The Book of Mormon Does Not Teach Mormonism

As Election 2008 continues unabated, the issue of Mitt Romney’s religion continues to surface, both on the right (where Evangelicals don’t like the idea of a Mormon President) and the left (who don’t like the idea of religious people period.)  We expect to see considerable discussion about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and its beliefs.  If these are on par with the way the media usually handles religious questions, one can expect more heat than light.

But the first question the left needs to answer is a simple one: why is it that Mitt Romney’s religion is a potential issue when Harry Reid’s isn’t?  They’re both Mormons.

Beyond this, we have already heard statements to the effect that the "issues" surrounding the LDS church concern the Book of Mormon.  It is on this point that we want to make one thing clear: the Book of Mormon does not teach Mormonism!  We refer you to this link to see this for yourself.  This includes the whole business of men becoming gods, which we discussed a while back in Half a Million Roubles.  Is it Enough?

The reasons for this are complicated, but what it boils down to is that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and those who came after them "progressively defined" the religion as they went.  That’s why there are two Mormon scriptures after the Book of Mormon plus the pronouncements that have come from "Presidents and Prophets" in Salt Lake City.

There are some serious questions about the LDS church that do relate to politics, most of which go back to the early history of the church (Mountain Meadows, polygamy, etc.)  But these are not to be found in the Book of Mormon.

At the Inlet: July, Part 4 (A trip to the beach)

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Julian wasted no time ploughing into her catechisation; he started during dinner the following evening. There was method in his madness though: the catechism began with the subject of Terry’s sponsors in baptism, so they spent dinner talking about Terry’s godparents and her growing up at St. Sebastian’s, which made for nice dinnertime conversation.  As dinner wound down, Julian wanted to get into some more of the catechism, but Terry had other things on her mind.

“Julian, does anyone here at the Cathedral do visitation?”

Julian was taken aback by the question.  “I’ve never heard it put that way.”

“I know I did a lot of it as a pastor—in a small church especially, people expected it.”

“I still find it strange to hear you refer to yourself as a pastor, even though I know you were a fine one,” Julian replied.

“Many people found it strange, but they sent me to plant the Barlin church so I did.  God made a way for it to grow.”

“That right—you were its first pastor, weren’t you?”

“It was the third attempt.  None of the men wanted the job.  I had to work full time to support myself.  Max helped to get my job as secretary to then Duke Henry.  After my workday was done, I often went to visit people—current members who were sick or had problems, people who had visited our church or one of the prayer groups we had, or just needed the Saviour.  Barlin is small, so I didn’t have to go far.  But you still haven’t answered my question about visitation here.”

Julian thought for a minute.  “All of our parishes have communicants and memberships; how often the parishioners are visited depends, of course, on the rector.  Some are more diligent than others about it.  Our problem at the Cathedral, however, is in part due to our odd legal status.”

“What’s odd about it, Julian?”

“Under our law—both secular and canon—the Bishop is the chaplain to the King and Queen—Desmond is chaplain to His and Her Highnesses.  The Cathedral, thus, is the King’s Chapel, and as such has no means by which a communicant of our Church can directly affiliate with the Cathedral.  The people who attend service here are, technically, on membership rosters elsewhere—usually at St. Matthew’s in Serelia Beach.  But we have no way of really keeping up with them—we do not even have a proper Vestry, although we do have an Altar Guild.  That’s one reason why we only need one service on Sunday morning—Sunday evening is for other purposes.”

“Then perhaps we should start with what we would call your ‘regular attenders,’” Terry suggested.  “I know you believe in visitation.”

“I felt it was my duty to do something—they were in such grief, and no one else was…”

“…doing anything about it.”  Terry finished.  “But think about the people you see every Sunday—who might we go see tonight?”

Once again Julian had to think.  “There’s the Chancellor’s father and mother—she’s an invalid, they only come occasionally.  They leave about three blocks from here.”

“An excellent place to start—let’s do it.” With that they went out of both the Cathedral close and the palace grounds hand in hand into town.  Terry had found the Serelians to be a charming people, but she still had a hard time getting over the desultory way in which they kept their town in general and their houses in particular.  As Julian had promised, though, in three blocks they reached a small concrete block house in a lot not much bigger than the house.  Julian and Terry walked up to the front door and Julian knocked.

“Peace be to this house, and to all that dwell in it,” Julian said when the man of the house answered the door.

“My, Reverend, this is a surprise—and such a fellow visitor you have here.”  He was grizzled, in his late 60’s, neatly but plainly dressed.

“Oh, yes—this is my friend, Terry Marlowe,” Julian said nervously.  His next step would have been to reach for his Prayer Book but Terry had his right hand firmly clasped in her left.

“Her Highness’ assistant—this is an event,” the man said.  “I’m Harold Dillman—you’ve met my son, the Chancellor.  Come on in”—he ushered them into his living room—“and meet my wife Loretta.” They came in; Loretta was sitting in her wheelchair, but reached out her hand to greet them.  All of them were seated; if Loretta hadn’t had her own chair, one of them would have been in the floor.  “It’s been a long time since a man of the cloth has darkened this door,” Harold said.  “So what brings you two here?”

“It was Terry’s idea,” Julian admitted.  “She was a pastor in her church and country, and had done quite a lot of it.  She asked me about the Cathedral’s visitation.  This is ultimately my answer.”

Harold looked at Terry.  “I don’t know about her church, but her country has caused us a lot of grief lately.”

“Oh, but she’s in our service now,” Julian came back eagerly.

Harold looked Terry over again.  “You’re originally from Verecunda, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am,” Terry replied.  “Point Collina, to be exact—since the country has been dismembered, the distinction is significant.”

“It really is,” Harold agreed.  “So you’re just learning your way around here, aren’t you?”

“There’s a lot to learn,” Terry replied.  “Your son was one of the first people I met when I first came here in March.  He’s a fine man.  He actually received me as a subject of the king.”

“We think he’s fine too—we just don’t see him often enough,” Loretta said.  “The king keeps him busy.”

“I have some roots there myself,” Harold said.  “My mother’s family was from Driscoll, but my father’s father came here from Verecunda long ago.”

“Any relation to the gynaecologists?” Terry inquired.

“Cousins,” Harold answered.  “I’m glad they’re here, but it’s a shame why they had to move. My grandmother’s family was from Hallett, in Uranus—her maiden name was Stanley, so I’m related to that young lady who now is known as ‘the Ponytail Princess.’”

“Julia,” Terry happily said.  “A wonderful Christian girl.”

“I got to meet her when she was on her honeymoon,” said Harold.  “She has an interesting life ahead of her.”

“I was there when it changed so dramatically,” Terry said.

“I understand you might have missed it if our dear Princess hadn’t have been the nosey kind,” Harold came back.  They all got a chuckle out of that.

“I used to be in the Royal Serelian Navy,” Harold resumed.  “I came up through the ranks.  By the time this last war rolled around, I had a desk job as commander of the Royal Naval Docks.  We would have won that war if that fool Amherst hadn’t gotten such big ideas with that big operation he tried at Cresca—we tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn’t listen and neither would the king.  Now we are only half the country we were.  I retired after the cease-fire.  It was just as well, as Loretta was hit by a car just about then and hasn’t walked since.”  They chatted about many things; Julian had known them for a long time, so there was plenty to chat about.

Finally Julian said, “We have missed you in God’s house.”

“It’s hard to go with Loretta the way she is,” Harold replied.  “Besides, after what we went through in this war, it’s hard to see whether God cares about this place or not, or if He’s even out there to care.”

Terry looked at Harold intensely.  “My God has never failed me,” she began.  “He was there for me when I married my husband, and He was there when I buried him.  He was there when I brought my son into the world, and He was there when I sent him out for the last time.  He was there when I left Verecunda in secret, and He was there when I returned with the Aloxan army.  He is here with me now that I have come to Serelia to serve, and if we had lost the war, He would have been at my side if I were hanged outside the palace gate.  My God has never abandoned me, and if you’ll trust Him, you find He will be there for you too.”

Harold looked at her with a surprised look.  “You really believe that, don’t you?”

“I’ve staked my life on it.”  There was a silence in the room.  Then Terry turned to Loretta and said, “Would you like for us to pray for you?”

Now the surprise was Loretta’s.  “That would be very kind of you.”  Terry got out her little bottle of anointing oil.

“You’re one of them, aren’t you?” Harold asked.

“Yes, I’m one of them.”  She dabbed her right index finger in the oil, then laid it on Loretta’s forehead and began to pray.  Julian grasped Terry’s left hand and prayed along the best he could.  Terry prayed about a minute and then ended.

“That was nice of you,” Loretta said.

“Once again, we’d love to see you in church sometime,” Julian said, looking for something to say.

Harold thought a minute.  “I might take you up on that sometime soon.”

“Do you need help in getting to church?” Terry asked, almost reflexively.

“No—we’ll get Devin to bring us.  He doesn’t have anything else better to do on Sunday anyway.”  They wound it up and said their goodbyes.  Terry went out the door first, but as Julian left Harold called his name.  He stopped and turned around.

“Yes, what is it?” Julian asked.

“That’s a fine girl you’ve got yourself there,” Harold said.  “Don’t let her slip through your fingers like you did the last one.”

“Yes, sir,” Julian nervously replied, and left.

As they reached the street they saw Devin coming from the government complex towards the house.  “Fine to see you two out this evening,” Devin said.  “I’m coming by to check on my father and mother.”

“We were just visiting them,” Julian replied.

“Oh?  Something wrong?” Devin asked.

“No—it’s Terry’s idea for visitation.”

“Good one—keep it up,” Devin said.  As Devin went into the house, Julian and Terry walked back towards the palace gate.

“In our Church, we usually use a solid nard for unction, rather than liquid oil,” Julian said.

“Then bring some next time we go,” Terry replied.

“Also in our Church, the minister is the one who administers the Unction of the Sick.”

“Then next time you pray like that.”

Saturday morning was the normal practice time of the children’s choir at the Cathedral.  Their rehearsal room was upstairs; the two sets of pews for altos and sopranos were set in a V-shape, with the grand piano in the middle.  This gave Julian, sitting at the keyboard, a reasonable view of the whole choir, necessary with the group he was dealing with.  On this Saturday morning Terry decided to come and sit in on the practice and see just how Julian did it; she and Darlene were making enough progress on the charters to permit such a break.

The practice was unexceptional; the older children found her presence intriguing, though.  When it was over and Terry went over to Julian and asked, “Why don’t we go to the beach?  I’ve not had the chance to go since I’ve been here.”

Julian looked out the window and said, “Looks a little threatening today.”

“Then we need to get started early.”  Julian realised that she had already taken their decision, so he agreed.

“We’ll get ready in our respective apartments and meet in the middle, directly behind the palace proper,” Julian declared.  They then left the choir room and separated, Julian to his apartment and Terry to hers.

Terry had the longer trip initially, so she alternated between a run and a brisk walk.  Darlene was out with one of the staff, trying to start an herb garden at the palace.  She saw Terry and said, “What’s your hurry?”

“I’m meeting Julian on the beach,” Terry replied, racing onward.

Darlene turned to her assistant and said, “Quick, go get George and tell him to meet me at the Sea Garden—it’s important.”  As the assistant went on to summon the Prince, Darlene went on as rapidly as she could to the Sea Garden.

The Palace Beach wasn’t the best beach in Serelia by any means, as it was too close to the inlet.  It tended to fall off very rapidly into the ocean.  However, it had one virtue: it was private, restricted to those who lived in the palace compound or the Cathedral close.  On this day Terry and Julian had the beach to themselves, except for the occasional palace guard and at first the small cloud of witnesses gathering at the Sea Garden.

Julian reached the appointed spot first, dressed in a tacky pair of swimming trunks and shirt to match.  He stood and looked northwest up the beach, waiting for Terry.  It took what seemed to him to be an eternity for Terry to emerge from the beach door at the bottom of the living quarters, but finally she did.  He could make out that she was dressed in a beach robe and had sunglasses on, with a beach towel over her arm.  She made her way slowly down to beach towards Julian; he took in every step.

When she finally reached him, she stood in front of him in silence.  Then she took her sunglasses off and slipped them into the pocket of the robe.  Then she took her robe off, which revealed a full one-piece bathing suit.  Then she laid her robe and towel on the ground and stood looking at him.

A wide-eyed Julian took two steps back; once again it was his turn to put his hand in the mains.  They were in silence looking at each other when Terry said, “Why don’t we go into the ocean for a swim?”

“That’s a splendid idea,” Julian answered, regaining enough of his composure to speak.  He turned and started running towards the ocean.  He got halfway there when he realised that Terry wasn’t following him.  He stopped and turned back towards her.

“Going into the water would be a lot nicer if you’d take your shirt off,” Terry coolly observed.

“You’re absolutely right,” he said.  He walked back up to her, took his shirt off, and they went into the ocean hand in hand.

While they were doing all this, Darlene and George were in the Sea Garden, trying to be inconspicuous while doing the play-by-play.

“She’s still disgusting—I can’t believe how skinny she is,” Darlene said.

“I told you not to feed her so much conch chowder,” George gently scolded his wife.

“I had to do something to move this relationship on,” Darlene defended herself.

“Well, you’ve done it this time.”  They sat there and watched as the lovers enjoyed the water.

“Remember when we would play here long ago?” Darlene asked her own love.

“I do—you always liked those sand castles,” George answered.  They drew closer at the thought.  “I find it hard to believe that we’re sitting here watching two people ten years our senior and we’re the old married people.”

“What’s even more amazing,” Darlene added, “is that for both of them their most passionate love isn’t swimming in the water with them.”

Julian and Terry played and swam in the water for a long time, but finally got out and went back to where their towels were.  They dried off, then spread them out on the beach, and laid down facing each other.

“You’ve never told me about your time at university,” Terry said.

“Oh, so I haven’t.  As you know, my father was sexton at the Cathedral.  Everyone expected me to be the next sexton too, but by the time I was twelve I was playing the organ some.  So I was able to win a scholarship and study music on the mainland.  The Church told me that, if I would take a minor in theology, they would pay the additional expense and ordain me a priest.  Music is a demanding major, so I ended up spending five years getting my degree.”

“Did you enjoy your time there?”

“With my music, I did.  When I got there, they were amazed at how proficient at the organ I was, since I came from such a remote place.  It made less work for them.  I still didn’t have a lot of money, though, so I had to work.  I played jazz in nightclubs for a while.”

“Jazz—I didn’t know you played jazz.”

“That’s where I really learned how to properly improvise,” he said.  “I enjoyed playing the music in the clubs, even though I don’t think that kind of music has any place in the church.  Don’t some of your churches use it during their worship services?”

“All the time.”

“I eventually had to quit working in the clubs, though.”

“Why?  Because you were a theology minor?”

“Not really—they thought it was funny, even though they knew what kind of a person I was.  My studies got too demanding, though.  Besides, I got tired of the smoke and the drunks and the scantily-clad barmaids there—oh, I’m sorry,” Julian stopped himself, surveying his love.

Terry giggled.  “I’m flattered by the comparison.  But I don’t do this very often.  Even Darlene wondered why I wear long sleeves all the time.”

“I think your modesty is admirable.”

“There’s more to it, though.”  She turned her left arm to show the needle scars between her wrist and elbow from her days as a drug addict.  Julian winced; he winced again when she leaned her left shoulder towards him, showing the scar on the upper left arm from the war.  “God has brought me a long way.  So how did you like your theology studies?”

“Not so much.  I didn’t like all of the doubts they had.  It seemed to me that they doubted just for doubting’s sake.  Desmond really enjoys all that, but I don’t.  And they made fun of our church, too.”

“What did they say?”

“They thought it was too conservative—that was especially true of those who were connected with other churches in the Communion.  The same questions kept coming up—why don’t you change your Prayer Book?  Why don’t you think about ‘opening up’ on your beliefs?  Why don’t you consider ordaining women?  And then of course our relationship with the state was always a point of controversy.  One of my teachers told our entire class in my presence that he thought the Church of Serelia was ‘a blight on the Anglican Communion.’  After that I just wanted to get done with theology, concentrate on my music and come home, which I did.  Shortly after my return, our organist and choirmaster, who was my teacher, had to retire because of his poor health, and I’ve been at my duties here ever since.”

“That puts this church in a whole different light,” Terry observed.  “You know, we were going over the Apostles’ Creed—you know the Verecundans made your church eliminate any reference to Christ’s second coming.”

“They made them rewrite the Creed entirely,” Julian added.  “It was blasphemy.”

“You know,” Terry mused, “some people would think we’re crazy, out here on the beach, talking about the Creed.”

“It’s all I’ve ever known,” Julian said.

Terry reached out and stroked Julian’s face.  “When I’m here with you like this, on the beach with the ocean, I feel like I’m in the Garden of Eden.  Now I have an inkling of what our first parents felt.  They did have one other advantage, though.”

“What did you have in mind, Terry?” Julian asked, a little nervous.

She cast a glance towards the Sea Garden.  “Until the serpent showed up, only God was watching them.”

“Oh, dear,” Julian sighed, realising that palace romance was a spectator sport.  They talked for a long time about many subjects, even drifting back into the Creed from time to time.

“This isn’t moving very fast,” George said.  “All they do is talk.”

“Maybe they’re reaching beyond what they see in each other—which is beautiful enough—into what they can’t, which is even better,” Darlene replied.

At long last the weather looked like it was going to get nasty, so they picked up their things and embraced goodbye.  Julian stood watching her departure; she had put her robe back on and was carrying towel over her arm as she walked up the beach back towards the door.  She waved at George and Darlene as they prepared for the post-game analysis and bowed to the King and Queen, who were out on their balcony, taking this all in.  Julian did not start back to his apartment until she went through the door and out of sight.

Everyone’s routine went on as usual the following week.  Julian and Terry met faithfully for her catechism.  Julian read to her the question that came after the Creed: “What dost thou chiefly learn in these Articles of thy Belief?”

“First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who hath made me, and all the world,” she replied, likewise reading.  “Secondly, in God the Son, who hath redeemed me, and all mankind.  Thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people of God.”

Julian looked at Terry.  “I’m a little worried about this part.”

“Why?”

“Because churches such as yours are generally Reformed, and believe that Christ only died for the elect, and all that.”

“Pentecostal churches are not really ‘Reformed’ in that sense,” Terry explained.  “Mine—and most of us—are Wesleyan-Arminian in theology.  Jesus Christ did not come and die just for a few—He came in love for all of us.  It’s just that some of us elect to receive Him and some don’t.  It’s the same with sanctification—the Holy Ghost came to sanctify all the church, it’s just that some receive it and some don’t.  John Wesley was a lifelong Anglican—it was this kind of doctrine that helped him to understand sanctification as a second work after salvation.  I guess I’m coming full circle here, from an institutional standpoint.  The one thing Pentecostal churches have discovered is the third work, the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues as the initial evidence.”

“I heard you do that while praying over Loretta Dillman the other evening,” Julian said.  “I wasn’t prepared for it.”

“Why not?”

“I knew Pentecostals spoke in tongues, but we have always associated such things with people who lacked intelligence—something you obviously are well endowed with.”

“God has a great sense of humour, doesn’t he?” Terry asked.  “I’m glad you witnessed that.  I’ve never intended to hide that from you.”  She paused.  “If you believe the rumour mill, there’s not much I haven’t hidden from you.”

“It’s really terrible,” Julian noted.

“Don’t you people have a prayer”—she leafed through her prayer book—“yes, here it is: ‘Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid;’ I think in this place there aren’t any secrets from anyone else either.”  They both got a laugh out of that.

When “Doing Right” Isn’t: A Follow Up

In the course of the back and forth over the "failure" (technically at least, but there’s dispute over that) of Mark Lawrence to obtain the necessary consents for his election as Bishop of South Carolina, I brought up SC’s last legal miscalculation: attempting to block All Saints Pawley’s Island’s departure, which I originally commented on in When "Doing Right" Isn’t.  A response came that pointed out that the parish was the first to sue.

To buttress this claim, a letter from Bishop Salmon to the parishioners was produced.  I will reproduce this in its entirety with some comments:

January 16, 2004

My piece was written a year and a half later.  Quite a lot transpired in that time; obviously that wasn’t covered in the letter below.  I did my best to keep up with this, but it wasn’t the easiest thing to follow.

TO: The Members of All Saints’ Parish, Waccamaw

FROM: Bishop Salmon

Dear Friends in Christ,

The opening chapter of St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians provides the greeting to you for this letter. “I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ” (I Cor.4). in the same chapter St. Paul appeals to the Corinthians “for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ to make up the differences between you” (I Cor. 1:10). In that spirit I write you all this letter.

In all the recent events around All Saints Parish and the Diocese of South Carolina, a number of Public statements have been made about our relationship. It is my intention in this letter to present the position that I have taken and offer documentation to support that position. Having heard both sides, you may then draw conclusions, as you are so led, which conclusions will I pray move us closer together rather than apart.

When Bishop Murphy was consecrated in Singapore in an irregular consecration in 2000, I was not in favor of the consecration because I believed that it would be divisive to orthodox unity. I believe it has. I could not change the fact that it had taken place. Since Bishop Murphy was no longer under our Canons, I had no control over the exercise of his ministry. The hope and expectation was that All Saints Parish would remain a faithful part of the Diocese of South Carolina.

When the Vestry in Moorhead City, N.C. voted to leave the Diocese of East Carolina they first transferred title to the church property to another group, and then informed the bishop that they were leaving the Diocese of East Carolina. Because of this the Chancellor advised me to record in the Georgetown County Courthouse, the Canons of the Diocese reflecting the requirement regarding property under which all congregations operate. In the North Carolina suit AmiA claimed that because the Diocese of East Carolina had not done so, the Diocese had no claim on the property. In the suit filed against the Diocese, the claim has been made that because the Diocese of South Carolina recorded the applicable canon, we had placed a cloud on the title. Bishop Murphy has stated that it was similar to building a swimming pool over a property line. It must be removed by legal action.

The facts are the opposite. If permission of the Bishop and Standing Committee are not given the title is clouded. Ross M. Lindsey, Parish Chancellor, admitted in his deposition, that in a transaction in 1986 the bank itself asked that such permission be sought. I am enclosing a letter written by Bishop Murphy, when he was a member of the Standing Committee, asking permission for All Saints to borrow money from the bank in 1988. The canons require such permission and not to seek permission clouds the transaction. I am also enclosing a sample page from the Standing Committee records showing similar permission requested by St. Peter’s by-the-Sea and the Church of the Holy Communion in 1965 as standard operating procedure for the Standing Committee. This has been a part of our common life for well over a hundred years.

If I were the bank, I would expect this permission also even if its necessity were in doubt.  Bankers are generally very conservative about these things.  The fact that the bank required this may only reflect the bank’s desire to "cover its bases" completely.

When All Saints Waccamaw sued the Diocese ( we are the defendants) over the recording of the applicable property canon, they claimed, in a deposition, that they were not under the canons, and kept them as a matter of courtesy. The Chancellor ruled that a church could not be not under the canons and in union with the Diocese at the same time. The convention, hoping for some reconciliation, voted to give All Saints Parish seat, voice, not a vote.

The fact that the Diocese is the defendant may not be a significant as it looks.  As was the case with SC itself 20 Dec 1860, All Saints’ objective was to secede from the TEC.  The only way to accomplish this was to secede from the Diocese as well.  When the Diocese decided to perfect its interest in the property, All Saints was faced with one of those "fish or cut bait" moments, so they had to sue to prevent this.

In the meantime, Bishop Murphy has continued to live in the rectory, meet with the Vestry when he is in town, appoint a vicar to represent him, and generally to be in charge. Tim Surratt who, until now, has been the only clergyman canonically resident in the diocese, has been the supposed interim rector. He has, as of January 12, asked to be transferred to Rwanda. I plan to do so.

Because of the legal action, I have not met with the Vestry or made a visitation. Bishop Skilton has been to All Saints, for a visitation once.

I discovered, by happenstance, that the All Saints vestry had voted to amend the 1902 Charter which the then serving Chancellor had assisted the parish in securing. By way of background, the granting of the 1902 Charter by the Secretary of State was followed by the Trustees of the Diocese’s conveying the title to the church property to All Saints Church Parish by quit claim deed dated 1903. Because of the actions of the vestry, I immediately informed the Chancellor and notified the then Wardens and Vestry that they had in fact voted to leave the Church and could not longer be considered the vestry because by leaving they were no longer communicants in good standing, and thereby did not qualify to be vestry members. I did not excommunicate them as has been said. They are free to receive communion whenever and wherever they choose. They cannot vote to leave the church and at the same time be the vestry. I am enclosing copies of the letter and documents sent to them.

I called a meeting of the Standing Committee and informed them of my actions. After considerable discussion, the members of the Standing Committee decided to talk directly with the vestry. I gave my full support to such discussions. I am enclosing the report of their meeting written by the president of the Standing Committee. I told the Standing Committee that I was more than willing to consider and implement their suggestions, but that I was not willing to drop the appeal because (1) it had already been heard (September 10) and we were simply waiting for a ruling. I reminded them that (2) because of the original ruling no one now owned the property and this issued needed to be settled.

The basic issues on the table are those of lawlessness and the stability of the Diocese itself. We have no theological issues with All Saints. If any parish in the Diocese can unilaterally decide to not be under the Canons, appoint vicars, do what they want to when they want to, our strength as a Diocese is soon destroyed. There is no authority, only individual choice. That is exactly why the Episcopal Church is in the mess it is in. Bishops have individually acted without accountability, believe or not believe as they choose. That is lawlessness. It is my duty to oppose it.

This paragraph comes as close as anything I have seen to elaborating Salmon’s rationale for spending the Diocese’s money on this.  His position is a straightforward, American conservative "rule of law" type of stance.  Unfortunately it’s getting harder and harder to mechanistically apply this in the situation we’re in these days.

To start with, we need to make a clear distinction between civil law and God’s law.  The central problem with TEC stems from the fact that large numbers of clergy and laity alike have opted to dispense with God’s Word as the basis of their life’s convictions.  People like Henry Louttit tried to stop this, but the church at large didn’t have the stomach to carry through.

Churches operate in a framework of civil law because they have to.  In the Middle Ages the Catholic Church tried with varying degrees of success to remove themselves from the jurisdiction of kings and nobles.  No church today has that option.  In SC, for example, an unincorporated religious body can be sued, and it is done by suing the membership!  But the bottom line is that going to law needs to be a last resort, and that going to law needs to be done in the context of preserving the doctrinal integrity of the church, not just the institutional integrity of the Diocese.

This is where I part company with the Diocese on the issue of All Saints.

I have met with members of All Saints who are loyal to the Diocese. It was my decision to treat the loyal membership as a parish rather than a mission. We have organized and elected wardens. We plan to meet again as All Saints Parish Waccamaw under the Canons of the Diocese. We have notified the Secretary of State that there is a new vestry representing All Saints Parish, and Articles of Correction will be filed with the Secretary of State giving notice that the original charter of All Saints, Waccamaw remains unchanged.

It is my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will give us all a way to Godly solution to this situation, which is painful for all concerned. You are in my prayers. I cherish yours.

“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (II Cor. 13:13)

Yours Faithfully in Christ,

Edward L. Salmon, Jr.

Bishop of South Carolina, XIII

Salmon reminds me of Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai.  Nicholson insists on building a top-flight bridge, irrespective of the fact that it is for the enemy, and resists its destruction.  Nicholson does this because it is the "proper" thing to do, and shows that he and his men are superior to their captors.  But the end result is that the enemy has a bridge.  With Mark Lawrence’s difficulties it seems that they have found how to run their train over it.

The Best Argument for Disestablishment

Ruth Gledhill’s piece about former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England is an intriguing one, if a little disorienting for Americans.  (Not this one, as you can see for yourself!)

The best practical argument for disestablishment, however, is that it would give more freedom to the church to set its own agenda.

We’ve already noted that there has been talk about Parliament forcing the CofE to admit women bishops.  In the gay-crazy mood the UK is in these days, we’re honestly surprised that the government allowed Rowan Williams to humour the Global South the way he did in Dar-es-Salaam.  The main reason why they haven’t is that the CofE isn’t a very significant part of Britain’s landscape any more except for its empty church buildings.  And there’s always the National Trust for those in a crunch.

But we know that, with the homosexuals, there’s not an insignificant enough opponent they won’t try to crush sooner or later.

Historically, in the nineteenth century the CofE had difficulties "getting to the masses" because it literally took an Act of Parliament to establish or abolish a parish.  This rigidity helped the growth of the Nonconformists.

The only unknown is whether or not the Church of England would use the freedom of "privitisation" wisely if it ever got it.

The Last People In Uniform?

The flap over General Pace’s remarks about homosexuals in the military makes us think of our own closing remarks in our 2004 piece Gay Marriage?  What Marriage?

Such moves (Christians withdrawing from the mainstream of society as a result of enshrining gay marriage into law) would have the long term effect of strengthening the Christian community at the expense of the state. Homosexuals and the left would learn the hard way that the opposite of love is not hatred but apathy, and that it is hard to sustain a great country like the United States without the enthusiastic support of at least part of its population. In other words, they may win their battle but ultimately lose their war.

And war is something they need to think about these days. One of those things the homosexual community may get through is eliminating the "don’t ask/don’t tell" policy in the military. This would make it easy for people to be openly homosexual in the armed services, as was the case with ancient Thebes’ "Sacred Band." They may need to do a little recruiting. What do you think will happen to the homosexual community if we get shar’ia?

Ending "don’t ask/don’t tell" will further sour the taste of heterosexual Christians and others to serve in the military.  Depending on the course of American politics, the homosexuals may indeed win the battle on this, but then it will be up to them to defend our civilisation–such as it is–against the Islamicists.  Like we say in prayer, be careful what you ask for: you may get it.

Some issues just won’t go away

While thinking about the volleys of insults last week (both Ann Coulter’s and Bill Maher’s about the Vice President) we keep being haunted by the following:

Above: A St. Andrew’s School sophmore points out the obvious Confederate flag on the wall of a dorm room while his classmates (one American and one Bahamian) have a good laugh at his expense. People these days get very lathered up over offensive speech and symbols, but the truth is that liberals–no strangers to foul speech–make life impossible for the rest of us by continually moving the goalposts. This appeared in the 1971 Tartan (St. Andrews’ yearbook.) It is doubtful that this product of a very liberal school (then and now) would pass muster anywhere in the U.S. today.

At the Inlet: July, Part 3 (A visit to the Bishop’s Palace)

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The next morning’s Bible studies with Darlene went well enough; Darlene had had a nice day with her mother the day before.  Getting into the chartering paperwork, however, was another matter; Terry was listless and distracted, not much help at all.  Darlene became a little irritated with her until she grasped what was going on.

“You’re in love, aren’t you, Terry?” she asked, almost out of the blue.  Terry first nodded no, then changed and nodded yes.  “How long as it been?”

“Too long,” Terry replied, almost inaudible.

“The baby needs some exercise.  Let’s go for a walk,” Darlene declared.

It turned out that the baby needed more than exercise; as they prepared to leave, the door knocked and Darlene’s lady in waiting came in.

“Your Highness, have you forgotten your doctor’s appointment today?”

“Yes, she has,” Terry answered, coming back to the present reality.

Darlene sighed.  “Would you care to go with us, Terry?”

“I’ll stay here—I’ll try to pull myself together and get something done,” Terry answered.  Darlene and her lady in waiting left.  Terry found the pieces hard to put back together, though, so she went out on the palace grounds herself.  Just outside the living quarters she met the Queen, also out for the morning.

“Your Majesty,” Terry said, bowing.

“I thought you’d be working with Darlene this morning.”

“Her Highness had a doctor’s appointment.  In any case I wasn’t being very productive, so I thought I’d come out for a minute for fresh air.”

“It’s Julian, isn’t it?” the Queen asked.

“Yes it is.”

“Relationships are important,” the Queen observed.  “We can undo a lot of the work we do with bad ones.  It’s important to take time and make it right.”

“You are correct.”

“Would you like to come up and talk for a bit?”

Terry was somewhere between fear and exhilaration.  “That would be wonderful.”  They went up, not to the royal study, but to the royal bedchamber itself.  It was at the north corner of the palace; the balcony and sliding glass doors faced the ocean.  Between the balcony and the bedroom proper was a little alcove; Terry had learned that the Queen took her meals there frequently when the King wasn’t around.

As they entered the bedchamber, the Queen turned to Terry and said, “I know our Intelligence Service is a sensitive subject to you, but your dossier shows that you were a junior mah-jongg champion in Verecunda.”

“That’s correct—I was in junior high school.  My father and grandmother taught me how to play.  My mother never liked it—said that it was an ‘old biddies’’ game.”

“Well, this is one ‘old biddy’ that would love to play.  I haven’t since my son Richard’s death.  Now that the war is over, many of my old playing buddies—including my dear mother—are gone.  Would you care to join me in a game or two?”

“I would be honoured.”

The Queen turned to her lady in waiting, who had shadowed them as they came, and said, “Find the mah-jongg set and bring it, along with some tea service.”

“It may take a little digging, but yes, Your Majesty.”  She left and the Queen gave Terry a tour of the rest of the royal quarters.  Once they figured out which rules they were playing by, they were hard at the game in the alcove.

“Is your work with Darlene going well? the Queen asked.

“We’re making progress, but it’s slow.  I’m trying not to let things with Julian get in the way.”

“Julian is a fine man,” the Queen observed, “a victim, I’m afraid, of another Amherst grasp for glory.”  Terry gave her a surprised look.  “I know you’re very close to Darlene, and for that I’m grateful, but what I’m telling you is nothing I haven’t told her to her face.  It’s just their family way—they’re always trying to bring themselves up at someone else’s expense.  That’s why I opposed George marrying Darlene—I knew she’d try to dominate.  It’s not her place to rule—it’s his, he’s going to be King.  But they always keep trying—now that everybody knows their little secret instead of a few, we all know why too.  And we all know the price we have all paid for their rebellious attitude.  We’ve been paying that price here at court—our first year with Darlene here was not amusing.”

Terry gave a stunned look at her Queen.  “I will say,” the Queen continued, “that Darlene is an easier person to live with since he has returned from the trip.  Her impending maternity, and whatever you told her and the impact you had on her, has mellowed her.  That’s why I supported bringing you to court, even though many people didn’t think it would work—the King thought so too, I should add.”

“Coming to know God in a personal way always makes a difference, Your Majesty,” Terry observed.

“Annette,” she replied.

Terry was stunned yet again.  “I’ve never called a sovereign by her first name in my life.”

“And I’ve never socialised with a Gerland, either,” Annette came back.  “That’s one reason Darlene respects you.  She’s one of these people that comes into a room and sizes up everyone’s rank—it’s the old Beran way, I suppose.  She sized you up and figured out she was on the short end in every way.”  They both laughed about that.

“So tell me about your family,” Terry said, after a little more tile shuffling.

“I am a Cavitt,” Annette replied.

“We had quite a few of them in the Drahlan military during the war,” Terry said.  “They’re from Fort Albert—some of them own groves.”

“That’s a cadet branch of the family,” Annette replied.  “Mine was a founding family of Serelia.  We owned most of the land around what is now Serelia Beach and southwest of there.”

“So what happened?”

“You never heard?”

“Some of the Cavitts referred to something terrible—that’s why they were such strong partisans of ours—but I never learned the whole story.”

“My father and three teenage brothers were executed by King Albert,” Annette said.

“Why?”

“They tried to reinstitute the Lodge.  They had it in secret, then Albert found out.  He was enraged—he had them hanged just outside of the palace gate, in front of my mother, my sister Cecile, and me.  The Bishop then begged him not to—so did most of the other founding families.  The only exception was Darlene’s grandfather Elton—he never missed an opportunity to curry favour with Albert.  Then he seized all of our land for the Crown.  Three weeks later I was married in the Cathedral to Adam.  My mother went into exile in Vidamera until I became Queen and begged Adam to let her return.  Cecile—who was the youngest, only twelve—was married off to Rudolph Ballman, whose father was one of Albert’s drinking buddies.  They live in Drago now.”

“That’s Princess Andrea’s father and mother,” Terry said, astonished.  “She told me a few things, but said her mother wouldn’t discuss a lot of the past.  Now I know why.”

“She’s my niece.  I saw her for the first time in many years after the hunt,” Annette said.  “She’s a sweet girl—she thinks the world of you.  So is Julia—I feel for her, being forced to the altar of marriage.  That’s an interesting situation—I hope it works out.  It’s good they’ve given her responsibility—it shows they respect her.  More than I got.  But I understand the respect started before that.”

“It did.  King Leslie is a great man, a visionary.  He is, in some ways, the real heir of old Beran.”

“Beran, Beran…that’s all anybody talks about.  Gone seventy years and still dominates the minds of men.  This Island eats its children, and Beran is the main reason why.  Just think of all the bones of men lying in the muck and everglades whose lives have been snuffed out untimely in the name of the ‘Master Builder for the Great Architect of the Universe.’  Now my own grandson will be one of his descendants.  Will yet another generation have to shed its blood for this insane dream?  Personally I always had hope in Verecunda until…”

“Until what?” Terry asked, intrigued.

“Perhaps I shouldn’t tell you this.”

“Go ahead—my brother told me everything else.”

“It concerns your brother.  Right after George and Darlene left for their honeymoon, your brother showed up for another one of his visits with the king.  In tow was the Reverend James Woolsey, Rector at Christ Church in Point Collina.  Did you grow up there?”

“I was Catholic—I grew up at St. Sebastian’s.  I had a lot of friends who went there—the Princess Catherine grew up there.”

“Oh, yes.  Woolsey came to help Richard discuss religious matters with the Bishop.  We were a little mystified at the connection between the Verecundan government and religious matters—now we know.  We were having lunch at the Bishop’s Palace after Morning Prayer and the subject of you came up.  Woolsey had evidently heard about the so-called ‘intelligence’ that they had gathered on you, and he started to go on and on about all of the people from here to Point Collina that you had gone to bed with to gain advantage for yourself.  It was disgusting—we were tiring of it, although we had heard similar rumours, as you were our enemy at the time.  Finally, Richard himself had enough of this, so he cut Woolsey off with, ‘Oh, please, James, don’t be silly, if my sister did that sort of thing, she’d be one of us and not one of them.’  That finally shut Woolsey up, but after that I decided that a society as crude and pornographic as that didn’t deserve my support.”

“My brother certainly didn’t hate me because I was promiscuous,” Terry observed.  “For both Verecunda and Beran, the same problem: ‘For no man can lay any other foundation than the one already laid-Jesus Christ.’”

“But I was touched when I heard Darlene tell of your reaction to his death.  Many on this Island shed tears for those they love, but only you cry when your mortal enemy dies.”  Terry began to do just that when the thought of the event came back; after some solace time with Annette, Terry felt better and they resumed their game.

They played for a bit more and Annette just stopped and looked at Terry.  “Is there something wrong,” Terry asked.

“No, nothing,” Annette replied.  “It’s you.  You go with these tiles.”

Terry gave Annette a puzzled look, but then realised what she was talking about.  “My Chinese ancestry seems to be an obsession around here,” Terry observed.

“Do you see that side of your family?”

“My father had one sister,” Terry explained.  “She married a Chinese man.  They came a few times while my grandmother lived on the Point.  After my grandmother moved back to the mainland—not China—I haven’t seen her.”

They took their lunch through all this and played for most of the afternoon also, talking all the while about everything and everyone that came to mind.  Annette shed some light on some of their charter applications also.  About 1600, when her lady in waiting came in to check on them, Annette asked Terry, “Would you like for Julian to join the King and the two of us for dinner?”  Terry was so floored by that request that she couldn’t get the words out; Annette told her lady, “Ask the Reverend Julian Lewis if he would care to join us at around 1830.  Also, tell His and Her Highnesses that they can have the evening off.”  The lady in waiting left; Terry followed her shortly to get ready for this event.

By the time Terry came back to meet Julian, the King and Queen, she was almost beside herself with excitement.  They dined in the Royal Dining Room, and afterwards withdrew to the study.  Both Adam and Annette could see the glow of love on the both of them; they had a splendid evening after which they retired.

Darlene and Terry were able to make some progress on their backlog the next day and the Monday and Tuesday after that.  That didn’t crowd out Terry and Julian’s time together; they normally met at Evensong, then dined at the Cathedral and spent time together after that.  By mutual agreement they did not visit each other’s apartment, nor did they meet out of sight; they were hoping this would diminish the rumour mill.

Although the One whose opinion really counted in this matter was honoured by the arrangement, everyone else had his or her opinion and was not shy about expressing it.  Rumours abounded about their activities, even secret rendezvous everywhere from Serelia to Alemara.  This was amazing since all of their contact was either on the palace grounds or in the Cathedral close, mostly the latter.  For Terry, this was like being in a high school cafeteria; every time she would enter with a new boyfriend, everyone would push the relationship far further than it went.  For Julian, it brought back painful memories of his relationship with Darlene’s sister, which was accompanied by the same kind of thing.  They spent so much time discussing the rumour mill—of which Julian got the most, since Terry was somewhat isolated with Darlene—that they didn’t have a lot of time getting to know each other better.

This time saw some marked improvements in Julian, though.  The food down his front disappeared.  Clothes saw an iron as they had never done so before.  His hair looked more kempt and styled that it had in years, although it still wasn’t up to his brother’s well coiffed do.  He even walked straighter than he had.  Rumours abounded that he was actually cleaning up his apartment in anticipation of Terry coming sometime, but this rumour was, like the others, unconfirmed.


Tuesday evening, as Darlene and Terry wound down yet another day of bureaucracy, the Bishop’s lackey stopped by with a summons for Terry to appear before the Bishop the following morning.  The girls looked at each other in astonishment, wondering what he might want.  Terry quizzed Julian intensely and repetitively on the subject over dinner.  Julian was as much in the dark as Terry was, other than that he and Desmond were supposed to attend the same meeting.

The next morning Terry went to the Bishop’s Palace.  At the front of the palace was his office; the living quarters were in the back.  As she entered, she saw the well-polished brass plaque next to the front door:

Diocese and Province of Serelia

/diocesan seal/

The Most Reverend H. Weston Collingswood

Bishop and Ecclesiastical Chancellor

She entered his outer office; his secretary was at her desk.

“May I help you,” the secretary asked.

“I’m here to see the Bishop,” Terry replied.  “I have an appointment.  I’m Terry Marlowe.”

“Oh, yes, just a minute,” the secretary said, and informed the Bishop of her arrival.  “Have a seat—the Canons Lewis have not arrived as of yet.”  Terry stayed standing and surveyed the office. It was well panelled and appointed; it was, in some ways, the most luxurious office she had seen in Serelia and perhaps the entire Island.  On the wall were all kinds of photographs of the Bishop at all kinds of events, including his trips to Lambeth, his photograph with a “Who’s Who” of the Anglican Communion, and the commendations.  She had just gotten into absorbing the information before her when Desmond and Julian walked in.  With that the secretary ushered them all in.  They stood in front of the Bishop’s substantial desk, Desmond and Julian flanking Terry.  The Bishop himself was sitting behind it, resplendent in his purple.

“Was your trip to Point Collina good?” Desmond asked.

“Very,” the Bishop answered.  “And also to Alemara.  My colleague there and I had some very good discussion, but I don’t know how long it will take to sort things out in Verecunda.  As for Bishop des Cieux, he is a fine man—we should get along splendidly.  They have made a very wise choice.”

“They certainly did,” Terry agreed.

“Oh, you do know him, don’t you?” the Bishop asked.

“For a long time—I saw him again in Vidamera during the trip.  I also saw his father as well.”

The Bishop cleared his throat and began.  “I did not call this meeting to discuss my trip.  I called it to discuss a serious irregularity concerning Miss Marlowe.”

“Irregularity?” Desmond asked, puzzled.

“Yes, a very serious one.”

“I believe that the palace took special care in screening Terry—Miss Marlowe—before her arrival,” Julian observed.

“Their objectives and mine are not always the same,” the Bishop noted emphatically.  “That’s why we have both church and state.  But to get to the point, as you gentlemen should know, it is necessary for anyone who accepts any position from the King must be a communicant with the Church of Serelia.”  He looked intently at Terry.  “I believe that this is not the case with you.”

“Such was impossible before,” Desmond said.

“Furthermore, I believe that you are a member of—and have some kind of ministerial standing in—a non-Apostolic sect.  I am not even sure about your baptism—many churches of your kind are not even Trinitarian,” the Bishop continued, still staring at Terry.”

“Ours certainly was,” Terry replied.  “Most of the Pentecostal churches on the Island are—that would also include the Sangler River fellowship and the Aloxans.”

“I don’t need a lesson in variant Island religions,” the Bishop retorted.  “I think it unworthy that any member of such a group should expect her baptism to be accepted without question by those of us who are the successors of the Apostles.”

The room fell silent for a moment.  Terry almost felt like her brother Richard was pointing his bony finger in her face, as he had done across the way at the palace reception.

“Is there any question about the validity of the sacraments of the Roman church?” Julian asked.

“There’s never a question there—it’s ours that seem to always be in doubt,” Desmond answered.  The Bishop glared sourly at Desmond.

“No, dear Julian, there isn’t,” the Bishop admitted.  “Why is that germane to this discussion?”

“Because she was raised as a Roman Catholic—she was both baptised and confirmed there, and I believe in the same church that you were in just now to witness Bishop des Cieux’ consecration.”

“Is this true?” the Bishop asked, turning to Terry.

She pulled a dog-eared photograph out of her purse and laid it on his desk.  “Yes, it is—this is my first communion picture,” she said.  “It’s one of the very few family photographs I still have.  Desmond and Julian leaned over as she gave a verbal caption.  “That’s me in my pretty white dress.  That’s Richard, my younger brother—he was killed before my eyes back in March.  That’s my father, he died of a heart attack.  That’s my mother, she’s in a care facility in the Point, unable to speak or care for herself any more.  That’s Father Santini, our priest, who later became bishop and died in prison like so many others.”  Julian literally fought back the tears as he looked at his love and her family, so long ago and so young.  The Bishop even had a hard time being unmoved.

“I will need more evidence than this,” the Bishop said, handing back her photograph.

“That may be difficult, given Verecunda’s recent history,” Desmond observed.  “The Catholics have only recently had St. Sebastian returned to them—it’s only a temporary cathedral, pending resolution of their difficulties in Verecunda and Uranus.”

“I’m perfectly aware of that—I was just there,” the Bishop answered, a little irritated.

“Are you looking for her baptismal and confirmation certificates?” Julian asked the Bishop.

“That would be ideal, if they could be found.”

“Copies of those are in her dossier at the Intelligence Service.”

“And since when, dear Julian, did you become so familiar with her intelligence file?” the Bishop queried.

“Since he realised that Miss Marlowe was more than just another pretty face,” Desmond quipped.

“You’re very kind, Canon,” Terry added.

The Bishop was obviously not enjoying this banter.  “Julian, since you seem to be so chummy with our Intelligence Service, I will leave it to you to obtain these certificates for me.  However, both of you worthy Canons should be aware that she has need of catechisation.  I am leaving it up to you to insure that she fully reviews the Catechism and the Thirty-Nine Articles in our Prayer Book in your presence and is in concord with them.  Once I’ve received a letter from you, Desmond, that this is done, it will be my pleasure to receive her into our Church during our worship on Sunday—I want to make sure her friends back home know what she’s doing.  And”—he turned to Julian—“I would suggest that you keep your romantic contact with Miss Marlowe to a minimum during this period.  That is all.”

“Thank you,” the three said, and left the Bishop’s Palace.  They walked back towards the Cathedral; when they crossed the main road into the palace and were almost to the narthex, Terry turned to the Lewis brothers and said, “So how exactly does this process work?  Who does the teaching?”

Desmond turned to Julian and said, “I’ll let you handle this.  I’m sure you’re a capable catechist.  You’ve done it before.  Just let me know when you’re done.  Good day,” and with that he walked off towards his office.

Julian and Terry gave each other a stunned look.  “I’ll have to devise some strategy here,” Julian mused.  He paused and gazed into Terry’s eyes.  “You were a beautiful child, Terry—my greatest regret in seeing that photograph is that we could not have gone after your First Communion and played on the beach together, like the Prince and Princess did when they were young.”

“Me, too,” Terry replied, as they embraced.  “We’ll have to make up for that, too.  I’ll see you this evening to start this process,” and with that she returned to the palace.

As promised, Terry returned for dinner.  Julian was wearing his jacket, which Terry thought was odd considering it was July.  After they were finished eating, Julian invited her out to sit with him in one of the benches in the colonnade and take in the evening.

They sat down, then Julian reached into his jacket and pulled out a small, flat box tied with a ribbon.  “This is for you,” Julian said.

Terry took the ribbon off and opened the box, realising that wrapping paper was beyond this end of the Island.  Out of the box emerged a white, leather bound book that looked like on first inspection a New Testament.  When she opened it, she saw it was a Serelian Book of Common Prayer.  Opposite of the title page Julian had written, “To Terry, the one I love, Julian.”

“I love you too—this is sweet, Julian,” she said, embracing and kissing him.

“You really think so?” Julian asked, taken aback at the response.  “I’ve presented many Prayer Books in my day, but this is the most positive response I’ve ever received.”

“First, this means a lot to you—a lot of your spiritual life is wrapped up here.  Second, I suppose after today I’m going to have to become familiar with its contents, since I am here now.”  She looked out on the front lawn of the Cathedral; her face took a pensive look.

“Is something wrong?” Julian asked, never really prepared for the sudden mood changes.

“I didn’t think the issue of my church would come up this quickly.”

“Frankly, I think our Bishop is making too much out of this.”

“It had to happen sooner or later,” Terry observed.  “I guess I didn’t want to think about it.”

“Surely you realise that many of those who attend your church here are also communicants here as well,” Julian observed.  “Even your friend Tim Mallen is—he comes to evensong sometimes.  The palace and Cathedral staff would be in serious trouble without them.”

“I’m aware of that, but I’m too well known in our Fellowship to ignore my joining here—especially if the Bishop makes a big deal out of my reception into the Church.”  She paused again.  “I came here to minister to the Princess Darlene.”

“That’s a noble intent,” Julian said.

“When I told King Henry and his family I would go, I included the quote about ‘the salvation of one soul was worth the conquest of an empire.’  What I didn’t count on was that it would involve the conquest of me—first by your country, then by your church, and lastly it seems by you.  Now I’m starting to know how Julia felt—but I guess I must give it all away, knowing that God is faithful to give it back to me a hundredfold.”

“I don’t want to conquer you, Terry,” Julian responded.  “I want to make this process of reception as easy as possible.  I know I would find it difficult to change my religion.”

“I only have one religion, Julian,” Terry quickly came back.  “I only serve one God.  I only have one King in heaven.  That was true when I left Roman Catholicism and joined the Pentecostal church, and that will never change.  And, if I thought for a minute that you had a different religion than mine, and served a different God, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you being so much more to me than a catechist.  But there are a lot of practical implications of what I am embarking on that could be potentially painful, and the only reason why I am willing to undergo this is my conviction that there some people around here whose eternity may depend upon it.”

They sat in silence, taking in the dying day.  “We need you, Terry.  I need you.  I have always dreamed of meeting someone with your kind of conviction, but people kept telling me they didn’t exist.  But here you are.  I promise you I’ll do everything I can to make this process as painless as I know how.”

“I know you will.”

“Would it be possible for me to just outline what we are going to do now?  We can start in earnest tomorrow night.”  Terry shook her head yes, and with that Julian opened her Prayer Book and showed here how this personalised course would proceed.

The Meaning of Scooter Libby’s Conviction

Although liberals are doubtless dancing in the streets over the conviction of Scooter Libby, the truth is that our plethora of laws insures that, if those in authority want to put us away, they can do so one way or the other, even when there’s no crime to start with.  Just grind down someone long enough and he or she will be reduced to powder.

I’m not sure what "inalieanable rights" mean under these conditions, but they don’t mean much.