But the article is very interesting for other reasons--namely, the way in which it offers up a glimpse into the current status of Mopologetics. Simply put, the article represents a retreat into Chapel Mormonism. Just look at the very last few lines, a portion of which quote from (who else?) Nibley:
I think some context is in order here. The idea of "elites" and "morality" seems to have been on Dr. Peterson's mind a lot lately. I mean, have you seen his blog entries on Napoleon lately, where he (DCP) is commenting on the idea that, sure, Napoleon was a great, historic figure, but *man* a lot of people sure died in the course of what he did! How can anybody not feel a sense of revulsion over that?That is the intelligence that God seems to value. And it is available to all. Even to the elite.Nibley wrote:So that’s why I don’t take this very seriously down here [on Earth]. We just are sort of dabbling around, playing around, being tested for our moral qualities — and, above all, the two things we can be good at, and no two other things can we do: we can forgive and we can repent.15
So, go ahead and do the math here: Napoleon = An Elite, but, no, Napoleon was not actually smart because he wasn't "smart" in the way "that God seems to value" (and you have to chuckle at that qualifier: "seems")--i.e., Napoleon didn't openly "forgive" or "repent," I guess.
But this is an awfully odd thing for a Mopologist to say, isn't it? Peterson spends the first portion of his very, very short article arguing that humans--and "so-called intellectuals" especially--tend to envision a God that suits their own interests:
Hey, by any chance have you read a short novel called, Added Upon?There seems a powerful tendency among people who theorize about God — perhaps particularly in the absence of contradicting experience or revelation — to imagine Him in their own image. And this occurs even among those who try hard to avoid what they consider “crude” or “vulgar” or “primitive” anthropomorphism.
Sorry--I digress. Ahem. The whole point of the article, it would seem, is that "intelligence" or scholarly ability, etc. don't matter in the face of whatever it is that God actually wants: which, per Nibley, seems to mainly be an ability to "forgive" and/or "repent." I'll come back to that point in a moment, but I was struck by another of the passages in the article:
It's important to note that the person in the anecdote goes unnamed. DCP admits that he "sometimes joked" about how much of an idiot that he thought this guy was: lousy grammar, and he apparently sucked at remembering all the details and minutia of the scriptures. And notice, too, that Peterson says that he "had little to offer." What is that supposed to mean? That he was a dick and refused to help out at service projects? Or that the unnamed "Noble Savage" had practical skills that young Peterson lacked? (Remember: DCP has, many times, tried to claim that he's got "blue collar" credentials from having worked in his family's construction business. Did he actually "work," or did he sit on his butt, "managing" the other workers while he read Karl Marx?) And I am just not buying that final line at all. *This* is what gets you into the Celestial Kingdom, and yet you're going to thumb your nose at that and spend the next 50 or so years of your life pursuing "sophistication" and scholarship?Many, many years back, among the men who sometimes worked for our family’s southern California construction company, was a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He wasn’t a well- educated man. His grammar was poor, and I have sometimes joked, in recalling him to my wife and kids, that he had no idea at all where to locate 2 Nephi in the Old Testament. But even as a rather young boy, I noticed that he was the first to arrive at service projects and the last to leave, and that he was at every single such project in which I ever participated and probably a great many besides. If there was a widow’s house to be fixed, he was there. Sometimes I was, too, but I had little to offer. I realized then that, while he was far from sophisticated or urbane and while I aspired in those days to be at least somewhat more sophisticated and urbane than I then was, he was worth at least two of me. I was convinced then and am confident now that he will occupy a wonderful place in the Celestial Kingdom.
At the end of the day, it's simply impossible to take this article seriously. DCP doesn't believe that the true measure of "intelligence" is "forgiveness" and "repentance." None of the Mopologists believes in those things. If they do, then where is the evidence? Has Greg Smith "forgiven" John Dehlin? Have the Mopologists "forgiven" Gerald Bradford or Jeremy Runnells? Has Dr. Peterson "repented" for telling Blair Hodges to "go to hell"? Has Louis Midgley repented for his behavior at the Tanner's bookstore?
I think that DCP fears that he has done too much to alienate whatever broader audience he imagines or wishes that he had, and that he's calculating that his own "book learning" and "stature" as an academic is the thing that is responsible for this. (Or maybe a Church PR person advised him in this way?) Tough to say. Regardless, the Mopologists ought to be very concerned that their erstwhile leader is leaving them in such a vulnerable position.