Daily GUIDE-ance:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fiddly things on my mind

So I found out what the secret message on the jacket of The DaVinci Code means:

(If you look at the jacket of the book, you will see that every 10th letter or so is in a slightly bold font. If you string all the bolded letters together you get: "Is there no help for the widow's son?")

At first Liz and I thought that it must be another cryptic anagram, but we couldn't figure out what it could possibly unscramble into.

It turns out that (according to Wikipedia) that "Is there no help for the widow's son?" is the last part of a phrase that is supposed to be the Freemason distress signal.

Here's the interesting part. The first part of the distress signal is "Oh Lord, My God" So:

"Oh Lord, My God, is there no help for the widow's son?"

The prophet Joseph Smith's (founder of the LDS Church) last words, as he was being shot to death by a masked mob, were "Oh Lord, My God". Given Joseph's background as a mason, it begs the question, was Joseph just saying something pious as he died (like I always assumed) or was he starting the distress signal?


On a totally unrelated note, I was reading Elder Richard G. Scott (of the LDS church)'s most recent general conference address, and was tickled by a phrase he used. His talk was about abuse, most especially sexual and physical abuse. Mostly he spoke to the victim, but he did address some words to the perpetrators, encouraging them to shape up. Remember this apostle speaks in a very... ubercompassionate, pleading, kindly sort of tone. This is how he ended his words to perpetrators:

"Be grateful that you didn’t live anciently when abusers were stoned to death without the opportunity for repentance."

I thought that was kind of funny. My sentiments exactly!


Andrea said...

Funny. I too liked when he said that about being stoned...it's not everyday that an Apostle reminds you of the stoning you should have. Good work with the DaVinci code...solving the worlds mysteries one at a time

timpani76 said...

Geez John, do I have to think of what Joseph Smith was thinking right before he died? Like it's not depressing enough with the whole "they shot our prophet" angst.

I never read the Da Vinci Code because it seemed to complicated for me? Maybe that's not the right word. I never liked a good mystery, that might sum it up better.

Eyepoke said...

What I wonder is how that Mason distress thing works. If you are in Walmart far away from home and can't find the ketchup do you just shout out the phrase and wait for a local mason to come tell you where to look? Do you keep shouting it if nobody seems to notice?

Also I wonder if Dan Brown, after hiding that message in his jacket cover, got lots of masons coming over worried that he was in distress, and trying to help him.

T-dog you should read it. It was quite good, although it's sort of a one time read.

timpani76 said...

Yeah, but it's creepy isn't it? And not just regular creepy, but religious creepy right?

Dana Cheryl said...

It's really good Timpani & only a little creep with the whole self mutilating albino monk thing!

Read the illustrated verizon. It has pictures & such that help the reader visualize what's happening in the book.

It's not a difficult read. I think I finished it in a night. It was one of the first books I read after the mish.

Hey John you should go undercover and become a Mason. Then you could tell us all about how that distress signal works. :)

That's sort of what I did when I decided to join the Church. I told all my friends I was going undercover to get the scoop on the Temple. I should be stoned! :)

Renae said...

Holy poop batman! You mean there is a book out there that I have read that Timpani hasn't!? That's insane! Timpani, you seem like such an intelligent, book wormish kind of person. I like reading uber much, but right now, my life can't handle it. So, the only reading I get is from books on cd (which I do lot of, but the selection is limited). That is truthfully the only non-scripture book that I have manually read, except the HP books, in the past decade. I'm just tickled that there exists a book that I have read that our Hermione hasn't!

timpani76 said...

Why am I Hermione? I think John should be Hermione, he's smarter than me ;)

Eyepoke said...

Purr! Purr!

jbcrider said...

Actually Joseph Smith said the whole phrase "Oh Lord, My God, is there no help for the widow's son?" and gave the hand signal that went with it, but "church" history has eliminated the last part. It is thought that he might have recognized fellow masons in the crowd/mob thinking they might help. He was an active mason and the call for help would have been a natural course for him to take. Brother Joseph was the MAN!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Interesting, Crider- what are your sources for this factiod?


Anonymous said...

I hate faith building lies. Thats part of why I didn't like the newest Batman, and why some of the characters from Twilight are sooo annoying.

Lies never build anything.

the shadow can only mock, not make


Bruce said...

That was the one big thing i didnt like from the new bat man movie. it was dumb. if they where going to lie they should have come up with a better one. and the hole this is a great story that turns out to be just a story really ticks me off. if it really happened, great. if not dont repeat it please, because then you have done nothing but try to build some one elses testomony on lies. "the foolish man built his house upon the sand"

jbcrider said...

sources no prob. Though there seems to be a confusion of whether or not Joseph said the whole phrase or not, it was still recognized as the Masonic signal of distress.

Talked briefly in History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 618

Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 585
"...with uplifted hands they gave such SIGNS OF DISTRESS as would have commanded the interposition and benevolence of Savages or Pagans. They were both MASONS in good standing. Ye brethren of 'the mystic tie' what think ye! Where is our good MASTER Joseph and Hyrum? Is there a pagan, heathen, or savage nation on the globe that would not be moved on this great occasion, as the trees of the forest are moved by a mighty wind? Joseph's last exclamation was 'O LORD MY GOD!' "

Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 26: " 'Joseph, leaping the fatal window, GAVE THE MASONIC SIGNAL OF DISTRESS.' "

Mormonism and Masonry, by E. Cecil McGavin, page 17- http://www.shields-research.org/General/Palmyra_Project/E_Cecil_McGavin/Mormonism_and_Masonry/Mormonism_Masonry.htm
The Mormon writer E. Cecil McGavin admitted that Joseph Smith gave the Masonic signal of distress: "When the enemy surrounded the jail, rushed up the stairway, and killed Hyrum Smith, Joseph stood at the open window, his martyr-cry being these words, 'O Lord My God!' This was NOT the beginning of a prayer, because Joseph Smith did not pray in that manner. This brave, young man who knew that death was near, started to repeat THE DISTRESS SIGNAL OF THE MASONS, expecting thereby to gain the protection its members are pledged to give a brother in distress. "In 1878, Zina D. Huntington Young said of this theme, 'I am the daughter of a Master Mason; I am the widow of the Master Mason who, when leaping from the window of Carthage jail, pierced with bullets, MADE THE MASONIC SIGN OF DISTRESS, but those signs were not heeded except by the God of Heaven.' "