Myths vs. Facts

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Post Reply
User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3375
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Myths vs. Facts

Post by hawkgrrrl » 20 Jan 2009, 12:57

Joseph Campbell said:

Read myths. Read other people's myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts--but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message.

In a way all storytelling is myth-creation. In re-telling the story of how you met your spouse, how you got your job, how you aced a test, or whatever, you are creating a myth with lessons for yourself or others of how the world works. The same is true of stories in the scriptures, and also true of the historical myths of the church. (I'm using the term "myth" here to refer to its universal value rather than implying "fictional.") We all create myths. They tell more about us than about what actually happened. Myths can grant us self-knowledge, and can help us understand how the world works.

I sometimes think of a story from my childhood. We went boating as a family, and our rowboat capsized. We were suddenly in deep water, over my head, with a strong current. But we all made it out okay. I remember sitting on the grassy shore with the sun beating down and thinking, "Things always work out for me. I'm too powerful to get hurt. I'm good in a crisis, and I'm a good swimmer." My sister who was much older than me sees the story just the opposite way. She remembers the terror of the experience, the dog tied to the boat (he made it, BTW), and the fact that she thought she was going to die, everyone screaming. She concluded, "Bad things always happen to me that are outside my control. Things that seem good turn out badly suddenly, and it's not fair." Same plotline, but the stories are completely different. Maybe they are both right or both wrong. But the storytelling tells more about the storyteller in this case.

Do you sometimes hear that at church in the stories people choose to tell, the quotes they choose to share, or the way they talk about their lives? What do our myths say about us?

Monkey
Posts: 34
Joined: 22 Nov 2008, 13:55

Re: Myths vs. Facts

Post by Monkey » 31 Jan 2009, 20:57

Excellent post Hawkgirl. I will ponder that last question. Thank you!

magicmusician
Posts: 76
Joined: 20 Jan 2009, 04:40

Re: Myths vs. Facts

Post by magicmusician » 02 Feb 2009, 06:31

thanks for that hawwkgrrl
its a really good thought
and one which im gonna have to think about for a good few days now

AmyJ
Posts: 606
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Myths vs. Facts

Post by AmyJ » 09 May 2018, 10:56

Bump :D

User avatar
dande48
Posts: 809
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Myths vs. Facts

Post by dande48 » 09 May 2018, 11:33

Thanks, Amy. Love the bump.

I'm a huge fan of Joseph Campbell, and the "Universal Myth". In the Church, and in many religions, they take the Myths of others and use them as evidence to support their own story. Hence, since the story of Dionysus, Lugh, Osiris, etc all have striking similarities to the story of Christ, the story of Christ must be true. Mormonism takes this to a whole new level, as we are taught (or at least I was) that all ancient religions originated with God's true religion, but apostatized. Hence why you can see (if you're looking) so many connections between "Ancient Egyptian Paganism" and LDS beliefs.

But that's not what Joseph Campbell thought at all. He thought that there were important underlying messages in all these stories that are central to the human experience. The different myths are just different people putting names and stories to those universal truths. We might see things different, but all people no matter the religion, cling to the same core hopes, needs, and desires.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

AmyJ
Posts: 606
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Myths vs. Facts

Post by AmyJ » 09 May 2018, 11:41

dande48 wrote:
09 May 2018, 11:33
I'm a huge fan of Joseph Campbell, and the "Universal Myth". In the Church, and in many religions, they take the Myths of others and use them as evidence to support their own story. Hence, since the story of Dionysus, Lugh, Osiris, etc all have striking similarities to the story of Christ, the story of Christ must be true. Mormonism takes this to a whole new level, as we are taught (or at least I was) that all ancient religions originated with God's true religion, but apostatized. Hence why you can see (if you're looking) so many connections between "Ancient Egyptian Paganism" and LDS beliefs.

But that's not what Joseph Campbell thought at all. He thought that there were important underlying messages in all these stories that are central to the human experience. The different myths are just different people putting names and stories to those universal truths. We might see things different, but all people no matter the religion, cling to the same core hopes, needs, and desires.
So, in other words...
Churches took the stories/truths to define themselves. There was one narrative of truth that has been misunderstood through the ages until the restoration.
Campbell's thinking is that the truths/stories are universal and both superceed and define the religion/community in which the story is received by and/or written by.

Does this sound like what you are trying to express?

User avatar
dande48
Posts: 809
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Myths vs. Facts

Post by dande48 » 09 May 2018, 12:13

AmyJ wrote:
09 May 2018, 11:41
Does this sound like what you are trying to express?
Yes. For example, take snakes. Early humans feared snakes, as they were very sneaky and very dangerous. The earliest religion we know of (approx 70,000 BC), worshiped a giant stone snake and made sacrifices to it. In many myths, from the devil in the Garden of Eden all the way to Harry Potter and the Basilisk, use the snake to represent a terrible evil, lurking in what was supposed to be a safe haven. But the story of Harry Potter and the Baskalisk did not come about because the there was a Devil/Snake in the Garden of Eden (even if there was). Harry Potter does not support any religion; but it is loved for using many of the same themes as many religions. And the snake worshiping hominids of 70,000 BC came far before Adam & the garden of Eden, so they weren't "Children of God" or even human by most Judeo-Christian definition. Where did their snake myth come from and why?

I once heard from a YM leader that Star Wars is a cryptic version of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon... I'm still not sure how serious he was.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

User avatar
Katzpur
Posts: 317
Joined: 26 Jul 2009, 08:40
Location: Salt Lake City

Re: Myths vs. Facts

Post by Katzpur » 10 May 2018, 18:40

What a fantastic example, Hawkgrrrl! It was a perfect illustration of something that happens all the time. While the facts may tell a perfectly accurate story, how we perceive those facts makes all the difference in the world.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

User avatar
LDS_Scoutmaster
Posts: 192
Joined: 21 Jan 2015, 23:30
Location: SoCal

Re: Myths vs. Facts

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 13 May 2018, 17:32

I think about this everytime I listen to testimonies on fast Sunday.

Each one of us has our own perceptions of what our reality is. We each percieve the same situation differently like you said, and it is our personal viewpoint that determines our reality.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

Roy
Posts: 4825
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Myths vs. Facts

Post by Roy » 14 May 2018, 09:37

hawkgrrrl wrote:
20 Jan 2009, 12:57
Do you sometimes hear that at church in the stories people choose to tell, the quotes they choose to share, or the way they talk about their lives? What do our myths say about us?
This is why I love movies "based on a true story". The way that the filmmaker chooses to order the facts or depart from the facts in order to build the narrative tells me about how the people presenting the history wish to remember the past. I find this particularly interesting in exploring LDS historical works or historical fiction works.
I think about this everytime I listen to testimonies on fast Sunday.


Yes indeed. Testimony meeting should have a "based on a true story" disclaimer. :thumbup:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Post Reply