May I just say that mainstream "orthodox" Calvinist Protestantism contains things orders of magnitude more bats--- insane than any of the "special" doctrines of the Book of Mormon?
Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will;
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
Freely vouchsaf'd; once more I will renew
His lapsed powers, though forfeit; and enthrall'd
By sin to foul exorbitant desires;
Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand
On even ground against his mortal foe;
By me upheld, that he may know how frail
His fallen condition is, and to me owe
All his deliverance, and to none but me.
Some I have chosen of peculiar grace,
Elect above the rest; so is my will:
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes
The incensed Deity...
But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more,
That they may stumble on, and deeper fall...
To change topics completely, the coming of the iPod/iPhone has changed how I hear the literary world. I had never been able to get long poems. The Odyssey and the Iliad and Gilgamesh I found gripping to the extent that I could read them in prosy or semi-prosy translation, and occasional stanzas ripped out and presented to me were poewrful and affecting. But all the rest, or the Iliad and Odyssey in verse translations, were annoying and painful. When I read them at my normal pace the syntax was awkward and confusing. When I read them more slowly, the plot and the ideas dragged and came through much much too slowly--almost as painful as watching the uniformed pundits babble on CNN, where at most one thought a minute emerges, and that is usually wrong. And the rhythm and assonance and rhyme--well, I have never heard what I read in my mind's ear, or if I ever did it was forty years ago and that faculty I have lost.
But when you have an iPod/iPhone, you have no excuse not to put the audiotext on it and carry it around with you, and when you attend to it the poetry forces itself upon your brain, and you don't mind nearly as much that the plot and ideas are as from an eyedropper because the words are so glorious, and then you crest the top of Burton Ridge at 7:13 AM on December 8, 2007 while hearing:
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair,
That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate,
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world at once. As when a scout,
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone
All night; at last by break of cheerful dawn
Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
Which to his eye discovers unaware
The goodly prospect of some foreign land
First seen, or some renowned metropolis
With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned,
Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams:
Such wonder seised, though after Heaven seen,
The Spirit malign, but much more envy seised,
At sight of all this world beheld so fair...
And you get Paradise Lost in a way that you had never gotten it before.
And America's Silliest DogTM, as the rays of the rising sun first strike her eyes, jumps three feet in the air like a nut five times, and then frantically runs in 40-foot circles for four minutes before calming down again. (At least she is obedient enough not to go running over to make friends with Wile E. Coyote who we saw watching us from amidst the cell phone towers 150 yards away.)
And here, courtesy of http://dailycoyote.blogspot.com/, is Mr. Coyote:
One more thing: Milton on his blindness:
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Though hard and rare: Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn....
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works to me expung'd and ras'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight...
Gustave Dore http://www.artsycraftsy.com/dore/dore_satan_falls.jpg: