Wow — just look at this image. (Via Alexis Madrigal.)
I’d be interested to know what specifically caught you about that picture, Robin. Was it the apparent incongruity of the trampoline? The boy watching the girls from the rooftop? Something else?
I found this one rather striking.
It’s all of the things you mentioned, but especially the girl floating in mid-bounce — her posture (and the fact that she’s, uh, floating) makes me think of an old Renaissance painting — she looks angelic, or beatified, on her way up or down from heaven!
Which is obvs a super-interesting and evocative parallel given the story.
Ironically, Mormons don’t believe in that stuff*. No rapture, no ascension of the body. Death, instant judgment, spirit realm, resurrection, heaven or hell. That’s it.
*insofar as I understand LDS belief
I believe that Tim is largely accurate as per Mormon belief. Not to be critical, which isn’t my goal, but it’s worth restating that the whole rapture angle would be alien to both the LDS and the FLDS.
I’m interested in the two pictures for the way in which they encode the operations of power. It’s fair and necessary to restate that FLDS members are 21st-century human beings. It is not fair to confuse them with the mainstream LDS, evangelical Christians, or the Amish. Granted, isolationism promotes misunderstanding, both from and of the outside world, but again, that’s exactly the point. Such misunderstanding provides a buffer from outside involvement (if we don’t really know what’s going on, it’s extremely difficult to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt), and as a means of control for those on the inside.
While “Loyalty to Priesthood is Life” is downright Orwellian, there are messages in the both the motto and the row of photographs beneath it that may not be immediately apparent or obscured. The line of men in the photograph are not meant to be the line of priesthood, but the line of prophets of the FLDS—from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young on the left to Rulon and Warren Jeffs on the right. Prophethood is a thing in itself, since the prophet is the direct and ongoing recipient of divine revelation, but “priesthood” is held by every adult male member of the LDS and FLDS. In this particular context, loyalty to priesthood is loyalty and subservience to maleness, with pictorial reminders of who the men are supposed to be loyal to.
To follow up on Gavin’s astute analysis with something much less worthy:
I thought the trampoline girl looked a bit like the witches in the (sadly disappointing) Golden Compass movie. There’s even a hint of a broom stick in her hand.
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