Bourdieu and the Bloggernacle: Autonomy and Apostasy

April 6, 2016    By: Jeff G @ 1:58 pm   Category: Apologetics,Bloggernacle,Ethics,Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,orthodox

“He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.”

“For, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get … praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.”

This should be the final post in the series – at least for a while. Whereas the previous post was a Bourdieuian indictment of us who read, lurk and comment within the Bloggernacle, this post is more aimed at those of us who engage in the writing and publishing of posts within our little online community. To do this, I will provide a Bourdieuian account of the relationship and struggles between two fields of cultural production: the LDS church and the Bloggernacle. (All pages refer to Bourdieu’s The Field of Cultural Production, chapters of which can be found here and here.)


Capitalism and Consecration

March 12, 2015    By: Jeff G @ 12:45 pm   Category: Ethics,Money and getting gain,orthodox

Most Mormons in this country vote conservative and there is a good reason for the harmony between these two stances.  I’m not saying that these good reasons are the actual reasons why most Mormons vote the way they do.  I can’t help but agree with the many criticisms and suspicions from left-leaning Mormons bring against this strong correlation.  While I do not wish to reduce all the political differences between each side to economic issues, the case of private property makes for a very generalize-able example.

I have no doubt that, in practice, many right-wing Mormons do indeed vote Republican because they are against the redistribution of wealth.  I have no doubt that there is some selfishness at play here.  I’m also convinced that many right-wing Mormons are against it because they honestly believe that a free market wherein the individual rights to private property are strongly enforced are either better for society overall, or simply the morally right social arrangement.  None of these reasons account for the harmony that I see between conservatism and Mormonism.

The reason why Mormons ought to be against the compensation of property by the state for the sake of redistribution is because that property belongs to the Lord and His kingdom to which we have consecrated it.  Right-wing Mormons want to limit the secular state as much as possible since that state is not the sovereign in which they have placed their faith.  It is the church and not the state that Mormons think ought to redistribute property.  In other words, right-wing Mormons ought not to privilege their individual rights, but those of the Lord and His kingdom over the state.

While this is clearly a criticism of some left-wing claims, I think this also functions as a badly needed criticism of many right-wing claims from within the church membership.  To the extent that they presuppose and endorse the individualism of capitalism and classical liberalism they also depart from the collectivism of Mormonism to that same extent.  Of course the individualism of capitalism, while not ideal, is still much more harmonious with the voluntary collectivism of the church than the compulsory collectivism of the state ever could be, practically speaking.


Drawing a bright line between consecration and the united order

March 15, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 5:48 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Scriptures

The Setup

In the temple, we covenant to obey the law of consecration, but I have observed that there is some disagreement about what is entailed in obedience to the law of consecration. In the early days of the church, the saints established the United Order to implement the law of consecration as it had been revealed to that point. Members voluntarily consecrated (deeded over) their property to the Church and in return received a stewardship over property to meet their needs. The United Order lasted a relatively short period of time and the Church hasn’t asked people to deed over all their property for well over one hundred years. (more…)

The Commandment To Spread The Wealth

October 17, 2008    By: Geoff J @ 8:37 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

Mormons really have no business sneering at the ideals of socialism.

What is socialism? We get this from the wiki:

Socialism refers to an economic theory of social organization advocating social or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society where one’s labor is the only important, individual factor of production. …

Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism by nature concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital, and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved.


Why keeping the commandments will lead to prospering in the land

October 23, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 3:45 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Personal Revelation,Theology

A while back I posted on the oft repeated promise in the Book of Mormon “Inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land”. I have always taken this to be a self-evident truth in Mormonism but it turns out that lots of people in the church just don’t believe it. Well, they may sorta believe it but apparently many want to water it down and make it only applicable to societies and not to individuals. Or perhaps they misread the word “prosper” and think the only thing it could possibly be referring to is worldly riches (ignoring other ways we can prosper in the land like by having good physical and mental health, true friends, loving relationships, etc.) I think the promise is very literal and applies to individuals today. In this post I’ll explain the two ways I think the promise plays out. (more…)

On brother Nibley and taking potshots at “the rich”

October 3, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 2:08 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

One of the popular sports among many Mormons is taking potshots at “the rich”. Hugh Nibley seems to have really gotten the ball rolling on this sport (perhaps unintentionally?) with some of his excellent essays found in the book Approaching Zion. Using many of Nibley’s arguments, some Mormons seem to immensely enjoy lobbing theological grenades at the ever-nebulous and faceless group, the rich. We have been discussing this very topic in the comments over at my recent post about the camel and the eye of the needle teachings in the New Testament.

The problem is that nobody seems to be willing to define the term rich. What makes one officially rich? Is it net worth? Is it annual income?

Are you among those who actually believe that being poor (please define poor too, btw) is morally and spiritually superior to being rich?

I have mentioned elsewhere that I have a Nibley hangover lately and it is things like this that have given it to me. It was fun to ride a high horse and look down on “the rich” for a while after reading his stuff but falling off that high horse seems to have given me a Nibley headache or something…

[Associated song: ABC – How To Be A Millionaire]

The camel and needle thing — I do not think that means what you think it means either

September 20, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:22 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Scriptures,Theology

Before the parable of the laborers in Matthew 20 there is the tale of the rich young man who approaches Jesus in Matthew 19:

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.


My Beef with a Year Supply of Food

August 4, 2006    By: Jacob J @ 12:03 am   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices

For the most part I am a huge fan of the Church’s counsel regarding finances, preparedness, and self-reliance. I love the counsel to stay out of debt and live within our means, and I need a steady diet of it. (From what I can tell you do too.) However, I find myself somewhat at odds with the counsel to keep a year’s supply of food. (more…)

The Devil’s GPA and how it whacked David

June 25, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 10:28 am   Category: Devil's GPA,Money and getting gain,Scriptures,Sunday School Lessons

The Devil’s GPA whacked David. We are discussing this episode today in Sunday School in lesson 24 covering 2 Samuel 11-12. For those of you not familiar with the Devil’s GPA, it is my codename for the three major categories of temptations we find in scripture (and in life). I’ve posted on it a couple of times before. Here is a synopsis: (more…)

Sheep Food (Part 1)

May 1, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:53 pm   Category: Feed My Sheep,Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

And you thought the Feed My Sheep series here at the Thang was dead… Oh, how wrong you were. So far we have discussed the relationship between sheep and shepherds in scripture and who the scriptures define as Christ’s sheep (and who they say aren’t His sheep). In the next couple of posts I will discuss what it is we are supposed to feed these sheep; or in other words, what is the sheep food? (more…)

Katrina Funds vs. Fast Offerings

September 6, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 9:15 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices

We are commanded to give to the poor and needy. Ancient and modern scriptures are clear on that. But are there clear priorities when choosing how to distribute our offerings? Let me give you a hypothetical situation to see what you think. (more…)

Money. Big Money.

May 14, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 8:24 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices

Most of us are concerned about just making enough money to pay our bills. By contrast, there are some people in this world that are really, really rich. I have seen stats in the past that show that almost 40% of all wealth in the US is in the hands of the top 1% of wealthy people. So here is my question to you: What would you do if you were rich? I don’t mean kinda rich, I mean 8-to-9-figures rich. How would you (as a righteous citizen of Zion) handle or distribute your fabulous wealth? What could you do with that resource to actually make the world a better place? (more…)

Two dollars, I want my Two Dollaaarrrs!

April 17, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 12:03 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

The law of consecration worries me. It nags me. It harasses me. It won’t leave me alone. It’s like that paper boy in the 80’s teen flick Better Off Dead that kept showing up out of nowhere demanding his “twoooo dollllaaarss!” — It just won’t go away. (more…)

How’s Your GPA? (Satan Wants to Know…) — Part II

February 15, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 10:10 pm   Category: Devil's GPA,Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

Tonight for family scriptures I broke out the parable of the sower from Matthew 13 for my little children. It was slightly over their heads (I got questions like ?what is God?s special word?? ? as in singular) but as I read the parable and succeeding explanation out loud it dawned on me that this parable was further support for my theory on the Devil?s GPA!

The Devil?s GPA is the code name I use for what I think is the fundamental content of Satan?s playbook as explained in the scriptures. I introduced the concept in an earlier post, but here is the list temptations we?ll face in mortality from greatest to least:

G: Greed and Getting Gain (Plus the power wealth brings)
P: Popularity, Prominence, Praise of Men, Pride, Power (at least the influence part)
A: Appetites and Addictions

I have loved this idea since I read somewhere that President Mckay taught similar things. I hadn?t seen it in this parable until tonight. Here goes:

The seeds by the wayside = Appetites and Addictions


Riches Part II — God might make you rich… but beware

February 11, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 11:42 pm   Category: Money and getting gain,Mormon Culture/Practices

The comments for my previous post on the tenuous relationship between worldly riches and righteousness really got me thinking. A rich (but apparently righteous) anonymous saint made some very insightful comments that brought new ideas to my mind. I’m now starting to wonder if the Lord really does “bless” us with riches sometimes in this life. Not so we can live it up, but to see if we’ll actually keep our covenants and let go of it. (more…)

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