Monday, June 30, 2014

Adam West-ing the Scriptures

It's statistically proven that cats
are not trying to kill you.
(Study done by Felines Forever.)
There is a saying along the lines of, "You can find a statistic to prove anything." Statisticians would tell you, "There's a bad statistic to prove anything." Because with some bias and enough bad math, anything is possible.

We have something similar in the gospel. Prophets call it, "Wresting the Scriptures." I, personally, call it, "Adam West-ing the Scriptures." Let me explain.

Adam West played Batman in the 1960's television show of the same name, as well as on the cartoon Superfriends. He was so well known as Batman that he nearly became typecast. My favorite episode of Batman the Animated Series featured Adam West voicing an old actor who played the Gray Ghost. Watch it sometime. It makes my heart melt. Nowadays he voices the kooky Mayor Adam West on Family Guy. Don't watch that one.

Anyway... The episodes of Batman where the Riddler was the villain of the week, Batman would be presented with a riddle such as:

The Cat Sat on the Mat. Where am I?

"Holy Seated Felines Batman!" Robin exclaimed. "Can this really be considered a clue?" 
"It's a devious one, Robin, but there is an answer," Batman replied confidently. "Now the inclusion of a cat is very interesting..." 
"He must be working with Catwoman!" 
"Not quite Robin. Remember, The Riddler never goes for the obvious answer. Now cats are found at a variety of locations, including pet stores. And another word for mat is rug, which are found at carpet shops–" 
"A Carpet Shop? Holy Woven Textiles Batman! He must be planning to rob Aladdin's Magic Carpet shop, next to Sally's Pet Store!" 
"But there's a third part to the riddle, Robin. 'Where am I?' There's only one place in town that fulfills all parts: Gotham Mall. They have Hugo's Maps and GPS, Adib's Rug Gallery, and Wong's China Buffett." 
"Holy Triumvirate of Evil, Batman! You've got it!"

Okay, we'll cut there. Even though Batman is Batman and therefore never wrong, the real answer is that Riddler was quoting Good Will Hunting and he was planning on robbing the Williams Wing at the local state college. This way of solving a riddle is called Adam West-ing, at least in my mind. With any bit of logic and leaps to various conclusions, you can reach any answer you want.

Alma calls this 'Wresting' the scriptures.

"Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction." Alma 13:21

"And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee." Alma 41:1

This wresting comes from when we take a scripture and force an interpretation out of it to fit our sinful behavior. Usually this is done by taking one scripture or one quote from a prophet and taking a whole new meaning out of it. No one is as skilled at manipulating the scriptures like Satan. For instance, he quoted a few scriptures in order to tempt Jesus Christ in the wilderness.

So how do we avoid Adam West-ing the scriptures? Alma tells us himself, "Ask me. I will explain it to you." More or less. We just have to go to the living prophet so tell us in terms that can be understood by us today. Or even better, just keep reading the scriptures. The more we read, the more we will understand. Different prophets from the Bible and the Book of Mormon will often discuss the same topics and commandments, offering new insights and clarification. So just keep reading, keep asking questions, and keep asking God to confirm to you what is true.

And remember: climbing up walls should only be done by professionals. Such as Teancum.

1 comment:

  1. So true! We can manipulate our own conclusions with anything, but the spirit is there to confirm to us what is really right and true!