Sunday, February 11, 2024

The Earth Is Flat! (Maybe)

Previously: We Are Against Israel Because We Are Jews

My detractors are certainly going to have a field day with the title of this one. "Did you hear? Rock Waterman believes the earth is flat!"

Well no, that's not what I said.  The truth is, I don't "believe" the earth is flat.

I don't believe the earth is round, either.

The fact is, I don't know what shape the earth is.  How can I, when even the experts are not in agreement?  Today, some have theorized that the earth might actually be more of an oblate spheroid, like this:

Others surmise it might be sort of pear-shaped like this:

Or this, which they also consider pear-shaped, though to me this looks more like a potato made of Play-Doh:

Remember, these are the experts, the current mainstream scientists, not those wacky flat-earthers.

So by now you may be asking, "what does all this have to do with Mormonism, anyway?"
Well, the reason I'm addressing the flat earth controvery is to illustrate a larger point which I'll get to soon enough, so stay with me. I'm going to demonstrate how discovering what is true and what is not true can be applied to some fundamental controversies currently taking place among Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

Believing Vs. Knowing
Epistemology is the philosophical discipline that asks the question, "How do we know what we know"? That's a fundamental question that almost no one asks when confronted with an idea that, on the surface, may seem utterly absurd.  So when, for example, we hear someone tell us that the earth is flat, we tend to reject that premise out of hand because we know the earth is round. We never apply epistemology to ask ourselves how we know the earth is round.  We just know it, that's all.

In a previous post I spoke briefly about Rene Descartes, generally recognized as the father of modern Western philosophy.  Descartes devised a set of rules by which a person could determine the truth about just about anything.  Rather than try to prove that the earth exists or the universe exists, or even that God exists, Descartes first applied these rules to what has to be the most fundamental question of them all: "how do I even know that I exist?"

Applying his own Rules For The Direction of the Mind, Descarte proved his own existence, resulting in the famous conclusion, cogito,ergo sum or "I think, therefore I am."  In other words, he knows he exists because he has the ability to think about whether or not he exists.  Applying these rules also led Descartes to conclude that God exists as well. 

Rene Descartes is also famous for saying "doubt is the beginning of wisdom," which might strike the modern mind as being antithetical to his overall philosophy.  But that's because these days people tend to think that doubting an idea that seems foreign to them means the same as dismissing that idea out of hand. Far from it. To doubt means to question.  Question what?  Well for one thing, you can do what Descartes did and question the very existence of God.    

A suggestion like that might horrify some believers, but trust me, God doesn't mind you questioning Him. Like Descartes, God also knows that doubt is the beginning of Wisdom, because sincere doubt leads to sincere questioning.  He wants you to inquire about Him, not to simply dismiss His reality as unlikely.  One way to ask is embodied in Janice Kapp Perry's song for children, "Heavenly Father, Are You Really There?"  No formality required; just lie in bed and ask.  That method of inquiry works for us grownups just as well as it works for children.

So, to go back to our earlier analogy: W
hen I was first confronted with the proposition that the earth might be flat, my first reaction was "well, that's ridiculous. It's not flat, it's round."  That was my skepticism kicking in.

But since I like to think of myself as a sincere skeptic, it would be wrong to simply dismiss that proposition out of hand, especially given the number of otherwise intelligent people who were beginning to take this apparently wacky thesis seriously. (I soon learned that virtually everyone I came across who was promoting the flat earth theory started out intending to disprove it, and were now its most ardent proselytes.)  I knew that if I was to approach this topic intelligently I would have to apply epistemology to the matter, and ask myself "how do I know the earth is round?"  And the answer to that question is that I only know it's round is because way back in the recesses of my childhood somebody told me it was round.

Ever since I was very young I've been repeatedly taught that the earth is round.  That teaching was reinforced in every classroom I ever attended when the teacher pointed to California on the globe and showed me that is where we were right now, right there in Anaheim, which was so tiny the name of our town wouldn't even fit.  So all my life it was a "given" that we live on a globe that is constantly spinning through space. I had no reason to question it, but now I have to admit that the only reason I "know" the earth is round is because everybody says so.

Well, I've been a grownup for some time now, and I have come to learn that "everybody says so" is no way to determine whether a thing is true or false.  

So again, if you want to know what I believe about the shape of the earth, I'll say this: "belief" is not the word I'd use.  In the epistemology canon, a belief is an attitude that a person holds regarding anything that they take to be true.  Since I have no way of knowing whether the earth is truly flat or not, I can't say I believe it is.  

By way of illustration I have a firm belief that God exists because I have experienced Him; in February of 2007 I experienced the baptism of fire and felt His presence in me all the way through to my bones. That is my evidence that God exists, that He knows who I am, and that He loves me in a way that is impossible to describe.  But like anything else, I can't transfer my personal experience to you. I can't use my experience to provide proof to you that God exists.  Whether it's the shape of the earth or the existence of God, each of us has to make our own inquiries and come to our own conclusions.

As for whether the earth is flat, round, oblate, like a fruit, or like a lump of Play-Doh, I have no way of knowing.  I've determined that I would have to have the powers of Superman and be able to fly far above the earth in order to get a proper look at it; I can't think of anything other than an experience like that to persuade me one way or the other, because the photos of the horizon provided by NASA were taken with fish-eye lenses, which give the false appearance of curvature. 

So is the earth flat? I remain a skeptic -which means I remain in the question- until I can figure out how to see it for myself. So I guess I don't believe the earth is flat, but I'm open to the possibility that it might be because to be frank, it no longer makes sense to me that the earth is a globe.  After watching Eric Dubay's 200 Proofs The Earth Is Not A Globe, I don't believe the earth is a globe spinning through space at a thousand miles an hour.  The globe earth theory, to me, now seems like the wackier hypothesis. Sorry, but I'm just not buying it.

Happily, I don't think my eternal salvation depends on my knowing the shape of whatever this thing is that I'm standing on.  I realize that others feel this knowledge is somehow essential, but I see the whole controversy as an intriguing intellectual oddysey that I may engage in further sometime down the road.  Or I may just wait until I die and find out then. As the late great rabbit hole chaser Mae Brussell was fond of saying, it's all food for thought and grounds for further research.

Did Abraham Lincoln Free The Slaves?
No, he did not.

Now, I may not be able to offer an informed belief about the shape of the earth, but I can give you, without any reservations, my sincere belief that Abraham Lincoln was a cad.  A monster, actually.  In fact, I agree with Chuck Baldwin, who puts Abraham lincoln first on his list of a America's Ten Worst Presidents.

History is another area where we can benefit from the epistemological query, "how do we know what we know?"  Most of us have unquestioningly accepted what we learned in school, but by simply asking that simple question and then applying Descartes' rules and the Socratic line of reasoning, we can find out if what we think we know is the truth or not.

My awakening to the sinister character of Abraham Lincoln first came while reading Lerone Bennett's
corrective history, Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream.  Far from actually freeing any slaves, Lincoln's fraudulent Emancipation Proclamation managed to keep slaves in bondage for at least two years after the proclamation was announced.  Lincoln's proclamation allowed the Northern states to keep their slaves (yes, there were slaves in the North; in fact Union General Ulysees S. Grant kept two slaves with him on the battlefield to serve as his cook and valet). 

Most tellingly, that famous proclamation did not free any slaves in the Southern states. Not a single one.  As for that "white dream" referenced in the title? That refers to Lincoln's hope of one day shipping all the negroes back to Africa and killing off the Indians so the American continent would be inhabited only by white people.  We don't know if Lincoln would have been able to see that plan fulfilled because thankfully he was killed before he had the chance to implement it.  

Lerone Bennett was a black historian and one-time editor of Ebony Magazine, which back in the day was what Life Magazine was to us white folks.  You can watch him in an interview discuss how lincoln really felt about the negroes infesting his country by clicking here.

Since then I've found that Lerone Bennett was far from the lone voice in this area.  Many historians have awakened to the bill of goods sold to us by the court historians.  Another book I own on this topic was written by another black author who wasn't fooled, the late Stanley K. Lott, who wrote The Truth About American Slavery I also recommend Samuel Mitcham's It Wasn't About Slavery: Exposing The Great Lie About The Civil War.  No matter what you've heard or read, the war wasn't fought over slavery; it was fought over money.  President Lincoln was in a panic over the Southern states seceding because they were no longer providing him the tariffs he depended on.

I bought this book several years ago but I just found a free download in pdf format here. If you want to get right to the meat of it, jump to chapter XI, "The Real Cause of the War."  You can also hear a forty minute interview with the author by clicking HERE.

But if you really want a smorgasbord of offerings on this topic, Thomas DiLorenzo has written a slew of articles available at  I've pulled up a link to some of them HERE.  You can also find quite a number of videos featuring DiLorenzo on Lincoln. Here's one where he proves the reason Lincoln started a war that killed 600,000 Americans had nothing to do with slavery. If you can't invest the time for that video, here is Thomas DiLorenzo compressing everything you need to know about Abraham Lincoln in just nine and a half minutes.

DiLorenzo's books are well worth owning. They include The Real Lincoln, Lincoln Unmasked, and his most recent volume, The Problem With Lincoln. Within these pages you'll not only learn the truth about our 16th president, but also why the Lincoln cult historians are still covering for him a century and a half after his death.  And if you want to read Abraham Lincoln's actual sentiments toward people of African descent before those words were scrubbed from the history books, you may be interested in Lochlainn Seabrook's The Unquotable Lincoln.

And speaking of going against the conventional narrative: before the internet was a thing I came across a stunning eye-opener of a film that I've had a hard time finding again, but here's a fifteen minute clip from it assuming I was able to get it to load properly. I don't know how long it will stay available, but that video led me to this jaw-dropping download that was originally published two decades ago and is now impossible to find in its print edition.  I have no opinions to express about either of these items, not the least because bucking the official narrative on this is a taboo that can get a person arrested in some European countries.  So make of it what you will. 

And Now We Come To The 'Mormon' Part Of Our Program (Finally!)
As I hope I've successfully demonstrated above, whenever you see or hear of something that sounds so absurd that it goes against everything you think you know, the proper response -especially if you notice that growing numbers of intelligent people are embracing that supposed absurdity- is to take a cue from the epistemological discipline and ask yourself "how did I come to know what I think I know about this topic?" Then follow the rule of skepticism and investigate to see if what you think you know can be verified as true. 

Another way I have learned to separate truth from error was by learning to think like a lawyer. Now, I get it if your understanding of "thinking like a lawyer" means to think in a way that is cunning and crafty, because goodness knows there are lawyers who behave in that manner.  But thinking like a lawyer doesn't mean trying to twist the truth. It means working to uncover the truth, to suss it out, filtering all the false detritus until only the truth remains. To think like a lawyer, in a nutshell, means to follow the admonition of the apostle Paul: investigate all things, then hold fast to that which is true.

So how do you do that? First, you learn to question everything, especially your own assumptions. Don't cling to your own favored prejudices, which is another way of saying keep your feelings in check.  Don't get emotional about your opinions.  These are not your living, breathing, children; they are only ideas you have lived with so long that in some ways they may feel like living "children" that you're reluctant to let go of.  Wrong opinions are often based on emotion rather than independent truth. Let them go.  Learn to depend only on reason, logic, and common sense when evaluating evidence, even if what you are investigating strikes you as unreasonable.  A good lawyer does not simply dismiss the views of the other side; he learns his opponents arguments so well that he could argue his opponent's case.  In other words, he trains himself to be able to see all sides of an issue, not simply his own. 

Denver Snuffer is a lawyer, which is one reason he was so perfectly positioned to put to bed the controversy over the Book of Abraham.  You may have been aware of arguments made the past few years that the Book of Abraham was a fraud. Denver investigated the topic so thoroughly that he was able to show that the popular narrative had been proceding on a number of false assumptions.  You can find a link to that video presentation in my post titled The Book of Abraham Controversy Finally Laid To Rest, but I recomend the book because it contains footnotes and sources. (the Kindle version is only $3.99.)

This blog you are currently reading is chock-full of essays documenting my discoveries within the Church that were introduced after Joseph Smith's death, but that, upon investigation, are clearly undoctrinal.  That's one reason so many so-called Mormon beliefs are so easily shot down by our enemies: because in modern times we have  come to believe what Mike Agrelius used to refer to as "faith-promoting rumors," false teachings that are frankly not supported in our scriptures.

Although I embrace the Book of Mormon, the divine calling of Joseph Smith, and the core doctrines of the Restoration, I have come to discover that much of what I was taught growing up in the Church was based on what our scriptures warn us are "the traditions of men."  So asking yourself "how did I come to know what I think I know?" makes a very handy tool for figuring out whether some "doctrine" you cling to came from scripture, or from some faith promoting rumor you picked up in Seminary.

The Two Greatest False Teachings In The LDS Church Today
To begin, I will assume you believe as I do that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, appointed to that role by the Lord himself as revealed in D&C 124, D&C 112, and elsewhere.  So here is the question: Given that Joseph Smith was a prophet, does it then naturally follow that any or all of the men who succeeded Joseph Smith as presidents of the Church were also appointed by God to be His prophet as well?  Or is it possible they were never actually appointed as Joseph was or given the gifts and authority the Lord bestowed upon Joseph?

I created a post on this platform that I believe proves that the authority these men claim is not the same as was given to the prophet Joseph, and that the method they claim to follow that asserts their claims is contrary to the very instructions God provided in the scriptures.  That proof is contained HERE.  If you have not read that piece already, I hope you will give it the epistemological test and ask yourself "how do I know what I think I know about succession to the presidency, and does what I think I know agree with the instructions the Lord Himself gave on that topic? Or do I just believe it because that's what I've always been told?"

If we are going to go around admonishing each other of the importance of following the prophet, shouldn't we want to make absolutely certain that the man we are referring to was appointed by the Lord to actually be His prophet? 

Here is the second greatest false teaching in the Church today: It is widely taught that Joseph Smith was the one who originated plural marriage, and that he did so because he was instructed to do so by the Lord.  Now the question: Can you provide any contemporary evidence to support that claim?

Before you attempt to answer that question, allow me to direct you to the incredibly informative Youtube Channel hosted by Michelle Stone, titled 132 Problems: Revisiting Mormon Polygamy.  Michelle has created a channel that has become Information Central for all things relating to the provably false claims that Joseph Smith originated and sanctioned plural marriage.  This is where you will learn that far from promoting polygamy, Joseph spent the last weeks of his life attempting to stamp out that vile practice that had begun to take hold in the Church. His vigorous campaign to expose the true villains is almost certainly what got him killed.

A few weeks ago I was a guest on Michelle's program, and if you want a decent introduction to what Joseph was really on about before he was taken from the earth, I think that interview is as good a place to start as any.  Here it is:

The number of faithful Mormons now coming to realize that we have been lied to about Joseph's role in polygamy is massive and growing, and like I said above, if you see a concept in opposition to a belief you consider already settled suddenly gaining acceptance on a large scale, it may be time to start asking yourself "how do I actually know what I know about this?"  Lately, in addition to Michelle Stone, a number of skeptics have been uncovering incredible new findings.  People like Amberli Peterson, Whitney Horning, Jeremy Hoop, Rob Fatheringham, Shanhi BuddyJustin Griffin, and many others have, in the past several weeks, been digging through dusty tomes and discovering things about this topic we never knew before.  So get ready for some bombshells to come. 

At this stage, given all the information that is right out in the open and readily available, it seems to me that those who continue to stubbornly insist that plural marriage originated with Joseph Smith can no longer just claim simple ignorance.  A more accurate word to describe such people would be gullible.  You think I'm being too harsh?  Check out just a few of the resources available from the six names I listed above, or just a few of the discussions taking place over at 132 Problems and decide for yourself.


Notes & Asides:

One Final Recommendation
If you enjoy going down rabbit holes as much as I do, you'll want to check out the latest series at Book of Mormon Perspectives, where the author is currently juggling more crazy possibilities than even I can keep up with, such as where did those impossibly intricate buildings come from? And what was Brigham up to on those curious trips he took to Boston?  I'm particularly intrigued by the account of Brigham Young's connection to the prominent Jesuit Priest Pierre De Smet.  De Smet's close acquaintance with Brigham Young and his many conversations with him concerning the Rocky Mountain region, as the Knights of Columbus history gives the account, "probably determined the choice of the Mormon prophet, and led to the decision which ultimately settled the Latter Day Saints in the fertile lands they now occupy in Utah." 

Or you can just believe the traditional narrative, which is that Brigham had intended to take the Saints to California before deciding the Salt Lake Valley was close enough. It's your call.


A Note To Readers:
This blog now does accept anonymous comments, which means you don't have to use your real name if you don't want to.  Make up any fake name you want, but please don't post as "Anonymous" because that just serves to confuse others who may want to respond to your comment. 

Saturday, January 6, 2024

"We Are Against Israel Because We Are Jews"

(This is part three of my series on How Mormons Should View The War In Israel.  You can find the first two posts by clicking here and here.)

I thought about captioning the above photo "A Group of Rabid Anti-Semites Protest Against the Holy State of Israel," but I was afraid the irony would be lost on some of you.  Yet that would be no less ironic than what is taking place in the video below.  See if you can spot the actual anti-semites in this clip:          
 Why, you might ask, are the police -who purport to be Jews- beating up on the men in this video who actually look like Jews?

The answer is simple. These officers represent the state of Israel, which was founded, and is still governed by, non-practicing Jews- people who are Jews by birth but who are disproportionately non-believers and atheists. These putative "Jews" purport to be the legitimate representives of worldwide Jewry and therefore cannot allow the world to discover that thousands of practicing Jews reject the State of Israel as a fraud and a counterfeit.  In short, the State of Israel finds it necessary to silence the voices who represent the religion of Judaism, lest the fraud known as "Zionism" be exposed to the world. 

For although Judaism teaches that God had once covenanted with all twelve tribes of Israel that this land was to be their inheritance, the religion of Judaism also recognizes that thousands of years ago Israel and Judah broke that covenant; the Northern tribes of Israel were all taken captive by the Assyrians, and the Jews in the South were carted off to Babylon.  Orthodox (i.e. religious) Jews recognize that God had already fulfilled his promise to allow the tribe of Judah to return to Jerusalem long ago. That happened about 350 B.C. when the Jews were allowed to return from their captivity in Babylon and rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. 

But about 70 years after the death and resurrection of Christ, the Jews were disbursed a second time, this time with no promise that they were to return.  Nowhere in the teachings of Judaism do we find God ever telling the Jews they would have the right to retake Palestine after that final dispersion at the hands of the Romans.  The Torah and the Tanakh both make clear that if Israel (meaning the descendants of all twelve tribes and not just the tribe of Judah) are ever to have their inheritance returned to them, it will occur when the Messiah comes in person, and not because the Rothschilds, the British Empire, and the United Nations conspired to hand the country over to them.  I'd say it's a safe bet that God does not employ the Rothschilds to accomplish His purposes.

Due to latter-day revelation contained within the Book of Mormon, we now know that for some time God has already been gathering the descendants of Israel to a place He calls the New Jerusalem.  The area that since 1948 has been misnamed "Israel" is not and never will be the "promised land" for the Jews.  That ship sailed a long time ago.  The modern-day State of Israel is a counterfeit and does not reflect the will of the Almighty.

You may be under the impression that today the Jews in the Holy Land are fighting for their lives against the people who live in Palestine, but what you have not been told is that this war broke out just in time to save the political prospects of the wildly unpopular Zionist President Benjamin Netanyahu.  That conniving opportunist sees this attack by Hamas as a Godsend -or he might have had he actually believed in God. 

As it happens, that attack turned out to be an opportunity for Netanyahu to rally the majority of the Jews in that area (and a good number of gullible Americans) to his support since, as George Bush learned following 9-11, there's nothing like a contrived attack on the homeland to compel a people who hated their president one day to suddenly unite behind him the next.

Although I am a devout believer in the Gospel of Christ as restored through Joseph Smith,
I have long felt an affinity for the Jewish culture, as my mother's grandparents were practicing Jews from Eastern Europe before they were converted by Mormon missionaries following their arrival in America. As I also discussed previously, Irving Reichert, the prominent rabbi of San Francisco'sTemple Emanu-El, was related to, and a contemporary of, my maternal grandmother.  In the 1940s said Rabbi was a founding member of The American Council for Judaism  and one of the earliest "Jews Against Zionism."  I suppose that's one reason I have a familial affinity for Judaism that is as strong as is my disdain for the evils of  Zionism. The American Council for Judaism vigorously objected to the indefensible claim put forth by the Zionists that all Jews, by dint of nationality alone, had the right to force Christians and Muslims from their homes, farms, and vineyards so that the Jews could take possession of those properties for themselves:
"Judaism is a religion of universal values, not a nationality… nationality and religion are separate and distinct… Israel is the homeland of its own citizens only, and not of all Jews. Zionism was a philosophy of despair, without faith in the Enlightenment; it advocated the self-segregation of Jews just when they should be seeking integration." -Jewish Virtual Library (emphasis mine.)
Sadly, since that report was published, Zionists have been doing everything in their power to hijack Judaism. Like the good Rabbi said, "we are against the State of Israel because we are Jews." After the Roman armies left Palestine, some of the Romans remained behind and made Palestine their home.  So did a good number of Jews, many of them now converted to Christianity as were the Greeks who were recognized as descendants of the lost tribes (see 1st Corinthians 10 where Paul reminds the Greeks that his fathers as well as theirs had passed through the red sea with Moses). 

Also living in that area and getting along fine with the Jews and the Christians for over a thousand years were a good many Arab people who, lest we forget, are every bit the descendants of Abraham as are the Jews and those Christians who trace their ancestry back to one or more of the "lost" tribes. So I have to smile whenever I hear Christians and Arabs derided as "anti-semites," since anyone whose people are descended from Abraham are de facto descended from Shem and are just as Semitic as the Jews claim to be. The point I'm going for here is this: there had not been much in the way of quarreling between these long-time residents until the Zionists started moving in and, with the assistance of the British and American governments, violently forcing the natives out.

As the American Council for Judaism made clear in its declaration, Israel is the homeland of those whose ancestors have been living on the land for generations. Anyone, whether Jew, Arab, Christian, or otherwise who wished to move there and purchase a piece of property for themselves was always welcome to do so. But as the Council asserted, the property belonging to the natives is not there for the taking simply because the descendants of one tribe of Israel showed up in 1947 and decided they are entitled to steal it. 

If all of this business of Jews opposing Jews is unfamiliar to you, it's because your news sources are not telling you about what's really going on in Israel.  While you are being propagandized to oppose the Palestinians, just below the radar an intellectual civil war of sorts is brewing between Jews whose God is YHWH versus putative "Jews" whose God is the State. Or, to borrow an apt description from John the Beloved in Revelation 3:9, those "who say they are Jews but are of the synogogue of Satan." 
But none of that is really what I planned to write about today.  Right now I want to talk about something else, which is...

Guess What? I Have Critics! 
I suppose it was bound to happen. I heard from more than one acquaintance who was concerned I might be headed down the path of leftism because it seemed to them I was siding with Hamas against Israel.

Anyone who read part one of this series knows I believe Hamas is as despicable as the Zionist government of Israel, so of course that accusation is hogwash.  But allow me to address this issue that presumes that because I feel sympathy for suffering women and children it somehow puts me in the same camp as those empty-headed imbeciles on the left.

Let's be honest: even the most moronic shit-lib can be right about something at least once.  So when the Zionist leadership in Israel announces their plan to eradicate an entire race of people, and then said leadership moves forward with those plans, I tip my hat to any group -even if they are my political opposites in every other way- who are observant enough to recognize that the government of Israel is corrupt and immoral.

The area where I part ways with some of these protestors is when they voice support for a terrorist organization like Hamas.  Some people are just wired to believe that if one side is acting badly, the people on the other side must be the good guys.  This is not the case with the debacle currently taking place in the Holy Land.  As I said before, the Zionist government of Israel is wicked, vengeful, bloodthirsty, and brutal; but the government represented by Hamas is wicked, vengeful, bloodthirsty, and brutal as well. If there are any "good guys" in this conflict, it is the innocent Jewish and Palestinian people -especially the children-who are the victims of the "leaders" from both sides.  Yes, Hamas are terrorists. So are those who call themselves Zionists.

If I were demonstrating against the violence in the middle east, one thing I would not do is to carry around a flag that represents the government of Palestine.  My sympathies lie with the people living in Palestine, both the Arabs and the Christians, not with those claiming to govern them, which in my view is what the Palestinian flag represents.  If I wished to express empathy for a people, I wouldn't wrap myself in the flag of the entity that is partly responsible for that people's suffering.

One reason those on the left are failing to convince everyday Americans that what Israel is doing is wrong is that those demonstrators appear to be siding with Hamas.  If they are truly concerned about the lives of innocent people, these demonstrators should make it abundantly clear that their sympathies lie with the innocent victims of this purposeful genocide, and not in any way with the terrorists on either side.

Alas, I don't think very many of these young idiots are motivated by anything other than a desire to be part of whatever "the current thing" happens to be, because recently Ami Horowitz posted a video showing that a majority of students at one of our woke universities say they would support the killing of innocent people around the world so long as those innocent people are Jewish.  Watch this short video and be appalled:

Meanwhile, on another note...

Morgan Deane Is Back!
The following surly response was leveled at me in last month's comment section:
"The worst mass slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust and your response is this nonsense. You reek of the stench of death and typify what Thomas Aquinas called the support of an evil peace. Repent, get out of your echo chamber, and love your neighbor enough to at least intellectually oppose their slaughter before you rant about their ethnicity and exhibit shallow both sideism and even more shallow prooftexts. Mormon repented of his oath and took up the sword to defend his people (Mormon 5:1). And anyone who uses Doctrine and Covenants 98 to stand by while Jews are butchered is no follower of Christ. So this is a typically pathetic post from Rock Waterman broadcasting from the sewer of the internet."

Yowza! Sounds like somebody needs a nap.

This is not the first time I've been yelled at by Morgan Deane.  Brother Deane is a latter-day Saint who will readily inform you that he holds a satchel full of university degrees in history, with a focus on ancient warfare.  He has written a number of books and papers on military strategy as pertains to medieval Europe and Asia, so if you're seeking information about historic military battles, Morgan Deane is your go-to guy.  He's also published papers dealing with warfare in the Book of Mormon, showing how the various battles were conducted and the strategies engaged in on both sides. I'd say Morgan Deane has a good knowledge of how various military strategies have been employed through the ages.

Unfortunately, Brother Deane appears to have a blind spot when it comes to the actual lessons to be gleaned from all those war chapters in the Book of Mormon.  He and I butted heads about this back in the early part of this century when America's politicians took us into war against Iraq and Afghanistan.  Morgan's position, in a nutshell, was that God clearly approved of these invasions, while my position was that the scriptures say otherwise.  I maintained that Mormon and Moroni understood that the records they compiled would one day be in our hands, so they wanted to make certain that we did not make the same stupid mistakes their people did. They specifically told us that the reason they spent so much time on the wars that took place before the Nephites were completely wiped out was so that we, the latter-day gentiles, would have a firm understanding of two vital points when it comes to fighting:

1. God's people have a right and a duty to defend their homes, their families, and their lands from invasion. We are therefore justified in repelling those who invade our homes and lands, even unto the taking of life if necessary.
2. God's people are never justified in going up into the enemy's lands to do battle. 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. 

I originally got on Brother Deane's bad side when I reviewed an essay he contributed to an otherwise excellent book titled War & Peace In Our Time: A Mormon Perspective.  Deane's thesis was that "it was the bloodlust and general weakness of Nephite society that caused their failure," and not so much their disobedience in taking the war into the lands of their enemies. Here is what I wrote about Deane's contribution when I reviewed that book:

"Although no one would disagree that the Nephites' bloodlust was a salient factor in God's failure to support their cause, Mormon was emphatic that the dealbreaker was when his army went on the offensive against the Lamanites inside the Lamanite borders. That is when he resigned as their leader, and that's the moment he points to in Mormon chapter four as the reason God allowed the entire Nephite civilization to be destroyed.

"But Deane rejects the idea that the Nephites' defeat was the result of their crossing over into Lamanite borders. He tries hard to fit his personal beliefs into the scriptures, and those beliefs are typified by the popular view that America's pre-emptive wars against Iraq and Afghanistan (and now Libya and Syria) are justifiable before God. His thesis doesn't work. He supports his position with an unfortunate reliance on a skewed interpretation of scripture and contexts. He points to examples where the Nephites were justified in conducting offensive maneuvers in order to defeat the Lamanites, without recognizing those offensive maneuvers took place on Nephite soil and not on the Lamanites' home turf.
"Deane's view is shared by quite a few latter-day Saints today, and its inclusion in this volume is helpful if only as an example of how far many of us will stretch God's word to match our personal views. I include myself among the ranks of the formerly deluded. Though I was spared from participation in the war in Vietnam, I was an outspoken cheerleader for that adventure at the time, and for decades after. I believed with all my heart that my brothers in arms who traveled thousands of miles from home to murder people they had never met were engaged in God's work. I defended that war and the politicians who directed it with a zealous fervor my children today find hard to believe, as they know me to be quite different from the lad I tell about in my stories. (For a peek into my admittedly warped psyche as a teenage chickenhawk, see my piece "Don't Shoot, I'm Just The Messenger.")
"God does not justify nations going to war. That is Satan's arena. The Prince of Peace does not employ war to accomplish his purposes." 
(Pure Mormonism, posted May 25, 2013Why Do We Keep Celebrating Our Disobedience?)

Were the Nephites permitted to retaliate against those who came against them? Of course they were.  Unfortunately, what the Nephites wanted to do was massacre not just their attackers, but anyone who remotely looked like their attackers. And that's where the trouble comes in.   One example among many in American history that demonstrate how these things can quickly go wrong was illustrated in the Battle of Washita River in Oklahoma territory back in 1868. 

When You Washita Pawnee Star  (Sorry.)

The United States had entered into treaties with the various Indian tribes.  However, a band of renegade Indians that included Pawnee, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Arapaho tribes had gone on the warpath and massacred settlers.  The Cavalry headed by George Armstrong Custer was dispatched to find and capture these renegades. However, what the cavalry did instead was massacre an entire Indian village they came across, killing and burning everyone in it including women, children, and babies.  

That Cheyenne village had been at peace with the settlers and was continuing to seek peace. They were not the source of the renegades who had been killing pioneer settlers.  But that didn't matter.  As General Sherman famously said, the only good Indian is a dead Indian.  The cavalry couldn't find the actual bad guys, so they settled for the first group of Indians they came across.  The massacre at Washita River was depicted in the film Little Big Man, and I include that scene below because seeing that horrible massacre take place -even if it is only a hollywood recreation- helps us to understand that justice is not served by seeking revenge against those who have done us no harm.


If we have any questions about the lessons God wanted us to learn regarding war, He spelled out His rules of war one final time in a lengthy revelation given to Joseph Smith in August of 1833.  Note that the instructions the Lord gave to the Saints as recorded in section 98 of the Doctrine & Covenants are spoken by the mouth of the Lord Himself, and they are intended for our understanding and benefit still today.  He has never rescinded nor modified those rules. Yet section 98 is the very revelation Morgan Deane so flippantly dismisses in his response to me above.

Likening It Unto Our Day    

So why, you may ask, am I belaboring this?  Why am I spending so much time responding to one facile commenter because he cavalierly dismisses God's word and misunderstands what Mormon meant when he said he "repented of his oath?" 

Here's why. I see Brother Morgan's position as illustrative of the problem we are witnessing among many Americans, latter-day Saints included, regarding the injustices taking place in Palestine today.  Empathizing with those Jews who have been wantonly attacked by Hamas is one thing; supporting an evil regime that retaliates by murdering women and children who were not the ones who came against them is something else entirely.  That is not justice; it is wickedness.

So let's take a quick look at the singular act that the prophet-historian Mormon tells us facilitated the final destruction of his entire nation, because I think it is instructive in this instance.

We take up the story at Mormon chapter 3. This is about 363 years after the resurrected Jesus had appeared among the Nephites. Three and a half centuries earlier the Nephites and the Lamanites were as one, and there was peace upon the whole land for some two hundred years.  But by Mormon's day that's no longer how things are.  By this time the Nephites had completely turned from the faith, and the Lamanites were constantly nipping at their heels, invading the Nephites and plundering their lands.  The Lamanites kept attacking the Nephites and the Nephites just kept on losing every skirmish.

Finally, after much fighting back and forth, there was a decisive battle in which the Nephites really mopped the floor with the invading Lamanites; it was for once pretty much no contest.  The Nephites were the uncontested victors, thanks largely to the fact that the virtuous general Mormon himself was the one directing the Nephite armies.

Well, after losing so many skirmishes and this time finally coming out on top, the Nephite warriors got all full of themselves and decided they should go up against the Lamanite people and settle this thing once and for all. "Cut them off from the face of the land," was the way they enthusiastically put it, which is a way of saying they intended to go on the offensive for once and wipe those filthy savages off the face of the earth.

This bloodlust on the part of his troops so angered Mormon that from that moment on he vowed to no longer be the leader of the Nephite armies.  If this was the way they were going to play it, they were on their own.  Three times Mormon had delivered his soldiers out of the hands of their enemies and they never repented of their sins, but instead swore "by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they would go up unto their enemies to battle." They were no longer motivated by a sense of duty to protect their families; now they were driven by a bloody desire for revenge.  

Well now. It was one thing to fight against an army that has attacked you, but it was quite another thing to decide to go and massacre the families of the Lamanites, women and children who had never themselves come against the Nephites.  God's rules say you are permitted to defend yourselves against an aggressor; but you are not permitted to become the aggressor. Yet here were the Nephite armies now determined to go into the borders of the Lamanites and wipe out every single man, woman, and child still living.  The Lord told Mormon that because of this insane bloodlust on the part of the Nephites, they would be the ones who would be "cut off from the face of the land."  

And that's exactly what happened.  As Mormon records, "from this time forth did the Nephites gain no power over the Lamanites, but began to be swept off by them even as a dew before the sun."  After ten years of back-and-forth battles between the Nephites and the Lamanites where the Lamanites were always the victors, on the day the Nephites prepared to make their last stand, only twenty-four Nephites remained alive, and one of those was Mormon's son, Moroni.  Moments later all of them were dead except Moroni, whose life God spared so that he could preserve the record so we would one day know the horror that had taken place. 

Shortly before he was killed, Mormon tells us in his record specifically why the entire Nephite nation was annihilated: "It was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them."

Morgan Deane seems to suggest in his comment that Mormon repented for having refused to take up the sword against the Lamanites, but that is not quite how the record reads.  When the Nephites earlier vowed to wipe the Lamanites off the face of the earth, Mormon, in disgust, swore an oath to never again take up the sword on behalf of his people.  Years later he tells us that he repented of that oath. Repented? For what? Did Mormon now wish he had participated in those attacks against the Lamanites? 

No he did not. He was sorry for taking an oath before God that would have prevented him from standing in defense of his brethren at the final moments when the Lamanites were slaughtering the last of his people. The record is very clear that Mormon was repenting for taking an oath, not for failing to go up against the Lamanites.  I have never been able to get Morgan Deane to recognize that fact.  

Today we see a situation in the Holy Land that seems to parallel the crimes commited by the Nephites against their brethren the Lamanites.  Because just as both the Lamanites and the Nephites were descended from father Lehi, so are the Arabs living in Palestine descended from father Abraham, same as the descendants of Judah.  It is a travesty that for the past hundred years, those who claim the high ground are so enthusiastic about killing their cousins who have lived on that land for generations just so the sons of Judah can have the place to themselves. 

Brother Deane writes accusingly to me that "anyone who uses Doctrine and Covenants 98 to stand by while Jews are butchered is no follower of Christ."

I would agree, and this is why I use the word "facile" to describe Morgan Deane's method of arguing. One would be hard-pressed to find any instance where I have ever suggested it is proper to stand by while anyone is harmed in any way -in fact I frequently and vehemently raise my voice in opposition to such crimes.  And how exactly does Morgan figure I would try to cite that revelation in order to justify  people being butchered, anyway?  I've seen Morgan Deane twist scripture to make it appear God agrees with his positions, but that's not the kind of equivocating I engage in.

Everything Old Is New Again

The parallels I see between the Nephites and the modern-day Zionists are quite apparent.  After Hamas claimed responsibility for a vicious attack that killed 1200 innocent Jews, the Zionist government responded, not by seeking out the perpetrators of the attacks, but by wiping out more than 20,000 Palestinian men, women, and children living across the border in Palestine who had nothing whatsoever to do with that brutal attack against Israel.  The terrifying persecution against the innocent continues to this day as those Palestinians who are not murdered outright are terrorized by Israeli police who specifically seek out people who they know to be innocent.

Some of the luckiest people still alive in Palestine have been reduced to taking shelter at the zoo among the animals who are starving to death along with the humans.

Meanwhile, Israeli government authorities think that as of two days ago they may have finally killed a top Hamas leader living in Lebanon (the government of Israel knows there have been no members of Hamas in Gaza since this whole thing started), but they can't really be sure it's him.  And you may have heard the propaganda coming out of Israel that Hamas is hiding in secret tunnels under the hospitals. That is pure hogwash.  As for the stories of Palestinians beheading babies, that sensational nonsense was shown to have no basis in fact three days after the October 7th attacks, following Israel government authorities admitting they cannot confirm the rumors. But I'm not sure Morgan Deane was paying attention when that news broke.

This is without a doubt the most documented genocide in history, yet so many Americans cheer it on because they believe, as so many Americans believed in Custer's day, that the innocent victims of this horror had it coming to them

The ancient Nephites were thoroughly convinced that they were the good guys, which allowed them to believe that taking revenge against women and children who did them no harm was met with approval in the sight of God. We see history repeating itself today in Israel, where hatred is now the order of the day.  Here is a clip of one of many Israeli "experts" who advocates leveling the ground in Gaza and killing as many people as possible because, as he says, "The woman is an enemy, the pregnant mother is an enemy, and the first grader is an enemy":

[UPDATE April 16, 2024: I just noticed that the video above has been removed from Youtube for violating terms of service (no kidding!).  CLICK ON THIS LINK to watch the same short video where it still exists on X.]

I must be jaded, because outrageous talk like that doesn't even surprise me anymore; I've seen too many clips like this one.  What really disturbs me at this point is seeing the children of those who are convinced they are "God's Chosen People" giddily making fun of the injured and dying children of their perceived enemies.  If scripture is any predictor of what is to come, I wouldn't want to be standing anywhere near a proud, mocking citizen of Israel when Yeshua HaMashiach decides he has finally had enough.     



Notes & Asides:

I have embedded quite a few links within the body of this post and I hope my readers will click on them all and have a look (they're the words highlighted in blue).  Most of them link to videos that are quite short, and though I know most of you won't have time to delve deeper after making it throught this long screed, I hope you'll bookmark them for later.  This is a topic that has interested me for decades, and now, when we are on the cusp of the endtimes, I think it's important to share what we know and help awaken others.

There is one link above in particular I don't want you to miss, and that is a video featuring American Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro.  The full video is two hours long, but don't despair.  If you simply start at around the 33:30 minute mark and watch for just ten minutes, you'll be absolutely gobsmacked at what you learn about the founders of this evil ideology.  Of course, you can continue watching longer than ten minutes, but you'll probably have to stop frequently just to pick your jaw up off the floor.  Here's a sample:

"Zionism, you could call it, it's a religion, a civic religion; it's a religion without God. What happened originally, the Zionists did not like being Jews. It's very simple: they did not like being Jews...They didn't want to be Jews because -no joke- they said Jews were disgusting, immoral, sick, ugly people. That's a quote! This is Jabotinsky, this is Herzl.

"You know, if Herzl would be alive today, we'd be able to dox him to be able to go and find the quotes he said on Twitter, on the internet and disqualify him and brand him as an anti-semite. Disgusting things about how he met a bunch of Jews by a party and they had dripping long noses...he really despised Jews.

"Jabotinsky? He said that what he wants to become is the opposite of a Jew. Whatever a Jew is -just imagine what a Jew is- they asked him what a Zionist is and he said 'I don't know what a Zionist is, but take every characteristic of what a Jew is and imagine the opposite. That's going to be a Zionist. Jews are ugly, Jews are scared. Zionists are gonna be fearless. Jews are disgusting; Zionists are going to be charming.'"

"They got together and figured out a way to change Jewish identity so that the anti-semites will accept them...So they had to figure out a way to be Jews but to be non-Jews at the same time.

"Herzl said once the Jews change their character and become more like their persecutors, like the anti-semites, which is basically what he wanted; the last paragraph, the climax of his book, The Jewish State, says that as soon as Zionism gets off the ground anti-semitism will end...once we become Zionists everybody's gonna love us."

Trust me, this is astounding stuff! If you haven't got time for the full two hours, at least fast forward to the 33 minute mark and catch nine or ten minutes; that's where Shapiro comes in:


Two Books, Similar Titles

On the topic of the book War & Peace In Our Time: Mormon Perspectives, in spite of my one criticism I still highly recommend the book because of the contributions others of my faith have contributed to that volume.  I have since become close friends with two of those writers, the father-son team of Ron Madson and Josh Madson.  Connie and I were honored to stay with Ron and his wife a few years ago while we were traveling through Utah.

I also want to make the distinction between that book and another with a similar title that was published a few years later: War: A Book of Mormon Perspective by Kendal Anderson.  That book is flawless, but it may interest you to know that Morgan Deane publicly attacked the author of that one, too.  The good news is that Kendal offers a pdf version to anyone free of charge at his website, Book of Mormon Perspectives. Simply go to the right side of that page and scroll down a bit until you see the image of the book, then click to download your free copy.

Interestingly enough, if you go to Amazon and enter the key words "War," "Mormon," and "Perspective" it will bring up both these books plus one of Morgan Deane's Interpreter essays, this one titled A Vital Resource for Understanding LDS Perspectives on War.  You can grab the Kindle version of that for just 99 cents. And it's worth every penny!

UPDATE January 14, 2024

Here's a video discussing the Zionist rampant propaganda. The Zionists don't want to eliminate only the Palestinians, they also hope to wipe out all Christians remaining in "their" land: