Tales From The Reverend’s Office: Lost Pages

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Tales From The Reverend’s Office: Lost Pages

Post by MrStakhanovite »

I have pages and pages of material I’ve written for MormonDiscussions.com and the vast majority of it never sees the light of day. I often get stuck between wanting to constantly revise and edit to the point I lose interest or the post keeps expanding in length and I once again lose interest.

This little vignette was written as an intermezzo for a series of posts about C.S. Lewis, Mathematics, and Moral Philosophy. Since it is actually complete and self-contained I thought I’d share it since the material that surrounded it probably won’t see the light of day.

I write these little scenes mostly as a break from other forms of writing and it gives me an opportunity to be creative in ways I’m usually not allowed. For the curious, they are meant to be over-the-top because I model the topics and dialogue on Mopologists. Not as the Mopologists as they are but as they see themselves and their role in the world of Mormondom. Read them enough and you get the distinct impression they view themselves as connoisseurs of high culture and move about Mormon spaces as if they were erudite aristocrats of some fantasy Utah caste system. The reality is though quite the opposite and men like Daniel Peterson and John Gee have more in common with Independent Fundamentalist Baptist culture than anywhere else.

Per the usual, only I had a hand in writing this and had zero input from any of the posters depicted. This means anything said by them ought not be attributed to them or taken very seriously.


Reverend Kishkumen was busy chopping ice with a handheld ice pick and rather thankful for it. The conversation between Dean Robbers and Alfonsy was growing increasingly arcane and excusing himself from the drawing room was a welcome distraction. He had nothing against the philosophy of mathematics, metamathematics, or whatever it was these two were going on about, but the day had taken a toll on his mental reserves and it simply wasn’t in his constitution this evening. Spanish brandy was badly needed and while Kishkumen would usually insist on such spirits being consumed neat, Alfonsy’s request for ice was honored given the circumstance.

Having completed his task Kishkumen returned to the drawing room with three snifters, ice, and a bottle of brandy. His return prompted a break in the conversation and the good Reverend took a chance at redirecting the conversation, “You know Saint Paul cautioned us to take a little wine for the sake of our stomach and other frequent infirmities.”.

Dean Robbers accepted his brandy but remarked, “I don’t mean to be pharisaical Reverend, but does that liberty extend to distilled wine?” Robbers was the consummate skeptic, but his jovial nature made such observations more welcomed than anything else. Perhaps Robbers had taken the bait so the Reverend kept the momentum.

“I’m afraid you might have me there Dean, but I might just appeal to the Gospel of Matthew and say that what defiles us comes from out of our mouths and not what we put in them.” Kishkumen shot a glance at Alfonsy, “Really young Mr.Stakhanovite is being a true Hellene. The ancient masters would be offended that I, the symposiarch, served you an undiluted drink.”

“Speaking of the Hellenes Reverend” remarked Dean before taking a sip of brandy, “What can you tell me about the aorist stem?”

Kishkumen thankfully drained snifter and made for the bottle for a refill, “Now THAT is a proper question Dean, but unexpected. What makes you inquire about verb forms?”

“Well Alfonsy brought up ancient Greek and specifically cited the aorist. I didn’t understand the point he was trying to make and he wanted to appeal to your expertise. Philology is just a hobby for some, you know” replied Dean Robbers, who had taken a much more conservetive sip of his brandy.

Kishkumen was already pouring himself a double, “Truly philology should be seen as a way of life. We heirs of Indo-European languages have certainly sold our birthright not holding on to aspect for dear life. We are worse off for it! Don’t give me that look Alfonsy, I know what I speak of!”

The Reverend settled into a wingback lounge chair delighted at the turn in conversation. He held up his glass and said, “ἐπεθύμησα” then brought the rim of his snifter under his nose and stated, “ὢλησα” just before draining the contents of the glass down his throat. The Reverend closed his eyes for a moment and enjoyed the burn as the brandy hit its mark before raising the the empty snifter and proclaimed, “ἐχαἰρησα”.

Setting the glassware down Kishkumen continued, “I love. I smell. I am happy. The aorist is simply being. It isn’t the same as the present Dean, it is infinitely more subtle and encompassing than that. We three were raised to speak English and thus we seem to experience time in rigid terms of past, present, and future. Tense.” Kishkumen almost spit out that last word to register his disgust.

Everything within the Reverend’s field of vision had begun to take on softer edges and he felt as if he was glowing, so he continued on, “Aspect my friends, it tells us the quality of a verb and doesn’t situate the action in a timeline. Events are. Only later did we petty bailiffs of linguistic economy force them into a timeline. The Ancient Greeks had truly learned how to perceive a process. How! Not when.”

At first Kishkumen intended to rise but then thought better of it. He was comfortable. “Does that help at all gentlemen?” A momentary reign of silence began.

Alfonsy almost immediately barked, “That is how mathematical objects exist outside time but stand in relation to our mental operations.” which elicited a snort of derision from Dean Robbers who began to rebut Alfonsy without skipping a beat.

While Dean Robbers and Alfonsy continued to spar, a creeping despair had begun to loom over the Reverend. The conversation had not taken the pleasant turn as he had thought, but had only taken a momentary hiatus. They were back to metamathematics or numeral ontology, or something like that. It was at that point Kishkumen realized both Dean Robbers and Alfonsy were looking at him quizzically. Unaware of it, he had been groaning quite audibly.

“Forgive me” Kishkumen offered. “I was just sympathizing with Alexander Pope. I just now realized what he meant in The Dunciad by, ‘Ah, Why, ye Gods, should two and two make four?’ ”.


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Re: Tales From The Reverend’s Office: Lost Pages

Post by Kishkumen »

Another triumph, Mr. Stak! These are dollops of paradise. I long for the days when my experiences approximated your vision. I have known an hour here or there of such pleasures, but these days the worries of the world overwhelm even the slightest possibility of recapturing them.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

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