Monday, October 26, 2009

Religion and Politics revisited.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I found something today that I really like and can't wait to share. The source was a little surprising but I have verified this and think it sheds some light on the discussion of religion and politics. I was reading

Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith and he offered the following quote:

"Our government rests

upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberality, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government. There are only two main theories of government in the world. One rests on righteousness and the other on force. One appeals to reason, and the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in the republic, the other is represented by a despotism.

"The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man. Of course we endeavor to restrain the vicious, and furnish a fair degree of security and protection by legislation and police control, but the real reform which society in these days is seeking will come as a result of our religious convictions, or they will not come at all. Peace, justice, humanity, charity-these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of divine grace."
(Speech at the unveiling of the equestrian statue of Bishop Francis Asbury, 15 October 1924)

The author of the above is none other than Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States. President Smith was using this to teach about the events that are coming in the near future for our nation. In fact, the above quote was followed by this statement from Pres. Smith:

Well, words like that, I believe are spoken by inspiration. This is a warning to the people of this nation, coming from a former president of the United States. It is in full harmony with the word of the Lord in the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon (Ether 2:8-12),
in regard to this land. We cannot get away from the God of this land, without dire consequences following.

(Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, p. 317-18, emphasis added)

Amazing how far we have come in the leadership of our nation. Just this year we had our current President telling the world that we are no longer a Christian nation. I know that he was trying to illustrate the diversity of our country but his actions and ideals seem to support the other interpretation. And lest some think I am picking on one particular party, I have just as many qualms about the leadership of the Republican Party as I do the Democrats. Neither is in line with the things God has directed us to do. I believe Pres. Smith envisioned this when he said:

Notwithstanding all the warnings the Lord has given us, we are rushing madly, headstrong to destructions, preparing ourselves if you please for the burning…. I can see evil in the trend of the times. I can see anarchy ahead of us. If we are going to permit men, in organized form, to desecrate the sacredness of the laws of this country and the Constitution…without protest, we are going to reap the whirlwind, just as surely as we live.
(ibid, 316-17)

Take all this in the context of the furor created by Elder Oaks message (see below) and we begin to see that things are not well in zion (small z meaning America because I hope we are working hard for the Zion experience within the structure of the Kingdom). But, even some who are searching for truth find themselves distracted (look at the last part of 2 Nephi 28:14 for a hint how this happens) and helping the other side (link to Harry Reid comments).

This is not to say that we are doomed because I do not believe that is true. We have strong people in the gospel and out in the world. And the truth, the Priesthood and the Prophets are with us and will guide us if we listen. But that means we have to do our part and protect those rights we have won with the blood of our ancestors. Sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option. Stand and speak out for the truths of God and let the world have their fits.

OK, that was a bit longer than expected but when I get going, WHEW, it is hard to stop. No offense was intended except to those who take the truth to be hard, so if you feel it, let it go. Until next time, adieu.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Five Great Things

Here is a list of the top five things I have always thought I wanted to do but for one reason or another, never accomplished. Someone with psychology experience (Josh DeMoux?) might look at these things and be able to make a judgment of my mental state but I'm OK with that. These will not be in any particular order so don't take the arrangement too seriously. And who knows, maybe next week I will have a completely different list.

One secret (well not so secret if you have been around me much) desire is to own a Corvette. My guess is that I would probably get bored with it fairly quickly (insurance expense comes to mind) but since I have never had one, it still sticks in my craw that I CAN'T have one.

There will come a day when I will actually make it to Australia and see the Great Barrier Reef. I don't know if it's the name or just the novelty of the location, but I want to swim there and tempt the sharks. Wellll, maybe not the sharks, but at least the reef.

As a child of the 60's, there is the desperate need, born of watching John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, to take flight into outer space. One day there will be a company that offers rides to the moon…I hope I live long enough to blast-off with them. My only concern is the weightless part. I sure have trouble with rides at the amusement park and I worry that I will make whatever vehicle I am in a "vomit comet"; but I'm sure they will make provisions for that. ;-)

If I am to feel accomplished in this life, before I pass to the next life there will be a book with my name on the front cover. Whether fiction or fact-filled, this book will be part of the legacy left for those who may not have known much about me. Primarily, my posterity is the focus for this dream. Remembering me as a grumpy old man is not going to wash. That means there will need to be some humor in whatever is written. I can do that!!!

And lastly, another vision that SHOULD become reality!! Teresa and I will spend a week or two in the great state of Alaska. This is another one of those 'burrs in the saddle' that I really can't explain except to say that it is there and I want to see it. I don't imagine much difference from northern Canada so I am prepared for disappointment but I still want to try.

Unlike my other lists, this one is shorter and leaves me open to second guessing. If you have other things I SHOULD want to do before I pass from this arena of existence, please feel free to add them to my catalog. We are here all week and accept tips as long as they are cash.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Elder Oaks

Hurray for Elder Oaks!!! There are Apostles on the Earth and one has spoken!!


For those who aren't aware, last week Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve was the speaker at a devotional for BYU-Idaho students and faculty. His message was one of truth and power for a struggling world. And, of course, those who are trying to destroy all the good there is in our lives were offended by his words. Reminds me of the Book of Mormon verse that says:

"…wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center." (1 Nephi 16:1)

Truth is unbending in its force and no amount of persuasion by man or beast can cause a change.


I suppose my biggest concern is that most people who comment on Elder Oaks talk seem to focus on the Prop. 8 business. That is only a subset of what he is teaching: he was not trying to speak about gay marriage as the main topic. His biggest concern is the drifting of society from a religion based foundation to one that is anti-religious. This shift is lessening the protections religion has had in the past and could result in a loss of freedoms that have been preserved since the founding of this nation. The adversary is behind this and those who are doing his work are pushing as hard as they can to collapse the ideals offered by religion.


Here's how I think Joseph Smith would respond to those who think they can eliminate God and His Kingdom from this earth:

…the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.

Joseph Smith Jr.—Letter to John Wentworth


I am confident that the work of God will continue to move forward. I am certain that the power of the Book of Mormon will be offered to all mankind and those who accept will find something that has been missing from their lives. I have no fear of man or the things they can do to this work. Only ONE matters when it comes time for judgment. I answer to Him and look for the day I will be with Him.


Rage on O' worldly ones,

Let your fires burn and scar.

There is a Light that shines on us,

Because of ONE afar.