Not "a-tone-ment" but "at-one-ment".

I do not believe that Joseph Smith pronounced the word "atonement" as "a-tone-ment," but instead he spoke it "at-one-ment." Joseph Smith had not learned the word "solidarity" perhaps. After all, he grew up in the sticks, where there were no big schools or Universities... and the primary book for him to learn reading from was of course the Holy Bible. His vocabulary was limited... But whos isn't? I don't know every other f-word either, you know and smurf? Probably nobody does. We do know that what one reads certainly has an enormous influence upon one's thinking. I'm very glad that he did not study and become entrenched in nuclear physics and the Art of War. Lucky for us, he was lost deep in the forest of kraft des heiligen, and thus his vision reflected that intellectual background.

Like Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ was born in a hick town with no school, in a region with no University. When he was old enough to travel on his own, Jesus went to northern India, to study with the Æsir. He learned many things, including physiology and medicine, then brought this knowledge back to his home town and region to share it with folks there; to let his knowledge serve his people. He knew that "you are what you eat," and started trying to explain that at the "last supper." Well, everyone had been drinking a little wine and eating; there probably wasn't really anyone sitting there with a steno-pad writing down his every word. So, what we have in the Holy Bible regarding that event was written down later, after the wine wore off... and perhaps not everyone really understood what he was talking about. So anyway, now we have the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion to remind us of the thing he was perhaps trying to explain: "You are what you eat." "What you eat is what it ate or what it grew in." "We have what we have because of the cooperation of large numbers of people in a collective economic system... blah blah blah... anybody listening? More wine? No, thank you. The other day I had a hangover so bad I felt like I was sweating blood."

Farmers grow wheat. Teamsters carry it to the mill. Millers grind it into flour. Teamsters carry the flour to the bakery. Bakers make it into bread. People worked to make their clothing; to make the wagons and tack for the horses driven by the Teamsters; to make the harvesting equipment; the mill; the bakery. Men work to maintain the aqueducts that bring safe clean drinking water to our homes. It is because of our at-one-ment that we can have that scrap of bread and water on Sunday. It is certainly not ritual cannibalism, but a symbol of how, through community and cooperation, we as a "one-ment" or collective, provide that which is first on every list of necessities: Food. Eats. Grub. Chow.

What we want is not mere "Food," but Wholesome Food, free of toxins introduced by pollution, pesticides, herbicides, and chemical "ferti-lie-zer". We don't want mere "water," but Pure Water, free of toxic pollution. Certainly the only sure way to ensure that there be no pollution in our food and water supply is to not produce any pollution. How complicated is that? Garbage in, garbage out, right? Remember that little salt grinder at the bottom of the ocean? It's been down there a long time; so long now, that all of the ocean is salty water. Lucky for us, it's just salt, right? Or, well, lucky for the fish we like to eat, and thus lucky for us.

Many times I've heard people say that "Jesus Christ died for our sins." Oh, yah, and ye slythy toves did gyre and gymble in ye wabe, believe it or not! So, somehow his death and suffering makes it ok for me to pollute, right? Ahhh... so let's hang all the oil company executives and be done with it. It's their fault. They bribed congress to write laws that made us do it, right? Oh, and hired "fixer" lawyers who know every loophole in regulation C-22... or something, so they know how to talk around the problem and ignore the evidence while believing themselves to appear to be giving the matter due process... to wangle the same straw decisions they paid the judges for out of the courts, or whatever conspiracy nut you care to crack over the head with a Wikipedia and smurf.

But really, what it was is that there was a corrupt administration, but Jesus trusted that the leadership, court, or whatever clique animated the puppet show at court that day... and tossed the bread to fetch for the pigs that did the whipping and crucifixions... to do what was righteous and godly; only they "failed to listen" to the "voice" of Goodly Reason, and commanded that he be whipped, beaten, humiliated, and hung out to dry on a crucifix. And "everybody knew," or at least potentially could have in some idealized societal organization wherein everyone reads the highly detailed 10 cubit long news-scrolls... that it was evil and wrong, especially since Jesus was such an awesome Guru. But, in real life, nobody stepped forward to stop it from happening because they were, each as an individual, intimidated by the very violence they truly wanted to stop from being about to happen.

Everybody thought he was dead after they took him down off the cross, so they put him into a crypt... and three days later the smell woke him up from his coma... He decided he had to do something about the communication situation. He knew that if everyone, in solidarity, stood up to put a stop to these things that were so exceedingly unjust that we, as a complete society, could have a much more stable and sustainable civilization. He set about teaching the people correct principles and morals, and about creating an organization with which to bootstrap a new more evolved social order. He called his apostles anything but too late for the next supper, and sent them away on random walks... without cellular phones, scripts, or purses... Un-fortune-ately, he had instructed them that it was the wicked who needed the most help, and so they approached them first, without adequate backup... got mobbed and done in. None survived to tell Jesus that "hey, we really ought to recruit the good people first, before we try to tame that unruly mob of orcs." Presumptively, there were a few good men out there, and their voices were loud enough, and some of them could actually write without getting caught, and cried 'em some good letters home to Jesus about it, so the new church could adapt it's strategy.

So, why are we all participating in an "at-one-ment" that is certainly producing garbage and pollution? Why are we buying it? When will the smell wake us up, Sunday drivers? Yeah... he was a day-ay Mormon...  Can we, in good faith, go to church every Sunday, eat the little scrap of bread, and do that "sunday swoon" thing in our mind that makes us feel like we've magically communed with God... and have that ritual act magically purge us of our sins? Oh wait, I'm confusing Holy Communion with Confession, Repentance, Pennance, and Reparation, right? But what the hell do I know? I'm a hick convert who never went to church much. All this terminology is new to me. Maybe I just don't really understand it right... probably walking by it too slow to really see it, or something.

So, eating the cookie and milk reaffirms our promise to participate in the "at-one-ment" of Wholesome Goodness. Ok. But to keep the promises... don't I need to... Uh, face something I've been trying not to look at... it's ugly, and it's going to take a lot of work to make it beautiful, America.

Despite that most of us are not directly responsible for producing any pollution, or anything... Well, many of you drive cars that pollute, so, well, but... you didn't have many options available when you bought it, or anything, right? There's diesel or gasoline; sort of a false dichotomy really. The fact that you pollute is really a supply side problem. So let us boycott. Or well, we could riot... but I doubt that will help solve the problem. Boycotting didn't do anything but almost drive them out of business; but on the bright side, We the People now own stock in the automobile companies... Hmmm. I wonder what that buys us? Can we vote at their shareholder meetings now? I've got some ideas for how they could seriously improve their product line...

Nor will sending tortured and tormented young men off to war to get more oil for the, uh, majority(?) solve the problem. We need them right here at home, learning to construct the new transportation infrastructure, setting up windmills in the cleansing winds, and learning to be part of our peaceful and civilized community. It's just wrong to teach them to shoot guns at other people. Let's teach them to build things with other people -- to participate in the "at-one-ment." Let's have a "barn-raising" to install streetcar systems, wind farms, and a new smart-grid electrical system. We can do it. Yes we can.

And if your business depends on the industries that these changes affect... Remember that people won't let you starve. If the pollution causes climate change that leads to crop failure, what will we eat then? Smog? Long wee-wee mee-mee pig? (Mow-wah?) If the pollution is causing atherosclerosis, cardiac arterial disease, cancer, and other health problems, then is it really that good, that we can't quit? Advanced capitalism, anyone? Smoke it out if you've got it, right? If the activities involved in obtaining the raw materials used to make pollution with involve armed combat with people of other nations, do the ends justify the means? Do the advantaged outweigh the disadvantaged? No gout about it, we can have transportation without pollution and without contention between nations for the finite fuel resource. The same manufacturing industries that make cars today can just as easily make streetcars and aerogenerators tomorrow. And there will still be cars; just not as many of them...

So now perhaps you've agreed with me, and you are not eaten by a mob of the starving and tax exempt, despite that you're just sitting there, doing nothing about it, or anything... Though, perhaps doing nothing is doing something about it, unless you're reading this while driving or sitting in traffic. Someday soon, you think, we are going to do something about it. What? When? How? Where does it begin? How does it begin? Are we just waiting for our leaders to tell us what to do? Someday soon that Sunday swoon will stop having as strong an effect on our self perceptions, perhaps...

That ritual of the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, is not magical all by itself. Intrinsically, it's just a bite of cheap white bread off the grocery store shelf and a shot of mildly chlorinated water straight out of a sink faucet, or a special wheat cracker with a sip of watered down cheap wine; water straight out of the tap with words spoken over it, is all the shazam de plume it's really got in it, or anything... Doing a "Sunday swoon" when you eat it doesn't really do any magic either. Your car is still sitting out there in the church parking lot, and you'll pollute wee-wee-wee aaallll the way home from the dry cleaner.

What makes this sort of ritual magic really work is this: know that the ritual in itself does nothing more than create a point in time and space at which we perform a symbolic action that represents, and reifies within our consciousness, a thing that in reality takes place over a protracted time frame, integrated as part of our daily lives. The wedding is not the marriage. The marriage is an aspect of your lives together; of how you share your life together. By a similar token... the sacrament is not the "at-one-ment."