Saturday, February 26, 2022

They're Trying To Get You To Support Another Phony War

Previously: My Interview at Book of Mormon Podcast

Nothing I've read in the Book of Mormon the past couple of years has struck me as forcefully as what Jesus told the Nephites would occur among us in the last days.  Three times he reiterated the sins that would be among us, and since He was only with the Nephites a short time, he must have really wanted us -the ones who would eventually receive that record- to sit up and take notice when we saw these prophecies come to pass among us. Each time the Savior reiterated the list of sins we would be awash in, two in particular were always at the top of His list: "lies and deceptions."  I assume therefore that he wanted us to be especially keen in watching out for them. (I included each list with corresponding cites in my earlier post "The Sins at the Top of the List.")

We've seen an abundance of lies and deceptions foisted on us by those in positions of power these past few years, and the latest attempt to get the populace to go along with their schemes is this idea that we should take sides with them against Russia. They have told us repeatedly that it will require us, the common people, to make sacrifices, but they haven't exactly been up front about why. 

I've been watching a lot of coverage about what is happening in Ukraine since last week, but nowhere am I seeing the full story told.  No, not even on the Fox News Channel, where virtually everyone there (with the possible exception of Tucker Carlson) has taken the same posture that network did twenty years ago when they banged the war drums in support of America's invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.  In short, all of mainstream media, both liberal and conservative networks, have suddenly become avid warhawks.

So, if you've a mind not to get fooled again this time around, you deserve to know what they haven't been telling you.

What They Haven't Been Telling You 
First thing to know about the situation in Ukraine is that this not something you should be manipulated into taking sides on.  There is nothing patriotic about siding with the American political establishment on this; they are in the wrong.

This is little different than a gang war between two crime families, the Deep State versus Russia.  Think of it as a feud between the Genovese crime family and the Gambino crime family.  This doesn't involve you, and if you take sides with one crime family over another, you are in the wrong as well. God will not smile on you for cheering on either side. So here are the facts:

In case you're too young to remember, for several decades following World War II, the Soviet Union consisted of Russia and fifteen satellite countries.  These satellite countries were all communist, just like Russia. The leaders of these satellite countries were puppet dictators who took their orders from the Russian Politburo. You'll recognize the names of some of these satellite nations as Poland, Georgia, Czekoslovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Kazakhstan, and a handful of other countries with names ending with "-stan." 

And, of course, Ukraine.

Back then, the Soviet Union, a sizable superpower that openly threatened to "bury" the West, was rightly considered a threat to the rest of the world. So the governments of the major Western nations created an alliance known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. The idea behind NATO was that if the Soviets tried any funny business, we would all gang up on them and see that they learned to play nice.  It seems to have worked.  Then, after years of Russians becoming dissatisfied with the failure of the promise of a communist paradise, in December 1991 the Soviet Union fell. Having lost the ability to keep its own people in check, Russia also lost control of its puppet states. The people of these countries, tired of communism, moved toward more democratic governments. And all was well with the world. Kinda sorta.

With the Soviet Union no longer a threat, one would expect that NATO, which existed only as a guard against encroachments by the Soviets, should have been dissolved, being no longer needed. But that didn't happen. In fact, in the decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO' has continued to expand, giving truth to the old adage that governments, once given power, almost never give that power up, even long after any reason exists for them to have that power.  And this is where Ukraine comes in.

Ukraine is not a free nation. It is not a democratic republic. Hell, it isn't even a democracy. In 2014 the U.S. government overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine in a violent coup and replaced that government with one more malleable to U.S. interests.  The result is that today Ukraine's government is almost as thoroughly corrupt as our own. Ukraine has, for all intents and purposes, become a vassal state of the U.S. government.  This is why our president (also beholden to globalists hell-bent on bringing Ukraine in as a member of NATO), has been able to treat Ukraine as his personal piggy-bank.  It's also why politicians on both sides of the aisle aren't telling you the truth.

Now, why would that be? Why would NATO have need of a member country that exists right next door to Russia?  Well, that's kinda what Vladimir Putin wants to know. 

The truth is, Putin does know why, and I'll get to that in a minute.

When I said Ukraine is not a free country, I was not entirely accurate.  The people in a large region of Ukraine have declared their independence from Ukraine.  They consider themselves a free people who have formed a free nation they call Donbas. Here's what that looks like on the map:

You'll notice that Donbas is right smack dab next to Russia. Here's the thing about the people of Donbas: like a lot of people who left Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, they are overwhelmingly Russian. They moved next door to Ukraine, but they speak Russian. Their culture is Russian. The vast majority of them are devout Christians who attend Russian Orthodox churches there in the Donbas region. One other thing: The illegitimate government of Ukraine does not like the people of Donbas. Partly because they're Russians, and partly because they don't wish to be ruled.

Now, you get to understand that the people of Donbas don't want to be governed by Ukraine.  But that doesn't mean they want to go back to being governed by Russia, either.  So some years ago they declared their independence. How do you think the government of Ukraine has reacted to a swath of its population declaring themselves no longer under its iron fist? Well, the Ukraine government says Donbas can't be allowed to be independent, and to that end the Ukrainian government has been shelling the Donbas region for the past eight years.  Let that sink in: For eight long years, the government of Ukraine has been slaughtering its own civilian population just because they want the freedom to live their lives as they see fit.  The prime minister of Canada has nothing on the president of Ukraine.

Why do you suppose Ukraine wants these people to fall back in line?  Well, one reason could be that Donbas is right on the border of Russia.  NATO is a highly militarized outfit, and Putin certainly realizes that if NATO gets a toehold in Ukraine, and if Donbas is out of the picture, NATO would be setting up weapons right next door to Russia, right there on the border.  With Donbas a free and independent state, NATO wouldn't be able to do that, because Donbas does not want to join NATO.

Putin seems to have figured out that having NATO right next door to Russia might possibly pose a threat to Russians.  Call me crazy, but I think Putin prefers that doesn't happen.

Just as an aside, Putin finds Biden's threats of sanctions laughable; threats by Biden mean absolutely nothing to the Russians.  They don't give a hang about Biden's sanctions. They have all the energy, and we don't, thanks to Biden shutting down all U.S. sources of energy creation the very day he took office.

As well as having a corner on the world's fuel, the Russians also have control of a great deal of the world's grain, and Russia has already stopped shipping it to us the moment Biden announced his feckless sanctions against them.  If anyone is going to suffer from Biden's silly sanctions, it will be the American people, who will be largely dependent on Russia in order to fill their gas tanks, as well as many of the other things Russia controls that we're going to need to use and eat. 

So -no surprise- our genius politicians didn't quite think this through before poking that stick in Putin's eye. On a recent episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Tulsi Gabbard explains how all this could have been avoided: Had Biden simply taken NATO off the table, the threat to Russia would have evaporated; Putin would have seen no reason to send planes over Ukraine. Styxhexenhammer also weighs in on how Biden foolishly humiliated himself because he thought acting like a tough guy would work against an actual tough guy. (Warning: Styx tends to use naughty words, so hide the kids.)

There Will Have To Be Sacrifices
On the run-up to war, Biden and the establishment spokesmen solemnly informed the American people that if war breaks out in Ukraine, sacrifices will have to be made:  Not by them, mind you; they all have huge government pensions and no reason to worry about how they're going to fill their Bentleys with gas.  They meant you. You will have to make sacrifices.  But they never tell us why, except for feigning nebulous clichés that suggest that antagonizing Russia is somehow "the right thing to do."

Vladimir Putin long ago recognized Donbas as a sovereign state.  Is it a cynical move made only because it will play to his advantage? Could be. It certainly is to his advantage to have a sovereign nation of people who share Russia's culture on his doorstep rather than a nation of foreigners who are hostile.  But what does any of that matter to you and me?  Why should we care about any of this, other than being in favor of seeing a people who wish to be free allowed to be free? 

What, then, is the actual danger of a potentially hostile puppet country like Ukraine right on the doorstep of Russia?

Well, for one thing, many in the know claim that Ukraine has eight separate labs involved in the development of chemical and biowarfare, and that these labs are controlled by the United States.  Is that true?  Well, there is no shortage of reports pooh-poohing the idea that such labs could possibly exist, but I've seen no compelling arguments to refute the allegation. In essence, the sources relied on in these reports always consist of some U.S. official or other coming out and denying these labs exist. So, I guess we're supposed to just trust the word of people who are known to be compulsive liars.

The question we deserve to ask is, are Putin's accusations plausible? Well, his planes did bomb eight laboratories and I think his government has sufficient evidence to suggest he knew what he was after. Russia has intelligence agencies too, you know.  For my part, I think it's extremely naïve in this day and age to believe that any developing nation is not developing bioweapons.  This report from the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine says Ukraine has a biological threat reduction program.  Where does that program conduct its business? Why, in labs, of course! "The Biological Threat Reduction Program’s priorities in Ukraine are to consolidate and secure pathogens and toxins of security concerns..." A further evidence is this report claiming that the Russian invasion of Ukraine risks release of dangerous pathogensWhat dangerous pathogens? I thought they said they didn't have any.

But Why Bioweapons?
It's much easier to deploy chemical and bioweapons on an enemy country than it is to line up tanks and soldiers and conventional weapons that everyone can see coming.  It's also easier to deploy those weapons if the country you're planning to use them on is right next door. 

But before Ukraine can pull anything like that off, it's going to have to do something about those pesky people of Donbas, because they are right smack dab in the way. Despite the propaganda you're hearing, Putin has not been attacking civilians in Ukraine. What you're not specifically hearing is that the Russian bombers took out all eight of those labs, as well as any pertinent military installations. He has stated that his operation is not to occupy Ukraine but to "demilitarize and de-Nazify" that country. I don't know how far Putin is going to go with this, but so far he has said he is doing nothing more than protecting the people of Ukraine from their government, which is the same thing the U.S. said when they bombed Libya. Which makes the U.S. look like hypocrites for criticizing him, since he's only doing what the Americans claimed was right and proper when they did the same thing.  

Wait...Did He Say Ukraine Is Full Of NAZIS?!
Sure seems like it. Four years ago Reuters News Service put out a piece showing that groups sporting actual Nazi-era symbolism and spouting neo-Nazi ideology have infiltrated the Ukraine armed forces, with the tacit approval of the Ukraine government. This is not reported in our media, if for no other reason than it would embarrass the Biden administration to have to admit it was opposing the Russians for opposing Nazis. (You may have noticed Biden says he opposes Nazis too.)  And lest we forget, Hitler was actually defeated by Russia in the second world war; America and Britain showed up pretty much after Der Fuhrer had been cornered and defeated. So, if there's anything we know about Nazis, it's that they don't much care for them Russians.

Openly identifying as Nazis and Nationalists seems to be all the rage in Ukraine right now, and for whatever reason, they really seem to have it in for anyone named Ivan. When you watch the opening of the video featured on that site showing Ukrainian children at a Summer Youth Camp shouting "We are Ukraine's children! Let Moscow lay in ruins, we don't give a damn! We will conquer the whole world!" it's not hard to see why Putin might want to prevent that toxic ideology from crossing over into his country. And you can see why he supports the independence of Donbas, seeing as everyone else in Ukraine seems to want them dead and gone.

Which brings us to the salient lesson here, and one all Mormons should truly take to heart. The Book of Mormon teaches us that we should defend our lands, and that we get in trouble when we meddle in the affairs of other countries. That was also the sage advice of George Washington. But what we have here is one country (the U.S.) meddling in the affairs of another county (Ukraine) so far away that it makes no sense that the U.S. should have any interest in Ukraine at all.  This has resulted in the country right on Ukraine's border (Russia) feeling it necessary to defang the aggressor that is clearly and openly threatening it.

It was obviously wrong -and incredibly stupid- for Biden and his handlers to poke the Russian bear, but is it moral for the Russian bear to finally decide it has had enough and poke back? Well, that's the dilemma, isn't it? If The Russians are careful to only eliminate the direct military threats, it's still a sticky situation to defend in light of scripture. But I can't say I don't understand the motivation to strike defensively. 

What I do believe firmly is that the wise thing would be for America's establishment to recognize it went too far, and for our war-hungry politicians to slink back home and lick their wounds, lesson learned.  But this I am sure they will not do, because (as you may have noticed), the political class as it stands today is not very intelligent.  They're certainly not smart enough to do what's right. And they have long since ceased to check in with God to see what He thinks before making any decisions.

So, bottom line, I certainly don't foresee these dopes will ever stop trafficking in lies and deceptions. The bigger question for Americans, and everyone else in the West, is this: Are you ready to die for Ukraine?  More pointedly, are you ready to die at the hands of Russia in clear violation of the commandment God gave His people in D&C 98:33?  Because that is what your government is about to demand you do. As Lew Rockwell reminds us, this is not a desirable outcome, given the fact that the U.S. government is clearly in the wrong here, has had ample opportunity to repent, and the enemy it proposes to go up against has nuclear weapons pointed right at us. 

"Instead of maintaining the status quo, we have expanded NATO towards Russia’s border. Make no mistake–Russia considers the expansion of NATO as a direct military threat. . . the United States has been conducting regular military exercises in countries bordering Russia for more than 20 years. If you think these exercises are of no concern to Russia you are worse than a damn fool. Now we are arming the Ukraine with weapons that will be used against Ukrainians with strong ties to Russia. This is madness that carries a genuine risk of sparking a nuclear conflagration. Russia will not be bullied and will not cower.” 

"The great expert on Russia Stephen Cohen warned us over two years ago that trouble lay in store for us: “Ukraine is not ‘a vital US national interest,’ as most leaders of both parties, Republican and Democrat alike, and much of the US media now declare. On the other hand, Ukraine is a vital Russian interest by any geopolitical or simply human reckoning. Why, then, is Washington so deeply involved in Ukraine?. . . The short but essential answer is Washington’s decision, taken by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, to expand NATO eastward from Germany and eventually to Ukraine itself. Ever since, both Democrats and Republicans have insisted that Ukraine is a ‘vital US national interest.’ Those of us who opposed that folly warned it would lead to dangerous conflicts with Moscow, conceivably even war. Imagine Washington’s reaction, we pointed out, if Russian military bases began to appear on Canada’s or Mexico’s borders with America.-"Why Die for Ukraine?"  Lew Rockwell, January 29, 2022 (emphasis mine)
 Here is what Paul Craig Roberts wrote just today in a piece titled "Russia Demilitarizes Ukraine":

"The West, of course, is screaming its impotent accusations, but the barrage of Western media lies will have no effect on the outcome. If the Western World had any intelligent leaders, what would they conclude? They would conclude that the days of baiting the bear are over. As I have reported for some time, Russia has had enough of the West’s lies, deceptions, insults, and provocations. Henceforth, when Russia tells them something, they would do well to turn their ears on. Putin has said that Russia will not permit Ukraine to develop nuclear weapons, and he has said that Russia will not tolerate US/NATO bases on her borders. The US and NATO had better believe it.

"Putin said Russia has no intention to occupy Ukraine. Russia does not want Ukraine, but Russia will not permit the continued militarization of the country by the US and NATO or the Ukrainian attacks on the Donbass Russians. The West had better understand this." (Emphasis mine.)

If Biden's latest debacle has shown us anything, it is that the Ruling Class is not the infallible, indestructible behemoth they thought they were. America is no longer the biggest sonofabitch in the valley, and those in power had better learn that real quick. Our nation is weak, and it is crumbling apart, and this is all because we -if not all of us, at least those we have allowed to rule over us- no longer recognize that Jehovah is our Lord, and "he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." (2Samuel 23:3).

Here is theologian Dr. Steven Turley discussing how, on February 24th of this year, the globalist order officially collapsed.  This is also an excellent 13 minute summary of everything I've written above. I think you should share it:

Is Turley correct? Does this mark the beginning of the end of the unchallenged power of the global elite?  Time will tell. But I'm sure of one thing: In spite of the collective efforts of all the globalists, deep state operatives, corrupt politicians, and their myrmidons in the media, not everyone is falling for this deception. Not this time. 


Update February 27, 2022: THE FIRST CASUALTY
There's an old adage that first gained traction during World War I that states "the first casualty of war is truth."  I didn't want to make this post any longer than it was by digging up all the propaganda currently being spewed, but I think some of the more ridiculous examples are worth a look. 

The first, and most absurd I have seen so far, is the headline from The Sun claiming that Russia has drawn up a "kill list" of blacks and gays in Ukraine they intend to dispose of.  As you may have guessed, that story was completely made up, but it has circulated widely, even among "respected" outlets such as NPR. 

But that's not all. According to another rumor, Russia will be deploying "mobile crematoriums" to follow its troops into battle, presumably so they can stop and spend time burning those black and gay Ukrainians alive, one person at a time. The British tabloid The Mirror (what is it with the British tabloid press, anyway?) helpfully provides photos of one such "incinerator on wheels" to accompany the article:


Anyone with an IQ higher than the average Weekly World News reader would have instantly noticed that the guys operating that machine look a lot less like Russian soldiers and more like sanitation workers somewhere in the Western hemisphere.  And sure enough, someone on social media named Olga corrected a tweet left by a horrified guy named Rob Crilly, patiently explaining to Rob what these ominous looking machines are actually used for:

Last night my daughter Amy put me onto an internet site I had not known about, hosted by one Jim Stone, that is fast becoming one of the most reliable roundups of short news snippets on the internet.  Jim provides a daily update on the propaganda being currently circulated on the situation in Ukraine. Where a rumor is debunked, he says so. Where the rumor remains unconfirmed, he also says so. This is where I learned the truth about the story currently circulating in the media about a Russian tank crushing a civilian's car with the driver still in it.  Here's the picture currently circulating in the media:

As it turns out, a tank really did run over and crush a civilian automobile, but it wasn't a Russian tank. It was a Ukrainian army tank. The driver of the tank panicked as he was being shot at, swung his tank around, and ran right over this poor guy's car. The good news is the driver of the car survived (that's him poking his head up) and was helped out by the crew operating the tank once they calmed down and stopped shaking.

Are you waiting for the media outlets who shared this horror story to issue a correction? I wouldn't hold my breath. The narrative is only helped when Russian soldiers appear heartless and brutal.  It wouldn't do to admit a Ukrainian soldier freaked out and tried to hightail it outta there screaming like a little girl. 

Finally, here's Jimmy Dore and Aaron Mate, sharing the many media lies that have been debunked so far about this war (but that you were never told about).  Get ready to have your jaw drop to the floor:

Second Update February 27th:
The propaganda has gone SO over the top now that it's a subject in itself.

More from Jim Stone:
"First of all, Putin is not weak, and Putin is not defeated. Word on the street is that Putin used his junk at first and will pull out the good stuff if NATO attacks. And it seems legit, there were a few good cruise missiles used but most of what got used really was not Russia's best.

"I have seen lots of crap about Russian tech being "50 years behind the United States" and it is always from a war monger that probably wants Americans to believe victory will be easy. But even if America's tech is better, it is going to be used by a military that was recently maimed by a death vax. The playing field is probably quite level." (See more from that site on today's date regarding how Russia is definitely not 50 years behind the U.S. in weapons capability.)

Saturday, February 19, 2022

My Interview At Mormon Book Reviews Podcast

Previously: Is The Vaccine Mandate The Mark of the Beast?

Steven Pynakker is an interesting guy. He is not LDS and never was. What he is, is an evangelical Christian living in Florida. Yet I'd wager he is better informed about Mormonism than the average member of the LDS Church. And he's certainly more knowledgeable about our religion than those in the anti-Mormon camp who think they have us pegged dead to rights, but are mostly just echoing each other.

Steven is proprietor of the podcast Mormon Book Reviews where he has interviewed over a hundred of the most interesting people within all branches of Mormonism. Here is where you'll find those fascinating interviews:
Mormon Book Reviews Youtube Channel

And here's where you'll find one of those interviews that is not the least bit fascinating: the one involving me. Click on the screen below (I'm the one on the left).

I gotta be honest, folks: It was painful for me to watch myself this time around. In real life I'm known for encouraging people to "stay on point," yet what I see in this video is an aging, addlepated old doofus constantly wandering far off-topic. I mean, Yikes! That was a revelation.  

Oh well. If nothing else, this episode will serve to document my cognitive decline. If I keep on like this, the Democrats may try to run me for president.

Anyway, in case anyone is interested enough to watch me deteriorate in real time into a stammering, doddering old coot, in the space below I'm providing links to the earlier posts that were referred to in this interview, as well as any other notes and miscellanea that were referenced by either me or Steve. Go ahead and watch the interview if you've a mind to, but my feelings won't be hurt if you pass on this one.  

So, To Begin
First, a picture of my mother's parents, along with her brothers and sisters. That's my mom top row left, the one who looks like her arm has been amputated (Her arm was fine, someone just did a poor job of cropping the original photo.) Front row center is my Grandma and Grandpa Law. Grandma, the former Elsie Reichert, was apparently of the tribe of tribe of Judah, but it's likely she never knew that as her parents never told her. Once the family arrived in America (when Elsie was five years old) they chose to hide their ethnic background. So my family's bloodline was unknown until uncovered by my mother and her sister, my Aunt Rose, who were both assiduous genealogists.

Funny, they don't look Jewish. (Oh wait...yes, they do.)

There in the middle next to Grandma is her husband Ray Law, descended from Charles Law, one of the many handcart pioneers from England who crossed the plains to Utah. With Charles were his wife and his wife's four sisters, the youngest of whom was nine years old at the time. Upon arrival in Utah, as each sister came of age, Charles would take her as his plural wife until all four sisters were literally his first wife's "sister wives." 

That awkward arrangement may be the reason my mother never told us kids we came from polygamous stock.  By the time I was in high school, Mom started traveling to Utah from our home in Anaheim to attend large family reunions and come back telling me about the many "cousins" I had, which was strange because I knew the handful of relatives quite well.  But these were people I had never heard of , with last names that didn't match any of my mothers OR my father's sides of the family. I had always known I was descended from pioneer Charles Law, but was never told he was a polygamist or how many branches there were to that family tree. (Dad's family was not LDS; he had a father, a mother, and one brother.)  Dad's brother Lloyd sired my only cousins on the Waterman side (three of them) and I knew them very well. That small family, along with my own parents and siblings, made up the entire  Waterman clan on my Dad's side.  So it was a mystery how I suddenly had hundreds of relations in Utah I never heard of before.  I didn't know my great-great-great Charles Law had been a polygamist until I learned it from my cousin Dennis Law just a few years ago, shortly before Dennis died. 

So I grew up completely unaware of two realities: I'm secretly descended from polygamists on my grandfather's side, and I'm descended from Jews on my Grandma's. My Grandpa's surname, "Law" also hides a secret.  When some members of the Scottish Clan McLaren moved South to settle in England centuries earlier, they hid their Scottish ancestry by abandoning the name "McClaren," adopting instead the more British-sounding surname "Law." 

Now here's the kicker: since Grandpa Law's ancestors are Scottish, according to some scholars his bloodline likely contains DNA from the tribe of Judah. further muddy things up, according to the Encyclopedia Judaica and other authoritative sources, many scholars would argue that Jews of Eastern European descent are not strictly Jews per se; that is, they were not distinctively Hebrews descended from Abraham through Judah, but represent a class of Middle Easterners who were converted to Judaism around the 10th century AD. So ultimately I may be an Ashkenazi Jew like most American Jews whose Yiddish-speaking ancestors also came through Ellis Island, and not a pure descendant of Jacob's son Judah.

On the other hand, there appears to have been sufficient intermarrying between the tribe of Judah and those Jewish converts who later emigrated to Poland, Russia, Germany, Lithuania, etc, to allow their descendants to be considered Judahites by blood. So that's what I'm claiming. Because, after all, I do look Jewish (especially when I'm wearing glasses).  But I'm equally proud to be descended from Ephraim as well. (My dad's ancestors are from England, and Anglo-Saxon stock is considered mostly Ephraim with perhaps a touch of Dan by way of the Nordic tribes.)

All that having been said, I'm a Reichert on my mother's side, and proud to be not-so-distantly related to Rabbi Irving Reichert, who in his day famously opposed the creation of a "Jewish State" which he warned would result in the corruption of the Jewish religion. He was right, and quite a number of orthodox Jews in Israel today continue to insist that God will not bless a nation that believes it has the divine right to exact violence upon its neighbors. So in that respect, although I am a devout Mormon by way of my religious beliefs, I also claim the label of orthodox Jew in the best sense of the meaning. I stand firmly with these guys:

Moving on, here's the Trailer for my favorite movie of all time:

At twelve years old, I had no clue who John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart were. But I was caught up in the story, and it affected me like no movie had before. (I saw Old Yeller when I was seven, and I recall it was kinda sad that the dog died, but The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was the first film I remember actually having a deep emotional impact on me, which I suppose was because I was old enough to understand the story.) If you have never seen this film, well, now you have your homework assignment. It's the best.

Just as an aside (and this was not touched on in the interview above), I'd have to say my second favorite film of all time would have to be the romantic comedy Return to Me. (Yes, I'm in touch with my feminine side and really dig romantic comedies.)

I base my favorites on the following criteria: no matter how many times I have seen a film I like, if I happen to walk into a room while that films is playing, if I sit down and end up watching that film to the end even though I never intended to, that film goes onto my mental list of favorites. (Another example of that kind of film I know a lot of people would agree with: Galaxy Quest).  Return to Me is so perfectly executed that if I was teaching a class on film, Return to Me would be the example I would hold up as having an absolutely perfect script, perfect pacing, perfect cast, and perfect performances all around.  If you haven't seen it, do yourself a big favor. 

As I mentioned in the interview, as a kid, I wanted to be Jerry Lewis, but as I got older I found his films insufferable.  A few weeks ago Connie and I sat down to watch Cinderfella, and it was bloody awful. Even our ten-year-old grandson begged us to take out the DVD and choose another.  And that film was made before Lewis began directing his own movies, which were all much, much worse. The man was an certifiable  narcissist who thought everything he did was hilarious, and in every scene, the camera stays on him long after the gag has ceased to be funny -if it ever was funny, which it almost never was.

Can you imagine sitting through 91 minutes of bits like this?

Want more? Click here for 7 awkward moments with Jerry Lewis when he's simply being himself.

Okay, let's get into some of the links I discussed with Steve:

"The Religion of the Fathers" is where Denver Snuffer puts the whole Book of Abraham controversy to rest. Below is a video of the talk itself, but if you're like me you'll want it in book form because it's chockfull of sources and citations. You can find it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but but the epub "Nook" format is the best price for only $2.99.

"Vengeance and the Latter-Day Saints" is a piece I posted wherein I show how Church leaders have completely missed what all those war chapters in the Book of Mormon were really about.  Indeed, they have turned those teachings completely upside down so that now members are told they mean the opposite of what the ancient prophets actually taught. 

"Who Died and Made HIM President?" was written just after Russell Nelson was installed as the new Church president following the death of Thomas Monson. In it you'll see how the Lord had nothing whatsoever to do with the installation of Nelson to that position, and how all the claims of the current leaders completely contradict what Jesus Himself actually told us was how these things were to be done. 

"Have You Voted For The New Church President Yet?"  A companion piece to the the one above, and shows how Latter-day Saints were tricked into sustaining a man who had not even been ordained at the time, and still never has been to this day.

Here's a link to "This is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology" by Charles Harrell. 

And here's a link to "Obscure Mormon Doctrine: Uncommon Beliefs of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" by Chris Jensen. 

Both books are extremely helpful in separating true doctrine (that which comes from Christ through his chosen servants) from things we've been brought up to believe simply because we have been taught them. I highly recommend them both. And you can see Steve Pynakker's interview on the Mormon Book Reviews Podcast here:

"Evil Speaking of the Lord's Anointed" is where you'll find the Harold B. Lee Story as well as scads of other info you're sure to find of value. This is one of my personal favorites.

"Misquoting God" is where you'll find McKay Platt's correction on the commonly held belief that the LDS Church is the "true" church.  Jesus said no such thing, and McKay walks us step by step through what the Lord was really saying and how all this time we've been getting it wrong. 

Baptist preacher Lynn Ridenhour exclaims "The Book of Mormon: How Baptist Can You Get?"

And here's a link to Ridenhour's book, "How To Share The Book of Mormon With a Baptist."

Twice during the interview with Steve I struggled to recall the name of a certain general authority who has now gone on to meet his maker, and I do not envy his having to face the Lord.  Boyd K. Packer.  That's the guy whose name I couldn't recall: Boyd K. Packer. He's the one (unless I'm still mistaken) who taught that the baptism of fire comes incrementally over time.  So it's clear he never experienced the baptism of fire.  Which he should have, seeing as he was a bloomin' apostle, for cryin' out loud!

Here's a video of the lackluster Gordon Hinckley leading the congregation in a pathetic attempt at giving the Hosannah Shout:

Leaving One Important Question Unanswered
One last thing: Because I was all over the map with my answers to Steve in the podcast, I forgot to provide the answer to a vital question he asked, which was this: "If I were to join your organization would I be required to be baptized?"

I responded correctly that we don't have any sort of "organization" but I did not address the question of baptism, which is something we Mormons incorrectly assume is synonymous with "joining the church." We have all been raised to believe that when a person comes to accept the Book of Mormon, he is expected to align himself with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that the act of baptism is the process of initiation by which he becomes a member of that church.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, it is essential that all believers in Christ be baptized.  Baptism is essential, but it has nothing to do with aligning yourself with a particular religious denomination. Let me repeat that: baptism has nothing whatsoever to do with aligning yourself with a particular religious denomination. Mormons deserve to change their thinking on this, because we were wrong to assume baptism means anything other than what it is. To cite just a small portion from Charles Harrell's previously referenced  book, 
"Scholars note that baptism was initially performed by John the Baptist and Jesus's disciples as a cleansing rite to prepare them for the coming kingdom of God, which was perceptually distinct from the Church." ("This is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology.")
As I've written in a previous post, it appears that equating baptism with joining our particular denomination is something we picked up in the 19th century from the protestants, as it was not an issue in the primitive Christian church. As LDS religion scholar Kevin L. Barney explains, "[Baptism's] full significance as a rite marking formal initiation into the church is a later Christian innovation." (Quoted in Harrell, ibid.) In other words, if a person came to Christ through the efforts of Methodists, he tended to be baptized by Methodists and naturally joined with the Methodists after being baptized. If he was converted and baptized by Presbyterians, he tended to become a Presbyterian. Thus, when candidates are converted by Latter-day Saints and baptized by Latter-day Saints, they usually end up joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But the ordinance of baptism is a separate thing from membership in any Church, as evidenced by the confirmation process which is a separate ordinance that often isn't even performed until the following Sunday.  When you are confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that is when you become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You were not "baptized into the Church," as your baptism is not about joining this church or any other.

And finally, here is the link to "The Constitution of No Authority" at Book of Mormon Perspectives. Like I said in the podcast above, this is the stuff I would be writing if I was a lot smarter. And remember, when you're looking for that blog, you must type the exact url:, or you will end up somewhere in internet limbo. 

Finally, kudos to Steve Pynakker for putting up with my incessant rambling. He's a very interesting man and I'm honored to call him friend. For his sake, please make sure you click on the actual Youtube video and give it a like; it helps the algorithm.

Okay, that's it for now. See you next time. 

(If there is a next time.)