One of the strangest occurrences that took place after the sudden death of Joseph Smith in June, 1844 was that almost immediately his followers rejected the things he taught them about not holding a grudge.
The first reaction of the Saints to the news that Joseph and Hyrum had been murdered was disbelief. Joseph and Hyrum dead? It was inconceivable. But as the truth of the deed was confirmed, disbelief gave way to overwhelming grief. The grieving period was short-lived, however, turning quickly to anger and demands for retribution against the killers.
Which is understandable. Who wouldn't want justice? But when only five members of the mob were brought up on charges, and all of them (no surprise) acquitted by a jury of non-Mormons, the Saints began calling upon God to exact His own swift vengeance. William Clayton's prayer of revenge was typical of many, which he recorded the day after the murders took place:
"And now O God wilt thou not come out of thy hiding place and avenge the blood of thy servants.—that blood which thou hast so long watched over with a fatherly care—that blood so noble—so generous—so dignified, so heavenly you O Lord will thou not avenge it speedily and bring down vengeance upon the murderers of thy servants that they may be rid from off the earth and that the earth may be cleansed from these scenes, even so O Lord thy will be done. We look to thee for justice. Hear thy people O God of Jacob even so Amen."Again, an understandable response, if not exactly Christlike. There is, after all, a difference between seeking justice and seeking revenge, but this is the early church so let's cut these folks some slack. I probably would have reacted just like Clayton, hoping God would smite those smirking killers who snuffed out the lives of Joseph and Hyrum. A perfectly understandable reaction.
Except right after the jury voted not guilty and the killers got away scot free, Clayton demanded God enlarge the scope of his wrath to include the entire population of the state of Illinois just to get even with that jury:
“Thus the whole State of Illinois have made themselves guilty of shedding the blood of the prophets by acquitting those who committed the horrid deed, and it is now left to God and his saints to take vengeance in his own way, and in his own time.”Seems a little harsh. I'm sure there were people in Illinois who had never heard of Joseph and Hyrum, let alone wished them any harm.
Curse Of The Gentile Nation
I've recently become friends with William Shepard after discovering his writings on Mormon history, so I'm currently reading a piece of his published in a back issue of The Journal of Mormon History entitled "The Concept Of A 'Rejected Gospel' in Mormon History." Shepard provides several examples of the Saints' intense desire for bloody retribution, and I was struck by how many of these early Saints were so blinded by grief and anger and a gnawing demand for "satisfaction" that they didn't care if every man, woman, and child in America was wiped out in the process. In fact, that's what they were hoping for. They soon laid the blame for the prophet's murders on the entire nation, and hoped to see America utterly destroyed for reasons that made little sense. As Shepard reports,
"For most of the nineteenth century, Brigham Young and the Twelve saw in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith the final proof that the Gentile nation of the United States had reached the fullness of iniquity, had rejected the gospel, and would soon be cut off from salvation..." -Journal of Mormon History Volume 34, No.8 (2008) (Subsequent quotes are from that article.)__________________________________________________________
. William Shepard is co-author (with Michael Marquardt) of Lost Apostles, the latest must-have book on Mormon History that you likely won't find at Deseret Book. Find out why by reading this free excerpt.
William Hyde, who was on a mission in Vermont when he heard of the murders, predicted in his journal “For that blood the nation will be obliged to atone.”
And this from Wilford Woodruff's Journal:
“I asked my heavenly father in the name of Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood and the Keys of the kingdom of God that he would speedily avenge the blood of Joseph the Prophet Seer and Revelator, and Hiram the Patriarch, which had been shed by the hands of the American gentile nation, upon all the heads of the Nation and State that have aided, abetted or perpetrated the horrid deed, of shedding the blood of those righteous men even the Lords anointed.”This call for the destruction of America looks to put a crimp in the church's missionary efforts, but they didn't care. The Mormons figured the rest of America had had their chance, and by gum they were dusting their feet and done.
Most Mormons weren't patient enough to wait for God to get around to exacting punishment, but vowed instead to take matters into their own hands. After viewing the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum, Allen Stout took a personal vow of revenge:
"I there and then resolved in my mind that I would never let an opportunity slip unimproved of avenging their blood upon the head of the enemies of the church of Jesus Christ. I felt as though I could not live. I knew not how to contain myself, and when I see one of the men who persuaded them to give up to be tried, I feel like cutting their throats. And I hope to live to avenge their blood; but if I do not I will teach my children to never cease to try to avenge their blood and then their children and children's children to the fourth generation as long as there is one descendant of the murderers upon the earth."Pretty heavy, right? The surprising thing is, Stout's keening oath was pretty typical of the time.
Mosiah Hancock tells how, at ten years old, his father Levi had him place his right hand on the cold bosoms of Joseph and Hyrum in turn, and raising his left hand to the square the kid then swore a similar oath to that of Stout's, "which vow I took with a determination to fulfill to the very letter."
If merely getting even with the killer's descendants was enough for some, others like Orson Hyde were barely able to contain their enthusiasm for bringing on the destruction of their home country:
“Carthage Jail presents a scene of blood, and that blood has not been avenged; and when the time can come, and when it can be ordered in wisdom in the heavenly council, the scourge shall come. And when you see these things come to pass, then rejoice and be exceeding glad.”Orson Pratt, who referred to the enemy Americans as as "bloodthirsty Christians," was downright giddy in anticipation of the coming apocalypse:
“It is with the greatest of joy that I forsake this Republic: and all the saints have abundant reasons to rejoice that they are counted worthy to be cast out as exiles from this wicked nation; for we have received nothing but one continual scene of the most horrid and unrelenting persecutions at their hands for the last sixteen years.”If it seems a bit impatient for the Saints to give up on America after only sixteen years of proselyting, it's worth noting that Apostle Parley Pratt had predicted the second coming would occur by 1845. So America's time was clearly up.
Wilford Woodruff viewed the Saint's abandoning the United States as necessary so that “the judgments of God might be poured out on that guilty nation that is already drunk with the blood of the Saints."
The editor of the Millenial Star wrote:
“and they [the Mormons] will go forth shaking off the dust of their feet upon her [United States], and leaving their curse upon the doomed and fated people and rulers of the United States.”And let's not forget the Oath of Vengeance inserted into the temple endowment by Brigham Young:
"You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children's children unto the third and fourth generation."I've never been quite certain what it means to "defile the temple," but the introduction of something as distasteful as this into a sacred holy ritual would top my list. It would be hard to come up with anything more in opposition to the gospel of peace than to implore God to murder your enemies for you in the very place Jesus Christ purportedly calls Home.
Happily, Almighty God chose not to act on those vindictive supplications, but we shouldn't take that to mean those who offered those imprecations weren't ready to do their part if the opportunity arose. Apostle Abraham Cannon tells how, when Hyrum's son Joseph F. Smith returned to Carthage at age 21, he encountered a man who said he had arrived five minutes too late to see the Smiths killed. Young Joseph F. came this close to knifing the poor guy before learning the man had disapproved of the killings. (Kenney, "Before the Beard: Trials of the Young Joseph F. Smith," Sunstone, November 2001.)
. The Oath of Vengeance was removed from the endowment ritual in 1927, thank goodness. Yet there are some Fundamentalists who take its removal as one more evidence that the everlasting ordinances of the temple have been changed. Just proves you can't please everybody.
Anyway, you get the idea. A handful of men committed a horrendous crime, and the victim's friends couldn't wait to make an entire nation of innocents suffer for it. I couldn't help thinking there was something familiar about all this. Then I noticed the calendar showing Memorial day approaching, which brought back memories of vindictive conversations that took place in my ward priesthood quorum in the weeks following the attacks of September 11th.
Discussions of what should be done to the perpetrators often crowded out the scheduled lesson, with some in the class expressing hope that the U.S military would immediately retaliate. The military did retaliate, of course, and there was no shortage of young latter-day Saints rushing to join the fight.
But fight who? Even if you buy into the conventional narrative (which I don't) that the perpetrators of 9/11 consisted of 19 Arab hijackers armed with boxcutters, the perpetrators of that crime were now all dead by suicide. Justice served, wouldn't you think?
Nope. Those deaths weren't enough to satisfy the bloodlust of most Americans, least of all many of my Mormon brethren. I heard proposals from my fellow Saints wishing our government would just nuke the entire middle east and get it over with. Our nation had been breached by unknown assassins, and they refused to be consoled.
Millions did pay, of course, including many of the young soldiers who so enthusiastically participated in our national revenge fest. A dozen Memorial Days have come and gone since the first cries of vengeance were heard, and today, thankfully, the voices are more subdued. Americans have died in these wars of vengeance. Mormons have died.
And to what end?
The tired bromide that "they fought to protect our freedoms" doesn't quite wash. Look around. While our idealistic young warriors were occupied fighting phantoms overseas, our freedoms have been seriously eroded here at home. And in the cruelest twist of all, the very politicians most vigorously engaged in eroding those freedoms have officially declared returning veterans to be America's newest enemy.
And why not? There is nothing more dangerous to tyrants than a soldier who has awakened to the reality that he has been duped. A former soldier who is fully awake is a threat to the establishment, no matter which party is currently in power.
Is it any wonder the very government agency charged with caring for our returning wounded is dragging its feet and letting soldiers die while awaiting treatment? On The Daily Show of May 19th, Jon Stewart expressed bewilderment:
"Somehow we as a country were able to ship 300,000 troops halfway across the world in just a few months to fight a war that cost us two trillion dollars -an amount that didn't count towards our deficit because we paid for it somehow under the table. Yet for some reason it takes longer than that to get someone hurt in that war needed medical care or reimbursement, all while we profess undying love for their service."And John Whitehead recently noted:
"The plight of veterans today is deplorable, with large numbers of them impoverished, unemployed, traumatized mentally and physically, struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide, marital stress, homeless (a third of all homeless Americans are veterans), subjected to sub-par treatment at clinics and hospitals, and left to molder while their paperwork piles up within Veterans Administration offices."We erect monuments to those who die while serving in the military, but those lucky enough to have made it back are learning a harsh lesson: Their own government really doesn't want them here. You served your purpose. You bought the lie. Now please just go away.
With every Memorial Day that's passed since 9/11, a growing number of Americans -Mormons included- are waking up to the reality that they have been played. Their emotions were manipulated in order to get them to support two wars that have resulted in...what, exactly? Certainly not more freedom or safety. Americans are less free and less safe than ever before, and the dangers we face today don't happen to have originated with some hapless "enemy" living in Iraq or Afghanistan.
As for the brave Mormon soldier, why did his Church leaders not issue a voice of warning against the secret combinations who were conspiring to undermine the country in his absence? Silly question. Because they were in collusion, that's why.
You think that accusation is a bit harsh? Then I invite you to watch a video that was produced by the corporate Church and distributed on DVD to LDS servicemen and their families to coincide with the start of the war with Iraq. With the passage of time, the reassurances contained in this film ring more and more hollow.
"What Is My Standing Before God?"
That was a question posed to Elder Robert Oaks of the Presidency of the Seventy by a young combat soldier struggling to reconcile his religious teachings with the obligation the government had put on him to engage in random shootings. This video, which you can watch here on the official LDS Church website, was intended to assuage the concerns of this young man and others like him. Entitled "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled," it's a blatant propaganda piece that contradicts every legitimate LDS doctrine regarding war ever revealed.
And that's the problem. The film completely avoids addressing doctrinal questions such as where and when it is permissible in the eyes of God for his people to go into battle. The only place I heard the word of God quoted at all was in the title, which was a comforting reassurance Jesus gave to his apostles at the last supper before he left them, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject of war. The purpose of the DVD is clearly intended to reassure the Mormon soldier he need not worry about the consequences of his actions. Let not your heart be troubled, the narrators tell him. Don't worry about it. You're doing God's work.
From start to finish, this presentation is a disgrace to our religion.
The video is introduced by Boyd K. Packer who assures the young LDS soldier that he will receive blessings for serving his country in this difficult time, and suggests that his efforts as a hired killer may even result in missionary opportunities. See son, you're not a mere soldier, you're actually a gol-durned missionary in fatigues! Sure, you may one day be forced to kill an innocent Iraqi family, but look on the bright side: You're helping the Kingdom of God roll forth.
There is an excerpt from President Hinckley's conference talk given in April 2003, a talk that has given Hinckley a degree of posthumous fame as the most equivocating prophet ever in the history of the Church. It was full of useless platitudes, and devoid of any useful doctrine. That talk couldn't have been more insidiously brilliant if it had been written by Lucifer himself. Don't believe me? Go read it for yourself.
The video shows us a short clip of apostle Robert D. Hales speaking before a roomful of young recruits and assuring them "You are the defenders of the constitution."
Really? Defenders of the constitution? I wish you'd walk me through exactly how that works, Bob, seeing as the government that recruited these kids violated article one, section eight of the constitution by failing to obtain authorization from the people through their congress to wage this very war in the first place.
We used to have actual theologians as members of the Twelve, not just former business executives who happened to distinguish themselves in the corporate world. I wonder what Robert Hales would think if he ever got around to reading D&C 98:7 where the Lord declares that, pertaining to the laws of man, whatsoever is more or less than the constitution comes of evil? Non-members can believe what they want, but we Mormons can't have it both ways. According to the revealed word of God, either a war is constitutional, or it's evil. You can't send Mormon kids to fight an unconstitutional war and tell them they're defending the constitution.
Where's The Theology?
My guess is that anyone watching this video on their way to the front is hoping to understand how God feels about the adventure they are about to embark on. Anyone raised properly in the church is bound to have some reservations about being required to kill strangers. Hopefully, this DVD the Church has provided will answer their troubling questions.
But the word of God is never used to bolster the feel-good message of this film. The viewer is introduced to Lance Wickman and Robert Oaks, two general authorities who were once career military men, and they offer their wartime stories about how life in uniform can be both difficult and rewarding. Instead of delivering a message the LDS soldier can use, apparently it was thought the departing soldier could better identify with GAs who once had military careers. Too bad neither of these guys seems to know anything about LDS doctrine as it pertains to the issue at hand.
The message of the movie can be distilled in one sentence: War is dirty, nasty work, but it's unavoidable and necessary, so thank goodness we have righteous young priesthood holders like you to handle that dirty, nasty work that is for some reason unavoidable. Oh, and by the way, thank you for your service.
Although the word of God is never quoted in this video, the twisting of scripture is apparent in several places. At one point Elder Wickman looks into the camera and says,
"Many have asked why so much of the Book of Mormon dwells upon battles and warfare. The answer, I believe, is that Mormon and Moroni understood exquisitely that we would also be forced to contend with war and bloodshed as we strive to live according to the teachings and examples of the master in these last days."Holy cow. Face palm, anyone?
I'm usually considered the dumbest guy in the room, but even I can see that Oaks got the message of the Book of Mormon wars completely inside out. What Mormon and Moroni understood exquisitely was that the record they wrote would one day be in our hands and they wanted to make super duper certain that we did not make the same stupid mistakes their people did. Mormon compiled the record and included all those chapters about war so that we gentiles could understand two essential teachings:
1. God's people have a right and a duty to defend their homes, their families, and their lands from invasion. We are justified in repelling those who invade our homes and lands, even to the taking of life, if necessary.
2. God's people are never, ever, EVER justified in taking the battle into the enemy's lands. When we do that, the enemy is justified in repelling us for invading their homes, lands, and families, even to the taking of our lives.There you go, Wickman and Oaks. I just saved you both a lot of reading.
In Boyd Packer's segment of the video, behind him on the wall we see the famous Arnold Friberg paintings of Book of Mormon war heroes Helaman and Captain Moroni. Packer even quotes a scripture from Alma showing that war is sometimes justified to defend our lands and families. But what he fails to remind the viewer is that these men are heroes because they repelled invasions, not because they led invasions. They did not fight because they chose to, but because they had no choice. Their lands were being overun, so they stood in defense of home and country. And this is the key element: they stood their ground and defended from inside the borders of their own country, not in someone else's.
We honor Captain Moroni as a great patriot not only because he stood up to the foreign enemy, but also because he challenged the corrupt manipulators behind the politicians at home. Tyrants quake at the thought of an army of awakened Moronis returning home.
If Lance Wickman wants to understand why Mormon and Moroni included all that stuff about war, he should have consulted Mormon himself, who tells us explicitly why he stopped participating in the wars with his Nephite Brethren:
"It came to pass that I utterly refused to go up against mine enemies; and I did even as the Lord commanded me; and I did stand as an idle witness to manifest unto the world the things which I saw and heard, according to the manifestations of the spirit which had testified of things to come." (Mormon 3:16)Did you catch that, Wickman? Mormon didn't include those war chapters because he understood we would be forced to contend with war and bloodshed. He did it to warn us to beware of our own pride and hubris that could easily lead us into unnecessary and destructive wars. He included those warnings in hopes we would be able to tell the difference between being forced to go to war and choosing to go to war. His entire personal saga is a warning to us to carefully differentiate between repelling an invader and being an invader.
Here's what got Mormon to throw down his sword in disgust and quit his own army: A large force of Lamanite warriors had crossed over into Nephite territory and, mirabile dictu, the Nephites won the battle! They managed to drive the superior force of Lamanites all the way back across their own borders and back where they had come from.
This unexpected victory drove the Nephite soldiers out of their heads with exhilaration. They had actually beaten back the mighty Lamanites! They started cracking open beers and chanting whatever the Nephite equivalent is to "U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!! (It's all there in Mormon chapter 3, I swear.)
Next thing you know, the Nephite soldiers, full of piss and vinegar after that decisive victory, got it in their heads that they should put their armor back on and cross the border deep into the Lamanite's homeland so they could finish this thing with the Lamanites once and for all. Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out.
That's why Mormon quit, because he knew God does not protect the soldier who is the aggressor, and he refused to have any part in such goings on. That, Lance Wickman, is the lesson we are meant to take from the war chapters of the Book of Mormon. Here is how the Lord himself revealed that doctrine in the latter days:
"This is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them." (D&C 98:33)The Lord goes on to instruct us that this law still holds for us today except that today we have to be extra careful not to take offense. That's the Lord's doctrine on war in a nutshell, and it sure seems plain enough to me.
So what I would ask Boyd Packer, Robert Hales, Robert Oaks, Lance Wickman, Gordon Hinckley, and every other person involved in the making of that little feel-good pro-war disgrace of a video monstrosity is this: Why didn't you include God's word as a counterweight to your own useless, hollow opinions? Why did you leave out the only counsel that would have really mattered to the doomed young man in my former ward who gave his life for nothing, instead of blathering into the camera about how "the military is a noble profession" and "You are mighty men of valor"?
Maybe if you had been honest in your counsel and presented God's will in all this, there might be one less pair of grieving parents in the graveyard this Memorial day; one less young Mormon widow; one or two less fatherless children. You men had the opportunity to tell the truth to those in your charge, and you failed. You made false promises about military service bringing blessings when you know it brings nothing but death, sorrow, and destruction.
How many additional LDS families will forgo the joyous picnic reunion this Memorial day and instead hang their heads with grief over yet another unnecessary loss of a young son or daughter?
I am sometimes accused of being less than deferential to LDS Church authorities."It's wrong to criticize leaders of the Church," Apostle Dallin Oaks smugly asserts in this video, "even if the criticism is true."
Oh Yeah, Dallin? Well, I'll tell you what: You just go ahead and show me where the Lord himself has ever made that statement, and I'll give you a dollar. Otherwise it's not doctrinal, so wipe that smirk off your face, stop making up your own rules, and try preaching the gospel of Christ for a change.
Young, idealistic young Mormon men and women are DEAD because they were taught not to question or criticize Church leaders. Other young latter-day Saints are maimed, divorced, depressed, homeless, and suicidal, much of their troubles traceable to the belief that whenever a general authority opens his mouth, even if it's two-bit lower rung GAs like Robert Oaks and Lance Wickman, their very utterances represent the word of God, the mind of God, and the will of God.
These false teachings are causing real harm to actual, living, breathing members of our community, and they need to stop being promulgated right now.
What we could use from you in the next conference session, Elder Oaks, is a talk reminding the members that the leaders are as human and fallible as the rest of us, and that most importantly, a prophet is only a prophet when he is speaking the words God has put into his mouth, and that ANY OTHER TIME, he is presenting his own thoughts and opinions.
Joseph Smith would not have allowed the members in his day to slather adoration on him, yet you guys lap it up. Joseph had the integrity to rebuke the Saints when he found they were depending upon him and not Christ. He told them that following the prophet was causing them to be darkened in their minds. Do your duty and teach the Saints that whenever a Church leader teaches contrary to the established word of God, that leader should be shunned and ignored, not slavishly followed like some dark-suited demigod.
Okay, I'm not sure where I was going with this blog entry, but it has clearly gotten away from me. I'm going to stop now and go cool down.
When properly observed, Memorial day is rarely a time for celebration, but I wish you all a happy Memorial day just the same.
Love and Light,
A Note About Commenting:Again, I must remind my readers that all comments posting on this blog only as "Anonymous" will be deleted. I hate doing it, so please abide by this rule and spare me the angst.
I respect all reader's wishes to post anonymously, and you may continue to do so as long as at the beginning and/or end of your comment you use some type of unique identifier so that others can tell you from the hundreds of others who tend to post as "Anonymous." With so many commenting under the name "Anonymous," the conversations have become increasingly difficult to follow. It has also become obvious that some of those posting anonymously are often among the most uncivil; rather than engage in intelligent arguments, some of these people tend to get quarrelsome. A civil argument advances the dialogue; petty and immature attacks on other's views do not.
Please note that if you are concerned about your privacy, the drop-down feature that reads "Name/URL" already keeps you completely anonymous. When you post using that method, I don't have the ability to track who you are (not that I would want to) and neither does anyone else. So it makes sense to use that feature if you wish to keep your true identity hidden. All you have to do is place whatever username you wish to go by in the "Name" box and ignore the URL part. Of course, if you want to further mislead others, you can put any link in the URL box you choose, such as Youtube.com, Amazon.com, or LDS.org
Those with Google, Yahoo, Wordpress, and other accounts can choose to post under those accounts, which helps to lead others to your own blog if you have one. But seriously, enough with all these people calling themselves "Anonymous." It's getting to be too much.
That having been said, please join the conversation below.
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Rather than add a section with announcements this month, I decided to go lie down.
But I just came across something that is right up my alley, and should be of importance to many of my readers. Mormon Discussion Podcast is holding a Kickstarter event, and if you're the type of person who reads this blog, you'll want to be involved with Mormon Discussion, as the podcasts are focused on many of the concerns that have been examined here on this blog.
Like many of us, Bill Reel has been through the fires of doubt and come out stronger. He has done a lot to assist believing latter-day Saints to remain in the faith despite the many challenges the modern Church presents.
Take a look at this quick video, and if you can toss Bill a couple of bucks to help the good work along, please do so:
(And if you haven't already heard the interview I did on Mormon Discussion a while back, it's not too late for you to get back in the loop:
Amen Rock, that's all I can say. It is a tragedy that LDS church leaders do not know or preach their own scriptures. It is even worse that they collude with government and shamelessly promote government war propaganda. Someone sent me that video when I was in Iraq. I watched it and I thought, these guys have no clue what they're saying. It didn't bring comfort to me at all, in fact it had the opposite effect. For the first time I began to see the leaders of the LDS church did not know or preach their scriptures. Shame on them.
Thank you for expressing your views. We consider ourselves Joseph Smiths in our own light. Naive and uneducated, we, 6 years ago prayed in sincerity asking God what we should do to help our constitution - at the time naive supporters of the "God Fearing" Pres. Bush.
Little did we expect the whirlwind awakening to our awful situation - and how the Lord to this day has opened our minds and hearts to the Book of Mormon, that we really were naive to until fervently pleading with the Lord to help us understand how to defend the constitution and help our country.
Knowing we are not to trust in the Arm of Flesh, and knowing ourselves the key to perceiving by the spirit and taking him as our guide in all these matters, we are struggling to even want to attend our LDS wards, as we have been carefully without flatter in responding to those who judge us, because we home school, we follow the spirit, we are being told by the spirit to keep our children out of their primary classes, as we feel the saints standards are no longer our standards - in that our standards are higher maybe then the saints at large.
We feel lead many times to read your posts. Thank you for following your own personal revelation, as it can help others like us, who we admit are completely naive, and doing all we can in our weakness to learn by the spirit, as again, this has been a whirlwind, with ups and downs (downs due to our being human and overdoing it at times - ups because of the spiritual awakenings of truth setting us free - rather than a bunch of happy lies we are now realizing exist in the church - not to mention the government).
With that intro, some sincere inquiries maybe you've already addressed - as well as we are reading some of Denver's books, Pontious, etc.. always seeking the spirit.
1. Have you ever felt the spirit tell you to stay away from parts of the church? like us an our young 5 children and primary?
2. When if ever do you feel the spirit loose your tongue? Do you ever feel the spirit tell you to bare witness over the puplit say in fast and testimony, or is it more your experience privately with those the Lord sends to you?
3. We are struggling to sustain men as prophets and seers and revelators after our continued awakenings by the spirit. We can sustain them as presidents and leaders, but have you had a witness they are prophets and apostles called of God?
Thank you, we will stop there...
Jared and Kathleen Smith
Meant to use our joint google account in posting our comment...
Rock, this is some really disturbing stuff that I have been ignoring for too long. Thanks for bringing it to the forefront as we reflect this Memorial Day weekend on the lives of those we've lost.
I wonder if the blood thirst that church members felt after the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum could be traced to a lack of at least a little empathy for those opposed to the church. Not that they shouldn't have felt angry, but sometimes, at least understanding where your enemies are coming from can take the edge off of things.
In my most recent post on the topic of empathy, I referenced the same part of the Book of Mormon where the Nephites became more depraved after loosing loved ones in battle, when that experience could have been a chance to develop empathy for their enemies who were also grieving.
Many of our politicians refuse to even discuss the motives for anti-American sentiment abroad. I fear that until we try to openly talk about why those people hate us, things won't change. No, I don't think we should negotiate with terrorists, but I reject the idea that we can't even examine what it is in ourselves that creates these feelings in others.
I'm off the internet for a few days and there's a new Pure Mormonism essay.
This one looks really good. I have to take some time to read it and think about it before I can respond (intelligently, if I ever have an intelligent response)
Looks good so far, Rock.
I have read this blog for months now, but never posted. I have read hundreds of books and thousands of essays. This was one of the most powerful pieces I have read . . . ever.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to write and speak your mind and your heart. God blessI
Great post, Rock. The good 'ol USA is about the most war-mongering nation around. Here's a link worth checking out: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/05/90-deaths-war-civilians.html
The last time any US soldier fought to defend liberty and personal freedom was in May of 1865, in Texas. It was the last battle of the Civil War, and the ones fighting for liberty weren't wearing the blue uniforms of the Union, but the grey uniforms of the Confederacy.
It is shameful that our "prophets, seers and revelators" refuse to speak out against the work of death carried on throughout the world by the US gov't. I cringe in church when people pray for "our brave men and women in uniform fighting for our freedoms". Nobody in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Kosovo, Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, or dozens of other nations threatens the freedom of Americans (even if we had any freedoms left). War is EVIL. Christ abhors it. The LDS church should be at the forefront calling for an end to war, especially when used as a tool for financial and political gain as has been done by the federal gov't in every conflict since at least the 1846-1848 war with Mexico. (Just an interesting aside, Brigham Young had no problem sending 500 Mormon men away from their families to participate in that endeavor, even while fleeing the Republic they apparently wanted to see destroyed, as you point out. Why? To make some cash! War always has been a racket!)
My appeal just got dropped in the mailbox yesterday. I doubt it's even half way to Salt Lake City by now and I'm already regretting something I wrote. I claimed that I "fully support and sustain the programs, policies and general leadership of the Church". I thought if my membership in the Church were restored, my excommunication for apostasy rescinded and expunged, and the annotation preventing me from serving in the Church removed, THEN all would be forgiven, my faith in Church leadership would be restored, and "all would be well" again in Zion!
But all is not well...and it won't be well.
You blew that happy hope all to hell!
Because, as I read your post, I kept saying to myself:
"He's telling the truth."
"Dang it! That's exactly right!"
"Rock! You're going to get yourself excommunicated!"
And then I thought, why not? Are we not being lead by false prophets indeed?
YES, WE ARE!
How do I know?
Because they sought me out...and excommunicated me before I ever said a word against them. I merely announced my determination to SERVE CHRIST at all costs and to FOLLOW THE TRUTH wherever it may lead, even if it meant POSSIBLY not following them.
Ironically, you and I believe ALL of the FANTASTICAL, TRUTHFUL TESTIMONIES of the restoration. We believe in the word of God, Jesus Christ, and true prophets. We are even willing to tolerate mistakes among the Brethren today. We are charitable!
But as my wife and I lay in bed together talking several nights ago, she said to me: "Why doesn't the Prophet just stand up in General Conference and say 'I'm just like you! I make mistakes, too!'? Why don't they say to the people 'Stop adoring us! Stop standing up when we walk in the room! Stop treating us like we're something 'special'!?"
Why don't they? I don't know. I can't imagine the Lord approves of the adoration they allow themselves to receive.
In my stake, a high priest who condoned my excommunication told me I needed to learn to "bow and kneel to the scepter of their authority".
There is a sickness in the land.
I don't remember Jesus commanding ANYONE to bow and kneed to Him! In fact, in Bountiful -- even after His resurrection! -- He almost sheepishly acknowledged to the Father that the people were worshipping Him only because He was with them, but that the Father actually deserved the praise. (3 Nephi 19:22.)
And Jesus legitimately is God!
Go figure. He who is God deflects praise. They who don't deserve it -- no matter who they are! -- welcome it.
By their fruits ye shall know them.
I forgot to mention, Rock, I was filled with righteous indignation as I finished reading your post...until I saw the Waterman monument.
It reduced me to tears.
One of your greatest posts! Way to stand up to the Brethrenite propaganda machine. Seriously, why can't we Mormons read our own scripture?
I've had the feeling recently that the only reason the judgements of God against the Gentiles prophesied by the Savior in 3 Nephi have not yet come to fruition in their full severity is because, as a nation and a people, we have reduced our killing of our own innocents by a noticeable reduction in elective abortions from about 1.5 million per year to "only" about 1 million per year, and also by the population expressing in opinion polls a desire not to get involved in Syria and the Ukraine, the Democrat-Republican Neocons latest pet projects. Now, many of the LDS are probably glad to see that elective abortions are becoming less popular, even though most of us don't bother to get actively involved in the non-denominational right-to-life ministeries reaching out to women considering abortions.
But how many of the LDS actually support and appreciate the growing sentiment for ) in the US to start minding our own business instead of trying to control the whole world? The only other LDS person I know in my ward (retired military like your father) is someone who is totally inactive, probably hasn't darkened the door of a church in 20 years or more, but realizes that if we would mind our own business perhaps those muslims in the middle east would leave us alone.
You are a hero. I am so grateful for your courage and willingness to see & speak the truth. Things that everyone should be seeing and saying but few are willing to. The Emperor has no clothes, we all know it deep down, thank you for saying it.
I feel so honored and grateful to be able to read your inspired writings. It's very apparent you have the Spirit of God directing your thoughts, writings and life.
The only thing I still can't understand is why you still want to support and stay involved in a Church led by such Gadiantons for so long.
How could God be ok with or want that?
But I salute you and I know you are a truly great soul, one of the few today that we can trust to listen to and learn from.
Thank you so much for probably your best post yet!
And thanks to everyone for their great comments so far!
Amen brother. Amen.
Rock, I can't add anything, but I really appreciate the early church history 'angle'. It's so important, I think, and often forgotten.
The more I read this kind of thing the harder it is to believe that any blessings can be obtained by *us* LDS as a group. Only as individuals, as *we* become humble and desire to follow Jesus Christ.
I have had similar political beliefs (as has my husband; thank heavens we agree) for a long time, but 9/11 was the crucible for me. I believed it was a fraud from the beginning, and I was helpless to know where to turn for any kind of society. There was none for us among our ward members.
I had so much to say, but, as a pariah, I would not be heard.
Even 1990 (or 91) did not 'feel' authentic to me. After some study I determined there had never been a righteous American war, but I'm interested to read about the confederates in Texas (YAY, Texas!)
Thank you for nailing it all down.
As for LDS (corporate) leaders, they are in captivity, and, again, I believe Mormon inserted that part of the record of the Jaredites so we would recognize it when we saw it. Captivity to Babylon, real, not imagined. I feel sad for them.
Chemical and arms companies are terribly, terribly powerful, and there aren't many who earn good incomes who don't benefit in some way.
D&C 98:14 Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.
15 For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.
16 Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children...
It's really worse than this.
Some time ago I found myself deeply troubled as the commander of a military company in the US, knowing the word of God as given in the D&C (and to Nephi and to Abraham) pertaining to his law on war. I also happened to be the serviceman's group leader for my company.
I saw the video you mentioned, and was horrified. Surely I must be missing something, I thought. Well, one day I found myself waiting for a pickup at the SLC airport and lo and behold, who was there waiting for his ride? Elder Wickman.
I engaged Elder Wickman and started to tell him of my concerns. I felt bad for him because I totally ambushed the guy. He took off, but to his credit, through a mutual acquaintance he got back to me via email.
After a series of exchanges where I sent him scripture and he replied with talks he had written, he told me in no uncertain terms that the doctrine of war in the Book of Mormon and D&C "does not apply to us today." He failed to provide a revelation where God said he had changed his mind.
This was a watershed moment for me.
Very good article Rock.
Things aren't much different here in the UK; although I do feel that Parliament's rejection of any British involvement in military action against Syria made Obama think again. So all is not lost.
However, you're right on the money when it comes to the BoM teachings regarding justifiable war and I have been teaching this for some time. It often falls on deaf ears though.
I feel very uncomfortable on Remembrance Sunday (around 11th November) when we remember/honour all those who have given their lives for our freedom. I don't have a problem with this idea (we were under threat from invasion and destruction in WWII), but I cringe when a whole sacrament meeting is given over to this idolatry. I was under the impression that every sunday was a remembrance event, but that the event we remember is the sacrifice and victory of Christ. I persinally don't see why the 11th November should be any different - but I am in a minority.
The Saints need to wake up to the message of the BoM in this regard before we get first hand experience of it.
Nice blog. In 2009 I finally woke up to these things. The scriptural quotes you listed seemed to jump out as I went through the D&C and Book of Mormon back then. This was about the same time I started listening to Ron Paul as well. How could I have been so blind?
Recently, I felt like throwing a book at the Gospel Doctrine teacher when he told the 'milk & stripping' story about Thomas B. Marsh. This story was in the instructor's manual and is often quoted, even by GAs. However after explaining to him privately how Marsh left because he was alarmed that his fellow coreligionists had formed mobs, expelled all the non-Mormons from Daviess County, stolen their property, and burned their homes and towns to the ground, the teacher was dumbfounded yet appreciative to know.
Sounds like the same attitude we have today except we don't have a Thomas Marsh willing to take a stand. Hopefully enough of us can wake up and follow the commandment in D&C 88:79-81 to be warned and then warn our neighbors.
Around 2009 or 10, hard to remember exactly, I made the case to many people, members of the church especially, that God forbids pre-emtive war. I used scriptures to back this up. I thought I was very thorough and conclusive. I made this case to members of the church by private email(as we were on a news paper blog where everyone wasn't LDS). To my amazment, after sharing(all of these chapters should be considered based upon background of what was going on at the time since context is everything)Alma 48:14-16, D&C 31-37, 3rd Nephi 3:20-21 Alma 43:5-9,26-48 and D&C 134:1-2, the response I recieved from TWO members was this: Your argument was "less than convincing". This response from people, supposedly from the same religion as I, was crushing. I realized that, the book of Mormon, although it was the final arbiter(in my opinion) was not anything compared to what modern men lamely opine. It is as if we speak and it raises from our lips to Gods ears, rather than the other way around......revelation wasn't what I believed it to be. Rather, people who "take the honor unto" themselves, are the final arbiter of truth, trumping what humble followers of Christ, or real prophets have revealed.
Just war theory is one of many gospel topics that leave me feeling like a lone man the wilderness. Will we trust in the arm of flesh, or the revelations of God? Human or Godly knowledge?
Sadly,the answwer is the former, rather than the latter, and you(Rock) will likely be tossed out for preferring God over man(mammon)publicly. But, in my opinion you are 100% correct.
When they call you in, let me know. I am no one important(an excavation contractor in Idaho) but I have your back for telling the truth and being honest. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. My phone number is (208)589-7712. And my name really is Irven. God bless you for your candor, honesty and integrity, brother. While you don't have "followers", you have admirers. You are admired for saying what so many of us want or wanted to say, but didn't know how to say or express it.
Ultimately, I know it matters not to you if you are tossed or not. But, everyone needs someone other than just a keyboard warrior to have their back. I have not met or ever spoke to you, but I have your back. Tangibly, not just here on your blog, but in real life. Let me know what I can do. It's the least I can do for what you have done for the truth, with the limited resources you have.
Jared and Kathleen Smith,
I'll give very brief answers to the questions you've asked me above:
1. On at least two occasions Connie received specific and strong spiritual promptings to immediately leave church meetings and she has not felt any desire to return. I have not had a witness similar to hers, but the answers I have received from God amounted to confirmation that, at least for me, regular church attendance is not necessary. This actually came as a bit of a surprise, because I had always assumed that regular attendance at meetings was a way one measured his devotion to the Lord. I've found that I'm more devoted to the faith now that I'm not attending regularly than I ever was when I was an active attendee.
My children are grown, but if I still had young children as you do, I would want them raised in this religion. Unfortunately primary aged children are incessantly exposed to that insidious song instructing them to follow the prophet, and I'm inclined to believe that it may be wisdom to protect one's children from such false teachings.
Because our Sunday meetings are so regularly devoid of the spirit, Some members have written to tell me they prefer to attend more celebratory worship services at other local churches, while continuing to teach their children from the Book of Mormon at home so that their faith in the doctrines of the Restoration is not neglected.
2. I have not been asked to speak in my current ward, ever. I suspect that if my bishop ever saw me walk toward the stand at fast & Testimony meeting, he'd be prepared to cut the microphone.
I have, however, "had my tongue loosed by the spirit" on several occasions, usually as I am writing this blog. The most recent occasion when that happened was as I was preparing this current last night.
3. Neither my wife Connie nor I have received a spiritual witness that the current leaders of the Church possess the type of spiritual gifts normally associated with true prophets and apostles of God.
That does not preclude God from bestowing such gifts on these men at some future time if He decides to reveal his will through them; anything is possible. It only means they don't appear to posses those particular gifts at this time.
I hope those answers were sufficient. Good luck in your continued seeking for truth and light.
Another fine piece on the LDS position of war, Rock. We've been manipulated by our leaders in both the government and the church. Hopefully more people wake up and realize the societal brainwashing that's been affecting just about every institution imaginable, including the "Lord's church."
I do have one question for you, however. When you say you don't accept the "conventional narrative" of 9/11, to what extent do you mean? Do you believe the government may have known something about it and failed to protect us from it, or that they actually perpetrated the act itself? I could be persuaded to accept parts of the former position, but the latter is just too far beyond belief. As tyrannical as our government can be, they are also bumbling and inept. They can't get a health care website right, yet they can get away with the most heinous and elaborate conspiracy in the history of mankind? Not to mention the respectable scientists who have given credence to the official story (by that I mean the basics--Arab terrorists hijacked the planes, the buildings collapsed because of the jet fuel, etc., not necessarily every last detail of the Commission Report). I just can't buy the ridiculous stories the conspiracists have spun about fake phone calls to loved ones from the planes and a cruise missile being launched into the Pentagon in broad daylight. Such theories are despicable in my mind. Not to mention, they take away from the reality that there are people out there with hate in their hearts who would do such terrible things to us. I think it waters down the lesson that could be learned about seeking vengeance when the perpetrators are turned into a hidden, shadowy cabal of government and Illuminati overlords, as opposed to real people with real beliefs and murderous intentions. Really puts that "love your enemies" admonition to the test.
By the way, I recently published my own response to Hinckley's 2003 talk for those of you who are interested. (Connor's was magnificent, by the way.)
As a veteran of 3 wars, Vietnam, Gulf War I, Iraq, I can tell you from personal experience that the cost of war is off the scale compared to the nonsense "benefits" of supposedly "defending freedom" that we are still being propagandized with.
I returned from Iraq in late 2004 and immed. started waking up to the FACT that 9-11 was NOT perpetrated by 19 young men with box cutters. That led me ultimately to see that all my war experiences were just in the service of people who have been trading the blood and integrity and patriotism of our youth for money to line their own pockets. Sickening!
Thanks for speaking the truth.
Why can't our Prophets, Seers and Revelators see these simple truths? Because they are not Prophets, Seers and Revelators, just a bunch of suits who are and have been pretending and making it up as they go along, bolstered by opinion polls. Sickening!
And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: ... Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard? And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves. Behold, I say, is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted? (Jacob 5:41, 47–48.)
To the person who posted anonymously a few minutes ago:
I have a strict policy of deleting comments that do not contain some form of username. This is to avoid confusion, so your comment has been deleted.
You are welcome to repost your comment as long as you use a unique identifier, so I hope you will give it another shot. I'm certain that many of my readers would be willing to engage you on the points you brought up.
Alas, we have come to see what "restoration" really means. The curses spewed out by a generation of "Saints" (now there's a paradox... Saints of Christ cursing their enemies), have been restored to their children's children. The void created by the Spirit's absence is causing "the greatest apostasy since the Kirtland era."
Mercifully, this restoration thing works both ways. What if we were to start blessing our enemies instead of cursing them? What if instead of expecting Armegeddon, we were to hope and plan for a world of peace and tolerance in which Christ could walk among us? That seems like a much more exciting thing to be restored to.
Those who are anxiously awaiting the day that the Church will be cleansed are no different than the people you talked about who cursed the mob, then the state, then the whole country. But it has to start within us individually. I think that in today's day, especially having seen the fruit of the alternative, it would be contagious. That's my hope, anyway.
Mike, you're assuming that just because the conventional story on 9/11 is full of holes, those asking the questions must therefore have all the answers.
All we really know is that the number of glaring anomalies in the official story makes that narrative so ridiculous as to be untenable. In other words, we don't know exactly how it was all pulled off, but we do know that the story we were handed at the time has not held up under investigation.
Are there those who feel they know what really happened? Sure there are. Anyone is free to speculate. But be advised that just because someone has advanced a particular theory on some element of the deception does not mean every other investigator is on board.
Did "The Government" pull off 9/11? Of course not. The government is made up of about two million Americans at all levels. But it's clear that some elements in the government or behind the government, or in collusion with the clandestine elements in the government had a hand in covering up the truth and preventing all the facts from coming forth. Even the 9/11 Commission, the very panel that was charged with sifting through all the evidence and presenting a complete report deliberately chose to exclude the testimony of valuable eyewitnesses, so you don't have to look far to learn there are some people with an Agenda.
Did "The Government" assassinate JFK? Well, JFK was head of the government, so clearly whatever elements of the government may have been involved in his murder chose not to let him in on the plan.
It would be nice if we knew all the who, what, and where of this thing, but we don't and likely never will. Hell, we don't even know what's going on behind the scenes in our own Church because those in control choose not to operate fully in the light.
I'm told by sources close to the Twelve that the President of the Church himself (and not just Monson) is often left out of the loop on certain things for reasons we don't know about.
When I said I don't buy the official story about the alleged hijackers, it's because we now know enough about those individuals to piece together who they were and even who some of their handlers were. Every indication is that they were low-level intelligence assets who thought they were involved in some exciting spy games. They clearly were NOT dedicated religious fanatics, and it's very likely none of them suspected they were going to die that day in order to provide the needed narrative, but that they were taking part in just another clandestine drill.
The word "Patsy" is a government intelligence term meaning someone who is set up to take the fall in an operation. It's telling that before he was killed, Oswald suddenly realized he had been pegged as the patsy all along and he said so to reporters.
Whatever else we know about the 19 hijackers, it's clear they had been unsuspecting patsies themselves.
We can spend hours discussing the holes in the official 9/11 story, but I certainly don't want to hijack my own thread for that purpose. The bottom line is we don't have to know the names of everyone involved in the event or what their role was in order to recognize the official narrative on 9/11 just doesn't work.
Amen brother. Amen.
You should probably include Tommy Monson's interview with the Deseret News where he steadfastly states approval and LDS support of state-sponsored murder. (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/150905/WHILE-OTHERS-FLAGGED-MORMONS-BACKED-GULF-WAR-FROM-OUTSET.html?pg=all)
So, Rock, I understand the Church is reading your blog. I suspect you know this, but you don't mess with the Church on this topic. I fully expect you to be called in soon. You see, the Church has come out in support of he who "reigns with blood and horror on this earth." You don't make public statements disagreeing with this position. It isn't tolerated.
So, if you have to leave, this is a good topic on which to do it. Renounce war and proclaim peace.
May God bless you Rock. Hopefully you'll have peace the days and trials that will come as a result of this post. For surely, difficult times are coming. Again, this is sacred space for Satan. He doesn't take kindly to people who don't go along with his agenda on war.
If Romney is a piss-poor excuse for a Mormon (http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2012/02/piss-poor-excuse-for-mormon.html), Mohammed Atta was a piss-poor excuse for a Muslim. Fond of drugs and hookers, Atta seemed an odd choice to accuse of attacking America out of over-heated devotion to Allah. Ironically, now that America has been pounding away at the Muslim world for the last decade there are thousands of folks who really do hate America just like the 9/11 boxcutter boys were accused of. There are numerous reports of the accused actually being seen alive and well in several countries.
Yes, the post speaks truth to power for me. Ironically again, the phrase 'speaking truth to power' was coined by the Quakers in the 1950's in a call for the US to stand firm against totalitarianism around the world. It's a pity the US is now the most feared aggressor nation on earth--wrapped in a red white and blue cloak of totalitarianism called the Patriot Act. I'm cheering the positive responses the post has garnered so far. Without a doubt you'll get howls of righteous indignation but some common sense voices have had the first say.
I got so involved with my response to you on the 9/11 controversy that I completely forgot to compliment you on that remarkable analysis you did on Hinckley's talk. It's absolutely brilliant must reading, so I hope others here will check it out:
As much as I like Connor's take on it, I was concerned that my public endorsement could taint his reputation. Glad to see there are at least two good reports. I had always planned to to a blow-by-blow analysis of it myself, and I'm glad that now that chore has been taken care of by two capable members.
This talk, of all conference talks in memory, should have been one of substance and value. Instead it has become famous for containing not a kernel of value to the members who so desperately expected something better.
I did consider giving Monson's shameful and undoctrinal words honorable mention here, but the thing seemed to take on a life of its own and so I stopped abruptly before I developed an aneurism or something.
But for anyone here who has not read that interview, I would encourage you to follow the link Andrew provides above. You'll be shocked. Monson was not yet President of the Church at the time, but seeing these boasts and babblings coming from an apostle of the Lord was bad enough, but when one contemplates that he was next in line to be the next president of the church...well, the mind boggles.
Why didn't Monson provide any doctrinal answers to the interviewer regarding the Mormon view of war? I can only conclude he was completely unaware of anything God had to say on the subject. Or he simply didn't care.
As Will Carter noted above, there is a sickness in the land. Too bad it's so palpably evident in our own Church.
On the topic of Monson's willingness to offer Mormons as cannon fodder to the state, I should have also mentioned that Mike's blog, "Mankind Was My Business" also contains a sharp analysis of that shameful debacle also, which he wrote exactly a year ago:
Okay folks. That's enough homework for today. By the time you finish all these assignments, you'll have an adequate view of what real Mormon doctrine used to be, and how it's become distorted or abandoned since at least the 1990s.
amen and amen!!!!!
Well, Rock, on some of your blogs you sometimes seem to have too much of an attitude of "look at me, how smart I am to see all these flaws". Now having "reproved with sharpness", I now offer an outpouring of love, by saying that ON THIS TOPIC, and on all of your war topics, you are absolutely spot on! No need to apologize for anything you have said, in this entry, or any of your previous entries, about war and aggression.
It's a message that the LDS, and all Americans, need to hear.
Regarding Robin Hood's comment about Parliment, lately I've been feeling more affectionate and interested in the Mother country of many of my ancestors, Great Britain, something I haven't really felt before. I just realized that I've been having these feelings mainly since Parliment's rejection of the Syria intervention. As I've stated above, it is this rejection of continuing these wars of aggression by people on both sides of the Atlantic that gives me some hope that we may be able to put off, or even avoid, some of the judgements that have been prophesied.
To Jared and Kathleen Smith, thanks for a reminder. As a Primary teacher in my ward I've felt recently that I'm kind of losing control in my class, and now I know what I need to do, which is to focus more on the Savior in my lessons. As far as that "insidious song", when I first was called to teach, I never heard that song when I was in Sharing Time, and I really liked the Spirit that was there. Then we had a new songleader, who would have us sing it, but with satire of having us all act like robots, with robot motions to the song. I don't know if any of the kids (or other adults) got the satire, but I sure did, and it was actually the only thing that made the song palatable to me. Now we have another song leader, and when we sing that song it is just like the servile propaganda that it is, and whereas I really used to much prefer Sharing Time to priesthood, now it does not make any difference. As I told a fellow quorum member today only semi-jokingly, I might as well go get the false doctrine in priesthood as the false doctrine of Sharing time.
I appreciate your response and the kind words about my blog, Rock. I too was not interested in turning these comments into a 9/11 debate, so I will leave it at that. I was just curious about your position.
Well the thing that amazes me is that whenever a major national upheaval occurs, do the alleged LDS "prophets" ever have anything prophetic to say? Nope. After 9/11 they were admonishing youth to only have one ear pierced.
Also, can someone address this: Are we getting played with the bible like how iraqians get played with the koran? My cynic radar pings whenever cia agents like alex jones quote from the bible. I feel the cia uses the bible for sinister purposes and that is one of the few reasons why i still believe its possible the BoM is true.
25 Now the servants of the king fled; and the servants of Amalickiah raised a cry, saying:
26 Behold, the servants of the king have stabbed him to the heart, and he has fallen and they have fled; behold, come and see.
27 And it came to pass that Amalickiah commanded that his armies should march forth and see what had happened to the king; and when they had come to the spot, and found the king lying in his gore, Amalickiah pretended to be wroth, and said: Whosoever loved the king, let him go forth, and pursue his servants that they may be slain.
I, too, don't want to bring up 9/11 again, and I'm sorry I did in the first place.
from these scriptures in the Book of Mormon (Alma 47:25-27, and that is just the kernel of it)
I realized that there are always 'false flags'. Always. There always have been. It's so easy to have real 'enemies', but often there is no such thing. Often the real enemies are among our *own* people.
Collectivizing (which the Nephites did very well) allows people to have a group they can loathe or despise or consider to be enemies.
I don't agree with everything Todd Compton writes, but I do like his "spirituality and outcasts in the Book of Mormon"--
The fact that the Nephites openly despised the Lamanites could perhaps have been much of the problem.
When I was a student at Utah State in 1970 I can remember how most of the Euro-American Mormons called the great number of middle eastern students who were attending "camel jocks"--
I felt the disrespect of it then and realized that it helped to prepare the sons and daughters of those students not to question war against them in their own country 20 years later.
Attitudes do matter.
What I am eager to find out and what nobody can know now is whether or not there was a masonic mole in the "land of Zion" during the time that Joseph and Hyrum were being set up (yes, I think they were) to be murdered.
And did that mole (or more than one) go west with the 'saints'?
I would not be surprised. As much as I dislike Brigham Young I wouldn't be foolish enough to accuse him of it--
As for primary, that is how we had our TRs threatened, when one of our very special needs children was not able to sleep on Saturday night, because of the trauma of going to primary with peers who were easily 5-8 years ahead of her--
and we went to the PP and asked what she thought we could do, and she looked at her handbook and suggested that we teach her alone in an empty room (there was one) in the building--
the bishop found out and came racing down the hall during one of our 'classes' to tell us that we were not following the handbook and we were insulting his wife (who was her teacher at the time), and the "PP doesn't know what she is talking about."
We were aghast. He dragged along his very young counselor at the time, who looked close to tears. The pain in his eyes was very real.
We were stupid enough to talk to the SP who completely defended the bishop.
"offending my little ones" doesn't go over very big with Jesus.
Within a few short years the bishop was dying of cancer (and apologized tearfully; it was sweet to take his hand and tell him he was fully forgiven)--
the SP had had a stroke and was most paralyzed--
and that counselor is now our bishop and one of the most loving men we know; he thinks a lot of our family.
There is much more to the story. I highly sympathize with everyone who has 'left'; I highly sympathize. There are other things that have happened that I would never discuss on here, but Father and Jesus have a way of seeing that justice is done.
Sorry this is so long. Anything more I say will identify me too much, and I have been told by the Lord not to do that and to try to stay in the church. I wish those on here who want *us all* to leave would respect the personal revelation that *all of us* receive. I respect theirs. I would like them to do the same for me and not cajole. They are worse than missionaries. LOL!
As to following the prophet, I taught my children to think, "Savior" when everyone else sang "prophet"--
and my daughter who taught primary for 6 years left out all the schlock she didn't feel good about in teaching little ones. I was very proud of her. That song is a joke--
(follow the prophet)
IF anyone reads this far, I have appreciated so much reading what everyone has to say--
Rob--thank you for the frank recount of your discussion with Wickman. Doesn't apply to our times--
Robben, thank you for the insight about Thomas Marsh; I was always suspicious of that story, even when very young.
Robin, thank you for your 'over there' perspective.
What do you think of Nigel Farage?
I don't agree with everything he says, but he certainly does seem to care more about Britain than about trying to take care of the entire world.
Elder Wickman was always very nice to me whenever I went down to his house in Poway, CA to spend Christmas with his family. He was my first Bishop, and he baptised me, and confirmed me, and the Priesthood line of his sons is the same as mine own, at least until I left the Church by choice. His sponsor of power was Elder Ashton, and when he was finally put into GA positioning the Brethren liked him very much. His corporate lawyer training allowed him to take over the law division of the Church, which meant that he was always at every council the Brethren ever held as a legal advisor.
Very nice. Very loving. But also a total and complete COB robot. If he said those things, they were said for and to him before, and because they were, he believed those things totally in his heart. As I haven't heard otherwise, even after he was retired from Seventy status, he was asked to continue as, and still is today, head of the legal department of the Church.
He did win a purple heart in Viet Nam, by the way. He was an officer via ROTC. He knew the agony and murder that war is. You can't take that away from him. Please don't try.
Steven, thank you for humanizing Elder Wickman.
I just wish he hadn't said anything about the crying old Viet Nam vet in the dirty khakis at the memorial--
and how they weren't all like that--
Not all humans are 'pretty', but all are loved of God.
I have always believed it would be a hard and somewhat 'damning' job to be a general authority.
An OLD friend of mine (last spoke with over 40 years ago but then a good friend) was just made a 70, and I am still staggered by it--
I knew him when, and . . .
I fear what has been done to him to make him into what he is now.
I think sometimes these men have to compartmentalize their lives. I knew, very well, another 70 who is now emiritus--
and it's hard to believe that he would go along with all the 'stuff'--
but I knew him before--
Great stuff Rock. A bit of an aside, you said, "William Shepard is co-author (with Michael Marquardt) of Lost Apostles, the latest must-have book on Mormon History that you likely won't find at Deseret Book. Find out why by reading this free excerpt."
I have some credit on my amazon acct and have been thinking about a book to purchase. How good is Lost Apostles?
Hey, you forgot everybody's middle initial. I'm pretty sure that's some kind of sacrilege.
Three of my own posts came to mind as I read this essay.
Regarding the oaths and prayers of the early saints to do away with the USA, a recent post of mine indicated that this nation would cease to exist at some point and be replaced by another nation. See:
The scattering of Israel ain’t over, yet
Regarding captain Moroni's actions, see:
The significance of captain Moroni
And regarding criticizing leaders, see:
Evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed
Lost Apostles is really, REALLY good. Usually if I mention or review particular books on this site it's because I'm pretty much in a relationship with them.
Seriously, with Lost Apostles you'll learn stuff you never imagined.
I have no doubt that Robert Wickman is a really nice guy who I would probably find common ground with. But there's something about the nicest people that, when they get a little authority in the Church, something often changes.
Paul Toscano, who as a Senior Editor at the Ensign came to know most of the Twelve on a personal basis, has said that indivdually they are all fine and good men. The problem is that when they get together, they behave like a corporation.
And, lest we forget, a corporations is a collection of humans with all the humanity removed.
Deliberately leaving out their middle initials when referring to general authorities is my petty little act of rebellion.
A thousand thanks once again for reminding us of where to go for those important and informative essays. As I've told you in the past, often I've tried to recall where I read some brilliant analysis, and invariably it turns out I first read it at LDS Anarchist.
Your site is a veritable treasure trove, and we are fortunate to have it at our fingertips.
I'm heading over there right now to read the links you provided above.
I get that this post is really about the inappropriateness of pre-emptive war (which I agree with you on).
But aren't the early Saints' petitions to the Lord, and their own desires, for vengeance consistent with Old Testament and Book of Mormon doctrine that the Lord will avenge the blood of the prophets.
Even Christ said in relation to the unjust judge, that God will avenge his elect.
I agree that a Saint should not take vengeance into their own hands but is it wrong to ask God for vengeance/justice?
The scriptures seem to indicate that God is in favour of balancing the books in his own ways and own time. Is it wrong to plead with God to follow though with His promises?
You say that God didn't listen to the pleas of the early Saints. I'm open to the idea that you might have some clear revelation on God's will and actions in this instance.
However, some might point to the Civil War and its attendant atrocities contained particularly in Missouri and Illinois as a fulfillment of God's justice for the privations of the Saints and the murders of the Smiths.
What an excellent post. Once again you say what I think, only you say it better and add information I did not know.
I was taught that war of agression was evil by my parents. It is plainly taught in our scriptures. Unfortunately, it is againt my religon but not my church.
I can sustain my leaders by providing my sincere discent when they are going down the wrong road. (When moved upon by the Holy Ghost.)
For example, if my Bishop said: "I think we should start marrying 14 year old girls." I would lovingly say, "Bishop, this is not something The Lord would want us to do." This is one of the best ways we can sustain our leaders. This is why some of us should stay in the church. We have an opportunity and "calling" to sustain our leaders. They most definetely need our help.
I am not likely to be asked to talk in church or hold a leadership calling any more. They know I am not a conformist. I can still have some influence and my intention is to be alligned with Gods will.
Thanks to everyone who is contributing to the discussion.
Jeff, I really don't twit the Saints for offering up prayers of imprecation to the Lord. It would be odd if they didn't turn to him and pray for justice.
What I found disconcerting was that these calls for vengeance grew until those calling for blood desired to see it exacted upon innocent people who had taken no part in the killings. That takes the thing out of the realm of justice and into a blind desire for revenge -any revenge, no matter on who it falls.
Just as the Nephites were justified in driving out those who had come to do them harm, so it was inappropriate for the Nephites to then cross the border into enemy lands where some of the people living there, who had not taken part in the invasion, might fall by their swords.
Still, I have long been inclined to the view, as you suggest, that the War Between the States may have been evidence of God's dispensing some measure of vengeance on the young nation.
His spirit seems to have been withdrawn from those on both sides, and the utter insanity of it all points to the possibility that the spirit of God was absent from many of the participants, who continued to push forward and continue a war in which neither side had anything to gain. (the belief that the Northern soldiers were motivated by a desire to free the Negro is a myth, as is the belief that the Southern soldiers were fighting to preserve the institution of slavery.)
Somewhere in my cache of books I never got around to reading is the LDS classic "The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith." My understanding is that the author of the book tracked down what happened to the various participants in the mob at Carthage. I believe he shows that all or most of them came to very unhappy ends, so it would seem that the actual individuals involved the deed may have met a measure of justice in this life after all.
I have heard that very early in the Civil War the Carthage Greys, the ones who had been charged with guarding the jail to make sure the prisoners were not harmed, but who had stood aside and permitted the mob to rush the stairs, met a macabre end.
As we know, the typical Union soldier war blue while the southerners wore grey. Still, it was common for local militias to wear the uniforms of their various home militias instead of swapping them for the same uniform everyone else was wearing.
Well, the Carthage Greys, (from Illinois, which sided with the Union forces) went into battle wearing their uniforms which happened to be -you guessed it- grey. That resulted in some of their fellow Union soldiers mistaking them for Rebels, which was the color of the Confederate uniform, and they were all shot down by friendly fire pretty much before the war had barely started.
That's how I heard it, anyway. I mean some day to find out more about that.
I have only read halfway through "Junius and Joseph: The Assassination of a Mormon Prophet", but I understand that later chapters name names of the wicked participants at Carthage and, I assume relate the fates of those men. We need not assume God stayed his hand.
Do you believe the Lord never sanctions going into enemy land, based on Moroni's counsel? Should Allied Troops have stopped at the German borders, and negotiated a peace with Hitler, effectively allowing him to sty in power? As the Japanese never invaded the US, when should we have sought peace in the Pacific to be in compliance with your interpretation of God's law on war? (Perhaps when the Phillipines -- which were a US territory -- we're liberated?)
I too would love to see Christlike leadership from the top, with GA's willing to seek and give the church and the world counsel from God even if it runs counter to the political leadership of the US. But using the recent foreign policy debacles as a straw man is too easy. Apply the same logic to more 'respected' effort, and tell me you would hold the nation to the same strict standard.
CSM, the Philippines and Hawaii are evidence of the growing US empire. Why was there a naval base in Hawaii? How did the Philippines become a US possession? What right does a government have to defend territory which was taken by force in the first place? If you aren't sold on the 100% Hero version of Dubya Dubya 2, maybe you could look into a few events that will shed light on the motives of the Allies—the pre-war ABCD countries, Pearl Harbor, Dresden, the Middle East in general—there are plenty more, and plenty of info out there.
People are forgetting that the Nephites and Lamanites were the only people on this continent. In today's world the situation becomes much murkier. Are we going to allow terrorists to sneak into our country and make attacks without a response? Rock has really over-simplified this question of warfare.
To expand on Isaac's response, since, as you admit, the Japanese never invaded the U.S., what justification do you see for the U.S. to having invaded Japan?
The proper response to a criminal act within our borders is to go after the perpetrators of that act and bring them to justice. It's a matter for the police, not the entire weight of the US military.
The 19 supposed Hijackers met their fate, and even had they escaped, 15 of them were Arabs and the other four Egyptian and Lebanese. Why then did we feel justified in taking out our anger on the Iraqi people?
You may feel I have oversimplified things, but I have merely cited the Lord's rules of engagement as contained in D&C section 98. The entire section deals with any contingency, so you may want to read it in its entirety. Yes, Jesus asks something more of us than giving in to a gut reaction to blindly retaliate, but overcoming our natural tendencies seems to be the requirement for followers of Jesus Christ.
If, after reading that section, you conclude that God failed to see into our day and recognize the complexities we face, why don't you go to him and ask him if he has changed his mind?
I'm not the guy you should be addressing your concerns to.
If Rock has oversimplified the question of warfare what are we to make of the explicit instructions in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants against wars of aggression? Could they mean something besides what they appear to mean? If so, by what authority are we to reinterpret them?
I think I am the only one on here who believes that early Mormons may also have had blood on their hands and that their behaviors may have contributed to the murders of Joseph and Hyrum.
As with the scripture I quoted yesterday--
it is extremly common and always has been for men of power to set up others to take the blame for their own machinations. I doubt very much that all the facts are known about everyone who had a hand in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum.
True, it does sound as though the Carthage Grays got 'theirs'--
but one of the most powerful ways of controlling people is to find them a common enemy and to destroy their beloved leader--
then they are putty. The Mormons after Joseph's death were putty--
in whose hands? That remains to be known, but someday it will be known.
shouted from the rooftops--
in the meantime, it's not a wise thing to collectivize ("mormons were good; non-mormons were bad" or "Americans want freedom; other people just want to destroy that freedom")
I lived in Asia, Japan to be exact, as a missionary. I loved talking to the old people, and I met many of them; I became very close to many of them. Several shared their stories with me about life in Japan before, during and after WWII--
it is so completely different from anything that anyone has ever been taught in America or in Hollywood films that it is atounding.
They are human beings. Some of them I look forward, very much, to seeing again. I think about them all the time. They shared lovingly, honestly, their feelings of deep fear of America and *her* power--
and the mighty American soldiers, etc.
I learned quite a bit about how few resources Japan has. No, I'm not defending their aggression in Asia, at all. It was wrong. But there is a reason that millions of Japanese fled Japn in the early to mid-1900s. They were hungry. They didn't have enough food or enough land to grow enough food--
they could only feed so many people from the ocean. They went elsewhere to find food. Would *we* have done anything else?
Few Americans are aware of how American corporations have r@ped and pillaged 'third world' countries--
in order to enrich themselves. It wasn't hunger that caused that--
if you want to know what I'm talking about:
It is very common for American corporations (along with American pre-military or quasi-military/CIA, etc. groups) to go into a nation, decimate it, use its young people who are dissatisfied and indoctrinate them to be used--
and then leave them in chaos and later invade them openly, because "they can't manage themselves, and their leaders are corrupt."
and that is if you don't believe FDR had previous knowledge of Pearl Harbor (and suppressed it)--
and if you think that the two most Christian cities in Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) deserved to be decimated by nuclear weapons (America was the first to bestow that 'blessing')--
no, they weren't taking out munitions factories, either--
mostly civilians were killed. One of my companions was there when it happened. She had very bad dreams at night.
My father was in the occupation; he never killed a Japanese person.
He loved the Japanese people and wept when I was called there, for joy.
One of my American companion's fathers did kill some Japanese, and when she received her call, he said, "this is a sore trial indeed that you should have to go and preach to those hateful people."
You can draw your own conclusions.
It is looking to me like the Book of Mormon was just made up by Joseph Smith, but even so, there is much truth in it, especially dealing with war.
But I think there are times when people or nations are justified, even obligated, to try to protect or save people in other nations who are being hurt or imprisoned by their leaders.
Normally we don't just force our way into our neighbors house, or nation, but if that neighbor is abusing their wife and she was calling for help, then wouldn't other's be justified and obligated to enter and help her? Of course.
The police after all only have the same power we have and gave them, to do the defending for us.
I think the same could apply to a nation, like Germany, when Hitler was killing the Jews.
But there are many ways to save people or negotiate with leaders in other countries then maybe outright war and invading their country.
But I don't believe America has any special protection or right to speak, for it was founded on invading and taking over the lands that were already settled by the American Indians.
At best we could have negotiated with them to live here in peace with them, but we just took their lands and destroyed many, if not most of them and treated them horribly. So until we repent and make restitution for that I don't see America has having any special protection or help from God.
I don't know if you will see this, but I can't respond on your blog--
and I read it regularly.
I think it's interesting that when the Nephites became really proud they persecuted the true believers--
even within the church; the prideful within the church . . .
in the case of the Zoramites, the wealthy ones did cast out the poor ones.
There's something for everything in the Book of Mormon. :)
I'm sorry you are experiencing this.
I served in the active Army for a bit over 7 years. So glad I never had to kill or injure a fellow human being.
While reading your post I kept saying to myself that I see nothing to disagree with and you're going to get excommunicated over this. Of course, that's not a reason to remain silent.
Yours is one of the few blogs I still frequent. Thanks for the study and effort you put into your posts.
That's an inspiring story, PNW.
And I'm glad you mentioned that Japan had been offering to surrender for months, but the American government refused to recognize their offers to submit.
The Hatred that many in America felt toward the Japanese people at that time is difficult to imagine today. As LDS Dper pointed out, the population of Japan in general was kind and peaceful. It was the Imperialists in the government at the time who would stop at nothing to foment war, much like our Neocon politicians today.
Even so, the Imperial Japanese Fleet had no interest in engaging the United States. They were essentially pirates, pillaging and raping China and Burma for raw materials.
I appreciate your analogy of hearing a neighbor's wife being abused and calling for help to be rescued, but no such plea from the citizens of either Iraq or Afghanistan were forthcoming. Elements of our government made the decision on their own to interfere with what, in retrospect, was domestic tranquility compared to the mess we made of things once we went charging in.
We know now (and in fact, it was evident beforehand) that these wars were motivated by greedy manipulators behind the scenes who wished to have control of Iraq's vast oil reserves, and that they needed the ability to run a pipeline through Afghanistan.
Retired General Smedley Butler (still the most decorated American soldier in history) came to the realization that every war he had fought had been done to enrich the money powers.
If Americans had wanted to rescue the Jewish people living in Germany, they had only to accept the Jewish immigrants who sought asylum here. But President Roosevelt would not allow any more Jews to land in America, and prevented any immigrants from coming ashore here.
Things were no different anywhere in Europe; the Jew was not wanted. And so, with nowhere to go, the German Jews were stuck in Germany, where they were eventually kidnapped into slavery, put to work in concentration camp factories and forced to labor making supplies for the armies that killed Americans.
A little compassion on the part of the Americans would have saved some American lives, even the lives of those who hated Jews.
Rock, thanks for this post. I read it during Sacrament Meeting, while trying to forget the opening prayer thanking God for all the lives given "to protect our freedoms", to not hear too many of the platitudes in the first talk, or a new missionary's farewell talk about marketing, team playing and "the church", but nothing about Jesus Christ.
Thank you for the hand in getting through that meeting (that tore at my heart, even though I didn't listen to most of it), and for speaking the truth the way you do. I respect you for it.
Now, I'm trying to decide if I really need to go watch that servicemen's video, or if it would just be the last straw . . .
Ive come to believe that these wars are supported because people are stirred up with all the sentimental twaddle from religious books like the bible, koran and yes the BoM. The CIA is behind a lot of that religious fervor from both christians and muslims it seems to me. But I know that is hard for ppl to hear. Its hard for me to say, cuz i really want to believe in Jesus and all of that.
Also, Im still reading thru Daymons book that adresses how that endowment ceremony came to be, but these vengeful vows mormons were saying doesnt reflect any better on that satanic temple ceremony some of u folks participate in on the reg.
Great post Rock!
One thing that really bothers me is how people have been brainwashed into believing they "serve" in the military and that they are doing a 'service" while doing so.
How so? They get paid(with stolen money) to kill or wound other people(their neighbors whom they are commanded to love) and destroy their property because some thugs in power says they are the enemy.
How is that service?
I haven't looked up all the links in your post. But and if what you are pointing out about the teachings of the GA's are true, then I salute you.
I like to think somewhere along the path of every individual's spiritual journey they will seek God and God alone. I can understand the "leaven" and potential danger in undoctrinal teachings. For my own sanity however, I have to maintain hope that hopefully all this is a trial from God. If GA's teach undoctrinal matters then it is the duty of the Saints to discern so by the Spirit and dismiss such teachings from their lives. Not everybody is spiritually mature. Yet I wonder why cultivating an ear for the Spirit is not more emphasized at Church. A more extreme example would be to propose that when individuals come into the Church, more emphasis is placed on learning to discern teachings by the Spirit. And certainly not letting people get baptized if they really don't know how to talk with God...not because we shun people, but because that skill is very important in order to enjoy religion. It is essential.
I've seen from your previous posts that you are familiar with Denver Snuffer. On his blog he recently posted how perhaps slavery was something God used to accomplish some greater purpose. Perhaps the Saints being subjected to undoctrinal teachings has some benefit that is currently not seen.
I've been reading several blogs and articles about the Church these last couple of months. I've seen pro arguments and what perhaps under an orthodox view are considered "anti" arguments. I've been an RM for nearly a year now, and after that Church assignment I've taken a long search to reevaluate my faith, since a lot of things I experienced on my mission did not resonate with me at all: but most of all, as I mingled with companions from all walks of life, I discovered that my own beliefs and paradigm of the Gospel of Christ did not make very happy, and perhaps weren't true.
There comes a point where one must choose to follow the Holy Ghost no matter where it takes you (while being aware of your weaknesses, and relying on Christ's grace) or follow the leaven of undoctrinal teachings.
Anyway, the reason I am writing all these is simply to convey that I somewhat know where you are coming from and sympathize...(or at least I think I do lol :P) I've felt the way you felt why writing this post, and at times continue to do so.
I've been following your blog for some time now. I don't think I've ever made a comment, but perhaps I have. Hope for the best for you and look forward to you next post and to continue to learn from you. Thank you.
Things were no different anywhere in Europe; the Jew was not wanted. And so, with nowhere to go, the German Jews were stuck in Germany, where they were eventually kidnapped into slavery, put to work in concentration camp factories and forced to labor making supplies for the armies that killed Americans.
Those are Rock's words, and I wanted to quote them, because few people realize that it was the powers that be in Europe and America, who sent the sons of poorer people to be killed--
who would not give refuge to Jews. There were many Jews who died from privations before they even went to camps.
And . . .
Hawaii did not really want to become a state; even now there are many pressing for independence.
One of my elderly Japanese friends, long, long dead; he was really old when I knew him, and, PNWDPer--
I was in Japan 40 years ago . . .
was a Christian minister; for his religious differences the Japanese militarists/imperialists sent him to Manchuria to a prison camp during the war, for fear he would 'infect' his followers against the emperor, etc.
They were very quick to hurt *their own*.
The things he suffered there were unspeakable; he came home to find his wife dead of starvation, his son having been killed in the war (as a soldier), and his daughter having taken her own life, with no home and no family.
He was very alone. I visited him as much as I could, and there was an unusual bond between us. He loved the Book of Mormon. He never joined the church, but he attended our meetings, and he very much was drawn to the Book of Mormon. I called him 'grandfather' in Japanese; he was old enough to be my grandfather. He had such light shining from him. He was a man who knew God personally.
Very few people realize how much the Japanese suffered.
I like to think of all the reunions they have had, long since.
Same with the Jews. Mostly dead now; imagine the joy of reunion.
Excuse my sentimentality, but this is how I tend to think.
Thanks for your experience, fellow DPer--
my home teacher's wife's first husband (never LDS) drank himself to death after serving in Japan during WWII; she told me once that his commanding officer told him to shoot an entire household, in case there were any dangerous people there. Only women and children, who pled for their lives.
Begged him. He shot them all.
I'm glad your father and uncle were such good men. There are good men and women in the world, everywhere. Wars are set up to hurt good people and condemn the bad.
@JP, there was a time when the Spirit was really powerful in the church, among many who were gathering.
I remember it well. SO many people who now have 'moved on' to focus on Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon joined the church during that time or served missions during that time.
Yes, learning to discern the Holy Ghost used to be a very high priority topic.
I admire the young people who can remain in to help those who are struggling.
If someone gets cast out, Father and Jesus will take care of him/her.
But some of the young people I see leaving in droves are actually very self-righteous and aren't seeking Jesus. Aren't focusing on the Book of Mormon.
My husband and I chose about 5 years to focus on the Boof of Mormon, alone, not using any scriptures to back it up or shore it up or confuse it.
It has made a huge difference in our lives.
I hope you won't let go of the Book of Mormon and of Jesus Christ--
those who are honest seekers will eventually find Jesus; I believe that. Those who want to hurt others (one young man I know who delights in drinking before his wife whom he took to the temple as an RM, he, just wants to provoke and hurt, not seek the truth)--
it's important that a distinction be made; some literally just want to make others unhappy; others want the truth and nothing but the truth, and they will go on Mormon blogs and find it.
I really admire and appreciate Rock's courage and honesty.
oops, JP (or anyone)
That's BooK of Mormon, not Boof--
How do you know the leaders of the United States did not consult god before embarking on the Iraqi and Afghani wars? You are not privy to their intelligence gathering, their deliberations, or anything else. It seems you are judging something you know nothing of...a book by its cover if you will. It is their stewardship to decide whether this country goes to war or not. Your only concern is if you, yourself will go or not. Why do you worry about so many things that do not concern you?
One of my favorite war stories my dad tells is of one of his older brothers in WWII. My uncle came around a bend just as a German soldier came around the bend. My uncle shot first and mortally wounded the other man. But it's what happened next that has stayed with me. Instead of feeling triumphant, my uncle felt remorse for the blonde-haired blue-eyed boy about the same age as he was. My uncle went over to the fellow, cradled his head in his lap and wept while he died.
What our leaders do is very much our concern, to know if we should continue to support them or not, or we will be partly held accountable for their wrongdoing if we supported them in it.
We must be able to discern whether their actions are just and righteous or not and I don't believe that's as hard to do as you make it sound. I think it's very easy actually when you compare them with Christ's teachings.
Thank you for responding to my post. I totally agree with you and understand what you are saying. Only righteous nations are willing to help the abused and unfortunately ours nor others weren't righteous and thus wouldn't help the Jews as needed.
And I agree that we didn't have any business going into Iraq or Afgan., at least not for the reasons our Government gave. And we surely didn't help the people there out, just made things worse it seems. I agree it was all about greed.
Why does this alleged loving God allow all of this to happen? These stories ppl are sharing give me the sads. I dont know how i could go on if I was in Kevin's uncle's shoes. I dont like guns.
"Apostle Dallin Oaks smugly asserts in this video, 'even if the criticism is true.'
Oh Yeah, Dallin? Well, I'll tell you what: You just go ahead and show me where the Lord himself has ever made that statement, and I'll give you a dollar. Otherwise it's not doctrinal, so wipe that smirk off your face, stop making up your own rules, and ***try preaching the gospel of Christ for a change.***
Wow Rock, tell us what you really think. I mean, we're all friends here so don't sugar coat it.
So you don't support our nations leaders in regards to war...fine, that is your choice. I really don't think you have enough information to definitively declare that their actions are wrong. Your response is limited to what your involvement will be. Our leaders don't care what you think, and it will not change their minds.
It is easy to be an armchair leader.
I know that in the twentieth century the United States got involved in two world wars that didn't directly involve us. Yet we provided the tipping point in each case that won the war and stopped global tyranny, and mass killings. By Rock's strictest scriptural interpretations this was the wrong thing to do.
I worked in a nuclear missile unit in Germany in the eighties. We helped bring about the demise of the Soviet Union. The presence of American forces in Europe, and our strong resolve, sent a message to communism. We gave peace a chance, and it worked. Freedom is not free, and any man that thinks he can hide his head in the sand, and be justified behind scriptures is very wrong.
Just a bit of trivia: I have a 1909 hymnal and in Praise to the Man, the 2nd verse reads, "long shall his blood which was shed by assassins stain Illinois while the earth lauds his fame." Then they changed it to "plead unto heaven." A bit softer...
Communism is not dead. It is alive and well in the U.S. Little by little and now by huge leaps, *our* freedoms are nearly gone.
You are working from the premise that things are 'all right' in the U.S. and that the U.S. is morally superior.
I think there are different ways people can 'hide their heads in sand'--
I don't think you've done the research that some on here have done with regards to the evil U.S./British empire and all the damage that has been done around the world.
Communism has never been a good idea but it had the complete support of global corporations in Russia in the early 1900s. They never left; they were over there working the entire time the 'wall' was up.
Same thing is true for Germany. It was an American corporation that kept the records (on primitive computers) of the Jews who were being 'detailed' in camps.
Representatives would go over and check the machines from time to time, see the atrocities and shrug. It was business as usual for U.S. corporations.
And there is 'peace' now? What kind of peace?
@engaged, I feel your pain. The world is a horrible place to live. It's easier for some than for others. There are babies who die every day from hunger, and some of that hunger has been caused by greedy men/women. Well, probably most of it. It's always been a terrible, bloody world.
*I* believe that it's a test. I believe that we have two choices.
We can either believe in Jesus Christ and believe that He, somehow, personally experienced all the horror, take His Name upon us and choose to follow Him, trying to alleviate suffering as much as it is in our power--
or we can curse God and die Decide there is no God and--
just be angry. I really don't see any other choices.
But, back to Little Rock, I really don't think you understand history, and I think you are probably very highly enculturated into a certain way of thinking. The fact that you worked with nuclear weapons in the 1980s is very telling about your perspective.
We can either acknowledge that we live in a flawed world (including our own nation/culture/even religion)--
and accept that things are not always what they appear to be and follow Jesus--
or we can continue to pretend that the U.S. is a great place to live and that we are, somehow, 'better' than those who don't live here--
I don't believe that anymore. I don't think God ever has.
He loves those children who are starving to death, and He remembers why each of them is dying--
and who is causing their pain.
What would be the point of heaven if greedy people who don't repent can go there for simply professing a particular religion.
Those little children who die every day, those young people who are abused in unspeakable ways, etc.--
have trials the rest of us can't comprehend, but it seems there is no doubt where they will go when they die.
That's my belief. It's simple. I stick with it.
As for the church, I believe much of it is extraneous, kind of 'busy work'--
but the Book of Mormon is found there--
and I am grateful I have been a part of it to know that book as well as I do.
I need to work harder to know it better.
I've only read it about 30 or 33 times in my life, and I am pressing to read it more, understand it better and not allow it to be overshadowed or influenced by the bible--
@engaged, I often lay awake at night, sad because I can't take all of those starving babies and feed them. I feel so helpless.
Nobody can 'force' anyone else to believe in God--
but there are times when I think it's important for some of *us* who know God is real (through experiences we have had)--
to say as much.
It takes time for most of *us* to get to know God. I have to say that I envy Alma, who came to know Him so completely and so suddenly; it took me being quite old to know that God is real.
It's no longer a choice for me.
Wars, including WWI and WWII are 'held' to enrich wealthy men.
The stages are set up to elicit sympathy by ensuring that innocent people are being hurt and that nations that uphold 'traditional' values are being threatened--
so people 'flock' to these wars, the required number of young men are killed (yes, this is planned, too; too many young men make societies unstable supposedly)--
and then the 'right' wins--
and we were so glad we entered that war and saved everyone.
It is all very well-staged.
WWI was a killing field for the best and brightest from England and Canada (and France)--
it was intended. Then when socialism was pressed upon those nations, there was nobody to object.
Those who run the wars run the affairs of all the nations; it only appears that the nations who fight 'each other' are separate; it appears that way to those of *us* who are not 'privy' to all the intelligence.
When you begin to realize that these wars are timed by and planned by global financiers and arms manufacturers--
all those innocent dead people begin to hurt the heart--
until you realize that horror brings out of the best and the worst--
and is the ultimate test.
God turns everything to the refinment of His children. Or to their damnation.
"Yet we provided the tipping point in each case that won the war and stopped global tyranny, and mass killings."
LOL, as the kids say. Who is "we" anyway? I wasn't there, and you probably weren't either, so don't be so proud of "our" accomplishments.
But really, stopped global tyranny and mass killings? So the several hundred military bases in a hundred and something countries is... peacekeeping? Would you have been so sure about your mission if you were born a few decades earlier and got to help stop tyranny (and MASS KILLINGS!) in the Philippines? How about stopping global tyranny by assassinating heads of state in Central and South America, arming death squads, and generally fomenting revolution and unrest in those countries? That would have been pretty awesome, right? Oh, remember when we deposed the elected president of Iran and installed the shah so that BP could continue to access the oil reserves there, and then the Shah stayed in power for two decades and ruled with an iron fist via his vicious secret police? What a sweet victory in the name of stopping global tyranny! Huzzah for us! We did it!
@Isaac, thank you for pointing out that there is no *we*.
I think that there are some people who don't understand history the same way some of the *rest of us* do--
so *we* sound like crazy people to them?
I happen to know what you are talking about.
This is a person who is not, yet, awake--
and waking up can be traumatic.
I know. I woke up politically over 35 years ago, and I walked around in a stupor for months--
before I finally realized I had to shelve it and go on with my life. But I could never go back to seeing things the same way--
Paul, the apostle, understood this, when he said, 'we see now through a glass darkly'--
and "when I was a child, I thought as a child, but I put away childish things"--
sorry about the parascripturing--
people either get angry or call *you* crazy or begin to think--
*we* can always hope they will begin to think and that, maybe, *we* have awakened another person.
the ubiquitous *we*--
it's hard; there's not another word that says exactly the same thing, but it is used for so many/too many things--
I don't approve of America's imperial foreign policy and the wars we are always involving ourselves in. Only a few seem to be truly justified (if that many). But there are a few points I'd like to make:
1. You can get your message across without being disrespectful. I'm somewhat new to Pure Mormonism, and you lose credibility by being snarky. I wouldn't, for example, re-post this on Facebook because of how rude and condescending you are to the GA's. I understand you are passionate about it, and you have a great message to share, but do it in a way that leaves you spotless and let the issues speak for themselves. Doing this would have kept the article "Pure." I mean this as a sincere observation and not a rebuke.
2. My viewpoints about Iraq and Afghanistan have changed over the years, as it has for many people. You seem to suggest that you could see through all of the then-current intelligence showing Al-Queda in these countries and a mad-man having weapons of mass destruction. I applaud you if this was the case. Most of the country, however, believed the intelligence and those that brought it out and justified military action because of it. People did not want to see this happen again. My point is that there seems to be a lot of hindsight in this article. But the facts about this situation weren't really available in 2001, especially to kids my age who simply wanted to make sure that those kinds of attacks didn't happen again, and who were the able-bodies who could make that happen. Not all were motivated by a blood-lust for vengeance. Many, many of them viewed their participation as defensive in nature, which leads me to this...
3. The way that wars were fought in the Book of Mormon are different than the ones we fight now. Your ultimate point--that our own hubris will destroy us like it did the Nephites--is perfect, and I agree with it. But I'm talking about the participation of individuals. Terror groups that train in secret, and then send people over to blow themselves up along with thousands of others, are different than the vanilla Nephite-Lamanite battles in the BOM. From what I read, most of Moroni's disgust and disenfranchisement with the Nephite army had less to do with "where" the battles took place and more to do with the calculated atrocities committed by the Nephites against Lamanite men, women, and children. Again, I'm not defending what our military does, but I think you can take some Book of Mormon conditions a little too far by completely superimposing them into today's warfare and onto an individual soldier.
4. As we currently have it, there is no distinction between when our military is truly being used defensively and when it is being used for offensive, or unrighteous purposes. It is all circumscribed into one whole. And I don't think many here would argue that a military is unnecessary. So since the military is necessary, and many servicemen do not determine HOW it will be used, are we really in a place to pass judgment on them? Are the apostles expected to really address that distinction when it doesn't exist? It ultimately sounds like it is our leaders and America's foreign policy that is the real issue.
That's not to say that servicemen should not be dissuaded from doing acts of evil that could harm them spiritually. I didn't watch the video you're referencing.
Thanks for your reply. I am still concerned with the first part of your post. I don’t think it represents a correct reflection of how things actually were.
I am going to have to comment in parts because of the character restriction.
God’s vengeance is His justice
You say you don’t begrudge the Saints praying for God to take vengeance (even though you say it isn’t exactly Christlike) but that it was wrong for the Saints to call for vengeance on the innocent.
First, I think this lacks a nuanced view of a Christ who forgave sin but also acknowledged the “days of vengeance” (Luke 21:22) which would fall on a wicked Jerusalem where even those who “gave suck” would not be exempt from the judgement (the judgment being elsewhere connected with the rejection of the prophets – i.e. stoning and killing them). As I’ve suggested in my previous comment, perhaps the Saints’ prayer for vengeance is consistent with this scriptural principle.
In other words, God’s vengeance is simply His justice, which the Saints have a right to importune. And particularly demand in this case, as they saw Smith as a prophet whose blood joined all the other prophets “under the altar” crying unto God for vengeance.
The majority of the Saints desired justice against the State not personal, bloody vengeance against innocent individuals
Your post seems to imply that most, if not all, of the Saints (and in particular their leaders – or the friends of Joseph) were all possessed with a spirit of bloody vengeance. Again, I think your analysis of the evidence is a little shallow and presentation of the evidence one-sided. I think the evidence shows that majority of the Saints wanted justice, not personal bloody vengeance.
In your first Clayton excerpt, Clayton looks to God to dispense justice on the killers. In the second, Clayton extends his plea for the vengeance to be extended to the “State of Illinois”. Even though he hints the Saints may be involved in this vengeance, he acknowledges that it will be in “God’s way” and “God’s time”.
But I don’t see a plea in Clayton’s writings for the innocent to suffer.
What does Clayton’s reference to the “State” mean? Does it mean men, women and children. Well, perhaps. As you point out, the people are the government. But who were Clayton and Smith’s friends really aiming at when they meant the State?
Brigham Young said: “Before the Nauvoo Temple was completed, Joseph was murdered—murdered at sunlight, under the protection of the most noble government that then existed, and that now exists, on our earth.”
Orson Pratt said “Says one—“Why [vengeance] on the nation?” Because it was not done by a private mob, but by the officers of a State; it was done by the highest authority and power of a State, by individuals who were organized under State authority to go against an innocent people.” (JoD v17:276)
So it seems the vengeance was to be brought against the nation (in a “national capacity” – as Orson Pratt put it) because of the failure of the heads of State to bring the killers of the Smiths to justice. You will recall that Jesus also distinguished “Jerusalem” as a nation-state that killed the prophets and would suffer the consequent judgments – and he did not expressly exempt the innocent from those judgements).
Brigham Young seemed to distinguish the innocents when he said:
“[The Lord] has already vexed this nation and given the people time to pause and consider their conduct; and if they repent not by turning from their corruptions and wickedness, he has only to say to the innocent, and to the Latter-day Saints, “Wait a little, wait a little, and their cup will be full to overflowing.” (Jod v19:p5) (my emphasis)
This sentiment is consistent with Wilford’s statement you quote for vengeance to come upon “all the heads of the Nation and State that have aided, abetted or perpetrated the horrid deed”.
Again, no call for innocents to suffer here. I haven’t read the book you refer to so I am just analysing the quotes you provide, assuming that they provide the best evidence of this desire for bloody vengeance you attribute wholesale to the Saints. But I am just not seeing it.
Failure to put individual reactions into context
I don’t accept individuals such as the Hancocks, Allen Stout and Joseph F represent the feelings of “most Mormons” in this instance although I accept many of them may have reacted this way.
You haven't framed their reactions in the cultural context of the frontier/mountain common law paradigm these people lived in, where a man was authorised to take vengeance for insults against his honour and those he loved.
You also neglect to include the personal context of these reactions. For example, Allen Stout was Joseph’s personal bodyguard, a man raised in violent and somewhat abusive circumstances. Perhaps his upbringing and perceived failure to adequately protect Joseph Smith fed into Stout’s hot-headed reaction.
Joseph F Smith was Hyrum’s son. Surely if you were confronted by a man who possibly colluded in the murder of your father you would experience a kind of “dark cloud” as Joseph F apparently said he did. He didn’t come as close to knifing the guy as you make out. The (second-hand) account says Joseph F discovered his hand was grasped about his knife after realising the man did not approve of the murders, and that Joseph F believed he would have stabbed the man if he had said he approved of the murders. A bit of embellishment from the teller of the story (who was not actually Joseph F Smith)? Was his belief because of cold-blooded motive or simply that he was unaware he was holding the knife and may have struck a deadly blow without realising his hand held a knife? Could be the former but it is not as cut and dried as the story makes out.
There are other, more positive, views from the early Saints on vengeance:
I think that Lorenzo D Young represents the true position of most Mormons (even if they did get quite angry from time to time about Joseph’s killing and the persecutions):
“Should any man cherish the spirit of war and the spirit of revenge in his bosom, and feel that he wants to go out and fight and tear down everything before him? The man who feels this does not feel as I do. No: my feelings and the feelings of the people of God should always be calm—not irritable.”
And George Q Cannon:
“Mobocracy, from the bottom of our hearts, we hate every form of it, and every form of violence. Where men take the law in their own hands and seek to redress their own wrongs, it is abominable, and should be frowned upon everywhere. Better for us to suffer any number of wrongs than that we should resort to violence. It would not be right for us to do so, however just our cause may be. We must maintain law and good order, and we must frown down and put down every form of mobocracy and lynch law, and this disposition to execute vengeance outside the pale of the law. It is just as wrong for us to indulge in that spirit as it was for the mobbers of Missouri when they drove us from our homes there, or those in Illinois when they drove us from there. We should learn a lesson from these things” (JoD v24:p222)
Orson Pratt and Orson Hyde quotes
Orson Hyde’s admonition to rejoice when the “scourge” comes was not a call to be happy that people were suffering. The rest of that quote, which has been conveniently left out is “We will rejoice, because our redemption draweth near.” Just as Jesus told his disciples to look for the (generally uncomfortable) signs of His second coming but not be upset because it meant redemption was near.
Orson Pratt does not call for innocent people to suffer. He is just glad to be out of a place where the people are thirsting for the blood of Mormons. Nowhere does he say - I hope they all die horrible deaths (including the innocent). He’s just happy to be out of there.
Brigham Young and vengeance
You say that Brigham Young inserted the oath of vengeance in the temple ceremony, however Wilford Woodruff stated that the vengeance oath was part of the endowment ceremony before the Smiths were killed. This is credible, given the vengeance oath resembles an oath which was part of the higher degree of Masonic ritual. It is also quite plausible that Joseph Smith did introduce the oath relating to vengeance for the blood of the prophets as part of the original temple ritual because it is consistent with Old and New Testament scripture and the Book of Mormon.
If this is the case, it is hardly “defiling the temple” as you put it. In any case, “avenging the blood of the prophets” is not synonymous with murder – it is clearly a scriptural concept and, although not a “nice” part of a temple ritual, is clearly not anathema to religious expression.
And here is what that awful Brigham Young said about those feelings of vengeance once he had time to cool off:
“Would you like to…take vengeance upon those who have so cruelly persecuted you? Do you delight in the sufferings of your fellow beings? Jesus died for those very beings. Have you ever realized that the blood of Jesus, the Son of God, was voluntarily shed for those very characters as well as for us?
Do you not think that he has feeling for them? Yes, his mercy yearns over the nation that has striven for a score of years to rid the earth of the Priesthood of the Son of God and to destroy the last Saint. He has mercy upon them, he bears with them, he pleads with them by his Spirit, and occasionally sends his angels to administer to them. Marvel not, then, that I pray for every soul that can be saved. Are they yet upon saving ground? Many of them can yet be saved, if they will turn to the Lord.” (JoD v8:pp123-124)
“…will the Lord overlook and forget such crimes? No, for the blood of the innocent is continually crying unto him for vengeance, which he will administer in his own due time… What will we do to them? Nothing at all, but preach the Gospel.” (my emphasis)
It would be great if you could update your blog post
Rock, I think your conclusion that the majority of Saints wanted an entire nation of innocents to suffer is incorrect.
You’ve denounced in your blog those damnable feelings the Saints were apparently possessed of, and then go on to point out that, happily, God did not respond to these requests for vengeance (as if God agrees with your sentiments on the early Saints and their calls for Godly vengeance) but you leave out your leaning toward the view that God may have, in fact, brought about this vengeance by the Civil War. I see a conflict here.
I hope you update the first part of your post to represent a more balanced view. I think the somewhat one-sided rhetoric takes away from the extremely valid points you make in the second part of your post.
I would also like to research more about the fate of Joseph’s killers. I don’t have the references handy, but I believe that most of the leading State figures involved lived long and fairly prosperous lives.
Fuel for a future blog post?
On the subject of the two World Wars, I've just learned that the History Channel has produced a three part mini-series that treats both wars as one.
This is the way that history should always be considered, as "one Thirty Years War" as Winston Churchill once observed. It's nearly impossible to understand World War II without recognizing it as merely a continuance of the First Great War.
The series first ran Beginning on Memorial Day, but it will repeat again on Saturday, and maybe even again after that. I haven't seen it, but I intend to. I'm guessing it will be worthwhile.
I think it's interesting and very telling that you totally seem to ignore the fact that Brigham Young and most of those church leaders you quoted from that era, did far worse things then even those who killed the Prophets, so they hardly could talk, judge or call down vengeance from God and expect him to hear them or anyone who supported BY.
LDSPer, That totally blows my mind, what u said about wwi being planned to take out smart ppl who would have objected to socialism. Now that u put it like that i cant not see it that way. So what is the real point of this whole iraq/afghanistan war thats going on now?
Comment at 10:10 was from me.
Thanks for your comment.
Likewise, I find it very interesting and telling that Rock has (seemingly) ignored the evidence that suggests the Saints weren't all bloodthirsty vengbots.
I never claimed Brigham was a perfect person. Just trying to balance the (blog) books.
Rock has suggested in his comments that he is leaning towards the view that God did take vengeance for the Smith killings on the nation.
So, even if, as you suggest, Brigham was wholly unworthy to make those demands on God, perhaps he was on God's side for once after all.
I'm also interested to know why you judge Brigham unworthy to seek God's blessing/presence when Brigham didn't deny Christ's saving grace to his persecutors.
I think there's only one Person with the authority to make those kind of calls so I always try and steer clear of the view that someone is beyond redemption (hard to do sometimes!). But happy to hear your thoughts to the contrary.
Thanks for clarifying, I understand then, if you're just trying to balance the books and you acknowledge that Brigham may not have been anywhere near perfect.
But I hardly think Brigham's grace to his persecutors was sincere, I don't think he really cared about anyone besides himself, he just wanted to try to sound all noble, righteous & like a true prophet, like all false prophets try to do.
And I believe Christ did give us the authority and the command to judge those who claim to be prophets & their words & ways, to discern whether they are true or false prophets, for he warned us that our eternal life depends on our correct judgement of them.
We may not be judging whether they are beyond redemption or not, only God hands out the final judgement but we must judge whether we should give them the time of day, let alone our money, trust, support and obedience.
Sure, I acknowledge that. Just how far from perfect Brigham was, well, we obviously have different opinions on that. I do think you are wrong to say he was worse than a murderer (bearing in mind also that there is scriptural precedent for prophets to be involved with what is technically murder).
But that is a discussion for a different time and a different post.
I don't understand history? You might recall that the United States did not want to get involved in World War 1 or 2, and was a late entry in each war.
Hitler was working on atomic bombs, and we happened to develop the technology before he did. Can you imagine the Germans with nuclear weapons?
Why don't you interview some of the thousands of Jews that were liberated from concentration camps and ask them if they feel that US involvement in the war was worth it.
If you are a student of history you probably know how close Germany, Italy, and Japan came to taking over all of Europe, Asia, and a lot of Africa. If not for a great victory at Midway, the west coast of the United States would have probably been invaded by Japan.
Millions upon millions of people died in WW1 and 2. The United States helped bring an end to these wars, and without our involvement the map of the world would look very different today.
I never said that every war the United States has been involved in is good or right, I merely stated that according to Rock the United States should not have been involved in the world wars but without our involvement things would have gone very badly for the rest of the world.
Much of what you mention has little to do with war, and more to do with the CIA and cloak and dagger stuff.
And about the Philippines...it's interesting that the Philippines has requested that the United States increase it's military presence in their country to help defend against the hostile intentions of China. Read the news and get clued in.
we aren't going to agree, so I will agree to disagree. I am very familiar with your point of view; it is the point of view I grew up with (sorry about the grammar)--
it was what I was taught by my parents and grandparents. My father and all of my mother's brothers and my father in law and both of his brothers all fought in WWII.
I don't see things the same way now.
But I don't believe in the moral superiority of the U.S. You are hinging your political opinions on a belief in the moral superiority of the U.S.
Yes, Hitler was certainly foul. But there was much more going on in the world from WWI through WWII, and if you are recommending someone listen to or read the news, that is why we don't agree.
I believe the U.S. MSM (mainstream media) is controlled; most if it owned by one or two people as it is.
You can laugh at me, and I apologize for offending you by saying you do not understand history. That was arrogant of me. However, you do not understand it as I do.
I realize that it has been a blessing (mixed at times) to be born in America. But I have seen entirely too much happening in this world to believe the simple history my parents taught me, which you, obviously, still believe. And feel free to do so.
Hitler engaged in horrific experiments on human beings because he heard of many disturbing things (kept from the American public) that were happening in the Corning Laboratory in New York. He hired American scientists to come to Germany to teach him and his scientists about these things.
I am one against VERY many. There are a few others who agree with me (besides my husband--LOL!)
PNWDPer, Rock, Isaac and a few others share my historical perspective.
But I can tell you that it is a very hard thing to be surrounded by people shouting out, "USA, USA!"--
when your inner spirit is saying, "something is not right here", and later you realize that others are waking up to it, but nobody would listen to you.
It isn't easy not to be bitter--
but if I was rude or condescending to you, I apologize.
You can feel secure in knowing that probably 95% or more of LDS agree with you.
what you think about how Rock speaks of the GAs is between you and Rock--
but I have to tell you that I was much more aware of what was happening in 2001 than I realized even at the time.
It may have been hunches; it may have been just my intuition, but I was aware that it was staged from the beginning.
I don't think anyone has all the evidence of what exactly has happened yet. Impossible. Most people realize now that JFK's death was planned by his own people--
I am sometimes laughed at on here for saying that I am 'old', and yet my age has been a positive for me in understanding the things going on in the world around me.
There is a reason that young people SHOULD be able to look to their elders for guidance.
For all I know all those wars were approved of by the Lord for some reason only He understands--
if for nothing else than that those involved (in all sides) be tested--
I still don't have to believe they were right. I think Father in Heaven is so much more aware than we are of how 'out of line' our entire civilization is and, yes, even we as LDS--
out of line.
Out of control.
Arrogant. Prideful. Self-absorbed. Mocking of other peoples.
He is very aware of it, but He allows people to hang themselves, and He allows innocents to suffer.
IF you, as a young person, had had people like my husband and me to come to in 2001--
and I have NO doubt that your hearts were sincere with regards to 'defending freedom'--
you would have gotten an alternate perspective.
As it was I was sitting in Relief Society in 2003 when the war(s) began.
A young man from Canada serving a mission in our ward was sitting, talking to the bishop's wife, who is my age. (former bishop)--
She is descended from Brigham Young, by the way.
She was giving him the standard, neo-conservative line, as he said, clinching his fists, "I just want to go over there and stop that horrible nonsense; I want to stop them!"--
"just be patient; our leaders know what they are doing"--
My heart hurt. I fed that young man every bit as much as the bishop's wife did (we used to feed the missionaries all the time before my health finally broke 3 years ago, and I did it at a great cost to myself, and I gave them high quality, home-cooked meals; I know they didn't get that at the bishop's house, because I heard his wife laugh about it"--
She had no perspective outside the MSM perspective.
But he listened to her, because:
--her children were normal
--her income was much higher than mine
--she was the bishop's wife
--her perspective was familiar
NObody wanted to know what the opinions of the father and mother of the special needs children in our ward were--
could care less.
I would have helped you, but you would never have come to someone like me.
Yes, some of it is hindsight, but many of *us* had been studying alternative views of history for a very long time before 2001, and all our sensors were on!!!
I'm sorry my generation has failed you so completely.
You can wake up now, though. It's your choice.
I can promise you won't be 'popular'.
And when my son with a very low IQ joined the military during the worst part--
I can tell you I felt it keenly. I had no idea the army would tire of him not understanding what was going on; I just felt intense horror.
it's for economic purposes, of course, but it's also a way of weeding out the truly patriotic people.
America has turned on (the government certainly) the vets, and many of them are the ones who could be of the greatest help to us now.
All of these debacles have more than one destructive purpose.
Corporations get rich off the blood of young Americans, and then those same young Americans come home damaged and are branded as 'traitors'--
because they care and want to see things change.
Funny how well you don't know me. I do not idolize America, in fact I dislike America. I believe that we must be willing to fight for what is right from time to time. I was in the Army at Fort Sill Oklahoma mere months before the Gulf War. My enlistment was ending and I told my friends that I thought something very bad was coming up...so I got out, and didn't reenlist. God did not want me in that war. I am. however, glad that I served and feel that I made a big contribution to society and did my part to end the Soviet Union without firing a shot. The point is, I was willing to do my duty if I had to. Russia could not keep up with the resolve of the United States, and eventually collapsed.
From a non-political standpoint I feel good about my service. World defense in the modern age is a very complicated game of chess. Nephites did not have them standoff weapons that we do. The world is a complicated place and each individual needs to decide for himself what is right. It is wrong to make blanket statements against war, or for war.
I don't like to name GAs with regards to their personal traits--
or even little habits--
but the GA Rock named with some heat--
I can't watch him speak. If he could not 'smile' when saying things that are controversial or disturbing I could probably handle it all right--
but he DOES 'smile'. Rock called it a "smirk", I believe.
I always feel that, when someone is saying something unpleasant or difficult to 'digest'--
and smiles when saying it, it's not much different from a dog wagging his tail and then biting.
I laughed when I read that, but that particular quirk has annoyed me. I think it's unfortunate that these men have to be 'seen'. It's got to be a hard life, truly. (no sarcasm)
I would not want it. Nor could I do it.
But if a person stands in front of others, his/her quirks will be seen and can be commented upon.
It happens on blogs. When I say too much, there is usually one person, at least, who comes on to say, "why must that person (LDSDPer) keep writing?"
So I stop now.
oh and . . .
the bishop's wife told that young elder to be patient and then added, "I'm sure you'll be able to serve; I'm sure Canada will get involved at some point."
He was quite violent in his speech about those "horrible people over there"--
Nobody can know you, if you don't tell people things about yourself, as you just did.
Yes, the world is a complicated place, but I believe that the 'powers that be' were ready for Russian communism to 'fall'.
It is so very complicated, and it is, I believe, being controlled by a shadow government.
I do not condemn those who have 'served' in the military, not at all.
I am saddened by how vets returning from the middle east are being marginalized and not given the help they need and have been on the 'to be watched for treacherous activities' lists--
saddens me deeply. I feel that I could trust many who have 'been there' more than many who have not.
It's good when you explain yourself.
You do appear to see the world, complicated as it, very much in 'black and white'.
Lately I have had the very odd idea that I don't know why God is continuing to put up with *us*, when even LDS tend towards being so violent.
What Rock said I understood, by and large, because I grew up with a very militant father (many other things about him were really praiseworthy, and I'm glad he was my dad)--
Violence was all around me; it was acceptable. When I grew up, kids were often very brutal; I was beaten up on playgrounds more than once--
and on at least one occasion in school I had to protect myself from violent assault. I succeeded; I didn't hurt anyone badly and much less than they had intended to hurt me.
I am very acquainted with violence, to the point where I feel much like the people of Ammon; I don't have blood on my hands, but I have had violent thoughts in my heart from the beginning--
I remember my father telling me, "the early Mormons were violent people; they were brutal people; life in Utah/Idaho, etc. was very hard on children and on anyone who had any kind of sensitivity."
It shocked me. But I have come to see that it is very much the case.
I don't know if it was you or someone else who pointed out that the Mormons were tired of being hunted down and killed.
And yet few people want to mention that Mormons did plenty of that themselves; they were not trusted in the midwest by the settlers there.
And why should they have been. I am collectivizing, and that's wrong.
There were always peaceable people among all groups and violent ones among all groups--
I don't want to be violent/feel violence, but I was raised to be very much on the defensive. Yes, even as a girl/woman.
I am weary of it. I do long for Zion.
I long to cut out all those feelings out of my heart, and I am making progress, helped by incapacitating illness.
(blessing in disguise)
I think that perhaps it's easier to agree with people if we see more than one side of them, but maybe what we don't agree on is that I believe there is a shadow government managing the entire world, and perhaps you do not.
What America does as a nation; what *her* leaders choose to take *her* resources and do with them--
has very little to do with what the people I know in my rural area far from the intermountain west--
believe and feel. And that gives me hope. Of course, none of them are LDS.
And I've heard some pretty violent things at church. There is a lot of Muslim-bashing there.
Every Muslim I have ever known (and I've known quite a few) has been hospitable, gracious and anything but violent.
Shadow governments use people.
Many young RMs with a language join the CIA, and yes, their work is shadowy--
often I am not sure the 'underlings' know what is going on at all, but they contribute to it.
I believe the military could be good, but the entire world is in chaos and disarray and confusion and deception--
and some of us are just too tired to try to 'reform' anything anymore.
And, for us, not fighting seems the best policy, spiritually especially.
oh, and I'm at the point--
where . . . defensive as I have been my entire life--
I would really like to 'try' the Lord.
Will He save me if I turn to Him?
And my family?
My husband who used to hunt pheasants on the prairies of his midwestern home--
keeps a gun 'for the principle of it'--
but he has told me, "I will never be able to raise that against anyone; I will have to trust in God."
We have daughters. Will the Lord protect them? Maybe if we let Him.
Maybe we need to let Him.
I heard many miracles from a family member who served in Germany after WWII (mission) about women who were protected from enemy soldiers, because of their faith in God.
I'm ready for the faith.
Let the Lord do with me as He will.
I don't want anyone dying for me.
Rock lets me say these heretical things and doesn't banish me--
I'm going to stay away for a few days, because I have too much to say--
I lost one ancestor to a mob (a man who refused to carry a gun; he was laughed at for being peaceable, but I'm proud to be descended from him), another who was driven out of Missouri when ill and died, quite a few ancestresses in child birth, fires burned, etc.
Two ancestors killed by 'blood atonement' for 'crimes' in Utah (more horrific than any murders done by mobs)--
I'm not without a feeling of kinship for those who suffered.
But when I compare the suffering of Mormon pioneers, who were not obedient and had, at least, access to the Book of Mormon and could have (some might have) read it and not been so swayed by all the power things--
with the suffering of native Americans from the first arrival of Euro-"Christians" here in America and the suffering of innumberable African slaves in ships and then the suffering they endured after the got here--
the numbers can't compare. Of course, there were not as many Mormons to begin with.
But why can't *we* (that ubiquitous *we) feel sorrow for others as we do for our *own*?
Two of my ancestors in Utah died at the hands of religious fanatics/zealouts with blood atonement; neither were bad people; they just crossed some kind of line in the eyes of Mormon leaders at that time; both had endured tremendous suffering and sacrifices in their lives up to that time.
I know it happened with the other groups; there were disgraceful native Americans who betrayed their own; there were African slaves who hurt their own--
but the fact is that I cannot believe that the Civil War was punishment just for the treatment of the Mormons or even of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
Euro-Americans had been haughty and arrogant and religiously fanatic for centuries before the Civil War. Did God use that as punishment? I don't think so. I think it just happened; many innocent immigrants from Germany died in the south, barely speaking English.
It just happened. When will Euro-Americans, Euro-Mormons realize what proud and arrogant and self-centered people *we* are (many of us, if not most)--
so assured *we* have the best of everything, including religion.
Whoever was responsible for Joseph's death (and Hyrum's), and I don't think we can know that--
will at some point be stood up against a wall somewhere and told what he has done.
But I tremble to think of the thousands of self-righteous Puritans and the thousands of self-righteous southern ministers . . .
who will also do the same. Many more of them, for sure.
Why do *we* think so much of *ourselves*?
I've said enough; I know I have. I'm watching for Arch to step forward and say, "stop, LDSDPer!" (no smiley face there)
One of the ancestors killed by a mob taught BY and HCK--and baptized HCK; BY didn't like him; he thought he was too old to be preaching, for one thing.
I'm a little 'proud' of that. He was old; he died as a very old man, fleeing Missouri while very ill.
So, there you have it. My ancestor was disliked (for very shallow reasons) by BY.
But Brigham was never a martyr.
I recently finished reading a book about the Mountain Meadows Massacre written by people from the Church's history department, after having previously read Will Bagely's version.
I was taken again by the horror of the murders and by the willingness of otherwise decent people to commit cold-blooded murder in the name of their Church. It's hard to imagine actually killing 12 year old girls at point blank range or hunting down fleeing witnesses, but that's what they did.
One thing left out of this recent version, however, is the part that Church leadership played in whipping up the rank and file membership into a "patriotic" fervor, so they would commit these acts if called upon to do so. Also left out is the disgraceful scapegoating of John D. Lee as a PR ploy to take the heat off the Church.
Things have not really changed all that much in the Church, which is, I think, the point of your essay. When we follow the prophet, we as a Church are capable of works of darkness, just as we are when we are on our own.
So many of my friends stumble over this topic. They don't get the subtle difference between the aggressive war that Mormon rejected and the defensive war that he supported. They see all war as virtuous as long as you're the "good guys"(read "USA"). They see WWII as an unambiguously righteous cause, because they have grown up with almost 70 years of propaganda concerning it.
Our "allies" butchered more men after the war than Hitler did during it. An entire nation changed it's moral compass to allow and support mass firebombings of mostly women and children as a result of our participation. WWII was a victory for Satan. It really cannot be seen in any other terms.
We cannot know what the world would have been like if we had not been drawn into it, but neither can we assume that it has been unequivocally better. It's not like evil was stamped out as a result. Sure, the Jews were probably better off because of the wars conclusion, but, as has been pointed out, had we simply let them emigrate, we might have solved that problem in a much less destructive way. Maybe there wouldn't have been any camps at all.
I think by now, it must be seen as fact that Americans were duped into WWII by the treasonous actions of FDR and his top generals. Do the ends justify the means? Was the murder of 3,000 Americans at Pearl Harbor a righteous act in a righteous war? Is it okay to deny your own generals and military force certain knowledge of an attack if you feel it is politically better to lose the first round so as to appear the righteous victim so you can convince parents to give up their money and children to Moloch?
We don't know what life would be like if we steadfastly refused to follow Satan's plan regarding warfare, because we have never tried the opposite approach. That our Church leaders are cheerleaders for Satan's plan or at best, lukewarm supporters will not help us to be a light to anyone else.
I think events are coming soon that will test us both individually and as a Church with regard to these things. It will be difficult to do the right thing. It will be difficult to wade against the tide. It would be easier if we had clear and prescient leadership that was tuned into Christ's actual teachings, but that is unlikely to be the case.
Yes, we do have different opinions about BY, for I don't believe he was ever a prophet (wouldn't have ever been called to Apostle by JS if JS had known what BY was really like, not to mention it appears JS was about to ex-communicate BY for whoredoms but died before he could do it) and true Prophets have nothing to do with murder, but there are many things worse than murder, as bad as that is.
I don't believe there are any 'true' precedents in the scriptures for prophets to be involved with murder, for if you are referring to Nephi, Moses or Abraham etc, I believe either those stories never happened (made up, especially Nephi) or that they were not really inspired by God to do what they did, but just said or thought they were.
For God's laws are unchanging throughout time, that's how we are able to tell true prophets from false ones, by if they abide by God's commandments and don't make exceptions. It's the adversary that tries to persuade us that God makes exceptions or is wishy washy on his decrees.
Right on Dale B!
Rock, I say AMEN to your post. God help us all to open our eyes and ears to truth.
Thanks Dale B.
I agree with your points.
It's a complete joke when people like Little Rock use the "it's a different world now" line. If that's the case we can make endless excuses of why we don't ever have to do the right thing, or hold any moral value at all.
If the Book of Mormon's teachings of just war don't apply because our world is different now, what teachings are valid? Who decides what is valid and what isn't?
"Thou shalt not steal". It's okay for the people to support others to steal for us and distribute it out to their friends or special groups. After all, we live in a more complicated different world than when Jesus uttered those words.
It is a tool of Satan to justify iniquity and evil; to make the water seem murky. Just because the water may appear murky, doesn't relieve each competent, thinking individual of their accountability to a given situation.
Will we choose the path of Christ on the matter at hand, or simply make excuses of why we "couldn't"?
War is either justified or it isn't. It is the responsibility of every individual to decide if that's the case with our constant warfare. It is either right or wrong. Are we going to trust politicians and special interests, or read the scriptures and take them as they are?
Who would have the better moral argument? Captain Moroni, or John McCain.........boy that's a tough one.
I would be curious to get your take on Moroni's views about terrorist training camps and facilities on the other side of the world and their terror tactics of using suicide bombers planted within sleeper cells in our land. How did he handle those things? What role did modern technology play in his wars, such as drones, satellites, and communications? Were there other people that the Lamanites were enslaving and killing that were not part of his Nephite people? How did he view their situation and did he do anything for them? How did he view things like bombs and would he have used them if the Lamanites were using them?
My point is that the Book of Mormon DESCRIBES some things, and PRESCRIBES others. While there are principles that have been prescribed in the BoM in this regard, it would be foolish to attribute every description about Moroni's experience with the Lamanites as a blueprint of how warfare is to be conducted today. The BoM itself is not a war guide and didn't promote itself as one.
Again, that is not to say that there are certain principles that we are not to use to guide us in our decisions and policy. We are violating those principles all over the place. But to deny that our circumstances and technology today do not introduce new factors and moral dilemmas not found in the BoM war chapters is really the joke here.
I don't think there is anything wrong in coming to the aid of another country that is being attacked, when asked. The key is, they have to ask. It is their right to self defense.
The problem is after the invaders are repelled and have retreated, if we continue into their lands and become the invaders ourselves. Innocent family's are killed wife's become widows. Life gets very difficult and fatherless children are raised hating and blaming the invaders for compounding their already difficult lives.
Their young minds are fertile ground for fanatical leaders. filled with bitter hatred and blame towards those who dropped bombs on their home. They are easily manipulated, riled up to revenge, given training and a plane ticket. There's your terrorist creation camp.
Well if anyone reading this is like me and doesnt know how to end things without divine intervention (which at this point I no longer allow myslf to hope for) I just take the approach of trying to end violence in small personal ways.
1. No one is allowed to bring guns into my house.
2. Even tho Im white and 99% off white ppl do it, there was no way i was going to pass on the abhorrent, barbaric practice of circumcision when my son was born. Violent genital mutilation of newborns is not okay with me no matter what the culture says.
If you read all my statements you will see that I said that it is up to each individual to decide his level of participation in a given war. I stated that several times. The problem is, we can only have so many generals in the United States, and everyone wants to try and analyze the tactical situation without all the facts in hand. Unless you are an intelligence officer can you really make the call about whether a war is just or not?
The Grenada war was not fought on American soil, but Americans were being held hostage by foreign troops. What does one do in that situation? You seem to have all the answers, so enlighten us.
It really doesn't matter what Moroni taught, he probably was all made up and never existed anyway, even though I like most of what the BoM says he stood for.
The real question is 'What did Christ teach about war?'
Where did Christ teach that it was ok to hurt or kill innocent people as you're trying to stop or punish the guilty or an evil army?
The Golden Rule is the basis of all laws, even military law, and everyone in the world understands the Golden Rule and is expected to live by it.
No law, decree, command or leader is valid unless it is in harmony with Christ and his laws.
Latter-day Saints believe that Christ is Jehovah of the Old Testament. So off the bat, it can be legitimately argued that, to a degree at least, war was sanctioned by Christ in many cases.
I think it's very important to note a couple of things in this regard. First, the God's dealings with people in the OT are very general in nature. They deal an entire nation and their laws and customs. He essentially tells them how the government is to operate and what the laws will be. It is not very individualistic.
The New Testament, on the other hand, has Jesus fulfilling the law (not destroying it, so the OT is still very relevant to Christ, and, therefore, to us). He then focuses on the individual and offers very little, if any, real commentary on public policy. Many surmise that his lack in this regard led to much dissatisfaction. So because he offers little in the way of government, public policy, etc., then we are either a. left on our own to figure it out b. draw out principles that Christ taught that might be relevant to something like national security or c. look for other relevant examples from scriptures such as the OT and the BoM.
"The real question is 'What did Christ teach about war?'"
Well I would like to know that too. I'm not sure that he really addressed war specifically in the New Testament. So now we fall back on principles that he taught, such as the Golden Rule, and try to apply it to certain situations. My point is, it's not as cut and dry as the question you posed ("what did Christ teach about war?")
Little Rock Wrote:
"How do you know the leaders of the United States did not consult God before embarking on the Iraqi and Afghani wars?...It is their stewardship to decide whether this country goes to war or not."
I'm sure Little Rock will be insulted when I say that's the most astonishingly ignorant statement I've seen from a fellow latter-day Saint in a very long time.
But I offer that response not to insult, but to confess that for the first half of my life, I held very similar sentiments, and I want Little Rock to know that if I can come to a realization of my errors and repent, so can he.
It occurs to me that to respond adequately to such a misguided view would require another complete blog entry to accomplish it in, so I'm resolved to tackle that topic some time in the future. Not right now, but perhaps in time for Veteran's Day. (The next entry on this blog is already committed to a guest post by a remarkable young woman who describes the dilemma believing Saints are finding themselves in lately when attempting to reconcile their belief in God's word with the contrary things that lately coming out of the mouths of our leaders.)
Suffice to say for now I will merely reply that the men who took it upon themselves to decide this war were not in any way in possession of a "stewardship" to do so. Not from God, and certainly not from the constitution of the United States, which, in case we've forgotten, was established by God.
Authority to declare war belongs only to congress, because congress it the branch of government that is accountable to the people.
The men whose every waking breaths were consumed with promoting America into this war were not members of congress. They were bent on bypassing congress. That group of conspirators was top-heavy with Neo-Conservatives who had infiltrated the Pentagon and Executive Branch beginning in the 1970s. These newcomers to our ranks were not conservatives in the traditional sense. They had no allegiance to the constitution.
Tthey were the spiritual-and sometimes literal- descendants of hardcore leftists who had proudly supported Soviet communism. Many were the children of parents who supported the Soviet Union's expansion, believing that world hegemony was the path to world peace.
Why did they defect and join the Republican party? By the time of the Reagan Revolution, the Neocons saw the writing on the wall. The future for world conquest lay not in the Soviet Union, but by manipulating America into transforming from a Republic into an Empire and "a global force for good."
But force never results in good. Forcing people to be good is Satan's way, not God's. Men like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perth, Wolfowitz, Feith, and others have never given up their goals, which seem eerily similar to the that proposed by Satan in the pre-existence: If we can just force everyone to join us, the world will eventually be at peace.
Problem is, it requires endless decades of blood and brutality on the way to achieving that kind of "peace."
I'm sure you have some proof to offer us in support of your paranoid ramblings.
BTW, have you served in the military, or are you just an armchair warrior?
I believe he was offering his opinion. I don't believe he will accept the challenge to prove anything.
I'm afraid I'll have to suggest you do your own research on Neoconservativism, but a good place to start would be the clasic book by Irving Kristol, the father of Neoconservativism. In there he provides a complete history of the Socialist roots of the movement he was proud to be the architect of.
Amazon has no shortage of other books that will further confirm for you my "paranoid ramblings," and you'll find YouTube has some very professional documentaries as well. Just search "Neoconservative" or "Neoconservatism."
Of course, online search engines will bring up a wealth of information on what you apparently presume has sprung from my wild imaginings, but as the saying goes, Google is your friend, and you need not remain uninformed forever.
As for your question regarding whether I am an armchair warrior, I am worse than that. In my younger days I was an unabashed Chickenhawk, vocally encouraging Americans to fight in Vietnam for what I thought was God's noble cause, while I was protected from the draft due to chronic asthma and the dumb luck that my number in the draft was in the mid 300s and never came up.
In spite of my never having "served" in the armed forces, my life was intertwined with the military from birth through adolescence, and you can find my confession in my post titled "Don't Shoot, I'm Just The Messenger."
Added bonus: Many of the challenges you posed for others on this forum regarding how modern terrorism could possibly be eliminated if America were to follow God's Rules of Engagement are also addressed in that piece. Here's the link:
I have to agree, mostly with what BK said, other than Moroni being a made up character. I disagree, but cannot provide evidence other than my belief that the Book of Mormon is true. As Rock says, "the book of Mormon speaks to me". In my opinion, that book couldn't be made up. There is just too much information and truth for a guy to make it up. But I respect the beliefs of people, except when they are faulty on their face, such as Little Rocks views. I don't have the answers as Little Rock wants to opine that I do. I have an opinion( one I believe is correct) as to how things should be viewed. My opinion is based on the non-aggression principle or non aggression axiom. Basically, I view everything in matter of aggression to being at fault. I believe if aggressed upon, I have the right to retaliate, even if by violence. I am not a pacifist because I believe in "hitting back". I don't believe in being on offense, but rather defense. IMO that is the position of Moroni. I believe that Moroni received this wisdom first hand from Christ. As BK basically said, Christ is the final arbiter of all things good. As I stated earlier, will we follow Christ or not?
As Pierce asked, I will try to answer. Who invented drone warfare? The United States. Who caused the radicalization of the Muslim middle east? American interventionism. Did we cause all of it? Probably not, but we must consider U.S. interventionism into the equation. If we don't, we are leaving, at least part, of the equation out.
As far as how many generals the U.S. has, it doesn't matter. The fundamental question as far as I'm concerned is this: who was the aggressor? As far as I can decipher, it is our government. If we were truly attacked by Osama Bin Laden, why did we retaliate in the whole country of Iraq(which has nothing to do with Osama)and Afghanistan(the country where Osama supposedly resided? Why does one guy(who supposedly orchestrated the greatest attack in history on the most cutting edge military, in the strongest empire the world has ever known) warrant an attack on a whole country of people , who for the most part, have no clue what is going on? IMO it doesn't. Basically we are aggressors on another sovereign nation. I don't care how many generals, CIA agents, spies, or whatever claim justification for the governments deeds, we are aggressors. We are in the wrong. Aggression: wrong. Defense: justified.
That is how Captain Moroni viewed it. That is how I view it. Sometimes we want to hold a nuanced viewpoint of certain things. The best way to answer nuanced viewpoints is usually the simple answer. In this case, who is the aggressor?
I never will claim to have all the answers, as I have been accused of. But I will state my educated opinion in the best way I know how.
Now everyone knows where I am coming from. How about Little Rock, stating his position in a way we can see where he is coming from? That is the fair way of proceeding. Will he do it?
I'm not here to argue, but rather to see peoples viewpoints and where they are coming from. Will I disagree? Probably. Can we disagree in a reasonable manner? Maybe. That all depends on the information we are given as to where Little Rock or other dissenting opinions on the matter are coming from.
A good start would be for Little Rock not to state that " I have all the answers", but rather state his viewpoint in a manner that we can discuss. If he won't do this and just throw ad hominem attacks, this discussion is worthless.
What say you, Little Rock? Can we be civil as Pierce has done, or will we act childish and basically say, "I know you are but what am I"? The choice is Little Ricks. I am willing to engage in productive discussion. Is Little Rock?
I hope this makes sense. I have had a little(or a lot, depending on your perspective)to drink tonight. I don't claim to have "all the answers, but I do believe my opinion is educated and has some value to be considered. Just being honest.
Man, Little Rock, are you new here?
Haven't you learned that if you accuse Rock Waterman of not knowing what he's talking about, the next thing you know your head will be face down in a bucket of mop water?
Save your dignity while you can, friend. Before you mouth off again, read a book or two so you'll realize there's more to American history than just what you learned back in 5th grade.
You actually made very good points--to the point that I don't feel the need for a rebuttal! There's a first for everything. I think I have a problem with generalizations and trying to call all of the Latter-day Saints out on the carpet for their response to September 11th. But I take more of a libertarian view of war--which calls for defensive strategies only--so I agree with your views on our aggression overseas and how it does not justify the countless killings to support it. It is something that severely disappointed me about Mitt Romney in the primaries. But I have felt the general attitude toward war shifting, and feel that more people are waking up.
So, good points in your last post, man.
I believe our friend Little Rock has made his position clear. On May 29th at 9:15 he declared, "I dislike America." Before and after making that admission, he has insisted that those in government should be trusted because they hold "stewardship."
This is, of course the antithesis of patriotism. The true patriot LOVES his country, but distrusts his government. I suspect Little Rock sees himself as a patriot, but his words betray him as being anything but.
Re your message to me on the 28th; your point is well taken that my diatribes often contain too much snark. I am, after all, the guy who just last month advocated debating with civil discourse, so you'd think I could denounce the sins I see in our leaders with a bit more civility.
Although I often engage in a bit of good-natured ribbing, this time, admittedly, I got right up in dear old Brother Dallin's face. I don't claim to have mastered my temper. But I will say I don't regret calling out our leaders when they do and say things that are disingenuous and even harmful to the church.
We deserve to get away from this idea that the leaders of the institutional Church are somehow above reproach when they contradict the teachings of Christ. There is nothing in scripture to suggest that those with high callings and titles are to be treated only deferentially. But we are told in Nephi to persuade ALL to repent.
One of the things that really got Boyd Packer's goat back in '93 was that Paul Toscano had the gaul to puglish an open letter to Church leaders suggesting that instead of demanding unquestioning obedience of the members, they try love and gentle persuasion. Packer's arrogance and personal pride would not allow him to tolerate what amounted to a call to repentance from some lowly rank and file member of the church. How dare he criticize us holy men of the cloth?
And so Packer violated church law by interfering in a local stake and enticing Toscano's Stake President to punish Toscano with excommunication.
That was the club they wielded back then toward those they considered "dissidents." I think it's time we stopped being timid and called these leaders out EVERY TIME they speak ex cathedra, and absence revelation from God.
But you are right that I should be able to do so with a bit more finesse. So I shall try to do better in the future.
On your second point, that our rush to war might not have been so hasty had the truth been available back in 2001.
But the truth WAS available! There were voices in government, academia, media, and even pockets of resistance in the pentagon, all clamoring to combat the propaganda we were being fed about such things Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction, yellow cake uranium, and the falsity of any number of issues being promoted to beat the drums for war.
Many of these dissident voices, both on the right and on the left, were drowned out by the incessant call for immediate action, and some of them experienced persecution and punishment for going against the party line, but those voices were out there, and they could be heard.
The internet was abuzz with contrary opinion. You may not have been aware of it because you did not want to hear it, but I was seeing it literally EVERYWHERE.
These voices were directly responsible for causing many Americans to instruct their congressmen not to vote for a declaration of war, and this lack of enthusiasm for war on the part of the people convinced the Neocon establishment that they would have to do an end-run around the constitution if they were ever to have the war they so desperately wanted.
All this was going on well during the age of the internet, so the truth was out there. One only had to open one's eyes.
Regarding your third point, that the Book of Mormon does not provide a blueprint for dealing with modern threats such as terrorism.
I think it does, but regardless of what the Book of Mormon teaches, D&C 98 lays it all out, and had we as a nation followed God's law, there would have been no terrorist threat, for our government would not have created it.
CIA analyst Raymond McGovern, as well as several others in the intelligence community have confirmed that it was the clandestine interference in the affairs of middle eastern nations that created the call for revenge that we see haunting us today. Further, our CIA created Al Qaida back in the 1980s to operate as an unofficial U.S. asset.
Bin Ladin was receiving dialysis treatments in a government military hospital, as he was considered one of ours.
Our government has created its own enemies, both knowingly and unknowingly. Following God's law (and following the advice of George Washington to avoid entangling alliances) would have prevented all that. Creating enemies of peoples who use to be our friends seems to be a uniquely American endeavor.
As to your fourth point, I thought my essay was fairly clear that I did not blame the naive recruit for his enthusiasm for going to war, but those who disingenuously recruited him, including those LDS Church leaders who failed to warn him that such wars of aggression were clear violations of God's law and LDS doctrinal statements.
Nevertheless, as the years dragged on and these wars continued, I have posted articles in which I have attributed some blame to those who continued to join when they had plenty of opportunity to learn the truth before enthusiastically joining up.
We may allow some slack for those who joined immediately after 9/11 when emotions were high, but what excuse can we find for those who, years later, felt no need to investigate the propriety of the US government's actions when by then they were clearly in violation not only of God's law, but also the constitution?
You have chided me for painting all of the early Saints as blood-thirsty seekers if vengeance, and suggested that I add an update providing more balance.
Good heavens, Man, don't you think that blog entry was long enough? Fact is, your additional commentary fills the need for further information precisely, and is a perfect example of what I like to see here in these comments sections: additional information that advances and expands on the original post.
So there is no need for me to provide "balance," as you have very aptly taken care of that for me.
However, I would like to gently take issue in a few instances where you took issue with me.
You felt I should have said something about the attitude of the Saints being consistent with that of the typical frontier American at that time. I thought I had done so. Indeed, one of the takeaways I hoped the reader would observe was that frontier Mormons were no less vindictive than anyone else of that place and time.
Most of us were brought up with a sanitized version of Church history, where the angelic and peaceful Saints continually put upon by angry and vengeful neighbors who hated them for their religion.
The reality, of course, was that religion was rarely a factor in causing the animosity of the Misourians. It was mostly the rudeness arrogance, and superior attitude of many of Mormons who arriving all at once and overwhelming those already in the area that got the natives upset. That and the way the Mormons upset the balance of political power.
Indeed you are right that the Saints were calling down the wrath of God on the STATE of Illinois and its political leaders. At least at first. But as some of my quotes affirm, those calls for vengeance soon expanded from merely those in positions of leadership of the state, but to the entire nation.
In my view, the State consists of the political power, but the nation consists of the people at large.
The authors of "Junius and Joseph: The political Assassination of a Mormon Prophet" take the view that Joseph's murder was orchestrated at the highest level of Illinois political power, and I'm inclined to agree with them. Joseph's presidential candidacy had upset the balance of power, and I think we can see from their writings that the early Saints knew who was to blame.
By the way, Bill Shepard's Piece in the Journal of Mormon History contains many more quotes than I included in my piece. I included just enough that I felt necessary to make my case. And the case I was making, I suppose, was that Mormons today are not really much different than Mormons were in those days, and that Mormons in both eras were pretty much just as apt to rush to judgment without thinking than the average American was then and is now.
I don't think I conveyed the impression that every single latter-day Saint was a bloodthirsty mongrel. Certainly that was not my aim. But many were, and though some sought to lay blame (correctly) at the feet of conspiring politicians, others (and these were more typical than we would like to think) were willing and ready to lash out at just about anyone, including the population of the United States.
You write, "Orson Hyde’s admonition to rejoice when the “scourge” comes was not a call to be happy that people were suffering. The rest of that quote, which has been conveniently left out is 'We will rejoice, because our redemption draweth near.'”
Yes, the reason they would rejoice was because, as I pointed out elsewhere, many Saints believed the end of the world would occur by 1845, and that their redemption would follow the scourge. They expected to see the destruction of the United States, and that it would be a sign that the end was nigh. You bet they were excited for that destruction to take place, because it meant they would all be saved.
You disagree with me my assertion that the oath of vengeance was inserted by Brigham Young, maintaining that it was put there by Joseph Smith and that it referred to avenging the blood of the ancient prophets. But testimony given in the Reed Smoot case and in the Temple Lot Case, appear to affirm that it was Brigham Young who initiated that oath, not Joseph Smith.
In actuality, we don't know WHAT parts of the endowment ceremony might have come to us from Joseph Smith, because we only have Brigham's word that he got the ritual from Joseph Smith in the first place, and there is a lot of doubt about how accurate Brigham was in that regard.
Seeing as how the Kirtland temple, the only temple completed in Joseph Smith's lifetime, was not used for any purposes resembling the endowment under Brigham Young, there's reason to doubt Brigham on a lot of that ritual, particularly since Brigham was known to be particularly enamored of Masonic ritual.
I would have to conclude that the evidence points to Brigham inserting the Oath of Vengeance as a direct reference to avenging the blood of Joseph and Hyrum.
As you yourself have pointed out, Brigham's position on revenge mellowed somewhat, at least in the example you gave.
Yet the Journal of Discourses are replete with examples of Brigham Young's theological schizophrenia. He was always contradicting himself, which is what makes discovering Mormon theology so frustrating, particularly if one hopes to find consistency in the declarations of Brigham Young.
At one point he is declaring that everything spoken from the pulpit of the tabernacle is scripture and must be followed without question, and another time he warns the Saints that one day this church will be brought to the very brink of destruction by its leaders.
Other quotes you provide from pioneer general authorities show a marked mellowing, and I should hope so. If I follow your argument correctly, you are trying to demonstrate that not all the Saints were angry and vengeful, and I agree with you. Thank heaven, many of them calmed down after decades of demanding vengeance, but it didn't happen until long after Mountain Meadows.
Perhaps I should have been clearer about my views on God's vengeance and the Civil War.
I don't "believe" that the civil war represented God's vengeance on the nation. I'm merely open to considering that interpretation. I find it intriguing, but I have not conclusions regarding that theory.
But I do hold that God withdrew his spirit from both sides of the conflict because of the behaviors and attitudes of the combatants. The idea that the Civil War was God's judgment on the nation for the killing of Joseph and Hyrum makes for interesting speculation, but if he was influenced to withdraw his spirit from the whole nation by the prayers of the Saints, it was the vindictive behavior of both North and South that would have doomed them before God.
I appreciate you wishing I would offer a more balanced addendum to my already overlong essay, but that isn't necessary. You have done a very good job of filling in the cracks, and even though we don't see eye to eye on every one of your assertions, your contribution is exactly the kind of thing I like to see in this comment section so that I and others can learn more of the story.
I don't pretend to be a scholar, independent or otherwise, because I believe unapologetically in the basic underpinnings of Mormonism. But I do like hearing various interpretations of historical events.
Historical accuracy is elusive, especially in this church. We can use all the divergent viewpoints available. You wanted balance and additional insight? You provided it, Jeff. So thanks for weighing in.
This has been an interesting and informative discussion.
In my view the Book of Mormon does present to us a golden rule when it comes to warfare - that God never favours the aggressor. But we do have to consider what constitutes aggression.
We had a long confrontation with the IRA in Northern Ireland. They (the IRA) wanted to call it a war, but we did not recognise it as such and we labelled them terrorists. We prosecuted them with the rule of law when we caught them. There were some incidents which were less than acceptable in our part, but on the whole we conducted the campaign in a way that eventually exhausted the IRA and made them realise they were not going to beat us. They came to the negotiating table and the Good Friday Agreement was the result. During the 30 year "troubles", would we have been justified in invading the Republic of Ireland and rooting out and destroying the IRA's strongholds? We knew where they were and we knew we could do it. The Rep. of Ireland military would not have been able to stop us as we were militarily superior in every respect. The Rep. of Ireland was a non-aligned country so no allie was duty bound to come to their aid, so it would have been easy to do. But we didn't do it because it would have been wrong.
Another example. In 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. The UK sent a task force to the south Atlantic to drive the invaders off the islands. Our forces came under tremendous bombardments from the Argentine air force flying sortees from their bases in Argentina. It would have been logical to attack their air bases on mainland Argentina to snuff out the danger, and there were many calls to do so. However, we didn't. Our task was to drive off the invaders, not to rage war on Argentina. Since the conflict and the British victory, Argentina still claims the Falkland Islands should be theirs. However, they have stated that they will never again attempt to aquire them in any way other than by diplomacy and negotiation.
I believe both of these examples (though I accept there have been many ocassions when we British have not behaved as well) follow the justification for war described in the Book of Mormon.
I do not believe the way the US and UK behaved regarding Iraq and Afghanistan does.
Robin Hood's analysis of Britain's reaction to the Irish Republican Army is spot on. (Reader Robin Hood is an Englishman, for those not familiar with him.) Terrorist acts are criminal acts, and should be dealt with as with any criminal act.
For the U.S. To react to the bombings in New York by actually invading other countries was insanity. What you do with criminals is hunt them down, round them up, and bring them to justice. You don't just start clusterbombing everyone you see with a foreign accent.
I also followed closely the Falkland Islands incident, but at the time was unfamiliar with God's Rules of Engagement. I'm happy to be reminded that at that time the British government was wise enough to not take the battle to Argentina.
I agree with your last comments to Jeff. If the early Saints would have been Christlike and loving served their non-LDS neighbors I doubt they would have been opposed by them.
And I also agree that we should help the leaders of the Church to repent, and be vocal about the falsehoods they teach, for God has commanded us to help each other watch out for false prophets and wake each other up from being led astray and deceived by them to support and do evil.
To stand silently by or to support such erroneous leaders (religious or civil) only brings us under the same condemnation as them.
And I definitely agree with your view of the civil war. I believe both sides had attitudes and behaviors that would exclude them from God's Spirit, help or approval.
You're hilarious. You write a lengthy discourse on war, yet you have never fought. You insult all the LDS servicemen that have earnestly served their country in time of war and in no uncertain terms tell them they are fools for doing it.
All I see you doing is sitting on the sidelines behind your computer second guessing everyone in the world...leaders of the church, leaders of our country, and military leaders.
You think you know people but you do not. I once loved my country, but I held a top secret security clearance and discovered the secret plans of our country in regards to our allies. It sickened me. But I am a good soldier, and I believe that one must look for the good, and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I have developed a bittersweet relationship with America, and if you want to dive into my head and psychoanalyze me, I guess you can add psychiatrist to your resume.
I have been suffering with a moral dilemma for a long time. It is easy for you to sit behind your computer composing witty replies and insulting people when you have no real-world experience concerning warfare. I fought the cold war with nuclear weapons. I went to my stake president and asked him for counsel because I was having trouble reconciling my faith with the destructive potential of the weapons that I worked with.
You live in a theoretical world. You always look for the bad. Our church does good in the world, it brings a message of hope to a planet that sorely needs hope. Our country does good, it stopped 2 world wars, built the world's largest economy, and gives aid to many, many countries.
In spite of the dim view that you have of our "conspiratorial" leaders, I know George Bush is a religious man, and I am sure that he has prayed for this country. I'm sorry that you have classified me as "astonishingly ignorant" because I want to believe the best of our country and leaders. I am not naive, I know our country does bad things. However, I can only control my involvement in the process, I cannot control the process.
I think you are the one that is exhibiting schizophrenic tendencies. You tell us we need to have a civil discourse, and then you proceed to insult those that disagree with you. Not everyone believes in your paranoid fantasies, and even if they are true, it is something that god is going to have to fix...what can I do about it?
You have given our country and our church a black eye. You endlessly look for the bad, and suggest nothing to overcome it.
So continue on with your smug, self-assured attitude. See if your attitude changes the world or just gives fodder to marginalized Mormons to finally leave the church.
I hope any Mormon vets reading this blog will not take to heart your insensitive portrayal of their service.
"it's a complete joke when people like Little Rock use the "it's a different world now" line".
So you want to have a civil discussion without name calling?
Yes Little Rock. I would like a civil discussion. So far we have learned little on where you are coming from other than, possibly, what Rock pointed out: following those with stewardship blindly.
Tell us how morals and principles change based on the world and times we live in. I fail to see a change in right or wrong no matter the time or era. The only thing I see pertaining to that is it sometimes seems difficult to see right or wrong in things when the water is murky. When it seems difficult to sort things out, I believe all accountable people should seek the truth rather than being dismissive and simply have others do it for them.
I haven't called anyone here a name. Disagreement isn't name calling. If your statement of things being different now wasn't just an attempt to relieve yourself of thinking about things critically, please elaborate as to what you meant.
If you can't or won't, I will have to stick by my view that it was just......a joke. Not you yourself being a joke, but your statement.
I said I was staying out of this discussion for a while--
famous last words--
This is anecdotal/opinion; this is 'feeling'; this is testimony I'm going to be writing out.
When I was in my early teens, my grandmother who was born in the 1880s--
and who attended (and remembered) the SLC temple dedication--
talked to me about some pretty 'grown-up' things when my mother was listening. She would not have done this behind my mother's back.
My mother was extreme TBM; her family had left Mexico during the revolution, as had the polygamists, but they had been involved in a non-polygamist colony; it was an agricultural colony--
though it was started with the blessing of the 'brethren', and an apostle who was a polygamist went with the group (without his family) to help them start it--
there were no polygamists involved. Important reason for that--
My mother was very upset when her mother began to tell me that polygamy was a terrible mistake that the early saints had made and that the Book of Mormon had been largely neglected by the Mormons. She had an odd and embarrassing habit of saying, "Mormons", rather than LDS. She didn't like LDS; she prefered "Mormon". My mother was an LDS person. My mother said, "I'd rather you not influence _________ (my name) with your odd ideas."
I can remember my mother saying, "mother, I asked you not to"--
I saw my very TBM mother who would have followed any Salt Lake leader over a cliff . . . (though my father would not)
--facing off her mother who was 40 years older than she and had a completely difference perspective. She personally liked some of the 'leaders', but she was always wary. She also had a very good education for someone born in the 1880s. Her parents and her father's parents and her mother's mother had refused to become involved in polygamy. My great great grandfather left his wife and ten children to become a polygamist, married a young girl; she had a baby; baby and mother died together at birth--father came back and wanted his wife to take him back; she wouldn't; she took her 10 children and moved out of the intermountain west.
I don't know whether these people were some of those who listened to Joseph Smith III or what, but they did leave Utah in the 1850s/1860s, all of them.
My grandmother was quiet and had strong opinions. Her words made a powerful impact on me, as did my mother's reaction to her words. My mother is a beautiful woman; she served in the church to the point of neglecting her family at times, but she was wonderful--
but my grandmother had substance that is hard to even describe.
And her words stayed with me all those years.
Her husband had the same feelings, though he died when I was only 8. Together they made a plan to give Books of Mormon to all their grandchildren. It was a very big deal, and I remember when mine came, my mother saying, "such a fuss; such a fuss"--
she told me her father always insisted she read the Book of Mormon, but she loved the New Testament. My mother would have followed any leader off a cliff, and I say that with respect, but it's true.
Three years ago my husband and I had a strong feeling, very powerful, that we needed to stop reading all the other scriptures and focus on the Book of Mormon.
I respect BK. I know something of her history (from this blog), and I sympathize completely with her choice to be no longer involved with the LDS church. She has good justification for it, and I don't doubt she is following the Spirit.
she trusts in the New Testament; I trust in the Book of Mormon.
Why are *we* "Mormons" if we don't believe the Book of Mormon is more true than the Bible?
It doesn't make sense at all, to *me*.
I have hung everything on the Book of Mormon and on Jesus about/with Whom I have had very close personal experiences, to where I no longer question in any way the existence/divinity of Jesus Christ/God.
The Book of Mormon speaks to me.
Pierce said something about LDS believe that the God of the OT is Jehovah, etc.
I don't. I believe the Old Testament is one of the most divisive and corrupt books ever written. There is no way its authorship can be trusted. I only hope the New Testament has some validity, but I put no store in it. Just hope. I love the 'stories of Jesus', but for all I know they are just stories.
The Pearl of Great Price? Jury's out--sounds too much like the OT for me to be convinced; too much racism in it for me. And I get to choose what books I read.
WHY does the LDS church only publish the Book of Mormon (unless you want a blue paper copy or a harder paper copy of the 'original') with the D&C and P of GP?
It feels like a conspiracy to me, and unlike some on here who want to be 'cool' and not believe in conspiracies--
I do believe in them. I believe evil and conspiring men have infiltrated every thing in the world--
with no exceptions.
Doesn't mean there aren't good men. One person (Little Rock?) said he believe George Bush (I'm assuming the junior, as his father was truly a godless man) is a religious man and prays. Religious, of course, can also refer to fanatics found everywhere in every religion. I believe he was 'formed' to take that position, because he was clueless about what happened. I've heard he was faithful to his wife (Laura?)--whereas his father was not faithful to his wife.
It doesn't matter. As someone has said in many Mormon blogs, all the apostles are 'nice' men, but get them together, and they are a corporation.
Marginalized members. If they are innocently marginalized, which is usually the case (social, physical reasons)--
then they want truth. And they want God. They don't want pablum
Yes, I have read Daymon Smith. I happen to appreciate all the research he has done on what happened in the early days of the church to obscure, cover up, hide, use strictly as an icon--
the Book of Mormon.
It's absolutely a crime.
I had never heard of Daymon Smith until a few months ago, but 3 years ago my husband and I were focusing, ONLY, on the Book of Mormon--
we've been prayerful about this. I've prayed about being on Rock's blog; I've prayed about only reading the Book of Mormon; I've prayed about reading Daymon Smith's books.
My grandmother was wary. She wouldn't talk to just anyone. In the early days of the church if you were seen as any kind of dissident or heretic, you just as well walk out into the desert.
People had to survive, and some of us feel that we have to now, by keeping our mouths shut.
Though, the church has our ISP for other things; they can get it off here.
But now, if *you* talk about Jesus and the Book of Mormon you are suspect.
The D&C? Not sure. Some I think has to be revelation; other has been tampered with.
A bit more; thanks for your patience, if you read; nobody has to read anything, of course--
My ancestors didn't announce as they 'fled' Utah--
shouting out to everyone along the way:
WE ARE LEAVING, BECAUSE BRIGHAM YOUNG IS HUMBUG!
No; they quietly left and kept their opinions to themselves.
I feel sorry for those who have been caught up in polygamy, then and now. I really, really, truly do.
My mother would have done it in a heartbeat.
When she died she made my father promise her he would marry a woman who had not been sealed. She looked good on paper. BYU graduation, RLM, 'active' in the church--
It was a disaster, but my father kept his promise. He was terribly unhappy, and when he was sick and dying, his 'wife' told his children it was time for *us* to take him now, and we did.
My father's spirit changed when he became a polygamist, and I've seen it in general authorities. I don't see anything wrong with widows or widowers remarrying, it's the sealing business that has messed up so many people spiritually.
After the divorce, my dad came to himself, said he had a lot to repent for, and we had some realy special times with him.
My mother grew up with the kids from the polygamist colonies, and they held their super righteousness over the kids who had come from the other colonies--
because of their surnames--
and even now there is a proud line with many of those names that don't even need to be mentioned. You know them all; you've heard people talk about that "chosen line"--
I know that my grandmother was leaving me a legacy of truth. And now there is a cultural anthropologist (who was hired originally by the church and given access to all the records)--
who is setting out the story.
I know that my grandmother was leaving me a legacy of truth. And now there is a cultural anthropologist (who was hired originally by the church and given access to all the records)--
who is setting out the story.
No more sanitized Mormon history for me. (and no more posting after this)
No more Bushmans; no more sacred loneliness, etc.
No more B.H. Roberts who was heartbroken when the manifesto came along and later sent a letter to the church leaders with his 'questions' about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
Well, of course, it condemns polygamy.
I'm sorry that some who have posted here are bitter about how they have been treated as vets--
I agree with them there. It's a big mess, but *I* have not mistreated vets. I have several who are good friends who have been through horrors; they know my political beliefs are very different from theirs (standard neo-conservative)--
but I have supported them.
Those who can't accept conspiracies will forever be caught in a deadlock with those of *us* who do accept conspiracies.
But I can and do always respect life experiences. Real ones. Not mass-produced ones.
I'm sure my mother has had time to talk to my grandmother by now. I hope she thanks her for opening a window for me.
Because it has made all the difference for *me* between despair and light.
People can shoot down the Book of Mormon to me and around me all they want--
it leads me to Christ, always.
I want to say to those who are having a hard time understanding the perspective of some of *us* on here--
and I do agree with Rock politically, very much--
do you read the Book of Mormon a lot?
I mean, a lot?
If not, why are you a Mormon?
Why not just be any other kind of Christian?
That is a sincere, though rhetorical question.
I challenge anyone on here to read it, alone. Don't read it to affirm the Bible--
just read it on its own. Don't read the chapter headings that (I think it was Bruce R. McConkie) were written out later.
Read it as a book. It's all about Jesus.
If you don't want to believe in Jesus, then my words are not for you. But if you do, you will find Him more easily in the pages of the Book of Mormon than anywhere, especially that muddled Old Testament—
THAT is my belief. What you choose to do is your choice, and I believe your choice is sacred. I also believe that *I* can be told what *I* need to hear, and another person can be told what he/she needs to hear. Jesus is the answer for the entire world, but each person’s way of finding Him may be different from any other.
This isn't my debate, but Rather Rock's but I can't sit here and say nothing on this
Little Rock:"In spite of the dim view that you have of our "conspiratorial" leaders, I know George Bush is a religious man, and I am sure that he has prayed for this country. I'm sorry that you have classified me as "astonishingly ignorant" because I want to believe the best of our country and leaders. I am not naive, I know our country does bad things. However, I can only control my involvement in the process, I cannot control the process."-
You can also withdraw your consent Little Rock. When you don't like the way the process is going, you can, at the very least, not participate. Why should leaders of the church or military receive a pass when they do wrong and preach or teach falshoods and break laws? A "religious man" and a good man are two different things. Many religious men have aroused people to warfare and all kinds of atrocities. As a side note, What kind of a nut case says, "I'm abandoning free market principles, to save the free market system"?
Little Rock:"I think you are the one that is exhibiting schizophrenic tendencies. You tell us we need to have a civil discourse, and then you proceed to insult those that disagree with you. Not everyone believes in your paranoid fantasies, and even if they are true, it is something that god is going to have to fix...what can I do about it?"-
Specifically, what are the paranoid fantasies Rock is promoting?
What you can do about it is voice your disapproval, but you seem content to live in a world where you aren't accountable.....at least that is what I derive from your position. It seems that you would defend the use of drones killing women and children, because you sure can't stop the military from using them, so it's just fine that they do.
Little Rock:"You have given our country and our church a black eye. You endlessly look for the bad, and suggest nothing to overcome it."-
How could Rock have given the country a black eye more than our warmongering, special intrest profiteering, dishonest moral pig politicians like George Bush, Barack Obama? You claim that Rock is offering nothing to overcome bad after he has explained that we shouldn't participate in illegal, immoral foreign wars. You on the other hand dismiss all responsibility to do anything right, and say "what can I do about it"?
I ran across a recent episode of RadioLab, '60 Words' that offers troubling insight in to America's reputation as the most feared aggressor nation around the world during the last decade.
"This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace." http://www.radiolab.org/story/60-words/?utm_source=local&utm_media=treatment&utm_campaign=daMost&utm_content=damostviewed
If you believe 9/11 was the work of nineteen exceptionally clever Muslim extremists armed with boxcutters then Bush's Authorization for Use of Military Force set a course for America to drift away from the Constitution and the God that upholds this nation in her righteousness. If you believe 9/11 was a false flag operation like the Nazis setting fire to the German parliament building to incite a fervor against the communists--then Bush's Authorization for Use of Military Force set a course for America to depart boldly from the Constitution and to defy the God that upholds this nation in her righteousness. Either way the vision of indefinite, undeclared war puts America squarely in the camp of Babylon and every other empire that has thrust its will upon the world by the arm of flesh.
Spending more on her military than the next eight countries combined, America boasts the most powerful arm of flesh the world has ever seen. Even making that claim for the chosen, blessed land of America, however, cannot save us from the effects of waging war against God's will. God warns us repeatedly not to trust the arm of flesh because it is finite and must fail. http://pgpf.org/Chart-Archive/0053_defense-comparison
Mosiah Hancock recorded Joseph Smith prophesying that "The United States will spend her strength and means warring in foreign lands until other nations will say, 'Let's divide up the lands of the United States'". (Mosiah Lyman Hancock, Life Story of Mosiah Lyman Hancock, p.29).
Choose peace that we may be the children of light.
Today is the birthday of Paul Toscano, my personal hero and Patron Saint.
As I mentioned in a comment to Pierce above (May 30, 10:19pm), the thing that triggered Paul's excommunication was Boyd Packer's fury over the thought that a mere member of the church might suggest the Brethren tone down the pride thing just a bit.
Here is a link to Paul's essay, the very one that earned him Packer's undying enmity. (In case you missed the irony of it all, the very act of punishing Toscano was prima facie evidence of Packer's out-of-control hubris.)
Each time I read an Alan Rock Waterman piece I am struck by how he comes across as someone who is 'wise in his own eyes.'
It's easy to imagine Mr. Waterman arguing with God after having been commanded to build an altar and sacrifice his only son.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." --Isaiah 55:9
You, my friend, are one of the few people that are not taken in by Rock's spell casting.
Rock strikes me as an old anti-establishment hippy throwback that sees a conspiracy everwhere he looks, and never has anything positive to write.
I really hate to hear it when someone thinks that *I* think I've got things all figured out.
I'm no scholar and I'm certainly no scriptorian, and those who know me will attest that I'm anything but wise. The only thing I know for certain is that I don't know anything. When I say I'm the dumbest guy in the room, I'm not kidding. Get in a room with me and find out.
I gather you have found something I've shared here to be in error or doctrinally unsupportable, so I would appreciate you pointing that out to me so I can correct it. I have no desire to hold onto false beliefs.
Clearly you didn't link to the piece I offered you previously, or you would have known that far from being an anti-establishment hippie type, I was the guy in the 60's whose goal it was to kill all the hippies.
As for your charge that I never write anything positive, I can't figure out how you're missing the message. Everything I post on this blog is intended to persuade others that following the word of God is the only sure path to happiness.
Or am I not making that clear enough?
P.S. Here's the post where I described my plan to murder the hippies:
By the way, Little Rock, I'm still scratching my head over your frequent accusations that I do little more than throw insults at our military veterans. I've re-read my own piece several times and I'm pretty sure it portrays our veterans as having gotten a raw deal. Are you certain you haven't misread my meaning?
I disagree with you, Giordano, when you assert that Rock is 'wise in his own eyes' then point to Isaiah 55:9 as evidence of your assertion. If anything I'm persuaded that Rock is open to being led by the spirit because his words are so unlike the rhetoric of the modern church which encourages adoration of and obedience to mortal men. Anyone who believes and lives by tenets as unusual as loyalty to God above our fellow human beings and loving other human beings spontaneously and generously has my attention. Such a position helps me better understand our savior Jesus Christ.
I know I keep harping on this but folks the truth is that the CIA stirs up both muslims and christians with all of this ridiculous religious fervor to start wars and make some money. Think about it. Alex Jones is CIA. He is always quoting the bible and such. The bible is twisted and probably not true no matter how its interpreted. Maybe, MAYBE the BoM is true. I still have a tiny morsel of naivete to believe it could be true. Cuz if god and jesus are real, then its possible the BoM is truth and that is the only thing to hang on to for answers.
My other thought is, ppl who are in their 50's and 60's dont want to admit something they have been doing for 20+ years is wrong. Whether that be military service, paying their tithing. Look, anyone who has paid tens of thousands in tithing over the past 30 will not admit the LDS church is hopelessly corrupt and the McTemples are really just a business plan. Same for ppl who have served in the military and possibly even killed ppl. Too proud to admit ur wrong.
Actually I only trust 'Christ' not necessarily the 'New Testament', for most of the NT is the words of other men, not Christ and I disagree with much of the things taught in the NT by those 'other men & apostles'.
But I do trust and agree with and base my beliefs on the few words of Christ, that are found in the NT.
I used to believe the BoM was true too, but that was before I started comparing Christ's teachings with what the BoM said.
I actually believe the BoM is a wonderful book, that teaches many true things and can help us come to Christ and be better people, but I believe it has a lot of falsehoods mixed in too, just like any other book written by men.
I don't believe it was written by ancient prophets anymore, for the more I study it and Church history and Joseph Smith, the more it appears he just wrote it with or without help.
Did you know that when Joseph was a little boy his father had the 'tree of life' dream, which his father almost surely repeated over and over to Joseph as he grew up?
It would have been front page news in the Church then and now to find out that Joseph's father had the same dream as 'Nephi' (if he was real), but we never hear about Joseph's father having that dream, for it seems Joseph did not want to talk about it, for obvious reasons. His mother only mentioned it later after Joseph had died.
Some of the things I find wrong in the BoM are : I don't believe Nephi was right or righteous in slaying Laban, even his reasoning for doing it doesn't make sense, for you don't have to have past scripture to keep a people from dwindling in unbelief, you just need 1 righteous person who can receive revelation from God and then they can teach and write down all the new scripture they need to to share with others, which of course will be the same exact teachings found in any ancient true scripture.
In fact the Spirit will teach everyone the very same things that are found in any book of scripture, so thus we don't even need prophets, if we are righteous, though they are helpful for people who aren't righteous.
Also, if the BoM & it's prophets were true it/they would talk of and have writings from as many or more Prophetesses leading the people then Prophets, and it would have female apostles and leaders, and especially talk about female Priesthood and their equal voice and positions with men, etc., as it seems Christ taught and did. It's silence on such things is very telling.
I believe true scripture and true prophets would also preach far differently then the BoM & it's prophets did.
So though it teaches alot of good and true things, that does not make it divine, for many novels & religious books of other religions do the same, but it's what the BoM 'doesn't' say, or what Joseph didn't include in it, that tells on itself.
I agree the BoM is a great & helpful book written by a man or men, if we have the Spirit to discern it's truth from error, But I find the words of our Savior (found in the NT) are perfect, and are all we need to gain eternal life.
I am in my 50s and I am nothing like the people you describe. I quit going to church about 10 years ago, because I "outgrew" the church. I believe the church is corrupt in many ways, but it is really up to each individual to decide that for himself. Meanwhile, the church is spreading the gospel and still has a useful purpose in the eyes of God and I refuse to disparage the church organization.
I served for 5 years in the military, and I found out secrets that our country holds, and I became disillusioned. I am proud of the work I did in the military, and I believe that I helped to accomplish something very good for mankind. However, right before the Gulf War I felt a prompting of the spirit to leave the military, and I am glad I did.
You really can't make blanket statements like you did. The world is not so simple. For example, murder is wrong, yet God commanded Nephi to murder Laban so that an entire nation would not dwindle in unbelief. There are sometimes exceptions to god's laws, and god sometimes uses individuals to accomplish very specific tasks. That is between every person and god. The scriptures are our guide, unless god overrules them is single instances.
Is the US military misused? You bet it is. But the military does some good, and every individual must figure out how he fits into god's plan. It is up to generals and politicians to decide how the military will be used. I call this their "stewardship" for lack of a better word. Individuals can decide their level of involvement in the military, and that is really all that they can do.
Thank you for that link; I had to follow it through a few clicks, but I finally got to it. Chilling. I had never seen that pulled together in such a concise way.
I couldn't find the article from Toscano, though I cut and pasted the link and followed it through to essays. I'd like to read it--
engaged 19 times,
I agree that religion is used as a way to control people. And the CIA is good at figuring out how to do that best. Decades of research into the human mind have helped them learn how to manipulate humans very well.
I have heard you say that Joseph's mother said that his father had such dreams. And if so, did his father and mother rebuke him for the Book of Mormon? It appeared that they supported him. I guess we'll all know the truth about it all someday, but I would think that such a thing as that is considered primal and archtypal and, once learned, can be used as a tool to teach. Perhaps it was a sign to Joseph than when he found a record with a similar dream in it, he was to believe it came from God, since Joseph trusted and loved his father. I guess I just don't see it the same way.
And I respect your choice to lean on the NT. But those of *us* who call ourselves Mormons and are associated with what is called the 'restoration', though I have a lot of questions about what was or was not restored . . . really should be leaning on the Book of Mormon. I think many Christians do very well with the NT, but they don't really have more. However, good as most of them are, they do use the OT as validation for warmongering.
I don't believe Nephi killed Laban righteously at all. I believe his doing that was proof of how caught up he was in the corrupt Jewish culture of Jerusalem and how hard it was to cut himself off from that. He told his children he did not want to be part of that. It has been years since I really believed Nephi was told to kill Laban by the "Spirit". What spirit? I am sure his later depression had much to do with his act of murder.
I believe God has accounted for the influence of that terrible Jewish culture of 600 B.C. Jerusalem and allowed him to repent. I hope He will do the same for me, as I have been influenced by growing up and living in a 'bent' world.
Rock, if you can get more info for me, fine--
but I've been listening to some podcasts of Toscano, and I think I 'get' it. His concerns are very univeral, indeed.
Don't worry about it. I like what this man has to say, his focus on Jesus.
Little Rock says: "I believe the church is corrupt in many ways".
then:"......I refuse to disparage the church organization."
Definition of disparage at Dictionary.com:
1. to speak of or treat slightingly; depreciate; belittle: Do not disparage good manners.
2.to bring reproach or discredit upon; lower the estimation of
So Little Rock doesn't think calling something corrupt is disparaging? Hmm, I'm now beginning to understand why he feels like calling a statement he made a joke, is the same as calling him a name.
Hey everyone, The government and everything they do is corrupt, especially their secret murders, lies and deceits. But, I proudly support the "greatest government" in the world and every move they make, because I refuse to disparage the governmental organization.
Anyone who could get an intelligent person to believe and reason in this manner would be far more of a "spell" caster than Rock.
Interesting that the only name calling has come from Little Rock and his buddy Giordano. He's like the bully that finally gets his ass kicked, then cries about how rude everyone is.....the whole time no one understood him.....not because he refused to explain himself in a way that makes any sense at all, but because everyone just refused to understand him.
Po' wittle guy.
I checked the link I posted above to Toscano's piece, and it worksf fine for me.
It's on the Signature Books site where they have posted the entire book, by chapter. That link opens to chapter 4: "A Plea to the Leadership of the Church." Maybe you were looking for a video version and didn't see the chapter heading?
Kevin's link to the Radiolab discussion is very revealing indeed. For those who defend congress' resolution on war, accepting that resolution would mean there would never need to be any constitutional declaration of war ever again, as that resolution "authorizes" the president and any future president to wage war anywhere, any time, and any place he deems necessary. Those 60 words are not consistent with the constitution; they effectively annihilate it.
Regarding Nephi's killing of Laban: There is a lot of controversy surrounding that, indeed. Your thoughts on it being a reflection of ancient Jewish culture are well taken. Hugh Nibley tells of a couple of students of his from the Middle East who questioned the story precisely because Nephi hesitated. Why hesitate? The man had robbed Nephi's family and sent guards to kill them. That was all the justification necessary, according to the thinking in many MidEast cultures, even today.
I would only add this: If the spirit did indeed entice Nephi to kill Laban, then the killing was entirely consistent with God's law, as God prohibits killing UNLESS he commands it.
That would be the difference between the killing of Laban and the killing of Iraqis by our government. In one case the Lord appears to sanction it, in the other case he did not.
Yes I believe the church is corrupt, but I left the church to avoid unpleasant encounters, and I more or less keep my opinions about the church to myself. I believe the church has a mission still to perform.
As far as the name-calling goes...you are the one that stated you wanted to have a civil conversation after calling me a complete joke, and I simply pointed that out to you.
I see I have effectively cast my spell over you.
Thanks, by the way for sending me that lock of your hair. The spell would never have worked without it.
I see that in spite of your best efforts to clarify, Little Rock is still unable to discern between calling a person's statement "a joke," and calling the person himself "a joke." The first is a valid observation consistent with the rules of argument; the second is an insult. He chose to be insulted by something you didn't say.
Keep trying. This one may take a bit more work.
My understanding of the alleged brass plates is that no one knows where they now are, right? If the Nephites read the brass plates, it obvs didnt help save them cuz they were kille doff. So what exactly was the point of Nephi committing murder???
"It's a complete joke when people like Little Rock use the "it's a different world now" line".
Those are the words Little Rock considers name calling.
In most peoples world they would view that to mean the statement is a joke. Some people obviously decipher it this way: 'stupid', 'idiot', 'moron'.
Anyway, not that you will understand this Little Rock, some of us refuse to consent to or support wrongdoing and evil to the best of our abilities. We choose to say no to war, coercion, deception and other evils. Others, such as yourself, choose to dismiss wrong, at least implicitly, thereby seemingly supporting it.
Some of us refuse to sit in silent apathy to anyone who has stewardship or authority and uses it inappropriately.
"But let it not be said that we did nothing. Let not those who love the power of the welfare/warfare state label the dissenters of authoritarianism as unpatriotic or uncaring. Patriotism is more closely linked to dissent than it is to conformity and a blind desire for safety and security. Understanding the magnificent rewards of a free society makes us unabashful in its promotion, fully realizing that maximum wealth is created and the greatest chance for peace comes from a society respectful of individual liberty."-Ron Paul
I don't understand what you are trying to accomplish here. Are you calling me a coward? I am a highly decorated soldier, and frankly I find your argument against me to be highly offensive. And when sarcastically says something like he has successfully cast his spell over you, that is obviously a dig against me, but I suppose it is just more of his "good natured ribbing".
I was a True Blue 'Mormon' as much as anyone for all of my life up until a year or so ago when I stopped believing in or associating with the Church entirely. (For despite how most LDS are good people, just deceived like the FLDS, I finally just learned way too much and became too disgusted & repulsed to keep ignoring the wrongs and evils and to keep making excuses for the leaders.)
So I understand 'Mormon' doctrine. The Church teaches that Christ and his Gospel (found in the NT) trumps all other scripture and prophets, and that Christ is the foundation of their religion. They teach that the BoM is just another testament of Christ, like the NT. (Though the Church doesn't even live by the BoM, go figure) And the Church teaches that the BoM, or parts of it, or any scripture, is only true and valid if it is in harmony with Christ's teachings in the NT.
Christ's teachings in the New Testament are what proves anything or anyone else to be true or not. The BoM does not judge the NT, but the NT judges the BoM.
The Church & it's leaders even teache that if anyone, even the BoM prophets, teach things 'contrary' to Christ then we should reject them.
So to think the BoM somehow trumps Christ's teachings, or is more important than them, is opposite to what 'Mormons' teach.
And I realize that the LDS Church has included alot more doctrines and practices into it's Church that is not found in Christ's teachings. But that is not a good thing, but such additions upon closer look appear to be the philosophies & practices of men, mingled with Christ's scriptures.
I believe and even as a 'Mormon' I strongly believed, that Christ gave us his entire Gospel in the NT and that there was no need for any new or additional doctrines in other books of scripture. To think differently would have made Christ's Church in his day imperfect or not able to save people or lead them to salvation.
So while new scripture can be found or written since Christ, it will not have any more or less then what Christ taught, it may clarify things but it will not add more doctrine. So such scripture like the BoM is really not needed, though if true it would be helpful, but we already have all the scripture and the whole Gospel in the New Testament, in Christ's few words, for the Gospel is really very simple and basic and it has been man, false prophets, who have added numerous false procedures, policies, precepts and philosophies to Christ's pure few words he gave while he was among us.
When we take a closer look at the BoM, and not let our beliefs/feelings/emotions get in the way (for they easily deceive us), but instead follow God's command to 'prove all things' with facts, knowledge, reasoning and Christ's words, we can see that not everything in the BoM is in harmony with Christ's teachings, like Nephi killing Laban.
For as discussed, though Nephi may have been justified, a true prophet would have been Christlike and not have taken Laban's life, and the 'right' Spirit would not have asked him to do such a thing or anything contrary to Christ's teachings.
So, as I know you agree, God could not have been the one to inspire Nephi to do that. Plus, again, the reason Nephi gave for the necessity to slay Laban is very faulty.
For no one would have 'dwindled in unbelief' just because they didn't get the plates/scriptures from Laban. Nephi or Lehi or any other person could have easily rewrote new scripture to match or replace the plates of Laban 'IF' they were true prophets, righteous enough to receive revelation from God.
LDSDPer, Continued -
So just on that 1st story in the BoM, which is a huge red flag and no small thing considering Nephi was the author of many pages of the BoM & that even 'Mormon' included Nephi's writings & backed him up as a true prophet (which couldn't be so if he killed Laban.
Thus we see multiple contradictions to truth in the BoM and to God's commandments (which don't have any exceptions). God cannot command anything contrary to Christ's teachings and remain God.
I don't believe Christ would have slayed Laban, he and God would have commanded the same things they always did, to love our enemies and do good to them and have compassion on them, etc.
There was just no need to slay Laban even if justified, and no need to get the plates.
But that erroneous story about Nephi, along with the 'Tree of Life' dream that just happens to be the same dream Joseph's father had, along with the many other contradictions in the BoM to Christ's teachings and common sense or to what true prophets would teach, give us great pause about it's entire truthfulness or even being true scripture from God or even from Gold Plates, even if a person is 'Mormon', unless they choose to not want to acknowledge such contradictions and just accept things on feelings which easily led everyone astray, that's why Christ taught us to prove everything and everyone to be true before we believe in it or them.
Couple all that with the mounds of other evidence that appears to show how the BoM was just written by Joseph and possibly others, one has a hard time honestly believing it was of God.
For God does not want us to take anything on emotion or spiritual feelings or experiences, for such is easily deceiving, for people in all religions say and believe the same things about their spiritual feelings & experiences about their religions.
God commands us to use our intellect and 'prove all things' by pure knowledge, facts, reasoning, common sense and above all, by using Christ's teachings found in the NT to judge if any other scripture or prophets are true or not.
I do not believe it is hard to do either, if we are honest with ourselves and aren't tied by emotion or need to believe a certain way, even to the rejecting of truth or Christ.
As to why we don't hear more from Joseph's parents about the BoM if he made it up, well there could be many reasons.
Joseph could have hid it from them that he even made it up, or it appears his parents were in the habit of only giving a 'positive' view of their family and of Joseph (or Emma) and like most families, ignored the negative and spoke positively & supportive of their life and their children, no matter what was really going on behind closed doors.
We see this all around us today, especially in the Church, seemingly the best of families looking great on the outside, not really acknowledging what is really going on inside or confronting the wrongs of their children, just blindly accepting whatever they do or say, so to not make waves.
You know before your judge me for being a pacifist, consider this:
A (corrupt) church hierarchical structure was in place when Christ came to Earth to fulfill his mission. Many Jews wanted him to overthrow the Roman Empire, as they saw this as the primary role of the Messiah. It was not his mission, and it is not our mission to overthrow the United States government. Lord knows the early saints had ample cause to.
And why did Christ not try to overthrow the corrupt leadership? He said some negative things about them, but he never tried to overthrow them. He came to show the people a better way. He came to fulfill the law, not overthrow it.
Paul fought against Christianity. He thought it a threat to traditional Jewish teachings. His mentor, Rabbi Gamaliel, told Paul that if Christianity was of God, it could not be overthrown, and if it was not of God it would fail on its own. He advised Paul to leave the Christians alone and quit persecuting them.
I am not concerned with governments or churches. Mormonism is a worldwide church and is operating not only under the auspices of the American government, but literally every government on Earth. Shall we criticize every government then?
The Lord is in control, and if you think Ron Paul is going to change the world, nice try.
Now I leave you to go back to your beer swilling and alcohol inducted rantings.
Dang it, Irven! I warned you not to do your beer swilling out in the open where people could see!
Now Little Rock has found out about it. You were supposed to set an example.
so you are still a TBM, but you've left the church.
I am no longer a TBM, but I'm still in the church.
Because it is the TBM who believes the bible 'trumps' the Book of Mormon, even though the man who founded the church translated or revealed the Book of Mormon.
It's funny how different we are--and yet very much alike.
We both love Jesus more than anything. He is the ruler of heaven and earth.
I doubt the historicity of the Bible, you of the Book of Mormon.
the fact that the Book of Mormon has the story of Nephi and Laban is one of the reasons I value it. Real people making real mistakes or having to make decisions that are never happy, no matter what they do--
that's life. The Book of Mormon is meant as a book. To be read. It can lead to Jesus, but that story of Nephi and Laban proves to me that it is about real people--
people who made mistakes. I know so many men and women who can't come out and admit they made mistakes, but they will tell their stories. So people know the truth about them and can learn.
How valuable is that. In my opinion, that is the greatest value of the Book of Mormon. But Christ is in all its pages.
The bible, even the New Testament, and I admit I love the gospels; I love anything about Jesus. I want to see the movie The Son of God when it comes out on DVD. And I can rent it.
I can't get enough of anything about Jesus if it is remotely supporting His divinity.
But I have to admit that so many of my Christian friends argue over so many verses and scriptures and their meaning, and I grew weary of being told I wasn't saved--
when I had had a personal experience with Jesus and knew He accepted me and my following Him.
But they couldn't accept it and continued to rant at me.
So, let's let it be. I respect you, BK; is that enough?
And we both love Jesus. That's big.
Thanks, Rock; I'll look further.
But that podcast really gave me insight into the man, and I think he's a kindred spirit.
It makes little sense to continue to respond to Little Rock, but I do have to ask two questions to ask of our diminutive friend:
1. How is advocating respect for the constitution equated with overthrowing the government? Who here has suggested overthrowing the government?
2. "Mormonism is a worldwide church and is operating not only under the auspices of the American government, but literally every government on Earth."
And here I was taught that the church was operating under the auspices of Jesus Christ and is not dependent upon the patronage, support, sponsorship, or permission of any other entity for its existence.
Shows how much I know.
those of you who seem to have a need to push Rock of some kind of blog 'hill'--
1--this is his blog; he can write anything he wants, and nobody has to read it
2--it is insulting to tell those of *us* who enjoy coming here that we are under his 'spell'. Good heavens!
I mean, MERCY!!!
When I discovered Rock's blog a few years ago I read some of he back essays and found them thought-provoking. I had already decided, with my husband, to focus on the Book of Mormon.
Laugh at Ron Paul. He's not saving anyone. But he has helped many to understand the political mess going on in this nation.
My husband and I voted for him in 1988.
And believe it not, we've had all kinds of life experiences, some that might even blow you away. We've been through all sorts of fires and floods--
but we don't think we are better than others for it or 'put upon' for it; we are grateful for our gray hairs and our wrinkled skin and our slower walk--
grateful for the poverty we have 'enjoyed'--
grateful when we have seen the Hand of God in our lives--and I DO relate to that Toscano guy who was excommunicated 20 1/2 years ago--
we've had our TRs threatened for trying to take care of the needs of special needs children, for crying out loud.
I've said that before on here.
But about 2 years or so ago I saw one of Rock's blogs--
2 or 3 maybe--
and I cried out to my husband and my daughter who is an intelligent truth seeker,
"oh, my goodness, you two, you have to come see THIS!"
And I remember how they ran up the stairs. And I remember how my husband made me read it through with him again, even though it was late, and he was tired, and how my daughter stayed up very late after we had finished to read it.
This guy is real. He's had life happen.
I called his wife. After e-mailing her. I have had a bizarre life, and none of it shocked or threatened her even remotely. That woman has walked over coals of fire for years.
So, Rock has had a life, and some of *us* who do not fit in our tidy little church world--
have had to come on such blogs to stay as sane as it is possible for some of us to be.
My daughter, who rarely uses FB got so tired of the neo-con/TBM rantings from our ward members on FB--
that she friended Rock and made sure everyone saw it--
partly because of the things he has written, she continues to go to church, which we all have felt is important at this time in her life--
as much as she can--
she knows now that there are "Mormons out there" who have questions, doubts, serious concerns, heartaches over the corporate church, etc., etc., etc.--
and that is a comfort--
it is for us. Maybe we are weak. But if we were under any 'spell' it was long before we knew who Rock Waterman was.
He asks you to show him proof that he is wrong.
And you won't. You just have kind of man thing about knocking someone off something.
Why don't you start a blog called the 'anti-pure mormonism' blog--
I promise I would read the first essay. Scout's honor. Oops, I don't believe in scouting.
Well, if you come up with an anti-pure mormonism blog and let me know about it, I'll look it over, on my honor as an old woman.
I'm open about Nephi. I love him anyway, because he was so open about his own weaknesses. Gotta appreciate that in a man.
He may have followed the spirit as a huge test, for all I know, but the fact that the story is there tells me the Book of Mormon is authentic.
Funny, isn't it?
I really don't appreciate your sarcasm. You may qualify it as "good-natured ribbing" but I don't see it that way. Don't pretend to do me any favors by condescending to speak to me.
Aw come on, Little Rock. Don't be mad.
Come on now, give us a kiss.
(Sorry for that, folks. It's just that I was on the porch swilling beer with Irven and kind of forgot my usual decorum.)
Yes, we can just agree on Christ and leave it at that, which is what's most important.
But for the record I'm not a TB'Mormon', but a TB'Christian'. Big difference.
And I agree with your experiences, it seems most Christians (or LDS) don't really believe in Christ or live his teachings so how could they understand or agree on his scriptures?
But I believe 'Christ's words' trump the BoM or anyone else, not the Bible or NT (which I believe are both riddled with errors, except for Christ's few words in the NT).
And Joseph 'said' he believed Christ (& even the NT) trumped anything he said or published, including the BoM, he just didn't realize how much the BoM actually contradicted Christ. Oh well, I'm sure he does now.
And I agree with you, admid it's errors the BoM does teach many good things about Christ, and leads people to do much good.
It's just that most LDS people I know get deceived by all the falsehoods mixed in with the good parts of the BoM, so sadly they end up living contrary to Christ afterall.
I never called you a pacifist, but your obvious misunderstanding of the English language leads you to believe that anything said in a debate, is a personal attack on you.
I would never call you a pacifist. A pacifist has some semblance of respectability. You are a more accurately a dismissivist(not really a word, but one I came up with that describes you to a tee). You pass the buck, never make a stance on anything. Leaving responsibility on everyone else but yourself. In a scriptural sense, you would be "luke warm".
How does quoting Ron Paul mean I believe he will save the world? Only you could draw that type of strange conclusion to anything. Your ignorance is beyond words.
Now back to my beer swilling and alcohol consumption......if I really even did that....the world may never know. But, no matter, it provided you with a straw man argument......the only argument or attempt at anything you made.
Maybe you don't remember what you said because you were drinking:
"I hope this makes sense. I have had a little(or a lot, depending on your perspective)to drink tonight. I don't claim to have "all the answers, but I do believe my opinion is educated and has some value to be considered. Just being honest."
"If the Book of Mormon's teachings of just war don't apply because our world is different now, what teachings are valid? Who decides what is valid and what isn't?
"Thou shalt not steal". It's okay for the people to support others to steal for us and distribute it out to their friends or special groups. After all, we live in a more complicated different world than when Jesus uttered those words.
It is a tool of Satan to justify iniquity and evil; to make the water seem murky. Just because the water may appear murky, doesn't relieve each competent, thinking individual of their accountability to a given situation.
Will we choose the path of Christ on the matter at hand, or simply make excuses of why we "couldn't"?
Well Irven, I guess you have decided that obeying the Word of Wisdom is optional, but go ahead and continue to lecture us on the virtues of obeying every gospel principle.
Big Rock, Can't blame you for giving in to the temptation to tease Little Rock. He makes it too easy.
BK, So if u could go back and do it all again, what would u change? As far as raising ur kids?
Im in a cynical place now. I have zero trust in the bible, and my belief in the BoM is waning. I may give it one more read before tossing it out. I hate scripture stories. Too violent for my little tikes. Ugh, even that comic strip BoM for kids is awful what with ppl getting burned and stoned. How do i explain that to small children? I simply dont. We dont read that stuff. Maybe when they are 10 or 12 we will read them and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.
Well buddy, I have been all over the world, served in the military, owned my own business for 25 years, been on a mission, have 4 kids and 8 grandkids, and 2 college degrees. What have you done that gives you bragging rights? You think that pissant Rock can tell me something I haven't heard before?
if you don't think Rock can tell you anything, why don't you go and start your own blog.
I am not a person to tell people to leave, but it seems kind of strange when a person comes onto another person's blog and proceeds to insult them.
If you were visiting Rock in his home, would you insult him there.
That happened to us twice. Once it was a Baptist minister whom we invited to dinner along with his wife and special needs son who had 'playing' with our special needs son. Her own church had completely rejected the boy. She was a very good person. Her husband was on some kind of ego trip, but he chose to insult, repeatedly, our 8 year old daughter.
He asked who had husked the corn; she said, "I did," smiling, and he said, "you did a terrible job; look at this" and showed some silk that remained on the cob.
He also insulted me. I was very glad when he left; it was hard to believe he didn't realize what he was doing. His wife blushed continuously, but she didn't try to stop him.
Then a Mormon in our ward came to dinner with his wife; he is an M.D.--
he proceeded to have a little 'fit', because we didn't have salad dressing with a Mexican meal. I explained that I have a Mexican heritage (not polygamists) and that I KNOW how to make Mexican food, and Mexicans don't serve thousand island or ranch with their lettuce for various Mexican dishes.
But I had to go make him up a dressing; he didn't thank me; he looked at me as though I had done soemthing that could never be forgiven. Later he and his wife did something practically unforgiveable to that same daughter (the quiet truth seeker who always seems to bring the ornery out of nasty people)--
he will never come into our home again, though, once, when his wife had been gone traveling for over a month, we invited him spontaneously, because he was alone and not eating well. He was very thankful then and quite gracious and humble.
Is it pain? I mean, are there things so hard that you have to try to poke people?
I have been laughed at a lot on this blog (and others), because I talk too much. I am probably too open. One youngish man told me I posted too much and picked at me; an older man said I was unrelenting in my arguments, and why didn't I give him a break, and it was all around my being a woman!!! :)
Rock caught it and said as much, and neither had an answer after that. They didn't like talking to a woman.
Do men get some kind of odd comfort from insulting other men?
Rock has a sense of humor, and he can poke fun at himself.
I am thinking, Little Rock, that you don't have a sense of humor, and you can't laugh at yourself.
You take yourself very seriously.
You see, there is something about those of *us* who have been touched by Jesus. We don't think as much of ourselves. But we sometimes are driven to speak what we believe is the truth, though sometimes it would appear that we are skewered for it.
Some people just can't be pleased. But, seriously, if your life is hard right now for any reason--
and you came on a Mormon blog looking for . . .
Tell this group of people about it. There are people on here from every possible walk of life; we've got others who have served in the military who would probably argue with you.
PNWDPer for one--
though he's pretty gentle these days.
Those of us who have chosen in a big way to follow Jesus WANT to be gentle; we don't always succeed.
But what's this big ego thing about all you have accomplished. Rock has admitted he's not a scholar, so are you trying to knock him off his blog hill, because you have two degrees?
continued to Little Rock
Irven has a sense of humor and has left it up in the air as to whether he imbibes alcohol or not.
I know people who are converts to the church who used to drink heavily who frequently say, "I've had too much to drink" as a way to express that their thoughts feel a bit scattered.
You take everyone and everything so seriously.
Do you ever let down your 'hair', if you have hair?
My life is extaordinarily bizarre; there are people who don't want to hear about it, and I have not gone into detail here, though Connie Waterman knows about it.
If I didn't laugh at myself, I wouldn't be alive.
Come on, Little Rock, laugh at yourself, laugh at Rock, laugh at me, laugh at Irven--
and just stop taking things so seriously.
Life is short. You can make friends on a blog--
you can disagree in a way that isn't so egocentric.
For some of *us* this is a safe place. You don't take that away for me; I've been personally insulted a number of times and had some rather cruel things said to me. I figure it's good for me in the end.
But, laugh a little. See the ridiculousness of all of it.
You get upset with Irven, who very much has a sense of humor, because he mentions alcohol, but you tell *us* you haven't been to church in 10 years.
What is going on here, fellow human being?
Something that doesn't fit together.
I will read anything you say, if it's not insulting to any race or gender--
if you need to 'talk', the internet is the only place some of *us* have; you must have come here for a reason.
I think Irven is taking the 'man' way of making a friend with you. And, yes, Rock, too. What do you want the man to say more? You want him to apologize for having a blog and having opinions?
Tell anyone who will read what you have to say what you want. But please stop using unkind language. Calling someone an a## is just not nice.
I wouldn't let my children do it--but they aren't in their 50s, not yet.
I guess it might be 'man' talk in some places; I wouldn't know.
But I know my husband hasn't called anyone that, and sometimes I have to gasp at some of the things he calls nasty people--
and remind him that he is trying to follow Jesus. Or, wait, did Jesus call anyone that? Show us where, and the entire paradigm will shift.
And, by the way, there are others of us on here who have degrees and beyond--
my husband and I both did graduate work, but never finished; had family demands. That doesn't make us better than anyone--and we aren't stupider than people with many degrees.
Now, laugh at me; I've been laughed at before.
Most of us served missions; most of us who are older have grandchildren--
you're not the exception.
my husband and I both served missions and we have 3 grandchildren. Not as many as you have, but we have special needs children who will never have children. So, oh well.
Well, if I could have awaken to the truth in my teens lets say, then I wouldn't have gone on a mission, despite the good parts about it, for I wouldn't have wanted to support the Church in any way or lead people to join it.
Nor do I believe God want's young people to go be missionaries far away from family or to put off dating, marriage or education. There is no need for that.
Nor do I believe God ever wanted men, like in the 1800's to leave their wives and families for extended periods of time to go be missionaries, it usually does far more harm to their families by being away, then the good it does for others. And I believe God wants men to put their wife and family 1st above thing else or anyone else's welfare or needs.
I would have been (and am now) a missionary for 'Christ', not a church, at home as a teenager, while getting an education, giving service to others and being available for marriage.
I would have looked for a Christian man who loved Christ above all and followed his teachings, not prophets who mixed in their own false philosophies.
I would have been wary of dating an LDS man unless he was willing to see the errors and leave the Church and follow Christ too.
I definitely wouldn't have married in the temple and kept my husband's parents from being able to see our wedding, nor would I have had anything to do with the temple, for I believe it was all Brigham Young's vile invention.
Yes, temple's may be beautiful but I believe they are a false front to get people to go along with evil. You can build anything beautiful and peaceful with that much money (money Christ wanted to be used for the poor no less, not big & spacious buildings).
I would have left the Church and never looked back. I would just teach my children the teachings of Christ found in the New Testament, at home with like minded family & friends.
I would be careful about teaching the rest of the New Testament and I would probably not even use the Old Testament, for it's stories seem too riddled with error to be trustworthy to use at all. There is no need for it anyway, since we have the whole Gospel of Christ in the NT.
I would teach my children that our marriage & family was forever, impossible to break apart, no matter what, but that we all want to live worthy of eternal life as Christ taught.
I probably wouldn't use the Book of Mormon either, unless just certain parts that teach a good principle, for I don't believe it came from true prophets. And I would not use or trust the D&C or PoGP, I don't believe in them either to be all true, so I just avoid them so I don't have to try and discern every little truth from error.
I believe Joseph was a good man who didn't live polygamy but I don't believe he was always teaching truth according to Christ in his scriptures.
I now only study & live by the teachings of Christ, which have all we need to know in them.
I use his words to compare it with any other person or scripture or teachings out there, so to discern whether they are true or not or whether people are true followers of Christ or not.
Does that answer your question? :)
LDS DPer called you out. Will you amswer the call. I have served a mission also. More recently than you. So what? I never read a word Rock had to say until late January of this year. I am not under any spell. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, Rock or anyone else.
This blog is an open forum, where people like BK, engaged19times, LDS Dper, Pierce, Rock, me, LDS Anarchist(maybe the wisest of all of us) can come together and have discussion.
I'm around 20 years your junior and I have 2 businesses(3 if you count my wine bibbing or "beer swilling as you call it). So what? It doesn't matter here. It doesn't matter if I'm a millionaire or live in destitute poverty. It's a blog. We talk about hypotheses, opinions, concerns or whatever else. It is a "safe place" as LDS DPer says. Do you want to discuss things or continue to discount everyone else because they don't "own two businesses" or aren't successful like you?
You have failed to tell anyone where you are coming from. Then go in defensive mode about how no one understands you. No one knows you. Give us some insight. We day not agree, but at least we know where you are coming from.
I will start: I went to church today. I taught a lesson to 14-25 year old's in Sunday school. Did I do it how the establishment would have wanted? Doubt it, don't really care. They put me there, (beer swilling be damned). What's your story, really? Why did you come to this blog? It wasn't because you already know everything. If so, you wouldn't be here. Are you trolling, or did this blog pique your interest? Be honest, we're sick of fighting with you. Who's the true Little Rock? What's his story?
There is no edit feature, but I meant to say 14-15, not 14-25 year olds
BK, I too hunger for the words of Jesus Christ. Given that they're the gold standard for reality and truth it's curious that we have so few of them from any source. Even if the entire premise of mortality is for us to live by faith I still would love to watch him in action, to experience his profound respect for other people as he talks to them and to feel the power of his love as he comforts those who stand in need of comfort. I believe he is aware of our long and winding conversation here in Rockland; think of the remarkable things we'd learn if he joined in!
This is so like Rock to stir up a hornets nest, leave, and have all his admirers fight his battles.
Rock is not the helpless, shrinking violet you think he is. I told him I didn't care for his sarcasm, and he just kept twisting the knife. But you don't see that...you see Rock as a helpless victim of poor ole Little Rock.
Oh my gosh, I called Rock an ass. When someone tells you to back off and you keep it up, you are an ass. I am willing to acknowledge half the blame here, but not all of it. I will not respect you or Irven until you acknowledge that others played a part in this escalation. Rock, of all people wrote a blog about treating others with respect...
It is beyond me why you people think that one person can carry out an argument.
Great thoughts! I enjoyed your post and I really like the way you put it: "The Gold Standard" for reality and truth.
Well I know I.find these kinda blogs therapeutic. I have to say things I feel sometimes, to Mormons, because I have felt tricked and cheated by that church. So maybe somehow this Little Rock feels that? This is a safe place, even tho it would be helpful if there was a better comment system. I post on DListed a lot and their comments are by Disqus. Its more organized.
BK, Thanks for the response. Its brave what u did disassociating with the church, speshly after being a TBM. I havent ever been a TBM, tho I always thought mormons had all the answers growing up and i wasnt worthy enough to understand.
Okay, okay, so I've been funning with you. Little Rock. Don't let it ruin your day. I got kind of weary of trying to reason with you, so I thought I'd tease you a bit instead.
So why are your feelings hurt? Have you forgotten that your username protects you from any personal embarrassment? Nobody really knows it's you that's been on the receiving end of my extremely witty barbs, so why let it get under your skin?
You're anonymous! No one who knows you personally any idea it's you I'm talking to. Calm down; your character has not been assassinated. This is safe ground.
I would never give a hard time to anyone here using their real name, because I wouldn't want to embarrass an actual identifiable fellow human, no matter how insufferable and insulting they may become.
As LDSDPer made clear, this is an open forum, and all are free to share their opinions. But a touch of civility and respect will reap civility and respect in return. Look around here. Everyone else seems to be getting along, even though there are plenty of disagreements between some parties.
If you insist on acting childish and immature, you needn't be surprised to find yourself teased for it.
Again, if your real name was known, I would not call you childish and immature, but since you are here anonymously, what harm or embarrassment or insult have you been forced to endure by what you call my "twisting of the knife"? Absolutely none!
I like LDSDPer's suggestion that if your views differ so radically and it frustrates you that I am not converted to your view, why not start a blog of your own where you can rag on Rock Waterman and his kooky ideas to your heart's content? Her suggestion that you call it "Anti-Pure Mormonism" sounds pretty catchy. You should use that.
I'd read your blog. Heck, I'd even link to it and tell all my friends about it.
I think LDSDPer is onto something. This is your calling, my friend! Go forth and compete with me in the marketplace of ideas!
My feeling are not hurt. What irritates me is that you can act like an ass, and your friends blame me for it.
Your arrogance knows no bounds. I hope this little exercise has satisfied your inner child. How dare you presume to condescend to me.
This would be a different outcome if it were one on one.
So I suggest you hook up with Irven and continue to swill beer with him while you both commiserate about the world's problems.
Little Rock wrote, "How dare you presume to condescend to me. This would be a different outcome if it were one on one."
Oh, Little Rock, you are SO adorable!
And now Rock plays the waiting game. Soon the Peanut gallery will show up and express moral outrage. Little Rock will make some sort of response, and then Rock will have fresh ammunition for his dimwitted attacks, and a audience of admirers. Gloating will ensue shortly thereafter. Rock then crawls back under his "Rock". (Is that how you got your nickname?)
Little Rock said to me "Well buddy, I have been all over the world, served in the military, owned my own business for 25 years, been on a mission, have 4 kids and 8 grandkids, and 2 college degrees. What have you done that gives you bragging rights?"
I can eat fifty eggs.
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