Thursday, March 16, 2006

40 Days of Lent - Day Sixteen


Most of what I know of Mormonism is based on heresay (as opposed to heresy) and, sad to say, South Park. There was an episode that explained the story of Joseph Smith and some of the core beliefs of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The words "Mormons actually believe this!" would be superimposed on the screen while depicting some of the odder articles of faith. For those who missed it, below is a nice site that compares the episode with what Mormons really believe. I was going to do a little re-write and post, but I can't improve upon the original site.

South Park Mormons

I certainly can't assume an air of superiority to any system of belief*, given that I was raised in the Catholic church (which has its own crazy ideas) and I named my online journal after a tarot card.

In the comment section for Day Fifteen, Carol asks about the talking salamander, a notion the Church of Latter Day Saints is currently challenging. I don't know anything about it, but it did start me thinking about the fundamentally American quality of the religion. Has the Church of Latter Day Saints had success converting those in other countries? A quick internet search didn't reveal much of an answer. The talking salamander also makes me think about the impact that landscape has on indigenous religious beliefs. Julie's comparing the burning bush to the talking salamander points out an idea that prophets find God talking to them through whatever vessel happens to be around. Not too many salamanders outside of Egypt, so a bush it has to be. There's plenty of greenery in America, but a talking fish is special. Could Islam have flourished in a jungle? Could Buddhism ever have originated in a tundra? When the landscape is bare, is it necessary to teach non-attachment to things of this world?

Believe me, this isn't Trash Mormonism Week. I had planned to post more about the Koran, but when it comes time to read it, I always seem to find something else to do. I watched The Testament of Dr. Mabuse last night. Great movie. The night before it was the first episode of Elizabeth R, the BBC series from the early 70's. God, Glenda Jackson rules. Well, she does by the end of the episode, anyway. Tonight I'm going iceskating in Central Park. God is wherever you want to find It.

Unintentional Spellcheck Humor: Suggested replacement for "Tarot" was "tardy." As in "re-tardy," I can only assume.

*Although, let's face it, I still do.


Carol said...

Um, not to be a smacked ass, but I think salamanders are reptiles. Or amphibians. I'm sure my 8 yr old kid would know; he's kind of a Cliff Clavin.

One of your comments yesterday about the beautifully dressed churchgoers reminds of Eddie Izzard, who talks about how the British, who had an Empire that the sun never set on, have church music that is pinched and dry and sung with one's mouth practically closed, while southern black gospel churches, born of slavery and oppression, have music that is full of true joy and spirit.

k.c. said...

your spellcheck didn't catch the it's/its problem in the parenthetical above the page of cups.

like a knife in my gut, johnny.

mrs. collins said...

It turns out that the salamander can do all sorts of interesting things in addition to talking to Mormons.

Julie said...

Salamanders are amphibians. And dolphins are mammals.

the hanged man said...

Kate - correction made. Thank you - that's one of my biggest grammar bugaboos, too. Of course, Carol can testify that one of my teachers, Mr. Kurpis, used to refer to me as the Grammar Clown.

Carol - Appearantly a synapse misfired: when I read "salamander" for some reason I thought "salmon." I immediately got carried away thinking about a character in one of my favorite novels Little, Big who is turned into a fish and speaks to another character when she comes to his pond. Then I was starting to wonder if this event in the novel was the author's parody/reference to Joseph Smith's experiences, and by that point, it was too late. I was hooked on the idea of talking to a fish rather than an amphibean, which is what really happened.

I suppose I should have illustrated today's entry with the Geico Insurance mascot instead of the Tarot card.

Andrea - love the picture on the website you listed. I'm a little intrigued/freaked out by some of the general attributes of salamanders, however.

For those who don't know, Julie's comment about "dolphins are mammals" comes from her position in an argument she had with my grandfather. His thesis was that dolphins were fish; Julie argued, correctly, that dolphins were mammals and easily won the debate.

She was three at the time.

the hanged man said...

ps - LOVE Eddie Izzard.

Miss Stambaugh said...

Gecko: lizard and reptile. You are like all mixed up...salmon...come on, that's just weird.

Now this is weird - why they stick:

Gecko Feet

Oh and what about that stylish Mormon one piece underwear? Very nice salamander image Mrs. Collins. Very entertaining blog discussions Mr. Hanlon.

Mom said...

Two points: did you know that in restaurant lingo, a salamander is another term for a broiler? Not a burning bush, but close!
Also, what channel is "Elizabeth R" on? BBC? I would love to see it again.

Erin said...

"Salamanders are amphibians. And dolphins are mammals."

Well, it is a coffee table, Mom.