9:
But What Kind of Work?

The last time I spoke to this august group it was on the subject of the free lunch. Of course I knew that there is no free lunch, but I wished to point out that the price varies. I cited the case of my great-grandparents, who toiled their lives away in the mines of Scotland just for lunch and nothing else; they were not even allowed to take off the time to eat it, lest they infringe on the rightful claims of the mine-owners to their time and labor. On the other hand, I learn from the leading article in the current issue of the Scientific American (May 1987) that “the top 2% of the population . . . have 28% of the total net worth,” while the top 10% own 57% of it. On the other hand, “the bottom 50% have 4.5% of the total net worth. About half of the country’s top wealth holders got there by inheriting their holdings.”1 Would it seem irreverent to suggest that some of those fortunate people enjoy something remotely akin to a free lunch? Somebody always pays for the lunch, and it is obvious that some people eat a lot of lunches they don’t pay for, while a lot of others pay for a lot of lunches they never eat.

Naturally if you don’t want to spend your life in shallows and in miseries, the thing to do is to get into the upper brackets—no matter how, just so you get there.2 Ivan Boesky visited various college campuses preaching to the youth on the merits of what he called cultivating a “healthy greed.”3 But it is before all else the terrifying assurance implicit in the smug free-lunch maxim that without money you are dead, while with it you can have anything in this world, that has turned everyone en masse almost overnight from whatever ideals and goals may have lingered from previous generations to one thing only. From interviews with the Class of ’87, Haynes Johnson discovered that security is what they want, “Not some fuzzy notion of security, either—[but] . . . financial security.” There is a mass shifting of majors from liberal arts to business. The reaction of the students to the insider trading scandals was a quick reply “in a tone of dismissal: ‘Most of us just want a piece of the action’ “! “As they spoke, their conversation took on a chilling quality and was filled with [a] string of spontaneous rationalizations. The end justifies the means. They all do it. Dog eat dog. Those who can’t make it, don’t deserve to. Whiners. Losers versus winners. It’s not what you know, but who you know. Get out of my way. I’m No. 1. Crush ’em. Law of the jungle.” “And this,” concludes the interviewer, “from an era that was supposed to produce a rekindling of American values.”4

A few weeks ago, the TV show “60 Minutes” showed the inability of a group of typical California college students to answer the most elementary questions on geography, history, literature, politics, and so on, in other words, the world we live in. Were the students ashamed of their ignorance of the fundamentals? On the contrary, they were indignant or indifferent when challenged. Why should we learn that stuff? they asked. Why should we know anything about faraway times and places? They could see no point in being concerned with anything that is not right at hand and in the hand. “We want it all, and we want it now!” is the slogan. Intelligence, said William James, is the ability to react to absent stimuli.5 The cockroach and the mouse act to what is immediately around them and no more: “Still thou art blest compar’d wi’ me!” says the poet to the field mouse, “The present only toucheth thee.” Knowing that, Burns can expect to be concerned as “But, och! I backward cast my e’e, on prospects drear! an’ forward, tho’ I canna see, I guess an’ fear.”6 Our present-day grads want none of that. The more intelligent animals know that it pays to heed the rumble of a distant drum, like flood waters advancing from far up in the canyon—survival depends on it. That is why the new generation are letting themselves be dangerously exposed. The great tragedy, perhaps, is that no one, including their teachers, has ever told them why they should be interested in anything but money. In teaching classes in a College of Education in California, I never heard a hint of any reason but one for being in the business—salary was the name of the game.

Just last Sunday [May 17, 1987], an Eastern professor noted on the PBS about the Mormon Missionary Program that Mormonism and Americanism are converging. To what point? An ad from Mademoiselle shows a young woman proclaiming a major achievement in life: “Kiss him goodbye, Maggie. It was easy . . . taking him away from you was a breeze. I deserve him. I have the best things in life; cars, boats and now him. He’s so hot. But he’ll have to cool off . . . for now. Go find yourself another guy, Maggie, he’s mine now.”7 The speaker is a damsel by the name of Sandy, and the immediate secret of her success is the sporting of the proper designer jeans.

This state of mind has been building up for a number of years with steady encouragement of the youth of Zion to become financially independent as their first project in life; to be financially dependent after thirty has become as reprehensible as being unwed. President Kimball exposed the root of that evil in an inspired address to the Church and the nation on the occasion of the national bicentennial. He said he was “appalled and frightened” by what he saw around him. He singled out three primary objects: (1) contempt for the environment, (2) the quest for affluence, and (3) the trust in deadly weapons.8 In all three of these vices, Utah leads the nation. I will not harrow up your minds by reading the long list of appalling statistics about Utah. Suffice it to say that what was designed to be Zion has turned out to be the purlieus of Babylon. For us (1) environment and ecology are dirty words, blocking access to the wealth of the land, which is meant for corporate developers. (2) “Working in the service of a self-image that includes sufficient money, stocks, bonds, investment portfolios, property, credit cards, furnishings, automobiles, and the like to guarantee carnal security throughout, it is hoped, a long and happy life,”9 President Kimball continues, has given us a mindset that is firmly grounded in Satan’s first article of faith, “You can have anything in this world for money.” (3) Implicit trust in military hardware gives us the means of keeping the whole thing going—worldwide markets with mounting production and consumption, continuing to spread the gospel of virtuous violence “until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations” (D&C 87:6).

The price we pay for these three items is staggering. The price we pay for the first is the loss of this earth, “most glorious and beautiful,” designed from the foundations as a place of variety and beauty. The price we pay for the second, setting our hearts on riches, is truth and virtue. Who is not aware of this today? A recent issue of U.S. News and World Report devoted its cover story to the theme of “An Alarming Decline in Basic Honesty” and asks in bold headlines, are we “A Nation of Liars?”10 And here is next month’s issue of Nation’s Business with another bold cover story: “Are Your Employees Stealing You Blind?”11 Here is a brochure from Tom Harward, which promises to sell you a maverick lawyer’s “Money-Making Secrets of His Millionaire Clients.” He zealously admonishes us, “You need to know how the most successful people in the world operate their well-oiled money-machines in acquiring enormous wealth at an incredibly fast rate.”12 Virtue goes down the drain with truth. And the author and pitchman of this plan “for making large amounts of money on a regular basis,” which “doesn’t require any special background or qualifications” (the new Law of the Harvest), is the bishop of a BYU ward.13 The price we pay for the third obsession with the evil ways of other nations is life itself. Here we see the Mahan principle at work in all its glory: “Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain” (Moses 5:31). From the international drug and arms traffic to the sneaky chemical additions in the supermarket, the principle applies: life in exchange for profits. One example should suffice. This month a headline announces that “Radiation Dump Could Bring Cash to County.”14 Some counties actually clamor to convert the land Bountiful into the land Desolation for a quick buck. Here is an idealistic appeal for BYU students to get interested in a new Master of Public Administration program, involving themselves in selfless and dedicated public service [at this point the bemused informant holds aloft a small placard], “Bring in your brain for big bucks.”

The cure for all such ills is, of course, the gospel, but nobody has explained that even to our BYU students. Why is this so? Dr. James R. Kearl, the Dean of Honors and General Education, and Professor of Economics and Law at the BYU, reports the situation in BYU Today: “It’s pretty clear that we have a student body who come here only for job training. They’re bright, they’re capable, but they’re not interested in liberal arts. I visit high schools in an effort to help recruit good students . . . : ‘Tell me about your dreams and aspirations and hopes.’ It’s always ‘money and a job.’ None of them dream of becoming educated people. That just never comes up; . . . institutionally, it appears, we are committed to a different model than our new students seem to be.”15 Just yesterday [May 18, 1987], it was announced on KUTV that Utah has more teenagers working outside of school than any other state. Earlier it was reported that Utah pays less for a child’s education than any other state in the Union. That is great for employers who pay the lowest wages and taxes possible; but, as the report noted, it tends to produce young people who are poorly educated and materialistic—qualities that I have found over many years of teaching large Sunday School classes to be conspicuous among their elders.

Last semester, to find out whether an honors class of remarkably devout students (their unusual final examination papers showed that) made any connection between the gospel and their careers, I asked them, as a midterm assignment, to assume that they had been guaranteed a thousand uninterrupted years of life here on earth, with all their wants and needs adequately funded: How would you plan to spend the rest of your lives here? I explained that this is not a hypothetical proposition, since this is the very situation the gospel puts us in. Whether we want to or not, we are doomed to live forever—even the wicked—for “they cannot die” (Alma 12:18). In accepting the gospel, we are already launched into our eternal program. We can take covenants and receive ordinances for those who are on the other side because they are the identical covenants and ordinances we make on this side. When Elijah announced the establishment of the work among us with the ringing words “The time has fully come!” (D&C 110:14), we no longer ask when, but only what. We are taught to think of ourselves here and now as living in eternity, and how can it be otherwise, since the contracts we make and the rules we live by are expressly “for time and eternity”? So I asked them, How are you going to get started on that thousand-year introduction to a timeless existence? After reading Professor Kearl’s report, I should have known what to expect. Here are some typical answers:

Overwhelmed by the proposition . . . [I] would have to refuse it [“Deny not the gifts of God!” (Moroni 10:8). And the greatest of these gifts is the gift of eternal life (D&C 14:7).]

First I would go crazy, . . . then I would be bored after 100 years. I would be like John and the three Nephites.

I would not want to live here that long. I would make long-term investments in the money markets, . . . would complete my education in business, get an MBA, would find a part-time job and teach my children the value of work. [All this is precluded, of course, by the premise, yet these students have been so brainwashed that they fail completely to see the point.]

It would be a dubious honor to prolong this probationary existence. [And when are we ever to be off probation, if even the angels (fell) “who kept not their first estate” (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Abraham 3:26).]

It’s not a nice question, the pressure would be too great from people who would like money from me. How should I pay tithing on it? How would I use all that money? [For this person the whole question is an economic one.]

I would spend my time in recreation with some serious moments. For a sense of success I might build or write something.

I don’t know if I would want a thousand years. . . . Travel, study, and teach. [You have signed up for the duration and now you want out?]

Could be a blessing or a cursing; I would excel in athletics and general education, would procrastinate a good deal, live in the style of the well-to-do, . . . shopping, camping, dancing.

First I would pay tithing! I would stay out of debt. How to use the funding money is the problem.

I could do nearly everything there was to do several times over. Perform service and drive a Porsche 911.

I can’t imagine changing things much; I am content with the path I am following.

I would turn it down. This life is okay, but I am anxious to get on with my progression in the hereafter. [Doing what? This is your progression into the hereafter!]

And so it goes. No wonder Hamlet finds a world of such people “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.”16 “What is a man” he asks, “if his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more. Sure he that made us with such large discourse, looking before and after, gave us not that capability and god-like reason to fust in us unused.”17 In the TV documentary on missionaries last Sunday, a General Authority declared that “more is expected of us than any generation,” yet nothing could be further from the minds of these young people than the teaching of the Prophet Joseph: “The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man, . . . must stretch as high as the utmost heavens.”18 They don’t seem to realize that we need such knowledge even for survival: “The Saints ought to lay hold of every door . . . to obtain foothold on the earth, and be making all the preparation that is within their power for the terrible storms that are now gathering in the heavens. . . . Any among you who aspire after their own aggrandizement, and seek their own opulence, while their brethren are groaning in poverty . . . cannot be benefited by the intercession of the Holy Spirit.”19 Students today greet such statements as alien and hostile.

What do people do in an eternal society? A recent news item, a typical one these days, tells us of a once flourishing but now decaying mill town in which the population find themselves with all the time in the world on their hands. And what do they do? They spend their days watching video tapes. Instead of exploiting an opportunity for the “plain living and high thinking” that led to the intellectual flowering of New England long ago, they fall back on the paralyzing theatromania,20 which was the final comfort of the last days of Rome. President Harold B. Lee once addressed a group of religion teachers at Brigham Young University; he had just attended a stake conference, and he told us how at a meeting of the high council the question of the hereafter came up. One of the group, an undertaker, humorously noted that he would have to change his profession. Upon this, a dentist chimed in and confessed that he was in the same case; next an insurance man (there are always insurance men in such groups) admitted that there would not be much call for his talents, and then a usedcar salesman saw only limited prospects for his own business, as did the never-failing real estate pusher in the group, and so it went. If these men were not to dedicate themselves to making money, what would they do? A thousand years of guaranteed livelihood rule out the necessity of almost all the professions, businesses, and industries that thrive on the defects of our bodies and the insecurity of our minds.

Needless to say, my students were quick to put me on the spot. All right, wise guy, what would you do? Fortunately I had the whole corpus of scripture and ordinance of the restored gospel to fall back on. In the scriptures we are told that the Son does just what the Father does, and in time it will be our calling to do the same works of the Father (John 14:1–17:26). And how do we go about it? Last Saturday I left the temple loaded with instructions, specific instructions—I found it all laid out for me, because I was looking for it. That is always the case when you are going to the temple. I had had the question put to me point blank and wondered if I could get some hints from the scriptures and in the temple. What I found was practically nothing else but things to do.

1. First of all, in the teachings in all the scriptures and in the House of God we are given to understand that there are certain things we must do and certain other things we must not do. The alternative to doing what God commands us to do, especially after our expressly agreeing to do such, is to be in Satan’s power, for he is granted the authority to “deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice” (Moses 4:4). There can be no compromise here; there is no third way.

2. At the outset of our endeavors, we are given the satisfaction of knowing what this is all going to lead to—exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God. Since that is a vast distance away, everything we do between now and then is preparatory in nature. This rules out dedication to a career on this earth. A carrière is one complete turn of the race course; you have not had a career, as Oedipus discovered, until it is over, until the thing is completed—the climb, the peak, and the decline “to second childishness and mere oblivion.”21 A more forlorn ambition than a career cannot be imagined, and years ago President Stephen L Richards made some scathing remarks in the old Smith Fieldhouse about the futility of aspiring to careers—a sentiment I have rarely heard since then.22 (We now give courses in career planning at the BYU.)

3. Also from the beginning we can expect to be tried and tempted. Satan’s calling and appointment is to try to break us—to see at what point we will give in, to see how far we can be trusted to be true and faithful in all things, in keeping the promises and covenants that cover the entire range of behavior.

4. We can be assured we are going to receive instructions all along. When we have shown our capacity and willingness to keep one, we will be given the next, which is somewhat harder. The first, of course, is to agree to do things God’s way instead of ours—to follow the law of God. This conditions our whole way of life and is expressed more specifically in what follows, the law of obedience to specific commands that we receive through revelation both in the scriptures and in the temple.

5. This means that we will be called upon to make some sacrifices; indeed, to please God we must be willing to sacrifice all the way, taking Abraham for our model, for a proper eternal life is not to be cheaply bought (D&C 132). Eternity is absolute. It must be all or nothing with us, and the law of sacrifice requires us to give up this world at a moment’s notice. Again, “success” is not what we are after, for it’s painfully obvious to us all what that word has come to mean to us today. It is not here that your ultimate goals are to be set or accomplished.

6. A moral life with proper deportment and conduct at all times and uncompromising insistence on chastity is a positive charge and command which theoretically is supposed to be followed by all Christians, and, of course by all who accept the restored gospel. It determines not only how we shall act in our general conduct, but specifically what course we shall steer through the waters of a wicked and adulterous generation, in which the mores and customs are no more, if they ever were, those of the celestial kingdom: “For I give not unto you that ye shall live after the manner of the world. . . . Zion . . . [must live by] the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself” (D&C 95:13).

I have written somewhat on the theme that “without the temple, civilization is a hollow shell,” a world of convenience and expedience only, where a totally different set of beliefs prescribes all our activities.23 From the outside, the temple is anything but a practical structure, and the activity within is a great inconvenience and time-consumer, with nothing to recommend it to our economy. Inversely, from inside the temple the shenanigans of the outside world look restless and absurd—everything the exact opposite from what is in the temple. But both worlds have one thing in common: neither is a permanent dwelling; they are both places of passage and of testing. You get your one time on earth and your one chance at endowment or approbation, and then you move on.

7. As the Lord’s Prayer tells us, what we want here and now is for God’s kingdom to come here below, so that his will may be done here on earth exactly as it is in heaven. That is not the state of things today; it is the law of Moses, the law of consecration, which was never changed because the people never really kept it, and which is carried on right into the New Testament and the restored gospel. The Lord’s Prayer is a call to the law of consecration.

8. We can be sure that we will go on seeking instructions as we need them, perhaps forever, for we follow the example of Adam and Abraham, ever seeking more light and knowledge, and we leave the temple as we close the scriptures with that commitment. We are guaranteed instruction and guidance at every step and are advised to ask for it and to follow it.

It is all preparation, but preparatory for what? “As God is, so man may become”;24 specifically John tells us that the Lord was “worthy to take out . . . of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10). Rule, malakh, that is, to be a king, is to establish and follow the regulum, to keep things on the track, constantly prompting and instructing and acting with grace (D&C 121:34-46). To reign is from the same root but gives us regnare, to be righteous and truthful: rex erit qui recte faciet, qui non faciet, non erit, was the ancient Roman formula.25 You are king only to the degree to which you are just and true, and if you do not do what is right and honest, you are no king. In the kingdom, the rex must be truth itself, in short, like “mine Only Begotten Son who is full of grace and truth” (Moses 6:52). There is no need for anyone in this life to feel lost for a lack of problems to work on!

Finally, the point of it all is summed up in the culminating words of every great ordinance and performance, the mandatory “Forever!” That is what we want to know more than anything else. The infinitely poignant question that is asked and implied on every side today is, Is that all there is? Must it all end so soon? In other words, must we renounce the countless accomplishments within the known scope of our present gifts and talents before we have even begun to realize the tiniest fraction of our potential? “I advise all,” said the prophet, “to go on to perfection and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Godliness. . . . [As for myself] it has always been my province to dig up hidden mysteries, new things, for my hearers.”26 How we shy off from those things today! There is to be no discussion in the temple. When we leave the edifice, we leave one world, usually with a sigh of relief, feeling quite satisfied with ourselves, to return to the other, where we feel more at home. Which is the real world? That is the question.

There is a fascinating and much-neglected branch of early Jewish and Christian literature dealing with the debates in the Council in Heaven at the creation of the world.27 Two main issues are discussed solemnly but with passion. (1) Is it worth the risk? In view of what the earth will have to suffer, is it really best to go ahead and let the human race do its worst—for they are not to be denied free agency? (2) The second question is the one that interests us here. If we create the world and the spirits go down there and take on bodies, just what will they do to fill the span of their earthly lifetime? Eating and drinking will not be enough, though in the present order the lunch ethic pretty well covers everything. Deprived of their former glory, what can interest them or profit them? There won’t be time, it was argued, for really serious labors. Do they just hang on?

A definitive clue to what we should be doing here is provided in those ancient catalogues of the organs and faculties of mankind, listing and describing the things human beings are best equipped to do. The subject is impressively treated in the Egyptian Shabako Stone inscription, preserving what is thought to be the oldest connected text in the world, and in what is believed to be the oldest Hebrew book, the Sefer Yetzirah, commonly attributed to none other than Abraham. Both are accounts of the creation, and they are temple texts.28 The subject is also treated in many resurrection texts, in particular the Egyptian initiatory rite of the Opening of the Mouth. In funeral ceremonies and in the Adam literature, we see the inflicting of the “Blows of Death,” to put the members of the body on hold, or on ice as it were, until resurrection time.29 Finally, a most interesting literature on the Demotion of Satan in both Jewish and Early Christian sources, and a large corpus of Egyptian texts on the overthrowing of Seth or Apophis, tells how the discredited angel is deprived of his supernal powers member by member.30

These are the gifts and talents that prescribe our proper activities on this earth (there are usually seven or twelve, the cosmic numbers):

1. First of all, before anything can happen, one must be aware of being in the world. A measure of awareness is apparently possessed by all living things, and the greater the awareness, the greater the intelligence. If our time here is to have any meaning at all, our brain and intellect must be clear and active; otherwise we might as well send bags of sand through the endowment while running up the most satisfying statistics on our computers. This is, of course, the most exhilarating aspect of the whole thing—our life here, a constant mental exercise, the purest form of fun, with a minimum of mechanization.

2. In this life we have too many options. There are thousands of good things any of us could be doing at this moment but will never be allowed to do, because of the shortness of time and the peculiar need we have to focus on just one thing at a time. As I lie in my bed and gaze at the shelf-lined wall of my room, I suffer pangs of frustration, seeing there a wondrous array of books which I have spent many years preparing to read and gleefully collecting in dusty bookstores of Europe and America. But now, just as I am able to handle the stuff, I must forego the temptation and the delight because there is other work at hand—it’s the Egyptian stuff that will keep me going the rest of my days. What can any of us do in such a predicament? We can only “hear the word of the Lord,” and to hear is to obey; that is why the Egyptian Opening of the Mouth actually begins with the ears.31 From the very first amid a million possible paths we are lost and bumbling without God’s instructions; and in fact both his works and his words are for our benefit (Moses 1:38-39), the words always going along with the works to put us into the picture: “My works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease” (Moses 1:4).

3. Next is the eye, a positive obsession with the Egyptians and the Hebrews (they called Abraham “the Eye of the World”), who believed that it commands the data necessary for a comprehension of the structure of the cosmos itself. “The eye cannot choose but see,” and what it sees is the big picture—it gauges and measures, perceiving rations and proportions and noting those that are pleasing and those that are not, and it compares and structures all by the awareness of light, the constant and the measure of all things. The word intelligence is from inter-legere, meaning to make a selection between things, to put a number of things together and to classify, to view the situation and to make a decision; and to make a decision is to discern—the brain and intellect must have something to work with, data that comes mostly by sight.32

4. Being aware, instructed, and informed does not complete a fullness of joy, we are told, which can come only when spirit is united with the body. The enjoyment of the senses, says Brigham Young, is one of our greatest privileges upon this earth. The most primitive and primary of senses, we are told, and the one in which the Egyptians find the liveliest earthly sensations and delights, is the sense of smell, being most closely tied to emotion and memory, as well as to the delights of taste and touch. If an important aspect of our sojourn here is the release of tension, monotony, and drabness by those sensual delights best represented by the nose, it is the disciplined taste, smell, and touch as well as hearing and seeing that have, as Brigham Young again informs us, the greatest capacity for enjoyment; and discipline means control.33 Appetites, desires, and passions can give us the best of what they have to offer only if they are kept within the bounds the Lord has set. Beyond those bounds they become surfeit and corruption, and the source of almost every unpleasant sensation. By a clear and definitive statement, we are saved from wandering everlastingly amid moral quandaries and probabilistic exercises such as the endless debates of the doctors and schoolmen on just how naughty is naughty.

5. We are never alone; we share a universe of discourse through the miracle of the word. Again we quote a favorite passage: “There is no end to my works, neither to my words” (Moses 1:4). “Behold, this is my work and my glory,” namely, to share with others what he has, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:38-39). There is nothing mysterious about the endlessly debated logos—it is communication. God does not choose to live in a vacuum. Nothing is said about the mouth as eating, and indeed the Lord says that what goes into the mouth is not the important thing but what comes out of it; for it is that which puts us into touch with each other.

Back to the Egyptians and the Hebrews. Those two oldest books in the world which we mentioned, both contain the same peculiar doctrine of the Word. According to this, we have “the seven gates of the head,”34 the openings—eyes, ears, nostrils, and mouth, which are the receptors by which we take in all the data that come to us in various energy packages from the outer world. In the mind, the brain, and the heart, so goes the doctrine, this data is processed, sorted, interpreted, and given form and meaning; but though we have seven receptors, there is only one projector, and that is the mouth. By word of mouth alone do we communicate with others to discover how closely our idea of the world matches theirs, thereby assuring ourselves that our world must indeed have an objective basis in reality. You must take my word for it that I see and hear what I say I see and hear, and therefore if I wish, I can so easily confuse you by spreading false reports that all values and relationships become confounded. Satan is the Author of Confusion, the Father of Lies, the Deceiver, “the fiend who lies like truth,” and he does all of his work by distortion of the word, the systematic study of the ambitious rhetorician, lawyer, salesman, and politician. What God asks of the mouth and lips, therefore, is not that they eat the proper food—they have means of sensing that—but that they never speak guile!

6. It is essential while we are moving among the properties and characters of our earthly drama that we deport ourselves properly and keep our physical plant in top form, upright and alert. They used to make a big thing of the Posture Parade at the BYU, and I always used to wonder why my grade-school teachers made such a fetish of “holding your head up.” The ancients considered the neck as the tower, a sort of control on the rest of the body, the index of confidence and courage. It is the characteristic mark of the alert and healthy animal. All the basic signs for vitality in Egyptian depict the neck and esophagus. Let us not underestimate, as I long did, the importance of the neck in keeping the whole body properly in line.

7. You can expect to have trials and burdens not a few, for that is part of the game; and for that your shoulders and back should be strong—those burdens are necessary to the plan and are meant to be borne. Best of all, they will not hurt you! The kings of old did not disdain to represent themselves carrying loads of brick on their backs for the building of the temple.

8. Along with that, you are to be valiant; mere innocence is not enough, as Brother Brigham said, if you are to realize your potential. The ancient formula blesses the arms to be strong in wielding the symbolic sword of righteousness. At any rate, passivity is not for you; you must expect and prepare to face opposition, stiff opposition, head-on. And the Saints have always had more than their share of that.

9. Besides the brain, the phrenos, the ancients considered the thumos, the breast, the main receptacle and processor of our feelings and emotions. It is there that the surges of passion or fear are felt, and it is there that our prevailing attitude to things is engendered. If it is important for our words, our rational and objective intercourse, to be absolutely guileless, it is equally important that our feelings be pure and virtuous, for any other feelings are necessarily false and pernicious—what possible use or excuse can there be for them?

10. As to our reins (kidneys) and liver, you leave your innards alone; they should perform their proper function on their own, and the less they attract our attention, or anyone else’s, the better! It is interesting that the less people are doing in the building of the kingdom or in seeking light and knowledge, the more they worry about their bodily functions, as our TV commercials amply attest.

11. The Hebrew and Egyptian rites place one goal and one delight above all others, the joy in one’s posterity, in patriarchal succession. Everywhere, both people give us to understand that the ultimate delight is to be in the company of one’s own flesh and blood. As Wilhelm Busch in one of the best-known lines in German literature informs us, it is not difficult to become a father, it may even be pleasant, but it is the result that is the wonder and glory and burden of our existence. Another quality we share with God.

12. Lastly comes our means of getting around in the world, feet and legs. The Egyptians place great emphasis on this; the resurrection is finally achieved only when the legs are set in motion on the path of eternity. As to Abraham, the official title of his biography, whether in the Bible or the Apocrypha, is lech lecha, “Get up and get going!” and so he did, a wanderer and a stranger until the end of his life. The Saints are the most mobile of mortals, das wandernde Gottesvolk (God’s wandering people), like Abraham, strangers and pilgrims, but missionaries in the world, meant to circulate abroad, to get around and broadcast the good news and spread the stakes of Zion.

The Mystery of Creation

The scriptures tell us that God has a work to do, that the Son does the works of his Father (John 5:17, 19), and that he promises all those who believe on him in time to do the works that he does, and yet greater works (John 14:12). And what does God do? He creates: “Millions of earths like this . . . would not be a beginning” (Moses 7:30). There is no end to his creations, and he wants us to go with him, be where he is, and do what he does. The ultimate damnation is to be banished, “cut off,” from his presence, just as the supreme blessing is to “enter into my joy and sit down on my throne.”35 He enjoys his work.

What is creation? An endless procession of worlds rolling off the assembly line? No, creation never duplicates; it is never mere production after a set mold. Creation begins where everything else, everything that has been done so far, has reached its utmost limit of accomplishment. Again, to refer to our two archaic sources, creation begins in the mind, with the intelligence, what the scientists call a singularity, a thing that cannot be described or explained or understood but that yet cannot be denied—it is real. According to our sources, God first conceived in his mind and then by his word explained his plan to the Council. They hailed the proposal with cries of inexpressible joy, the great Creation Hymn, “when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).36

But to expand the frontier of invention, one must first reach it, and to reach it one must pass through the whole vast realm of what has already been discovered. Must you learn everything? Yes, for if you leave anything out, how will you know that it is not the most important of all, “the stone which the builders rejected” (Matthew 21:42)? This journey may last for ages, and it holds forth the anticipation of wonders and delights that grow as ever-increasing knowledge heightens our capacity to comprehend what we are experiencing. This has nothing to do with the learning of the schools. The tradition of Western education is rhetorical, success oriented, and concerned wholly with appearances; it cost Socrates his life to show the Sophists just how superficial and dishonest their system was. The basic formula of creativity is C =1/M, that is, the creative act is in inverse proportion to the material required, which could be illustrated in the case of the military. The creative act, as Sir John Eccles, Buckminster Fuller, Karl Popper, and others have described it, is the product of weightless and immaterial mind, pure and simple; that alone does all the creating.37 All creative work is art, and none know that better than the great creative scientists, as John M. Keynes points out in his study on Newton.38 All creative power is “genius,” for all genius is by definition creative, an inborn capacity that cannot be traced back farther or derived from any other source than the mind of some individual. This, of course, is a mystery, but it is real.

But with that are we not asking for the impossible? We are talking here about ourselves and the rest of the Latter-day Saints. Geniuses are few and far between, and there is no known method of producing them. You can’t ask miracles of people. But if that is the answer, then let us forget all that talk about men becoming as gods, “As God is, man may become,” ruling and reigning forever. Just last Sunday Brother Ballard told the world what prodigies are expected of the Latter-day Saints, and he declared that “we believe that as spiritual children of our Father in Heaven we have that capacity.”39

What Kind of Progress?

There are two stock objections to any proposal of living forever, namely, (1) the desperate monotony of the standard hymn-singing, harp-playing, Christian heaven, the endless boredom of it all. Related to that is (2) the non-progressive, stagnant, everlasting sameness of existence. Science fiction writers like Robert Heinlein have written about the Old Ones40 in some imaginable future world who have lived on for untold ages, seen it all, are bored beyond endurance, yet who cannot die, doomed to the same terrible fate to which Alma consigns the wicked ones who are not fit for eternal life yet must suffer it (Alma 12:25-26).

And so we get to what we consider an improvement on the picture, what we call a dynamic society as opposed to a stable one. Let us consider briefly the case of the progressive, competitive, acquisitive society, which must always be expanding. This, as Brigham Young and John Kenneth Galbraith have shown, is a physical impossibility;41 for not only is the supply of raw materials limited by nature (we do not go to the moon for them, said Brigham), but as Paul tells us, it is only good for people to consume what they need. To want more is a “temptation and a snare” (1 Timothy 6:8-10). We have contrived a way to keep things going by destroying our natural resources at an accelerating pace as long as there are any left, while assuring an expanding market by ever more extravagant excesses of Madison Avenue unreality, inventing outrageous needs for pernicious products. To keep producing what we do not need, not only high-powered advertising but deliberate obsolescence is necessary: the greatest buildings are designed to be pulled down in thirty years; mighty dams fill up in twenty to fifty years; oil fields and mines play out; the great woods vanish; and what is the end product of modern civilization? Quite literally and actually, the garbage dump.

In the winding-down phase of World War II, I was at Sixth Army Group headquarters in Heidelberg making out the daily intelligence reports. Just outside the city in the Rhine Plain was an enormous dump. I had never seen anything remotely resembling a city dump in Germany during my mission; such a thing was simply inconceivable. But in every European town the sign of American military occupation was sure to be a huge tel, smoldering amid miasmic vapors while the hungry natives busily salvaged among its foul deposits. Every civilization is destined at best to become rubble. What does an expanding, predatory civilization leave behind for posterity? Junk. Even the ruins are hideous.

Well, what do stable cultures leave behind? Themselves. By virtue of staying themselves, they survive indefinitely—five thousand years is quite possible. For they are not brittle as the wholly competitive orders are, easily shattered, as the Book of Mormon shows us, by envy and strife when the pressure is on. The well-known prehistoric ways of the “primitives” and the manners and customs of “the unchanging East” leave much to be desired, to be sure, for their vices and cruelties are often as much a part of the package as the appealing quaintness and sometimes haunting beauty of ancient things. But an eternal society, an everlasting Zion, worlds without end—that is quite another thing. It can no more carry on forever laden with defects and imperfections than a bridge or tower can stand forever weakened by even minor flaws in construction.

But there have been some almost-stable structures in which life is far more enjoyable than in the restless and acquisitive “progressive” order of things—that is precisely why they are so enduring—because everybody likes them. I saw the clearest contrast between these two ways of life when I was in Hotevilla some years ago. The Peabody Corporation, eager to grab tribal coal lands, had pitted what it called the “progressive” members of the tribal council against the “traditionalist” party led by John Lansa. The company’s plan was highly progressive; it was to move the entire tribe to Los Angeles and establish them in mobile homes at the company’s expense. This would supplant that nonprogressive, tradition-bound society that had found a secure and peaceful way of life (the word Hopi means “peaceful”) for at least a thousand years in a land where none of us could survive for one year: Sister Teresa Harvey’s house at Walpi was tested by the tree-ring method and found to be eight hundred to eleven hundred years old. Strangely enough, life in these stable societies is anything but boring, as my frequent visits to the Hopis showed me, for each new generation coming along has to learn about the mystery of the world as it is, “so various, so beautiful, so new”; and each individual, young or old, spends his whole lifetime familiarizing himself with evernew and exciting wonders of the Creation, the world of nature, which, as President Joseph F. Smith said, exactly resembles heaven, after which it was patterned, as it came from the hand of God.42

On the other hand, for excitement in our dynamic, restless, ambitious society, we have virtually given the monopoly to the world of prime-time TV, glorifying the four things Mormon says will destroy a civilization—the lust for power, riches, popularity, and the desires of the flesh (3 Nephi 6:15): the whole scenario of our idealized lifestyle comes night after night to one ordained solution, the definitive quietus of the mandatory explosion, vaporizing all the bad guys in an instant and promising vistas of indefinable and ineffable future bliss to all the good guys. Even the “lifestyles of the rich and famous” have become a dismal bore in short order, a supersaturation of routines and postures. An issue of Mademoiselle—296 pages long—is nearly all advertising, scores and scores of ads all striving to be outrageously, impudently far-out and sophisticated, and all desperately and pathetically alike.

The smoldering dump, the frantic disinformation that keeps it going, the ghastly inner cities, and finally the terror of the age, the nondisposable mountains of radioactive garbage which only Utah welcomes, are all necessary to maintain the capacity to consume on a par with the capacity to produce. It is the stable cultures that are really progressive. We are only to stay here for a limited time in the brief testing situation; there is no need to replace the props by ever-new and improved models, because the props are new to every generation, and the test is a standard one. By neglecting to consult the writings of the ancients, we miss the fact that in their trials and triumphs, individually and collectively, they had to undergo exactly the same trials that we do: the props of the plays, the technology and the fashions, wear out and are constantly being replaced, but the issues and the plot always remain the same. Today, some scientists are observing with wonder that amidst all the vast, uncontrollable destructive powers that are on the loose in the universe, enlisted in the service of remorseless and irreversible entropy, here on this perilously exposed little planet, battered by solar winds from one side and cosmic rays from the other, while seething inwardly with unimaginable heat and pressure, we somehow find ourselves in an ambience peculiarly congenial to our comfort and convenience, as if somebody actually had us in mind. Why should we seek to alter the order of life in such a world at the ultimate risk of destroying it utterly.43

Few seem to realize that by the injunctions of our religion we are committed to a stable economy. Adam was told that he could eat freely of anything in the Garden, but that he was not to despoil it but was charged expressly to “take good care of it.” We are no longer in the Garden, but we are striving to return to it: “We believe . . . that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent [in fact, by the law of consecration we are working on that right now]; . . . and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory”—the earth again as it should be (Article of Faith 10).

With Adam we are invited to take freely of whatever we need of “the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth” (D&C 49:19). That is the rule; taking what we need is not murder to get gain, not the Mahan principle; that is another economy entirely, which pretends to justify itself on the grounds of necessity. “That great secret” of converting life into property (Moses 5:31), we see it at work from the professional hit man and the impartial arms merchant down to the profit-boosting, life-shortening additives in the supermarket.

A far commoner objection to eternal constancy than lack of progress is the fear of a monotonous sameness in a stable society, where fashions of dress and diet stay the same for ages. It is even objected that as people become more perfect, they will become more alike. Well, in some things we should be alike. As people develop more perfect bodies, they do come to be alike in that aspect. As far as we know, the angels all dress alike, in basic white. How monotonous! But that is not where we seek variety and originality—no one had more boundless contempt for “the nasty and pernicious fashions” of the ladies than Brigham Young.44 Yet it is precisely to the externals that decadent societies turn for inspiration. Doctors and trainers often see perfectly developed bodies, but nobody can even begin to imagine what a perfect mind would be like; that is where the whole range of progress and growth must take place.

Let us take the case of the three B’s. After the marvelously inventive music of the Renaissance and early Baroque, there was little more to be said. And then along came Bach, who in all modesty opened up new worlds. That pretty well finished it, until along came Beethoven, and he opened up new worlds, leaving nothing else to do, that is, until Brahms came along and opened up yet new worlds. What each of these men did was unique; none of them ever produced a “school,” none gave rise to generations of imitators—each was himself and himself alone. As the works of the masters progress, they tend to become ever more alike in their attributes of greatness, the loftiness of spirit, the total honesty and confident mastery of their idiom, their reverential awe in the presence of their own shortcomings and the genius of others. They resemble each other as the peaks of the Himalayas resemble each other. But at the same time, as each one grows, his works become less and less like those of anyone else, until the great masters are completely beyond imitation; no one would even want to imitate them. Minor composers by the hundreds flourished in the days of all three B’s, and they all sound just alike. It is the inferior who lack variety, and they strive for it by frantic imitation of the most far-out type, which of course becomes the most stereotyped; or else they seek for recognition in titles, offices, and awards.

Philip of Macedon in a writing called the Pseudo-Callisthenes explains the peculiar greatness of his son, Alexander, by noting that he was homoios te phusei, of the same natural makeup as anyone else, but was of an anomoios character, that is, absolutely unique in character, that quality which “was not created or made, neither indeed can be” (D&C 93:29). Alexander, in turn, declared that there was only one man whom he would prefer to be “if I were not Alexander,” and that was, of all people, Diogenes, who lived in a tub and went about like the prophets of Israel, advertising a “mystery” by waving his lamp in search for an honest man. For Alexander the Great, Diogenes was the greatest because he never felt obliged to be like anyone else.

Whenever a creator creates, it is something that has never been done before. “Lord, how is it done?” Admittedly we are launched into a daring enterprise of fearful commitment. “I saw the father work out a kingdom with fear & trembling, & I can do the same.”45 The creative moment is entirely one’s own, or it is not creative; one must find oneself in a new and unprecedented situation and all alone, with nothing to sustain one but faith. Yet, strangely, the reality of one’s existence is sufficient guarantee to keep one going; if we can seek no further, neither do we need to: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were formed by the word of God” (Hebrew 11:3). Faith suggests something like the four elemental forces: we know that they exist by observing their effects, and we can profit by respecting the rules they seem to prefer. But no one has even an inkling of an idea of what they are.

Vates malorum

There is a strange thing in the land. That tendency to suicidal suspension of reason and conscience which the Greeks called ate seems to have seized the whole world. Life on earth has suddenly taken on an apocalyptic aspect. There is much debate and uncertainty about the dating of the biblical plagues, but there can be no question about the timing of those set forth in our modern scriptures: “With the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; . . . and with famine, and plague, and earthquake” (D&C 87:6). And just a few years ago we thought we had famine and plague licked. We have been taught to expect what we now see around us, “secret combinations and the works of darkness, . . . fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands, . . . wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places. . . . There shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms” (Mormon 8:27-31). You get it all on prime time: “For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches. . . . Why do ye . . . suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you and notice them not” (Mormon 8:37, 29), and so on. “Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you” (Mormon 8:41). We could go on and on, but what about the other side of the picture? That too is prophesied.

“Israel, Israel, God is calling,” we often sing, “Babylon the great is falling.” But we have taken our stand between them; Brigham Young speaks of Latter-day Saints who want to take Babylon by one hand and Zion by the other—it won’t work. Since World War II, it seems that we have been steadily converging with Babylon while diverging from some of the old teachings. Latter-day Saint children of the rising generation have never heard of their Guardian Angel, or of the recording of our every deed in a book in heaven; they were never told as we were as children that “it is a sin to kill a fly,” and have never heard that satirical little verse which General Authorities used to quote in stake conference: “Money, O Money, thy praises I’ll sing! Thou art my Savior, my God and my King!” That would be quite unthinkable today, a kind of sacrilege. Because some of the old teachings are still preserved in the temple, certain anomalies appear to the younger generation. A bishop told me this month that people coming to renew their recommends when they are asked whether they keep all their covenants frequently answer no, explaining that they do not keep the law of consecration. A General Authority recently told me that the important thing is to observe the law of consecration “spiritually.” Yes indeed, say I, and the law of tithing also—how much better to observe it spiritually than in a gross, material way—a great comfort to the rich. And yet the express purpose of both those laws is to test the degree of our attachment to material things, not to provide an exercise in “spiritual” semantics.

Well, it has all been foreseen and prophesied. “Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed . . . shall be fulfilled” (D&C 1:7). I find it highly significant that all the prophecies of the Millennium specify that it must be immediately preceded by tremendous destructions, a royal house-cleaning, with the vapors of smoke covering the earth and all the tribes of the earth, no matter how far removed, in mourning.

The best answer to our questions about what to do for a thousand years and how one goes about creating is to be found in what is perhaps the most portentous message delivered to the modern world, the letter from Liberty Jail. The whole thing deals with the perilous condition of the Saints caught between the vision of Zion and the American Dream. Their fixation on Zion put them terribly at odds with the world around them: “Every species of wickedness and cruelty practiced upon us will only tend to bind our hearts together and seal them together in love.”46 “The inhumanity and murderous disposition of this people! It shocks all nature; it beggars and defies all description; . . . it cannot be found among the heathens . . . among the savages of the wilderness.”47 But even more dangerous was the threat of that other dream to their own integrity.

Was it expecting too much of ordinary people to turn from one world to another? They had a hard time making it: “How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations—too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God . . . from before the foundation of the world!”48 They never completely broke contact with the world, and after the death of Brigham Young they were pulled irresistibly into its orbit. We say, The Prophet! The Prophet! We have got us a Prophet! But when he speaks on the most solemn occasion, the bicentennial of the nation, with the deepest fervor and conviction about the conditions of the time and the course we must take, we give his remarks the instant deep-freeze.

The supreme revelation on authority and guidance is the letter from Liberty Jail (D&C 121). We are everlastingly talking about being “spiritual”; what does that mean? The highest state of spirituality is to be filled with the spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, which has “no other effect,” says the Prophet, than that of releasing our intelligence, “expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge.”49 I say “releasing” because “intelligence . . . was not created . . . neither indeed can be,” for “man also was in the beginning with God” (D&C 93:29). Like other latent forces, intelligence is there and waiting to be released. Note the key words in this statement on the high estate of spirituality. It is peculiarly “powerful in expanding [1] the mind, enlightening [2] the understanding, and storing [3] the intellect with present [4] knowledge, of a man who is the literal seed of Abraham.”50 And if you do not happen to be that, “the pure [5] spirit of intelligence,” if one cultivates it, “will make him actually of the seed of Abraham.”51 It is “[6] the spirit of revelation . . . when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it will give you sudden strokes of [7] ideas.”52 It is the merit of the seed of Abraham, with all their stubbornness and backsliding, that above all people they treasure the things of the mind. The first commandment given to the Church in modern times was “seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you” (D&C 6:7). It would be hard to imagine a program more repugnant to the present course the world is taking.

And what is the good news about those creative powers? How can they be approached even in this life? By faith, to be sure: “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men . . . and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven” (D&C 121:45). We have, of all people, Sigmund Freud to thank for showing us how our sins, even if we don’t think of them as sins and cover them up by protestations of noble and selfless motivation, nevertheless abide hidden in the subconscious, to undermine our confidence, paralyze action, and lead to all sorts of frustrations, ulcers, rashes, and nervous disorders; only with virtuous thoughts can we proceed with that total confidence which creative work requires. “The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion [that is the inspiration for which we are eligible here below], . . . and thy dominion [the scope of influence and control] shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means, it shall flow unto thee forever and ever” (D&C 121:45-46). What a timely message in a world that is unable to conceive of achieving anything at all except by compulsory means.

Question Period

Sister Camilla Kimball, with characteristic directness and insight, asked, “After all, just what specifically are we to do on our thousand-year vacation?” Others intoned Amen to that, and so further clarification was in order. This is how I would answer:

The solution is at hand in the very first step of our initiation into the kingdom—an active brain. We can think of the brain as Sir John Eccles and others do, as supplying the substance of thought to the mind.

Q. What does the mind do with the stuff?

A. That is up to the mind. It is up to you. Spengler thought the ultimate disaster for any civilization or individual was to end up in a condition of Problemlosigkeit—having completely run out of problems.

Q. What do we do then?

A. Not to worry. The mind itself is the problem and must, as Shakespeare tells us, minister to itself.

Q. But there is still the question, “Men and Brethren, what shall we do?”

A. Anything you want to!

Q. But that is no answer!

A. You will not get the answer until you get over your present hangup.

Q. How do we do that?

A. Do what Peter tells us to do: Have faith that there is more than you know; repent of all your present shallowness and silliness; wash off everything of this world in the waters of baptism, and be reborn, not in the self-congratulatory one-shot manner of pop religion, but to a course of action requiring perpetual, progressive repentance. Then “ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” and get the guidance you need (Acts 2:37-38).

Q. Perpetual repentance?

A. At least until you are full of grace and truth, which is nowhere within the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, “an unexamined life is not worth living,” as Socrates said.

Q. And what do you examine?

A. The scope of things we can do and should be doing; the order of their priority is the domain of philosophy.

Q. Then why haven’t the philosophers answered the question of what we should be doing?

A. Because they are required by their profession to disagree. They have answers, but altogether too many of them!

Q. Then where do we turn?

A. Always to the gospel. Let us review our rambling discourse. We began by noting that wherever we turn today we find frank admission of dire delinquency in the American way of life. That is why I asked the question What should we be doing? Then I noted that we are endowed at birth with capacities which in the Endowment proper we are challenged to put to use here and in eternity. We are expected to observe, listen, communicate, beget, construct, and so on. And the materials to work with are all at hand. What more could you ask?

Q. What indeed. You said what more when you pointed out that we have altogether too much potential and too much material to deal with ever to be sure of choosing the most profitable course of action. So we do need some more.

A. Meaning that we will always need the gospel.

Q. But we are also told that it is an unprofitable servant who must be commanded in all things; that men must do much good of themselves, and so on. Isn’t that a contradiction?

A. No. Suppose you present the hypothetical Gentle Savage with a flute or a guitar. He asks you, What shall I do with it? If you are wise you will not answer him but let him find out for himself as others have, and that is best for all concerned, for he may come back to you for lessons and know how to appreciate them.

Q. And how does that apply to us?

A. The present generation of students are given the aptitude and the instrument, but they take no action.

Q. Why not?

A. They are simply not interested. They are too busy thinking about lunch, cooked on a jim-cracked philosophy that has been pushed on them as the epitome of wisdom, the credo of business civilization: “There is no free lunch!” They are paralyzed; Satan has won this round.

Q. What do you mean.

A. He has us all believing that if we stop working for him we will starve, that if we do not play his game we must become the victim; “he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey” (Isaiah 59:15). The treasures of the earth—the precious metals, oil, coal, uranium, and so on—have indeed enabled the prophesied “secret combinations for power and gain” to buy up kings and presidents, armies and navies, popes and priests (the military-industrial-ecclesiastical complex, if you will) as a rule of blood and horror even now spreads over the entire earth.

Q. What has that to do with the subject at hand?

A. In such a condition I can think of no more timely or wholesome subject of study than what awaits us beyond all this feverish, depraved, and demented activity. If we could do what we really wanted to do, what would it be? We must at least think about it if we would ever start in that direction—in which, incidentally, we are supposed to have been moving ever since 1830.

Q. But weren’t Brothers Joseph, Brigham, Taylor, Woodruff, Snow, and so on, looking beyond the mark? Aren’t such things out of range of our feeble vision and even more beyond our capacity, best left for the present out of sight and out of mind? Shouldn’t we keep within the safe and familiar boundaries of the world as we know it, the real world?

A. That, dear brethren, is the condition known as being damned. Do you want to settle for that?

Notes
*This talk was given May 19, 1987, as a sequel to Nibley’s lecture entitled “Work We Must, But the Lunch is Free,” given on April 20, 1982, both at the Cannon-Hinkley Club in Salt Lake City.

1. Lester C. Thurow, “A Surge in Inequality,” Scientific American 256 (May 1987): 30.

2. Cf. Horace, Epistles I, 1, 65-66: “Does he advise you better, who bids you ‘make money, money by fair means if you can, if not by any means money.'” For English translation, see T. E. Page, ed. Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica (London: Heinemann, 1966), 257. See also Alexander Pope, Epistle I, 1, 103: “Get place and wealth, if possible with grace; if not by any means get wealth and place.”

3. Ivan Boesky, in an article by Mariann Caprino, “Healthy Greed Was Boesky’s Undoing,” Salt Lake Tribune (20 November 1986): D9.

4. Haynes Johnson, “Student Values? Peace, Love Give Way to Money, Power,” Salt Lake Tribune (24 April 1987): A22.

5. William James, Essays in Philosophy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978), 19-20; cf. William James, Essays in Radical Empiricism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976), 45, where James differentiates between the “brain which functions so as to insure survival” and the “reflective intellect” which operates beyond experience.

6. Robert Burns, “To a Mouse,” Poetical Works of Robert Burns (Philadelphia: Lippincott, n.d.), 134-35.

7. Advertisement in Mademoiselle (April 1987): 30.

8. Spencer W. Kimball, “The False Gods We Worship,” Ensign 6 (June 1976): 3-6.

9. Ibid., 4.

10. Merrill McLoughlin, “A Nation of Liars?” U.S. News and World Report 102 (23 February 1987): 54.

11. Nation’s Business 75 (June 1987): 1; Harry Bacas, “To Stop a Thief,” Nation’s Business 75 (June 1987): 16-22.

12. The brochure from Tom Harward begins in large bold letters: “The startling confessions of a Maverick Lawyer who is willing to reveal the money-making secrets of his millionaire clients.”

13. Ibid.

14. Jim Woolf, “Tooele Site Proposed as N-Waste Facility,” Salt Lake Tribune (8 May 1987): B1.

15. James R. Kearl’s report in Sue Bergin, “5 Views,” BYU Today 41 (April 1987): 47.

16. William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act I, scene ii, line 133.

17. Ibid., act IV, scene iv, lines 33-39.

18. TPJS 137.

19. Ibid., 141.

20. Regarding theatromania, see Hugh W. Nibley, “Victoriosa Loquacitas: The Rise of Rhetoric and the Decline of Everything Else,” Western Speech, 20 (Spring 1956): 57-82; “Sparsiones,” Classical Journal 40/9 (June 1945): 515-43; The Roman Games as a Survival of an Archaic Year-cult (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Berkeley, 1939).

21. Sophocles, Oedipus the King, 1528-30; cf. F. Storr, Sophocles, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968), 1:139.

22. Stephen L Richards, Where Is Wisdom (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1955), 400; cf. Stephen L Richards, “Counsel,” Speeches of the Year (Provo: Brigham Young University, 1957), 1-8.

23. See “Meaning of the Temple,” (Provo: F.A.R.M.S., 1975); cf. Hugh W. Nibley, “The Idea of the Temple in History,” MS 120 (August 1958): 228-37, 246-49; reprinted as “What Is a Temple,” in CWHN 4:355-90.

24. Lorenzo Snow, in LeRoi C. Snow, Improvement Era 22 (June 1919): 655-56; cf. TPJS 345.

25. Horace, Epistle I, 1, 59-60.

26. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith (Provo: Religious Studies Center, 1980), 366.

27. Haggadah in Willis Barnstone, The Other Bible (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1984), 15; cf. Angelo S. Rappoport, Myth and Legend of Ancient Israel, 3 vols. (London: Gresham, 1928), 1:139-40; cf. Rabbi H. Freeman and Maurice Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 9 vols. (London: Soncino Press, 1961), 1:56-59; cf. E. A. Wallis Budge, “Discourse on Abbaton,” in The Dialect of Upper Egypt, 6 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1914), 4:480-82.

28. Regarding the Shabako Stone, see Das “Denkmal Memphitischer Theologie” der Schabakostein des Britischen Museums, part I of Dramatische Texte zu altaegyptischen Mysterienspielen in Kurt Sethe, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte und Altertumskunde Ägyptens (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1928), 10:20-80; for an English translation, see James B. Pritchard, ed., “Egyptian Myths, Tales and Mortuary Texts,” Ancient Near Eastern Texts, tr. John A. Wilson, 3rd ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969), 4-6; cf. Miriam Lichtheim, “The Memphite Theology,” in Ancient Egyptian Literature, a Book of Readings, 3 vols. (Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1943), 1:51-57; James H. Breasted, “The Philosophy of a Memphite Priest,” Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 99 (1901): 39-54, pls. I-II; Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph, The Book of Formation (Sepher Yetzirah) (London: Rider and Son, 1923), 247; cf. Papus (Gérard Encausse), Qabalah (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: Thorson, 1977), 203-48.

29. On the initiatory rite of the opening of the mouth, see Hugh W. Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975), 106-13; R. H. Charles, “The Books of Adam and Eve,” Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), 1:142; regarding “Blows of Death,” see E. A. W. Budge, “Discourse on Abbatôn,” 4:483-84; cf. Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, 106-13; 1 Enoch 69:6-7; E. I. Abrahams and C. G. Montefire, “The Pre-Talmudic Haggada,” Jewish Quarterly Review 7 (October 1984-July 1985): 590-91.

30. S. Krauss, “Note sur le nom divin de vingt-deux lettres et sur le Démon de l’oubli,” Revue des Études Juives 54 (1908): 254; on the “Demotion of Satan” see Budge, “Discourse on Abbatôn,” 4:483-84; cf. Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, 106-13.

31. Regarding the opening of the mouth, see Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, 106-13.

32. Niger Calder, The Mind of Man (London: British Broadcasting, 1970), 14, 32-33.

33. JD 25:52-56; cf. JD 8:139.

34. For information regarding the Shabako stone, see above, note 28; cf. “Book of the Secrets of Enoch,” 30:9, in R. H. Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1973), 2:449.

35. “Come Let Us Anew,” in Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), no. 217.

36. Regarding Shabako Stone, see above, note 28; Joseph, Book of Formation, 7; and Papus, Qabalah, 226-27; cf. John Boslough, Stephen Hawking’s Universe (New York: Morrow, 1985), 49-58.

37. John Eccles and Karl Popper, The Brain and Its Self (New York: Springer, 1981), 15-16; R. Buckminster Fuller, Intuition (New York: Doubleday, 1972), 15-16.

38. Royal Economic Society, ed., Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, 29 vols. (London: Macmillan, 1972), 10:364.

39. Elder Ballard’s talk of May 12, 1987; Edward L. Kimball, Teachings of Prophet Spencer W. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), 393; Boyd K. Packer, “The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord,” Devotionals and Firesides (Provo: Brigham Young University, 1976), 268.

40. Robert Heinlein, Methuselah’s Children (New York: Signet, 1958).

41. John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society, 4th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984); cf. JD 12:160; 17:41; 16:65; MS 39:119.

42. Joseph F. Smith, “The World of Nature Resembles Heaven,” Gospel Doctrine, 8th ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1949), 21; cf. JD 23:169-75.

43. Nigel Calder, The Violent Universe (London: BBC, 1976); John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986).

44. JD 13:4.

45. WJS 6:358.

46. TPJS 130.

47. Ibid., 131.

48. Ibid., 137.

49. Ibid., 149.

50. Ibid.

51. Ibid., 150.

52. TPJS 151.