03 A Mormon in the Cheap Seats: From Kolob Wikileaks

Tree of LifeFrom a post-millennium committee meeting.  Found by cleaning staff and forwarded to Kolob Wikileaks.  Parts of the transcript were covered in guacamole and salsa and were illegible. Normal Cheap Seats commentary will resume next week.

Supreme Correlation Committee – Earth Communication
Present: G (God), Divot (President, Earth Directives Council), Munch (Divot’s Chief of Staff)

G: Glad everyone could make it. I’ve been reviewing the kingdom placement statistics and the exit interview data from Earth and there are a few things I’d like to discuss. We’ll meet for an hour today and then reconvene tomorrow at the same time.  First, I’d like to discussion Lehi’s dream. Based on what I’ve seen, it appears there were some problems with it.

Divot: We haven’t figured out what happened. We don’t think there was a transmission problem.

G: I have a copy of the final draft of the storyboard. . .  Here it is, right here.  The iron rod should only go halfway through the mist—just HALFWAY, not all the way.  It’s clear from the picture.

Divot: That’s what we transmitted.  It wasn’t canonized that way, though.

G: The vision doesn’t make sense if the iron rod runs all the way across. At first, everyone needs the rod. But the idea is to learn how to move forward without the rod.  We discussed that.  Why didn’t we use the apprentice storyline?  At first the master teaches skills, but then progresses to teaching how to use those skills independently.  It’s a natural fit for the concept.  We’ve used it on hundred of worlds.

Munch: We wanted to try something new.  We haven’t had any problems with it—except for Earth.

G: All right. Let’s table that for now. We’ve already met once about Abraham, is there anything new we should discuss?

Divot: I knew it was going to be a problem when it happened.  We did our best, but there wasn’t much we could do about it.

Munch: Abe felt really bad about the entire episode. I did the debriefing.

Divot: This was early in the process.  We spent quite a bit of time communicating with him—direct communication, visions, voices, etc.  We left him alone for an afternoon—well, that would have been about six months Earth time–it was the East Wing softball tournament and talent show.  Anyway, when we got back, he was rambling on about hearing voices and getting ready to sacrifice his son.

G: What I don’t understand is why the story was perpetuated. We had explicitly prohibited human sacrifice, so what value were people attaching to it?

Munch: It surprised us. Once it was out there, it was impossible to straighten it out. It took on a life of its own.

G: But it doesn’t make sense.  Why would we establish specific prohibitions and then demand that people engage in the prohibited behavior?

Divot: We’re starting to get a handle on that from the exit interview data.  Apparently, the reasoning was that we were testing Abraham in some way.

G: I don’t follow.  Human sacrifice was prohibited, so if it were a test, the way for Abe to have passed it would have been for him to refrain from human sacrifice, right? Not participate in it.

Munch: It’s complicated.  Everyone believed that you were asking Abraham to do it. . .

G: Even if they thought we were asking Abraham to do it, they shouldn’t have expected him to listen to us. . .

Divot: We’re still going through the exit interview data, so we should have a better understanding in a few weeks.

[illegible lines omitted]

G: Broad behavioral parameters are one thing, detailed behavioral prescriptions are another. Why weren’t we able to do a better job encouraging the former, and discouraging the latter?

Munch: We had two committees coordinate with Jesus on that.  We figured we could make an example of the Pharisees and that would improve things.

G: It doesn’t look like it worked. I’m looking at Handbook 1 and Handbook 2.  These were picked up just a hundred years or so pre-millennium.  403 pages.  Look at this.  Either of you wondering if you should have a vasectomy?  The answer is on page 167.

Munch: Based on the interview data, it doesn’t look like these handbooks were considered scripture. . .

Divot: I’m not sure we know what these handbooks were yet.

G: So nobody saw the obvious contradiction here? People went to church on Sunday, talked about the dangers of being too pharisaical, and then didn’t connect that to these handbooks?  How is that possible?  Where’s catering, by the way?  I ordered some quesadilla triangles earlier, and extra guacamole and salsa.

[illegible lines omitted]

G: So you didn’t think the Word of Wisdom was going to be a problem?

Divot: There were other religions that had different food prohibitions, so it seemed harmless.

Munch: We were closing in on the millennium, so given the time frame, we didn’t think we needed to address it.

Divot: It caught us by surprise. We assumed that there would be some skepticism, given that almost all canonized communication up to that point had been channeled through individuals who consumed alcohol.

Munch: We chose wine at a wedding party for Jesus’s first miracle.

Divot: Our mistake was that we didn’t realize how much of a help alcohol could be in the communication process. We’d be trying to get a message through and it would be like pushing ice cream through a straw.  Three or four glasses of wine, and we’d be up to full bandwidth: visions, visual, auditory, everything.

Munch: After the ban, we couldn’t get anything into the official canon. . .

G: Didn’t anybody notice?  Didn’t people look back and think, “Hey, Jesus drank, Joseph drank, so did Brigham, so did everyone that channeled scripture, now nobody drinks, and we’re not getting anything new?”  It seems like somebody would have put that together. What was the rationale, again?

Munch: It looks like there was a belief that alcohol reduced spiritual sensitivity. . .

G: Everything we’d been able to push through, though, up to that point had been through people who consumed alcohol, right?  Then along comes the Word of Wisdom, and the best anyone can come up with is Handbook 1 and Handbook 2. I don’t see how that supports the idea of reduced spiritual sensitivity. . .

Divot: I think it was all related to behavioral prescriptions. We’re just now getting into some late issues related to dress and grooming standards. . .

Munch: We just pulled up a video we’re still trying to make sense of.  It says that young men should dress like Jesus would have dressed.

Divot: We were surprised by that. We had two different committees working with Jesus on physical presentation. We wanted to conform to broad cultural standards.  We didn’t want his appearance to detract from his message, which was fairly radical, so we wanted him to blend in.

Munch: But the standards that were being promoted in the video were more Young Republican than Jesus. We thought maybe we were missing something. . .

Divot: We ran cultural equivalents to check ourselves.  Jesus was dressed in the equivalent of store-brand tennis shoes, generic jeans, a t-shirt, possibly tie-dye or branded by a local business (maybe a pizza parlor), with medium-length, carelessly-styled hair, and two or three days of facial stubble.

[illegible lines omitted]

G: In the end, even with some fairly significant problems and some other quirks, the numbers really weren’t that bad.

Munch: And Battlestar Galactica was the highlight of the All-World Showcase last Saturday. . .

[illegible lines omitted]

G: I’d like somebody to go down and explain a few things to the Earth celestials. I was down there this morning for a Q&A and had to spend half an hour explaining that we don’t operate with handbooks up here.  Then I had to spend another half hour explaining that there weren’t any official “rules” for visiting lower kingdoms. . .

Munch: I’ll take care of it. Should I put together some sort of additional orientation? Just to make sure they’re up to speed?

G: That sounds good. Let me know when you think they’re ready. Do your best to bring them around. If I get another question about grooming standards for the annual potluck, I may give them all noogies.

Divot: We’ll take care of it.

[remainder of transcript is illegible]