Saturday, August 25, 2007
Warren Jeffs, President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), is in custody awaiting trial for a variety of criminal offenses. A few years ago the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper ran a series of articles on the persistence of polygamy within the FLDS, and mentioned that Jeffs tried to ban laughter among his followers:
People have been warned that laughter causes the spirit of God to leak from their bodies, amplifying an obscure tenet in Joseph Smith's Doctrine and Covenants.There are three passages in Smith's Doctrines and Covenants which discourage laughter:
"We tried not to laugh," Draper said. "We wondered 'How do we do this? Is there anyone who is going to make it?'"
- 59:15 And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance....
- 88:69 Remember the great and last promise which I have made unto you; cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you.
- 88:121 Therefore, cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter.
They say that Anaxagoras of Clazomenae was never seen to laugh or to smile at all. Aristoxenus [fr. 7 W.] too was a determined opponent of laughter, while Heraclitus wept at the whole of human life.To this list could be added Pythagoras, who never laughed or cried according to Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras 35, cited by Wilson on Varia Historia 3.35, where Aelian states:
Ἀναξαγόραν τὸν Κλαζομένιόν φασι μὴ γελῶντά ποτε ὀφθῆναι μηδὲ μειδιῶντα τὴν ἀρχήν. λέγουσι δὲ καὶ Ἀριστόξενον τῷ γέλωτι ἀνὰ κράτος πολέμιον γενέσθαι· Ἡράκλειτόν τε, ὅτι πάντα τὰ ἐν τῷ βίῳ ἔκλαεν.
There is a story circulatingit again is Athenianwhich says that formerly in the Academy laughter was not allowed. They tried to keep the place untouched by arrogance and idleness.Wilson ad loc. also cites N. Adkin, "The Fathers on Laughter," Orpheus 6 (1985) 149-152, which I have not seen.
Λόγος δέ τις διαρῥεῖ καὶ οὗτος Ἀττικός, ὃς λέγει πρότερον ἐν Ἀκαδημίᾳ μηδὲ γελάσαι ἐξουσίαν εἶναι· ὕβρει γὰρ καὶ ῥᾳθυμίᾳ ἐπειρῶντο τὸ χωρίον ἄβατον φυλάττειν.
Related post: Did Christ Ever Laugh?