Saturday, September 16, 2006

Having already found (or maybe strained to see) Mormon elements in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Princess of Mars and Gods of Mars, why not grasp at some further straws:

When doing any kind of internet search on Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, and the Book of Mormon, one must inevitably come across the quote from Bloom about being reminded of the latter when reading the former because Tolkien's verse is even worse. (But it sounds almost poetic the way I say it). There are also a plethora of LDS folks on the net who make connections between the LOTR and the BofM, as well as the stone throwers who attempt use Tolkien's multi-decade work as an argument that one can create a comprehensive culture and land and language and proper names etc... and therefore Joseph Smith was no more a prophet than Tolkien. Daniel Peterson has dealt with this last group, as he has with so many critics, with decisive argument anchored in facts and reason.

So what could I possible add? The short and simple answer is: Nothing of any consequence. A fact which will not prevent me from throwing my own green wood on the fire. Is it possible that Tolkien was influenced by the BofM? Again, there is a short answer: Probably not. And still I persist in making one more connection, a connection that has apparently been neglected by those scholars at the "big name" LDS websites.

The connection of which I speak consists of relics*. The Restoration brought with it relics: The Book of Mormon; The Sword of Laban; Laban's Breastplate; the Urim & Thummim; and the Liahona. LOTR also had relics that were left over at the end: Sting; The Mithril Shirt; The Vial of Galadriel; The Palantir; and Galadriel's box of dust.

Anyone else see the parallel? No, I thought not. Allow me to elucidate (or simply sedate depending on one's level of interest):

Weapons and Armor: Laban's Sword and Breastplate = Sting and The Mithril Coat
Light and Guidance: The Urim and Thummin, which I understand means lights and perfection, and which were seer stones used in translating and seeing future or far things; also the Liahona, which was a guide or director -- all of which correspond interestingly with Galadriel's Vial, which was a light in the darkness and helped show the way, and the Palantir which allowed the user to see distance places.
Dust in a Box: This is my favorite parallel. The Book of Mormon is as "a voice from the dust," to proclaim the gospel and, among other things, cause the Lamanites to blossom and be delightsome; also the BofM was found in a stone box and was sometimes kept in a wooden box-- which is reflected interestingly by Galadriel's box of dust given to Sam and with which he revitalizes, or restores the Shire and makes it blossom even better than before, all of which is quite delightful.

*Merriam-Websters Online defines relic
1 a : an object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr b : SOUVENIR, MEMENTO
2 plural : REMAINS, CORPSE
3 : a survivor or remnant left after decay, disintegration, or disappearance
4 : a trace of some past or outmoded practice, custom, or belief

My use of relic is really a combination of definitions 1&3.

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