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November 11th, 2004

Tokens and signs 'o' the times

In the Mormon temple ceremony, participants are taught the tokens and signs—i.e., secret handshakes and gestures—that will let them pass the sentries that guard the gates of heaven. The ceremony is embedded in a mystery play, in which Adam by example teaches the proper care and feeding of one's tokens and signs:

PETER: Have you any tokens or signs?

(Lucifer steps up to the side of Peter and interjects his query.)

LUCIFER: Have you any money?

PETER: We have sufficient for our needs.

LUCIFER: You can buy anything in this world for money.

PETER: Do you sell your tokens or signs for money? You have them, I presume.

ADAM: I have them, but I do not sell them for money. I hold them sacred. I am looking for the further light and knowledge Father promised to send me.

PETER: That is right. We commend you for your integrity. Good day. We shall probably visit you again.  [full script]
One eBay seller has no such compunctions, and is perfectly willing to sell his tokens and signs for money. Particularly amusing are the questions from potential buyers—most of the answers are riffs on passages from the ceremony. (Well, I found them amusing.)

Thanks to pixelfish for apprising me of the link.

Private to buyer seeking the "bloody" pre-1990 tokens and signs:  I have them, if you're still looking. They could be yours if the price is right.

UPDATE (20 hours later): readwrite writes to inform me that eBay has taken down this auction. I wish I'd thought to save a copy first. Mormons, man—60,000 little missionaries fanned out across the globe to spread their word, and they get all bent out of shape when one person tries to spread a different message. You all had to return and report, didn't you?

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Short takes; dead air

I've been scanning a few local news sites for more info about something I heard on the subway yesterday evening. The 6 train was jammed and moving uptown with exquisite slowness. The conductor was making some kind of important announcement, but the only bits I could make out, there and on the platform at 59th Street when I transferred, were "trains are moving slow" and "building collapse."

Anyone know anything about a building collapse in Manhattan?

In the process of looking for a story on a building collapse, I ran across this New York Times story about a police officer who found a murder suspect asleep on the 2 train in Brooklyn. Even with the lead first, this story actually made my pulse pound.


Last night I broke out the screwdriver and braved gigantic bust bunnies to replace the old, crappy, slow CD-RW drive in our PC with a shiny, new, fast CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive. Then I burned about 20 CDs, a process that used to take a good chunk of a day. I finished in less than 2 hours. Bliss.

Laura was getting ready for work when the radio told us that President Bush would be observing Veterans' Day with his annual tribute to the armed forces. Laura said, "What's he going to do, this?" and flipped the bird.

And I'm going off the air for the day. My employer an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., so we close for every Federal holiday. I haven't checked email this morning, and I don't plan to the rest of the day. Nothing but writing today. And the occasional ball tossed to the puppy. Catch you on the verso side.


William Shunn

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