December 27th, 2008

The Hearts of Men in Our Own Land


photo credit: the billyllama

Modern technology has drastically reduced the perceived size of the world, bringing far-away geopolitical events to our doorstep through new mediums of communication. Information that used to take weeks to propagate down to the average family now takes seconds; facilitated by the internet, the world really has grown smaller.

With the wonders of the world at our fingertips, our attention and interests naturally radiate outwards. Here we find application on a geopolitical level, then, to the Lord’s admonition that we not fret about motes in others’ eyes before first removing the beam in our own.

Offering us His counsel in further simplicity and directness, the Lord later pointed out man’s propensity to primarily look at external situations in the following words:

Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land. (Doctrine and Covenants 38:29)

The world is in turmoil, and tyrants abound; our main concern, though, should be the inward vessel where we can properly effect change and influence things for good. To prioritize foreign affairs above domestic ones shows an imbalance that the Lord would have us correct, for to ignore or minimize the evils in our own midst is to become the hypocrites the Lord warned us about.

Over half a century ago, Elder Joseph L. Wirthlin (father of the late Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin) commented on this verse as follows:

I am sure that this revelation, brothers and sisters, pertains to this day and to this time. While our attention is attracted to foreign countries where there have been wars and where there are still wars, there are within the very borders of this great republic those who would change our form of government and who would force upon us the same type of government that Lucifer advocated in the councils of heaven. (Joseph L. Wirthlin, October 1946 General Conference)

Before that, Elder Heber C. Kimball spoke on this subject as well:

Unto us it is the “last days,” in which, the Lord says by His Prophets, when you hear of war, and rumors of war, it will not be long before you have it in your own land. Now are we as a people preparing and qualifying ourselves for that day, lest it overtake us as a thief in the night? It certainly will if we do not wake up from our slumber. (Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 2:156)

In the preceding verse the Lord prefaces his observation with a warning that “the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh [our] lives.” We learn in these scriptures that Christ’s admonition to look inward is not relegated only to interpersonal relationships, but also to global politics and policy. If we want to understand a reality unhampered by ignorance and hypocrisy, it is imperative that we make the effort to first analyze our own principles, politicians, and actions.

65 Responses to “The Hearts of Men in Our Own Land”

  1. Clumpy
    December 28, 2008 at 2:26 am #

    I understand the point you’re making, and agree with much of it, though I’m not sure about this point if taking to an extreme:

    To prioritize foreign affairs above domestic ones shows an imbalance that the Lord would have us correct, for to ignore or minimize the evils in our own midst is to become the hypocrites the Lord warned us about.

    Would you extend this to all spheres of life, including humanitarian work and education? To focus merely on the citizens of one’s country seems a bit arbitrary (how is Hawaii inherently different than any other number of tropical islands, for instance?). It seems that we should help wherever we can do the greatest good – for example, the Church mobilized for the hundreds of thousand killed and made homeless by the Indonesian tsunami, rather than keeping things stateside.

    Now, if your point is that citizens have more influence and ability to bring about positive change in their home country, point taken. And political change almost never works when attempted by outsiders. But our “midst” is as wide or as small as we make it. By this model we might even do well to ignore federal and state issues entirely and help out our literal neighbor (and that’s not an attempt to point out a fallacy – it may well be true).

  2. Kelly W.
    December 28, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    These are my thoughts and beliefs only:

    The Secret Combinations of Satan that work among us right now (as Moroni told us in Ether chapter 8) exist not only in our own land, but exist in all lands and among all peoples. These Secret Combinations are the source of not only the Rumors of Wars, but are the real source of all wars. Since the Secret Combinations of Satan are at work in all the world as his plan to subvert the Plan of God here on Earth, this means that our only true protection is to look to ourselves first, then our own families, neighborhoods, communities and Wards and Stakes, and see to it that we are worthy to receive the protection of God as we see the ravages of Satan taking place in not only foreign lands, but in our own land as well.

    I think, though, that we in USA tend to think “all is well in Zion” and that USA can do no evil because USA is the “promised land.” In this I think we err. If we look back into the history of the Americas, we see that the Jaredites, Nephites, Lamanites, Incas, etc. have all had their day in the sun and then the demise of their nations from wickedness. But, somehow we think the USA is exempt from the possibility of destruction if we do not serve God.

    Sadly, this attitude is partially (but only partially) correct. We have been promised that the Gospel will not be taken from the earth in the Latter-days despite the wickedness of the world, until Christ comes to reign again. But, we need to look within ourselves to make sure that among this wickedness in the world and USA, we are remaining righteous. I think this advice should apply whether we live in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Europe, Asia, etc.

    At least this is how I see it.

  3. joe
    December 28, 2008 at 7:50 pm #

    Kelly W,
    “Since the Secret Combinations of Satan are at work in all the world as his plan to subvert the Plan of God here on Earth…”

    Its odd…I thought the monotheistic faiths were the source of much of the trouble through out history. Jews, xtians, Muslims fighting over something or another. The dark ages was a period in europe which produced much ignorance, during this period persecution of witches was very extreme.

    Evangelical xtians have been very influential in removing evolution, and anything non-xtian from text books, libraries etc… during recent years. (especially the bush administration and those sympathetic to it) I equate this with a decline in education and economic power in the united states. That seems more subversive to me than anything else.

  4. Kelly W.
    December 28, 2008 at 8:01 pm #

    Joe, like I said, it is my belief only. Have you considered that the Book of Mormon teaches that there are only 2 churches, the Church of Christ and the Church of the Devil? The Devil is the founder of Secret Combinations, and therefore the Church of the Devil (and his Secret Combinations) are the source of the things you mention. (in my opinion.)

  5. Clumpy
    December 29, 2008 at 12:36 am #

    Joe, it’s a common misconception that the Middle Ages were a time of unbridled ignorance and thoughtless zealotry. The Black Death ground things to a halt, understandably (I mean, look at how much our world slows down when something comparatively trivial like 9/11 happens), but the time period until the massive depopulation following the Plague was a time of creativity and innovation. Religion and societal development are by no means mutually exclusive.

  6. Silus Grok
    December 29, 2008 at 8:37 am #

    Connor … just a short aside: I want to thank you for your on-going commentaries. We don’t see eye-to-eye on much in the political space, but I often come away from your posts with new insight and much food for thought.

    Thank you, and happy new year.

  7. Connor
    December 29, 2008 at 11:24 am #

    Clumpy,

    Would you extend this to all spheres of life, including humanitarian work and education? To focus merely on the citizens of one’s country seems a bit arbitrary (how is Hawaii inherently different than any other number of tropical islands, for instance?). It seems that we should help wherever we can do the greatest good – for example, the Church mobilized for the hundreds of thousand killed and made homeless by the Indonesian tsunami, rather than keeping things stateside.

    I think the application of my argument in positive actions (humanitarian aid, in this example) is that those actions are best served and utilized locally. I think you would agree that it’s better to help those around us first that have the same needs as those in other locations; helping any single person is a good thing, but our responsibility is to those in our immediate circle and sphere of influence. Joseph Smith said:

    Love is one of the leading characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone but ranges through the world, anxious to bless the whole of the human family.

    In this quote I see the principle of outward radiation—first we bless our family, and then work outwards.

    It’s not only an issue of prioritization for me, but a matter of resources. When I went to Africa last year, I struggled with the idea of a $2,000+ plane ticket for a charity trip. Wouldn’t that money better be served on something else of need? Ultimately I learned that the trip I went on was more for my growth and progress than anybody else’s, and so I reconciled the idea. But if we’re really intent on improving others’ lives, I think that we can stretch our dollars far more effectively when using them ourselves, overseeing how they are used, and directly applying them to a need. When you work through another organization (with few exceptions, such as the Church), you’re introducing other variables (salary, waste, misallocation) that reduce the effectiveness of your contribution.

    Now, if your point is that citizens have more influence and ability to bring about positive change in their home country, point taken.

    Not only home country, but local communities, neighborhoods, and organizations. But yes, you get the gist of what I’m saying.

    Kelly,

    These are my thoughts and beliefs only…

    Others share the same thoughts and beliefs, so they’re not only yours. :)

    Silus,

    Thanks for the kind words. Happy new year to you as well!

  8. Kelly W.
    December 29, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    “Others share the same thoughts and beliefs, so they’re not only yours.”

    But it seemed as though your post was trying to say that we should concentrate and worry more about our own land, and less on foreign affairs of other lands. My thoughts are in disagreement with that premise, we should be worried about foreign affairs because the same forces driving those foreign affairs are also affecting our own land.

  9. Connor
    December 29, 2008 at 12:27 pm #

    My thoughts are in disagreement with that premise, we should be worried about foreign affairs because the same forces driving those foreign affairs are also affecting our own land.

    We should be worried about them, yes, but not to the exclusion or ignoring of what’s going on here, where we can have an effect. When Moroni warned us in Ether 8 of the secret combinations getting above us, I believe that his intent was not for us to worry about them in other lands, but to prevent them from having any effect on us. I’m not arguing that we should not be concerned about what’s going on elsewhere by any means, only that we should first make sure we know what’s going on where we have power to change whatever it might be.

  10. Carborendum
    December 29, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    Pres. McKay said:

    Let me assure you, Brethren, that some day you will have a personal Priesthood interview with the Savior, Himself. If you are interested I will tell you the order in which He will ask you to account for your earthly responsibilities.

    First: He will request an accountability report about your relationship with your wife. Have you actively been engaged in making her happy and insuring that her needs have been met as an individual?

    Second: He will want an accountability report about each of your children individually. He will not attempt to have this for simply family stewardship, but will request information about your relationship to each and every child.

    Third: He will want to know what you personally have done with the talents you were given in the pre-existence.

    Fourth: He will want a summary of your activities in your Church assignments. He will not be necessarily interested in what assignments you have had, for in His eyes the home teacher and a mission president are probably equals, but He will request a summary of how you have been of service to your fellow men in your Church assignments.

    Fifth: He will have no interest in how you earned your living, but if you were honest in all your dealings.

    Sixth: He will ask for an accountability on what you have done to contribute, in a positive manner to your community, state, country and the world.

    I specifically point out the order in which he states the last statement. I personally don’t believe he was saying this as a matter of literary oganization. I believe he was giving priorities. We work on things close to us first because that is where we have greatest influence. Then we move on to bigger spheres of influence.

    The entire passage covers those closest to us first then goes outward.

  11. loquaciousmomma
    December 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm #

    Connor: thanks for another thought provoking post! It has brought up one of my most pressing dilemmas that I now submit for suggestions and comments:

    I see the difficulty we are in. I am a mom of seven children. I want so bad to do something to wake people up so that SOMETHING can be done to save our country, and the Constitution. It seems perfectly rational to me to say that we are in the midst of a communist revolution, but no one else sees it. The media even talks about the ‘death of capitalism’. I remember the talk by President Benson about Kruschev and little bits of socialism being fed to us and an economy so weakened that we would “fall like ripe fruit” into communist hands. Isn’t that where we are?!? Our country has taken ownership of companies and has basically told banks that they have to give the US govt. interest in their ownership. In addition, it has been sliding down the slope of socialism since the progressive era.

    I want to do something, but I have friends who say that our job now is to ‘lay low’ and protect ourselves and our families. On the other hand, Pres. Benson said that fighting for freedom was as important as spreading the gospel. That is a truth that runs through every fiber of my being. I don’t want to live in a country that is not free and not have tried to do anything about it.

    The Book of Mormon warns us of conspiracies and tells us to awake to our awful situation, and to not let it get “above” us. What does that mean for us at this late date? Is it too late to do anything, since the warnings of modern day prophets about this problem have ceased, and/or muted?

    Is the day of action passed, is it now time to circle the wagons and prepare for the worst?

    What do you think?

  12. joe
    December 30, 2008 at 11:27 pm #

    Clumpy,
    Are you talking about the renaissance?

  13. joe
    December 30, 2008 at 11:29 pm #

    Kelly,

    “…the Book of Mormon teaches that there are only 2 churches, the Church of Christ and the Church of the Devil …”

    You mean only two basic philosophies to divide all philosophies on earth? Its that cut an dry, that black and white?

  14. Kelly W.
    December 31, 2008 at 9:16 am #

    Yep Joe, amazing isn’t it, that is if you believe Nephi. Here is 1st Nephi 14:10

    10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

    This concept is as simple as when Bush proclaimed: You’re either with us or your with the terrorists.

    But, in that case, Bush was no Nephi.

  15. Connor
    December 31, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    Is the day of action passed, is it now time to circle the wagons and prepare for the worst?

    Yes and no. :)

    Funny you should bring this up, as I’ve had this conversation with several people over the last couple weeks. I’ve been probing people whose opinion I respect with this question: “Do we as individuals stand a chance in reversing all the damage that has been done and saving the Republic?”. White horse prophecy aside, my desire has been to figure out what other people think of the current situation we’re in, and if there’s anything we can do to stop the seemingly inevitable.

    The answers I’ve received have been interesting, with most of them answering the same basic “yes and no” I gave above. Usually people have told me that they believe that anything is possible, and that with faith and God on our side, miracles can happen and advances can be made at any time, regardless of the deck being stacked against us.

    But everybody—everybody—has told me that things are so bad right now that they are in “hunker down” mode, and are actively working on preparing themselves, their families, and those around them for what might be coming. They all still work outwards to change things and fight the good fight, but admit that “as well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course” (D&C 121:23) as to totally save the Republic from its destruction-bound path.

    So I think it’s time to circle the wagons, but not totally close ourselves off from venturing outside the circle to bring others in, and try to mitigate in some small way the colossal tidal wave heading our way…

    Happy new year! (Heh…)

  16. Kelly W.
    December 31, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Connor, I agree with your thoughts of circling the wagons. I believe the time has come to, as a people, “come out of Babylon.” Please turn to the chapter heading of Revelation chapter 18 where it says:

    “The saints are called out of Babylon lest they partake of her sins—She falls and is lamented by her supporters.”

    Joseph Smith said something to the effect of “IF the Constitution is to be saved, it will be saved by good people in the church.”

    I now believe the good people who have been fighting for the Constitution since McKay’s and Benson’s time have now finally lost the battle, and there are not enough Elders of the Church even aware this battle has been raging for the past 3 decades. We are now witnessing the breaking of the final thread that was holding the Constitution. I believe it is now too late, and we need to come out of Babylon and hunker down and circle the wagons around our families, communities, wards and stakes.

    We have seen how government (FEMA, etc.) is unable to help in a situation such as Hurricane Katrina, and how the Churches are the ones who are really the able ones to step in and bring order. As the thread snaps that is holding our Constitution, we will need to step up as members of God’s true church, and fill the vacuum a fallen Constitution leaves behind.

    So now is the time for added efforts on our parts, but NOT in trying to save a corrupt, broken government.

    This is my opinion.

  17. Kelly W.
    December 31, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    In a way, this “thread” finally broke as we saw good people rally behind the cause of Ron Paul, but the Constitutional momentum behind Paul was defeated. The current course we are embarking upon is not the progress we need to instill any hope of “saving” the course of our country.

  18. Clumpy
    December 31, 2008 at 1:38 pm #

    @Joe,

    Nope, I’m referring to the Middle Ages. Really, the whole concept of a “Dark Age” (except the one following the Black Plague) has been disproven, and modern scholars no longer use the term. This is interesting because it is widely believed that institutionalized Christianity led to a period of no accomplishment, however examination of the historical record indicates that this is simply not true.

    @Connor,

    I understand the pragmatic argument – that it costs more to help others further away. However, I have trouble embracing the “family outward” argument when we have thousands dying of body-deforming parasites, starvation, relocation and filthy water in “undeveloped” regions of the world.

    Even when you feed, clothe and vaccinate the people of the Congo, or Liberia, or Somalia, the lives of the poorest Americans would still be enviable to the continued disease and starvation life there entails.

  19. loquaciousmomma
    December 31, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    Thanks for the responses! This has been on my mind quite a bit and it helps to talk to others who see things as I do.

    In contribution to the discussion about the actual post :-) …

    I appreciate Carb’s quote of Pres. Mckay, it really made me think. It seems to me the message is that the most important place to focus our energies is on those closest to us. It also seems that this is not the only focus. We are to reach out to others inasmuch as it doesn’t detract from our first responsibility.

    I do remember a scripture or quote that I am not having any luck finding, in which it was said that once a person is converted, and/or full of charity, he will go throughout the earth seeking to relieve the suffering of man. (It’s driving me crazy that I cannot remember it, or find it!)

    I think the Lord wants us to help as many people as we are able with whatever resources we have. I think that if we are truly committed to this and disciplined in our efforts, we will find our sphere of influence is wider than we think.

  20. loquaciousmomma
    December 31, 2008 at 5:54 pm #

    I found it!!!!!

    “A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:227).

    I found it in a Liahona Article entitled Charity”Perfect and Everlasting Love” on LDS.org

    :-)

  21. loquaciousmomma
    December 31, 2008 at 11:19 pm #

    I was thinking about your answers to my question while folding laundry and I remembered this quote from the talk On the Shoulders of Giants given by Boyd K. Packer at the J. Reuben Clark Law Society in 2004.
    Here is what he said:

    When the Saints in Missouri were suffering great persecutions, the Lord said

    that the Constitution of the United States was given that every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him. [Notice that it does not say free agency, it says moral agency. The agency we have is a moral agency.] . . .

    For this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood (D&C 101:78, 80; emphasis added).

    The present major political debate centers on values and morals and the Constitution. There occurs from time to time reference to the Constitution hanging by a thread. President
    Brigham Young said:

    The general Constitution of our country is good, and a wholesome government could be framed upon it; for it was dictated by the invisible operations of the Almighty. . . .
    Will the Constitution be destroyed? No. It will be held inviolate by this people; and as Joseph Smith said “the time will come when the destiny of this nation will hang upon a single thread, and at this critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction.” It will be so.23

    I do not know when that day will come or how it will come to pass. I feel sure that when it does come to pass, among those who will step forward from among this people will be men who hold the Holy Priesthood and who carry as credentials a bachelor or doctor of law degree. And women, also, of honor. And there will be judges as well.

    Others from the world outside the Church will come, as Colonel Thomas Kane did, and bring with them their knowledge of the law to protect this people. We may one day stand alone, but we will not change or lower our standards or change our course.

    I haven’t read it in a while, and after reading this last part about lowering our standards and his previous mention of the debate about morals leads me to think that the crisis he is referring to is the coming constitutional battle between the religious rights guaranteed by the bill of rights and the inferred rights of homosexuals to marry. Although he did say that he didn’t know the exact details of the crisis.

    He did say that the Constitution would be saved. “It will be so.”

    How does this fit with our current situation, though? I guess there are still a few threads hanging onto the Constitution yet that we are just taking for granted.
    Could Satan be trying to discourage us from fulfilling this prophecy by the feeling that its too late?

    I remember the quote by Pres. Benson about this:

    As the showdown between good and evil approaches with its accompanying trials and tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression.” (Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 65.)

    Could this be his tactic to cow us into giving up too soon?

    I am so grateful for this forum to discuss these things with like-minded people.

    I hope my further comments do not come across as argumentative, as that is not my intent. I really want to work this out.

    Thanks :-)

  22. joe
    January 1, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    Clumpy,
    Interesting, so you feel this is a misapplied term? There must be some reason why this was a term and a concept to start with.

    “…Later historians expanded the term to refer to the transitional period between Classical Roman Antiquity and the High Middle Ages, including not only the lack of Latin literature, but also a lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and material cultural achievements in general. ”
    From Wikipedia

    To call it an atheistic period is probably not correct either.

    “A 2007 television show on The History Channel called the Dark Ages “600 years of degenerate, godless, inhuman behavior.”[15]” Wikipedia

    So other people characterize this as a period of disbelief.

    What about the Inquisition and the persecution of witches? That was in my original point. This could have happened with or without any cultural or technical advancements, however one might wish to measure them. The inquisition was set up in 1199, but intensified with the publication of Malleus Maleficorum .
    http://medieval.etrusia.co.uk/malleus/

    “Current scholarly estimates of the number of people executed for witchcraft vary between about 40,000 and 100,000.[13] The total number of witch trials in Europe which are known for certain to have ended in executions is around 12,000.[14]”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch-hunt

    There is some debate over the exact number of people killed as witches, but here is the following statement by an investigator:

    “These sources suggest a figure between 60,000 [6] and 300,000 [2] deaths in all of Europe due to the witch hunts…I believe the term holocaust is the proper term for the witch hunts as many of the victims were literally burnt alive. It should be noted that these events occurred at a time when there was only one city in all of Europe with over a million people, Paris. The events must have been devastating. I do not wish to compare people’s pain: an unjust murder is an unjust murder regardless of how many other people are murdered.”

    http://www.holocaust-history.org/~rjg/witches.shtml

  23. joe
    January 1, 2009 at 12:46 am #

    Kelly,
    You said: “This concept is as simple as when Bush proclaimed: You’re either with us or your with the terrorists.
    But, in that case, Bush was no Nephi.”

    So, has Bush policies and perspectives helped diplomatic relations anywhere?

  24. joe
    January 1, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    loquaciousmomma,

    I see the writers of the constitution as being completely human. It was written during a time when slavery was legal.
    Slaves could not vote, but were counted as 3/5 of a person, along with whoever else was ‘all other persons’.

    “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

    I am sure that ammendments and compromises will be made for any existing current conflicts. The serious thread hangings of the constitution appeared to already happened with homeland security, any mention of these?

    Interesting statement “…moral agency which I have given unto him. [Notice that it does not say free agency, it says moral agency. The agency we have is a moral agency.] . . .”

    I don’t believe that anyones actions can be seperated from any other phenomena, a good distinction.

  25. Kelly W.
    January 1, 2009 at 9:40 am #

    So, has Bush policies and perspectives helped diplomatic relations anywhere?

    Israel.

  26. loquaciousmomma
    January 1, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    Kelly: I am not sure Israel is a good example…

    Joe: I totally agree that the founders were just men. Our church doesn’t teach anything different. We do believe, however, that the hand of God was in their work.

    One thing that stood out to me in Brigham Young’s statement was that

    a wholesome government could be framed upon it

    (emphasis mine)

    He didn’t say that a wholesome government was formed.

    I think this distinction is why it is so important to revere and protect the original constitution because it is our only hope of a good government. Our current situation only serves to strengthen this conviction for me.

    Homeland Security is one of the things that has cut many constitutional threads, as is the suspension of habeas corpus for “enemy combatants” (whatever the phrase enemy combatant means today).

    The whole point of the prophecy is that so many cords to the constitution will be severed that the situation will come to a head with one final issue. Homeland Security, NSA wiretapping, the TSA, and the “war on drugs” are just some of the cord-cutting acts that are leading up to it.

  27. Clumpy
    January 3, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    Anyway, my point was that to view the Middle Ages as a dark, backwards time which ended with the glorious Renaissance is a gross simplification. Much of our modern artistic and philosophical culture stems from the Renaissance, true, but overt generalizations about either time period merely reinforce misconceptions.

    (Actually, much of the witchburning you mentioned took place during the latter period. Since your main argument was that monotheistic religions lead us toward trouble, I’ll take a step back and say that religion, like every other philosophy or goal, can have noble purposes when applied correctly but is easily twisted or misapplied.)

  28. loquaciousmomma
    January 3, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    Connor kindly emailed me to point out the mistake I made in my comment. He had actually quoted the very statement I was looking for.

    Sorry for the repeat.

    Thanks Connor for not calling me out here.

  29. joe
    January 4, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    Clumpy,
    Thank you for your contribution, it is helpful to have another perspective.

  30. joe
    January 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    Loqua,

    “The whole point of the prophecy is that so many cords to the constitution will be severed that the situation will come to a head with one final issue. ”

    You feel its this?
    “I haven’t read it in a while, and after reading this last part about lowering our standards and his previous mention of the debate about morals leads me to think that the crisis he is referring to is the coming constitutional battle between the religious rights guaranteed by the bill of rights and the inferred rights of homosexuals to marry. “

  31. Carborendum
    January 6, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    Joe, Momma, (that sounds too much like yo’momma).

    I’m not entirely in agreement that the homosexual marriage thing is the issue that will drive it over. I believe I see a possible condition where it could be a catalyst for the actual cause.

    When the California Supreme Court rules that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, it essentially will be saying that the people have no say in government and the very idea of democracy is forfeit. Written constitutions are meaningless. You can see where I’m going.

    As California goes, so goes the United States.
    As the US goes, so goes the rest of the world.
    I can’t remember where I heard that. But it has the ring of truth to it.

  32. Carborendum
    January 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    Joe,

    To say that religion is the source of these twisted philosophies is as simplistic as saying Islam is a religion of peace.

    Yes, many so called “holy wars” or even “holy campaigns” were carried out in the name of religion. But most wars were carried out for earthly reasons. Just because the people of old and even Bush today chooses to put a label up doesn’t mean the label is accurate.

    As far detatched as we are from ancient wars and campaigns, we may not see them as clearly. But Iraq is a perfect example. The war is not about terrorism or radical Islam. It was about oil and our political position in the middle east. Many corporate interests were also intertwined in there. Yet Bush and many evangelicals are calling it a holy war. Is that label accurate? Was religion the real reason or just the excuse?

    No, religion is rarely the cause of the major wars we are familiar with. It is merely the excuse.

  33. Carborendum
    January 6, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    Joe and Kelly (funny how I seem to be including Joe a lot).

    The separation of the two churches IS a simplification. But we must understand that God’s perspective is different than ours. His priorities different than ours.

    Yes, there are many different philosophies of the world. Many bad, some good, virutally all flawed in some way. But in God’s eyes there is only one thing that matters. Does it pull His children closer to or further from His goals?

    This is what I believe Nephi was alluding to.

  34. Kelly W.
    January 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    There are even many “wolves in sheep’s clothing” right within our own church. Every soul on earth needs to evaluate whether they really adhere to the “one true church.”

  35. loquaciousmomma
    January 6, 2009 at 7:51 pm #

    Joe: I think it could be, but I don’t pretend to know for sure. Pres. Packer said “The present major political debate centers on values and morals and the Constitution.” The very next sentence mentions the prophecy. He concluded his treatment of the topic with a reference to standards, and how we would not lower ours. It just seemed to me that he was making that connection. I guess we will know when the time is right. I hope! :-)

    Carb: Your argument makes a lot of sense, but haven’t we already crossed that threshold? The number of people contacting their congressmen was unprecedented regarding the bailout, and yet it was passed anyway.

    Haven’t referendums in CA been overturned in the past?

    The people of Massachusetts have tried to get a referendum in their state, but the legislature refuses to certify it and put it onto the ballot. That is another example of the will of the people being ignored.

    I’m sure there are more examples…

  36. Carborendum
    January 7, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    Momma,

    The referendum is different this time because it was a constitutional amendment. By nature, courts have the power to overturn laws that they deem unconstitutional. They had the constitutional power to do so. That is part of this three branch system of a republic we live in.

    But to overturn an amendment by saying that their (the judges) principles must decide when an amendment is wrong is saying the constitution is secondary to their judgment.

    If that is the case, written constitutions become meaningless.

    Ironically, this is exactly what John Jay was trying to avoid by declaring the right of the court for judicial review. Now we are one the verge of reversing that intent.

    The excuse that California is using is that there is a difference between an amendment and a revision to the constitution. I’ve heard the arguments and I’m not going to take the time to repeat it here. But I think it is just a lot more justification to push their agenda despite the constitution.

    Who was it? Jeff T? that was saying this was going to happen. Well we had hope that the CASC still had respect for their own constitution. Apparently we were wrong.

    Once CA does this, the Obama Supreme Court (several justices are due to retire in the next few years) will start doing the same thing when liberal and communist causes will petition them for “rulings” which will essentially be laws. Then PACs only need to bring up something to the SCOTUS and get “laws” passed without having to go through that pesky legislature.

    But they haven’t ruled yet. So maybe there is still hope.

  37. joe
    January 7, 2009 at 10:38 pm #

    Carborendum,
    So, in your view, what are the priorities of your god?

  38. joe
    January 7, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Kelly,
    “Every soul on earth needs to evaluate whether they really adhere to the “one true church.” ”

    What does this mean? I recently found a wonderful video short on utube. It was a life story of an Inuit shaman. Clearly he was not xtian, but I found it deeply spiritual.

    A related video was of a Xtian Inuit convert giving a sermon to try and convert more Inuit. My impression was that he was abusive, and dangerous, not spiritual. He was encouraging them to eat things forbidden by shamans. He clearly stated that death was a possibile result, but that it was prefered over ‘burning in hell’, and that it should be done to advance into the glory of god. I really feared for the people who went along with this proposal. (this was in 1922) so with some extensive research it might be possible to find out the result.

    A turning point in my experience with the LDS faith had much to do with this. Some LDS woman was speaking in church about how awful it was that eskimo people didn’t have ‘the gospel'(mormonism). It came accross to me as just so ‘molly mormon’, condescending and disrespectful. Disrespectful because I believe that most, if not all people in the world have a spirituality which is fitting for their needs, in their location.

  39. Carborendum
    January 8, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    Joe,

    I keep finding it difficult to determine where you’re coming from. You always put yourself up as someone who is so well informed. And often, I find that you are. But periodically, you ask some very basic question as if you’ve never even heard it before. This is especially true when you speak of religion in general and the LDS faith in particular. It makes me wonder what your experience is with the Church anyway.

    Please don’t take the following as negative. I mean this as constructive criticism.

    Take this analogy: There is a difference between memorizing dates and times in a history book vs reading a biography or journal or source material. Your knowledge about the Church seems to be like memorizing the history book — knowing things, without ever getting the flavor of what it is like to be there.

    Your comment about the “molly mormon” for example, really outlines how far apart our world views are. You don’t use the phrase correctly. It reminds me of when Spock was trying to learn how to cuss in ST IV.

    And the disrespect that you felt really wasn’t warranted if you understood where this woman was coming from. I can see it from your point of view. Given your background, sure I could see some disrespect. But can you see it from her point of view? Do you even have an idea of what compassion she must have had for these people to say such a statement?

    Very different world views.

    Sometimes it is better to remain clueless and recognize it, than it is to “understand” and remain ignorant.

    what are the priorities of your god?

    Look up Moses 1:39. This is a common scripture that even our teenagers know very well because it’s one of those things that really sums up everything.

    FYI: The singular is “Inuk”. The plural is “Inuit”.

    I hope this helps.

  40. Carborendum
    January 8, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    @ Clumpy,

    If you’ve read 7 Habits you’ll be familiar with the concept of circle of influence and circle of concern.

    I’m just sayin’.

    @ Connor & Momma,

    I believe we are supposed to be making the same preparations we always should be doing anyway. And if it does happen, we will be ready. If not, we’re ready. It really doesn’t matter.

    We prepare and do what we’ve been told to prepare for. And if it doesn’t happen in our lifetimes, we have helped prepare our children, etc.

    So, just get your affairs in order.
    Get your year’s supply and 72 hour kits.
    Get you generators and survival gear.
    Get your guns and ammo.
    Get your grenades and missile launchers.
    Get your underground bunkers with infrared exterior sensors and tripwire mines.
    Dig up the WWII Sherman tank that you’ve hidden in your back yard.

    Oh, did I say that out loud? :)

    But seriously, you do what you’re supposed to be doing and you will be ok whether it happens in our lifetime or not.

  41. Kelly W.
    January 8, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    Joe,

    I think your question is appropriate. Luckily, I don’t need to be a judge of others’ spirituality or righteousness. But I am qualified to expound upon my own views.

    Jesus says the path to Eternal Life is strait and narrow, and there will be few who enter therein. (from Sermon on Mount) But, we are all children of God, and everyone of us has the possibility of entering into that strait and narrow gate. To do so, we must comply to the requirements required to enter in.

    But, every soul is different, thank goodness. Who will enter in, or who is precluded is not for me to judge. Eternal Progression lets us consider this ultimate goal of Eternal Life a process of progression, not one particular event or one particular qualification.

    But, here is my opinion. If one is always asking himself if he is on that strait and narrow pathway, the Holy Spirit will direct him. If that person is always adjusting his path in this earthly existence, we will stand the chance of being able to enter into that strait and narrow pathway Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount. Even members of Christ’s true church need to always be adjusting their pathways while here on earth, in accordance to what the Spirit communicates to them. Baptism alone in His one true church is no guarantee he is gonna make it into that strait and narrow gate.

    This is why I stated that every soul on earth needs to take a constant survey of their lives to see if it is in accordance to how the Holy Spirit is communicating with him.

    This is also why I believe the worst enemy of God is someone who claims to be on the path, but in reality is not. That is how Satan works, through those individuals in Christ’s true church who are in sheep’s clothing, and are not always trying to adjust their lives in accordance to the Spirit. They are instead adjusting their lives according to the deceptive spirit of the Devil.

  42. Kelly W.
    January 8, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    Joe, BTW, I know some “Molly Mormons.” They are no fun to talk to. They won’t discuss anything controversial. Trying to tell a Molly Mormon that our US government is corrupt is futile.

  43. Carissa
    January 8, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    Momma (do you want to be called that?) :)

    He did say that the Constitution would be saved. “It will be so.”

    How does this fit with our current situation, though?

    When I think of the Constitution being “saved”, I think of people holding it up as a standard and rallying around it. Even if our nation (or current government) somehow falls, as long as there are a band of people who know and respect the constitution and are willing to rebuild their government on it’s principles, it is “saved” because the ideas are carried on.

    In Sunday School a few weeks ago (the Ether 8 lesson), the teacher said, “if you knew our nation was headed for a crash- if you knew it was going down, what would you most want to take with you and have after the wreckage?”

    Most people said food storage and a testimony and all that is essential, but the answer he was actually looking for was “the constitution”. The idea being, you could build things up again if you saved and adhered to the foundation it was built on. Anyway, just my thoughts. I could be wrong about what it really means.

  44. loquaciousmomma
    January 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    Carissa,

    Thanks for the explanation! It makes sense, I just hope you are not correct…I know that I will struggle immensely with whatever government tries to replace the constitution.

    That being said, the prophecy says that when the “destiny of this nation” is threatened it will be saved. I take this to mean that not only the constitution, but the actual nation will be saved.

    A thought occurred to me just now…he used the word nation, not government. What is this nation anyway? Isn’t it the union of people who all agree to rally around the principles of freedom? Perhaps there will have to be a revision of the actual government, but the USA will not be destroyed. The American People will not vanish from the earth as a group, but may see a change of government because the current one has become so corrupt as to be nearly worthless to its true purpose: protecting the rights and safety of the American people.

    Carb: Thanks for the explanation of the constitutional issues of the Prop 8 court case.

    As for the prep thing…I am not sure if you are saying that you don’t see any trouble looming, or that is doesn’t matter if there is or isn’t as our duty is the same. Would you be willing to clarify?

    And to all…Momma is okay with me, I hear it at home quite a bit! :-)

  45. joe
    January 8, 2009 at 10:22 pm #

    Carb,

    “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”.

    Ok, so there it is, the priority of the LDS god. Thank you.

    A molly mormon- “A Molly Mormon is thought to be the “perfect Mormon woman” – an attractive[1] and pure[2] woman whose life revolves around the family and marriage and the social demands of Mormonism, like bearing multiple children, and who embodies the cheery, chipper and domesticated female in Latter-day Saint culture.[3] Typically, a Molly Mormon would not dissent against her husband or the priesthood and supports Mormon social and political views unconditionally.”

    I think I used the term correctly. Its for all the above reasons I found her so detestible. I knew her well enough to know that she did NOT KNOW anything different, and didn’t want to see that other people have their own spiritual traditions that are worthy of respect. They aren’t just potential new mormons. I didn’t see her comments as being compassionate at all, just lacking depth, perspective and tolerance.

    Not to single out LDS people, but I feel the same way about xtians that want to convert the Inuit, and vegetarians that want to convert Inuit. I had a lengthy discussion with an essene about this sort of thing, and I found him detestible. Detestible for thinking that he could just change “those aspects of culture which need changing” and think that he really isn’t changing everything.

    Inuk means person, inuit means people in the Inuktitut language. (Inuktitut “like the inuit”) Inuk and Inuit have those meanings when speaking about people generally, I believe these could be applied to any people in the world when speaking in Inuktitut.

    “Inuit” in another sense could be applied to a single person. Much as a person can be said to be Italian. If I had been speaking about Italians, it would have been an Xtian Italian. Its not incorrect to apply the term Inuit to a single person. For example an article about Wade Davis describes him as “An Inuit Elder”. Another article says “I am an Inuit warrior”. With another search, I have found examples of people saying that someone is an ‘inuk’, but that seems less common, and just doesn’t sound right to me, as far as identifying a single person as an ‘Inuit’.

  46. joe
    January 8, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Kelly,
    Thank you for the clarification. I was trying to make the point that several people have come to earth not ever hearing about the LDS faith, let alone becoming a member. Some, have never even heard of xtianity. It could actually be that the majority have never heard of xtianity. The LDS people have the doctrines of works for the dead, and preaching to the dead in the spirit world. These are ways to be ‘fair’ about the very long period in which ‘the restored gospel’ was not present in the world.

    Some spiritual groups have expressed the idea that spiritual advancement is the rule, not the exception for all ‘souls’. What I know is that there is remarkable unity for the majority of the philosophies in the world.

    There are some lengthy analysis of the developement of the character of ‘satan’ in the O.T. and N.T. Its curious to note that his role has not always been the same. If you are curious feel free to learn more. I just looked it up in wiki, and it says “Satan itself means “to overcome””. Other explanations are “”to be hostile”, “to accuse.””the Wanderer”.
    The Yezidis have a completely different take “The principal feature of their worship, however, is Satan under the name of Muluk-Taus. However, it is not the Christian Satan, nor the devil in any form; their Muluk-Taus is the hundred- or thousand-eyed cosmic wisdom, pictured as a bird (the peacock.” The Bahais feel that ‘satan’ is the baser aspects within humanity, not a spiritual entity.

    Its said by LDS people that Joseph Smith prayed to know the truth. Is there any record of how exactly he prayed, and the exact words to his prayer? Joseph smith history describes it, but not to that detail.

    ” It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
    15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God.”

    His question was…
    ” My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right..”

    His observations was…
    “…there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion… which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “aLo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist. ”

    I personally always found his writing strange. To me it seems like there is an underlying assumption that the only truth to be found is in relationship to the Bible, or some form of xtianity. The writing seems to attempt to appeal to an audience that is already xtian. I am curious to know if he ever thought that perhaps he was thinking in too limited a scope?

    Moroni 10:4-5 states:
    “I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having efaith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

    This method of determining truth won’t work if the truth is outside of the xtian faith. However, even some xtians think this isn’t a reliable method.

  47. joe
    January 8, 2009 at 11:12 pm #

    Loqua,
    Was there any LDS prophecy about government bailouts?

  48. vontrapp
    January 9, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    Joe,

    Why do you always write “xtian”? Is the name of Christ really that offensive to you??

    Joseph Smith believed in Christ and the bible. So naturally he didn’t go pray to some other God. If he was budhist, and was sincere enough in his desire for truth, do I believe the same God and Christ would have given him the same message? Absolutely. The Moroni challenge, exhorting to ask in the name of Christ, would be completely ineffective in the event that there was no Christ. But if there IS a Christ, then it remains effective. Or conversely, if you sincerely ask in the name of Christ and it is effective, then there must be a Christ.

  49. Kelly W.
    January 9, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    Why do so many people take offense at Xmas and xtian? I think they listen to Bill O’Reilly too much. (What a jerk he is.)

    I love to write the word Xmas when it is referring to the excess of frivolity of Santa, commercialism, red-nosed reindeer and frosty snowmen. When I write of the more holy side of Xmas, I always take the time to type out the full word Christmas. But I find it offensive when people use the word Christmas in association with the vain and greed of WalMart gifts.

    Perhaps Joe finds it offensive when people, who call themselves Christians, use their religion to justify things like the Iraq War, or the invasion of Gaza.

    Or, perhaps it is just his shorthand.

    We all know what X stands for, so why the offense? I am proficient in reading the old German handwriting of the Catholic and Lutheran priests and scribes as they recorded the births, marriages and deaths in their villages. They often would use Latin words and symbols in their records, and the shorthand they used for December was Xbris. The use of X for Christ was very acceptable to those priests and scribes.

    But, I guess Bill O’Raly has tried to demean well-meaning people by instilling hate in others, justified by his own arrogance.

  50. Carborendum
    January 9, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    Momma, (I figured everyone shortened my handle, I’ll shorten yours) :)

    Two things: first to clarify my statement. I believe our duty is the same whatever the circumstance.

    I personally find it irritating, but what can we really expect? If I knew things were going down in a big way, I’d get money out of my retirement, I’d max out my credit cards to buy things and get ready. Basically, I’d do what Lehi and his family did.

    But if it is just another great depression . . . I’d brace myself as much as possible and prepare for the worst.

    Second: The prophecy Joseph gave on the Constitution is unclear. It wasn’t written down by any of those present. Those that did remember it and spoke of it later remember the details differently. The common items are that 1) the Constitution would hang by a thread 2) The Elders of the Church would either try to save or would actually save it.

    But other prophecies speak of the government metaphorically and/or literally tearing apart the Constitution into shreds. Then the Saints would gather together the pieces (metaphorically I’m thinkin’) and establish a new “Kingdom of God” founded on the same principles as the Constitution.

    This new Kingdom would have the three branches as we do today, but Jesus Himself would be above them all. He would periodically make personal appearances to let the nation know if we’ve gone too far. But on a day to day basis, it would be an earthly government where even non-Mormons would be elected to office. The Church would still remain a separate entity with commandments that effect LDS only.

    My wife and I have a collection of documents if it the country should fail. The Founding Documents from Lief Erickson’s letters to the Federalist & Anti-Federalist Papers. Some have said they’re putting together a CD with all that on it. But do we know we’ll even have electricity? So, we decided to print everything out.

    @Joe,

    You keep illustrating my point. Cold hard ink and paper is your bread and butter. No humanity, emotion, understanding, or experience.

    The other day I had an interesting experience. My family had dubbed our latest arrival as “the ladybug”. She’s just that cute. Our ward shares the building with the Spanish Ward. I’ve made enough friends with them that they will speak to me in Spanish. I told them that my daughter was our “ladybug” (in Spanish). I’d looked it up in the Dictionary after all.

    I couldn’t figure out why everyone gave me a funny look. So I asked about this from a lady who was completely bilingual. When I told her the word I used, she stepped back in shock and in a panic told me not to use that word.

    She explained to me even though the dictionary said one thing, it was actually a cuss word that meant something not found in the dictionary. She told me to use a different word that I couldn’t find in any dictionary. Funny that.

    Your use of the term “Molly Mormon” still doesn’t sound right in that context. I would have said “self-righteous Mormon”. No, they’re not the same thing. Although, some believe it is.

    X: I personally am not really “offended” by this use. But it took me a moment to figure out what you were saying when you first used it a few articles ago, because I’m not used to it. So, for the sake of communication, I would personally suggest you spell it out in the future.

  51. loquaciousmomma
    January 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    Carb: I am still a bit confused (sorry!) You say you are a bit irritated, but at what? At the discussion of possible economic collapse, or the discussion of the demise of the US? Or are you irritated at the need to prepare?

    I understand that the “hanging by a thread” prophecy has been controversial, but when President Packer addressed it, I took it as a clarification.

  52. vontrapp
    January 10, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    I don’t really take offense at the X. I was asking if you take offense at the Christ, only because it seems so odd, akward, and as carb says, confusing (at least at first) that I don’t understand the why. If it really helps you avoid RSI or whatever, that’s fine. I appreciate carbs comments on the use of X to avoid the “Lords name in vain” issue. Sorry if I seemed critical, if I did it wasn’t entirely unintentional. But I’m also just trying to understand. Again, it seems pretty odd.

  53. vontrapp
    January 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    Sorry, the last carb reference should be attributed to kelly. :)

  54. joe
    January 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    Carborendum,
    “Cold hard ink and paper is your bread and butter. No humanity, emotion, understanding, or experience.”

    Thats entirely your own projection and opinion.

    So what does ladybug mean?

    “Molly mormon” like any word or term can have different meanings to other people. People may emphasize a particular aspect to a word, and that can give it different shades of meaning and understanding. I liked this woman a lot, and this was perhaps the only thing that she ever said that I found annoying. I will note that overall she tended to actually be less judgemental than most LDS I have met. But that kind of simplistic, naive statement and attitude got under my skin. When I was LDS I got that criticism all the time that I was naive, and TOO accepting of the faith, even other LDS people had that criticism. Perhaps I was a peter priesthood, or whatever….

  55. joe
    January 10, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    Kelly,
    Wow thats interesting information about the use of ‘x’. I never even heard of xbris.

    I found some more information,
    “Abbreviations used as Christian symbols have a long history in the church. The letters of the word “Christ” in Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written, or various titles for Jesus early became symbols of Christ and Christianity. For example, the first two letters of the word Christ (cristoV, or as it would be written in older manuscripts, CRISTOS) are the Greek letters chi (c or C) and rho (r or R). These letters were used in the early church to create the chi-rho monogram (see Chrismons), a symbol that by the fourth century became part of the official battle standard of the emperor Constantine.”
    (from The origin of “X-Mas” by Dennis Bratcher)

    Also by Dennis:
    ‘In religious publications, the church began to use the abbreviation C for the word “Christ” to cut down on the cost of the books and pamphlets. From there, the abbreviation moved into general use in newspapers and other publications, and “Xmas” became an accepted way of printing “Christmas” (along with the abbreviations Xian and Xianity).”

    From what I understand however is that X-mas is a hijacked holiday. The original is a pagan holiday, “Yule”. Xmas coincides with the Winter Solstice and the Yule season, the shortest day of the year. December 25th is the birthdate of the Persian God Mithra, and the Roman Holiday of Saturnalis. Some have suggested a connection with the god Odin. From what I understand the founders of the xian faith knew they could not stomp out yule, so they simply renamed it, and modified it by adding some xian elements and probably also removed what pagan elements they could.

  56. joe
    January 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    Vontrapp,
    Thats interesting. I am not so sure that Joseph would have had the same results if he was Buddhist. If he was Buddhist in a Buddhist culture he would have meditated more intently. Or perhaps wondered what does true enlightenment mean anyway? Perhaps he might have thought about various koans, like ‘what is the sound of one hand clapping?”

    Would the term ‘the nazarene’ be less offensive than using ‘x’?

  57. joe
    January 10, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    Vontrap,
    Actually, if the story was to be completely equal. Joseph probably might have been some other name. Also he would have tried to meditate for the first time and obtained enlightenment. The average buddhist probably would have said, “yeah right” as usually it takes sustained effort to achieve enlightenment. But something like that could be possible.

    I have never heard of an eastern philosopher meeting ‘the nazarene’ in meditation without first having some contact with missionaries or the bible or what not. I don’t even know that eastern meditators are expecting some type of vision. In most cases its just another thing to get attached to, a potential snag on the way to enlightenment.

  58. Kelly W.
    January 10, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Yep, Xmas is a hijacked holiday. Christ was not born in December. He was born on the Passover. (You know, the time of year that shephards are in their fields watching over their flocks by night in order to identify the first-born male lamb? Sheep don’t bear lambies in December!)

    Xmas is a vain and greedy holiday.

    The giving of gifts is rooted in greed only. If you and I exchange gifts, no one is benefitted.

    Let’s say that you and I decide to exchange gifts, but to be fair, we decide on a $10 limit. I go to WalMart and buy you some red socks. You go to WalMart and buy me a pink necktie. Neither of us ever wears our gift because we don’t like it. So, next year we decide just to give each other the $10 instead, so we can go and buy what pleases us instead. (Or, a gift card for $10) But, the exchange of ten spots seems that we have diminished the “thoughtfullness” of the gift, so next year we decide to give each other $100 instead. Wow! One hundred dollars! But, it costs me $100 in order to get $100 from you. But, thinking logicaly, the exchange of money is futile, because no one gains anything. We come out even if we exchange money. So it is with the exchange of gifts. No one benefits if we exchange gifts – – EXCEPT WALMART!!!!!.

    This is why Xmas is the ultimate holiday of greed. It is all commercialism. People only rationalize their greed because they “think” of Christ a bit more while they are shopping.

  59. vontrapp
    January 10, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

    Kelly, I totally agree with you, so long as Xmas and gift giving are commercialized. I would go so far as to say that all gift giving is pointless and benefiting no one. It certainly can be that way, and as I said commercialization makes it that way. Recall however the old addage, “it’s not the gift, but the thought that counts.” If you thought consists of “great, these socks are under $10” then no, nobody benefits. If the thought is to get something for someone that you know they will like, and that they would probably never get for themselves for frugality sake, or whatever, then not only have you delighted them, but you’ve had an exercise in caring about someone else, thinking about someone else. This can still benefit walmart, perhaps more than either party still, but it’s a start. Where gift giving really takes off is where you really give of yourself, that is you produce something that otherwise would not have been produced for the sole purpose of gifting it. In this case wealth is created with the receiver in mind, and in the exchange you also receive something new, created just for you, and now you both really are better off than before the exchange (and in more ways than one).

    I’m not trying to defend Xmas gift giving. In many cases the practice deserves no defending. I buy many a gift in exchange for yet another gift, I’ve even been guilty of the occasional gift card. Is this silly? Sure. Does it really matter? I don’t think so. Maybe if by engaging in this practice I “suffer them [secret combinations] to get above” me then I can be persuaded that the practice is sinful, and I may yet come to that conclusion. Hmm, Kelly you’ve deepened my thought.

  60. joe
    January 11, 2009 at 1:07 am #

    Kelly,
    Much of the exact origins of yule are lost. I don’t know if gift giving was part of the original yule. It is however connected with the seasons, december 25 being close to winter solstice. All of the pagan holidays had something to do with the seasons. Summer solstice, the start of spring, the start of fall, the height of summer etc…

    In modern western culture these are now called Christmas, easter, holloween, may day etc…

  61. Carborendum
    January 11, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    Joe,

    Again as several people have stated about the X, it isn’t so much offense as it is unusual. I myself only suggested you change it. If you choose not to, oh well.

    The understanding of words etc was an example. The fact that you agree there are different meanings for different people indicates you begin to understand what I was talking about.

    If you’ve read Anne of Green Gables, one thing you’ll remember is her odd usage of words. Then how she changed that as she got older and why. Just consider it.

    My main cause of confusion is how you can be familiar with such deep things like the Journal of Discourses and yet be unfamiliar with such basic and fundamental things like the meaning of the strait and narrow or the passage from Moses.

    What if you heard someone taking great offense at a particular ruling by the Supreme Court over-stepping its bounds; yet were unfamiliar with the concept of an election, let alone had voted? This incongruity is what I’m talking about.

    The next thing you’ll tell me is that you don’t really know what Christ’s role is in our salvation or exaltation. Do you know?
    Yes, yes, you’re no longer Christian. But do you know the doctrine among Christians, among LDS specifically?

    @ Momma,

    Here’s what’s irritating:

    I could do so much more if I KNEW that we were talking about a “final countdown”. But so far we are only supposed to make preparations as fast as we have strength. What if that leaves me unprepared?

    When I asked “But what can you expect?” I meant the following:

    This is how mortal means are different than divine means. We will always be expected to do as much as we can as mortals. Then we must depend on the Lord to make up for those things we cannot do. This is how salvation works. This is how the Lord works in virtually everything as far as I can tell. As long as we are doing our best, we will have a measure of protection.

    Could you clarify what talk you referred to from Elder Packer? I thought you were talking about his speech in the last conference. But he didn’t address that specific prophecy as I recall.

  62. loquaciousmomma
    January 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Carb: Thanks for the clarification! I totally get the problem of not feeling like you have enough time to prepare the prudent way, but being counseled to do so. Our family has suffered a severe blow to our income and as I watched the economy decline this last year I really struggled with my faith as we depleted our short term supply and have even had to break into at least one bag of rice of our long term-less-than-one-year-supply. I discussed it with my branch president and he basically assured me that as long as we are honestly doing what we can with our resources the Lord will bless us. He will take care of us either directly from the church, or through other means. When I look back on the situation I see that we have been greatly blessed in a myriad of ways to get through, and I believe Heavenly Father will continue to do so as long as we are faithful.

    As for Pres. Packer’s quote, it was from this talk, which he gave at the BYU Reuben J. Clark Law Society Devotional On Feb. 28, 2004. It is titled “On the Shoulders of Giants”.

    Joe: No prophecy on bailouts that I am aware of, just the future of the nation in jeopardy and the constitution hanging as if by a thread. I consider the things that happened this summer/fall with regard to the handling of the “credit crunch” very damaging to the constitution. Bailouts are a usurpation by the Congress, they do not have the power given them by the constitution to redistribute wealth. Are you familiar with the Davy Crockett story “Not Yours to Give”? If not, here is a link. I wish our elected officials actually cared what we thought like Crockett seems to have cared about the citizens of his day.

  63. joe
    January 12, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Loqua,
    Thank you for your comments. I didn’t want the bailouts to be passed, and especially not so quickly. I didn’t want to get stuck for the bill as a taxpayer for someone elses risk taking and greed. I also would have rather seen the government make a house payment for people, or give them a sizeable take rebate if anything. That way it would be less likely to just end up in the bank and the hands of the few.

    There is an interesting Zeitgiest: Addendum on google video, its pretty fascinating. It just illustrates how artificial money is, its also a means to manipulate the masses.

  64. joe
    January 12, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    Carb,
    Wow, each time I see that I want to say carb-o-hydrate. I believe I understood what what the typical christian thinks of the strait and narrow. Only one path acceptible to god, that is salvation by the nazarenes sacrifice on the cross. For the average xtian its saved by grace alone. Heaven or hell.

    In the LDS faith its a combination of grace and works, and because people display differing levels of work there are different rewards and outcomes as a result. To the LDS faith(salt lake) there is the potential to reach godhood. For most faiths in the world this isn’t anything even considered. I am not sure where you thought I had any confusion. Do you think I presented the basic concepts correctly? Did it have anything to do with this?

    “The separation of the two churches IS a simplification. But we must understand that God’s perspective is different than ours. His priorities different than ours.”

    “Many bad, some good, virutally all flawed in some way. But in God’s eyes there is only one thing that matters. Does it pull His children closer to or further from His goals?”

    I then asked you what you thought his priorities were. I thought you were meaning something more specific related to the two basic divisions of philosophy. The church of christ and the church of the devil. As you said this is a simplification. Can you neatly divide every organization into either category? Believe it or not there are some elements of the LDS faith which I find worthwhile, while others I find totally worthless, and some I actually feel are very, very harmful to humanity.

    When I attended the LDS church I was familiar with the concept of the nazarenes sacrifice for sin. I however never understood how that was possible. I also actually found it difficult to fathom that would be something required by a god who is said to do so many things. Emotionally I found the need to shed blood very repugnant. The crosses and crucifixes of other churches I found very abhorent. I never understood how anyone could be happy about anything like that. I also found christ portayed so gloomy, dark and serious in paintings a bit difficult.

    Recently I watched the film “Stigmata”, which I found very disturbing. It was controversial for how it portrayed the vatican and the phenomenon of the stigmata. It did make it seem very unholy and unpleasant. Its exagerated, but some people do have some unpleasant experiences with the xian faith, even while being a believer.

    For instance, someone recently told me that a neighboring house caught on fire while he was being baptized. The alarm went off immediately after he got out of the water. I believe he said it was a family members house. I myself performed one baptism, and while I was speaking the prayer, it was not my voice. It was very disturbing, not only for me, but the convert later commented on the strange quality of my voice. I have also ‘heard’ a strange screeching and howling sound at a pentacostal church immediately before they started speaking in tounges. I retold my experience to some evangelicals and they immediately got excited because they thought I heard the ‘holy ghost’. I was telling them because I was very uncomfortable, they interupted me before I had a chance to tell them that I found it disturbing.

    The most positive spiritual experiences for me always seem to be outside any organization, and always something totally unexpected. The most spiritual experience I have had was eating a cherimoya. That was the first time I ever felt unconditional love. This was while trying out a fruitarian ‘diet’. I never expected to have this experience. I wish could maintain such a ‘diet’ for all the feeling of love it gives. This was the first time could honestly equate god with love. But it was unlike anything else I have ever experienced. During this time period I also felt prompted to empty my change purse to a couple on the street. I never do such things. I didn’t even have any change left to go home on the bus. To my suprise, all of it rematerialized in my pocket 1/2 hour later.

    Recently I started doing special meditations to activate my chakras. I noticed an intense sparking on my base chakra. This was strong enough to tear a hole in my bedsheets. My partner still doesn’t believe that is what caused it. But I experienced it, and everytime I put the sheets on its a physical reminder of the power of these spiritual centers. I now have confidence and joy that I never had with the LDS faith.

  65. Carborendum
    January 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    Joe,

    I believe that was the first post I’ve read from you that showed you are a human being rather than a robot. Thank you for sharing yourself.

    So, you do admit that there is some incongruity in your knowledge of the LDS faith. You have studied some deeper things, but you lack understanding of the basic principles.

    I would suggest you study them (milk before meat). Probably too late since you seem to be persuing Eastern Faiths. But whatever.

    Yes, I understand having spiritual experiences where you wouldn’t expect them. I’ve personally studied many faiths and tried to give them a chance. There is a lot of good out there. I’ve even had some great experiences from games, books, movies (NOT like Stigmata. I read the description and was repulsed by it.)

    I subscribe to this faith because it works for me. I would say it didn’t work for you, but I think you treaded in the deep water before you even learned to swim.

    How many more metaphors can I fit into this post?

    It is still my belief that you have a forensic approach to spiritual things. Take a look at how you explained the role of Christ in salvation. Look at how you described the difference between evangelicals and LDS?

    Still think it is “just my own projection”? Wasn’t it “just your own projection and opinon” when you described that woman’s sentiments as “disrespectful”?

    Can you see the compassion she had in seeing that she is unable to share with them the thing she holds most dear and brings her the most joy? Isn’t it sad that she is unable to share that? (No, just molly mormon, condescending, and disrespectful)

    It’s all a matter of perspective.

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