictures of each individual would be required.

  13. Tahiti Boy on November 1, 2005 at 6:36 pm

    Oh yeah, you could also go on about how George Lucas fashioned Yoda’s looks after Spencer W. Kimball. :o)

    Visit http://www.FullnessOfTimes.com

  14. Mike B on November 1, 2005 at 10:43 pm

    “Oh yeah, you could also go on about how George Lucas fashioned Yoda’s looks after Spencer W. Kimball.”

    Now you’re onto something. Wasn’t George Lucas taking the discussions from Christina Aguilara(sp?)?

  15. David J on November 2, 2005 at 12:05 am

    I was left with no doubt as to why he was never called into the top leadership

    I read that it was because the church wanted him in the library and the classroom. If he had been called into upper-echalon leadership, his work would have most likely ceased, and he would have only been able to put out a few random musings that don’t delve into the ANE or evidences for the BofM, etc. Not many GAs have time for that level of research. He was better equipped to “perfect the saints” as a scholar, not a church leader. He did great things for the church, and his shoes will be hard to fill.

    And I think the book you’re thinking of was Approaching Zion not Tinkling Symbols if I’m not mistaken. AZ is my favorite Nibley, especially chapter two.

    What the crap is this

    That’s the funniest question I’ve read all day. Thanks for the joke within a joke!

  16. Jason on November 2, 2005 at 4:12 am

    #5 “[the book] wherein Nibley slammed the modern church as hard as any Sunstoner ever did.”

    I think you’re right that Approaching Zion is the book in question, David J. It’s one of my favorites too. About the “Sunstoner” crowd–the one of the greatest things about Nibley to me was that he gave his talk against “Criticizing the Brethren” at a Sunstone Symposium. And he closed with his testimony that the brethren are the servants of the Lord. (This piece is in Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, I believe, but I may be wrong).

  17. Ben S. on November 2, 2005 at 11:25 am

    It’s not about criticizing the Church. It’s about the powers that be knowing where you stand. If all you ever do is criticize (ie. “slamm[img] the modern church as hard as any Sunstoner ever did”), you’re going to be perceived as an enemy. If, on the other hand, you’re life is devoted to defending the doctrines of the church and affirm in public and private that the Church is led by men called by God, then your cultural criticism is seen as much less of an attack. This is D&C 121 in action. “Reproving with sharpness… and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, *lest he esteem thee to be his enemy*” Looking at Nibley’s life, it’s easy to see that he was not an enemy of the Church. It’s not always so obvious when you perceive people to be “slamm[img] the modern church” without any evidence of loyalty.

    ORson Scott has an excellent article on this that actually appeared in Sunstone originally, called “Walking the Tightrope.” April, 1989. It’s mysteriously missing from the online version of Sunstone. http://www.sunstoneonline.com/magazine/searchable/Issue70.asp

  18. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 2, 2005 at 2:25 pm
  19. Mike on November 2, 2005 at 4:31 pm

    Jason #10

    Did I piss you off? Now I can’t tell if you are joking or not. For the record I am laughing.

    As far as top leadership, well I am the Stake Dutch Oven Ancestral Recipe Specialist and since Elder Oaks said we really don’t move up and down in this church I consider it a top leadership position. Name one better. In fact go ask Elder Oaks if he wants to trade places with me and I bet in his heart of hearts he would.

    As far as having time to do mid day blogging. Have any of you ever heard of multi-tasking? Another excuse why my contributions are so scattered brained is that I am sitting here right now doing my job and I am not paying as much attention to the T & S blog as I am to other more pressing matters.

    The gospel restored by Joseph Smith was inherently heretical. That we have developed an orthodoxy disturbs me and I think it would disturb the Prophet Joseph Smith. That we set up our leaders as judges of theology is a problem for me.This is not to say that I ignore them, but I reserve final judgement for me as to what is right for me and would wish that others would do the same. I consider this basic to a proper understanding of such restored truths as the concept of free agency and the divine potential of human beings. Nibley had a way of supporting what he believed and at the same time being highly critical of problem areas.

    I think that orthodox Mormons have a sense that all is generally well in Zion. This is anti-thetical to the concept of repentance as I understand it. Having orthodox beliefs is going against the grain of the concept of constantly doing better. Calling Nibley a heretic is a complement from my perspective.

    It seems to me that a century ago some of the best minds among us were represented in the ranks of the General Authorities. John Widstoe and BH Roberts come to my mind. It seems that today our best minds are not represented and I float the possibility that Nibley or someone like him is needed in the highest positions today and for some reason is not selected.

    I have seen this at the ward level where the most highly valued asset that makes a church “career ” is not clarity of thinking or an ability to provoke people to repent or new ideas to old problems. It is conformity and groveling to please those above you. I won’t go into details but I had some mildly unique ideas as an Elders Q. President about a decade ago and I was told by a Counselor to the Stake President that ” if you will do my bidding” which included abandoning a few of the things that I thought the Lord wanted me to do, that I “would go far in the church hierarchy in this area.”

    I looked at him with surprize and distain and replied that I thought there was at least a small morsel of inspiration involved in the process of leadership selection in this church. He didn’t respond but gave me that look of how could you be so naive. This man surrounded himself with those who made him look good either by their comparative inabilities or who were intensely loyal to him at the expense of all other considerations. He soon became the Stake President and is now a Mission President. He is a very capable leader and entertaining speaker and skillful politically and it would not surprize me to see him go further up the hierarchy. But his policies and plans are all window dressing and have actually exaserbated some of our worst problems. If there were any Nibley types in our Stake they were never going to be put in a position to question his decisions. Second example: Repeat the story except move the context to the mission field. This is but one of the roots of the “true but crummy church.”

    I agree that Nibley had his most important work to do in the library and was kept there. But the major thrust of his academic work was completed by the time he was say about 85 years old and he would have been a respected voice as a GA. And he might have stirred up a lot of people to repentance in ways that have not been done by the others and he had the credibility to make major changes happen quickly. Or from the perspective of Frank #7 , he was able to listen to the voice of inspiration/revelation in ways that others were not because of his unique God-given abilities.

    Am I wrong here: Nibley’s loyality was to the truth as he saw it, not to orthodoxy and the perpetuation of the institution of the church in its current state of well being or disarray?

  20. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 2, 2005 at 8:29 pm

    Nibley or someone like him is needed in the highest positions today and for some reason is not selected

    I remember Nibley talking about not being called to leadership positions being part of the deal he had with God. It was an interesting digression to listen to (in person), and it struck me.

    I’d say Dallin Oaks has a fine mind. I admit, he was only the acting dean of Chicago’s law school, but ….

  21. Allen Lambert on November 3, 2005 at 1:03 pm

    I enjoyed the HN HLH comparison. But I am puzzled by someone’s interpretation of “Tinkling Cymbals and Sounding Brass” which is an edited collection of HN’s previous books on anti-mormon attacks on JS and BY rather than a critique of the Church.

    Allen Lambert, Ithaca, NY

  22. jimbob on November 3, 2005 at 7:01 pm

    “That we set up our leaders as judges of theology is a problem for me.This is not to say that I ignore them, but I reserve final judgement for me as to what is right for me and would wish that others would do the same.”

    To paraphrase, then, you only listen to that counsel that doesn’t conflict with your personal views. Isn’t that antithetical to repentance?

    “I won’t go into details but I had some mildly unique ideas as an Elders Q. President about a decade ago and I was told by a Counselor to the Stake President that ‘if you will do my bidding’ which included abandoning a few of the things that I thought the Lord wanted me to do, that I ‘would go far in the church hierarchy in this area.’”

    I mean no offense here, but are sure that’s the way it happened? Sounds an awful lot like a Martha Beck haircut story I recently heard. Honestly, the “do my bidding” line sounds like something from the throne room scene in Return of the Jedi. I haven’t even heard the SPC’s side of the story and I already believe it.

  23. Mike on November 7, 2005 at 3:05 pm

    “you only listen to that counsel that doesn’t conflict with your personal views”

    Actually quite the opposite. When I hear things that I agree with, it tends to put me to sleep. When I hear things that I disagree with, that gets me going. I think about it and I might even ask other people about it and I might do some research on it. Depending on how serious it is. It can be forgotten if not to important or it can become a decade long project. See, when the Prophet speaks, the thinking begins for some of us. In the end I have to feel like I have ownership of a belief; not that I am doing it out of honor for someone else even if I may respect them.

    “do my bidding”

    The SP might have been a fan of Martha Beck for all I know, I’d never heard the term before.

    My wife was there and heard it and recorded it in her journal. Sorry we didn’t tape it, but even if we did, people tend to believe what they will. You can believe what you want. Why is it so difficult to believe that some politics is involved in some church callings along with inspiration?

    Since you have made it an issue I feel that my honor is at stake an so I will torture you with the details (or you can just skip it): The conflict had to do with these linger longer dinners. I felt a very strong spiritual impression that we should have them every month and we had over 200 attend and Scarament meeting attendance increased significantly when we had them. I had tried other quorum activities with little success. They were not totally quiet and solemn. Sometimes the youth would run around and it could get rowdy. I worried about sanitation issues and prayed that we didn’t have any outbreaks of dysentary. I didn’t mind mopping the floor afterwords even though I would consider such an activity a violation of the Sabbath in my own home.

    But for reasons that never made sense to me, most of the other ward leaders did not want to have them, including the man I referred to above. It might have been a control issue or it might have somehow made them look bad in their own minds, I really don’t know. Our bishop at the time was around 80 years old and a personal friend of mine and he agreed with me and gave me permission to hold them as long as we cleaned up the mess. He didn’t like to go, just too noisy. He would not stand up to his counselors when they wanted to cancel them and they had a tendency to strong arm on other matters. Sometimes he needed to be strong armed. Not a problem, just the way it was.

    At one point I was told in ward counsel point blank that the Stake President had cancelled them. I was furious but said not a word for four days about it until I was calm enough to call the Stake President up on the phone and politely ask why he was meddling in our ward affairs. The Stake President said he had not cancelled them, had not even been asked about them and actually thought that they were a great idea as long as we cleaned up the mess and they didn’t get too extravagant. I told him about the “do my bidding” episode and he laughed nervously and muttered something like don’t worry about it and consider it flattery or something to that effect.

    The next week in Ward Counsel, several of the ward leaders were outraged that the linger longer was printed up in the bulletin for that very day as had been originally planned. I thought we hasd agreed that these were cancelled. They demanded to know why I had gone against the Stake President. I asked both our High Counsel representative and our High Priest Group Leader if they had heard with their very own ears that the Stake President had cancelled the linger longers. They both replied that they had heard him say it themselves and independent of one another a couple weeks prior. I stood up and in a loud voice rebuked them with: “You two are a damn pair of bastardly liars!” “You can go to hell for lying as fast as you can for fornicating.” I picked up the phone on the desk and began to punch the numbers to the Stake President and said we are going to settle this right now. I talked to President ____ three days ago and at that time I thought I had his blessing. At that point as I was getting a busy signal on the phone they both sheepishly admitted that they had not even talked to the Stake President but assumed that the other one had and were believing each other’s lies. Like i said people believe what they will. I quietly placed the phone back down, turned to the Bishop and said as sarcastically as I could, perhaps we can move on to the next item on the agenda. Apparently we still have the green light on the linger longers.

    I was released within 6 weeks and it may have had nothing to do with this outburst. For the record I really should not have gotten that mad and cursed at them even though they deserved it. I much rather have used humor in these difficult situations.

    Within a week of being released from EQP I asked to be in charge of ward activities but forbidden to organize any Sunday linger longers. It felt like they were grinding my face in dog poop. But I organized 14 excellent ward activities, mostly due to my wife’s efforts over the next year with each auxillary being in charge of 2 of them. The HPGL moved before long and probably hates me to this day. Eventually I was able to repair the relationship with the High Counselor and he even later admitted that maybe the linger longers were a good idea, too bad we don’t have anyone willing to organize them more that once or twice a year. Our current Bishop has them 4 or 5 times a year.

  24. jimbob on November 7, 2005 at 3:41 pm

    Again, Mike, I think you’re out to lunch (and I mean that in the least offensive way possible). The fact that you’re more perky when being called to repentance isn’t really the issue. The issue is that you’ve set up circular reasoning that any leader can’t tell you anything you don’t already know. (He’s right because I agree with him, and I agree with him because he’s right.)

    As for your linger-longers, Mike, I’m not sure you’ve ameliorated my original estimation with your elaboration. I’ve had interpersonal issues with those I’ve served with (and think that most people have), but cannot ever recall having uttered anything close to “You two are a damn pair of bastardly liars!â€? or “You can go to hell for lying as fast as you can for fornicating.â€? Over a linger-longer, Mike? Perhaps you should stop looking for fault in your leaders and start addressing your difficulty of working in groups with others, which, based on the comment above, seems to be the real impetus for your apparent distain for anyone who might believe the church should have some principles to start from (i.e., orthodoxy). Of course, however, you’re always free to “reserve final judgement for me as to what is right for [you].”

  25. Rosalynde Welch on November 7, 2005 at 3:56 pm

    Mike, I hadn’t been following this thread, but I’m so glad I clicked on your recent comment! I’m not sure what the argument’s about, and I don’t know who I agree with, but your description of the Ward Council meeting is one of the most entertaining things I’ve read in a long time. That’s dialogue you just can’t make up. I’m still laughing, thank you.

  26. Mike on November 8, 2005 at 11:10 am

    Hey jimbob:

    You are dead right on base. But see I am stuck with being myself. I get up every morning, going nigh onto half a century and its still me. And it is so hard to change and pretend to be someone else. I can go to church this week and promise to be good and try to feel the Spirit and make every effort to get along with others and put it all in the past. But it doesn’t take much to get me right back where I have to resist mightily not to go off on someone. We all have our weaknesses and the numerous uber-Mormons are highly and predictably irritating on a regular schedule.

    I read on another blog where this guy was getting into these kind of situations frequently yelling at his bishopric every week etc. This responding blogger was really taking him to task for it along the same lines as here and I thought he was being too hard. Then it occurred to me that he was actually talking to me! And I hadn’t even written a word. He was really whooping my arse and I deserved it. So thank you for your gentle kindness. Again you are correct in the reasons why I am hard to get along with.

    You are right also in that it wasn’t worth it. The linger longers were suppose to bring people together, but they seperated the leadership from much of the ward. I should have kept a better sense of humor and still insisted on doing them. What I really wanted was to have them every week and I thought that would really bond the ward together.I severely lacked the ability to convince others of this vision. So I felt like once a month was better than nothing. Even the 4 or 5 times a year is not the same vision I had and it is not where near enough for us to get to know each other. My current Bishop would point these “frequent” linger longers out as one of my positive suggestions. I should be happy with this victory. Ihave resisted the impulse to say the heck it is.

    One final aspect of the “do my bidding ” episode that escaped my mind. I can not believe how as I get older I just simply forget the worst offenses that once bothered me the most. This aspect at the time was the most out rageous to me. My friend who had known my wife since they were children and who was the Counselor in the Stake Presidency who wished for me to do his bidding also gave me a list of twelve rules of order. I was suppose to memorize them and follow them. I forgot all about them until this morning when I found them in a file on my computer. So here they are if anybody is still reading and gives a rats whisker about it. I offer them up in the spirit of humor and not in the spirit of indignation.

    _____’s Twelve Priesthood Rules of Order

    1. Do precisely what I tell you
    2. Tell me only what you know I want to hear
    3. Take every available opportunity to tell others what a great job I am doing
    4. Be honest
    5. Don’t think on your own (check you brain in at the chapel door)
    6. Provide me with useful information, especially about the faults of others
    7. Never make any negative comments
    8. Don’t tell any jokes
    9. Laugh at all jokes told by those above you in the leadership
    10. Never laugh at any jokes told by those below you
    11. Be sincere
    12. Don’t be belligerent
    (13). Don’t be sincerely belligerent

    At first I thought this was some kind of joke. The man has a real whacky sense of humor. But he was not kidding. I became very confused; was I suppose to laugh, #9 or not, #12? And #2, #4, and # 11 were impossible to follow when he asked me if I would promise him to follow these rules. When I tried to respond to his query; would I follow these rules, I was in immediate violation of #2, #4, #5, probably #6 and #7, #11.

    If I had figured out how to follow the twelve rules of order, it might have kept me from cursing out the ward counsel and maybe I would have a “higher” calling than Dutch Oven ancestral recipe specialist.

    Anyway, thanks to jimbob and others, I am trying to do better. But it ain’t easy.

    If you want to rise to the top this is the secret formula. And may you get what you deserve because anybody who wants to be a Bishop and put up with the likes of me (and far worse) has my sympathy.

  27. Adam Greenwood on November 8, 2005 at 12:18 pm

    “At first I thought this was some kind of joke. The man has a real whacky sense of humor. But he was not kidding.”

    He was kidding.

  28. Mike on November 8, 2005 at 7:29 pm

    If he was kidding why had he bothered to drag us over to his house and tell me to do his bidding? Maybe you are right Adam and this throws a different light on everything. I should have laughed at the joke, right? I didn’t, that was insulting, #10. I thought this guy liked me then got mad at me and has been giving me the polite cold shoulder until he was shipped off to be a mission president. Maybe not?

    What was he really saying then?

    Is this not a great example of, uh I don’t know what to call it.

    Who is Hugh Nibley anyway?

    (Still confused and getting worse.)

  29. gst on November 8, 2005 at 8:02 pm

    jimbob’s comment is terrific: “I haven’t even heard the SPC’s side of the story and I already believe it.”

  30. manaen on November 8, 2005 at 8:45 pm

    26 & 28
    Mike, I don’t know you, your SPC, or your Dutch Oven. Being thus unencumbered with familiarity or awareness, here are a couple autobiographical comments:
    .
    * That list sounds to me like a passive (vs. aggressive) response that was meant to be a half-parody of what he supposed you believed that he believed. I used to do things like that as a combination surrender/back at you. It also was supposed to get the person to look this exaggerated list of my beliefs and realize that I couldn’t possibly be that unreasonable.
    .
    * I used to ride my bishop and anyone else I could blame for every little imperfection I could find in the ward and the members until I confessed some serious business I was hiding. I felt unlovable, thus unloved. I would feel frustrated when thwarted in projects I had to get people together that not only would develop good feelings but get me the credit for doing it. My gripes were: symptoms of my self-bitterness, to get attention because I felt unloveable, and to tell myself the lack of love I felt was because of my gripes and not my sins. After confessing and receiving surprising unconditional love, my heart turned to wanting to help others instead of to carp about their not-yet-overcome weaknesses.