Great comments, great article, and a couple thoughts:1. LDS Liberal
made a great point. The teachings and figures of the early church resonate with
Bloom because he is a very liberal and independent thinker. Today's church is
very different in many ways from the early church. It is much more conservative
and has largely moved away from many of the early unique ideas. I think it is
almost impossible not to recognize that this change has been driven by the
almost overwhelming need of today's leadership for acceptance and PR.2. I think LDS often repeat lines that they have heard since a child without
really thinking deeply about them. Two came out in comments here - Doubters would not believe even if they saw an angel and the spirit is
stronger than a personal visitation.I think both are wrong, make no
sense, and are simply repeated without thought like so many other things we LDS
tend to say.
LDS Liberal, you are just playing semantic games. "Liberal" today
doesn't mean what it used to mean. Today's "liberals" are statist,
anti- free speech, pro- moral relativism, and favor government-imposed social
justice and redistribution of wealth. Mr. Bloom is not cut of this confining
cloth, and neither are the LDS of today or yesterday, for that matter.
Well you nailed that one, LDSLib. That's why every evangelical scholar that
refutes Mormonism as being unbiblical, always itemizes the hundreds of changes
in LDS theology, translations, revelations, temple endowment, church &
scripture titles, Joseph's vision versions, BoM text, D&C dates, Word of
Wisdom stipulations and exceptions, etcetera.It's one thing to grow
and modernize with the times and upgrade programs, but to do 180/paradigm shifts
on salvation, plural marriage, priesthood and temple oaths? That's why we hated
Dr. Walter Martin's "Maze of Mormomism" so much, or 5,001 Changes to
the BoM (Tanners), or the SBapConvention documentary, "The Mormon
Puzzle". You could laugh at Decker's "Godmakers" video, but not
church documentation.Makes your head spin just in the 35 years I was
a member. And not a one of my old BYU profs or bishops could ever tell me why
the BoM now reads the Lamanite people will become "pure and
delightsome", when I memorized that verse as "white and
delightsome" right up until it magically changed in the early '80's.
(2Nephi 30:6)My pioneer Grandparents would be fuming...
I stand amazed at the coo-ing over Harold Bloom, especially from the close minds
of the uber-conservative right-wing.3 notes....1. Mr.
Bloom is a Liberal-Jew.2. Professor Bloom teaches the Humanities, a
"Liberal Art".3. of course he has kind and respectful words to
say about Joseph Smith, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor....it's because early
Mormons were all considered ultra-Liberals.Which is why he carefully
made mention that if he'd been alive in the 19th Century, and not Jewish, he'd
probably would have been a Mormon.The Mormons today are becoming the
opposite from the early church.
@KM I'm glad that you have had prayers answered and experienced
unspeakable joy. I just don't buy the idea that people wouldn't believe even if
they saw an angel. You don't hear people saying "I spoke with an angel
last week and..." What you do hear is people attributing all sorts of
feelings to God/the spirit. I guess when angel sightings are more common we can
give the topic the justice it deserves.
full on rainbowThe witness of the spirit is more powerful than the
visitation of heavenly beings. The spirit is always ready to testify and change
the hearts of those who are sincerely seeking divine knowledge. Knowledge that
cannot be gotten in any other way. Thinking back on the times I've recieved
answers to my prayers it makes me chuckle with joy unspeakable.
Having studied the Humanities and American Studies at BYU, Harold Bloom's name
is one I read with reverence. What a mind! What contributions to great
literature and thought! Once again I am glad I pursued that vein of study.
Darn, I miss BYU....
America would be better off reading and farming and dancing more-----in other
words----living the life Joseph Smith lived.
"If an angel from God came to you and told you the Book of Mormon was the
work and the word of God you still would not believe it."That
kind of statment has always made me chuckle. Some people will say that Laman and
Lemuel saw an angel and still didn't believe. That would be a good example if I
didn't consider them to be fictional characters. I think seeing an angel would
be a fantastic way to bolster faith (or really knowledge). I guess you can't
really say anyone would beleive or not if an angel appeared to them. It's more
of a "cross that bridge when/if we get there" thing.
Who can I blame for the "type-O's": Archeoligical and Bublical?
Pretty darn funny reading, if you ask me. So much for trying to make it to an
appt. on time... My DNA has been altered by an Alien, remember...Which prompts me to comment that Bloom's sense of humor, candor and deep
intellect are qualities that give inspiration and admiration for his work.
Thank you for an enlightening article.
I enjoyed reading about Bloom's personal perspectives, very Reform Jewish: many
don't know if they can believe in a real Moses or King David sans archeoligical
proof, they KNOW they don't believe in a literal Bible, but they appreciate the
literary themes and continue to quote them weekly at temple. They will always
be bound by tradition and heritage, but will not totally acquiesce to an
inerrant text that their own prophet of the great Exodus initiated.This closely resembles the first 35 years of my life in (7th generation)
Mormon upbringing. Tight family, strong traditions, prophets galore, and
scriptural literature abounding. My Jewish friends and I always marveled that
our Bublical traditions and families were more valuable than whether we would
ever know if the Bible was literal or allegorical...Then the
abominable happened, which separated me from my Jewish, Mormon, pagan, and
agnostic gnostics. The ultimate betrayal: I had a life-altering, totally
unexpected encounter with God that silenced all my doubts, changed my blissful
ignorance to undeniable certitude. No matter how I described this awesome
experience, I was the enemy- a God-believing, Bible-inerrant radical for Jesus,
slave of Christ, the dreaded "born again".
Dear Bloggers: I learned a long time ago never to try and convince someone of
something that is against their personal interest to be convinced of. Those who
attack faith because they are trying to justify themselves, their lifestyle and
their personal choices will never face the truth or be convinced of it. They
are to be pitied. Getting in a debate with those people is pointless. It's
just better to ignore them.
PaganYou ask for witnesses, yet you really are not interested in
witnesses. If an angel from God came to you and told you the Book of Mormon was
the work and the word of God you still would not believe it. Some people are
beyond the curiosity and humility to let God answer their deepest questions
regarding their own existence. BTW the Book of mormon has plenty of
witnesses that hefted the plates and saw the angel bearing witness of them. Not
to mention the millions of people who have asked for and recieved a spiritual
witness of the veracity of the book.Good luck on your search, that is,
when you begin your search.
I am a huge Harold Bloom fan! Thank you for bringing his insightful mind and
influential ideas to the attention of your readers. If you like Harold Bloom's
work, you might also be interested in two other Blooms - Allan Bloom's "The
Closing of the American Mind"and Benjamin Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning
I know of no better way to honor Bloom than to buy and read him. He stands out
in a world that has moved away from classic literature.
RE: PaganYou are the one making the claim the bible is fiction,where is YOUR evidence?Show your evidence those ancient
manuscripts are not what they claim to be.
"Some folks minds are so closed that truth could stare them dead in the
face and it would not matter because they see only what they want to see."
Millsap fan | 3:33 p.m. Sept. 23, 2011 Now THAT, by definition, is
how a bigot speaks and thinks.
'I have no problem with those who don't believe in God, but evidence shouldn't
be called fiction when it can't truly be supported by any credible evidence.' -
Millsap fan | 4:27 p.m. Sept. 23, 2011 But you haven't PRESENTED
any evidence. And now, you ask for evidence...in reply to...you lack
of evidence. And yet, there are muiltiple sources that confirm the
existence of... Harry Potter. :) I'm not trying to
bring into question your faith. It is yours and I hope it brings you great
comfort. However you, accuse me of bring 'closed minded', and then
present ZERO information yourself. Asking the age old 'gotcha' question: 'Prove to me God isn't real...' How would one PROVE, a
negative? As, of the two of us, I am not the one CLAIMING God is,
real. The bible IS a fantastic peice of literature. Death, murder,
betrayl, it's all in there. But I am not the one resorting to
insults if they do not BELIEVE as I do... on a public, forum. Have a good weekend.
@ Pagan, Actually the fact that the DSN news and LDS church would
allow that to be printed in their newspaper shows that they are the opposite of
biased, and that they allow free speech and a balance of opinions. I'm also open to a variety of opinions you should try it sometime, so should
Fantastic Article! I had a class called Foundation of Business Thought where we
studied the classics as it applied to business and the teacher, who seemed so
unreligious to me in the beginning did not ignore the beuatiful literature in
the Holy Bible and the great lessons taught therein. We also read
from authors such as Plato, Henry David Thoreau, Max Weber, Christopher
Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, W.E.B. DuBois, and Ayn Rand. They
opened my mind to some beautiful literature much of which was quite religious.
Prove to me God isn't real...I'll be waiting for some real evidence, maybe some
as tangible as the testimonies those who wrote the Bible, and the Book of Mormon
for that matter. I have no problem with those who don't believe in
God, but evidence shouldn't be called fiction when it can't truly be supported
by any credible evidence.
Millsap fan | 3:33 p.m. Sept. 2Some folks minds are so closed that truth
could stare them dead in the face and it would not matter because they see only
what they want to see. Kinda a 2 edge sword your swinging there. And
since the DN already censored my reply with examples, there is no way to defend
the argument against your assertions of greater knowledge thru ancient and not
so ancient script.
Mr. Boyd,Thank you for the insightful article on such a wise and revered
literary critic. This was excellent writing, witty, fascinating, exciting.
'@ Pagan, The fact that you just called the Bible fiction and
ignoring overwhelming evidence that the writings are true in fact shows that
your mind is closed.' - Millsap fan | 3:33 p.m. Sept. 23, 2011 And
what 'overwhelming evidence' is that? *Creation theory may be wrong;
collider hasnt found God Particle By Michael De Groote DSNews 09/01/2011 You believe. That is great. I enjoy a good book, as
well. And that 'biased media' is the DSNews. Owned by,
the LDS church. Still waiting for God's followers, to prove he is
even real. Or that part of my responsiblity as a 'anti-religion
bigotry.' Of the two, who has called whom a... bigot?
@ Pagan, The fact that you just called the Bible fiction and
ignoring overwhelming evidence that the writings are true in fact shows that
your mind is closed. You need to read any of the true classics to
open that head of yours and allow something to pour in besides anti-religion,
bigotry, etc.Some folks minds are so closed that truth could stare
them dead in the face and it would not matter because they see only what they
want to see. Please feel free to send quotes of recent biased media
about how I am wrong. :)
I appreciate the reporting of Bloom's comments, especially with regard to Joseph
Smith, because of the shear number of unique, Biblically backed teachings of
Joseph Smith, teachings which many just get angry about. Joseph Smith would have
to have been a genius to have established such a phenomenal movement as the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is today, with over 14 million
adherents worldwide and growing. But I disagree. He was not a genius. He was
just a chosen vessel through whom the Savior Jesus Christ could re-establish His
church again upon the earth.
If Naomi Wolf is correct, then we may assume Bloom has Joseph Smith
"hovering in him" because both had unusual perspectives on women.It is evidence that Bloom's lament over the loss of literary excellence
is supported by the fact that so many consider Bloom's opinions about Mormonism
to be a compliment.
Bloom says: "Joseph Smith was a religious genius" that he
"hovers in me." This comming from a man that has studied deeply the
ideas that fell from the lips of this common farm boy from New York; only to
find the great substance and thoughts from the original Mormon. I applaud Bloom
for his humility to see a modern day prophet in Joseph Smith. Yes, you would
have gotten along swimmingly with the boy prophet.
For more of Bloom's thoughts on Mormons, read his, "The American Religion:
The Emergence of The Post-Christian Nation." It is really fascinating.
I love articles like this, makes me want to go home and read a great book.
"I enjoy reading a collection of short stories of fiction as well."Pagan:Your contributions have a certain unmatched quality.
Always so insightful and uplifting.
Bloom constantly offends and provokes me, and I love him for it. He is a great
'Always interesting to hear comments from other people about Mormons.' -
EducateMe | 10:26 a.m. Sept. 23, 2011 I would reply...
*'President Obama's purported 'weird'-Mormon strategy against Mitt Romney will
backfire, pundits say' - By Hal Boyd, Deseret News - 08/10/11
*'Michele Bachmann's pastor on Mormonism' - By Jamshid Ghazi Askar - DSNews -
09/06/11 that people don't even need to SAY anything about
Mormons... for some of them, to work to take offense.
paganette:somehow i believe you when you say reading short stories. cut
and paste works best that way
A brilliant man who has been willing to study Mormonism with an open mind and to
appreciate the "genius" within it.
Very few people these days are interested in pursuing an education. Rather
society sees universities as places to go for job training. There's a huge
difference in vision between the two approaches, and Harold Bloom is clinging to
the higher, more noble one.
Always interesting to hear comments from other people about Mormons.
"I've warned them that if one studies garbage based on ethnicity, skin
pigmentation, sexual orientation, politics rather than shear cognitive and
aesthetic value you destroy the subject and today they have indeed destroyed the
subject. All over the world now people don't want to study literature because of
it."Love that quote! How very true. Fascinating article.
I enjoy reading a collection of short stories of fiction as well.
I am buying his book. I love the KJV.
I'm sure part of the reason that liberal arts have declined is that fewer people
see any value to them. Much of the reason they have less value is that they
study "garbage based on ethnicity, skin pigmentation, sexual orientation,
politics rather than shear cognitive and aesthetic value".
When I a freshman in college, all too long ago in the 60s, in introductory
literature, we were taught that The Holy Bible was one of the great books of
literature. The professor was something of a Harold Bloom too, and I certainly
appreciated his views on the Bible. I agree with Mr. Bloom's
thoughts on the deterioration of literature. Some of the books that are required
reading in schools today, especially high school, are nothing more than
depressing garbage. His book, The Death of Common Sense, would be better
required reading. I am glad that most of my years of teaching were
in a private school where we studied various parts of both the Old and New