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Jehovah's What?

October 2000


Have you ever been curious about how new religions begin, what causes religious schisms to occur and why break-away cults break away?


Subject: [R] subliminal messages :-)
Date: 9 Oct 2000
From: Kevin Golding

My beloved recently proved to be more patient than I by actually queuing
at a book signing, as a gift she asked PTerry to sign the Fool's Guild
Diary for me.

The thing is, he didn't just sign it, well, he did, but, it's the way he
signed it. At the start there is a little form for personal details,
this is the page of his signature, but he placed his pen so cleverly
that it fills in one of the traits. He actually entered my
Religion/Cult as, Terry Pratchett!

I warn you all, he's trying to corrupt us, next he'll be asking us to
send him virgin chickens! Run, run while you still can! Save
yourselves!


From: Eric Jarvis

time to save the day

there is an alternative

I've been mulling this over for a while, but it's time to change the
world...you are all invited to join the first genuine twenty first
century religion

Jehovah's Innocent Bystanders

I plan on groups of us knocking on people's doors and patiently
explaining to them that "we know nothing at all, we probably weren't
even there, and if we did know anything we wouldn't go blabbing about it
to all and sundry"

it also saves on printing costs, because all our leaflets would be blank
sheets of paper


From: esmi

Why stop there? Why not take this to it's natural conclusion? Groups of
Jehovah's Innocent Bystanders should go around and deliberately *not*
knock on people's doors.


From: Eric Jarvis

I like that

there is a vacancy for a...for...for a whatever the number two to
whatever the head of a cult is

I think it may well involve being generally well meaning and not
actually doing anything...would you like to send a blank sheet of paper
in lieu of a CV?

there's also, usually, a whole bunch of people who do the actual
organising, but I think that can safely be dispensed with in this case


From: Corinne Pritchard

but...but....how will you *know* it's a blank sheet of paper if it doesn't
have the words "Blank Page" written on it?


From: Richard Bos

But you must know that that is not sufficient! Every real, approved
blank piece of paper doesn't just read "blank page", it reads "This page
intentionally left blank". Only when the full text is there do you know
that you have a genuine, original blank page.


From: dave o'brien

"This concept intentionally left ambiguous."


From: Eric Jarvis

faith, Auntie Corinne, faith

we shall simply treat all sheets of paper as blank sheets of paper,
regardless of any evidence to the contrary...after all, that's what
religion is all about


From: anthony.sheppard

But are we agnostic if we accept that the piece of paper has text on one
side and not on the other ... so it's blank and not blank.

And when we look at a piece of blank paper how do we know that there isn't
something on the other side?

Turn it over? but then something could be on the other side .....[1]

And what colour should the piece of paper be? Then again, we should not
discriminate against colours (even though the blue paper could be written on
with blue ink and so not a true blank peice of paper)?!?!?

I'm confused ..... and my brain needs a rest .... again[2]

GrumbleDook

[1] Where's my shotgun ..... I'll tell Schrodinger whether his cat's dead or
not!!!
[2] Resting it the whole of the last decade doesn't seemed to have worked
... it needs more :-)


From: Patrick Dersjant

> we shall simply treat all sheets of paper as blank sheets of paper,

I liked the idea, up until this. I think it's time for a split. I hereby
found the Jehova's Innocent Bystanders (reformed). We do not approve of
these new ideas of treating *all* sheets of paper as blank sheets of
paper. Only *proper* blank sheets of paper will be considered blank
sheets of paper.


From: Richard Bos

I don't think people like you are even capable of telling a true blank
sheet of paper from a false one. I suppose you'd take a sheet of paper
with nothing on it as a blank one? What you people don't realise is that
it is very easy to be tricked into believing that the wrong sheets of
papers are blank. Oh, false blank sheets are so devious! The true
believer only considers blank sheets of paper with the proper Sign Of
Blankness as a Blank Sheet in the true meaning of the word. Don't fall
for the fake sheet, please.


From: Patrick Dersjant

> I suppose you'd take a sheet of paper
> with nothing on it as a blank one?

No, not necessarily. Only if it has nothing on it and is *blank*.

> The true
> believer only considers blank sheets of paper with the proper Sign Of
> Blankness as a Blank Sheet in the true meaning of the word.

But surely if there is a sign or other on the sheet, you cannot be
serious and consider it to be blank? After all, it is signed then, and a
signed sheet cannot be considered blank.


From: Richard Bos

See? You've already fallen into the heresy of the false blank sheet. How
would you know if a sheet of paper with nothing on it is actually a
blank sheet of paper, or merely a sheet with nothing on it?

> a signed sheet cannot be considered blank.

No, not signed, but Signed: bearing the Sign of Blankness.

'And lo, there came from the Stack of Papers a voice, and the voice
spake: "You shall not worship the false blank sheet of paper, for the
false blank sheet of paper is a heresy, and those that worship it shall
be thrown into the Great Shredder, where they shall be rent asunder,
and their shreds shall be set afire. Forsooth, they shall not fare well
who worship the false blank sheet. Nay, you shall worship only the true
Blank Sheet of Paper, for those that worship the true Blank Sheet of
Paper shall live in the high heavens of paper, and they shall be in the
hands of the Great Origami Masters, who shall fold them into flying
cranes and admire them muchly. And you shall recognise the true Blank
Sheet of Paper, for he shall bear the Sign of Blankness, being the
words 'This Page Intentionally Left Blank' printed at the top of the
page; and no other sign shall he bear, except he be inside a book, when
he shall bear his proper page number at the proper place. No other
sheet of paper shall you recognise, and call a Blank Sheet of Paper.
Nay, you shall call them heresies, and cast them from you, be they
sheets bearing the word 'Notes', or sheets bearing only the word
'blank', or be they sheets with nothing on them; for if you call these
Blank Sheets of Paper, verily, you shall be cast into the Great
Shredder, and loud shall be the tearing of you." '

The Second Book of Blank Paper, ch. 8, v. 4-9.

Note that these verses do not mention page headers (for example, is a
single line along the top of the page, with the page number above it,
still a "proper page number at the proper page", or isn't it?; nor do
they mention whether pages with the Sign of Blankness printed on both
sides (as you would expect in a book) count. Luckily, chapter 13, v.
24-27, explain that these things count, when taken in moderation. The
Letter to the Emptishetians, ch. 4, makes it clear that, while sheets
with extensive headers are intrinsically of inferior grade compared to
completely Blank Sheets, they are, nevertheless, recognised as full
Blank Sheets, because their headers are not their fault but their
printers', and they are forgiven them; and that doubly-Signed pages are
a necessity in books and must therefore count as they would when
singly-Signed; and finally that we were given our own judgement to
decide what is "blank enough" and what not. My own opinion on that
matter is that a sheet is Blank if it has no headers or footers that do
not occur on another, normal page in the work, but some people are more
strict in this; YMMV.


From: Brian Howlett

I really have to take issue with this. The onlie true Blank Page (tm)
has the sacred Words printed in the middle. No other location is
acceptable.

Is this the first schism in the Church of the Sacred Blank Page? In my
view, no. All it takes is for everyone to agree with me, and we'll say
no more about it...


From: Richard Bos

You dare doubt the words of the Book of Blank Paper? Heretic!
Middle-Wordian! Burn you shall, burn, do you hear me!

> Is this the first schism in the Church of the Sacred Blank Page?

It is no schism, because those who deny the Book of Blank Paper are not
of the Blank Sheet to begin with. You are an unbeliever, and your turn
in the Great Shredder has already been appointed to you. Repent while
you can, and abjure your heresies!


From: Brian Howlett

Heresies? Schmeresies!

May I refer the honourable gentleman to the first time I saw the light^W
blank page; the manual for MS-DOS 3.2, by the greatest blank of them
all, the Microsoft Corporation. That had the holie words writ large in
the centre of each page.

"For he that hath written 'This page intentionally left blank' in any
other place shall be deemed 'liar' and 'heretic' and shall henceforward
be ostracised and furthermore no-one shall talk to him (or indeed, her)
without being excommunicated from the Church of the Sacred Blank
page..."

Translated from the original Serbo-Croat by a blind goat farmer
from Ulan Bator, whose degree in English comes from the same school
where the R*v I** P**sl*y got his doctorate...


From: Richard Bos

> the greatest blank of them all, the Microsoft Corporation.

Well? Here you have a prime example of people who get just about
everything wrong doing it that way, and you still believe it's right?
Well, if you wish to follow Billy-boy, I suppose there's just no hope
for you.


From: Brian Howlett

I'm sure if you look at my headers you will realise that I worship not
at the Nylon-besocked feet of the infernal William J Gates III (666).

However, in order to belong to the Onlie True Church of the Blank Page,
it is essential to mock the Gates of Hell, while embracing the
philosophy of "Print it in the centre, Punk..."

Otherwise, the page is merely defaced, not blank.

Now, if you would just like to read this pamphlet... I have many more,
each liberally sprinkled with blank pages in the True Style.


From: Patrick Dersjant

> I really have to take issue with this. The onlie true Blank Page (tm)
> has the sacred Words printed in the middle. No other location is
> acceptable.

Wrong!

'2. And on the third night there came he that shall not be named[1], and
there was great yearning with the people.
3. And he said, behold, here is what I say, and thou shallst do as I
sayst, and thou shallst do it now, Or Else. And the people watched and
saw.
4. And there was Joshua, of Nazgul, and he watched, and saw. And he said
Master, it says 'This page intentionally left blank' on this sheet. And
he was struck by thunder.
5. And he that shall not be named[2] weeped and said Unbelievers, thou
shallst not take a sheet with 'This page intentionally left blank' on it.
For there is no Truth in it, and it will lead you yonder.
6. Thou shallst only take the blank sheets, and know my will, and thou
shallst do it, Or Else.
7. And thou shallst know the sheets are blank for there is no text on
them. (Though they might have little pictures)[3]
8. And there was Margerita, of Preth, and she said Forgive my ignorance
master, but how shallst we watch and see, and know it is blank?
9. And HTSNBN[4] took pity, and said, Behold, 't is not blank if 't is
stamped, and not blank either if 't has signs. Not blank if 't has 'This
page intentionally left blank' on it, either. Though you shallst know
when thou seest the blank, and thy eyes shall see.'

The Book of the Nigh End, 12, 2-9

First schism? Nope, you're up to third already, imho <g>. But then,
consider this:

'3 So thou arest not sure about the paper bit, and I can tell you this:
4. Thou Arest A Heretic That Shall Be Burned On Printed Pieces Of Paper'
(Letter to Margerita, 2, 3-4)

Also, the 2nd book of Blank Paper has been scientifically proven not to
be blank, as it contains letters, and definitiely doesn't fulfill the
criteria set in the verses above. Therefor, it does not contain any valid
arguments whatsoever, and thou shallst be burned etc.

[1] Translated; the Klingon original just has a blank.
[2] Again, the original just has a blank, though a bit more forceful than
the first one.
[3] This one does bother the translator. Apparently there's a couple of
ink blots on the original, and it might have read 'not even little
pictures'. This is the more common translation.
[4] Abbreviation by translator


From: Richard Bos

Whoa! You deem the Apocrypha more important than the Blank Books and
expect mercy? Boy, are you going to be in for a shock when you finally
enter the great Wastepaper Basket in the Sky!

> 4 Thou Arest A Heretic That Shall Be Burned On Printed Pieces Of Paper'
> (Letter to Margerita, 2, 3-4)

Yes. Note that this specifically refers back to the bit of 2 Blank 8 I
quoted earlier.

> Also, the 2nd book of Blank Paper has been scientifically proven not to
> be blank, as it contains letters, and definitiely doesn't fulfill the
> criteria set in the verses above.

Neither do those verses themselves. Don't you try your scholastic tricks
with me, you apostate!


From: Rachel Walmsley




From: Quantum Moth

>

heretic.


From: Corinne

Now thats more like it...all Blank Pages (maytheyrestinpeace) should not
only insult the intelligence but also the ethical wellbeing of the reader.


From: Richard Bos

No, no, not yet. It is no heresy to have a piece of paper (or a post!)
with nothing on (or all paper manufacturers would be in big trouble);
it is only when one starts claiming that it is a true Blank Sheet of
Paper that one invites the wrath of the Blank Sheet. I haven't seen
Rachel do that yet.


Meanwhile, amidst all the accusations and counter-accusations of heresy, a new cult is quietly developing.


Subject: [R] subliminal messages :-)
Date: 11 Oct 2000
From: Adrian Ogden

Hey, we can go further than this.

Jehovah's Investigators!

They go round and knock on people's doors and say, "Hello, we'd like
to talk to you about God. Is there anything useful you can tell us?"


From: Adrian Ogden)

You know, I can't help but think that Jehovah's Investigators has the
makings of a great April Fools Day prank. I can just see the pamphlets
now...

WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD?

I MEAN, REALLY?

The wisest of the wise have debated the truth for millennia.
Theology and philosophy have combined and conflicted to
produce religions, sects, factions, schisms, cults, herecies,
and the occasional jihad. Yet now, at the beginning of the
third millennium, all we can say with any certainty is that
when it comes right down to it we really know absolutely
buggerall.

Can you help?

We are the fastest growing new religion in the 21st century.
All we need now is a profound and vital central doctrine,
and charismatic, inspired and visionary leadership. Our
Messiah should be good with people, humble and approachable,
omnibenevolent, and able to construct a coherent theology
which is spiritually nourishing, scientifically bulletproof,
and dispensable in simple core tenets and easy-to-absorb
soundbites.

It could be you!

The Jehovah's Investigators are truly a religion for the new
millennium. We don't claim to have all the answers. We don't
even claim to have any answers.

We're hoping you might.


Subject: Re: [I] The application of religion, was subliminal messages :-)
From: Quantum Moth

Dear Mr. Ogden,

In reference to the advertisement cunningly concealed within the pages
of your pamphlet (which, I noticed was blank on one side - I noticed
this because of the words "BLANK PAGE" carefully stencilled dead
centre), I would like to apply for the position of Messiah within your
group.

Though I have no previous experience in this field (except for that one
time with the plane crash and the small, undiscovered tribe, but that
was, frankly, a cargo cult with no future - as evinced by the subsequent
massacre by the neighbouring tribe led by my co-pilot), I feel that I
have both transferrable skills and the weight of ancient prophecies,
dark and mysterious behind me.

While working for OnDigital as a technical advisor, I was brought into
contact with a great many members of the public in a direct customer
service fashion. A large number of these people succumbed to my hypnotic
personality and bombastic advisory technique and could almost certainly
be called upon to make up a small cadre of religious fanatics to lead a
campaign of terror against anyone who stands in our way. While I infer
from the mild tone of your pamphlet that this may not be wholly
inkeeping with the world view of your organisation, I always find it
helps to have a backup plan in case of emergency or apocalypic
revelation. I am also a touch-typist with a speed of 45-50wpm and have
excellent data-entry skills.

Also, when browsing a selection of ancient prophecies made by people
considered in their time to be insane, heretics, or both, I discovered
an alarming amount of references to the "Gold Man of Will". This cropped
up in several tomes, some written centuries apart, the first of which
was walled-up in a crypt shortly after its writing and kept there for a
thousand years, so could not possibly have influenced the others. The
Gold I believe to be a reference to my hair colour and the Man of Will
an explicit transliteration of my surname by a demented seer. While this
may seem far removed from your newly-founded order, I feel that it would
be excellent for the future of the group to have a genuine prophecy to
back up your plans for expanision. I am also skilled in the operation of
a cappuccino/espresso machine.

I enclose a CV and a woodcut of a figure to whom I bear a striking
resemblance taken from a sixteenth-century book of predictory verse. I
look forward to your response and my inevitable ascenscion.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Willis.


From: Adrian Ogden

Dear Mr Willis

We thank you for your application for the post of Messiah.

Your list of references was certainly most impressive. The fact that
most were considered insane is not in itself cause for concern, as we
are well aware of the many now hailed as genius whose work went
unrecognised in their own lifetimes. However, on looking up your
references, cleaning and restoring the manuscripts and translating
them from the original latin and greek, we were forced to the
conclusion that they actually were, in fact, certifiably insane.
(We are still working on deciphering the one written entirely in
pictograms.)

Your previous experience in the field is less than encouraging. We
are looking to bring knowledge to people lives that they may thereby
discover fulfillment, and we are in no position to assess the
fulfillment of the Nhaqua people as there are no survivors we can
ask. (Numerous eminent anthroplogists would be very grateful to
hear your story, as the tribal myth of the Wsabo concerning "Ko'p
Hi-Lott, who fell from the sky to bring terror and punishment to
those who oppose his people" has been baffling them owing to its
unusually recent origin.)

Finally, as you yourself pointed out, your more machiavellian
tendancies and apocalyptic plans for world domination do rather
conflict with the world view of our organisation. The fact that
we're not yet entirely sure what our world view is is quite beside
the point; we consider ourselves to be seekers after the truth, and
it would be most embarrassing were our religion to become the first
one to schism over its central doctrine before it actually has one.

We are, however, most interested to hear of your typing skills and
your qualifications as a coffee maker, as we do have a vacancy in
the post of receptionist. A friendly telephone manner and a mastery
of simple phrases such as "Jehovah's Investigators; how can you help
us?" is also desirable, and while in other respects your world views
do not fit our image we feel that, in the fragile infancy of our
organisation, having a power hungry manipulative psycopath at the
front desk standing between our core members and the outside world
can at times be a positive boon.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Adrian Ogden
Jehovah's Investigators (founder)


From: Quantum Moth

Dear Mr. Ogden,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

Well, let me start by saying that I understand and accept your reasons
for refusing me the position of messiah, though this may not be enough
to spare you come the hour of my ministry. I am aware that perhaps you
are looking for someone with a little more experience in religious
start-ups and my experience with the Nhaqua was more of a fulfillment of
an ancient prophecy than the dawn of a new... dawn..

I now understand more fully the motivations and philosophy behind your
organisation and realise that I may have "come on a bit mental", as the
expression goes, I believe; though I object to the term "psychopath". It
has never been conclusively proved that I am anything more harmful than
a sociopath. However, far be it for me to tell you how to anoint your
staff, and I would gladly accept the lowlier position of Receptionist,
as I need the money and it may well count towards my community service.

If you could send me details of when I can be expected to start in this
post, also any further literature you may think it worth my while
perusing. In addition to this, I was wondering if you could detail the
promotion prospects within your sect; I am an ambitious person and,
who knows, may one day prove my worth and ascend to position of Messiah
- after a spell working in Human Resources, perhaps?

Thank you once again; you won't regret this.. initially.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Willis

ps. Incidentally, I have, as per your advice, passed my fragmented
recollections on to the anthropology department of Our Souls, Camford.
They were particurly interested in the parchment I had written it out
on, right up to the point that I told them whose skin it was.


From: Adrian Ogden

Dear Mr Willis

We thank you for your gracious response and your continued interest.
You are indeed clearly an ambitious man; however, while this is
generally a commendable trait, it is in our view a serious bar to
the post of messiah.

As a religion we are, I reiterate, primarily concerned with the
seeking of the truth; any messiah must be entirely selfless in his
or her quest towards it, as the truth should be objective and not
clouded by any one personal agenda. The truth is our ultimate
master, and we, even - nay, especially - the messiah, are merely
its servants. You show a firm grasp of the master and servant
relationship, however we feel that your view of its application
is somewhat misplaced. This also suggests that a trial posting
in Human Resources would not be entirely appropriate.

As for your suggestion that we are looking for someone with more
experience in religious startups, this is quite simply not the case.
We take that burden upon ourselves; all we ask of a messiah is that
he be able to tell us what that religion is. To be quite frank, we
are looking for someone with a fresh and radical approach, and someone
who is primarily concerned with the fulfillment of prophecies which he
himself describes as "ancient" is probably in a bit of a creative rut.

We must therefore regretfully inform you that you are not the candidate
for us, and that we are in all probability not the religion for you.
Please do not let our decision discourage you; there are many other
religions which would welcome the addition of a man of vision such
as yourself. Granted, most of these currently have no vacancies in
the post of supreme spiritual leader, but to a man of true ambition
this is unlikely to present more than a temporary obstacle.

Once again, we thank you for your interest, and wish you almost
every success in your future endeavors.

Yours Sincerely

Adrian Ogden
Jehovah's Investigators (founder)


Rumour has it that the Jehovah's Investigators are still looking for their messanic leader. So next time there's a knock on the door, don't assume that it's someone who wants to show you The Way. It could well be that they're hoping you can show them....


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