The Church’s Secret Plot to Undermine the Book of Mormon — EXPOSED!

December 5, 2005 | 26 comments

Apparently some BYU Professor has published an article suggesting that the World Trade Center was brought down by explosive devices, presumably planted by some outside entity, perhaps even by >hushed whisper fraught with unstated menace< the government >/hushed whisper fraught with unstated menace< . John Fowles has posted about it here and Clark Goble followed it up here. As a connoisseur of out-of-control threads, I’d have to give the ensuing discussion at least a B, probably even a B+.

As it turns out, I don’t believe in big, government conspiracies, or big, NGO conspiracies either. Why? Well, lets let a commenter on one of Clark Goble’s threads explain:

having seen people try to do thing in concert, without concern for secrecy, makes me doubt that anybody could act in concert in secret, keep it a secret, and actually bring about the desired result

Exactly. Take church work for instance–until you try and coordinate a church activity, you haven’t lived.

Yet the Book of Mormon clearly teaches that “secret combinations” had a real effect on undermining Nephite society. These weren’t just open robber bands, either. They look, smell, and quack like what we’d call conspiracies.

How to explain the contradiction? The Church’s peculiar combination of a lay, revolving ministry and an underpaid bureacracy, I suggest, deliberately teaches us a false lesson about the competence of large organizations. It’s all part of the plot.


Hey, knuckleheads, that was my neighbor you just shot, not me. My office has my name on the door–can’t you read?

if you want to talk 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, I have conveniently given you a link to Clark Goble’s threads. Don’t comment here. It’s comment deletion season, and I have a license.

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26 Responses to The Church’s Secret Plot to Undermine the Book of Mormon — EXPOSED!

  1. LisaB on December 5, 2005 at 2:30 pm

    License testing.

  2. Adam Greenwood on December 5, 2005 at 3:17 pm

    Sorry, Lisa B. No license for you.

  3. Jonathan Green on December 5, 2005 at 4:04 pm

    Let’s see: Sensitive topic? Check. Opaque inter-blog context? Check. Inscrutable combination of irony and ambiguity? Check. Simmering controversy? Check. Simulated heterodoxy? Check. Blunt threats of deletion, a hint of actual violence, and gratuitous insult? Check, check, check. Adam, you’ve created a masterpiece: you’ve united all known comment-repelling rhetorical strategies in a single post!

  4. Adam Greenwood on December 5, 2005 at 4:11 pm

    I resent the fact that your comment made me grin, Jonathan Green. Next time I’ll just turn the comments off. I’d like to see you get around that.

  5. Mark B. on December 5, 2005 at 4:23 pm

    Deleted one moment. Quoted the next.

    What’s a guy to do?

  6. Kingsley on December 5, 2005 at 4:46 pm

    I see that today’s Daily Universe is running a front-page story wherein Prof. Jones denies rumors of censorship. Also of interest: “First Presidency encourages charity, missionary work”; “BYU publishes cheaper textbooks”; “Women’s basketball record remains unblemished”;
    “Scriptures come alive online”; “Cadaver, slightly blemished, comes alive and demands beard card.”

  7. Adam Greenwood on December 5, 2005 at 5:17 pm

    Charity I can understand, but missionary work? This is stop-the-presses stuff.

    Say hi to Cadaver for me.

  8. Kingsley on December 5, 2005 at 5:41 pm

    He’s sitting right here, just sec.

    fm qoit34u4f dh;af

    I don’t know what that means, but his fingers still have this tendency of sort of slurring together when he types. The beard somewhat covers the ravages of his face, but still there’s this one prim librarian who keeps giving him a hard time.

  9. Anon. on December 5, 2005 at 6:09 pm

    Oh my, do I dare comment? Let’s just say I currently serve in a position where I get to observe a power-hungry person up-close. This person has a small level of authority, and is supposed to work with a larger group, under the direction of an auxillary president and a bishopric counselor. This person (I don’t even want to disclose whether they are a man or woman- I just can’t risk getting outed.) controls even the smallest details of the things they are responsible for, and can’t allow anyone to assist him/her. At the same time, this person constantly tries to overturn the decisions that are the stewardship of others, by behind-the-scenes manipulation often involving outright falsehoods (“I was talking to so-and-so and we are supposed to do XYZ”, when this person did speak to so-and-so, but so-and-so gave exactly the opposite directions.) It constantly causes problems with the rest of us, since we just aren’t devious enough, and this person catches us off-guard, despite our best efforts.

    Some thoughts- it’s not that difficult to throw a group into chaos. One person in a position of mild authority can undermine a lot of higher-ups if they go about it quietly and with a smile on their face. I do think sneaky deceitfulness, along with a thirst for power, is a particularly nasty combination. Secondly, since deceit is such a strong characteristic of secret combinations, you’ll notice in the Book of Mormon that the leaders of these combinations don’t seem to have particularly long careers. It seems they are often betrayed. So while the individuals don’t seem to work well together for long periods of time (since they are always undermining even each other), the organization itself has an extremely long life.

    So when you have a bunch of usually well-intentioned people trying to work together to put on a good ward activity it can be challenging to pull it off. Everyone has slightly different ideas of how to do it, and different ways of going about running things. But secret combinations self-select for like-minded people who are extremely ambitious, and very sneaky in their MO. Also, the MO of a secret combination doesn’t require many people.

    But I love your post. My situation is unusual; I’ve never seen anyone function in a ward like this person. More typically, working in a group in the church can be like herding cats. Maybe the true purpose of having a lay ministry is to inocculate us against the idea that secret combinations could even work- which I think is what you are arguing. Very funny.

  10. Adam Greenwood on December 5, 2005 at 6:38 pm

    fm qoit34u4f dh;af

    You don’t know what that means? What degree Mason are you, anyway?

  11. Kingsley on December 5, 2005 at 6:42 pm

    I’m still at the level where you have to bring the important fellows their beer and drive them home after NFL games.

  12. Adam Greenwood on December 5, 2005 at 6:48 pm

    Well that’s why the librarian is giving Cadaver a hard time, you bet. Not every brand of beer is acceptable in the library.

    Either that or she’s a Mason and can read what he wrote.

  13. Cordeiro on December 5, 2005 at 7:44 pm

    I brushed off my urim and thummim and managed to translate Cadaver’s message: Rule 1 about Secret Combinations – Never comment about Secret Combinations.

  14. Kingsley on December 5, 2005 at 8:16 pm

    Apparently, Cadaver, sick with pneumonia, had got a blessing from his home teachers which didn’t take until he was lying on the slab bathed in noxious antibacterial ointments. It was a shock for everyone. His real name is Gary, by the way.

  15. Seth Rogers on December 5, 2005 at 9:56 pm

    I met several cadavers at BYU as custodian in the Smith Field House.

    Apparently, some spacey Anatomy TA had left the classroom unlocked, door open, with the dead lying about unattended and unrefrigerated.

    I’m sure it gave several radio-wearing custodians on campus a chuckle when I radioed it in to my boss (“Hey ‘boss,’ I’m in room ??? and there’s a bunch of corpses laying around. What do you want me to do about it?”).

  16. LisaB on December 5, 2005 at 11:14 pm

    I meant I was testing how much “license” you would take with your deleting license (i.e. would you delete every comment, or just conspiracy theorists’ comments)

  17. Adam Greenwood on December 6, 2005 at 11:11 am

    Maybe its the lawyer in me, but I always ask my hometeachers to put in a clause excluding recovery after I’ve already become a cadaver. Well, some folks only learn the hard way, huh, Gary?

  18. Kaimi Wenger on December 6, 2005 at 12:01 pm

    This leads inevitably to Bloggernacle, the Horror Movie. In which comments thought to be dead come back to life as undead zombie comments, and must be bludgeoned to death with bunnies. Or dropped in acid. Or holy water, of course, since that’s an old horror movie standby.

    Unfortunately, acid is in short supply. The bunnies run out. And Mormons don’t believe in holy water.

    And so we are surrounded by zombie comments, about to be consumed . . .

    . . . when suddenly Adam reveals the fact that he’s really a Cathlolic priest. He blesses a water main, and the day is saved.

    Watch for it at your local Mollywood theater, circa 2007. With Kristine as the silly blond sex appeal character (aka the screamer), Matt Evans (sporting a fake tattoo) as the stoic, jaded hero, and Steve Evans as the comic relief character who gets eaten by zombies at halftime.

  19. Adam Greenwood on December 6, 2005 at 12:14 pm

    Yes, I am a Cathlolic priest. That’s why I sport the tlonsure and a clerliclal clollar.

  20. john fowles on December 6, 2005 at 12:23 pm

    Hey, that was my post at BT, not Clark’s. Clark did post a follow-up post over there, for some reason though.

  21. Adam Greenwood on December 6, 2005 at 12:36 pm

    Sorry, John Fowles. Let’s fix it.

  22. Mark B. on December 6, 2005 at 3:20 pm

    It’s not every one-line post where you can make five typographical errors (in four words) and every one of them is an extraneous “L”.


  23. Adam Greenwood on December 6, 2005 at 4:28 pm

    Mark B.,

    Read Klaimi’s preceding clomment.

  24. Kingsley on December 6, 2005 at 5:50 pm

    Gary died again, falling down the stairs behind the Richards building. But he left pieces of himself everywhere and we will always remember you, Gary.

  25. Space Chick on December 6, 2005 at 9:08 pm

    Maybe Adam will settle for using consecrated oil? In vat-size quantities?

  26. Adam Greenwood on March 21, 2006 at 8:20 am

    Space Chick,

    Since I’m not a Clathlolic priest, I always make sure to have an olive-oil main nearby, for emergencies.


    Cadavers, beer, and stairs don’t mix. Sad.


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