Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fear Itself

First we must determine if  what is happening actual is or are the judgements of God. Let us look at scripture, thousands of years old, speaking of their own day – and see if there is a pattern. 

14 And now behold, I say unto you, I fear exceedingly that the judgments of God will come upon this people, because of their exceeding slothfulness, yea, even the slothfulness of our government, and their exceedingly great neglect towards their brethren, yea, towards those who have been slain.

15 For were it not for the wickedness which first commenced at our head, we could have withstood our enemies that they could have gained no power over us.

16 Yea, had it not been for the war which broke out among ourselves; yea, were it not for these king-men, who caused so much bloodshed among ourselves; yea, at the time we were contending among ourselves, if we had united our strength as we hitherto have done; yea, had it not been for the desire of power and authority which those king-men had over us; had they been true to the cause of our freedom, and united with us, and gone forth against our enemies, instead of taking up their swords against us, which was the cause of so much bloodshed among ourselves; yea, if we had gone forth against them in the strength of the Lord, we should have dispersed our enemies, for it would have been done, according to the fulfilling of his word.
5  And it came to pass that those who were desirous that Pahoran should be dethroned from the judgment-seat were called king-men, for they were desirous that the law should be altered in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land.
More recently, from a modern prophet:

“There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon —it is a conspiracy fact.” – Ezra Taft Benson, 1972 (Much more could be used from this talk, from 1972, when Iran was still known more commonly by the name of Persia, even by the Persian students at my college.)

Note that these judgements of God didn’t appear to be supernal or supernatural. They were obviously the works of humans, humans who wanted power over their brothers and sisters. Further reading shows they were power-hungry people who wanted to reinstate a nobility class structure, and that they were willing to claim this was for the common good, even as they forged the chains.

Even when God gives warnings by great upheavals in nature, there is no indication that He is trying to wantonly kill people. Indeed, all He has to do is withhold His protection.

Humans, especially when comfortable, assume that the Earth is by nature, safe and kind. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nature is ruthless, and every natural law says that continued life – especially intelligent life – is difficult to maintain, and that there should be more natural disasters, not fewer. That the ranges in which humans can survive, much less form complex societies, are very thin – and should not last as long as they have.

Asteroids have missed this planet for millenia, which by all rights and odds should have connected or disrupted our ecosystem at many points in time. Water escapes the planet on a regular basis – always has – and yet is not only re-created here, but replenished from micro-meteorites of ice that, per satellite photos and higher math, replenish Earth on a 1-for-1 basis. The insides of this planet tell us there should be many more earthquakes and volcanos – volcanos that release more radiation than our most impressive nuclear explosions.

Our Heavenly Father does not have to cause natural disasters. All He needs to do, is withhold His protection.

Our Heavenly Father does not cause men and women to conspire for power. He has created refuge, more than once, from such evil – only to see the evil lurking in the hearts of men to surface time and again. What we enjoy as freedom is not the natural way of humankind – what we have had in our republic is a historical abberation. And from before Day One, people were seeking to find the loopholes in the Constitution.
The conspiracy is there. Looking with the hindsight of history, it seems as if the conspiracy for power has been co-ordinated and clever. It has not been clever; if it seems co-ordinated, it is because the Tempter knows us and plays the same tune which a part of us wishes to dance with.

He is not clever; he cannot create, he cannot even corrupt. He has to depend on tempting us to corrupt ourselves. All he has to do is get us to let our defenses down. He actually thinks he can cause Heavenly Father to give up on us.

Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.
 3 For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

The Lord hasn’t given up on us. Like a parent dealing with an alcoholic child, He counsels, He loves, and He has to allow that child to realize the consequences of their choices. And He stands ready to pick us up when we have fallen. Like the Prodigal Son, we always have a home.

While the king-men rage on, using every tool in the box to divide us: race, sex, even (and this is the most sneaky and effective trick) tricking us into judging our brothers and sisters. It is allowed us to judge right from wrong, and to choose right. It is allowed us to recognize sin and to abhor it. It is never allowed us to feel superior to and judge those who need a hand up and need to be told that they are a son or daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves them and have a great destiny – if they will but take His hand.
Because those who need a hand up – who need mercy – are us.

Friday, May 3, 2013

In Our Very Homes

If you didn't get a chance to watch or listen to LDS General Conference last month, I wish you would take the time to listen to or read a few of the talks. The one which I'd like to reference now has a lot to do with why this blog is titled "Helaman 16."  The talk can be read here:  http://tinyurl.com/blqq6ot

But I'd like to quote a little of it now, as follows.

"There came into my mind the warnings spoken by the prophets. We will not always be safe from the adversary’s influence, even within our own homes. We need to protect our nestlings.

"We live in a very dangerous world that threatens those things that are most spiritual. The family, the fundamental organization in time and eternity, is under attack from forces seen and unseen. The adversary is about. His objective is to cause injury. If he can weaken and destroy the family, he will have succeeded.

"Latter-day Saints recognize the transcendent importance of the family and strive to live in such a way that the adversary cannot steal into our homes. We find safety and security for ourselves and our children in honoring the covenants we have made and living up to the ordinary acts of obedience required of the followers of Christ.

"Isaiah said, 'The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.'

"That peace is also promised in the revelations in which the Lord declares, 'If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.'

"The consummate power of the priesthood has been given to protect the home and its inhabitants. The father has the authority and responsibility to teach his children and to bless and to provide for them the ordinances of the gospel and every other priesthood protection necessary. He is to demonstrate love and fidelity and honor to the mother so that their children can see that love.

"I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother.

"Teach yourself and teach your families about the gift of the Holy Ghost and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You will do no greater eternal work than within the walls of your own home." --
President Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Helaman 5

Man, I have GOTTA update this blog more often!

Tonight (Well, LAST night at 11 pm) Cherie and I studied Helaman 5 and Elder Christensen's "Trial of Your Faith" talk from General Conference last October. Lots and lots of good strong meat there, and much was revealed to us, and the Holy Spirit literally whooshed in like a wind. Maybe I'll be able to talk more about it later -- I don't know. It was awfully personal to us, revealing much that we didn't know about ourselves and more. Strongly recommend studying that chapter and finding what it means to you.

A friend who owns a chiropractic clinic twitter-chatted with me while Cherie was shopping and I was in the car. Some very positive spiritual happenings in his life, and a prank he played on his new home teaching companion using a mentalism effect. (It's OK to prank a green home teacher, isn't it?) I encouraged and suggested he post to the Mentalists' Sanctum, and we'll see if it becomes controversial because we use words like "Christ" and "spiritual" and "love."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Anti-Mormons are soooooo boring

On a supposedly conservative site, there was a chap who calls himself a right wing reverend. Sounds more like a liberal to me. He spends a lot of time bashing members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed 'Mormons' since at least the days of the Missouri Extermination Order) and fills his rant with false information and conjectures. So I posted the following to his video, which is months old and I should have come across it earlier. 

Here's my rant to his rant, though I tried to contain myself. Gettin' too old for restraint, I guess. Meantime, hope everyone in America had a great Thanksgiving, and hope our neighbors to the north had a happy Thanksgiving last month. And everyone everywhere else - consider what you have, and what the alternatives could be. We still have the opportunity to make the world better, one person at a time.

(ahem) Yeah, that rant:

My word! The factual errors and/or falsehoods within this presentation are amazing. With intent to prejudice his audience from the start, he slanders Lucy Mack Smith by proclaiming her "a superstitious woman." (She was neither more nor less superstitious than any other American of the early 19th century.) He claims that "the" split in the Church (there were several small groups who found the Gospel of Jesus Christ too hard to live) was between Brigham Young and Joseph Smith's surviving family. It was not. There was a debate in which Sidney Rigdon (not a member of Joseph's family, but a counselor which Joseph had asked the Church to release at least once) wanted to take over leadership from Brigham. Sidney had been a counselor to a president of the church who had been murdered. Brigham was (and had been) the president of the 12 Apostles. The sustaining vote was almost completely unanimous to follow the apostles. Joseph's widow and children stayed in Illinois, and she remarried - never denying her testimony, never denying Joseph's calling, and frequently testifying that the Book of Mormon was true - that Joseph was far too unlearned to, by anything short of the power of God, translate as she had witnessed him doing. She testified to handling the plates, but never looking at them - though tempted. 

Like the stereotypical anti-Mormon, he claims many errors and sins of Joseph -- yet never mentions the real errors and sins which Joseph spoke of himself - most of which he ensured were included in the revelations which were compiled into the book of Doctrine and Covenants. He claims that only the Latter-day Saints who moved to Utah were called Mormons, though it's well established that the nickname began in the East, and was even referred to in the infamous Extermination Order of the governor of Missouri, calling for the killing of every Mormon in the state.

Sidney never became the head of either group. It was many years later, when Joseph III (Joseph Jr's son) had grown up that a small group of the dissenters of the Church convinced Joseph III to become the president of a group which would be formed from several of the dissenting groups, among them being Lyman Wight's group which were now in Texas.

The speaker claims, as did the murderers (the Carthage Grays they called themselves, of which one seems to have been an ancestor of mine) that the Church was guilty of destroying the press of the Nauvoo Expositor, a newspaper which the speaker (A conservative? Really?) claims was guilty only of criticizing the Church. A glance at surviving copies of the paper shows that it was not merely criticizing the Church and Joseph (both had lived with much more severe criticism) but was, by the standards of the day, obscene. It was not the only printing press in the United States which was destroyed for violating obscenity laws. Indeed, the Church's printing press had been destroyed in Missouri for daring to print that slavery was evil and that the black men and women were our brothers and sisters!

This charges - and many others - are old hat. They've been answered again and again. But anti-Mormons always behave as if they've discovered new evidences against the Mormons. Please, folks -- if you MUST slander us, come up with something new. This repetitiveness is very, very boring.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 6, 2012

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to selfishness;
From selfishness to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

-- Misattributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler