Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Latter-day Apostate

My former Mormon bishop accuses me of being a latter-day apostate. I have asked him to delineate where I have erred and I await his response.

When I asked the stake president -- at my disciplinary hearing 5 years ago -- what I was accused of, he said "I don't remember." (He had to look back in the notes he had RECEIVED from some higher authority in the church to find out what he was trying me for!)

It boiled down to this: I did not "sustain the Brethren." But I had no qualms with the leadership of the church! I held a valid and current temple recommend.

When asked if I sustained Thomas S. Monson and the other leaders of the church as "prophets, seers and revelators," I said I was willing to CALL them that, but I didn't KNOW if they truly were. God had not revealed that to me. (I did know that some of the leaders had truly been inspired. But I didn't know if any had received a personal commission from Christ that would distinguish them as a true prophet, seer or revelator. I had not witnessed any evidence of such gifts among many of them and, when pressed for evidence, my inquisitors declined to cite any examples they knew of.)

"You're going to excommunicate me because I haven't received a revelation from God?" I asked them.

"Maybe you ought to get that revelation!" they threatened me.

The bottom line is I apparently didn't pledge sufficient obeisance to the hierarchy nor establish my bona fides as a spiritual sycophant of "the Brethren."

I told them I endeavoured to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and if "the Brethren" happened to be going in that same direction, so much the better: I would follow Christ with them!

But they demanded that I do whatever the Brethren said, right or wrong. They promised me that I would be blessed no matter what, if I remained "faithful" -- even if the Brethren taught me falsehoods, or led me astray.

They added, "But the Brethren will NEVER lead you astray."

Of course I knew THAT was a lie. There were MANY historical examples of "the Brethren" doing just that.

The truth is: the Mormon Church wants its membership to study Church history. Just not too much history! And only from "approved" sources.

Otherwise, the membership are bound to lose their "testimonies" -- because the church, like virtually all human organizations, is fraught with weak and failing leaders, false traditions, and fables. Too many have "testimonies" built on sand.

That's not to say Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet, that the Book of Mormon isn't true, or that the restoration of the Gospel was not begun in earnest in 1820 by God Himself.

It just means the Mormon Church isn't true. (It's a nice religion, don't get me wrong. It's just not the "only true church" of Jesus Christ on the earth.)

According to D&C 10:67-68, the church of Jesus Christ consists ONLY of those who repent and come unto Christ. No more, no less. (No "ring kissing" of "the Brethren" required.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Incorporation Doctrine

The "incorporation" doctrine -- mandating that the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution (known as the Bill of Rights) are applicable to the states through the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment -- is a huge mistake. In effect, this doctrine destroys federalism and the Bill of Rights itself, handing over vast control of the entire country to the dictates and whims of a capricious and ungovernable Supreme Court.

Disregarding the hypocrisy of the federal government's judiciary -- which violates the Bill of Rights at nearly every turn -- it was never the framers' intention to proscribe states' rights except with regard to the 18 or so articulated, necessary "privileges" granted to the federal government by the Constitution. With the Bill of Rights, the framers intended to PREVENT the federal government from ever dictating to the states (or the people) in matters of expression, religion, gun control and ownership, even slavery.

At the time of the Constitution's signing, "free and independent" States could punish their citizens for blasphemy; mandate membership in and financial support for a particular religious sect; require that every man own, possess, and muster a "military-grade" firearm; and, of course, allow -- even promote -- the practice of slavery.

NONE of this was deemed "unconstitutional."

The 4th amendment guaranteed that "birds of a feather" could "flock together" and do as they damn well pleased -- unhindered by federal oversight or restriction -- even if that pleasure involved enslaving and subjugating other human beings. (It took several subsequent constitutional amendments -- including a deadly civil war -- to right that wrong.)

But it is a mistake to say that the same limitations imposed on the federal government ought to apply to the states as well.  If States cannot dictate in matters of law and morality, expression, religion, gun ownership, and so forth, in what way are they "free and independent" to do as The People desire?

If The People of a given State, by popular vote, wish to outlaw or legalize marijuana, gambling and prostitution, proscribe or prescribe gay marriage, punish or promote abortion, condone or condemn racially segregated dormitories, classrooms, and "affirmative action" ... how may they do so if they must breathlessly await and comply with the "final say" of a pretentiously assertive, ever meddling, highly politicized and morally dubious Supreme Court? How, then, is federalism exercised if every state must be and do the same?

If, let's say, I don't like the current leftist regime of California (and I don't), I can vote with my feet (as I have!) and move to another state governed by a people more "attuned" to my personal values and predilections. (Hello, Florida!)

"Utopia" (or heaven), by necessity, REQUIRES exercising discrimination against (or conversion of) the lawless, indigent, lazy and misguided; schemers, scammers, liars and perverts; the filthy and degenerate. It REQUIRES freedom OF association ... and freedom FROM association. It REQUIRES the freedom to practice one's religion... and to exclude those who don't.

We, The People, CANNOT be "diverse" AND "equal."

To be "free and independent" means everyone is safe ... because everyone is armed.

In Utopia (or heaven) no one is "free" to exercise unwanted, unreciprocated power or influence over another.

The current lack of federalism in this country is, itself, a form of tyranny. Government of, by, and for The People cannot exist if we are not able to govern ourselves.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Not one stone left

There was a time when I was PROUD of being Mormon, GRATEFUL for the LDS Church, PEACEFUL believing that God was in control and that the Church had EVERYTHING I needed to be "saved." I felt SAFE and SECURE in the "fold": spiritually, physically, socially and financially. I would ALWAYS be a Mormon, I thought. A member of the kingdom of God on earth! A true follower of Jesus Christ.

I was deceived.

I was no more "safe" than a shopper at Downtown Disney! I was no more securely a member of the kingdom of God on earth than I possessed a lifetime passport to the "Magic Kingdom."

Once "management" of the Mormon Church determined I wasn't "buying" EVERYTHING they were "selling," they labeled me a "threat" to the "business" and the "brand," accusing me of "disturbing" their other "customers" by encouraging them NOT to buy all the "merchandise." They said I was no longer welcome in ANY of their "stores" and I was BANISHED from ALL Mormon properties WORLDWIDE. (Seriously.) They gave me a letter warning me NOT to return to the church, under threat of arrest for "trespassing." (I'm not making that up.)

Since then, they've made no effort to "reclaim" me. The Donald has his "deplorables." The Mormons have their "undesirables" and "irredeemables." I am now one of them.

So, technically, I broke the "rules" yesterday when I showed up at magnificent Mormon Church-owned City Creek Mall -- let alone Temple Square -- to introduce my partner to how "magnificent" the Mormons really are. (And, yes, they really are, by and large, magnificent and, yes, they still show videos on Temple Square calling themselves "Mormons.")

Fortunately for us, none of the Church's missionaries, tour guides, or employees recognized me for who I am or knew how "evil" I have become. Instead, they treated me like a saint! I walked among them again as one of the "faithful" and, sadly, reminisced about what I once thought I had. (I felt nothing but appreciation and pity for these fine people. For decades I was honored to serve with and among them.)

Mormons take GREAT pride in their facilities and Church membership. Their "workmanship of men's hands" and their "works" are truly amazing! Hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars have been spent making Mormons and the Mormon Church what they are today.

Their beautiful temples, chaples, tabernacles, and conference centers, choirs, campuses, storehouses, factories, farms, and welfare programs, museums, libraries, humanitarian efforts, ecumenical alliances, political clout, financial acumen, business investments, Church leadership, and MANY accomplishments are all standouts. As a people, Mormons have MUCH to be proud of. "Mormonism" is a substantial, highly "polished," and SUCCESSFUL religion and enterprise (as far as this world is concerned). It is as beautiful and inviting and "real" as Disneyland.

And just as well run.

Even as Walt Disney brought "magic" to the Magic Kingdom, Joseph Smith brought true prophetic gifts to "Mormonism" from the kingdom of God. With their passing from mortality, each of these men left shoes no one else was able to fill. There was no replacing Walt. There was no replacing Joseph.

The Disney organization now continues (falteringly) to build on Walt's foundations. They are no longer a "family friendly," virtue-oriented enterprise, but one wholly devoted to merchandizing and seeking the greatest bottom line. (By contrast, Walt's main concern was just making people happy.) Disney now has become a major marketer of evil, DESTROYING Walt's legacy in pursuit of greater profits.

And Mormonism today? It's NOTHING like what Joseph Smith decreed or bequeathed to the Church and world. It has become, by and large, a corporation which measures "success" by worldly standards:  numbers and figures --  baptisms performed and temples constructed, sacrament meeting and temple attendence, tithing receipts, business profits --  and the gain and praise of the world.

In other words: mammon.

Modern Mormons seek all the "good" -- and goods -- THIS world has to offer.

They used to say "Be in the world, but not of the world."

Today Mormons are VERY much "of" the world. Just look at the stores in their Salt Lake City mall : Rolex, Tiffany's, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss. I didn't even bother to walk in! Who has THAT kind of money? ("Enough" Mormons, apparently.)

They've come a long way from their muddy dugouts in the desert and bloody footprints in the snow.

Today Mormons are the most "glorious" example of a "worldly" kingdom of God on earth that I can imagine! Mormon temples dot the land! Gleaming chapels stand seemingly on every corner! Mormons are in possession of power and influence. They are captains of industry, CEOs, members of the U.S. House and Senate, even presidential cadidates. There are MILLIONS of current Mormons, including MANY "happy" families. (Mine was one of them.)

If Mormonism ISN'T the kingdom of God on earth, what is?

But Jesus said: "My kingdom is NOT of this world."

The divine faith, powers and gifts now extolled, portrayed, and proclaimed by Mormon missionaries, scriptures, sermons, and artwork are seldom, if ever, seen or manifest among the "faithful" membership. Mormon "power in the priesthood" is as real as the "magic" at Disneyland.

You can have anything in this world for money.

One WEEPS for what has been lost!

After this year, this magnificent Mormon Temple in beautiful downtown Salt Lake City is closing, I'm told, for the next four years -- for renovation. They are expanding it and making it "earthquake proof."

God laughs at such folly.

The Mormons today, like Jews of old, LOVE their temples! They glory in their supposed prophets, scriptures, powers and authority, rites and rituals, status, customs, traditions, history, accomplishments, and comandments of men.

I am no prophet, but I will be amazed if that temple is NOT slated for COMPLETE destruction by the Almighty, as surely as was Herod's temple: the one Jesus called "my Father's house."

I suspect, like then, NOT ONE STONE will be left upon another. It will ALL be leveled to the earth and taken away.

And what will Mormons do then? What will they say? When EVERYTHING they love, trust in, rely upon, and work for is lost?

Who among them will then have faith in Jesus?

I guess we'll see.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

USA not a nation

Allen Mendenhall explains why the United States is not a nation.

"[T]he United States is not, and has never been, a nation. The founding generation referred to the United States as a plural noun (i.e., “these United States”) because several sovereigns fell under that designation. St. George Tucker called the United States a “federal compact” consisting of “several sovereign and independent states.” If his view seems unrecognizable today, it is because nationalism within the United States is dying or dead—and the United States killed it.

The United States of America in the singular is a country, not a nation. It contains nations within it, but does not itself constitute a nation. Nations involve solidarity among people who share a common culture, language, customs, mores, ethnicity, and history. A country, by contrast, involves political arrangements and governmental territories and boundaries.

From its inception, the United States has been characterized by faction and sectionalism, cultural clashes, and competing narratives — between Indian tribes in what is now Florida and California, Wyoming and Maine, Georgia and Michigan; between the British and French and Spanish and Dutch; between Protestants and Catholics and English Dissenters and nonconformists and splintering denominations; between the Calvinism of Cotton Mather and the Enlightenment rationalism that influenced Franklin and Jefferson. The United States has experienced, as well, numerous separatist movements, including, most notably, the secession of the states that made up the Confederate States of America.

The United States is not a nation."

Read the whole thing.

It brings me comfort to know that we are NOT -- and never have been -- "one nation under God indivisible." Uttering that phrase was, at best, an expression of hope and, at worst, a lie: a vain attempt to suppress the painful reality of cognitive dissonance. We are no more "one nation" today than black is white, gay is straight, rich is poor, Democrat is Republican, or pro-life is pro-choice.

America began as a collection of free and independent states -- many "nations -- federally united NOT to abolish their differences, but to provide for their common defense and promote their general welfare.

Initially, "diversity" was our strength! A people united by common language, law, customs, culture, traditions, history, values, DNA, and religion is a nation indeed!

But what are "Americans" today? Because we are "everybody," we are "nobody."

America's breakup is as certain as its unity was fiction.

It's time for Americans to return to being "somebody" again.