Burning Robert Kirby

The cat is finally out of the bag.  Robert Kirby is by far and away the best theologian that the LDS Church has.  His insights are always thought-provoking and his columns are much more interesting than the correlated Sunday School lessons.  Here’s to you, Robert.

His latest column is a gem (SLTrib 6 Sep 10):

It would be easy to dismiss Burning Man as just a “freak show” if I hadn’t bothered to notice the depth behind the irreverent face.

Miles through Black Rock City and out acrross the desert from our camp, beyond the giant wooden man we burned Saturday night, was “The Temple of Flux.”  We trekked out there one scorched morning.

The Temple, which is ritually burned on Sunday, was a collection of large wooden structures resembling sand dunes or wind-carved rock.  When we arrived, it was already covered in mementos and messages from previous visitors.  Scrawled on the walls were thoughts directed at loss and longing.

“Wish I’d been a better father.”

“Why didn’t you love me more?”

“To my dog Fleabag that is not forgot.  F-king car!”

“I swear that I will quit smoking.”

“Where are you Samuel?  Eight years now.”

Photographs, tokens, flowers and other offerings were placed in nooks along the interior walls of the Temple.  In a small clear space, I wrote a private message to my dead brother.  A woman weeping nearby over some loss of her own patted me on the back.

When we left the Temple, some guy was nailing a wedding dress to the front of it.  Bystanders speculated as to the reason.  He he been left at the altar?  Was he recently divorced?  Did his wife die?

I reflected on how easily we dismiss any form of reverence or worship that isn’t consistent with our own.  We should all resolve to do better by our fellow human beings.  Burning Man helped remind me of that.

My friends and I occasionally have an outing in the Utah desert.  We are members of different faiths.  We always try to have some sort of nondenominational spiritual experience while we are out and about.  I think it makes us better friends.

This entry was posted in @n@rchy, Personalities, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Burning Robert Kirby

  1. dor says:

    Indeed. Here is the mystery of God laid bare. We are all individual, separate beings, no two having the same experience of life. Yet, within all that diversity, amid the nuances of perspectives, emerges universal needs, universal longings that bind us as one, that reveal the subjective spirit. In the posts at the Temple are the need for hope, the desire for love, the call for redemption; revelations that let us see ourselves in the other. In the photos, tokens and offerings — the making the internal visible through word and symbol — we are able to see what is always there – the eternal spirit we all share.

  2. Susan says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Kirby’s article. Is Burning Man the Woodstock of a time gone by? Certainly. I resolve to get there, hopefully next year.

  3. Pingback: Main Street Plaza » Sunday in Outer Blogness: Personal Thoughts Edition!

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