Newly-Discovered Tablet Sheds Light on Pre-Existence

Look, my proto-Semitic is a little rusty, but since I found the facsimile online and the real scholars are busy, I thought I’d take a stab at it. It cuts off in the middle, but before that is an interesting little dialogue with some compelling parallels to the doctrine and practices of the Restoration. Someone told me that FARMS is planning a special issue on it in a few months.

Brother Brown: “OK, I’d like to express my appreciation for all of you who made it out in the weather. Our first item of business at this, our 9,385 meeting of the Tropical Flower Design Subcommittee, will begin. I’d like to turn the time over to (winces almost imperceptibly) Brother Jones.”

Jack: “OK. Well then. We’ve designed a lot of flowers. A lot of pretty flowers. And now I think . . we should consider something a little bit different.”

Brother Brown: “Now Jack, we’ve been over the guidelines, and the goals, and the standard operating procedure, and our mission statement, and . . .”

Jack: “Look, Bill, this one’s mine. I’ve been very patient with the goals, pillars, mission statement, and all the rest of that (undecipherable word). This one’s mine. And what I’m thinking is . . . we need to do something a little different . . . so that’s why I am proposing . . .”

(text breaks off)


Although it is early to hypothesize on the result of Jack’s design proposal, many scholars suggest it may have been the Amorphophallus titanum.

12 comments for “Newly-Discovered Tablet Sheds Light on Pre-Existence

  1. fix
    June 23, 2004 at 1:06 am


  2. cooper
    June 23, 2004 at 1:23 am

    Oh yes, that odiforous little flora. They have had two bloom, and flower at the Huntington Library in Pasadena in the past few years. If you haven’t seen one within “fragrance” distance it really shouldn’t be missed! It’s got quite a remarkable and memorable scent. :-)

  3. Dan Burk
    June 23, 2004 at 1:25 am

    Disagree! It was almost certainly Ophrys apifera, better known as the flower that lays wasps.

    (For the non-botanists, Ophrys is an orchid that reproduces via pseudocopulation — the flower resembles the posterior of certain female wasps, attracting male wasps who polinate the plant as they move from flower to flower paying their respects. According to the late Roger Zelazny, there is a profound moral lesson there, somewhere.)

  4. June 23, 2004 at 12:09 pm

    Brother Jones has a lot more to answer for than a couple of bizarre flowers. It is possible that his obsession with creating such delightful botanical perversions was responsible for atheism and relativism in our time. Richard Rorty, Faux-Bourgeois Philosopher and Postmodern Dilletante Extrordinaire, wrote once in an autobiographical essay that his love for weird, unaccountably odd flowers like orchids forced him seek for a “single vision” as a philosopher that could contain such idiosyncratic obsessions and a commitment to justice. He couldn’t do it–feeding the hungry and appreciating pseudocopulating flora, he decided, were just too profoundly different from one another. As a result, he decided that beauty and truth were irreconcilable, and that the effort to development foundational arguments from first principles was a fool’s errand. Just enjoy the flowers, and hope your children don’t become Nazis.

    Damn orchids. If Brother Brown could have kept his little subcommittee in line, and all flowers had been created nice and pretty and symmetrical and compatible with the Platonic Forms, none of this would have ever happened.

  5. Gary Cooper
    June 23, 2004 at 12:24 pm


    Please forgive me if I display my own “country-bumpkinness” here, but I have to confess that I am completely clueless about what this post is about. I assume it must be funny—some kind of inside joke perhaps, an allusion to something else that, if I knew what it was, I would laugh. I just don’t get it. Can you explain it to me?

  6. June 23, 2004 at 12:42 pm

    “Damn orchids. If Brother Brown could have kept his little subcommittee in line, and all flowers had been created nice and pretty and symmetrical and compatible with the Platonic Forms, none of this would have ever happened.”

    I believe that is the main lesson of the movie “Adaptation,” which I view as a retelling of the Adam/Eve story.

    One of the wonderful things about the pre-existence must have been the endless meetings. At least the earthly Kingdom mirrors our heavenly Home in that respect.

  7. Rob
    June 23, 2004 at 12:47 pm

    Gary–the mysteries of godliness are only for those who are prepared. If you don’t get it, don’t worry. Minutes of pre-mortal creation subcommittee meetings aren’t for everyone. Just do your home teaching. All is well…all is well.

  8. Julie in Austin
    June 23, 2004 at 12:53 pm


    Lemme tell you what happened. I was trolling around Yahoo news and found an article on this plant called the corpse flower that, when it blooms its 4-9 FOOT bloom, looks and SMELLS like rotting meat.

    And I’m thinking, I believe that all things were created spiritually before they were created physically, and I believe that many of the noble and great ones had a hand in the creation, so . . .

    (sorry my pathetic little attempt at humor fell flat. it was late.)

  9. Rob
    June 23, 2004 at 1:08 pm

    Julie–don’t apologize. I was on the committee and though I don’t remember voting to approve those minutes, they sound about right. I might have missed the subsequent meeting because the Fowls of the Air committee work was really starting to take off then. You can’t imagine how hard it was to get theropod dinosaurs to grow feathers!

  10. June 23, 2004 at 1:38 pm

    In a blog where some people don’t think StrongBad is funny, you can’t be expected to correctly guess what will strike everybody’s funnybone. Humor is idiosyncratic. But, as the Russians say, ‘If you tickle yourself, you can laugh when you want.’ And as long as you’re laughing, who cares if it tickles anyone else?

  11. June 23, 2004 at 1:47 pm

    Too bad we can’t edit posts after we write them. My apologies for the broken link (“Humor is idiosyncratic”). This should be it here. Hope it works this time.

  12. Kingsley
    June 23, 2004 at 2:32 pm

    I wonder what Mark Twain would’ve done with the rotten meat flower. Probably a lot, when you realize he managed to disprove the existence of God with the ordinary housefly.

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