Saturday, November 10, 2018

Lehi dwelt in a tent

I had the opportunity to help the hurricane Michael victims in Marianna, FL.  The Florida panhandle experienced catastrophic tree and structure damage. Massive oaks were uprooted and majestic pines snapped mid-trunk. Volunteers traveled from around the southeast area to lend a small helping hand to cut up a few of the innumerable fallen trees and tarp a few of the countless damaged roofs. 

While setting up tents for stake volunteers that would arrive late, a few of us got talking about Lehi dwelling in a tent (1Ne2:15). Many assume that for Lehi to possess tents that he must have been involved in some sort of trade business.  But I think this assumption misses an important scriptural truth. 

In my opinion, Lehi was able to pack up his tents and provisions and flee Jerusalem with his family not because he was in the tent or trade business, but simply because he was a faithful Jew.  As a faithful Jew, Lehi would have observed the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth).  One of the 3 yearly Jewish feasts required that all Jews travel to Jerusalem dwell in tents or huts for 8 days. Jews were to eat in their sukkah, sleep in their sukkah, read, pray, and rejoice in their sukkah (Lev 23:42). 

One significant  purpose of the Feast of Tabernacle was to look back and commemorate the deliverance of Israel by the hand of God by remembering when Israel was called out of Egypt and dwelt in tents in the dessert. Additionally, the feast looked forward and prepared God’s people for a possible future when God would again call Israel to flee Babylon and to be led like Lehi to a promised land. 

In our day, we take for granted that camping is a thing. We take it even more for granted that tents and camping equipment are relatively cheap and available at the local Walmart.  In our day, in addition to camping, modern prophets continue to preserve a cuture of preparation (prepper culture) by calling God’s people to keep a storage of food and water (not guns and ammunition). 

Many generations have come and gone who have stored canned wheat, beans and rice and the great Tribulation of which the Bible forewarns never occurred.  However, the practice of keeping a food storage serves to preserve these practices among God’s people and in the community. Again, like camping, we take it for granted that buying and canning storage wheat is even possible. 

Imagine if the great Tribulation were to begin next week and God was to visit all His people in a dream like Joseph in Egypt with instructions to store a years worth of wheat. How would someone with no prior concept of storing anything or where to get it and where to put it, possibly comply?  Some ultra-faithful would find a way to obey, but many others might feel overwhelmed at the command and give up. 

Fortunately, we believe in a God, who is not only King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but also the Ultimate Prepper of Preppers. As such, God has prepared His people generations in advance to observe and preserve a culture of self-reliance, provident living, and preparation. Accordingly, when the promised End-times Tribulation does eventually occur, a remnant of God’s people will be preserved to welcome our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ again to the Earth. 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Utah Legalizes Medical Marijuana

So, I am reading that Utah approved medical marijuana.  What is more surprising, is that the Church of Jesus Christ is reported as supporting medical marijuana legalization.

The LDS Church hopes the compromise will push heavily to make the marijuana products that are legalized “medical” and not “recreational”.  Every effort is being made to assure that the drugs are available as pills or other medical products, not as things that can be eaten or smoked.  Also to make sure that patients actually have the qualifying medical conditions and that the drugs are distributed by pharmacies under the prescription of at least 2 physicians.  

However, we should remember, Utah banned cannabis in 1915, making it one of the first states to do so. The state legalized non-psychoactive CBD oil to treat severe epilepsy in March 2014, making it the first state to legalize only CBD oil without legalizing other forms of cannabis.

Marinol, Dronabinol and other Orecigenics are schedule 3 substances, CBD oil was recently moved to schedule 5 and already legal in Utah.  So, I’m really not sure this new medical marijana compromise really accomplishes anything good.  I think the Church maybe was hood-winked on this. I only see this new legalization making illicit forms of cannabis more available and socially acceptable. Medical forms were already legal.

I am in agreement with the Academy of Pediatrics that marijuana possession should be decriminalized but there are no proven effective medical uses for marijuana in addition to problems with quality, purity and potency.

“For adolescents, marijuana can impair memory and concentration, interfering with learning, and is linked to lower odds of completing high school or obtaining a college degree. It can alter motor control, coordination and judgment, which may contribute to unintentional deaths and injuries. Regular use is also linked to psychological problems, poorer lung health, and a higher likelihood of drug dependence in adulthood.”

Okay, if you are one of the few kids with Dravet sydrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome then those kids are welcome to gave access to FDA approved CBD oil (Cannabidiol without the THC).  

My thoughts on this:
1. the brain rewards productive behavior.
2. artificial stimulation of reward centers is an exploit, and robs a person of motivation.  Chemically stimulating reward centers is a lie, and constitutes self-abuse. (you didn’t earn that dopamine surge). 
3. If you have a terrible job that’s not fulfilling, then get a new job. You may have earn the right to reward yourself afterwards with a good meal, relaxation, reading, and a productive hobby, etc; but not to harm yourself with non-productive and harmful psychoactive chemicals. 
4. Recreational activity and even relaxation can still be productive (hobby, rest, exercise, socialize) without needing to chemically trigger dopamine reward centers.
5. New high-THC cannabis is harmful and causing paranoia and psychosis in addition to causing hyperemesis and negatively affecting judgement.
6. People will buy cannabis off the street where quality, potency, purity is very uncertain. 
7. There are no proven medical uses for marijuana.  CBD oil, Dronabinol, Marinol can are already being used in specific FDA-approved cases for seizures, appetite stimulation and nausea. 
8. Possession and using marijuana should be decriminalized. Over-enforcing/interpreting the law can be as bad a under-enforcing.  Its not right and wrong, but a straight middle road and 2 wrongs on either side. (Aristotles Golden Mean). 
9. People should be free to grow cannabis in their back yard, or brew their own beer, but distrubution and sales of a recreational substance to an addicted person who lacks capacity constitutes harm. This was the legal basis of the 18th Amendment.
10. Addicted people who abuse themselves need rehab and not jail. Rehab abd self-abuse is the jurisdiction of the Church.  The State jurisdiction punishes those who harm others.
11. Loses in worker productivity and increased medical costs will exceed potential tax revenue.
12. Legalization is leading to greater social acceptance and widespread use by adults, adolescences and children.
13.  Like alcohol, the recreational vs. medicinal use is tied to its formulation (packaging). Medicinal cannabis is in a pill or gel cap.  Recreational cannabis is smoked or is in a brownie (edible). 

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Virtue Hierarchy

I’ve been on a Jordan Peterson binge lately. I think this interview is great because it has an  (admitted) feminist and masculinist (competent-ists) talking about the issue of social order, hierarchy, position, power, rights, responsibility and justice.

However, this anti-patriarchy, vs. pro-competency debate is really a false dichotomy.  The truth is that political and social power is meant to be primarily based on virtue and empathy.  Dr. Peterson occasionally refers to a conspiracy of evil in the world but is not open about the extent of its authority, influence, and power (secret combinations).  Also, it’s this oppressive conspiracy of evil and corruption that Helen Lewis is referring to but ascribes to patriarchy. 

In the Bible, David built his citadel that stood next to and looked down upon and protected the future temple.  After the temple was constructed, Solomon built the Milo which was a raised stepped structure and platform that connected the citadel on Mount Zion with the temple on Mount Moriah (Ophel).   This isn’t teaching theocracy but teaching a unity of foundation.  Government protects religion, and religion (temple) establishes the basis for virtue in which we are to judge and select our political leaders. In Bible times, this principle was modeled by the High Priest ordaining King David and Solomon and the prophets Samuel and Nathan criticizing them

In the political arena, virtue is not completely ignored, but often overlooked.  We seem to initially care about whether US president’s inhaled, or what the definition of “is” is.  But in the end we conclude that competence to do the job is unrelated to their life-long pattern of basic moral character.   Yet, at the same time, we have conservative supreme court justices torn apart by accusations of workplace harassment or threat of a serious moral indiscretion at a high school party. 

Isaiah 2 teaches that the restoration of the temple will ultimately bring the long-sought peace on Earth. One day the Lord’s Temple will be used as the basis for morality and virtue.  It may be that political candidates will require a worthiness interview and bishop’s endorsement to run for office.  Thr Church of Jesus Christ wouldn’t pick our political leaders, but vet the potential candidates.  The special-interest controlled Press has failed in vetting our political candidates so far. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Zelophehad’s Daughters

I’ve been listening to some of Dr. Jordan Peterson.  His ideas and words are routinely misrepresented by the mainstream media. Dr. Peterson is a phycologist from the University of  Toronto who made a name for himself by publically objecting to government mandated speech (gender pronouns).  Dr. Peterson has some great insights into the most fundamental Bible stories (Fall, Cain v. Able, Crucifixion, etc).  Dr. Peterson is less well-known for developing the OCEAN personality assessment which was used to characterize individuals based on the “Big 5” personality characteristics.  This assessment was used by Cambridge Analytica/SCL Group to micro-target tailored political advertisements via Facebook to US voters. 

Dr. Peterson has been touring the country talking about and defending the social order and competence hierarchy (NOT patriarchy). According to Peterson, there are more men represented at the top but also the bottom of our social order (CEO’s and sanitation workers).  However, the preponderance of men at the extremes is not all due to corruption, discrimination, and oppression, but are multifactorial.  The main factors are based on a combination of biological realities and individual preferences.   

That said, Dr. Peterson does not deny the existence of corruption, discrimination, and oppression.  These problems exist and need to be stopped.  However, oppression is not the reason why their are more female nurses and more male engineers in Sweeden and Norway. He welcomes the idea of more women leaders and women in all fields of study.  However, Dr. Peterson encourages freedom of opportunity and preference vs. a government-coerced and artificial equality of results. 

The US has become increasingly divided.  Its like both sides are speaking different languages and not just watching different news networks. Dr. Peterson values the left and the liberal political spectrum which balances and checks the social hierarchy. Conservatives are great at running things, but creative liberals come up with new ideas that improve them 

Dr. Peterson doesn’t reject feminism or social welfare, but warns of the dangerous tactics being used by the extreme left, some  feminist and socialist.  Dr. Peterson warns against inflammatory rhetoric that seeks to silence people, incite protest, rebellion, and violence (“Rules for Radicals”).  Dr. Peterson also warns against identity politics, victimization, and  class guilt.  Incendiary rhetoric like this was used to fuel the rise of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao.  Instead of fomenting a rebellion and overthrow of the current social order, Dr. Peterson advocates greater competence, assertiveness and better negotiating with the competence hierarchy. 

The story of the 5 Daughters of Zelophehad (Num 27:1-11).  In this story, Moses had divided up the land of Israel amoung the 12 Tribes.  Rules of inheritance were given that specified that a man’s land was to be divided among his son’s and that the oldest son was to recieve a double portion. But these rules did not account for situations were a man had no sons, but daughters. The rules of inheritance in this case were incomplete, and unfair.  But, instead of rebelling and inciting a revolution to overthrow Moses like Korah (Num 16),  the 5 daughters of Zelophehad respectfully petitioned and negotiated with Moses. 

The Book of Mormon highlights several instances were characters appeal to social justice, identity politics and victimization to make false arguments to justify rebellion and murder.

1 Nephi 17:20: Laman and Lemuel claim that they have concern for the women’s suffering while traveling in the wilderness. 

Alma 30:27: Korihor claims religion is oppressing its adherents from enjoying their  rights, and religious leaders are glutting themselves off the substance of their followers. 

Alma 54:17: Ammoron (Nephite King of the Lamanites) claims the Nephites have stollen the rights to rule from the Lamanites. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Remembering Our Name

I think we all sense the stready moral decline of the United States and the world in general.  Ruth Bell Graham, wife of Billy Graham famously said, “If God doesn't judge America, He'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah."  We have seen some and can expect increasingly political and social pressure on the Church of Jesus Christ as the Church chooses to take a stand on moral issues in an increasingly immoral world. 

During this past General Conference, President Dallin H. Oaks stated that the Church will take a firm stand on social and moral issues when they impact the Plan of Salvation.  In many other instances, regarding the politics of New York, Kirtland, Missouri, Nauvoo, and Utah; the Church has endured considerable adversity and been an example of being a peacemaker and enduring persecution with patience. The Church moved away from initial race integration fearing being labeled abolitionists and to make peace with our Missouri neighbors.  We moved away from polygamy as a social welfare system to make peace with an antagonistic, secular Utah Territorial government. 

Elder Uchtdorf talked about “weltschmertz” which is a great German compound word that refers to the “the sadness caused by brooding on how the world is inferior to what we think it ought to be.”  Elder Uchtdorf taught that the remedy to this dispair is to dedicate ourselves to the Lord's cause and in doing so we can find that our lives are full of purpose meaning and peace.

In the face of greater impending adversity and judgement, President Russell M. Nelson delivered the perfect spiritual advice.  As God’s people, first and foremost, we must remember and never forget the name by which we are called— the name of Jesus Christ.  What we call ourselves and what others call us is a big deal. We cannot forget Jesus Christ in our Church’s name because this is the only name by which we can hope to be saved. 

Rabbi Chaim Richman talks about the Book of Exodus (Shemot = names).  According to him, Jewish Rabbi's say that Hashem delivered Israel from Egypt even in their idolatry because they had kept their Hebrew names, language, clothing and identity. According to Rabbi Richman, remembering their names brought Israel deliverance from Egypt.  

Our leaders are focusing us on the most basic fundamental principles so that, despite our failings, we may also qualify for deliverance: 1. our name 2. sabbath day observance 3. ministering. 4. home-centered learning.