Analogy

I love a good analogy. Here are some crackers:

“I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”

― Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret

“You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.”

― Albert Einstein

“Without inspiration, we’re all like a box of matches that will never be lit.”

― David Archuleta, Chords of Strength: A Memoir of Soul, Song and the Power of Perseverance

“A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”

― Winston S. Churchill

It is in the spirit of the last quote from the magnanimous (albeit probably drunk when he said that) Winston Churchill that my thoughts are on today.

Analogies are a great way to understand our world, reduce complex ideas to manageable ones and allow for a more universal understanding of ideas across cultures, language and differences between people. The Saviours parables are analogies. The parable of the Wheat and the Tares uses agricultural ideas to represent people and their spiritual condition at the last day.

As a teacher and lecturer myself, using analogies really assists in conveying meaning in ways that are familiar to a particular audience. It is wonderful to see the “light” go on in someone’s face when they “understand” the idea you are trying to get across.

Rebecca over at BCC in 2010 covered aspects of this issue with some lovely references to gastro-intestinal analogies – so if that interests you please whet your appetite (a continuation of the gastro theme…) over there.

I have heard a few very average church themed analogies in my time (most on the modesty/sexual purity theme) – close to the top of that list is the chewing gum analogy. For some other rippers have a look here. And of course according to Elder Uchtdorf, almost everything is like a plane.

However I now have a new number one. The mining analogy. I had never heard it before – maybe you have – for those that haven’t it goes like this…

Two young ladies arrived to a meeting wearing clothes that were quite revealing their body parts. Here is what the Chairman told them: He took a good look at them and made them sit. Then he said something that, they might never forget for the rest of their lives.

He looked at them straight in the eyes and said; “ladies, everything that God has valuable in this world is well covered and hard to see, find or get.

  1. Where do you find DIAMONDS? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected.
  1. Where do you find PEARLS? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell.
  1. Where do you find GOLD? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers of rock and to get them, you have to work hard & dig deep down to get them.

He looked at them with serious eyes and said;

“Your body is sacred & unique” You are far more precious than gold, diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too. So he added that, “If you keep your treasured mineral just like gold, diamond and pearls, deeply covered up, a reputable mining organization with the requisite machinery will fly down and conduct years of extensive exploration.”

Then he said, “First, they will contact your government (family), sign professional contracts (wedding) and mine you professionally ( legal marriage). But if you leave your precious minerals uncovered on the surface of the earth, you always attract a lot of illegal miners to come and mine you illegally. Everybody will just pick up their crude instruments and just have a dig on you just freely like that. So, keep your bodies deeply covered so that it invites professional miners to chase you.

I subsequently found out that versions of this were spoken about at BYD’s (Bishops Youth Discussions) in our Ward and in classes at church as spiritual thoughts.

I have a million problems with this type of analogy, but here are my main issues.

  1. Covering up does not necessarily equal modesty
  2. Is there a veiled (maybe not so..??) reference to the argument that what you wear can justify rape?? (ie Illegal mining??)
  3. Using metaphors of mining with words like “years of extensive exploration” and “mining you professionally” are just plain gross and bordering on gratuitous.
  4. The whole premise that Gods goodness is always hidden seems to go against a few scriptures I know, “And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually – D&C 1:30 and “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” Matt 5:15

Questions:

  1. Have you heard this analogy before and what do you think?
  2. What other analogies have you heard that just don’t quite hit the mark?