Saturday, September 30, 2023

Where Dreamers Become Doers

This evening I was about to go to a particular coffee shop to read, but the thought suddenly popped into my head, "No, go to the night market first" -- even though that was very much out of my way. I tend to follow these random whims unless I have some good reason not to, so off to the night market I went.

On my way there, there was an electric scooter in front of me on the road, with a man operating it and a woman sitting behind him. The back of her short skirt was pinned to the scooter seat, but the sides were freely blowing in the wind. I idly thought, with the sort of perfunctory prurience which still strikes me from time to time even though it's been quite a long time since I was twelve years old, "I wish she would shift a bit in her seat and the wind would blow the whole skirt up. Maybe if I will it to happen, it'll happen." It was a shameful and ridiculous thing to think, and of course it didn't happen. At the next light, the scooter continued straight, and I turned right to go to the market.

Before going out, I had just finished reading the novel The Unseen by Mike Clelland, an author I discovered last year when I read his non-fiction book The Messengers: Owls, Synchronicity, and the UFO Abductee. Owls in connection with gray aliens are Clelland's specialty; he is known in paranormal circles as "the owl guy." Central to the plot of The Unseen (which of course also features owls and aliens) is a peyote-inspired painting called The Dream and a black T-shirt with the word dream printed on it. I discussed synchronicities related to this "dream" theme, and to the name Freeman, in my last post.

Almost the first thing I saw upon entering the night market was a man whose T-shirt had an enormous owl printed on it, covering almost the whole torso, and then a woman with a black T-shirt that said dream, exactly as in the novel. Less than a minute later, a man walked past with a gray alien head printed on his baseball cap, and then a Vietnamese woman with three gray alien heads tattooed across her cleavage. "Oh," I though, "it's going to be one of those nights," and it was. I wandered around the market for about an hour, and in that time I counted six different owl-themed T-shirts, plus a stand that was selling owl-themed ceramic chopstick rests, and so many instances of the English word dream -- in a Chinese-speaking country, remember -- that I lost count. Most of these were on people's clothing, so I didn't get a chance to photograph most of them, but I got a few. The first one I saw was this bath mat:

Immediately after I photographed that, two people with English T-shirts walked past. The first said "FREEMAN"; the second, "CHOOSE." All dreams come true, freeman, so choose your dreams well.

Here are two others I managed to capture, both on the backs of T-shirts:

There were lots more like this. These are just the ones I managed to snap photos of. Everywhere I looked, owls, aliens, and dreams coming true. "Where Dreamers Become Doers" made me think of my earlier thought about the woman on the scooter: "Maybe if I will it to happen, it'll happen" -- if our thoughts affect reality, then dreaming becomes a kind of doing.

After finishing at the night market, I was going to go home, but then I thought, "No, I think I'll still go to that coffee shop after all." On my way there, I was thinking about all the crazy synchronicities I had just experienced and wasn't paying overmuch attention to my surroundings. While stopped at a red light, though, I became aware of the scooter in front of me and -- you've got to be kidding me! Yes, it was that scooter again. I had been behind them when I was on my way to the night market and they were on their way to wherever they were going, and now an hour later we were both on our way back, and I was behind them again!

The light turned green, and I guess she was sitting a little differently this time, because her whole skirt immediately blew up in the wind, revealing -- whoop-de-doo, some random lady's underpants, not the slightest bit interesting or titillating. In fact, it made me angry. I felt like the sync fairies were mocking me: "Sure, we'll make your dreams come true. It's not our fault if you happen to have the dreams of a retarded twelve-year-old!" I pulled the throttle and passed the scooter, leaving it behind me as fast as I could. "Choose, freeman." Okay, here's my choice, you sick fucks: not this.

I arrived at the coffee shop, got my coffee, and sat down to read the Book of Mormon. (Yes, I'm aware of the irony here.) As fate would have it, my bookmark was near the end of the Book of Alma, and I proceeded to read about the final victory of the Nephite faction known as -- of all things -- the freemen.

At one point I got up and went to a sideboard to get some paper napkins. There was a brochure there about the different kinds of cakes you can order. I hadn't the slightest interest in cake, but I felt a sudden compulsion to open it. I opened right up to an owl staring at me:

I remember last time I read a Mike Clelland book, it triggered a sync-storm, too. But hey, it was my choice to read it, right?

Friday, September 29, 2023

Syncs: Tropical dreams and not-dreams, 555, Freeman and not-Freeman

On August 29, I changed the wallpaper image on my phone from the Ace of Swords to the White Tree of Gondor. The next day, I happened to pick up my phone at precisely 5:55 p.m., which struck me as significant, so I took a screenshot. One week later -- and I mean exactly one week later, to the minute -- it happened again.

On September 24, I bought and began reading Mike Clelland's novel The Unseen. Central to the plot is a picture the main character painted while tripping on peyote. The painting is called The Dream, and portrays "a thin, scruffy tree with a blue ball of light centered in the branches." This syncs with my wallpaper image shown above: a tree which could be described as thin and scruffy, with stars in its branches.

I started reading The Unseen immediately after posting "The Moody Blues, Embody the Soul, snails and ammonites, stars and stones, blue ball of light," and I mention it in the comments. That post had featured both a "blue ball of light" and the number 555.

Later in The Unseen, the main character, John, has abandoned his life as a successful artist in New Mexico and is working as a dishwasher in a coffee shop in a tiny town in southern Utah. (They're lax Mormons who drink coffee.) A woman he knew as a child, who has recently reappeared in his life, walks into the coffee shop wearing "a black t-shirt with the single word 'dream' centered on her chest." This T-shirt also becomes important to the plot.

Yesterday, September 28, I was in a coffee shop (I'm a lax Mormon who drinks coffee), and they had this hanging on the wall:

The Unseen features a painting called The Dream in which a blue ball of light is in the branches of a tree, and a black T-shirt with the word dream on it. This wall hanging has the word dream in the branches of a tree (or in the foliage of a large plant at any rate), against a black background.

Last night, I read some more in William Fairfield Warren's Paradise Found, which I started some time ago but hadn't picked up recently. On page 120, the text refers the reader to "the diagram which constitutes the frontispiece of this work," so I flipped back to look at it. That's when I noticed for the first time that the "tropical" part of the globe is labeled "5 5 5."

The very first sentence in Paradise Found is, as noted in my September 13 post "Syncfest: 'Wake Up Time,' dreaming in a forest, AE, golden apples, Klein bottle, etc.," is "This book is not the work of a dreamer."

I wanted to include the above image of Warren's frontispiece in this post, so rather than photographing my own copy, I went to to get a screenshot of it. When I started to type the address into my browser, autocomplete suggested (click at your own risk), which serves up a randomly selected thread from /x/, the "paranormal" board on 4chan. I thought what the hell and pressed enter. It gave me an old 2015 thread about, of all things, not dreaming:

The first reply mentions Morgan Freeman, Just last night I read a passage in The Unseen where John meets the leader of a mysterious operation and asks his name. He says, "I don't use my name here. The team calls me The Freeman." A few paragraphs later, he explains, "I answer to one man, and he gives me a lot of freedom" -- oh, I think, so that's why they call him The Freeman.

Only it turns out I didn't read that. Wanting to quote the passage correctly just now, I put freeman into the Kindle search function and got -- zero results! Had I remembered it wrong? Had it been Freedman, maybe? Or was it hyphenated? I tried various things, including just searching for the string free, but couldn't find what I was looking for. Finally, I just flipped back through the pages manually and found it. It had never said Freeman. It said Foreman. How could I have misread that?

The "I don't dream" /x/ post started a song playing in my head: "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House.

One of the verses begins "Now I'm walking again." The 21st chapter of The Unseen begins with the sentence "I was walking again."

Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Moody Blues, Embody the Soul, snails and ammonites, stars and stones, blue ball of light

Yesterday, September 23, I happened to see a bright blue scooter with the license plate MDY-0098. I thought that MDY-00 was the best way of encoding the word moody in the ABC-1234 format (keeping in mind that there are no Os on license plates, only zeroes), and this combined with the color of the scooter made me think of the Moody Blues -- the very first band I got into as a teenager. The remainder of the plate number was 98, and I was pretty sure that in '98 the Moody Blues were in Italy, recording their album Strange Times. This was released in 1999, during a time when I had no access to secular music, but buying it was almost the first thing I did after returning to secular life in 2000. It served as my main soundtrack during that in-between time, after my mission and before entering the linguistics program at Ohio State. I used to play it in the car on my many drives from Kirtland out to Lake Erie to wander around the saltless, surfless beaches, meditate, and compose not-very-good verses on the metaphysical significance of erosion.

The cover of Strange Times shows the Earth inside what looks like a transparent snail or ammonite shell, on a beach.

Anagrams were very much my stock in trade at that time in my life (almost as much as synchronicities are now), and of course I had subjected the Moody Blues to the treatment. Their band name yielded such pleasing anagrams as The Bloody Muse and Embody the Soul. As for this album, Strange Times is an anagram of Granite Stems -- i.e., crinoid fossils, complementing the possible ammonite fossil on the cover.

Running into a license plate that evoked Strange Times was a bit of a sync because just two days previous (September 21), in my Book of Mormon post "Lehi, Nephi, and the pillar of fire that 'dwelt upon a rock,'" I had revisited my 2022 post "Snail on shingles," about a remote-viewing image of an enormous snail shell on a shingled roof. At the end of the post, I note a sync with the Mock Turtle's Song from Alice in Wonderland, which mentions a "snail . . . on the shingle" -- meaning of course not roofing shingles but pebbles on the seashore.

On September 22, one day after revisiting "Snail on shingles" and one day before the Strange Times sync, I received an email from a correspondent who always emails me about synchronicities related to the number 555. This time it was about a rock shop where most of the items had been labeled "555." He sent me several photos of these items, but the one that got my attention -- and the only one I mentioned in my reply -- was a rock with fossils of Orthoceras, a primitive genus of ammonites.

Though the shell on the Strange Times cover has the familiar shape of a snail shell, the rough edge at its mouth makes it look more like a fossil, suggesting that in fact it is an ammonite. I suppose the word Plates is also a sync with the Book of Mormon context in which I revisited my remote-viewed snail shell. Come to think of it, Orthoceras is "straight horn," a standard iconographic attribute of the Angel Moroni.

That was all yesterday, and I didn't think it quite synchy enough to be worth posting.

Today (September 24), I unexpectedly had an hour to kill while away from home, so I camped at a coffee shop and read Joshua Cutchin's Ecology of Souls -- to which I have recently returned after taking a break to read all eight volumes of Daymon Smith's Cultural History of the Book of Mormon.

Almost all of the background music they were playing in the coffee shop was unfamiliar to me. As soon as I sat down, a song started which repeated "Time to wake up, time to wake up" an inordinate number of times. Given the recent syncs related to "Wake Up Time" by Tom Petty, this got my attention. I looked it up on my phone and found that it was a song by the band Cacti, called -- no points for guessing! -- "Time to Wake Up."

"Wake Up Time," as you will know if you've read the linked post above, was connected by William Wright with a dream he had about a man who called himself El-Anor ("sun-star"), and who Mr. Wright thought represented simultaneously a man and a stone. Just as the song "Time to Wake Up" was ending, I read this in Ecology of Souls:

One informant living in Belize told Ardy Sixkiller Clarke that he met the "stone woman" of Mayan legend . . . describing her as "magnificent," "beautiful," "glow[ing] like a star," . . . .

A stone woman like a star is an obvious sync with the stone man who called himself Sun-Star. Note also that yesterday I posted "Who were the 13 luminous beings Lehi saw in his Jerusalem vision?" -- about a vision of one whose "luster was above that of the sun at noon-day" and "twelve others" whose "brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament." The popular Mormon imagination associates the Book of Mormon peoples with the Maya and other Mesoamerican civilizations.

(Incidentally, in writing my post on the 13 luminous beings, I considered, but did not end up committing to writing, the possibility that the brightest being was the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is traditionally depicted with a crown of twelve stars.)

Some minutes later, I read in Ecology of Souls a long quotation from Suzy Hansen, about "the incarnation process":

The familiar soul, the blue ball of light, would accompany me in this life, as would two others from the group of souls present . . . . We would all become part of something together, but the blue soul is the one I have had a long connection with . . . .

The incarnating soul is depicted as a "blue ball of light." Just yesterday I had been remembering my old anagram habit: The Moody Blues = Embody the Soul. Furthermore, the cover of Strange Times depicts a literal blue ball, encased in rough shell as if it were a soul incarnate in crude matter.

Just then, another unfamiliar song came on in the coffee shop. The only lyrics I could make out were the repeated line "Would you turn to stone?" This syncs with the ammonite fossils, the "stone woman," and the man who was also a stone, so I tried to look it up. I had no luck finding the song itself. The only thing that came up was a song called "Losing My Shit" by a band called Breakfast In Silence. Here are the lyrics in full:

Feel a little crazy like I wanna shave my head
but their music makes me wanna grow out my hair again
Do I have much to lose?
I just want my head to cut it out.

Will you turn to stone if I put another hole in my head?
Got a Medusa last week --
Will you care if I still can't get out of bed?
I'm so moody, and I forget a lot of shit,
I'm so moody, and I forget a lot of shit.

I'm so moody -- you've got to be kidding me! Scrolling down their bandcamp page just now, I see that Breakfast In Silence is based in Salt Lake City, which syncs with the general "Mormon" theme (Ammonite is another Book of Mormon word, by the way) and with my specific mention earlier in this post of the saltlessness of Lake Erie.

I suppose it's also worth mentioning that I shaved my head today (as I do about once a week), and that I used to be called Tom Petty in college because my long blond hair made me look like him.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Ukraine is everything, Russia is just Russia

It occurred to me today that I hadn't checked The Babylon Bee in a good long time, so I opened it up in a new tab. Then I realized that I hadn't checked the last generation's Bee, the original Onion, in even longer -- because it hasn't been funny in ages, but who knows, maybe today -- so I opened that up, too. And then I thought it might be funny to see how the left-wing news-and-views site Daily Kos is spinning whatever is supposedly going on in the world these days, so I opened that up, too.

Having got all my tabs up, I started with the Bee, found nothing particularly chuckleworthy, turned to the Onion, and saw this was the featured story:

Huh, I thought. That's actually kind of funny. The picture is pitch-perfect, too. (Well, almost. Why would they show him wearing a shirt with a collar?) Maybe the Onion's still got it after all?

Then I saw the byline and did a double take. This wasn't The Onion; it was Daily Kos!

People always joke about not being able to tell truth from satire anymore, but in this case I quite literally couldn't tell.

Blogging about the Book of Mormon

I've decided I need to figure out what I believe about the Book of Mormon -- rather than more-or-less ignoring it while still maintaining that Joseph Smith was a genuine prophet -- and to that end I've started a new blog for recording my notes as I go through it. I've been meaning to do this for a while, but as it happened, my first post was ready for publication today -- September 21, 2023 -- 200 years to the day after Moroni's first appearance to Joseph Smith. Then I passed a stranger on the street whose T-shirt said, among other things, "Monday 12/23."

A photo of the same shirt, from the Internet

Joseph Smith was born on December 23, 1805, which was a Monday. So apparently the sync fairies are on board with this project.

My first post, using the first few verses of the book to introduce some foundational questions, is "Lehi, Nephi, and the pillar of fire that 'dwelt upon a rock': A case study of hard-to-define biblical parallels."

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Ya Hey

I've almost finished reading Daymon Smith's Cultural History of the Book of Mormon. The penultimate chapter of the last volume ends with a long quotation from the lyrics of the Vampire Weekend song "Ya Hey." Since I just posted on a song called "Hey Oh," this seems like a sync. Also, I can't stop listening to it.

The lyrics left untranscribed in this official lyric video are Latin: ut Deo.

But who could ever live that way?
Ut Deo, Ya Hey
Ut Deo, Deo

This phrase appears only once in the Bible, in Galatians 2:19. Ezra Koenig is Jewish, but the context ("who could ever live that way?") makes me think the New Testament allusion is intentional.

Ego enim per legem, legi mortuus sum, ut Deo vivam: Christo confixus sum cruci.

For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God: I am crucified with Christ.

The bridge mentions "spinning 'Israelites' into '19th Nervous Breakdown'"; not sure what the connection is.

The Stadium Arcadium covers

On September 11, I received an email from a sporadic correspondent who wishes to be anonymous. Among the things it mentioned was that Storm Thorgerson, who did the cover art for the Muse album Black Holes and Revelations, "did some other synchy (and famous) album art."

This sent me to Thorgerson's Wikipedia page, where I found that he designed the iconic Dark Side of the Moon cover for Pink Floyd. Scrolling through a list of other album covers he had designed, I found a few that had been in the sync stream before (Ween's The Mollusk, for example), but the entry that jumped out at me was this one:

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
    • Stadium Arcadium (2006) (unused)

The last time I had received an email from this person, which was in May, I noticed that my correspondent's pseudonym and real name were linked to Lorenzo Snow (an old sync theme) by both gematria and etymology. This is what I was referring to when I wrote this in my May 8 post "Random Syncs: Ace of Swords, 1320."

I had recently been brooding over the Ace of Swords, the Marseille version, which features a red sword passing through a crown, and at the same time had (again!) been experiencing some synchronicities related to the name Lorenzo Snow. These latter had made me think of various other things with snow in their name. I listened to that Red Hot Chili Peppers song, and then I thought of the novel Snow Crash, which I read back in 2001.

In this post, and in the same-day follow up "Crowns, martyrs, and Mithras," I noted connections between the Marseille Ace of Swords, the cover of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and Joan of Arc's coat of arms.

The Ace shows an upright red-bladed sword passing through a crown from which hang a laurel branch (etymologically related to Lorenzo) and a palm frond; colorful bits of flame fill the background. The Snow Crash cover shows an upright red sword passing through both the name Stephen (meaning "crown") and the anagram CRNOW, as well as the word Snow; colorful dots fill the background. The sword also passes through ARC spelled backwards.

As mentioned above, Lorenzo Snow made me first think of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Snow (Hey Oh)," which I listened to, after which I moved on to Snow Crash. I've never been a big RHCP fan and don't know their music very well, so it wasn't until June 29 that I found out what album "Snow" is from: Stadium Arcadium.

There's no sword here, but there's a crown-like ring around the album title, and if you remove the repeated -adium element, what's left is St. Arc.

Going back to Storm Thorgerson's unused cover ideas for Stadium Arcadium, it turns out that he submitted three of them. Here are two:

Four rivers meeting at a central point, where a tree grows, and an eaten apple -- clear Garden of Eden symbolism. I am currently reading William Fairfield Warren's Paradise Found, which argues that Eden was located at the North Pole. Here's part of the table of contents.

Here's Mercator's famous map of the Arctic:

The third proposed Stadium Arcadium cover has no Eden symbolism but turned out to be the synchiest of all:

In the very same email that had mentioned Thorgerson's album art, my correspondent included a screenshot of a glitching video game in which only half of the character's body was sticking up from the ground:

The character even has a Scandinavian name, like Storm Thorgerson.

Friday, September 15, 2023

When life gives you lemons, make le monde

On September 13, William Wright posted "Deseret Book vs. Deseret's Book" --  deseret being a word from the Book of Mormon, supposed to mean "honeybee," and widely used in Mormon-related branding. At the end of the post he mentions that since I've begun engaging with his blog, the synchronicity fairies seem to have taken an interest in him. (Many such cases!)

Lastly, whatever WJT has must be contagious, because I have Shark Tank running in the background right now and as I am typing that last sentence, I look up at the TV and the first thing I see is an entrepreneur wearing a shirt with "Bee" written across the top as part their logo (Bee as the obvious tie to Deseret).  The business is "Bee Sweet Lemonade".  So, right as I am typing of Deseret being associated with the commercial arm of the LDS church, there is a Bee-affiliated business trying to raise capital on Shark Tank.  I don't know.  Seems to tie right into this juice/ nectar thing, also.

Mr. Wright's earlier (August 30) post on Deseret was "In our lovely Deseret: Adding meaning to this name, and Brigham's use of it." This is a reference to a reference to the old Mormon song which begins "In our lovely Deseret / Where the Saints of God have met" -- Deseret being the original name the Mormons chose for what later became the State of Utah. When I heard this song as a young child, not knowing the historical meaning of Deseret, I came up with my own interpretation. I knew that hymns sometimes prolonged Israel to a trisyllabic Iz-rye-ell to fit the meter, so I figured this was a similar poetic trisyllabification of the word desert. (From the narrow desert to the expanded deseret, so to speak.) The Saints had in fact met in a lovely desert, so this made perfect sense to me.

Much later, when I was a missionary stationed in Deseret itself, Alex Carmichael and I wrote some new verses of our own. Here's the one I remember:

In our lovely Deseret
Where the Saints of God have met
    There is no one who drinks alcohol or tea
No tobacco do they smoke
Yes, a few of them drink Coke
    But it doesn't mention that in D&C

Deseret must have subconsciously dredged my childhood misapprehension back up from my memory, because when I read the word lemonade in Mr. Wright's post, I mentally pronounced it as if it were French (like le monade, if monade were a masculine noun) and thought of it as a poetic trisyllabification of le monde, "the world." The beginnings of lyrics even began to appear in my mind: "In our lovely le-mo-nade / Where have met the Saints of God . . . ."

The earlier Deseret post, introducing the idea that Deseret might me a woman's name rather than a common noun meaning "honeybee," quoted this line from The Words of the Faithful:

Grey Izilba would often drape herself naked in a cloak of honey bees, sweet and yet full of sting

This striking image occurs quite early in the book and is one of the few things I remember from my abortive attempt to read it. It associates Deseret and honeybees with a naked woman. Le Monde is also the name given to an image of a naked woman:

"Sweet and yet full of sting" -- isn't that an apt description of the world in which we live? The combination of sweetness and sting makes the honeybee a symbolic cousin to the rose. A rosary is etymologically a garland of roses, and only the subtlest of phonological distinctions differentiates beads -- representing Mysteries both Joyful and Sorrowful -- from sweet-but-stingful bees.

Mr. Wright mentioned that Bee Sweet Lemonade "seems to tie right into this juice/ nectar thing," referring to his September 9 post "Ancient Juice as something that will be brought with the Sawtooth Stone." The sour-but-sweet nature of lemonade does seen to tie in with that "juice" -- which he says has "something to do with bees and honey" but also identifies with the "bitter cup" drunk by Jesus.

This brings up the old Mormon question of whether the fruit of the Tree of Life is bitter, sweet, or both, as discussed in my post November 2022 post "Ave Maria." C'est une symphonie douce-amère, c'est le mon(a)de.

Can anyone identify this magic feather?

Yesterday I posted a sync regarding Dumbo and the Tom Petty song "Learning to Fly" ("Further syncs: Alma 13, Tom Petty, Dumbo, Melchizedek").

In the movie, Dumbo is given a "magic feather" -- a tail feather taken from the crow Specks -- and told that it will enable him to fly. In fact this is just a psychological trick, intended to give Dumbo the confidence to attempt flight, and in the end he discovers that he can fly even without the feather.

This morning, when I went out, I found a large nearly-black feather on my doorstep.

It's not a crow feather -- I've never seen a single crow in my nearly 20 years in Taiwan -- but I can't for the life of me figure out what kind of feather it is! Night heron feathers would be white at the tip. On a dove feather, the anterior vane would be much narrower than the posterior. (Very few birds I know of would have the two vanes so equal in width, especially on a long tapered feather.) No local bird of prey would have solid-colored feathers. Myna feathers always have some white on them. It's much too tapered to belong to a moorhen or anything like that, and again there's the issue of the equally wide vanes. The degree of curvature seems highly unusual, as does the very short calamus on such a long feather. I'm completely stumped!

Searchable online feather atlases are mostly limited to North American birds, but I tried using one anyway to see if I could at least narrow things down to a family or something. No luck.

I welcome hypotheses from any ornithologically inclined readers.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Are there unholy prophets?

An attributive modifier such as an adjective can be restrictive or non-restrictive. For example, in such phrases as Holy Land and holy water, the modifier holy is restrictive; it restricts the scope of reference to a particular land and a particular type of water, in contrast to other lands and ordinary water. In Holy Bible and Holy Trinity, the same modifier is non-restrictive; Bible and Holy Bible have the same scope of reference. Holy does not specify a particular type of Bible but adds extra or parenthetical information -- "the Bible (which by the way is holy)."

Some languages mark restrictiveness with grammatical rules. For example, in Spanish, a restrictive adjective generally comes after the noun it modifies (e.g. Tierra Santa, agua bendida), while a non-restrictive one comes before it (e.g. Santa Biblia, Santísima Trinidad).

In English, restrictiveness is often grammatically unmarked. In appositives and relative clauses, non-restrictiveness is marked by the use of commas, and restrictiveness can optionally be marked by the use of that rather than which or who, but there are no corresponding rules for adjectives. Holy Land and Holy Bible have the same grammatical form, the only distinction being that in restrictive phrases like the former, the adjective is usually stressed (HOLY Land), while the noun is typically stressed in non-restrictive phrases (Holy BIBLE); there are many exceptions to this, though (e.g. Holy GHOST, cf. Spanish Espíritu Santo), and in any case the distinction is invisible in writing.

This is all by way of preface to a discussion of holy prophets, a phrase that appears four times in the New Testament and a whopping 26 in the Book of Mormon. I had always assumed that this was a non-restrictive honorific, analogous to putting Saint before a saint's name, but in my most recent reading of Abinadi's words in Mosiah, I noticed this verse. The context is that Abinadi is explaining Isaiah's statement that the Suffering Servant (understood to be Christ) "shall see his seed."

Yea, and are not the prophets -- every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression -- I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began -- I say unto you that they are his seed (Mosiah 15:13).

The standard Spanish version of the Book of Mormon has the non-restrictive santos profetas here, but I think profetas santos is surely correct. As mentioned above, relative clauses with that are always restrictive in English. "Every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression" implies that not all have opened their mouths, and that some have fallen into transgression. Abinadi is singling out a subset of prophets -- namely, holy prophets, defined as those who have opened their mouths to prophesy and have not fallen into transgression -- and saying that they, and not prophets more generally, can be considered the metaphorical "seed" of the Suffering Servant. (It is somewhat odd that Isaiah twice emphasizes that the Servant "opened not his mouth," while Abinadi identifies the Servant's seed among the prophets as those who do open their mouths.)

Not all prophets are holy; in fact, it must be extraordinarily difficult to be a holy prophet. The first temptation is to keep quiet and not share the message -- like Jonah before the whale interrupted his plans, or Jeremiah before the fire shut up in his bones compelled him. For those who do speak out, the temptation is to use one's status as prophet for self-serving ends.

Further syncs: Alma 13, Tom Petty, Dumbo, Melchizedek

Yesterday (September 13) I published a long post about synchronicities triggered by William Wright's August 2 post "Eleanor and 'Wake Up Time.'" (Mr. Wright's title alludes to a dream of his and a Tom Petty song.) The syncs occurred more than a month ago, obviously, but I was on a blogging break at that time. Yesterday just happened to be the day I got around to publishing them.

This morning, I checked Coat of Skins and found a new post by Mr. Wright, "Rock & Roll in Rivendell: Tom Petty, Elrond, and Alma the Younger," also dated September 13, in which he also just happens to revisit his August 2 post and expands on his ideas about Tom Petty. Mr. Wright believes in the Book of Mormon, Tolkien's Legendarium, and reincarnation, and his post proposes that Tom Petty was the reincarnation of both the Tolkien character Elrond and the Book of Mormon figure Alma the Younger. In connection with this idea, he mentioned the 13th chapter of the Book of Alma:

In addition, there is also a tie with my guess of Elros (Elrond's brother) being Melchizedek.  Alma's discourse and mention of Melchizedek found in Alma 13, can in this case now be viewed as Alma-Elrond teaching the people about his brother, Elros-Melchizedek.

Mr. Wright's September 13 post made no mention of my own, so I assumed it was a genuine coincidence our posting on the same day. Just to be sure, though, I left a comment on his post noting the coincidence, figuring that if his post had been influenced by mine he would mention that in a reply.

Shortly before noon today, I was in a local restaurant -- Café D&D, a known sync attractor -- waiting for my lunch to be served. While I was waiting, I decided to check Coat of Skins on my phone to see if Mr. Wright had replied to my comment. He had:

That is interesting. I hadn't read your post before writing this one. I was actually thinking on Part 2 of the Stone aftermath storyline, and decided I would go back into the notebooks from 2021-2022 to see if they would be worth looking at to refresh my memory. That is when I saw Tom and "Learning to Fly" and, based on everything else I have been thinking as mentioned in the post, decided this was the nudge to go all in on the Elrond-Alma angle first.

Just as I read that reference to "Learning to Fly," there was a jingle of bells as the door opened and a customer walked into the café. She was wearing a T-shirt that said in big letters "FLY DUMBO." Under this was a picture of Dumbo, the cartoon elephant, and under that, in much smaller print, "Believe in yourself." Here's a picture from the Internet of the same shirt:

The chorus of the Tom Petty song begins, "I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings." Dumbo is about an elephant who, despite not having wings, learns to fly by flapping his ears. (I'm also reminded of Richard Amiel McGough's "Looking for Dumbo" dream.)

After checking that comment, I was still waiting for my food, so I decided to read a bit in the Book of Mormon. I've been reading it regularly, three chapters a day (sometimes a bit more), since around the middle of August. Yesterday I had finished to Alma 11, so my three chapters for today were Alma 12-14.

In Chapter 12, Alma the Younger (Tom Petty) speaks to Zeezrom, primarily on the topic of resurrection.

In Chapter 13 -- the one mentioned in Mr. Wright's post -- Alma talks about the role of priests and angels, making particular mention of Melchizedek.

In Chapter 14, Alma and his fellow preacher Amulek are imprisoned, and everyone who believed their words is burned to death.

Melchizedek, fiery death, and resurrection -- where have I seen those three things juxtaposed recently? See my September 8 post "Phoenix syncs":

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Syncfest: El-Anor, "Wake Up Time," dreaming in a forest, AE, golden apples, Klein bottle, etc.

This past July, ben, who comments here, alerted me to the fact that William Wright, who (as WW) wrote that interesting guest post for Bruce about orcs, had started a blog of his own, called Coat of Skins. Mr. Wright assumes that both the Book of Mormon and Tolkien's Legendarium are true and writes about how they interrelate -- Abinadi was the reincarnation of Faramir, the Book of Ether contains a hidden reference to the Brother of Jared opening the gates of Khazad-dûm, that sort of thing. It's a bit fringe even by my standards, but I find it interesting and have been reading it regularly.

One of the early posts was "The Liahona as a Palantir (the Anor Stone)" Palantiri are generally black, but Mr. Wright argues that the name Anor Stone (anor being Sindarin for "sun") suggests that this one had a golden appearance, matching the description of the "brass" Liahona in the Book of Mormon. This caught my attention because back in December 2020, I had some syncs (documented in "Red Sun, Yellow Sun") connecting the Liahona with the Sun.

Early on in my reading of Coat of Skins, I Googled an unfamiliar name used in a since-deleted post there and discovered the work of Daymon Smith, who I had never heard of before. He's a Mormon linguistic anthropologist who has written extensively about the Book of Mormon, and whose most recent work also involves treating the works of Tolkien as non-fiction and trying to integrate them with the Book of Mormon. I read a few pages of his Jaredites-from-Numenor story The Words of the Faithful but couldn't get into it. Then I discovered his sprawling Cultural History of the Book of Mormon, which I have found absolutely fascinating. I bought all eight books (it consists of five volumes published as eight books, whatever that means!) and am currently reading the final (eighth/"fifth") one.

On August 2, Mr. Wright posted "Eleanor and 'Wake Up Time.'" He recounts a dream in which he saw a man in a tailcoat playing a grand piano. When the pianist noticed he had an audience, he turned around and said, "Hello, everyone. My name is Eleanor," and then Mr. Wright immediately woke up. Upon waking, he figured the name must actually have been El-Anor, Sindarin for "Sun-Star." Later, he was reminded of this dream when he was watching a documentary about Tom Petty and saw this image:

This synched with his dream because it included a grand piano, the Sun (anor), and "Wake Up Time." (He had woken up from his dream when he heard the pianist say "My name is El-Anor.") Although the post didn't mention it, elanor is also the name of a flower in Tolkien, and "Wake Up Time" is from Tom Petty's album Wildflowers.

The "Wake Up Time" image caught my eye because WUT is visually very similar to my initials, WJT, and because when I was in college people thought I looked like Tom Petty and used to call me Tom. Despite this, I don't really know anything about Petty or his music -- except, now, this song.

Immediately after reading the post and listening to "Wake Up Time," I picked up an old book I had had printed and bound about a week before but hadn't started reading yet: Paradise Found by William Fairfield Warren. I opened it up and found that the very first sentences is, "This book is not the work of a dreamer." This insistence that he was not dreaming when he wrote the book seemed like a potential sync with the idea of "wake up time."

The next morning, I met with a businessman whom I tutor in English. He told me that he'd read an English article called "Why Are Piano Keys Black and White" but didn't want to discuss it because it was too boring. This random reference to piano keys also seemed like a potential sync. It also made me idly wonder how many keys of each color a piano has (I knew the total was 88), so I looked it up: 52 white and 36 black.

Later in the day, I wanted to get some background on William Fairfield Warren, so I checked his Wikipedia page. His first listed publication is The True Key to Ancient Cosmology. I also clicked a link to the article about his brother, Henry White Warren. Among this latter Warren's works was Fifty-two Memory Hymns. So, just after learning that a piano has 52 white keys, I ran into this reference to a musical work with the number 52 in its title, written by someone named White whose brother wrote a book called The True Key. This was enough of a sync to make me curious about the contents of Fifty-two Memory Hymns, so I found it online. The first hymn in the collection includes this stanza:

Enthroned amid the radiant spheres,
He glory like a garment wears ;
To form a robe of light divine,
Ten thousand suns around Him shine.

The plural reference to "ten thousand suns" may be referring to the stars as "suns," making it a link to El-Anor, "Sun-Star."

I discovered all this on August 3. Later that same evening, I was reading the first volume of Daymon Smith's Cultural History. Although ostensibly a history of the Book of Mormon, it includes many long digressions on a variety of other topics, and one of the things I read in it that night was Keith Richards's story of how he "wrote 'Satisfaction' in my sleep. I had no idea I'd written it." He woke up the next morning and found that he had recorded it on a cassette during the night, with no memory of having done so. This happened, Smith mentions, while Richards was "living in St. John's Wood."

So "Satisfaction" is "the work of a dreamer" -- an obvious sync with Warren's assertion that his book is no such thing. The dreaming happened in St. John's Wood, which syncs with the opening lines of Petty's "Wake Up Time":

You follow your feelings, you follow your dreams,
You follow your leader into the trees

The strangest sync, though, was that the story was about Keith Richards, one of the Rolling Stones. William Wright writes that, in thinking about his "Eleanor" dream, he began considering the possibility of "the man introducing himself actually representing a stone," or "that the man and his piano could have represented both of these possibilities -- an actual man and a stone." Keith Richards: an actual man, and an actual Stone.

When I went out on the morning of August 4, I found that this cardboard box had been left out in front of my house for the recycling people to pick up.

SUNSTAR -- a pretty on-the-nose sync with El-Anor. If you've got good eyes and can recognize some basic Chinese/Kanji characters, you might notice that there's a 石, "stone," in the fine print, too (in the phrase 第二石油類, "second petroleum category").

Around noon on August 4, I was pacing around my study thinking of this and that, and I thought how "Wake Up Time" begins with following your dreams into the trees -- similar to how Dante's Comedy begins with the poet sleepwalking into a forest. The very last words of the Comedy are "il sole e l'altre stelle" -- "the sun and the other stars," El-Anor again. Dante's journey takes him in the end to Paradise, so there's also another sync with Paradise Found.

Then I remembered that WW’s post had mentioned that El was also a name of God, and that Dante discusses this somewhere in Paradiso. I thought for a second that Dante even connected El with the Sun, but then I remembered that, no, that was the Irish poet known as A.E. or Æ. (For the relevant quotes from each poet, see my 2019 post "U.E. echoes A.E.") I was, as I have said, pacing around as I thought about all this, and just as I thought of A.E., I turned and saw this on my wife's desk:

She has a whole set of these yellow apples, each marked with a different phonetic symbol. The one marked with the pen name of an Irish poet just happened to be the only one visible, and my eyes just happened to fall on it just as I was thinking about that poet, who wrote of our earliest ancestors, "I can imagine them looking up at the fire in the sky, and calling out 'El' if it was the light they adored."

The apple is the traditional fruit of Eden, or Paradise, and in the Greek version (Garden of the Hesperides), it's even the golden apple. The golden apple is a solar symbol, too: "The Song of Wandering Aengus," by A.E.'s lifelong friend Yeats, begins (like Dante and Tom Petty) in a forest -- "I went out to the hazel wood" -- and ends with the line "The golden apples of the sun."

Then I remembered what had happened the night before (August 3). I was teaching a children's English class in which one of the students used to go by the English name Apple but later changed it when she found out it wasn't really a very normal name. Some of the other students like to tease her about it, and on the evening of August 3, one of them had made a pencil sketch in which there was a big apple in the sky radiating light. The student formerly known as Apple accused him of drawing an apple on purpose to annoy her, but he insisted (in bad faith, obviously) that it wasn't an apple, it was the sun. It was a monochrome pencil sketch, but of course the apple/sun would be understood to be yellow in color. I'm sure Eris was looking down from Olympus and chuckling at these two arguing and fighting over, of all things, a golden apple.

On August 9, I discovered one of Daymon Smith's now-defunct blogs -- called (there's the forest theme again) these mystry woods -- and skimmed, among other things, a 2015 post called "It is what It is," which begins with a picture of a Klein bottle.

This series of thoughts in the post -- I'm quoting three non-contiguous passages here -- got my attention:

"I am that I am" must be saying something about Language, capital L.

Maybe L and the Word, and what-ever-Is-is are really "just" light?  Different kinds of Light?

How can we understand L? or EL?

Here the letter L is used to represent Language, and Light, and the divine name El. Remember A.E.'s fantasy of our ancestors looking up at the sun and "calling out 'El' if it was the light they adored"?

Smith ends his post by finally talking about the impossible Klein bottle: Klein bottles "don’t exist here as bottles, but we can describe them. They exist in L."

The next day, August 10, I was reading Smith's Cultural History -- Volume 2A now -- and Smith mentioned that the CJCLDS is "a corporate body with rights of ownership irrespective of human life-spans." This made it sound like copyrights owned by a corporation never expire, which would mean the Book of Mormon isn't in the public domain -- but I was quite sure that it is in the public domain. I ended up Googling it to make sure, and the highlighted answer was no!

Still thinking that must be wrong, I scrolled down to the fourth result, which was from the church’s own website and said the text itself was in the public domain.

Clicking that link for details, I found a forum conversation in which one of the participants had a name and avatar that caught my eye:

That's another Klein bottle, and the guy's name appears to be A.E. The thread is about the possibility of publishing an edition of the Book of Mormon with no verse numbers -- and just such an edition of the Book of Mormon has been published by none other than Daymon Smith, who posted the first Klein bottle!

Oh, and on August 25 I happened upon someone wearing this "Wake Up Time"-esque T-shirt:

Note added: On the same day that I posted this -- September 13, even though it's reporting syncs from early August -- William Wright revisited Tom Petty on his blog, with "Rock & Roll in Rivendell: Tom Petty, Elrond, and Alma the Younger." I'm not sure which of us posted first, but I didn't see his post until the next morning, and there's no indication in his post that he had read mine. Looks like just more synchronicity.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Return of the greene-ey'd Monster

Two days ago I posted "The greene-ey'd Monster, which doth mocke the meate it feeds on," in which I noted the synchronicity of seeing essentially the same green-ey'd image in an /x/ schizopost about how "burgers are made with people" and on an Uber Eats scooter. I was in moving traffic when I spotted the scooter, though, and wasn't able to snap a photo.

Today, quite some distance from my original sighting, I saw the very same Uber Eats scooter parked on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, in front of a rice paddy -- not at all the sort of place where you would usually see an Uber Eats scooter parked. It took a second for the green eyes to register, so I had to make a U-turn and go back to get a photo.

Notice also that the license plate suggests the word envy. My previous post had a title pinched from Shakespeare: Iago's speech in which he warns Othello to beware of jealousy.

The Chinese sticker under the green eyes says 藏樂組, which means "Tibetan music group." Not sure what that's supposed to mean, but one notes that cannibalism -- "flesh pills" made from Brahmins -- used to be a thing in Tibetan Buddhism.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Physical constitution as a barrier to understanding, "juice" as a solution

If you really want to rip up your mind
If you want to take the lid off your life . . .
Might as well get juiced
Might as well get juiced
-- the Rolling Stones

This is some very strange stuff from a rather eccentric Mormon thinker, but, hey, sync is sync.

I just read William Wright’s September 9 post "Ancient Juice as something that will be brought with the Sawtooth Stone." He discusses how our ability to understand is limited by the nature of our physical bodies and proposes that drinking a certain "juice" can remedy this, speculating that Moses and maybe even Jesus had to drink this juice before they were able to do what they did.

The juice is designed to change his body, quite literally. . . . On the cosmic scale of intelligence, we here on Earth are morons, I think, and it is the extreme limits and fallen nature of the bodies we inhabit that makes this so.  Our brains are part of these bodies, and though our spirits can and do shape these brains to our use the best that we can, still we can't get past the fact that the hardware we are working with is pretty bad.

Thus, I think without this juice, the interaction between [Heaven and Earth], at least for purposes of transferring complex thought, ideas, words, etc., would probably be as effective as me trying to transmit what I consider complex thought to my dog. My dog might understand that I love her, and even gather general words and meaning, but would be unable to fully grasp what is being said.  She would need a significant change or boost in how her mind operates for that to be possible. . . .

Another example would be Moses and his interactions with God, in which a change was needed for Moses to be able to both abide God's presence as well as understand what was being said.  It is likely, in my opinion, that although not recorded in any account we have, Moses likely also needed to drink this juice-nectar as part of his own experiences.

This "juice" is apparently not something like a psychedelic drug which temporarily cleanses the doors of perception, but rather something that effects a permanent change in one's body and thus in one's ability to understand.

We are not accustomed to thinking of our limited understanding as "mere mortals" as being a physical problem with a physical solution. It's an unusual point of view. Less than an hour after reading Mr. Wright's post, though, I ran across the same idea again. This was in Vol. 4B of Daymon Smith's Cultural History of the Book of Mormon; the author is quoting 20th-century Mormon leader Joseph Fielding Smith, great-nephew of the Prophet.

[Smith] counseled patience about understanding intelligences, for "there are many things that we will know when we receive the resurrection," things "which we cannot understand in this mortal state even if they were revealed to us."

The implication is that a resurrected body can understand things that a mortal body cannot. Mr. Wright, too, suggests that the effect of the "juice" is to confer not only enhanced understanding but physical immortality: "Moses was changed so as not to experience death (translated, essentially), I think by means of this drink."

Juice itself is a sync with something, too, but I can't put my finger on what. Quite recently I ran into the word juice used in a strange non-sequitur way -- maybe in a dream, or on an Engrish T-shirt, or in something a student had written -- but the precise memory eludes me. Maybe it'll come back to me eventually.

The greene-ey'd Monster, which doth mocke the meate it feeds on

A somewhat disconcerting sync:

When I was on /x/ the other day to download a picture for my "Phoenix syncs" post, one of the posts I ran across was this:

Today, while I was out on the road, I saw an Uber Eats delivery scooter, with the trademark green box on the back with the company's name on it. On this one, though, the word Uber had been covered up with a long rectangular black sticker with two big green cat eyes on it -- virtually identical in shape, color, and design to the first image in the "BURGERS" post shown above. Under the green eyes, the word Eats.

I wonder what the guy was delivering. Not burgers, I hope!

(By the way, I feel I should point out that goyim originally meant "nations," then came to be used only for non-Israelite nations, and finally for individual members of such nations. Contrary to popular belief, the word has never had anything to do with cattle.)

Saturday, September 9, 2023

This is a man who knows how to RICK.

The title of my recent post "I don't care what people say, Rick and roll are here to stay" uses "Rick and roll" instead of "rock and roll," implying that rick could be used as a verb, as in, "Let's rick and roll!"

This made me think of the classic Wug Test developed by psycholinguist Jean Berko Gleason in 1958, which measures children's acquisition of morphological rules (e.g. ability to form regular plural and past-tense forms of unfamiliar words) through the use of nonsense words and illustrations. The test takes its name from one of its least interesting pseudowords -- wug for a bird-like creature -- but my personal favorite has always been the man who knows how to RICK.

How badass is that? Even if he weren't ricking in the picture, you just have to look at his face to see that this is a man who knows how to rick. He ruck yesterday, too. He probably ricks all the time and doesn't even think twice about it. This guy is cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.

Now take a look at these losers who only know how to loodge and spow. Who would you rather hang out with? It's an easy choice, if you ask me.

Look at him. He loodges every day. People don't think anyone will know, but over time it starts to show in your physiognomy. And check out how full of himself that other guy is. He's spown a time or two without spilling his coffee everywhere, and suddenly he thinks he's Salvador frickin Dalí! Don't be these schlubs. Be the man who knows how to rick.

For those who never took Intro to Linguistics, a quick overview of the Wug Test in all its glory -- with plenty of Jean Berko Gleason's inimitable illustrations! -- can be found in this TEDx talk by Dr. Simon West, with the delightful title "He Is Ricking. He Did The Same Thing Yesterday."

Friday, September 8, 2023

Phoenix syncs

Remember the abandoned restaurant I explored in July 2022? I recently had two dreams set in an environment resembling that restaurant, a long-abandoned building where everything was covered with dead leaves. On the night of August 26, I dreamed that I was searching such a building with my brother, trying to find "plates" -- meaning further records like the Golden Plates from which the Book of Mormon was produced. In the second dream, during a nap on September 1, I found a large mantis inside the restaurant, and it kept unfolding more and more of its joints until, its limbs fully extended, it was larger than I was. I was trying to think of a way to get it out the door without hurting it.

The two dreams made me want to go check out the restaurant again, so yesterday afternoon I did so. I was there from about 1:30 to 2:00, walking through the whole place and taking lots of photos.

About half an hour after leaving the restaurant, I saw the "NEVER STOP ROLLING" T-shirt mentioned in my last post in connection with a Rickroll sync.

A little before midnight last night, I was on /x/ looking for something else when I happened upon a post, apparently written by an AI, about Rick Astley's new song -- the second half of the Rickroll sync. One of the replies -- referencing Rick's line "Can't stop this world from turning; the fire's already burning" -- was a picture of this book cover, featuring a phoenix:

Today, looking through the photos I had taken at the restaurant, I noticed this one, which also features a phoenix-like image:

It's a bag of drinking straws. The Chinese reads 元凰 (a brand name; the second character means "phoenix") 衛生吸管 ("hygienic drinking straws").

I was in my study when I discovered this and connected it to the Manley P. Hall book cover. Minutes later, I walked into the next room and saw this:

Pareidolia is sort of an occupational hazard for synchromystics, but doesn't that look like a bird getting ready to fly up out of the trash can? I guess it looks more like a dove than anything else, but doesn't it also suggest a phoenix rising from the ash-tray, as we Pig Latin speakers call it? Of course it's really a discarded tissue, which in Taiwan is called 衛生紙, "hygiene paper," the first two characters of which also appeared on the pack of drinking straws.

I then got on my motorcycle and headed for my school. While on the road, I was thinking about phoenixes. The first thing that came to mind was "Phoenix the Cat," since one feature of the Taiwanese accent is that /l/ tends to be pronounced as /n/. Then, since cats and owls are connected in Chinese, I remembered my dream of a year ago in which I saw two "owls" that resembled Chinese phoenixes:

Then the two owls swooped down, and I noticed that they were really enormous -- the size of condors -- and didn't look much like owls at all. I still thought of them as "owls," but what they really looked like were Chinese phoenixes (fenghuang) with the buff-and-white coloration of barn owls.

I was stopped at a red light thinking about the two phoenix-like "owls" when it started to rain lightly. The motorcyclist in front of me took out a raincoat and put it on. The back of the raincoat was decorated with, of all things, two owls.

The first owl is saying 中山二甲子, which doesn't mean anything to me, and the second is saying 風華三世紀, which I think means something like "the third century of glory."

Remember the tissue-bird, which I said looked like a dove but was conceptually a phoenix? Just now as I was preparing this post, I went on the /x/ catalog page and did a Ctrl-F for astley so that I could find and download the Manly P. Hall picture. Close by the post I was looking for was another combination of dove and phoenix imagery:

The "fox" reference in the middle isn't irrelevant, either. The browser now known as Firefox originally had a different name and logo:


The 4chan screenshot above shows a post that says "What exactly IS the Holy Spirit?" I included it because of the accompanying image -- a dove surrounded by fiery radiance -- which synched with an earlier phoenix-dove combination.

A couple of hours after publishing this post, I was doing some reading -- Vol. 4B of Daymon Smith's Cultural History of the Book of Mormon -- and found this:

[T]he character of the Holy Spirit . . . during the nineteenth century remained characteristically ambiguous. Both deity and substance, what that name referred to could be imagined in any way necessary to one's theology. This was true then, and it remains true today . . . .

Was the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost a person or an animate, agentive substance-form akin to the [abstract divine] attributes or to spirit itself? "I cannot fully make up my mind one way or the other," Orson Pratt confessed . . . .

Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh as one

I was listening to an audio recording of the Book of Mormon, and when it got to the part where Nephi says they "did live upon raw meat ...