LDS PODCAST 2:
Abraham Vs. Einstein
Greetings, once again! This is Chris Heimerdinger, artist/author/film-director/ extraordinare--at least marginally extraordinaire. Those who listened to our first Podcast entitled: Religion: The Secret of Creative Brilliance, now have a pretty good sense of our agenda here on foreverlds. We're celebrating faith! And I hope that we're doing it in unique, fascinating, entertaining ways—not only with regard to my personal faith—but of all Judeo-Christian faiths. In fact, I hope many will come to see us as defenders of organized religion in general. But here's what's weird about that. If in any Podcasts we actually achieve that goal, it'll probably be pure luck, because that's not really my objective. I'm all about mind-bending, soul-expanding, intellectually stimulating stuff. I just confess that because I'm LDS, my religion will shape those explorations. Unavoidable. Those who believe religion is already going to inhibit any effort to ask the most stimulating questions or explore the most mind-bending subjects, might wanna tune in to another podcast. I'm not asking you to leave. By all means, please, I hope you stay. Just know that I'm firmly of the opinion that without religion, you're already stuck in a rut that will always stop you from embracing the kind of open-minded, soul-expanding explorations that can only occur by combining such pursuits WITH religion.
So to start off, let me go over some ground rules! It seems inevitable that because we talk of God and faith and "organized religion" in positive ways we're bound to attract some detractors. Our posts are currently open to anyone. You can post about this particular Podcast or any other Podcast on foreverlds. You can post about various blogs. You can even write a guest blog, and if it's thoughtful and does not break our cardinal rule—i.e. it's NOT BORING—we might even post it. So...
Rule no. 1. Sorry about the reverb. I thought it'd be cool. Probably corny. Anyway:
Rule no. 1. No profanity. If you happen to have a serious mental disability that inhibits your ability to communicate without exhibiting diarrhea of the larynx, this is not the website for you. First, I'd advise that you have your condition treated with a powerful antibiotic, possibly including surgery, and even then, know that you will have your posts deleted--probably before they even appear online--and possibly your internet address blocked. Sorry! I know that sounds so narrow-minded of me, but I believe there are just too many intelligent people who don't suffer a profanity affliction and I've decided to practice an open bias--overt preference--for those kind of individuals. Call your congressman. I make no apologies.
Rule no. 2. foreverlds, by its very nature, is bound to attract some hateful folks. Anti-Mormons, anti-Christians, anti-religionists in general. Again, this is not your forum. There are plenty of places online where you can spew hatred to your heart's content. If you can't keep it civil on foreverlds, incorporating thoughtful, intelligent dialogue, then I invite you to grab your ship's rudder and, please, steer off into the sunset. I really don't want to debate the kind of stuff you might find in anti-LDS, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian kind of tracts and websites. If I, or one of my future guests, happens to say something positive--even life affirming—about Mormonism that--grrrr!--just inflames your ire to the utmost or the most-ut--my advice is find a quiet corner to sulk, maybe seek some therapy or legal prescriptions for anxiety meds, and spew your goobledygood elsewhere. Now there are exceptions. Occasionally. I know there are folks out there with honest questions. They're seeking an honest discussion. Honest being the key word here. Some people just don't how to be honest. They wouldn't recognize honesty if you dropped it on their head like a grand piano. They're so entwined and distorted by the art of manipulation that they've lost the ability to communicate any other way. If you're not honest, and just want to pretend to have a serious issue that you seemingly want to discuss with intelligent, compassionate people, I'll probably see right through your game before anything you write is even posted. Some might get past me, but not for long.
Intelligent inquires about controversial topics may see the light of day--but here's the catch. Only if the topic interests me--personally. This is my blog. Listen, I read so much anti-Mormon nonsense before I joined the Church, and after I joined the Church. I don't advise that course of action for anyone, but I did it anyway and somehow lived to tell the tale. The Lord must have aided me to read it in the right order, because frankly, it soon became clear that most is just regurgitated nonsense that reveals the author's unwillingness to properly research an issue or perform any due diligence and I have no patience for that. That's my prerogative, and I'm stickin' to it.
Rule no. 3. No advertising or self-promotion for some product or book or website that we haven't already agreed to advertise or self-promote. You wanna know something about me? I hate commercials. Have I ever said that before? Well, let me say it now. I despise them. My favorite feature about the modern cable box is the ability to pause whenever commercials come on, to hit the pause butten, then go off and eat dinner or write on my novel, come back and watch my show commercial free. I've become really good at hitting the forward button four times--you know where the image move the very fastest--and having it stop dead at the beginning of my show again. Anyway, don't try to post links or advertisements unless pre-approved by our staff, which, right now, is me. And Jared, my web designer. As time goes on we'll likely invite other to help screen content, but for right now the set up is rather rudimentary and I doubt much, if anything, will get past us.
Having said that, there may come to my attention stuff that I'd be proud to advertise, maybe even sell on our store, but my time is limited and if I'm inundated with requests by hawkers and hucksters, my head will threaten to explode, so chances are your post is more likely to just be deleted. That doesn't mean you can't suggest great books to read or direct folks to material that might support one of our ideas, but you better be a neutral party with no hidden agendas. One sin--and-ripppp!--it's probably off with your head.
Rule no. 4. No flaming. Avoid personal attacks--against anything, but particularly against people. More especially against people who aren't even public figures, like someone who just expresses an opinion you disagree with. Now, sometimes, expressing a negative opinion about someone's post may seem unavoidable. There are definitely undermining forces in the world, and we reserve every right to call them out, but I believe there are right ways and wrong ways about doing this. No, I confess I probably don't have it all figured out yet. Some of this will take time and experience. But if you want to discuss something or something someone said in a negative way you're probably safest by keeping Rules 1, 2, and 3. For the most part, if you engage in flaming personal attacks, your post will probably be deleted. Here's a challenge! I'd LOVE to see this. Instead of denigrating the villains of the world, try celebrating the heroes. Those who are willing to do that on this website will likely become my personal heroes on foreverlds.
Rule no. 5. Okay there is no rule 5. I just wanted to hear that reverb again. We're free to add a Rule no. 5 later, but for now just worry about Rules 1-4.
Well, okay there is a modest Rule 5 and I've discussed it here before. Here on foreverlds our first goal is to entertain. My object on foreverlds is to attract bloggers and participants who outshine those of any other LDS or religious website. So make your posts intriguing. Not boring. I know we can't all be acrobatic, Spielbergian, lion tamers at all times. Even I--yes I--may break the rule about not be boring on occasion, but I'm gonna try real hard to avoid it, and I hope you do too.
You see, I'm convinced if I just sit here and expound the doctrines of my Church every podcast, my listeners are gonna lose interest. Or they'll go to LDS.org and listen to General Conference addresses. Nothing wrong with that. That stuff is gold! My approach will likely incorporate some of that, but in the end, our objective is a little different. In the infamous words of Captain Kirk, I wanna go where no man has gone before! Jean-Luc Picard kind updated that to "go where no ONE has gone before", but that was just to be politically correct. The point is that I'm a hungry person. Hungry to combine ideas that no one may have considered combined before, but by doing so we come out with something surprisingly profound. But there's a catch, and it's a catch that I believe should corral all such adventures when exploring strange, new worlds. Yes, I have an insatiable appetite for knowledge, experience, wisdom, and understanding. But I'm also a very faithful Latter-day Saint, so all my adventures must be circumscribed by something far greater than myself. Something many consider abstract and incomprehensible. In LDS theology we call that force the Holy Ghost.
So how does it work exactly? Here I am on this journey to understand everything--science and the arts, math and engineering, history and culture, psychology and sociology, and behind it all I have this secret force—well, it's not a secret to those who use it, particularly those who recognize the Holy Ghost as an overarching and over whelming gift. But it's my belief that without this guiding force circumscribing all knowledge that I gain in this life, that knowledge has the vast potential to become utterly meaningless.
There's a great scripture in 2 Timothy 3:7 "Ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth."
We've all met people like that, right? Their head is just packed with so much stuff! They're like hoarders or pack rats but instead of using their apartments they use their brains. But somehow in all their hoarding, in all their gathering of knowledge, they missed something. Something big. I believe that element is the Holy Ghost.
You have to accept that you're never going to learn everything there is to learn in this life. You're never gonna get through all the novels of Lope de Vega or Alexandre Dumas, so I believe there has to be this force--this power--that helps us to cull through all the nonsense and finally lay hold of true wisdom. It doesn't always work because we're all human and sometimes we don't listen to that force the way we should--or there's something in our lives that happens to be silencing that Still Small Voice, or causing static--generally a sin or fault that we haven't fully repented of, or that we're denying we even have.
I think everyone listening would agree that's there's a fundamental dictionary difference between knowledge and intelligence, right? Knowledge is the tools, the nuts and bolts. Intelligence is ability to use those tools and nuts and bolts. Everybody has likely had the experience of meeting someone who owns a lot of books, maybe they've even read them, but in any case, they own them, they may have earned multiple degrees, they may win every trivia contest known to man--in other words, they have a lot of tools and nuts and bolts, but when it comes to actually building something--actually creating something beautiful and unique and magnificent, there's, uh, kind of a disconnect. The missing ingredient, I believe, is the Holy Ghost, MUCH of the time. I'm not a therapist or a psychiatrist, so some learned folks may define the disconnect some other way. But as far as the difference between knowledge and intelligence, I believe that thing that truly defines the difference is the Holy Ghost.
The 88th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants tells us that "intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence." Boy--in another aside--I have to tell you, if you ever want just an intellectual recharge to your day or your month sit down and read D&C 88--"The Olive life...plucked from the Tree of Paradise...the Lord's message of peace" from start to finish. All 141 verses. Works every time. You want to strengthen your Testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet? Re-read Section 88. Same with Section 93. In that section, starting half-way through verse 29, the Lord says: Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence." That is deep. It's cool! But it gets better. Listen to verse 31: Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
So that's difference between knowledge and intelligence. Knowledge we can gain and labor to collect and gather all day long, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, but intelligence must be received.
Just like the Holy Ghost. Everyone probably remembers, when you were confirmed a member of the Church, you weren't given the Holy Ghost. The person who confirmed you said, "Receive the Holy Ghost." Meaning that nothing is automatic. The power is put back on your shoulders. You have to receive the Holy Ghost. So how do you do that? How do you receive the Holy Ghost? No surprises. You receive it through faith, through obedience, through desire, through prayer, though service--you receive it through recognizing that God has it. And because He has it, you have to go through Him to attain it. Which means you better get on your knees and ask Him. What's next? What's next? What's next?
The Holy Ghost, I believe, is the Great Equalizer of all humanity. So often we're tempted to whine because others seem so much smarter than us, so much more talented, they have so many more raw gifts and opportunities, but what we learn through the verses I just read is that none of that matters. The Holy Ghost is the "definer" of true intelligence. It is this phenomenon that allows a humble farmer—I don’t know why I pick on farmers because farming actually requires quite a bit of experience and know-how. Let’s just say it’s what allows the average--I dunno— Fast Food employee—this analogy is just really hard to make without offending someone—It allows the humble clerk of the most insignificant convenience store to stand on equal footing with a Nobel-Prize-winning theoretical physicist.
Because you see, if that fast food guy listens to the Holy Ghost, and thereby makes righteous choices and lives his or her life in such a way that allows them to obtain the Celestial Kingdom, whereas the theoretical physicist rejects the whisperings of the Spirit, lives a personal life of sin and degradation, and in the end obtains only the Telestial Kingdom—who, in the eyes of eternity—in the eyes of God—was more “intelligent?” That’s why the Holy Ghost is humanity’s great equalizer. It allows each of us, if we listen, the opportunity to become like God.
So without that element, that sacred spark that seems inseparably connected to a Higher Power interwoven with our personal devotion to faith and religion, I believe we can never achieve our loftiest potential, we cannot never attain our greatest degree of “intelligence.”
So that's what I'm talking about when I define knowledge alongside intelligence, i.e., the Holy Ghost. And I'm also not talking about human genius or incredible problem solvers. It would be an error to think I talking about the kind of intelligence potentially defined by IQ tests. Again, it's the difference between having the tools and using the tools.
We don't have time today to explore all the side questions this philosophy introduces, such as, "Well, then how come such beautiful things, some of the greatest inventions, some of the most magnificent pieces of art, are sometimes created by the most sinful and degenerate human souls?" Excellent question. Magnificent question. Think about that, and in another podcast we'll explore these kinds of questions in depth. Foreverlds is supposed to make you think. But it would way misleading if listeners think that just because I pose the questions that I have all the answers. Big mistake. Huge misconception. I don't have the foggiest idea how much I don't know. Think about that sentence. It makes more sense than you think.
In one of my books, I think it was Feathered Serpent, Part 1, I wrote, "Sometimes I think life isn't so much a journey to collect answers as a journey to gather questions. In the next life those who have the most, or those who ask the right ones, win."
I'm not even sure it's that's true, but sounds profound so let's run with it. Our job on foreverlds is to ask the most questions and the right questions. We'll have a lot of fun discussing the answers, but in the end, such answers can only come from knowledge combined with intelligence and the Holy Ghost.
Yet so many people have been seduced, hoodwinked, by so many wrong ideas over the last couple centuries that's it's becoming hard to keep track of 'em all. And so many of them attack religion.
The thing I think most Christians—most people of faith would agree with—is that religious tradition has come under incredible pressure over the last hundred years. Some would say longer. Some would say shorter. Christians in general are particularly feeling under siege. And for good reason. When we've reached the point where we might offend someone just by saying Merry Christmas, or by printing "In God We Trust" on our currency, we know something has gone off the rails. It felt like the momentum built up very slow and them BAMM!—we woke up one day and felt like the very things we've held most precious for hundreds, even thousands of years, are suddenly being attacked from all directions.
I don't want to get off into the weeds by talking about the individual issues right now. Each one probably deserve its own podcast. And maybe I'll leave those discussions to others. I'd like to talk a little about some of the most fundamental issues that started these conflicts.
One of the biggest boxing matches that seems to have gained the most attention is the battle between science and religion.
That rings true, right? But before we get into it there's something you better know about me. I love science. I didn't always love science. In fact if you get into the math side of science, which is almost unavoidable with physics or quantum mechanics, I hated that subject during my school years. It was probably sometime during High School, definitely during my first years of college, that I began to develop a jaw-dropping appreciation of practically every branch of science. I've easily studied more about science as an adult than I ever did as a student. And—since we're all about honesty here—let me confess that I'm also a person who believes there ARE no conflicts between science and religion. When I say that, I better be mroe clear. I see no conflicts between the core tenets of science and the doctrines of my particular religion.
Just because I say, most folks in the various fields would automatically want to categorize me as being a proponent of Intelligent Design. I hate the compulsion everybody feels to put labels onto everything. I understand the tendency, I just don't like it. Intelligent Design, as it's developed over the last couple decades goes to great lengths to leave the (quote) "designer" completely undefined. They won't call him Christ, or Buddha or Thor or Zeus or anything else. And they think this will gain them greater credibility in the scientific community. Good luck with that. I don't think it's working. Real scientists—those who consider themselves staunch adherents to the most disciplined rigors of academia—still label it all as a pseudoscience no matter how innocuous the efforts of ID proponents might seem, so what's the point? You can't prove faith. I'm not saying it's a waste of time. Please, Intelligent Design proponents, by all means, keep hacking away. I'm just not sure it's necessary. You can poke enormous holes in just about every supposed incontrovertible principle of what is today classified as hard core science, so why not just have a lot of fun doing that?
Again, for me, and for right now I think I better put myself alone in this category, it all comes back to the Holy Ghost. Those who open themselves to see, will see, while those who insist upon remaining closed, may never see. Until, of course, we pass on to the next phase of our existence, at which point everyone will see. Or not see. Depending upon your point of view. Confused? Good.
So let's start this exercise with a very simple, yet critical, point. Let's give credit where credit is due. I was told back in High School by one of my teachers whose name I can't remember—I think it was my 9th Grade science teacher Mr. Hurr. Mr. Hurr was a him, not a her, but that's immaterial. The point is that Mr. Hurr taught us that there had not been an original thought among the progenitors of the human race since 1905 when a German physicist named Albert Einstein presented to the world his theory of Special Relativity. To find the next closest original idea he believed you had to go back thousands of years to the the ancient Greeks.
Mr. Hurr was a pretty intimidating guy. He spoke in a tone that made you feel like if you disagreed you'd shrivel up and die. He had a prosthetic hand that was either made out of ceramic or mahagony or some other indestructible wood, because we were always afraid if got too close he'd cracked our skulls. If you ever saw the movie Dr. Strangelove and remember Peter Sellers's prosthetic hand, you'd have a pretty accurate image of the intimidation all of us 9th Graders felt.
Anyway, I'm not sure I agree with Mr. Hurr's whole premise about what constitutes an original idea anymore, but at the time--okay. Albert Einstein. Special Relativity. The first original idea of mankind for thousands of years.
But was Albert Einstein really the first human being to present Special Relativity to the world? Sorry, Mr. Hurr. With all due respect, I now think someone else deserves that credit, and it's a full 62 years before Einstien. That person? Joseph Smith. Technically, it wasn't even Joseph Smith. It was the Prophet Abraham, and it wasn't 62 years, it was several thousand years before Einstein.
Simply put, Special Relativity, as published by Einstein in 1905 in a paper called "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", is the idea that time is literally a fourth dimension dubbed "Space-Time." Einstein demonstrated to the world how time could be perceived and measured in an entirely different way depending upon your point of reference, or your position in space. Yet in 1842 Joseph Smith published the same thing, without all the math, in the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of the Great Price. Listen to Abraham Chapter 3, starting at verse 6:
It is given unto thee (Abraham) to know the times of reckoning, and the set time, yea, the set time of the earth upon which thou standest, and the set time of the greater light which is set to rule the day, and the set time of the lesser light which is set to rule the night.
That’s Special Relativity! It’s so classic, so synonymous with 20th Century science, that it’s breathtaking! Abraham knew about space-time relationships several millennia before Einstein! And without the aid of Bill Nye, Morgan Freeman, Mr. Spock, Ironman, or Captain America!
It's so important to understand, science is always going to have its limitations. Why? Because it must always base its conclusions upon what can be observed in the present, or in the temporal world. Yet in LDS doctrine we’re taught right from the get-go to look at the universe from the perspective of three separate realities—the pre-mortal existence (where every living thing existed spiritually with God), mortality—(which is where we are now)—and the post-mortal existence, or Paradise and the Celestial Kingdom—all of which, except for pre-mortality, are found right here, in the very room where we're all sitting or standing, on the surface of this planet, within what quantum mechanics might today call parallel universes.
I always found it so strange how so many documentaries I watch on National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, Smithsonian, etc.—are so bloated, so convoluted, so overwhelmed, and so conquered by the theory of Evolution that the language of it permeates every episode. The narrators or guest scientists will talk about how some creature starts out on land, begins to metamorphosize, loses its four limbs and returns to the ocean like they’re talking about Bruce Banner transforming into the Incredible Hulk. Most don’t even bother anymore to talk about the passage of millions of years and millions of individual living organisms. It’s as if the metamorphosis is referring to the journey of one individual creature—one single organism—and the culture is now so indoctrinated that further explanations aren’t even necessary. But again, keep in mind, today's popular perspectives of Darwinian Evolution, in fact of all sceince, are 100% dependent upon observations made in only one of the three eternal perspectives outlined in our theology: mortality—the temporal world. From only a mortal perspective it's presently impossible to observe that a living creature, for example, one called the Australopithecus caveman, first existed spiritually in the pre-mortal existence, came to this earth receive a physical body, and then went on its eternal destiny. All those individual Australopithecus cavemen are still out there in some eternal realm, probably awaiting reunion with their physical bodies, just like every other creature that has ever inhabited this planet. As it tell us in Moses Chapter 3 verse 5, everything that inhabits our earth was created spiritually before it was created physically. That would include every mammoths, mustard seeds, mosquitoes, and even measles viruses. I hope you liked that alliteration.
Listen, I'll be the first to admit, even with the totality of all the doctrinal tenets of our religion, we can't begin to answer every question proposed by science since the Gospel was restored, but because we understand certain pivotal, preeminent concepts, sometimes listening to science as it gropes to draw conclusions about the order of living specimens arriving and becoming extinct over millions of years without injecting the concept of eternal progression, can almost be amusing.
Heavenly Father could probably explain so much in just a few short verses, but how many of us are actually asking Him? How many of us are making a sincere effort to combine knowledge with the light of truth? Purists in the field of science would think it's anathema to even see it from that perspective. They'd wear garlic and hold up a cross like warding off a vampire.
But you know what? I'm speaking now to those who are on the fence--trying to decide whether to go the way of the world or hold true to your religious convictions. Please, don't know yourself out. Don't get so stressed. You know what? We don't have to have all the answers. Maybe it’s simply the pursuit of knowledge—the disciplined and determined study of all things pertaining to life and the universe—that expands the mind and provides the necessary cerebral and spiritual “exercise” that prepares us for the eternities.
Just make me this promise. Everyone listening to this podcast! Never allow your faith to be discombobulated or thrown into disarray because of the temporal observations of modern science. It's foolishness. Instead science should, in all its imperfections, expand our minds and enlarge our spirits with thousands of questions, many of which may be answered the very instant we shuffle off this mortal coil and pass beyond the veil having our memories of life with Heavenly Father before we were born restored in one blinding instant.
Listen, we're going to try to make a new podcast and post it every Tuesday morning. I hope for many it becomes your weekly energy jolt. We have so much more to come. So much more planned. Even today I only said about a quarter of wanted to say. We'd like to keep these podcasts around 20-25 minutes, with rare exceptions if the subject demands it or one of our guests inspires it, maybe a longer.
But please, don't think I'm infallible. It seems inevitable that someone will point to something I said, some tidbit of research I conduct, that I'll be horribly embarrassed and have to retract every word. I just know that some science nerd is going to write in and say, "You're aware, of course, that the Morley-Mickelson experiment of 1887 actually laid the entire foundation for Einstein theory of Special Relativity." Spare me stuff like that, okay. Joseph Smith still beat 'em by forty years. Still, I know listeners are sometimes going to sincerely surprise me. I might hear, Hey, Henry Eyring Sr. mentioned that stuff about Joseph Smith and Einstien fifty years ago and did it in a way that was much more entertaining than you.
No problem. Shucks that sounds like pretty good company! I'd actually be flattered if that was true. The point is I'm not obsessed with always being totally accurate or unique. If Mr. Hurr is right, I'm never going to say anything that someone else hasn't already said anyway. So if anyone finds flaws in my words, do your worst. And if I said something wrong, I hope I can always be man enough to admit it.
We're still working out some of the cooler features on foreverlds. I'd love to teach a course on writing fiction--creating plots, designing characters, publishing, selling, longevity in this business--the whole nine yards of making a living in this so-called career. A tell-all series on how to avoid the traps and snarls, maybe six or seven episodes long, and cheap! We're still makin' all this stuff up as we go along, figuring out the fairest, most professional ways to keep my dreams of creating fiction and art alive for Latter-day Saint consumers, whether its book sales or donations or whatever else our little minds can conjure. Sound shameless. Absolutely, but I'd rather call it capitalism. Or charity. In any case, Foreverlds is determined to be the best at what it does. Don't miss our next podcast. I feel like I just scratched the surface with today's subject, so maybe I'll continue in that vein. Or I'll invite a guest. Trust me, it'll be worth your time. Until then, stay close to the Lord. And remember, if you don't feel as close to God today as you did yesterday, who moved? I think you already know the answer to that. God bless you, God bless your families. This is Chris Heimerdinger signing off and signing OUT!