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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mystery Of The Tennessee Cannery

There is an intriguing "He said/She said" brewing in cyberspace, and in this instance the LDS Church is playing the part of the denier. As for who is actually telling the truth in this matter -well, you can decide for yourself. I'll just tell you what I think.

Earlier this month, retired Marine Sargeant Rand Cardwell logged the following report at OathKeepers.org:
"A fellow veteran contacted me concerning a new and disturbing development. He had been utilizing a Mormon cannery near his home to purchase bulk food supplies. The man that manages the facility relayed to him that federal agents had visited the facility and demanded a list of individuals that had been purchasing bulk food.  The Manager informed the agents that the facility kept no such records and that all transactions were conducted on a cash and carry basis.  The agents pressed for any record of personal checks, credit card transactions, etc., but the manager could provide no such record. The agents appeared to become very agitated and after several minutes of questioning finally left with no information."
Now here is a key point: Cardwell concludes by saying "I contacted the manager and personally confirmed this information."

This report went viral on alternative news sites and created quite a bit of consternation among Mormons and non-Mormons alike.  Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes gave an interview on the Alex Jones show about this and similarly alarming federal encroachments occuring around the country. Church headquarters was flooded with calls from Members wanting to know what our leaders were planning to do about this invasive encroachment on church sovereignty.

And then suddenly...the cannery director recanted his story.  There had been no visit from federal agents after all, he insisted. In fact, suddenly the good brother could not even recall having spoken to anyone from Oath Keepers about it.  Sargeant Cardwell's source had turned into Sargeant Schultz.  The manager knew nothing. Nuuuh-THING!





It didn't take long before bloggers everywhere declared the incident had been "a complete and total fabrication."  How did they know this? They called the cannery and no one answered, or they heard from someone else who said they heard it was a hoax, proof positive for some people that the whole thing was made up.

It didn't help that some websites that ran with the story changed the headline, distorting a simple visit by two agents into some massive "federal raid."  Among the hub-bub, it was nearly impossible to come to an intelligent conclusion about what happened because the manager by now had clammed up.  The corporate Church's public relations department issued a terse denial, and that was that.

With their source no longer willing to go on the record, OathKeepers did the honorable thing and pulled the story. Ironically, this was further proof to the cynics that the story had been retracted.  But that's not what Oath Keepers was saying. This is:

"We have pulled this story about the Mormon cannery being visited by federal agents because the source of the information at the cannery is now denying that he ever told us that event occurred. 
"From now on, we will NOT post any such story based on what we are told by other people unless, and until, they are willing to go on video or at least on an audio recording with their info. That way, in case someone starts to crumble under the public attention or other pressures, and wants to deny what they told us, we have video or audio proof.
"We get all kinds of scary intel, all the time, and we rarely pass it on because we don’t have confirming documentation. In this case, we were relying on a confirmed eye witness who is now denying it. We will not do that again without a recording.
"We still welcome such tips, but unless you are willing to go on recorded record, using your name, we will not pass it on to the public, but will instead use it only for our own knowledge and internal analysis among our leadership with the caveat that it is not for public dissemination. Otherwise, we risk having people flake on what they told us, and that makes us look bad. People who send us information often times don’t realize the kind of public attention they may wind up experiencing, or the kinds of pressures they may come under behind the scenes. Another consideration is the real possibility that a person could be threatened with prosecution under the USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001 for making public the fact that they were contacted by Federal agents demanding private records. We need witnesses to be willing to go on recording right up front so they cannot later recant.
"We will always respect the privacy and anonymity of sources, as we have done in this case, but will simply not run such stories in the future without video proof AND someone who is willing to be identified in the story. Anonymous tips will be used only for internal analysis.
"NO SUCH STORY WILL BE POSTED ON THIS SITE AGAIN WITHOUT VIDEO OR AUDIO OF THE EYE WITNESS(S) SO WE CAN PROVE THEY TOLD IT TO US -No matter how urgent or important the information. As far as we are concerned, without such a recording, we will not consider it a real source, but just scuttlebutt. 
"Thus, now that we no longer have an eye witness willing to stick with his story, we no longer have a story we feel comfortable having on our site and we have pulled this story so we are not accused of still disseminating it."
(Although pulled from OathKeepers.org, the original post has been cached here. You might want to read it before it's gone for good. You'll note within the piece that Sargeant Cardwell claims to have gone to the cannery and confirmed the story with the manager in person.)

Is The Story Credible? 
OathKeepers was formed largely as a response from veterans and active duty military personnel who saw a dangerous precedent following hurricane Katrina, when the army was sent door to door in a New Orleans neighborhood that was unaffected by the flooding.  News cameras were on hand to record the soldiers pulling citizens from their homes, cuffing them on their front lawns, then ransacking their houses and stealing their weapons. To many observers, the most fearful thugs and looters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were the ones sent in by FEMA.

Here is the statement of purpose from the Oath Keepers website:
Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, veterans, Peace Officers, and Fire Fighters who will fulfill the Oath we swore, with the support of like minded citizens who take an Oath to stand with us, to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God. Our Oath is to the Constitution.
 Our motto is "Not on our watch!"
Are you wondering where the real soldiers are today, the men of honor and integrity? You want true patriots? These are your guys. Men who take their oaths seriously are the ones you want standing between you and tyranny. Conversely, they are the men most feared and despised by corrupt politicians and banker puppets, because they will not allow themselves to be used like Stalin's army or Hitler's Storm Troopers if ordered to turn their guns on their fellow citizens.

It's no wonder Homeland Security classified returning veterans as potential terrorists.  Most of these poor saps were told they were being sent overseas to defend America's freedoms, yet when they came home they found many of those freedoms had been stolen in their absence.  Soldiers like these are a threat to tyrants, because they are awake. And they are pissed off.

If you want to understand what motivates the men who took the Oath Keeper's pledge, it's not about what they'll stand for, it's what they won't stand for.  There is a list of ten important items, and you can see them here.

The Tennessee Waltz
The reason rumors of federal agents asking questions at a Church cannery in Tennessee are so credible is because we know that in Madison County Tennessee last month, as reported on Nashville's News Channel Five, state health officials had been going door to door inquiring about resident's personal food storage.  The program was sold as a means of encouraging the populace to be prepared for emergencies, but it clearly was was a program of interrogation to ascertain just who in the area had stockpiles of food, and how much they owned.  I reported in greater detail on this "assessment" program just this morning in another venue .

If bureaucrats in Tennessee would go door to door asking prying questions about random people's private stockpiles, how much of a stretch is it to believe the same inquiry could have been made at a Church facility in the same state?  Not much of a stretch at all.

I don't believe Sergeant Cardwell made up the story of federal agents making inquiries at the cannery.   I know enough about this guy to trust him at his word.  So if the cannery manager denied ever saying anything about a visit from the feds, the question is, why? Something or someone must have put the fear in him.

Of course, there's always the possibility that the manager just made it all up when he was chatting with the original member veteran.  If so, is it reasonable to believe he would repeat the incident in detail to a total stranger who calls to confirm it for publication?  Does this sound like the actions of a responsible Church administrator? I think it is more likely he was relating an actual incident that he himself found to be an incredible overreach of authority, and that he was appalled, as anyone would be, that government agents would show up unannounced at a Church facility fishing for information without so much as a warrant or a reason.

So why the sudden reversal? Why back off the story?

Those of us in the Church know that no one who works for the Church makes these kinds of decisions without receiving instruction from on high.  After the story exploded on the net, someone somewhere had to have sat this guy down and told him to ix-nay on the ory-stay. Let's just put this on the shelf, shall we, brother?

So who was it who leaned on him? Was it someone high up in the Church, or someone in government? Or could it have been both?

We know that the egregious piece of legislation known as the Patriot Act includes a gag order provision that prohibits anyone who has been visited by the FBI to talk about that visit to anyone else on penalty of imprisonment.  This is, of course, an outrageous prohibition on free speech that cannot stand.  Still, though the Patriot Act cannot cancel out the first and fourth amendments to the Constitution, how many American middle managers have the guts or resources to challenge that provision all the way to the supreme court? Far easier and safer for most people to just sit down, shut up, and do as they're told.

What I wonder about is the conversation that took place between the cannery manager and his masters at Church headquarters? If the manager was telling the truth about the visit, why didn't the Church back him up? LDS, Inc pays its lawyers hundreds of millions of dollars a year to defend against all manner of petty nuisance suits.  Wouldn't this have been a great opportunity to take a stand against the whore of Babylon herself?

But I guess that's just wishful thinking.

Failing In Our Mission
We have all heard about the threefold mission of the Church:

To proclaim the gospel
To perfect the Saints
To redeem the dead.

You may not remember this, but there used to be a fourth one: "To put evil underfoot." But that was such a long time ago that after making a cursory search on the internet, I can't even find it referenced anymore.

The mission of the church these days no longer includes putting evil under foot, but instead just rolling over and letting evil have its way. "Don't make waves" has been our unofficial motto ever since we got our fingers burned by the feds back in 1890.  Now we prefer to just go along to get along.

As President Hinckley put it when asked about the Mormon Church's reaction to the violent persecution being heaped upon the Branch Davidian Church by the United States government, "We don't get involved with them. If the law chooses to take care of them, that's the law's basic right. We just plow our own furrow and go forward."


In other words, the modern Church of Jesus Christ prefers to remain oblivious to the injustices swirling all around it. We don't just plow our own furrow, we plow it with blinders on.  Hinckley's cavalier dismissal of a group of Christians who were murdered by their own government reminds one of the words of Martin Van Buren to Joseph Smith, "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you."


We seek in vain for any institutional Church objection when the US government steps out of line, even when that encroachment occurs on our own Church property.


Do I believe the testimony of Oath Keeper's Rand Cardwell over the denial of that anonymous Mormon cannery manager?  Yes I do. The only thing I don't know is who got to that guy and convinced him he should forget what he saw and heard with his own eyes and ears? Was it the men in black from Washington D.C, or the men in black from Salt Lake City?
 
[A note about leaving comments: Many readers have posted as "Anonymous" even though they don't wish to, only because they see no other option. If you don't have a Google, Wordpress, or other username among those listed, you can enter a username in the dropdown box that reads "Name/URL."  Put your name in the "Name" box, ignore the request for a URL, and you should be good to go.
I have a pretty firm policy of never censoring or deleting comments,so if your comment does not immediately appear, it probably means it is being held in the spam filter, which seems to lock in arbitrarily on some posts for reasons unknown.  If you have submitted a comment and it doesn't immediately show up, give me a nudge at RockWaterman@gmail.com and I'll knock it loose. -Rock]                               _

28 comments:

Frederick said...

Thank you for posting this commentary. I think your comments are likely very close to the mark. I personally wouldn't be surprised if it were the government putting the pressure on this man. Technically he may have violated one of those provisions in the Patriot Act. How on earth we as citizens even put up with that garbage is absolutely astounding. Yet, the NDAA is yet another blow against the Constitution and yet how much do we hear from the American public decrying this evil which is being foisted upon us. If only more members of our church were awake to our situation and familiar with the words of our prophets and scriptures.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it may be true that the government may be putting the pressure on the employee at the cannery, but does that explain why the Church has put a notice on their blog, available on LDS News, saying that the incident never happened? Can the "government" put that much pressure on any Church to cause them to deny something like this on their news site? The first I heard of this entire incident was the Church's notice on the webpage, and wondered what the whole thing was about.

Anonymous said...

This is the link: http://newsroom.lds.org/article/church-dispels-rumors-regarding-tennessee-food-storage-facility

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous,
I did link to the church source in the story above when I wrote that The corporate Church's public relations department issued a terse denial.

But I must have been unclear if I gave anyone the impression that I believed the government put pressure on the Church to deny the meeting took place. Of course, no one knows the whys or wherefores, but I'm inclined to believe that whatever decision was made at Church headquarters originated there for what could have been any number of reasons.

I have some theories, but none of them involve pressure from the government. As J.J. Dewey offers in his document "Infallible Authority," Babylon doesn't persecute the LDS Church anymore, because the modern Church is no longer seen as an obstacle.

Isaac said...

Comparing Hinckley to Van Buren cuts pretty deep. What goes around comes around, and of all people we should be aware of what has gone around. When it comes to murderous criminal syndicates, trying to get on their good side never works. They eventually come for you, so why cooperate with them in the first place?

The thing that has been bothering me is why the Church is so gung-ho to impress the government. Bragging about how many BYU grads/RMs get recruited by the CIA (what, to help decimate the people in the countries they just got back from?), how many BYU ROTC guys get top honors from various military branches, warm welcomes for bloody-handed monsters like Cheney and Kofi Annan—the list goes on far too long. Why is it so impressive and honorable to participate in the destruction of the world? The one source that should be a sure thing for defending the truth and standing up to the bad guys isn't doing that. An explanation from the top would be nice.

When I first read about this incident on lewrockwell.com, I was shocked that the manager at the cannery didn't cooperate, and I was guessing that the next time it happened there would be a policy in place to ensure cooperation with "the proper authorities." As it turns out, the next time will be the first time. Allegedly.

Insana D said...

Oh fer Hell's Sake Rock! This is just so silly. If this story had any teeth and the Feds were looking for rancid weevil infested red wheat and nasty gunky dehydrated pear flakes that expired ten years ago they could step into any LDS ward, get a ward list and just knock on the doors of all the housewives and ask to see the dusty vintage crap in their basements.

Right here in S. Utah I'll bet there's enough old sticky in the mouth dried crap to feed the entire continent of Africa for ten years. Not that they'd want this stuff.

I think the church members should donate it all to the military and they could drop these bombs of number ten cans on the Taliban or use in the upcoming war with Iran. What doesn't penetrate their concrete bunkers will split open and the peasants will try to eat it and their guts will bloat up like sick cattle and they'll die of their own methane fumes. Chemical weapon grade food storage.

Jon said...

It could have been that they were just looking for people producing moon shine. Granted, that is just as disconcerting. It's not the feds position to stop people from producing anything, at least from a constitutional point of view, as long as it's not sold over state lines and even if it was, it's not their business what the end user using it for, unless you are just going to ban selling corn altogether over state lines, but that would defeat the spirit of the constitution, to make trade regular across state borders.

June said...

I am very shocked at the lack of comments on this post. I am generally a lurker but felt compelled to post on this. It shows to me the completeness that the government has convinced us they are the good guys and if you cry conspiracy theory or just point out the over reaching of the government you are said to be "silly." The thought that the government thinks they have a right to know how much food we as individuals have stored is shocking. The fact that we have to subject ourselves to pat downs just to fly in an airplane, that we can have our bags ransacked by them is so against everything this country was founded on. The fact that you can get arrested for even saying you spoke to an FBI agent is outrageous. Isn't that the mantra of Satan? "Follow me and do as I say and don't ask questions and everyone will be safe." And that the church itself would either be complicit in this or in the last not speak out against it is saying they agree with these tactics. It is appalling that so few are sounding the alarm bells.

Thank you Rock!

Jon said...

June, It could be just that everyone is already on board that reads this blog, so there's not too much controversy, hence not a lot of comments. Or it could be that people just aren't that much into politics that read this blog. I don't think I have been following it long enough to know. Either way the solution isn't political.

Michael said...

June,

Most of us are also shocked but not surprised at the turn of events. We have gotten used to the Church public relations office having more power than the Quorum of the Twelve and the newsroom serving as the mouthpiece for the Lord instead of the Prophet.

The Church sold out a long, long time ago when we joined with the evangelicals in mixing the purity of the Gospel with human politics.

goingtozion said...

Pretty good timing considering that was the message that Dewey shared with McConkie and Peterson was, "They think they will be safe because of their year’s supply, but in the story their storage backfires on them and Mormons are hunted down because they have food."

So the way I see it, there are three approaches:

1)Keep on keeping and then get hit by the brick wall of reality when you realize you were set up for failure like Dewey figured out.
2)Arm yourself and hopefully come out on top. Maybe "walk with a limp" like 50cent.
3)Flee to Zion

Bruce in Montana said...

We just get so used to the gradual degrading of our country into a police state, that we hardly notice. I actually remember when drug-testing for employment was recognized as the illegal search and seizure that it is. (I think you're supposed to have probable cause and a warrant) Now you would be looked upon with suspicion if you vocally opposed it.
Sad times....

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm with you, June. I also have wondered where everybody is. Posts on this site usually elicit more than just five comments. I finally figured people are too busy with Christmas preparations to read this blog right now. At least I hope that's it. And I hope that after Christmas readership will pick back up.

In the meantime, the best thing those of you still here can do is to share this post on your Facebook pages and email it to friends far and wide. I do think the topic is an important one.

Lot's of people are still tooling around online. I just don't think they're stopping here, partly because (and I don't blame them)my posts tend to go pretty long, and who has the time to get into one right now with Christmas fast approaching?

(This is also why I'm holding off on posting the last chapters of "Infallible Authority." I believe this book is essential reading, and I don't want to put chapters up here when no one will come by to read them. Better to wait.)

Here is why we should be concerned about government questioning the cannery about who has been purchasing food storage:

1. All police states have a need to know who among the citizenry might have the capability of riding out a famine, and thus be somewhat immune from dependency on state control. The government is also not beyond seizing the assets of people they might one day label "hoarders" and thereby enemies of the people.

(And yes, we do now live in a police state. Markus Wolf, the former head of East German Secret Police, was brought to America and paid a million dollars a year for three years to show our government how to set up the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone who does not see the obvious similarities between DHS and the Stazi simply does not have his eyes open.)

2. If this interrogation did happen, and I believe it did, it is worse than a tragedy for the Church to hush it up. The LDS hierarchy should be screaming bloody murder and making a big scene about the arrogance of a government agency daring to encroach on ANY Church.

My own opinion is that the Church's dependency on it's 501(c)(3) status serves to control any dissent, as was LBJ's intent when he introduced the "opportunity" for a church to be converted into a charitable organization for tax purposes.

Churches no longer act as the conscience of a people as they did in the days of the American Revolution. 501(c)(3) churches are now the obedient and whimpering lap dogs of their fearful master, the State.

Jon said...

Hinckley would always refer to the Article of Faith that says we obey the laws of the land when defending policies. I wonder if that could be it too. I personally think he misreads that article of faith (otherwise how do the rest of the scriptures make sense?). That has troubled me.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Agreed, Jon.
It is interesting to me how we have allowed a simple list of general beliefs which was never canonized to supersede the actual word of God as revealed in our scriptures.

The articles of faith, of course, was included by Joseph Smith in a letter to John Wentworth in order to assist Wentworth in writing up a piece in his newspaper in order to assist his readers in understanding who the Mormons were. It was never intended as scripture, and it certainly did not come forth from the mouth of God.

Now we parse every phrase in this list and try to make if fit into our modern view of Mormonism. Some even go so far as to replace (at least in their minds) obedience as the first principle of the gospel.

A strange, twisted, nearly unrecognizable shadow of itself is this modern LDS religion.

Jeremiah Stoddard said...

I'm around and reading. Just not doing much commenting at present, partly due to time considerations, but in some cases also due to the fact that I live outside of the United States. Although I agree with the sentiments of this post and occassionally lament the rise of the national security state myself, I try to moderate my comments somewhat since in my regular crossing of an international border Homeland Security has a great opportunity to make my life miserable if they think I'm too noisy (ask Jacob Appelbaum how fun it is to be noticed by the government).

O/T: Rock, I was heartened by the fact that last week I noticed in the last lesson for the Gospel Principles manual (used for Priesthood and Relief Society lessons this year) that it still teaches the principles of eternal progression that President Hinckley tried to distance the Church from. Even though he said we don't teach it, the lesson includes: “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God. … He was once a man like us; … God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did”. http://lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-47-exaltation?lang=eng

Either someone in the correlation department screwed up big time, or there's still a bit of light shining through here and there...

Steven Lester said...

All knowledge equals all power, but where is there a brain that can contain it all, much less leaving room for the direction part? God must have a forehead at least two or three miles in size. Wouldn't that require a strong neck as well?

jeremiah@jeremiahstoddard.com said...

@Steven -- or the size of the universe, leaving us as parasites on one of the subatomic particles making up one of the atoms making up one of the molecules making up one of the neurons of that oversized brain...

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Now you guys are making my own brain hurt...

Scott M.Beaulieu said...

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Alan Rock Waterman said...

Why thank you, Scott. And my I say that you yourself are awesome and -Hey, wait a minute! Spine Board Velcro Strap System?!!

Scott, you're nothing but RoboSpam, aren't you, you little scamp?

weston krogstadt said...

I'm blocked now?

weston krogstadt said...

I tried to leave what would have been a most awesome comment on your lame "tithing" post and it was not published. I called you a hermaphrodite and everything.

Anonymous said...

What ticks me off it people saying Obama is a communist but the Patriot Act was by Bush the second. I hat that Obama left the Patriot Act in place. Obama should have gotten rid of it! It doesn't matter anymore what party a politician is as underneath the surface they are all the same. Scary!

Greg S said...

Rock,

I believe AOF 12 is false doctrine and we should be able to recognize it as such as it contradicts gospel doctrine. Good evidence of that is found in Mosiah 23:
6 And the people were desirous that Alma should be their king, for he was beloved by his people.
7 But he said unto them: Behold, it is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another; therefore I say unto you it is not expedient that ye should have a king.
13 And now as ye have been delivered by the power of God out of these bonds; yea, even out of the hands of king Noah and his people, and also from the bonds of iniquity, even so I desire that ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust NO man to be a king over you. (I consider all political rulers to be like "kings")
14 And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.

It also hit me the other day the reason why the leaders of the church want to be addressed by their full names like Thomas S. Monson and Boyd K. Packer. Those are their corporate names and as officers of the corporation in order to abide by corporate law they must be subject to those laws. Has nothing to do with honoring or respecting their church positions. That is just misinformation and is all about being subject to kings, presidents, . . . . . . .

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I agree, Greg.
Not everything the Saints voted to include in their scriptures is necessarily the Word of God.

The Articles of Faith did not come to us through revelation. It was an attempt to provide a succinct list of LDS beliefs, and was written in response to an inquiry from the editor of the Chicago Democrat so that he could publish a piece ab out Mormon origins and beliefs. It wasn't included in LDS scriptures until 1890, probably as another sop to belay the heavy hand of the U.S. Government which had been leaning heavily on the Utah Saints.

The Articles of Faith are thought by many to have been originally composed by Oliver Cowdery. There is nothing in the word of God to suggest we believe in being subject to any earthly kings, and even the US Constitution makes does not make the people subject to the president, so that notion is unsupportable.

The president is subject to the contract (the constitution), placing him UNDER states and the people. not the other way around. The people are the sovereign, the president is not. Joseph Smith knew and understood this, as evidenced by his Pamphlet "On Government."

aredesuyo said...

Actually, the 12th AOF doesn't say that we believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates. It says that in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law, we believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates. The punctuation of the sentence makes this clear, and it is an important distinction, since it means that we actually believe that our deference to rulers is conditional. If the rulers aren't obeying the law, we aren't subject to them. This is consistent with the Declaration of Independence, which asserts that it is our duty to throw off rulers and governments that fail to protect our natural rights.

Alan Rock Waterman said...


Ardeseyo,
I couldn't agree with you more.