Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pioneer Day: July 24th, 1847

July 24th is a Mormon and Utah Holiday Commemorating the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers to Utah.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith in New York and Pennsylvania.  However, due to religious intolerance and persecution, Joseph Smith and the earliest Church members were forced from one community to another.

The LDS Church centered early on in Kirtland, Ohio. but financial pressure from within and persecution from without forced the Saints to Independence, Missouri.  However, the LDS Church didn't endure long in Missouri after Missouri Governor, Lilburn Boggs, signed an extermination order forcing Mormons to flee to Illinois.  

Unfortunately, mob mentality followed the Saints to Illinois. The LDS Saints had built a beautiful city called Nauvoo on the banks of the Mississippi River.  However, after only a few short years of peace and prosperity the LDS Church was again forced to abandon their city, their homes and their temple. In the dead of winter, thousands of Latter-Day Saints packed up wagons and vacated Nauvoo at mob gunpoint crossing the Mississippi River that had completely frozen over the night before.

Not long before leaving Nauvoo, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were assassinated after having been arrested on false charges and placed in State protection.  A mob with faces painted black were allowed to attack an undefended jail in Carthage, Illinois where Church leadership was being held.

After repeated failed petitioned to the state and federal authorities for protection, tens of thousands of members of Church of Jesus Christ were forced to flee the United States of America for Mexican territory where they settled in Salt Lake City and founded communities all along the Rocky Mountains from the Canadian to Mexican borders.

Visitors to Utah today all say that Salt Lake City and surrounding communities are among the cleanest and most beautiful in the world. However when Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1947, journals record  that the valley was completely desolate and there was not even a single tree to be seen standing in the whole valley.  But through back-breaking work the Saints have made their mountain, dessert home blossom as the rose. 

Can you imagine a people like the Latter-day Saints being forced to flee the United States of America for Mexican Territory because of religious persecution?

Even in Mexican Territory, the Mormons were not out of reach of the US government that had conspired to destroy them.  In response to false accusations, the American government sent Johnston's Army to occupy and maintain a continual military presence in Utah Territory. However, the LDS Saints could no longer be driven from the safety of the Rocky Mountains.  

Despite the many injustices at the hands of the US and State Governments in failing to protect the LDS Saints and arresting Joseph Smith and allowing him to be assassinated after resolving to defend themselves by forming a constitutional city militia, you will not find a more patriotic and committed people to the US Constitution. Joseph Smith taught and received revelation from God that the US Constitution is an inspired document akin to sacred scripture.  There isn't another Christian religion on Earth that preserves Constitutional government as one of its central beliefs.

Pioneer Day commemorates the great sacrifice and faith of the Early LDS Saints.  On and around this date, LDS members may dress up in Pioneer clothing, participate in a handcart trek reenactment, or hold a simple pancake breakfast.  During this time LDS remember and reflect upon our pioneer heritage.  Mormon Saints retell our pioneer stories and recommit ourselves to our traditional Pioneer and family values.  We express thanks to God for our current peace and prosperity which is a product of the great legacy left to us by our Pioneer ancestors. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Understanding the United Order

32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 
35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (New Testament, Acts, Acts 4)

We read in the New Testament how the Early Christian Saints lived will all things in common.  We know that something must have happened to this United Order because mainstream Christianity doesn't seem to live this way today.  Christians live the law of tithes and offerings but not this communal living.  

This United Order was attempted in more modern times by the Pilgrims at Jamestown Colony. In fact the failure of the Pilgrims to live this United Order and their reversion to the law of tithing is the Thanksgiving story.  The Early LDS Saints also attempted to live the United Order with measured success and look to reinstitute it more fully in the future in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ.

[the following analogy is not mine but from an LDS friend]

However, if you ask most LDS to define the United Order they will say, "the United Order is a system where if your neighbor is an unskilled janitor (a building engineer is highly skilled labor) and has 14 kids and you are a skilled doctor and have 2 kids then you each give all your money to the bishop and the bishop then redistributes more of the wealth to the unskilled janitor because of his greater need."

Of course, the conservative "personal responsibility" crowd will cry out and say "you mean to tell be that if I sacrifice my whole life to learn a highly skilled trade, that my eternal reward is to labor the rest of my life to continually and unendingly bail out everyone else who carelessly idled their time away, buried their talents, squandered their inheritance, and lived irresponsibly?   Is that my reward and I am supposed to feel the spirit about that?"

Look at Cuba.  When Communism took over, all industry and production stopped.  My father-in-law visits Cuba regularly and says the place is like stepping back in time to 1959 when Castro seized power. Except instead of being frozen in time everything is slowly falling apart into decay and disrepair.  There is no incentive by the people to develop their talents and engage in productive enterprise because they know the Cuban Government will oppose them, persecute them, then seize their wealth and their enterprise for themselves in the name of "redistribution" for the good of all Cubans. 

The United Order is supposed to help me want to consecrate.  I don't see how "involuntary income redistribution" helps me want to consecrate. You can claim a religious-based system is "voluntary" but if my faith community alienates or ostracizes me more not playing by the rules, how is this not coercion?

42 Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 42)

Today in church someone made a great comment about needing to be willing and open to rethink a lot of what believe politically and socially. But then he casually equated the LDS Law of Consecration with Communism.  Again, while I think most LDS concept of the United Order fits along the lines of "income re-distribution". I do not think this is a complete view of what the United Order is all about.  But, if all I had to go on was Acts 4:35, I think I would think along these terms as well.  But thankfully the Lord reveals more about His United Order and consecration in the Doctrine and Covenants. 

The United Order is NOT Communism, NOT Socialism, and it is NOT Capitalism either.  Despite what the media says, Capitalism is not free market.  We don't need the unelected crony capitalist to decide and NO I did not vote with my dollars in this rigged system. The United Order recognizes and respects property rights, is 100% voluntary, 100% free enterprise, and 100% Constitutional.

which is a residue to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 42)

7 Nevertheless, inasmuch as they receive more than is needful for their necessities and their wants, it shall be given into my storehouse; (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 70)

The Doctrine and Covenants clarifies the idea that Christ's Church should care for one another not just according to everyone's needs but according to our wants.  "Wants" has huge implications and is NOT a trivial detail when it comes to understanding consecration and the United Order.

When we talk about the United Order we usually give a sigh and say, "you can't live the United Order in a society with both righteous and evil living together so we will have to wait for a day when God separates the wicked from  the righteous." The reason a mixed community cannot live the United Order is because the takers soon inevitably outnumber the producers. This is exactly what happened in Jamestown Colony leading to its repeated failures until they recognized property rights and reverted to tithing. (everyone wanted to look for gold and no one wanted to produce the food)  This taker/producer mismatch is also currently happening in the now bankrupt Socialist US and European welfare states .

I don't disagree with the idea that a mixed society of righteous and wicked makes consecration difficult, but I do not think it makes it impossible.  First, let me clarify that consecration is the personal commitment  and covenant that an individual makes with God. The United Order is an economic system (eg capitalism, communism, free-enterprise, hunter-gatherer, cottage-barter, Ayn Rand meritocracy, virtue-ocracy, etc) that helps the community to live consecration.  But an individual does't have to live under the United Order to consecrate. The purpose of the United Order is to help people consecrate not make it harder..

I think it is possible to live the United Order with righteous and wicked. In truth, we are all wicked.  If we were all righteous we would all be taken up to heaven like Enoch and Elijah and we wouldn't need to be talking about  economics. In fact, I think like in Enoch's city of Zion, the United Order was the mechanism by which the wicked and righteous  were separated.  

I say, righteous and wicked, but what I mean is willing vs. unwilling.  I suppose in Enoch's Zion, the unwilling voluntarily left and only the willing remained.  The willing through the process of living consecration becoming increasingly sanctified, perfected and holy until they were eventually translated and taken up into heaven. The United Order through Christ separated and then transformed the willing wicked into willing righteous. 

So, how is the United Order supposed to work if it is focused on caring for wants and not just needs?   There is nothing for satisfying than investing in someone and seeing them grow and develop.  On the other hand, there is not anything more discouraging  than  to continually bail someone out just to see them continue the same destructive behavior.  When it comes to the United Order, the program is to not make people dependent on and slaves to the system but lift them up and return them to profitability and self-reliance.  Dependent slavery is Satan's plan not God's.

Going back to the skilled doctor vs. unskilled janitor analogy: if the unskilled janitor has 14 kids, he is going to need to take personal responsibility, get some skills, provide some skilled labor and value to the economy, and then earn some money to provide for those children.  The United Order shouldn't be about endlessly passing out fish to the idle, unskilled, and unproductive but about teaching people how to fish so they can feed themselves and support their families.

In an economy with a traditional apprentice, journeyman, master craftsman system, instead of giving you my fish all the time,  and instead of making you my employee/slave and my dependent.  I would rather make you my apprentice, invest in you and teach you to be a doctor (or skilled building and facilities engineer) and turn you into my equal, my partner, my colleague, my neighbor, and my friend.  

Then as a doctor or other skilled professional, if you have the desire, and are willing to put in the work and make the sacrifice, you can fish for yourself.  Then you can buy the mansion next to my house and be my neighbor and be wealthy and productive with me.  

When it comes down to it, the spiritual rewards and emotional satisfaction at investing in and seeing someone progress is so much more rewarding than anything else  I could possibly think to buy with that money.

Case in point: A friend shared with me his conversion story and talked about the mighty change he has seen in his own life and how thankful he is to the missionary who sacrificed the time and money to come out from Utah to Georgia to knock on his door and share the gospel with him. We were talking about consecration and I told my friend that I am sure the Elder that taught him enjoyed great satisfaction at seeing his spiritual independence.  I would guess that that missionary considers the time and money he invested in my friend to be worth more than anything else he could possibly think to buy with the money.  

In this spirit of serving each other's wants and needs, both the giver and the receiver get what they really wanted and rejoice together.  On the other hand, In a socialist or communist welfare system, the dependent takers feel entitled to what they take and the producers mourns over what they feel has been unfairly taken.

With a Constitution that teaches a separation between government and religion, providing charity and teaching virtue is the role of religion and not the government.  Therefore government needs to get out of the business of religion.

19 Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 82)

The LDS Church practices the United Order itself as an institution more according to Acts 4:35. In the LDS Church there are no rich churches and poor churches.  There are only small branches working to grow into a full-seized congregation.  When a congregation is big enough it is divided into 2.  But while my local  congregation may not have the best catered food or entertainment at our Christmas party, the tithing money given at my local church is distributed throughout the world so that LDS members in the Dominican Republic (for example) can attend church in just as nice of a building and have access to a beautiful Temple just like me here in Georgia.

I have been to some fancy parties at other Churches.  But I would rather have hum-drum Christmas parties at my Church and I would rather clean and vacuum my meetinghouse every few months instead of paying for a janitor if it means someone else in can have access to an LDS Temple in Brazil or the Philippines or wherever.

But instead of having to continually subsidize the world, I would rather the 3rd World eventually learn to fish.  Unfortunately, the political atmosphere which is controlled by the US makes this nearly impossible at the moment. So, we will have to continue to pass out the barley loaves and fishes for the time being.

I don't want to claim to understand the United Order.  It's not my job to explain it to anyone.  If it ends up being eternal income redistribution, fine, I'll submit to it with spirit over natural man resolve. This point doesn't affect the testimony I do have that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. But I can't help but think that when the perfect social order is instituted we all will look at each other and say, "there is so much joy here, why didn't we just live this way from the start." 

I feel we DO have an absolute responsibility to take care of everyone's basic needs regardless of merit or circumstances. It is actually a surprisingly inexpensive endeavor to satisfy basic needs (this is one great secret).  My local stake president calculated if the entire stake paid only 1% of their income for fast offering, the welfare needs of the Stake would be satisfied. However, when it comes to wants, then it becomes an issue of teaching someone to fish.  If they want it enough then there needs to be the freedom of opportunity for them to achieve and obtain what they really desire.

21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 
22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (Old Testament, Isaiah, Isaiah 65)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Saving Constitutional Government

The failure of US Constitutional government rests with the failure of US Churches.  US Constitutional government is dependent on self-government.  If people cannot self-govern then they cannot maintain constitutional government.  US Churches are failing to teach principles of virtue and charity (James 1:27). A demoralized society that has rampant fornication and drug use will produce a poor dependent class.  Evil conspiring men (e.g. Saul Alinsky) can then organize the demoralized dependent class into a corrupt voting block. The key to saving constitutional government is for the Church to teach and expect virtue and charity.

In Constitutional government, if harm is perpetuated upon another person (recreational drug distribution) it is the duty of the state to prosecute the perpetrator and protect the victims.  If a person harms himself (recreational drug abuse), it is a matter for religion to discipline and rehabilitate.

If you want to save the US Constitution, we need to oppose poverty by opposing fornication and recreational drug abuse that leads to poverty.  Or in other words advocate self reliance by advocating morality and sobriety.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Keys of the Priesthood

Joseph Smith taught that there are special keys received in the Holy Temple which can help the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ detect false spirits and persons from true.  In response, someone questioned that with the internet, the sacred ritual aspects of the temple can be found out by anyone.  So, if anyone can know the keys, how can the keys identify true from false?  This question got me thinking about just what wisdom the LDS Temple teaches that Satan and those who follow him can never understand.

1. First, the LDS Temple teaches and empowers how to resist the temptation of Satan. Satan does all the tempting but knows nothing about how to resist.  Satan has never stood up to himself so can't possibly know how best to cast himself out.

2. Next, the Mountain of the Lord's House endows and teaches how to achieve mastery over the body and its carnal appetites and passions.  Satan has never had a body.  Therefore, Satan cannot possibly have the slightest idea how to control the body instead of having the body control you.

3. Finally, the New Testament Temple teaches and empowers how to submit to Heavenly Father's will.  Satan refuses to submit to the will of anyone but himself.  Satan entices, "do as you will", but the true followers of Christ humble themselves and submit to God , His Church, and His Priesthood authority. And a major part of this "not as I will" humility is obeying the counsel and commands of the Lord's living Prophet and Apostles as well as our local Bishop.

“our relationship to living prophets is not one in which their sayings are a smorgasbord from which we may take only that which pleases us. We are to partake of all that is placed before us, including the spinach, and to leave a clean plate!” Elder Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, P.74

Imagine in the next life being asked to teach a class entitled "Mortality Prep".  If an individual had received these 3 keys of wisdom and knowledge, How many pre-mortal spirits would voluntarily choose to attend your class.  Could you be asked to prepare spirits for their future mortal experience if you had never first learned these 3 lessons yourself?  What kind of work do you intend to be called/rewarded/crowned to do for eternity?   The lessons of mortality can only be learned here in mortality.

Monday, July 08, 2013

July Message by President Monson: Fall of Rome

President Monson, in the July First Presidency message, charged members of the LDS Church to be latter-day pioneers.  President Monson warns that immorality and vice led to the downfall of the Greek and Roman Civilizations also threaten our personal and national freedom.

"We forget how the Greeks and Romans prevailed magnificently in a barbaric world and how that triumph ended—how a slackness and softness finally overcame them to their ruin. In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security and a comfortable life; and they lost all—comfort and security and freedom."

[My Comments]

Fall of Rome: Demoralization, Infiltration, Subversion, Insurrection?
1. Deficiency of virtue leads to a demoralizated and immoral society.
2. Fornication leads to Illegitamacy, illegitimacy creates poverty, Drug addiction foster idleness, idleness leads to poverty
3. Deficiency of charity leads to a divided society between rich and poor.
4. Created a welfare/idle dependent class (free bread and circus)
5. Society then has 3 levels: Hidden Elite, Industrious working, Idle Dependent Poor.
6. Elite organize idle dependent poor against industrious working class.
7. permitted themselves to be ruled by a dictator
8. trade deficit with China (sent gold to china for spices and illicit drugs)
9. needed empire to conquer more land to bring in more gold tribute
10. didn't have enough troops in the army
11. Marian Reform let German Barbarians (Foederati) serve in military and promised access to welfare.
12. Welfare state is bankrupt
13. Government cuts off welfare benefits to Barbarians (Foederati aliens)
15. Odoacer organizes Foederati insurrection
16. Empire broken by Foederati Barbarian pressure from the inside and German Barbarian pressure from the outside.
17. Elite divide up the Roman Empire bringing in the Dark Feudalist Age.

After the division of Rome:
18. Planned destruction of rival Christian capitals.
19. 100-years war, Crusades, and Muslim movement culminate with the destruction of Constantinople
20. Holy Roman Empire continues until Dec 1805 (Treaty of Pressburg).
21. Joseph Smith Born Dec 1805
22. 1815, Fabian Elite defeat Napoleon expand operations from Vatican to City of London (Rothschild British Empire)
Plan to Grind America Down:
23. 1913, Fabian Elite elect their own Woodrow Wilson, institute Private FED Reserve, take control of Washington DC.
24. 100-years war begins to destroy America.

25. Fabian Globalist Elite fund Hilter, Stalin and Mao
26. Demoralization of America
27. Fabian Globalist Elite divide up and debt/war impoverish third world between Communist vs Capitalist control.
28. Russia and China modernize their nuclear arsenals while US unilaterally disarms.
The entire process of the Fall of Rome begins with Demoralization. Remember that Christ warns Gentiles in America that we will be divided by aliens who are among us if we do not repent.
Where to begin? Demoralization through Fornication and Vice.  Anyone who preaches that we can only save the US Constitution by legalizing recreational drug distribution couldn't be more mistaken.  The only way to save America is through a return to virtue.  Our society must turn against immorality and substance abuse.