Hijacking English

I’m going to bitch about Mormons for a bit here. I know, this marks a major departure for me, but let’s just say that I’m maturing, becoming more sophisticated.

These assholes are doing some serious Newspeak shit here.  Not only have a group of mindless drones been unwittingly hard at work to forge a massive, insidious linguistic overhaul, but they are also making me damned uncomfortable using words that SHOULD be pleasant.  It’s to the point that I can’t even say the word “grateful” without feeling like I owe the LDS church a royalty, and in Utah culture even uttering that word makes you sound like a Mormon.  This is because a Mormon cannot speak without telling you that they are grateful for this or that mundane occurrence.  That should be fine, but it isn’t, because what it really means is,

“thank god for blessing me for being a Mormon.  Maybe if you join us you can get blessed too.”

It’s a way to nudge-nudge wink-wink to someone that you are a Saint (another hijacked term) without actually bringing it up, and as a result, folk like me avoid the word .

SAINT:

There really is so much wrong with this one, for starters, the very-low setting of the bar of sanctification, i.e. the notion that you shit rainbows just because you have a framed portrait of Joseph Smith in your home and “donate” every month to your church.

Well that doesn’t count.  First of all, a saint has to be dead, according to tradition, and then must perform miracles.  Yes…I said “has to be dead…AND THEN must perform miracles.”  You have to die FIRST, THEN you have to do at least 2 posthumous miracles.  Call me a cynic, but I don’t see a lot of persuasive evidence that anyone has ever done anything after they died except succumb to decay.  But in modern times the term has been applied, a little loosely, to anyone who works toward the benefit of his fellow man, and under this usage, I guess, the LDS church’s congregation is known as Saints.  They refer to themselves and each other as Saints, and they practically OWN the term at this point.  And why?  What must one do, what miracles must one perform, to deserve such a canonical bestowal of honor?  Well, basically you wear a white suit and someone dunks you under water.  VOILA!  Sainthood!  No need to give to the homeless, hold a crack baby, or lie down in front of a tank…just take a dunk.  It’s like getting a Purple Heart medal without actually having to get shot at.  All you have to do to make it seem reasonable is hijack another word…

SERVICE

How many times have I heard a “missionary” (yet another hijacked word), upon returning from a two-year door-to-door proselytizing campaign, speak before the congregation and talk about having “served” the people of…wherever?  A lot of times, that’s how many.  But what does “service” entail these days?  Well, I guess if you believe that the church you happen to have been raised in also happens to be the one and only true church in the whole wide world, then perhaps you might also think that trying to coerce conversion through emotional appeal and fantastical story sharing qualifies as “service,” because you have clearly lost touch with reality to a point where “service” could be something so banal.   And what is a missionary anyway?

MISSIONARY

It used to be that a religious missionary would set up shop and get to work on improving a town, by way of education, infrastructure, medicine, etc, hoping to inspire the locals, and convince them to join the creed of the man who would do such great works for strangers in a strange land.  Apparently the LDS church is more modern and understands that people are superficial and more impressed by appearance of virtue than by virtue itself.  All that they require you do to inspire your indigent hosts, is to LOOK like a successful business person – clean cut, fine suit and tie, leather-bound scripture set, no visible tattoos, piercings, or any indication of non-conformity.  There is an age limit and even a weight limit for missionaries.

Because no one wants to buy from a fat slob with a comb-over.

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6 Responses to “Hijacking English”

  1. shematwater Says:

    Wow, the hatred is thick here, and so is the ignorance. It is a little refreshing on the take, but it is basically the same old vileness that is frequently spewed by people on these blogs.

    First, the way you react to the word Grateful is your own fault created by your own prejudices. I highly doubt that the majority of people using this would have any intentions similar to the ones you describe. It is far more likely that you have convinced yourself that these are their intentions, and have thus hijacked the word for yourself.

    Second, the word saint in the Bible refers to those who are righteous and honestly trying to follow Christ. Hang tradition and let us keep the original intent.
    Psalms 116: 15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” They were saints before they died.
    Psalms 50: 5 “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” All that is required to be a saint is to make a covenant through sacrifice.
    All other references using the term saints refer to the congregation of the church, to all those who believe in Christ.
    So, following the Biblical understanding of the term (not the man made traditions) the LDS believe that in making a covenant with God (baptism) and giving a sacrifice (a broken heart) they become saints. They have hijacked nothing, but are simply using the original understanding of the term as it appears in the Bible.

    Third, Missionary. From dictionary.com “a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.”
    Now, if you had any understanding of the way the LDS church works you would know that no missionary serves in any land without doing many different things. They “evangelize” as is expected, but they also perform many other services, like building houses, or repairing them. They clear roads and help people with irrigation systems. They have provided fire wood to those unable to cut it themselves. They have worked in relief efforts in areas of disasters. They have helped build schools and hospitals.
    The LDS missionaries do not “set up shop” but stay only a few short years. This is true. But they do all the same work as any other missionary, as well as giving a great amount of time to actually teaching.

    As I say, the ignorance of this post is matched only by the hatred it has caused. Maybe a little more education might resolve the issue.

  2. I love it when people use the word “ignorant.” It’s such a set-up. It makes things very easy for me.

    For instance, you “educated” me on the meaning of the word “saint,” per it’s biblical usage. I’d just like to point out that the bible wasn’t written in English. It wasn’t even written in a Indo-European language, so the term “saint” didn’t appear in a Bible until the Bible was translated into such a language. Again, the word saint, itself didn’t even make an appearance until the 12th century CE, pretty late in the game, but still about 400 years prior to the commissioning of the KJV, where the word “saint” appears just over 100 times. However the word was used in the Bible, it had been used elsewhere for quite some time, referring always to a holy person, not someone who happens to have been born in Provo, UT (which I mention because the number 1 factor in determining what religion a person will be is geography – the predominant religion of the local area is the religion a person born to that area will most likely take on). Accidents of birth do not make a person holy, do they? The point is, you’ve got a bunch of self-righteous jack-asses running around applying the term “saint” to themselves without having done anything to deserve it, and setting themselves above their neighbors, many of whom are every bit as saintly. THAT is what is vile, not me pointing it out. I suppose that you think that the most disgusting person involved in cases of bishops molesting children is the vile, ignorant, hateful person who leaked the story, eh?

    You are right, LDS missionaries do other work. They are required to do 4 hours of non-proselytizing service per week. Wow. I know people on work release from prison who do more community service than that. Congratulations on celebrating the bare minimum, which was the point I was making in the first place. QED.

    • shematwater Says:

      So, I may be wrong. It isn’t your ignorance that makes you wrong, it is your hatred. That is a much better excuse.

      You are only describing things through a very tainted point of view that can produce only a vary tainted opinion. You have the LDS and so everything they do has to be twisted in some way.

      Again, very little of what you describe is actually seen in the actions or words of the LDS people.

      As to saint, I am not ignorant of what you say. However, in using the term in the manner they did when translating the Bible they gave it the definition that I have described.
      The question then becomes “Why did they use the term Saint in this way when translating the Bible if they applied it in a different way in their lives?”
      The answer is simple. The word Saint comes from the Latin Sanctus, meaning sacred. Used as an adjective it takes the meaning sanctified. Thus, a saint is one who has been sanctified. This is the original meaning of the term, and is the reason the term is used in the Bible to describe all the faithful, or those who have made a covenant through sacrifice.
      Using this understanding of the origin of the word and its original meaning we can also take those references in the Bible that refer to people being sanctified as meaning that they became saints. Such as Jude 1: 1, where he states that all the congregation he is writing to is sanctified (and thus saints). Or Romans 15: 16 in which the gentiles are sanctified (or made saints) by the Holy Ghost.
      The King James scholars who translated the Bible realized the very broad meaning of the word saint and used it in this way in their translation. The LDS have simply agreed with their translation.

      As to missionaries, yes, only four hours are required, but who ever said that this is what they stick too. This is likely what they stick to in the United States as there are plenty of local members to do the rest. however, in foreign nations they do a lot more work than this. It is not unheard of for one missionary to help people work their farms or do other service while their companion teaches the family. It is fairly common for missionaries in these nations to help construct irrigation as well as schools and hospitals. I know of some missionaries who even teach in some schools.
      The real complaint seems to be based on your perception of missionaries in this country without considering what missionaries do in others.
      Another note, the LDS church as a whole does greater service in these areas than any other religious organization, which means the missionaries don’t have to give as much time to it.

      On a final note, your basic complaint is that they don’t serve the people, but just teach. I would say this is a matter of perspective. To you it is not service (mainly because of your tainted point of view) but to them it is. Why do they feel this way? It is again simple. They believe strongly in the LDS church and the doctrine it teaches. As such, to bring that truth to the world is a great service, just as teaching in a regular school is considered a great service.
      The real problem with this complaint seems to be, again, your own biased anger and hatred of what they do and represent. You don’t like the church and so teaching about it doesn’t seem to be any kind of service.

  3. Ah…so it is my hatred which makes me wrong. Well, clearly you are a very gifted logician. You have managed to find a way to use subjective experience to determine objective truth. I didn’t even know you could be wrong because of hate. You have done what no philosopher to date has been able to accomplish, and therefore I must humbly admit defeat to your dizzying intellect.

    Besides the congratulations that are clearly in order for your breakthrough, I must also offer you thanks…hanks for reminding me of just a few other words that have been hijacked as well, namely “hate,” and “bias,” but a whole suite of others you left unmentioned, like “evil,” and “prideful,” and “vain,” all of which have been adopted by Mospeak for one purpose…to convey non-Mormonism. “That guy says there never were submarines 3,000 years ago so the Jaredite story seems silly…he’s PRIDEFUL.”

    “Ew, that girl has legitimate questions about Joseph Smith’s lifelong pattern of admittedly shady behavior. She must have hate in her heart.”

    “Oh that guy dared to ask a question…let’s pray that he is struck dumb, and is forced to walk from home to home begging for food, until he is finally relieved from misery as he is trampled under foot by the Saints.” (See Alma 30)

    ————————————————————

    Stilll…adulations and accolades aside, there were still a few loose ends to tie up in what you wrote. For instance,
    YOU SAID “…very little of what you describe is actually seen in the actions or words of the LDS people.” Really. Where exactly do you imagine I saw this, then? Could it have possibly been during my several decades within the Mormon community, half the time as a member, half as an ex-member? Nah, couldn’t be that…I must just be biased, and my pride has probably brought me low. That’s the only reasonable answer, right?

    As to your points about the word Saint…well, Sanctus is a Late Latin word that is a backformation from a Latin adjective that referred to something consecrated, and from the time period I mentioned before. Fittingly, it was first used in English as an adjective as well, and for the same purpose; as an affixation “[o]riginally an adj. prefixed to the name of a canonized person” (OED) A canonized person must be dead, and after death must have performed 2 miracles. It seems like I said that somewhere before…whatever the C of E did with their bastard translation later is their business, I guess, but you ought to know they used a lot of strange idioms and innuendo and self-glorifying christianocentric lexical tomfoolery. The KJV is probably one of the most confusingly and wretchedly translated English renderings of old scriptural writings.

    Missionaries: “Not unheard of” is a phrase you should learn to avoid in these contexts. It aint flattering. Nor is stretching the truth about how much WORK missionaries actually do. Nor is rephrasing something I already said and trying to pass it off as an original thought.

    And finally we come back to the real issue at hand: “The real problem with this complaint seems to be, again, your own biased anger and hatred of what they do and represent.” Yup. I’m a tool of SATAN….booga booga booga!

    You may have the final word.

  4. shematwater Says:

    First, my point in referring to the wording, style, and violence you use in your article and posts as hatred, and the reason for your error, was to point out that your emotions can alter your perceptions and thus taint the opinions you have concerning an object, idea, or a people.

    So, to put things in a clearer way: You display an anger an hatred in your words that makes your opinions highly suspect and gives the idea that you are letting these emotions dictate your opinions regarding the LDS church. Thus, as I said, it appears that your anger is causing you to make errors.

    As to the word saint, again, does it really matter how it was originally used? I mean, the term Christian was originally used to refer to anyone who followed the teachings of Christ. However, today it is said that unless you accept the Creed of Nicene and a host of other written ideas that did not exist when the term was first used you cannot appropriately use the term Christian.
    The origin of the word is all that is needed to show proper use, not how it has been used. Take, for example, Psalms 50: 5. Does the original Hebrew (or at the oldest record we have) use language to indicate a consecrated person in this verse? If it does than the term Saint is rightly applied to it, as that is the meaning that the term originated from.
    Now, the Catholic Church may have used the term exclusively for those that they canonized, but that does not alter the fact that it can, based on its origin and meaning, be used to describe others. If this was the only way in using the term than it would be an exclusively catholic term (or at least exclusive to religions who venerate saints). As such it would be a term hijacked by these religions.

    Missionaries do a lot of work, despite your tainted view of them. However, it is more common for the kind of work you are requiring to be done in areas where the membership is not very high. Where there are plenty of members it is expected of all of them to do this kind of service (unlike most other churchs) and thus the missionaries are free to do the work of teaching (which is work and is service). With the membership of the LDS church growing at the rate it is there is less need for missionaries to do this kind of work, and so, yes, we are seeing less of it than before.
    However, this means nothing, as a missionary is, primarily, an evangelist, or teacher of the gospel. This is their primary duty, and all else is done only as needed to assist in this. If the other work is not needed they are still missionaries.

    As to pride and hate and evil and all that, I have never applied these terms to anyone who did not display the characteristics of them (such as you). I have many friends who question the doctrine of the LDS church, and I would never call them prideful or hateful or anything else. Most are ignorant of the actual doctrine, but ignorance is not an insult (unless the person intentionally remains ignorant). Some are not ignorant, they just have objections to certain things, and that is fine. I am perfectly content to let them believe how they want.
    Now, when it comes to taking the time to complain about how a certain word is used by a group of people, and in a style and language that is very hostile, these things display a certain attitude that, while hatred may be a bit strong, is definitely an anger bordering on violence. Now, anger is not an emotion in and of itself, but it caused by emotions. So, judging on the wording and attitude we can make a subjective judgment as to what emotion is causing that anger.

    Now, I am not saying that you did not experience things, and that your experiences were not what you claim. What I am saying is that based on my own experience of living in over twenty wards through-out the United States I have not seen the behavior you describe to the degree that you claim. I am not saying it doesn’t happen, nor am I saying that you have not experienced it. What I am saying is that you are making a generalized accusation against 13 million people based on your experiences with a few hundred. Now, if what you said was backed by actual evidence or corroborating testimony that would be different. the fact is that you have given no evidence beyond you subjective interpretation of peoples motives and the wait of testimony is against you (as there are many more who will testify that the majority of the membership are not as you describe).
    Thus, based on this I will stand by my statement that what you claim does not seem to reflect the general membership of the church, but your own tainted view of them based on whatever experience you may have had.

  5. God damnit…I told you you could have the last word, and then you had to go and say that I have committed violence. VIOLENCE? REALLY?

    This is a major problem. Mormons (and religious folk in general) seem to think that words are magic, that sounds made by placing your speech organs in certain positions as air from the lungs passes by them can somehow have a meaning that transcends what we have arbitrarily assigned to them. As idiotic as that is, it is quite widespread, which is why, contrary to what you suggested above, testimonial HAS no weight at all. Millions of people CAN, in fact, be quite wrong. You belong to a church that teaches that you can actually commit thought crime, and that it is a sinful act to make certain noises with your throat and mouth, and that those noises have meaning to the grand designer of the universe, cause apparently He speaks English… Words themselves don’t transform the universe beyond the atmospheric pressure disturbances that breathing them causes. Words, by definition, cannot be violent. They can DESCRIBE violence. They can even INCITE violent behavior, sure, but does anything I said incite violence?

    I described a scenario in which a certain group of people have taken a bunch of words that have historically denoted very serious, exalted characteristics, either secular or religious, and rebranded the word to mean something far more mundane; to denote membership within that group and to euphemistically exalt undeserving folk, folk who may not be bad, but who certainly don’t deserve to be called saints, like if I just started calling all of my buddies saints just because they like me. But describing that scenario is not violent, nor does it incite violence. You do not recognize that your group does that, and I get that. The reason is that generally people within the group undergoing linguistic revolution DON’T know that they are, because language change is insidious. You don’t agree with me that your group is contorting common word usage for the same reason that most of us think that only OTHER people have accents. Pointing this out is not violent, and I have not suggested that anyone retaliate against your semantic trangressions but taking up the sword.

    On the other hand a quick perusal through your holy book reveals that its author certainly didn’t shy away from condoning violence. It is a mere 4 chapters in to that book that we see that your gospel, your church, your ideology, is valued ABOVE human life, for “it is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.” The book goes on and on in this vein, even to Alma, where the simple act of pointing QUESTIONS at the theocratic dictators of the land is apparently an offense punishable by torture and death for the poor skeptic Korihor. Every time you pay tithing, every dollar you give to that organization, supports said organization and allows them to continue printing a text that A) incites violence, and B) demands obedience at the threat of eternal punishment.

    And you accuse ME of violence?

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