Hagia Sophia

When we were considering what to name our first child, whom we thought would be a girl, we briefly discussed the name Sophia. I like the name for what it means and also for the biblical (and possible Canaanite) imagery surrounding it. My wife, Tana, did not particularly like the name however. When I asked why, she responded that she could see kids teasing our future child, taunting with names like “Hagia Sophia, Hagia Sophia”.

After some time and some perspective, she withdrew her objections and we gave the name to our second child (although Tana does prefer the Sofia spelling).

In the moment, Tana did not stop to think about the implications of her fears. The likelihood of a schoolyard bully integrating the name of a cathedral in Byzantium into an insult is minimal. Tana simply didn’t like the name at the time and this was the reason that popped into her exceptionally well-educated head.

We often don’t see how our education, upbringing, religion, and other fact of life blind us. The comments to Ronan’s notes about his trip west show this. Of all the individual’s at the gathering who claimed “average mormondom”, all were raised in PhD households and were exceptionally well-read on all things Mormon. Nonetheless, they claimed to hold some insight into what the average, non-lawyer, non-academic member of the church understands about its background. I am not saying that they were wrong in making that assumption (heck, apparently seer stones are taught about in primary), but rather that we may mistake our over-education for the status quo. There really is no reason to suspect that the average member knows the name of the Hagia Sophia just as there is no reason to suspect that they are familiar with the limited-geography theory.

To what degree do the arcana discussed in this forum affect the lives of members at large? To what degree do we believe that our discussion of said arcana should? I, for one, am willing participate in a journal devoted to this issue, but is this out of a desire to help, to be educated, or to have my narcissism validated?

Is the bloggernacle really for everyone?

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9 Comments

Filed under Doctrine, Marginalia

9 responses to “Hagia Sophia

  1. John C.

    I should say that I think the internet is changing some aspects of this argument. In my hometown, the LDS bookstore used to be the lobby of this guy’s tire shop. Much more information is available to the “average mormon” than was previously the case. However, I don’t know that our current flood of info will result in the “average” member’s knowledge of history and doctrine increasing.

  2. I think it will increase. Books like Bushman’s have to have an effect.

  3. I’m wondering if better “knowing our history” increases our faithfulness. I’d like to think it does… I hope it does.

  4. I don’t know. When has an increase in knowledge ever single handedly made people better? Perhaps we are less likely to maintain false ideas (probably always good), but I don’t know if better Mormon history knowledge will do it (not that it necessarily has to hurt, either).

  5. Anonymous

    I didn’t grow up in any PhD household, and I’m miserably ill-read on Mormon history, but I have learned so much from the people in the Bloggernacle – history topics, doctrinal thoughts, cultural things common to members that I didn’t know about. In answering your question, I think the Bloggernacle is for everyone; even if “your average Mormom” isn’t reading this, the more information that is shared between members here, the more likely that information will eventually be spread to others (non-bloggernacklers). I sometimes share things I’ve read here with others, as I’m sure many people do. The arcana discussed on this forum may one day be more mainstream due in part to the fact that it was discussed here first!

    And it’s the Aya Sofya (in Turkish).

  6. meems

    I didn’t grow up in any PhD household, and I’m miserably ill-read on Mormon history, but I have learned so much from the people in the Bloggernacle – history topics, doctrinal thoughts, cultural things common to members that I didn’t know about. In answering your question, I think the Bloggernacle is for everyone; even if “your average Mormom” isn’t reading this, the more information that is shared between members here, the more likely that information will eventually be spread to others (non-bloggernacklers). I sometimes share things I’ve read here with others, as I’m sure many people do. The arcana discussed on this forum may one day be more mainstream due in part to the fact that it was discussed here first!

    And it’s the Aya Sofya (in Turkish).

  7. There really is no reason to suspect that the average member knows the name of the Hagia Sophia just as there is no reason to suspect that they are familiar with the limited-geography theory.

    Err, just your typical trailer trash growing up and those both would not have seemed out of place for me. Even your run of the mill missionary discussed the limited geography theory twenty-thirty years ago (that little paperback set the Church had, for a while, contained a discussion on it).

    I’ve got a J.D. now, but my mom, with less than a full day of college would know the Sophia. Maybe not the Pista Sophia, but the Hagia for sure.

  8. FaithHopeLove

    Never heard of the Hagia Sophia. My first connection is Sophia Loren. That can’t be a bad association!

    Never heard of the limited-geography theory, either. (Anyone have a good link?)

    Grew up in a non-member, no-degrees held household; am a National Merit Scholar; hate subject pronouns. Go figure. =)

    There’s a lot of stuff on this forum that goes over my head, but more knowledge is usually good, and anything that makes you think is good for the mind and logical reasoning.

  9. Ben S.

    See here
    and the Ensign articles (!) here and here.