Wednesday, March 21, 2012

UPG, Joan of Arc, Joseph Smith, and Cults of Personality

Personal revelations of a mystical/spiritual nature, often called Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG) in our current vernacular, do happen.  The term, Unverified Personal Gnosis appears to have originated during the 1970's and 1980's within the Germanic/Norse/Teutonic re-constructionist movement of that period.  UPG is one's personal revelation or enlightenment, as opposed to what a person can glean from a written text.  It can happen in a few ways, two of which are deep meditation and dreams.  But the point is that UPGs are personal.  My research and experiences have led me to that conclusion; it is not meant for a group, other than  the voluntary sharing of experiences.  When the UPG experience occurs, that personal gnosis passes through the filter of who you are.  That filter includes not just your body and mind, but your entire soul-multiverse, coupled with your accumulative knowledge, understanding, experience, and wisdom; it is interpreted at your level of understanding.  A UPG has meaning only for it's recipient.  But, they should be pursued and expanded for the sake of even greater personal gnosis.  Sometimes that pursuit takes various paths.

In her young mind, Joan of Arc truly believed that her god had spoken to her; I believe that she believed that.  She acted on what she interpreted as instructions (for her) from her god.  She believed it was up to her to carry out the "mission," not her and a bunch of other people; it was her sole responsibility.  It was HER job.  Her military victories paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII as the rightful heir to the French throne.  Those events were all a part of Joan's UPG.  However, that courageous girl and her UPG did a lot more than create a few ripples in the Hundred Year's War; her actions put an end to some of England's best laid plans.  Joan's demise was political, not one of religion.  It was a complicated web of political intrigue that took her life; that mess will not be discussed in this post but a few points deserve mention.

Joan was captured on the battlefield, but in a position of honor.  She had ordered a retreat and decided that she would be in charge of the rear guard.  The girl held her ground to allow as many of her troops to escape capture as possible.  Joan stood tall in her armor and was willing to die for France and her young king, Charles VII (remember, god told her; it was HER UPG).  When her adversaries, the Burgundians  (allies of England), realized who they had captured, they quickly SOLD Joan to the English.  Now, entire politics.  Joan was a captured soldier, a warrior turned into a political prisoner.  The crafty English had a plan:  paint Joan as a heretic/witch and that would be put in serious doubt (or so they believed) Charles VII legitimacy to the French throne (This is where religion enters the story.  When Joan first approached Charles and his people, she was seriously vetted before given any authority.  Really vetted.  She was given a clean "bill of health." ).  Before proceeding further, this fact must be stated.

It was common practice for a captured champion's home base to offer a ransom for that champion's safe return.  Charles never lifted a finger to help Joan, even though she was the one responsible for his coronation (politics aside, maybe the title of douche bag should be added to this guy's name - but this is really my opinion).  This is/was not a lesson in greatness - it is a lesson in thankless malignancy.

Joan's trial was a sham from the start.  The bishop in charge was an English stooge who did not have episcopal jurisdiction.  But that did not stop the trial.  Even though Joan was denied counsel (she defended herself quite well), the prosecution (priests) could find nothing wrong.  However, English threats forced them to come up with something.

At that time, there was a tenant in place, based on Judeo-Christian scripture, that forbade women to wear men's clothing.  Yes!!!!  God forbid that women should have short hair and wear pants!!!  Of course the charge is absurd but that is what got Joan of Arc, political prisoner and pawn, executed as a heretic/witch.  But understand this fact:  to be executed as a heretic, the person had to be a repeat offender; Joan was not.  Her execution, murder, by being burned at the stake, happened on 5/30/1431.  Joan of Arc was only 19 years old.  But this is not the end of Joan's UPG journey.

An investigation was launched into Joan's demise in 1452 (another UPG or a guilty conscience?).  There was enough damning evidence (like how many times the trial transcripts were altered) that a formal appeal was entered in Joan's behalf in 1455.  Joan of Arc was declared innocent ( a secular woman caught up and used as a political pawn - not for any religious fault) on 7/7/1456, over 25 years after her murder.  Later, she was declared a martyr of the Church and elevated to sainthood on 5/16/1920.  Joan was a gutsy young woman who believed strongly enough in her UPG that she made history and gave up her life in the process.  Another person who followed his UPG was Joseph Smith Jr.

Smith had a few UPGs purportedly with an angel.  His UPGs and his actions that followed were the basis for the religion and people that we know today as the Mormons.  It also began a cult of personality with strange results that have carried over to this day.  (To his followers, Smith could do no wrong.  He is the 'Prophet."  I have to wonder, was polygamy one of his UPGs?)  Smith was murdered in 1844 and that created a power vacuum within the new religion.  Several schisms occurred that still can be felt.  Schisms create splinter groups, or cults.  Enter Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs took over the helm of one of these fundamentalist Mormon cult/sects from his father Rulon.  When his father passed, Jeffs took on his father's wives, with the exception of his mother and another woman.  Just thought I'd throw that one in.  Jeff's actions and those of his cult/sect begs the question:  Did Warren Jeffs have any real UPGs?  UPGs that instructed him to give young girls in marriage to men not just old enough to be their fathers but their grandfathers?  Did Jeffs have UPGs that made him expand the doctrine of Celestial Marriage?  This doctrine deals with how MEN get to heaven.  Basically, the more wives a man has, the closer he gets to the pearly gates; the starting qualifier is three.  And the more wives, the better the chances for a man to become like a "god" in the after-life.  The young girls do not have a choice; it's a done deal for them.  And if a man runs afoul of Jeffs, he loses personal property, children and wives; Jeffs gives them to another man.  The cult of personality around Jeffs still runs strong.  He currently is incarcerated, serving a life sentence plus twenty years for diddling little girls.  Is it possible that Jeffs still is running his show, from "the inside?"  Maybe.  His cult followers worship him - they find no fault with Warren Jeffs.  One has to wonder - if he ordered them to drink the "cool-aid," would they?  The answer is....probably yes.  That is the strength of the cult of personality.  It sure as hell would not be the first time. Did Charlie Manson have a UPG?  Was it called "Helter Skelter?"  Manson, too, is still in jail; his cult of personality still lives on.

UPG experiences are meant to be personal; they are supposed to bring enlightenment to the individual.  They are not meant to be applied to groups that can start a cult that one day could go main line.  Never include Joan of Arc in the same category with Smith or Jeffs; Joan was a class act.  In my opinion, if you had UPGs, keep them to yourself but be thankful for the personal enlightenment.  We have enough cults and religions that want to enslave us.  We don't need anymore.

Authors Note:  I do have my detractors and nitpickers.  This blog post is still an opinion piece.  But I did use documented information.  To satisfy the "propers," I garnered all the info from one source..... the Internet.

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