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Daymon M. Smith: The Book of Mammon


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#1 Sophocles

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 11:42 AM

Hello all. Have any of you had a chance to check out Daymon M. Smith's new book, The Book of Mammon: A Book About A Book About The Corporation That Owns The Mormons? If anyone has read it, all the better, but I am also interested in first impressions from believing members of the church. Go ahead and judge this book by its cover.

I bought it for my mom for Mothers Day, because I really think it's something she'd be interested it. However, I'm afraid that coming from me (an apostate) she might see it as a Trojan horse or something, intended to sow seeds of apostasy. She is a believer, but I would characterize her as venturing into Sunstone territory as of late. I am confident that if she found this book on her own or received it from a fellow believer, she would enjoy it.

So what say you, faithful, believing members of the Church? What is your first impression of this book, and would that impression change depending on who recommended it to you?
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#2 volgadon

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 11:47 AM

My dad worked for a guy with the surname Mammon.
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#3 Maidservant

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:57 PM

I haven't read or heard of that book. Granted, I don't get out much.

I am highly interested in any discussion regarding mammon, in general.

I am also highly interested (in a positive way) in the financial aspects of the church.

What is in the book? What is it's tone? It's objective?

If I was in a reading mood at all, I would read it on your recommendation, I don't think I worry too much about where I get ideas of books to read.

Edit: I just perused the Amazon "look inside" and I dunno . . . is it a parody/expose of the Mormon Church? Or is the parody/point more subtle than that? Wasn't sure from that much. From what I could tell, they simply have a framework or a pre-determined observational lense. I could take any particular facts that they might have and put a different framework on them. Thus, not sure if there is anything insightful, but it did sound entertaining.

Edited by Maidservant, 27 April 2010 - 01:01 PM.

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#4 LifeOnaPlate

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:10 PM

The author, a cultural anthropologist, provides insight into a place where men argue about DVD scripts and the color of book bindings, while children starve.


This part of the book's description seems a little more mean-spirited, imo.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Daymon writes books that vainly strive for the Stephen T. Colbert Award For The Literary Excellence.



IOW, this is something of a parody? It's self-published. Where did you hear about it? This is the same guy who recently did a blog series on correlation at ByCommonConsent. He has some interesting things to say. I'm not convinced by everything he's talking about. I'm not sure what to think of his book and I suspect that's just what he would want as a reaction.

Edited by LifeOnaPlate, 27 April 2010 - 01:13 PM.

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-C.S. Lewis (Collected Letters Vol. 3 p. 209).

#5 Skylla

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:13 PM

Are you here to advertise the book or engage in discussion?

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#6 Sophocles

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:16 PM

From what I gather it's a fictional account of an employee in the COB. Something to with marketing or Correlation as opposed to say, legal. (That seems to be where the author's expertise lies, at any rate.)

There is an old saw that I heard growing up in the church that a good way to lose your testimony is to go to work at the COB. This book seems to be treading on that ground. It's clearly written from a believer's perspective, but gets into details about "how the sausage is made" that I can't imagine would be faith-promoting, at least in the traditional sense. Not that they would be faith-eroding, either. Just not exactly, shall we say, on-message.

It's the kind of thing that I can see Sunstone-type Mormons really being into, and discussing amongst themselves, while balking at discussing the same with apostates or other outsiders. Does that make sense? That's why I'm questioning how the book will be received coming from an apostate.
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#7 Sophocles

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:22 PM

Are you here to advertise the book or engage in discussion?

Skylla


I'm here for exactly the reasons stated. Not to advertise the book, but to engage in discussion.

I came across the book two days ago. I thought it looked like something my mother would be interested in, and bought it.

Now, I'm having second thoughts. I don't want to give her anything that comes across as the least bit anti. So I am seeking the opinion of other believers as to how such a gift would be received. That is all.
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#8 selek

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:24 PM

Hmmmm......"Daymon" Smith....."Daemon" Smith....."Demon" Smith....

A self-published book about the "Corporation that OWNS the Mormons".....

.....being lauded, praised, and paeoned over at the Recovery and Ex-Mo boards, at Comment Dissent, and the Utah Lighthouse for the Myopic.....


Why do I smell a rat?

Edited by selek, 27 April 2010 - 01:29 PM.

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2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.


'Every man is a hero of his own tale....every man must look on himself as wiser and more intelligent and more virtuous than the rest, so how could he see himself as the villain, or even as a minor character?

And you must have noticed that heroes are never beaten. They may be undone for a while, but they always do themselves up again, and marry the virtuous young gentlewoman.'
- Patrick O'Brian

#9 LifeOnaPlate

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:29 PM

Hmmmm......"Daymon" Smith....."Daemon" Smith....."Demon" Smith....

A self-published book about the "Corporation that OWNS the Mormons".....

.....being lauded, praised, and paeoned over at the Recovery and Ex-Mo boards, at Comment Dissent, and the Utah Lighthouse for the Myopic.....


Why do I smell a rat?


It is?

Daymon Smith is the guy's name, btw, check the link I provided above.
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"I think we may accept it as a rule that whenever a person's
religious conversation dwells chiefly, or even frequently,
on the faults of other people's religions, he is in a bad condition."
-C.S. Lewis (Collected Letters Vol. 3 p. 209).

#10 selek

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:33 PM

It is?

Daymon Smith is the guy's name, btw, check the link I provided above.


In point of fact, I did.

Yes that's his name. And a quick google turned up at least a half dozen other Daymon's on the non-exorcisable kind.

So, you got me on that one.

As to the rest....

...if the "usual suspects" are praising this as a "blockbuster" that will "blow the lid off" the "secret Mormon cabal", you gotta wonder.

And to have it plugged here by an avowed and open ex-Mo......


...I still smell something foul.
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2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.


'Every man is a hero of his own tale....every man must look on himself as wiser and more intelligent and more virtuous than the rest, so how could he see himself as the villain, or even as a minor character?

And you must have noticed that heroes are never beaten. They may be undone for a while, but they always do themselves up again, and marry the virtuous young gentlewoman.'
- Patrick O'Brian

#11 Jason

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:38 PM

I bought it for my mom for Mothers Day, because I really think it's something she'd be interested it. However, I'm afraid that coming from me (an apostate) she might see it as a Trojan horse or something, intended to sow seeds of apostasy.

Is it still a Trojan horse if it has "contents: one Greek army" emblazoned on the side in 6' neon letters?
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'How shall a man judge what to do in such times?'
'As he ever has judged,' said Aragorn. 'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'

#12 selek

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:39 PM

Is it still a Trojan horse if it has "contents: one Greek army" emblazoned on the side in 6' neon letters?


Or the instructions, "Shake Well Before Serving"? :P
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2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.


'Every man is a hero of his own tale....every man must look on himself as wiser and more intelligent and more virtuous than the rest, so how could he see himself as the villain, or even as a minor character?

And you must have noticed that heroes are never beaten. They may be undone for a while, but they always do themselves up again, and marry the virtuous young gentlewoman.'
- Patrick O'Brian

#13 Jason

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:42 PM

There is an old saw that I heard growing up in the church that a good way to lose your testimony is to go to work at the COB.

I've never heard that particular saw before, and everyone I know who works or has worked at the Church Office Building seems to have come away with a positive experience.
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'How shall a man judge what to do in such times?'
'As he ever has judged,' said Aragorn. 'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'

#14 Sophocles

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:45 PM

I'm going by the Amazon reviewer who says:

This is a very interesting book, written by a believing Mormon, who is also a cultural anthropologist. The book is described by its author as a book of fiction that nevertheless tries to show a hard truth. Those who hope to read another bashing of the Mormon people or their religion will be disappointed--the author is a believer.


If the anti blogs are abuzz about it, maybe it's because it appears to be anti on the surface. That's exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. I don't think the book is anti, based on reviews like the above, but I don't think I want to give my mother a book that appears anti on the surface.

(BTW, I heard about the book on reddit, I had not seen any reference to it on ex-mo blogs, boards, etc. until today.)
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#15 Jason

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:47 PM

May I suggest President Uchtdorf's latest book as a more appropriate gift to an LDS mother?

Edited by Jason, 27 April 2010 - 01:54 PM.

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'How shall a man judge what to do in such times?'
'As he ever has judged,' said Aragorn. 'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'

#16 Sophocles

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:50 PM

I've never heard that particular saw before, and everyone I know who works or has worked at the Church Office Building seems to have come away with a positive experience.

In reality, my experience is the same. It's just something I heard growing up. You know, like if your testimony is so fragile as to be shattered by witnessing two GAs arguing over a parking space, maybe the COB isn't for you.
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#17 selek

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:52 PM

In reality, my experience is the same. It's just something I heard growing up. You know, like if your testimony is so fragile as to be shattered by witnessing two GAs arguing over a parking space, maybe the COB isn't for you.


There's another old saw, "If you like either laws or sausages, you should never see either one made."

The intent is probably the same, even if the realities are starkly different.
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2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.


'Every man is a hero of his own tale....every man must look on himself as wiser and more intelligent and more virtuous than the rest, so how could he see himself as the villain, or even as a minor character?

And you must have noticed that heroes are never beaten. They may be undone for a while, but they always do themselves up again, and marry the virtuous young gentlewoman.'
- Patrick O'Brian

#18 Sophocles

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 02:00 PM

May I suggest President Uchtdorft's latest book as a more appropriate gift to an LDS mother?

Like I said, she's kind of Sunstone-y. For her last birthday I gave her a book of Hymn parodies written by Paul Toscano interspersed with Cal Grondahl cartoons that I found at Half Price Books (signed by the authors!). It was a hit. One of her most prized possessions is a book that's now out of print because it contains Hoffman forgeries (printed when they were believed to be genuine).

So yeah, Uchtdorf's latest would be safe and "appropriate," but probably kind of "meh." I'm almost certain she would enjoy this Daymon Smith book once she read it--it appears to be right up her alley--I just fear that she might be turned off by the outward appearance before she got into it.
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#19 Sophocles

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 02:16 PM

There's another old saw, "If you like either laws or sausages, you should never see either one made."

The intent is probably the same, even if the realities are starkly different.

On my mission we did service hours at Deseret Meat in Spanish Fork. It was very impressive as far as cleanliness, quality, everything. I would eat anything processed there without hesitation after watching how it was made. But there's no getting around the fact that they are killing cows in the back.

I wouldn't be surprised if the COB is similarly head and shoulders above every other corporate environment in the country. But it's still a corporation, and no matter how above board it is there are going to be some strange juxtapositions considering the product they're selling. That's what is so interesting to me about this book's premise.
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#20 kamenraider

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 07:39 PM

I read the first few pages and was both entertained and amused. Cinepro did a thread awhile back about correlation that mentioned Daymon Smith's thesis, and included interview excerpts from a blog. I wasn't super impressed with his interview commments about polygamy (as far as his understanding of the history of it goes). One of the book reviews said that he's a believing member, so if he writes clever and honest stuff too, I thought that maybe it's worth taking a closer look at.
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