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[DitV] Appropriate reading?

Started by Christopher Weeks, September 13, 2004, 08:45:15 PM

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James, there are subcultures within Mormonism that have relationships with the text of the scriptures just like you describe. A casual reading of the religion might very well miss them, but they're there.

Nathaniel, are you LDS?



No, I'm not LDS.  My theological leanings are probably best described as Early Anabaptist.  I don't think there is a restored Priesthood that can speak authoritatively neither do I believe there's any value in adding our traditions to God's revelation.  The approach to the Bible that I take is one of interpreting in a hermeneutics community that is constantly engaging with the text itself and which is very skeptical of any position that is either backed up by tradition or a claim to prophetic authority.  The reason I play Dogs in the Vineyard is that I find the idea of teenage virgins with guns making pronouncements and judgements on the lives of others because of the authority given to them by self styled prophets to be utterly reprehensible and I want to explore the themes of whether or not anything noble or good will be produced by such a structure.  I also enjoy tying that in with modern notions of individualism and individual moral sovereignty.  As well as the juicy themes related to the fact that my own leanings are incredibly community based but at the same time have no patience for imposition on others that are not voluntarily part of the consensus.

My point in asking for Noclue to back up his statements about the Talmudic approach is that my readings of Mormonism lead me to believe there is a synthesis of such an approach to the text with that of the authority of a prophetic Restoration.

As for source material and background reading for Dogs in the Vineyard, I think the way to go is to read about the LDS idea of Restoration:
(wikipedia is a place to start to get a general idea, but there's obviously primary sources that one can refer to as well).
I'm not designing a game.  Play is the thing for me.


Vincent, that's cool. I had no idea there were mormon subcultures that engaged with text in that way. I would note a slight difference in that Talmudic exegesis was mainstream Jewish practice for centuries (so much so that it gave birth to many counter movements, like the Hassids who basically argued that god was found in the joys of family life, in dance and song, as much as in old dusty legal tractates).

Nathaniel, I too will official place myself on the side of all those against teenage virgin gunslingers going from town to town dispensing justice. Nor do I condone any religion that promotes this particular form of law enforcement. Pheh on them I say! Pheh!

Also, I feel it incumbent upon me to clarify that my previous post about the Baal Shem Tov was in no way meant to imply that the Baal Shem Tov or any of his rabbinical followers were teenage gunslingers. To my knowledge no member of that esteemed group of mendicant scholars ever carried a firearm of any sort and since studies in esoteric Jewish mystical practices require the student to be married, I assume that they had at least a perfunctory acquaintance with the carnal pursuits.

I am struggling to find the connection you're drawing between the Prophetic Restoration and Talmudic practice after reading that article. I actually think this is a pretty good example of what was meant by my glib and hopefully humorous (and inoffensive) remark about arguing like Mormons. The Prophetic Restoration idea does not strike me as anything Talmudic. The Talmud would look at his list of restored authorities and start arguing about whether his power to gather the tribes excluded converts or the children of rape, or children who's mother was in a tribe, but who's father was not. And the whole notion that there actually are twelve tribes of Israel is not without controversy that could be examined. And the whole when of gathering...should you gather immediately, or is it acceptable for your descendants to gather for you when the world is perfected? And can you have someone gather in your place or must you actually participate in the gathering.? In the end it would probably rule something like: To be counted as a gathering it must last from sundown to sundown of one day. And that individual families may gather together in their homes since the destruction of the temple, and thus any gathering required by this Prophetically Restored power to gather the tribes is fully satisfied on one's first sabbath after their bar or bat mitvah. Thanks, next.

And now I've strayed pretty far afield of anything related to gaming and Dogs and the Vineyard. So I apologize to everyone and now return you to your regularly scheduled forum.
James R.


QuoteThe Prophetic Restoration idea does not strike me as anything Talmudic.

Exactly.  I see now I wasn't being clear.  I was trying to say that the Dogs acting in their authority given by the Ancients and Prophets, in keeping with the idea of Prophetic Restoration, has the Dogs behaving and arguing very much like Mormons and not Talmudic scholars.  The players on the other hand, may engage with play as if it is a religious text and carry out such scholarship.

Given that this thread is about "Appropriate Reading" I was trying to make the case that the best source material for understanding The Faith and how the Dogs operate is the LDS teachings on the nature of Restoration and the impact of such a claim of divine authority.

Sorry for the confusion getting to that point.
I'm not designing a game.  Play is the thing for me.


I think what we're seeing here is a Rorschach blot thing. You both identify the Dogs' approach to text and argument as more similar to the one you're more familiar with. I did that on purpose. You're supposed to bring your own experiences of religion to the game; I left space for them intentionally. Neither of you is more right than the other; I think you'll find that the game text has very little to say on the subject.

I, also, am against religions enforcing their values via virgin teenage death squads.

It's possible, but disputable, that Brigham Young employed a death squad. If he did, a) it was made up of very serious adult men, not virgin teenagers; b) it was Brigham Young's own, not an official organ of the church; c) it was more concerned with the people who threatened Mormonism from outside, especially Back East, not so much with policing the church in Utah, and d) I don't imagine it had much judgment of its own, instead acting more or less purely according to Brigham Young's direction.


David Artman

Quote from: lumpley on January 11, 2008, 05:48:23 PMI, also, am against religions enforcing their values via virgin teenage death squads.
(Off Topic Idea)
Hitler-Jugend in Der Judengasse

Talk about taking ANY notion that "my PC is doing Good" and tossing it screaming out the window!
(OK, back to reading suggestions....)
Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages


Actually, the use of youth in reporting on their elders in 20th century totalitarian regimes might be a very appropriate subject for reading when it comes to DitV.
I'm not designing a game.  Play is the thing for me.