Saturday, July 1, 2017

Re-Examining Our National Delusion

Previously: Joseph Smith's Big Mistake

With the fourth of July fast approaching, I am reminded of an incident that happened this time of year to a Mormon couple I now count among my closest friends. Gintaras and Nancy Genys were the founders of a private Christian school in Arizona that catered mostly to the children of LDS parents who sought an education for their children free from State control.

But Nancy was unaware of how tightly the State had already gripped the parents of her students, because after she introduced those children to the factual history presented in a blog post I had written, many of those students complained bitterly to their parents.  Within days those parents came to the school in the middle of the day and literally yanked their kids out.  Every one of those parents who withdrew their children then rushed them into the safety of the local government propaganda mills.

Someone reported Nancy to her bishop. One thing led to another, and Nancy's search for continuing truth eventually got her and her husband forced out of the Church.

All this because she had tried to reverse some of the false traditions that had been inculcated into the children she was entrusted to teach. All she had intended to do was help break the hundred-year grip the State had on a new generation of youngsters. Everything she introduced in her lesson was documented truth. Not even a hint of falsehood.

Eventually, with most of her students gone, Nancy's school folded. For her and her husband, it was a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars, all gone in a matter of months. They lost everything they had worked for, including their home.

They also lost most of their friends. Because when you resolve to put Christ first in your life, you can expect to be ill-treated by those who think God smiles on His people when they bow to idols.

Nancy and her husband now live up here in Northern Idaho not far from my neck of the woods. She and Gintaras are as devoted to the gospel of the Restoration as ever; more so, I'd say. They have a lot less material wealth than they once did, but then they are much freer now than they used to be. Too bad we can't say the same for those former students, many of whom are now growing into adulthood still chained to the vain traditions of their fathers.

That blog post that got Nancy into so much trouble with her local Mormon community is as pertinent today as it was six years ago. And just as offensive to some folks, I reckon.

You can read it here. That is, if you dare:

"One Nation Under Babylon."


Unknown said...

I read "One Nation Under Babylon," and found it very interesting, but I don't think it's entirely accurate to say that the Russians who fought and died fighting the invading Nazis did so because they'd been brainwashed into accepting the communist system, or that the argument (for them) "came down to which leader should be dominant, Hitler or Stalin." Or that they fought because they were "incapable of examining the reasons why they were fighting and dying." My understanding is that many of the common people at first welcomed the Germans as liberators, until the Wehrmacht received orders that Russians and slavs were fit only for slave labor, and started rounding up and executing anyone who had an education (and all the Jews.) After that, I believe the issue for most of the 20 million who died was more one of survival than loyalty to any particular leader or political system, or anything they may have been taught in school. And I'm well aware of the fact that their government had signed a treaty of mutual friendship and non-aggression with Nazi Germany, and was perfectly fine with Hitler invading Poland, until Russia itself was attacked--so I'm not defending the Russian government, or Stalin here. I just don't think it's quite fair (or accurate) to characterize the Russian partisans who were fighting for survival as mindless robots brainwashed as children, fighting for communism or Stalin, when most of them were probably fighting for their own lives, and homes, and families (and fighting what they had come to recognize as a greater evil than Stalin.) Still, "One Nation Under Babylon" was interesting, and I thank you.

Robin Hood said...

The Russians are vehemently proud of their land and will fight any invader to the death to preserve it. Their legendary defence of Stalingrad was the turning point of the war. They just would not give an inch to the Germans.
They fought heroically for their motherland.
Don't believe all the Hollywood war stories you hear; it was the Soviets who won the war.

The parents of the kids in the school probably just wanted somewhere to send their kids where they could learn the 3R's without all of the political correctness and rainbow values that infect state schools.
They had every right to remove their children if the school went beyond it's remit or fell short of their expectations.

Amy said...

Robin Hood, I wish you would just go away.

David said...

Which side one took in Russia and East German and etc, was not so much about brainwashing but was the result of believe our way or you die. Same thing happened after Rome, started the Church of Rome, believe our way or die.

Unknown said...

From what I've read, the common people couldn't openly practice their religion under Stalin until the Nazi invasion, when the government lightened up. And the people did at first welcome the Germans as liberators, until they realized the Nazis were monsters, who had no room for them as anything but slaves. Also, I'm not sure it's true to say there was practically no ideological difference between the Nazis and the Soviets, because I don't think the Russians ever regarded themselves as a supper race, or viewed other races as fit only for slave labor. Curiously enough, the Japanese did share this superior race ideology with the Nazis, and viewed Koreans, Chinese, and Filipinos much the same way the Germans viewed Slavs and Russians. Have you seen Hacksaw Ridge?

Unknown said...

And it wasn't just a matter of "believe our way or die" with the Nazs, party membership wasn't open to Jews. As far as the Nazis were concerned, some ethnicities were sub-human, and unfit to survive. Others were fit only for slave labor.

Unknown said...

And it wasn't just a matter of "believe our way or die" with the Nazs, party membership wasn't open to Jews. As far as the Nazis were concerned, some ethnicities were sub-human, and unfit to survive. Others were fit only for slave labor.

Unknown said...

And it wasn't just a matter of believe our way or die with the Nazis. As far as the Nazis were concerned, some ethnicities were sub-human and unfit to survive. Others were fit only for slave labor.

Unknown said...

Jews and gypsies weren't asked if they'd like to join the party, and "believe as we do" before they were shipped to Auschwitz (and I knew a Jewish immigrant who was in Auschwitz, and still had the serial number on his arm.)

Jack said...

Rock, I know that you love the U.S. constitution, but I want to point something out.

In D&C 101:77, the Lord makes it clear that he "suffered" the constitution to be established:

"According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;"

This word, "suffer," when used in the scriptures is not simply ye olde englishe for "allow." It has a connotation - a negative connotation - that can can be extrapolated quite easily by looking at the plethora of verses in which it occurs. This word always connotes permitting something that is not right or not preferable.


Alma "began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi, but suffer that he might depart in peace." Alma knew Noah would not want Abinadi to depart in peace, but he hoped he might suffer him to do so.

The people of Zarahemla "would not suffer that [Samuel the Lamanite] should enter into the city." Again, it was really not preferable to them for Samuel to enter. If they had let him in, it would have been grudgingly. Very different from "I let my daughter use the weed whacker," or "I allowed my neighbor to wax my car."

Now, there are exceptions, of course, but I think it's worth considering that the Lord looked down on the 18th century and saw a bunch of men who were getting ready to form a nation-state that would eventually become the most grossly abusive superpower the world has ever seen, and He shed His best spiritual influence upon them to temper the coming disaster - that the Lord suffered the constitution to be established, knowing that it was not ideal, and that it would eventually lead to ruin.

Remember, in the past, the Lord suffered kings to be established over his people. Result: apostasy and destruction. Then, with the people a little more open to the ideas of liberty, he suffered the establishment of a system of judges. Result: apostasy and destruction. Then he suffered the establishment of a constitution designed explicitly to protect individual rights (except that it authorized theft by the government, and blacks weren't really people). Result: none of us are really people because the state owns all of us, and representation is an illusion; apostasy; destruction (coming soon!).

The Lord is slowly teaching us hard-headed, idol-worshipers that He is the only real authority - that even the best, most inspired form of statism will devolve into tyranny and destruction - that true freedom does not (and indeed cannot) involve a coercive state.

matt lohrke said...

@Jack - interesting insights. You make a compelling argument.

Anyone living in the Promised Land is required to serve Christ and Christ alone, which makes Joseph's statement about "let men worship how, where and what they may" a bit odd, assuming we take that statement at face value. At the same time, Christ said it was necessary that the Gentiles be established as a "free people," and the constitution certainly helped with that.

Just spitballing here, but perhaps the constitution is the preparatory law in anticipation of the higher law of physical Zion in the same way our current gospel is a "preparatory gospel" in anticipation of spiritual Zion and the Higher Priesthood.

So while imperfect, it's accomplished it purposes and will eventually be replaced?

Jack said...

@matt lorke (deleted and reposted because Courier New is really hard to proofread)

Yes, something like that. I think we often misunderstand the Articles of Faith. I think #11, which you cited, is about free agency. Let people worship what they will, as long as it doesn't infringe on others' natural rights. Let them swing their fists, as long as they stop before they hit our noses.

I like your comparison of the constitution as a preparatory law. I think the next main challenge though, is to let go of the idea of replacing it at all. Ron Paul said, "When I say cut taxes, I don’t mean fiddle with the code. I mean abolish the income tax and the IRS, and replace them with nothing." I think that's the spirit of the next evolution. Abolish the state, and replace it with nothing.

I can just hear the screeching: "But that would be ANARCHY!"

Yes. Yes it would.

The word means "without rulers." That's all it means, and it's no surprise that the state-run indoctrination centers that call themselves schools, and the propaganda machine that calls itself the media have instilled in us a fear and a misunderstanding of the word. It follows naturally from the self-evident truth that no other human being has or can acquire the right to rule over you (no, pseudo-religious political rituals cannot make someone your master), and it's 100% compatible with the Gospel of Peace. Everyone retains their natural rights, and society operates based on people's needs and wants instead of on theft and coercion. Thousands of years of human history have passed, and we've made so much progress. Slavery is no longer acceptable. Women are acknowledged as persons. But we have yet to get rid of this most dangerous and, frankly, idiotic superstition that we need to concentrate absolute power in the hands of one or more people in order to avoid widespread abuses of power (and yes, despite Bills of Rights and whatnot, it always ends up being absolute power).

I don't just think it's desirable - I think it's necessary. How can a Zion community exist whose members vie for political control over others? How can charity exist while we vote for our political masters to essentially point guns at people and demand their obedience? Wasn't that Satan's plan? To destroy the agency of man, and subjugate us to his will?

I think that the American experiment was God's way of saying, "Look guys, all throughout history you've had a state - an organization claiming a monopoly over the legitimate use of force - and it's only brought you sorrow. Now even the best form of statism - one based on liberty and representation - has failed miserably to provide what it promised. There is only one conclusion left now. Do you understand yet? Stop trying to set up a coercive system and just be free!"

Robin Hood said...

@ Amy

I'm sure you do.
Sorry to disappoint you.

Robin Hood said...

There's lot of nonsense on here about the Russians welcoming the Germans as liberators. Where do people get this garbage?
It was other Soviet nations such as the Ukrainians who were accomodating to the invaders; even creating their own regiments in the German army!
But the Russians defended their land with great courage and were stalwart in their opposition to the Germans.
Some people on here need to read their history books.

matt lohrke said...

@jack -

I hear what you're saying. Yes, we are free to exercise agency, but with it, of course, comes penalties for failing worship Christ and Christ alone and King of this Land. I would like to see Article 11 read, "sure, worship what you want, but here are the consequences for failing to worship Christ." Alas...

At any rate, all of this makes me wonder why The Brethren, instead of going before the powerful, influential and wealthy, calling them to repentance and exposing their secret combinations as prophets are supposed to do, instead rub elbows with them. Well, we know the answer, but...

Yesterday Dieter was in Manhattan to speak. The first two rows of pews were "reserved" for the big wigs - area "authorities" and such.

Yet, of course, all are equal in the Lord's church, right? No flesh is esteemed above another, right?

DeeLyn said...

Yes, Christ taught that we should not trust any mortal to be our leader, political or religious. No preacher, prophet, politician, president or King, etc.

Ashley said...

I've enjoyed this this blog and the comments. I haven't finished reading them all yet. It is interesting because I've been thinking about the same things the past few days. I've been thinking about the Constitution coming about by the hand of God but thinking that God has known all along that it was just a temporary solution. It was never going to be the final government. I've been thinking it was established to give the people enough freedom to be prepared to receive greater things. Good catch with the word "suffer."

Matthias said...


You are correct in pointing out that the ideology and mindset of the German soldiers in WWII was quite different that that of the Russians.

Contrary to what is commonly believed the Soviets were a lot worse than the Germans. There is a reason that the people of Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, etc cheered the Germans and viewed them as liberators. With the execption of Jews and Soviet Commisars the inhabitants of the Soviet Union were actually generaly treated much better under German occupation than they had been under the communists. In fact as the Soviets pushed the German army out of the Soviet Union in 1944, droves of civilians from all nationalities including Russian fled with the Germans, seeking their protection from the dreaded Red Army.

The Russian soldiers literally raped almost every female on their path to Berlin and during the subsequent occupation following the war. They also brutally murdered tons of defensless women, elderly, and children.

There's no question that Hitler was pure evil and that he wanted all the slavs exterminated eventually, however this was not the attitude of the common German soldier.

SB said...

@Jack, I couldn't agree more with your posts. I've always noticed the word "suffer" in those verses, yet many liberty loving LDS set the Constitution up as yet another idol, sacrosanct and perfect. I'm of the opinion that it was actually a step down from the Articles of Confederation, a sort of counter-revolution as some have called it:

I also tend to be of the opinion that the "great and abominable church of the devil" is the State itself as it binds, coerces, destroys, and requires us to seek it's permission in almost every aspect of our lives. Reading the description in 1 Nephi 13 leaves me no other conclusion. There are those who seek to rule others and those who do not. And those who willfully cheer for, promote and seek to control it's levers and those who seek to be left alone in peace.

Unknown said...

I really feel sorry for Nancy and Gintaras. It must have been a devastating experience. At least they know now who their real friends are and who are not. I hope they will overcome this episode. What a story. That blog was an eye-opener.
The devil deceives the whole world, says John the Revelator (which includes us Mormons, does it not?). The internet has opened up many sources and thus has made it more difficult to deceive the people. But we want to be deceived, it seems, and received not the love of the truth, that we might be saved. And for this cause God shall send us strong delusion, that we should believe a lie, says Paul (2 Thess. 2: 10, 11).

jjkrambule said...

Hey Rock, Would you please remind me where you are living in Northern Idaho. We took a trek up there some years ago and are wondering where you are in relationship to where we went. We look forward to your posts and are grateful for your sharing!

dx said...

Hey Rock,
I heard about something you might be interested in looking in to. Apparently the Church receives immigrant settlement cash from the government, which is why they have been pushing this "charity" effort for refugees.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Connie and I moved up here to Sandpoint, in the Idaho panhandle. If you're ever up this way I hope you'll stop in for a visit.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robin Hood is right about one thing, Amy: It was the Russian army that beat back the Germans. America was never threatened by the Nazi war machine, but Russia suffered mightily. In the end, it was the Russians who beat back the Nazi war machine and won the war in the European theater, not the Americans.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jack, you won't get any argument from me that the Lord "suffered" the constitution to be established. It is clearly a flawed document, a series of compromises that the Lord suffered to be established "by the hands of wise Men," but which requires constant vigilance because neither the constitution nor the limited government it created is capable of policing itself.

I appreciate you pointing that out, because a deeper explication was beyond the ken of this piece. I did however touch on a lot of these concerns in my two parter written last spring, "How Mormons Should think About The Presidential Election:

As Madison pointed out, if men were angels we would need no government, but sadly human nature is such that there will always be some who claim the right to rule over others, and worse, a desire on the part of most Americans to have other people direct their lives for them.

Even John Adams, who himself succumbed to the lure of power once he became president, famously said that the constitution can only be maintained by a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate to any other.

The political religion of the latter-day Saints can aptly be encapsulated in the title of Matt Kibbe's book, "Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff."

At least that was the political religion of the early Saints. Things seem to have evolved among modern Mormons. Or should I say "devolved," as most Mormons show the same desire to be controlled by powerful men in government as does the average American today.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I tend to agree with SB, who sees the constitution actually as a step down from the Articles of Confederation. Sadly, that attempt was flawed too, so I have no easy answers. Those guys did their best, but my sympathies still lie with the anti-federalists such as Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, and Thomas Paine.

My vote for best president ever was Thomas Jefferson. He understood the office was not intended to have any power or influence whatsoever. If men were angels, or at least if they were all like Thomas Jefferson, this nation would be ready to be taken up as was the City of Enoch.

Jared Livesey said...

Thomas Jefferson? The president who executed the Louisiana Purchase without Constitutional authority, and said, to justify himself, that the Constitution is not a suicide pact? That Jefferson?

Jared Livesey said...
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Alan Rock Waterman said...

Yeah, Log, that's the guy.

I didn't say he was perfect. Just the least tyrannical of the bunch.

My second choice is Grover Cleveland. He understood his role.

Jared Livesey said...

Jefferson killed the Constitution, Rock. He enshrined the principle that the Constitution was to be binding only so long as one liked the consequences of following it. What else do you need to get from there to today?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

And I hope you're not attributing that precise sentiment to Jefferson, who never said it. Lincoln, the devil incarnate, used just such a justification to invade sovereign states. Jefferson may have purchased land to prevent the nascent country from being crowded out by the French, but he would have never launched invasions against innocent people the way Lincoln did, simply to force the so-called "rebels" to pay him tariffs.

Jared Livesey said...

Here it is, in Jefferson's words, sayeth Wikipedia: "A strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means." Sounds like "the Constitution is not a suicide pact" to me.

Jared Livesey said...

And it sounds like Jefferson's words could well justify Lincoln to act in the preservation of the Union under the guise of "saving our country when in danger [from dissension]."

Jared Livesey said...

Franklin ought to have agreed. If the Loisiana Purchase sacrificed liberty for temporary security, and you, Rock, have stated this to be the case, then we are reaping the poisonous fruits of Jefferson's treason. For once the Constitution was expendable whenever we deemed ourselves sufficiently threatened, the liberties it afforded were ended in principle, if not yet in fact. From thence, it was simply a matter of time until we got where we are today, through Lincoln, even.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

And we indeed have neither.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If memory serves, Log (and I don't have the Dumas volumes on hand to check)Jefferson sent the treaty to congress to ratify. So he did not act as lone executive, which would be a violation of office as is so often the case today with presidential usurpation. So I'm not sure what you feel the violation was. He argued for the purchase, he didn't just do it on his own.

Couldn't have anyway, as the assembly controls the money.

Jared Livesey said...

Did he or Congress have Constitutional authority to purchase land? If not, then the purchase was a violation of the Constitution.

That Jefferson got Congress to sign off on this anti-Constitutional usurpation of power to the USFEDGOV is, to me, not a relevant point.

That Jefferson justified this anti-Constitutional usurpation by promulgating as a general principle that the Constitution is only to be obeyed as long as we like the results of obeying it laid the foundation for the Civil War and everything that has happened since.

We'd have been better off impeaching him.

But enough from me.

Continue on.

Unknown said...

What about George Washington?

Didn't congress want to make him king, and didn't he turn down the crown saying that "one king George is enough"?

Doesn't he get anyone's vote?

Unknown said...

And wasn't Andrew Jackson the guy who really deserved to be impeached?

I mean he rounded up peaceful indians (the Cherokee, the civilized tribe) who were living on farms and growing corn, and forcibly marched them hundreds of miles in what became known as the march of tears (and I believe some died along the way.) And he did so in defiance of the supreme court.

I believe he acknowledged that they had made their ruling, and then dared them to enforce it without an army, before he ordered the army to round them up.

And I believe the only one who stood up to him in congress (where there was no will to impeach him) was Davy Crockett (who, as a result, lost re-election and ended up in the Alamo.)

Isn't He the president who most deserved to be impeached?

SB said...

RE: Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase, just a couple nuggets:

"American nationalists glory in imagining Jefferson, having consummated the Louisiana Purchase, sitting in the presidential mansion celebrating the growing power and glory of the mighty new nation, the United States of America. This picture is an invention of the imperialist impulse of the late nineteenth century. At the time of the Purchase, Jefferson writes to a close associate:

The future inhabitants of the Atlantic and Mississippi States will be our sons. We leave them in distinct but bordering establishments. We think we see their happiness in their Union, and we wish it. Events may prove otherwise; and if they see their interest in separation, why should we take side with our Atlantic rather than our Mississippi descendants? It is the elder and the younger son differing. God bless them both, and keep them in union, if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better.

A letter to the English savant Joseph Priestly, January 29, 1804, expresses the same sentiments. After expressing relief that the worrisome problem of the Napoleonic empire on the Mississippi has been solved, Jefferson writes:

The denoument has been very happy; and I confess if look to this duplication for the extending a government so free and economical as ours, as a great achievement to the mass of happiness that is to ensue. Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children and descendants as those of the eastern . . . .

The Union was not sacred and eternal. It was an arrangement that could be changed. What was important was the principle of self-government."

His sentiments mesh with his overall vision:

And it seems a wise thing to do to remove the influence of Napoleonic France without a shot being fired.

More reading here, starting at page 57:

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

And since the constitution gives congress control of the purse strings, why would it be unconstitutional for congress to approve a land purchase?

Unknown said...

Thank you SB.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

If the constitution gives congress control of the purse strings, why would it be unconstitutional for congress to approve a land purchase?

SB said...

Historian Brion McClanahan says the Louisiana Purchase was "perfectly constitutional" per the treaty making power in this 30 minute podcast:

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for that link, SB. I don't have access to any of my Jefferson books since the move, so I was unable to give provide an adequate response. (I had never even been aware the Louisiana Purchase was controversial in some circles, because I always thought the purpose was to peacefully remove from our borders a Napoleonic threat.)

Brian McClanahan is a constitutional scholar with a famously libertarian bent (He is author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers") and I agree with his assessment, as I agree with Michael Burke above when he says Jefferson understood the congress had to approve the purchase because the president has no control over the money.

By the way, Last year I recommended McClanahan's book "9 Presidents Who Screwed Up The Country" in my piece on the presidential election:

And I would also point out he has released a new book, much needed at this time, "How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America."

Unknown said...

Thank you SB.

Unknown said...

Thank you Mr. Waterman.