July 3rd, 2006

Not the 4th of July

Why do we call Independence Day “the 4th of July”?

We don’t call Christmas “the 25th of December”. We don’t call Mother’s Day “the 2nd Sunday in May”. We don’t call Valentine’s Day “the 14th of February”.

Calling Independence day “the 4th of July” detracts from the meaning of the holiday. We should call it for what it rightly is—the day that we celebrate our nation’s independence.

So please, stop saying “the 4th of July”!

July 3rd, 2006

Wake up call for America

“The traditional family is under heavy attack. I do not know that things were worse in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah. … We see similar conditions today. They prevail all across the world. I think our Father must weep as He looks down upon His wayward sons and daughters.”
—President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Standing Strong and Immovable,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, 10 Jan. 2004, 20.

Read in a different way, Pres. Hinckley is essentially saying that our nation is doing worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. I wouldn’t disagree. So what happened to good ol’ S&G?

[God turned] the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes . . . making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6)

God destroyed the cities, setting forth an example for the ungodly people in future generations. Is anybody paying attention to this? Does anybody in our day realize that we’re worse off than S&G? And if God destroyed them for their abominations, what does that say for us?

This thought process started this morning when reading my scriptures. I read Ether 13:2 which says that the Lord would have all men (and women) on this land (the American continent) serve him. Ether 2:8-10 says that we in this nation are to serve the true and only God, or be swept off when the fulness of God’s wrath comes upon us. Verse 10 says that it’s not until the fulness of iniquity that we will be swept off. At what point do we reach a ‘fulness of iniquity’, if we’re already worse than Sodom and Gomorrah?

I propose that, just like happened with the people in Ammonihah it’s when the Lord’s people are cast out. It is because of the prayers of the righteous in this land that we are all spared. Once that stops, all hell will (literally) break loose.

So, America needs a wake up call. This isn’t a doomsday destruction prophesy (though it very well could be), but instead is a call to remember that we “should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom [we] should worship.” (D&C 20:19).

July 3rd, 2006

Being the nice guy

“Nice guys finish last…”
—Green Day

Is this true? Does this hold any water? In a recent conversation w/ a friend, she told me that the reason she accepted my request to go on a date was because she thought I was a “nice guy”. And here I thought it was due to my more redeeming qualities, such as my witty humor, dashingly good looks, chivalrous respect for ladykind, and infectious personality. Guess not. :)

So does this connote anything? Is saying “you’re a nice guy” in fact a disarming method in disguise, used by women to indicate “look buddy, I don’t want to go out with you, but to be kind and not hurt your feelings, I’m going to wrap up the rejection in a warm, fuzzy blanket, and just tell you that you’re ‘nice'”?

Or is it the fear of telling the truth that causes girls to use something as neutral and safe as saying that the guy is “nice”? Perhaps she does think the guy is handsome, humorous, kind and fun, but if she told him that she acknowledged these characteristics, the guy would read too much into it and hope for a serious relationship, which is what the girl doesn’t want?

I don’t pretend to have the answer. After all, I’m still single and am far from understanding the complex labyrinth that is the female mind.

July 2nd, 2006

Let Freedom Ring

My country,’ tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims’ pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
land of the noble free, thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
thy woods and templed hills;
my heart with rapture thrills, like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
and ring from all the trees sweet freedom’s song;
let mortal tongues awake;
let all that breathe partake;
let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God, to thee,
author of liberty, to thee we sing;
long may our land be bright
with freedom’s holy light;
protect us by thy might, great God, our King.

God bless the USA. I, unlike some others, pledge allegiance to our flag. I pay my respects to those who have died in service of our great nation. I pledge my loyalty to and support of our troops currently advancing the cause of freedom throughout the world.

In this time of strife and turmoil, it is increasingly more important that we all stand firm in our resolve to protect our liberties, freedoms, and rights, from both foreign and domestic powers seeking to take them away.

For it is wisdom in the Father that [we] should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father. . . . (3 Nephi 21:4)

July 1st, 2006

People Who Drive Silver or Blue Cars Should NOT Read This

I came across this article on digg.com that talked about something called “granfalloon tactics”. From the article:

A “granfalloon” — a term coined by author Kurt Vonnegut in his novel Cat’s Cradle — is a group of two or more people who feel a bond because they share some circumstance that, beneath it all, has little to no real significance. Vonnegut’s shorter definition is “a proud and meaningless association of human beings.”

The author of the article lists several examples of granfalloons, and then proceeds to mention how marketers (as well as Hitler and slavery mongers) have used granfalloon tactics to compartmentalize people.

It got me thinking, recalling times when I’ve seen this play out. One day I was riding a motorcycle in Sunny San Diego. During my outing, I passed about four other bikers, all of whom nodded or waved to me as I passed by. Here I am, some novice biker and scrawny white kid (contrasting their bearded, leather-clad appearances) who they acknowledge simply because I was a “fellow motorcyclist”.

Another example: the iPod. Although the fad has beaten to a lifeless pulp, back in the day when only the uber-cool Apple fans had them, you could identify with other people in your “granfalloon” by their white earbuds. In the library, on the bus, at the gym, you could relate to complete strangers simply because they were also cool enough to own an iPod.

A third and final example: members of the Church. We are often inclusionary (or exclusionary, as the case may be) based on this granfalloonistic identity we proudly wear as a badge. If you and your family pack up and move to Belgium, have no fear: your LDS granfalloon will make you feel right at home amongst complete strangers.

In the gospel sense, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (unless you use it to isolate others). Having the common foundation of the gospel in our lives brings unity, and ultimately, Zion.

Moral to the story? I don’t know. Just something interesting to observe.. And hey, you’ve added a new word to your vocabulary.

July 1st, 2006

Hypocrisy—Human Nature?

“An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.” (Proverbs 11:9)

Hypocrisy is “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform”. I propose that each and every one of us is, or at some time has been, guilty of hyopcrisy. It is part of our carnal nature to hold others to a higher standard than our own.

To illustrate, here are some examples of public hypocrisy:

  • Self-labeled “human rights organizations” demanding civil treatment and Geneva convention protections for insurgents (who, obviously, are not a state-sponsored group and therefore are not entitled to such) when no fuss is made about the human rights of American soldiers being brutally beaten and tortured by these same people.
  • Larry Miller removing Brokeback Mountain from his theater while allowing other bad (non family-friendly) movies to remain.
  • Catholic priests and the widespread abuse scandals.
  • Rush Limbaugh becoming addicted to pain medication, when he himself has been outspoken against drug abusers.
  • “Reverend” Jesse Jackson counseling Bill Clinton on the Lewinsky scandal, when he (Jackson) was having an affair of his own, resulting in an illegitimate child.
  • John Kerry hypocritically stating “I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president”, when he had vigorously protested and opposed the very war he was now using to boost his numbers in the polls.

I mention these examples not to vilify, point blame, or accuse those listed (though such might be merited). I simply wish to illustrate that even those with good intentions (Larry Miller’s removal of a filthy movie from his theater, for example) can, at times, become a hypocrite. We hold everybody else to such high standards, but then don’t raise a flag or sound a trumpet when we ourselves fall short. We all fall short. That is why we all need the Atonement.

Wisely did Jesus say:

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone. . . .” (John 8:7)

June 30th, 2006

Moral Relativism

Looking for the quickest way to destroy a society? Want to bring back Sodom and Gomorrah? Try moral relativism!

Moral relativity is antithetical to God’s plan for His children. God, in his love as our Father, has given us certain commandments. Ten of them are quite famous and oft-repeated. There are several others. These commandments are not given as suggestions, guidelines, or as an imposition on our “personal freedom and choice”. Instead, they are given to us by an all-knowing Master who knows what is best for us, and gives us certain rules to follow, just as our earthly parents did for us as children.

There is no moral relativity in the gospel. There is a fine line, a two-edged sword, and a straight and narrow path. God draws the line, and we either obey or disobey. Contrary to what the kooky scientologists would have you believe, “what’s right is what’s right for you” is preposterous and utterly stupid. Can we say Lord of the Flies?

Moral relativism is also, contrary to what liberals might like to believe in their fantasy land, antithetical to the intent of our nation’s Founders. “We hold these truths to be self-evident”, the (almost) genesis of the Declaration of Independence, succinctly states that there are certained recognized truths, derived from common sense, that are to be instituted as law in a republic (not a democracy).

Moral relativism (or in other words, letting the laws, standards, and permissible acts of society change with the whims and desires of the populace) leads to anarchy, chaos, and ultimately, nihilism.

It is time that we recognize the importance of adhering to the founding principles of our nation. It is time we prevent activist judges from shaping our law to their desires. It is time that the government truly derive its power from “the consent of the governed”. It is time we speak up, time we become politically active and aware, informed and involved. It is time to stand for what is right and true, just as Captain Moroni of old.

June 28th, 2006

The Biggest Scam in History

The Federal Reserve System (the “Fed”) supervises our nation’s banks, implements monetary policy, and controls the amount of money created and destroyed each day. The Fed is composed of twelve regional banks.

But there is a big problem with this… The Fed is a de-centralized institution with absolutely no congressional oversight. That’s right: our federal banking system does not report to Congress. They are not held accountable by our government. Not once have they been audited.

Another troubling tidbit of information stems from the issue of ownership. From the wikipedia page:

In Lewis v. United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that the “the Reserve Banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of the FTCA [Federal Tort Claims Act], but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations.”

That’s right: independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations. So who owns the regional banks that compose our federal banking system? Who holds the grip on our economic system? Private corporations and individuals, mostly foreign-based. Yes, foreign powers literally own our banking system.

Now, upon further reading and inquiry, you get into a lot of conspiracy theory. I have this to say about conspiracy theories: It is naive to wholeheartedly believe in them without investigation, pondering, and logical discernment; and it is naive to nonchalantly chalk them all up to fallacy and fiction asserting they have no substance that merits further scrutiny.

That being said, there are three web sites worth perusing on this topic.

  1. The Biggest Scam in History
  2. Creation of the Federal Reserve System
  3. Secrets of the Federal Reserve

Read these with a grain of salt, but an open mind. Of special interest are the cited quotes by early American leaders who recognized, like Thomas Jefferson, that “the banking institutions having the issuing power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies”.

It is sad, appalling, and astounding that these facts are not more publicly known. This is further evidence that there are secret combinations shrouded in secrecy in our day. (The Fed meets behind closed doors, and releases its transcripts after a five-year delay.)

Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this—Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world. (3 Nephi 6:15)

[UPDATE: There is a documentary available on Google video called The Money Masters which discusses this. ]

June 28th, 2006

Media and Traditional Marriage

James C. Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, has written an article about the recent Marriage Protection Amendment.

Go read it. Seriously.

There’s so much I could say on this subject, but most of it has already been said many times, whether it has fallen on deaf ears or not. I think Dobson’s article does an excellent job at summarizing many of the points I feel most strongly about.

[UPDATE: And as if CNN couldn’t do any worse, the “Commentary” they published directly after Dobson’s, by Joe Solmonese, president of the nation’s largest GBLT organization, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Talk about polarity…]

June 27th, 2006

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Famous words, by Benjamin Franklin. They describe the form of government that the Founding Fathers created.

Tonight I came across this excellent article that demonstrates how our country was founded as a republic, not a democracy. In fact, the word ‘democracy’ isn’t found in the U.S. Constitution at all, but ‘republic’ is. From the article:

During the 1950s, Clarence Manion, the dean of Notre Dame Law School, echoed and amplified what the Beards had so correctly stated. He summarized: “The honest and serious student of American history will recall that our Founding Fathers managed to write both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution without using the term ‘democracy’ even once. No part of any of the existing state Constitutions contains any reference to the word. [The men] who were most influential in the institution and formulation of our government refer to ‘democracy’ only to distinguish it sharply from the republican form of our American Constitutional system.”

This, for some odd reason, is not a widely-known fact. In fact, people are so ignorant (or perhaps this is intentional) that they even quote Franklin as having said “A Democracy, if you can keep it.” Uhhh, I don’t think so.

So what’s so bad about a democracy?

The main thing that comes to mind is the potential for moral relativism and sin to creep into government, policy, and law. In a republic, there are set laws, based on “self-evident truths”. In a democracy, your laws are based on the ideals, desires, and whims of the majority of the people (or in our government’s case, the politicians themselves, and their lobbyists). This becomes a problem when the voice of the majority is wrong.

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people. And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land. (Mosiah 29:26-27, c.f. Hel. 5:2)

Given that our Republic has “evolved” into a representative democracy, it is obvious that our current form of government is not in line with the view and intent of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution itself. And with the ever-abrasive push of the liberals to impose the desires of the minority onto the majority, only time will tell how soon we will be visited with “great destruction” (as if we haven’t already) as King Mosiah prophesied.

June 26th, 2006

The Peril of Political Correctness

political correctness n.

  1. Factual incorrectness.
  2. Evidence that George Orwell’s 1984 was way ahead of its time.

See also: “load of crap”

There’s no better sanitizer for potential offense than the test of “political correctness”. In an attempt not to offend anybody, you scrub your text of all references to Deity, men, heterosexuality, whites, Christianity, patriotism, and anything else that a single reader might not agree with. What you end up with is a neutered statement that does not connote your original message.

A few examples:

The biggest problem with being “PC” is the double standard that emerges. In the name of “tolerance”, liberals promoting PC most often times are not tolerant of those who support the views and statements being sanitized. As one parent put it, in the above link regarding the pledge of allegiance being removed from classrooms: “In your great zeal to protect the few, you have stifled the expression of the majority.”

Let’s face it: it’s impossible to please everybody in the world at any given time. So why upset the majority of people just to satiate the desires of the minority? Isn’t this a democracy? Doesn’t the majority rule? Apparently not, since in recent years we’ve seen many on the Left (judges included) imposing their views, desires, and ideals on the rest of us.

And, to bring in the Gospel (which applies to everything), we see that even God (who is perfect, and after whom we should pattern our own behavior and conduct) is not politically correct. He doesn’t fluff up his speech, making it nice and pretty for everybody to like. He draws a line in the sand, and you’re either on His side, or you’re not:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

[UPDATE: Brittany McCombs (the first in the above list of examples) is now suing the school district “for having violated Brittany’s constitutional right to free speech and equal protection under the law.”]

June 26th, 2006

The Error of Evolution

Panorama at Dusk

Evolution, as pioneered by Darwin, claims that we all come from goo. Humans, deer, butterflies, trees, dolphins—we all evolved from a mass of biological bacteria. I don’t buy it.

This past weekend I was able to visit Yellowstone and see the amazing scenery, and many sorts of animals. In addition to that, I found out that three of my cousins are pregnant.

The combination of these two things led me to ponder life and nature. There is NO way that the perfection of the human body, the intracacies of birth, and the wonders of nature are a result of evolutionary happenstance. As my mother put it, evolution is like a dictionary exploding, resulting in poetry.

Hugh Nibley, in The Meaning of the Temple talks about how nature and life naturally leads to chaos, not order. Entropy essentially disproves evolution; no random, slow process could produce the infinitesimal perfections of the human body, and the wonders of nature—unless, of course, Somebody were in control of that process.

Instead, I testify and affirm that there is a Creator. God in his omniscience has orchestrated life and this Earth to operate as they do. He created this Earth. He created each of us. I’m sure that the Creation was not a snap-of-the-fingers job, but instead Christ, along with those who helped him, used what methods, powers, and resources were available at their omnipotent disposal to bring about the end result of our Earth and its inhabited creatures.

…all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. (Alma 30:44)