John Gee is an Egyptologist and expert on ancient things. He can be pretty good in his field at times, and share those insights on his blog. But this weekend, he drifted far afield of his area of expertise in ruminating on his memorializing a list of those “fallen”. None of his group are dead, at least not in the sense of having departed this life. Of this I’m rather certain, since I read Daniel Peterson’s blog all the time. Instead, he has a list of “fallen” those that were once at the top of BYU’s power elite, who have fallen from grace over the last year.
Reality has it that few stay on top for very long. Even though Daniel Peterson and others now drift around in a form of persona non grata with the Maxwell Institute, they still have lots of power and persuasion in their own fields and among LDS.
My post here regards two issues with Gee’s post. First, it is time to stop beating a dead horse. John, you are no longer a front runner in the Maxwell Institute. Get over it and move on.
Second, and this is my more important issue: I’m saddened and shocked that he would memorialize such a group, rather than the truly fallen, on Memorial Day. That Daniel Peterson and others have been affected by choices at BYU is well known now. To compare them with the truly fallen is an outrage. These people still collect paychecks. These people still go home each night to their families. I still read on Daniel’s blog of him attending concerts and traveling. There is very little that has changed in the world because of the changes last year. The gospel is still true, and there will continue to be blogs, FAIR and Mormon Interpreter, etc., to feed the egos of those that may still feel sleighted.
OTOH, I spent 20 years in the military. I have had friends and acquaintances who truly are fallen. They will never go home to their families. They will never see concerts, travel the world, or write a blog post. Some families still wait for fathers and brothers to return from Vietnam, still Missing in Action after 4 decades. Others do return home, but leave a piece of them on the battlefield. A leg here, an arm there. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder plagues our military today in ways that the armchair elite just cannot understand.
The world and the Church can survive without FARMS, Maxwell Institute, or Mormon Interpreter. All of the LDS scholars are expendable. This is proven every day by tens of thousands of 19 year old men and women, who preach the gospel. But the destruction of Fascism, Nazism, Socialism, Radicalism and Totalitarianism are a truly costly and dangerous enterprise that few outside the military have experienced here in the USA. I’m sure John Gee wasn’t thinking of Shiloh, Gettysburg, Flanders’ Field, the Western Front, the Battle of the Bulge, the USS Arizona, Guam, Porkchop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, The Tet Offensive, etc.
Gee obviously wasn’t thinking about my own son in a caravan of Humvees in Afghanistan, where roadside explosive devices destroyed the vehicles in front of him and tipped his over, leaving several casualties. I’m thankful to still have my son, but am thoughtful of those parents whose sons did not survive that day.
It is a moment like this that I look at my intellectual friends and hope that they can wake up and realize that what they are doing is beans compared to what the true heroes do. I spent 20 years in the military, but do not consider myself a hero. I never saw combat. I never was in a position of grave danger. My job was to support the true heroes that do risk their lives in war. I am sure that Daniel Peterson also would not count himself as one of the “fallen”, especially on Memorial Day – a day set aside to honor those who gave everything to their country, so that we may have the freedoms and blessings we have today. I just hope that John Gee and others will get their priorities straight, and realize that what they are doing is not as important as they think. Nor are they as important as those who really do make a difference.