One of the most interesting characters in my long-term research project on the early fieldstone Episcopal church buildings in Dakota Territory—that was a lengthy introduction, wasn’t it?—is the Reverend John Keble Karcher. Like many clergy who transplanted Anglicanism to the American Outback, he was itinerant, hopscotching from his birthplace in Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, Indiana, Minnesota, Dakota and ultimately (I think) Illinois. And with each geographic move Karcher changed his religious affiliation: he was born into the German Reformed tradition and then became, in order, a Unitarian, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, back to the Episcopalians, oops, back to the Romans, and finally back to Canterbury and the Episcopal faith. Who knows what might have transpired had he lived longer. I mention this only because, at this point in my life, a religious conversion is unlikely.
Religion absolutely captivates me, both Faith itself and the shifts that we often make between and among its many faces. Did you know, for example, that if I were an adherent of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated LDS or, colloquially, Mormon) and had lived a spotless life; had tithed and performed all the requirements to be signed, sealed and delivered to God at the end of my life, I could look forward 1) to becoming a god myself; 2) being given my own planet whose tenants I would govern as our god has governed Earth; and 3) I and my Celestial wives would birth an endless supply of spirit babies to inhabit the bodies of the planet’s physical children. Are you with me so far?
Whatever you may think of religious traditions other than your own, LDS beliefs are unusual. But several things are also probable: If I were a Mormon, I’d be a bad one. The “Godhead” would elude me but, on a more positive note, an entire planetary population would therefore be spared my divine intervention.
Would I be a laissez faire god? Very likely. Creation is a heavy responsibility, and authoring the town of Agincourt and its hinterlands in Fennimore county is about as close as I care to get to the”Godhead.”