Monday, May 10, 2021

Wendy Watson Nelson’s Wacky, Wayward Wisdom

On Friday, May 7, 2021, a former family therapist and the beloved wife of President Nelson - even Wendy Watson Nelson  - was the keynote speaker at Utah Valley University's commencement. 

Her address encouraged attendees to drop their contentions, open space "for the existence of another" and, through those actions, come to find love in their lives. [1]   She also said that we should be open to other ideas, dropping contention and expectation.

I agree with her to an extent. Decades ago, author Stephen R. Covey promulgated the notion of "Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood." [2]  It's a wise, timeless principle which the church, its leaders and members could really benefit from using.

Yet Nelson has consistently taken the stance that any contention or anger is bad. This belief is undoubtedly rooted in 3 Nephi 11:29, where we read that "the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another."

Nelson's anti-anger advocacy may have begun when the then-never married (and beloved) Wendy L. Watson wrote a book in 2009 entitled, "Spiritual Truths about Intimacy that Will Strengthen Your Marriage" - specifically, the chapter called "The Alienating Influence of Anger." 

(Now, admittedly, I haven't read that chapter; I'm just intrigued by the chapter title. I haven't read the book because I fear that amidst her ideas on incorporating prayer, fasting, and scripture study into "God-Ordained Marital Intimacy," I'll need to embrace "Truth #4: For true marital intimacy, the Holy Ghost needs to be involved. It is simply not possible to have the kind of intimate experiences outside of marriage that you can have within because the Spirit will not be present." Ummm, no. I do not want anyone other than my spouse involved in intimacy, spirit or not).

God "does not like anger"

Fast forward a decade, when Watson (now Nelson), while accompanying her beloved husband on a tour of Indonesia, publicly pronounced her anti-anger beliefs in a talk: "Jesus Christ makes it very clear that he does not like anger. By anticipating an interaction in advance, we can learn how to respond with love rather than anger, even when provoked. We can pray right in the moment to be given an extra measure of patience or compassion for a person who is lashing out in anger."

She continued, "Now the scriptures are filled with inspiring examples [of those] who were serious about living the Savior's doctrine of zero contention." [3] 

This is really interesting to me, because as I scan the scriptures for words like anger, angry, contention, indignation and wrath, a different God appears:

  • "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation." (Isa. 10:5)
  • "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is their indignation." (2 Ne. 20:5)
  • "I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath." (Hosea 13:11)
  • "For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction." (2 Ne. 20:25)
  • "For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction." (Isa. 10:25)
  • "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him." (Hosea 14:4)
  • "And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth." (Isa. 63:6)
  • "And the word came to Alma, saying: Go; and also say unto my servant Amulek, go forth and prophesy unto this people, saying-Repent ye, for thus saith the Lord, except ye repent I will visit this people in mine anger; yea, and I will not turn my fierce anger away." (Alma 8:29)
  • "And the LORD said unto Noah, The daughters of thy sons have sold themselves; for behold, mine anger is kindled against the sons of men, for they will not hearken to my voice." (Gen. 8:3 JST)
  • "And the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them." (Moses 7:34)
  • "And the Lord said unto Noah: The daughters of thy sons have sold themselves; for behold mine anger is kindled against the sons of men, for they will not hearken to my voice." (Moses 8:15)
  • "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." (Deut. 32:22)
  • "And I will make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon you." (Jer. 15:14)
  • "For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face," (Jer. 32:31)
  • "Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day." (Jer. 44:6)
  • "Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle." (Zech. 10:3)
  • "But if ye will repent and return unto the Lord your God I will turn away mine anger, saith the Lord; yea, thus saith the Lord, blessed are they who will repent and turn unto me, but wo unto him that repenteth not." (Hel. 13:11)
  • "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment." (Isa. 63:3)
  • "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." (Jer. 7:20)
  • "Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:" (Jer. 32:37)
  • "Oh, this unbelieving and stiffnecked generation-mine anger is kindled against them." (D&C 5:8)
  • "Therefore I command you to repent-repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore-how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not." (D&C 19:15)
  • "Hearken, O ye people who profess my name, saith the Lord your God; for behold, mine anger is kindled against the rebellious, and they shall know mine arm and mine indignation, in the day of visitation and of wrath upon the nations." (D&C 56:1)
  • "But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them." (D&C 60:2)
  • "For I, the Lord, have decreed in mine anger many destructions upon the waters; yea, and especially upon these waters." (D&C 61:5)
  • "I, the Lord, was angry with you yesterday, but today mine anger is turned away." (D&C 61:20)
  • "And I have trampled them in my fury, and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart." (D&C 133:51)

(I could have shared more scriptures, but my copy-and-paste muscles are worn out).

With all of these anger/indignation/wrath verses well in hand, I set to work to see if the Lord is all talk and no action. Sure enough, as a God, he let his wrath and indignation loose a number of times. Ancient Israel was often the beneficiary of that anger. During his mortal life, the Lord got a little ticked off at times. For example, here is John 2:15: "And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;" (a "scourge" is actually a whip).

It's incredible that someone who is supposedly so internationally recognized and respected as (the beloved) Sister Nelson would say "Jesus Christ makes it very clear that he does not like anger" and preached "the Savior's doctrine of zero contention." The scriptures are overflowing with examples of just the opposite, with excerpts from Jesus' pre-mortal, mortal and post-mortal lives. Heck, even seminary students know Jesus used a whip to clear out the temple moneychangers.

With all due respect to Sister Nelson,

  • Jesus Christ makes it very clear that he can and does get angry.
  • He can love us AND be angry at the same time, even when provoked. 
  • The scriptures are filled with examples of God being provoked to anger and releasing it.  

But this isn't the only time Sister Nelson has taught beliefs which run contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sin even once, and you're eternally screwed

Another book by the beloved Sister Nelson is entitled "The Not Even Once Club." It was published on September 2, 2013 by Deseret Book, [4] a wholly owned subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, the holding company for business firms owned by the church. [5] 

This children's book is marketed as "an adorable and appealing way to engage children in a story that will help them choose for themselves to keep the commandments and to never break them. Not even once. Children will meet Tyler, an energetic boy who is excited to make new friends in his Primary class. They have invited Tyler to join their special club, but first he has to pass the test and keep the club promise."

The promise? Here's a screen capture from one of the book's pages:


"Tyler looked at the poster. It read: "From this moment on I will never break the Word of Wisdom, lie, cheat, steal, do drugs, bully, dress immodestly, or break the law of chastity. I will never intentionally look at anything pornographic on TV, the internet, a cell phone, billboards, magazines or movies." "I promise," shouted Tyler. "Not. Even. Once."

So here, kids are being taught that if you mess up, screw up or make a mistake, it's justifiable for them to ostracize and abandon you. To make sure you're out and never part of the "club." It sets an incredibly high expectation that you will be perfect, for other kids not to be merciful, compassionate and forgiving and for you not to be open and honest with others (because of potential judgment by friends). 

The (3-star) Reviews are in on (the beloved) Sister Nelson

After pondering these (and many more) questions, I wondered if I was the only one on the planet who had these concerns. I'm not.

I pulled the book up on Amazon [4] and was surprised by its high degree of dissatisfaction:


Then I checked it out on Deseret Book. [6] 3 out of 5 stars!!!


I'm amazed! This is a book by the wife of the president of the church, an international global faith leader! She should have at least a thousand five-star reviews and maybe only a couple one-star reviews. What the heck is going on here?

Why such consistently poor reviews? Here's what people said:

"This book promotes never sinning. Since Christ was the only one who would come to this earth and never sin, this book is blasphemous to expect or to heap the pressure upon anyone to never sin. The atonement was intended to offer us a way to be forgiven from sin. If we never need the atonement, do we also not need Christ to suffer for our sins? Do we then get through heavens gate without the need for Christ? These teachings open up a Pandora's box of false truths if we allow these teachings to be taught to our kids. This book should be publicly recalled and denounced as the blatantly false doctrine it is. "

"This book sends a terrible message to young kids. In the story, in order to belong to their club, you have to promise not to sin, "not even once." This message goes against everything Christ stood for: tolerance, inclusion, repentance, and forgiveness. This book teaches children to be exclusionary and that if a child sins, "even once," that they are somehow less than and aren't worthy of being friends with. This book should be retracted by the publisher."

"Wow from a licensed mental health therapist's perspective Wendy has really missed the mark in her book. She herself as a therapist should understand the damage this all or nothing thinking can bring. It's called a thinking error Wendy. Black and white, all or nothing. Where is the atonement? How is this realistic? We are all sinners, some of us don't pretend and cover it up through writing books and putting out unrealistic expectations for our children to follow. Where is Jesus in this? Where is the plan of salvation and the plan of happiness? This is brainwashing and numbing and to the parents who read this to their children I encourage you to tell your kids its ok to make mistakes and teach them how to handle it when they do instead of sweep it under the rug and pretend they are perfect because they are in the not even once club. You were born to make mistakes not fake perfection!!!"

"This is a terrible thing to teach children. Set an impossible standard so they are guaranteed to fail and then feel bad about what is the inevitable and valuable and essential human journey, learning through experience. Give them a reason to think they are better than everyone else... right up until they screw up too and are kicked out of the club. Excommunicated if you will. This is trash."

"I read this at a local book store. I couldn't believe what I was reading. Teaching kids that they can't ever make a mistake? Seriously? While it might be focused on illegal substances it definitely is applied to every other area of sin in the religion. I can't believe this author is the wife of the president of the mormon church and this is the type of message she's pushing. What happened to repentance and forgiveness? It kind of negates the foundation of Christianity. Having grown up mormon I see a lot of their problems summed up here."

"This book uses wonderful illustrations to convey an appalling message. Instead of preparing children for real life and its obstacles, or teach them how to recover after their own occasional and unavoidable failures; it tells them they are expected to be perfect from the beginning to the end, otherwise their self-worth is reduced. This book doesn't give children tools to succeed in life, all it does is hang guilt and shame over their young heads if they ever fail to be perfect."

(I could have shared more reviews, but my copy-and-paste muscles are worn out…again).

Manipulated Reviews?

But the thing that left me scratching my head the most about the reviews wasn't their content, but how they are being misreported.

A post on the Rational Faiths blog (primarily between Sept 3-12, 2013) highlights quite a discussion about how Deseret Book has managed the reviews of this book. There are three primary categories of complaints:

  • Many people posted reviews on the book between 2013 and February 25, 2015. They are now gone.
  • Many reviews are dated 2/25/15
  • Some negative reviews are now listed as 5 stars

Sure enough, here is what I found on Deseret Book's page of this book:

  • 39 of the 42 reviews are dated Feb 25, 2015.
  • Feb 25, 2015 is the oldest review date. By comparison, on Amazon (here), 106 of the 147 reviews (72%) are dated before Feb 25, 2015.
  • One review (from Jeanine; Feb 25, 2015) which is clearly negative has 5 stars.

The Failed Test of a Supposed Disciple

The Lord gave us a tried-and-tested criteria to determine discipleship: "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) His scriptures also say, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23).

Christ is not exclusive in his offering of the Atonement. He does not have an exclusive club for only perfect people. It is unrealistic to expect perfection from our little or big children. Mistakes are not only inevitable, but are also necessary, for growth.

The children in this book obey based on peer pressure and temporal incentives instead of having a desire to be obedient based on love for their Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. The book also gives limited time to the concept of repentance and only one small reference in the discussion questions.

"Be part of my plan, or else!" sounds like a summary of somebody's plan of salvation, but not God's.

A God who lacks passion isn't rooted in Christ's words. 

A gospel which preaches perfectionism over imperfection, childhood/adolescent infallibility over repentance isn't rooted in Christ's words either.

Because the church's publishing arm continues to sell this book, 
it is also tacitly agreeing with its underlying philosophy.

It has for almost eight years.

A church which has promoted these beliefs via its publishing arm for almost 8 years? 

It's supposed to discourage and condemn the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

It's supposed to help set us up for salvation.

Instead, it's setting many up for catastrophic failure.



QUESTIONS

Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:

  • How do you think the book's expectations and behaviors will surface when children need to open up and talk with their parents? 
  • What about children with special needs who often do things that are considered "different" by others? Will some kids be rejected because they don't fit in with others? 
  • What about kids who already struggle to be accepted in the Church?
  • What are we to do with the concept of having a club for children where they receive candy and material rewards for keeping the commandments?
  • What if they don't play their piano or violin concerto perfectly?
  • What if they're feeling perfectionism and struggling to get straight As or to be the state basketball or volleyball champion?
  • Will they expect (or feel they deserve) excommunication if they ever tell a lie?
  • How will this philosophy affect them when they are in adulthood? 
  • What about missionaries who are left with the impression, by Sister Nelson's husband, that they need to be perfectly obedient on their missions in order to see more baptisms?   What happens if they fail to baptize a lot of people - are they failures?
  • And how will they raise their own children?
  • How many parents and/or kids will have read this book and been damaged by it?
  • Who do you think will ultimately be responsible for these consequences?
  • Just who the heck is running Deseret Books?  ; )

SOURCES

1.  https://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2021/05/07/after-tension-over-her/
2.  https://www.franklincovey.com/habit-5/
3.  https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/president-nelson-indonesia-2019
4.  https://www.amazon.com/Not-Even-Once-Club/dp/1609073371/
5.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deseret_Book_Company
6.  https://deseretbook.com/p/not-even-once-club-wendy-watson-nelson-88683 

CHECK THE COMMENTS BY LATTER-DAY
TRUTHS BELOW FOR UPDATES TO THIS POST


Saturday, May 1, 2021

How not wearing a mask will eternally damn you (and other worthiness criteria mysteries)

 If there is one thing the Church adamantly promotes, it's ordinances. 

Want to get to heaven? Be baptized.

Want to be endowed with spiritual power? Get your endowments.

Want to be a small-g god and live with your family for eternity? Get sealed.

These doctrines are increasingly being emphasized:

"The only way to return to live with (Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ) and with our family is through the ordinances of the holy temple." [1]

"The only way you can have the feeling of that family embrace forever is to become worthy yourself and help others to receive the sealing ordinances of the temple. "  [1]

"The ordinances of the temple unite us in special ways and allow us to be one in every eternally significant way."  [2]

"The ordinances of the temple and the covenants you make there are key to strengthening your life, your marriage and family, and your ability to resist the attacks of the adversary."  [3]

"We will come to understand that through the ordinances of the temple, the power of godliness is manifest in our lives10 and that because of temple ordinances, we can be armed with God's power, and His name will be upon us, His glory round about us, and His angels have charge over us."  [4]

"President Russell M. Nelson has taught us, " This Church was restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally."" [5] 

Yet within the last year, the qualifications for entering the temple -- and subsequently enjoying their promised blessings -- have been modified.

"You will be asked to confirm your willingness to wear a face covering throughout your time in the temple. If you are experiencing symptoms or are unwilling or unable to wear a mask, you'll be invited to reschedule your appointment and return at a later time. In the baptistry, all participants except the individual being baptized will wear a face covering."  [6]

Just to re-cap:

If you want to go to the Celestial Kingdom (where Father and Jesus dwell), and live with your family in eternal glory, you must enter into sacred ordinances obtained only in the temple.

To enter the temple, you must wear a mask.

Thus, if you don't wear a mask, you cannot enter into the temple to receive special ordinances which are mandatory if you want to go to the Celestial Kingdom (where Father and Jesus dwell) and live with your family in eternal glory.

No mask = no ordinance = no exaltation. 

Another thing I need help understanding are the temple recommend questions. 

In order to be worthy for temple ordinances (and their attendant blessings), one must answer a standardized set of worthiness questions. [7]  So, for example: 

  • If "you have faith in and a testimony of God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost," (Question #1) but have no actual, thriving, dynamic relationship with God or Jesus, and don't even hear them in your heart and/or mind, that's OK.
  • If you "strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, both at home and at church" and "attend your meetings" (Question #8) but don't strive to have your baptism of fire or any other spiritual experiences, that's OK, too. 
  • If you are a full-tithe payer (Question #10) but look the other way when a beggar is asking for help, that's OK.
  • If you have met "any financial or other obligations to a former spouse or to children" (Question #12) but do not express love for those children, that's also fine.

Yet of all the temple recommend questions, I find #11 ("Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom?) the most challenging. Maybe you can explain the following:

  • Tea is a "hot drink" but hot chocolate isn't?
  • What constitutes a "mild drink" with barley ("barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain")?
  • We are asked to not eat meat and if we do so, it should be "sparingly" - "only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine," but (1) we have it all the time at ward parties and (2) why does the corporation of the church own one of the largest cattle ranches in the US?
  • We are told that the Word of Wisdom is "to be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint," but today its adherence is not only a requirement to get into the temple, but also heaven. What revelation was received which overrode the "not by commandment or constraint" scriptural injunction, and when was it voted upon by the saints per the Law of Common Consent?
  • How does the Word of Wisdom square with Matthew 15:10-11, 16-20?
  • Drinking tea (a "hot drink") is a no-no, but if you are morbidly obese, have no desire to care for your body, drink gallons of Mountain Dew or Red Bull, binge on junk food or pop ibuprofen like candy, that's OK.

  

Like masks, we have a situation where if you drink tea, you are unworthy of a temple recommend/entering the temple, and thus, forfeit your right to enjoy eternal blessings with God and your family.

My prediction: Someday, churchwide, worthiness to receive a patriarchal blessing will include having been vaccinated for COVID-19. Here's this little ditty from a church member in Pleasant View, UT:


I also predict that future temple recommend interviews will equate wearing a mask with "sustaining the prophet." Think I'm exaggerating/joking? Read this (courtesy of a church member in the West Jordan, UT area):


Sorry, but I feel I must end on a happy note:

SOURCES

1  Henry B Eyring, "I Love to see the Temple," April 2021 General Conference
2  Quentin L. Cook, "Hearts Knit in Righteousness and Unity," October 2020 General Conference
3  D. Todd Christofferson, "Why the Covenant Path" April 2021 General Conference
4  Bonnie L. Oscarson, "Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion" October 2016 General Conference
5  Dallin H. Oaks, "Two Great Commandments" October 2019 General Conference
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn_vicNSah8&ab_channel=ChurchNewsroom
7 https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/october-2019-general-conference-temple-recommend

Monday, April 19, 2021

A Virtual Plea for Money...from Poor 'Ol BYU

A friend alerted me today to the new "Virtual Book of Mormon" (bom.byu.edu) which includes "Book of Mormon maps and learning tools." 

As the (non-SSL, unsecured) website is a subdomain of byu.edu, it can be strongly implied that it's an official project of BYU. I mean, for something as significant as the domain name bom.byu.edu, it's gotta be some pretty significant BoM information.

Even though the website states that "The Church and BYU stay neutral in questions of exactly where the Book of Mormon took place," the images it posts look strangely familiar:

http://bom.byu.edu/download-bom-maps-in-hd/




The Mesoamerican theory of the Book of Mormon postulates that the events of the book happened in Central and South America. However, "Nearly all those familiar with the early statements by the Prophet touching on potential Book of Mormon lands know that he clearly indicated them to be in North America. This is evident in the historically verified accounts wherein he declared revelation such as in the Wentworth Letter, the American Revivalist Account, the Zelph Accounts and Joseph’s handwritten letter to Emma while on Zion’s camp. In addition, the prophet revealed a Nephite altar at Adam-ondi-Ahman, mentioned the land of Manti was near Huntsville, Missouri, and revealed that this land was “the borders of the Lamanites” (see D&C 54:8). Furthermore he received revelation from the Lord for the location of Zarahemla (see D&C 125:3) and New Jerusalem (see D&C 84:1-6) which Christ Himself declared to be on Book of Mormon lands (3 Nephi 20:22), both of which are absolutely located in North America. These accounts and their indications are not speculation based, but historically documented fact." [1]

But the even more fascinating aspect of the website is the "Donate" page. 

Believe it or not, this BYU-affiliated project needs "funds to continue to build and improve them" (these online learning resources). Those wishing to donate can leave their contact information, "and a representative from the Dean's Office will contact you" -- another indication that it's a BYU-affiliated project, yet without any posted project synopsis, timeline, budget, scope...nothing.

QUESTIONS

Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions for Elder Uchtdorf:

  • Isn't the church's first mission to "Teach the gospel to the world"?
  • Would Book of Mormon "learning resources", located on a church server, qualify as a church effort to teach the gospel to the world? 
  • Why does a BYU project "need funds [from people] to continue to build and improve" its teaching materials? You would think that with the church stashing away a $120+ billion rainy day fund, it could afford, say, $100,000 (or .0000833 of the church's $120 billion reserves) to build a really cool online BoM learning center.
  • Why can't the church fund its own worldwide teaching/learning resources?
  • Brother Joseph went to extraordinary lengths to show the Book of Mormon geography took place in Upstate NY to Ohio / Michigan etc. Are we now ignoring what he said?
  •  

SOURCES

Monday, March 22, 2021

PROOF: Elder Uchtdorf Supports Policymakers Who Protect Baby Killers

The church is officially a politically neutral organization. It does not endorse or promote candidates or platforms. Additionally, in a First Presidency letter issued on June 16, 2011 and reiterated January 22, 2019, all full-time General Authorities, General Auxiliary Presidencies, mission presidents, and temple presidents are expected to limit their personal participation in all political party activities. [1]

"General Authorities and general officers of the Church and their spouses and other ecclesiastical leaders serving full-time should not personally participate in political campaigns, including promoting candidates, fundraising, speaking in behalf of or otherwise endorsing candidates, and making financial contributions." [1]

Enter Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a full-time General Authority since April, 1996 (25 years), an apostle since October, 2004 (16 years) and a First Presidency member for 10 years. With all that leadership tenure, he undoubtedly knew this political non-participation policy. [2]

Yet on March 12, 2021, Uchtdorf issued a "clarification" regarding 10 federal democratic campaign donations he and his family made. [3]  Here are the donations: 

  • Four contributions totaling $1,000 to President Joe Biden’s campaign.
  • Three contributions — for $170, $125 and $83.33 — to Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock’s campaign for a total of $378.33. 
  • Two donations — for $125 and $83.34 —totaling $208.34 to Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff's campaign.
  • One $250 contribution made on Nov. 15, 2020 to the DNC.


Source: http://www.politicalmoneyline.com/

As you can see, Elder Uchtdorf is listed as “self not employed,” “self-employed” or “retired” and living in North Salt Lake.

In a statement provided to the Deseret News, Uchtdorf admitted to the donations but denied any responsibility for them, “These donations were made by our family using an online account, which is shared by our family and associated with my name. I regret such an oversight on my part. I fully support the church’s policy related to political donations from church leaders.” [3]

Comparatively, Uchtdorf's contributions are pretty small. Yet in a realm where donations are legally equated, by the U.S. Supreme Court, with one's freedom of expression (McCutcheon vs the Federal Election Commission), the donations are illustrative of where his heart, mind and checking account lie. [4]

Abortion

Abortion is fundamentally in conflict with the plain reading of the Bible, which clearly teaches that human life is created by God beginning at conception. As Psalm 139 proclaims, “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am wonderfully and fearfully made.” By terminating an innocent unborn life in the womb, abortion directly violates the seventh commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” God demands that every faithful Christian protect and uphold the sanctity of innocent human life, at every stage of life. Supporting abortion represents a serious abdication of and a transgression against that responsibility, just like the disrespect of the poor, the disabled, or the elderly.

Within weeks after the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, the church issued a statement saying, "Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightening evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality." [5]

"In his first sermon after he was sustained as President of the Church, a little more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, President Spencer W. Kimball explicitly condemned abortion and encouraged members of the Church to be politically active in "their respective political parties and there exercise their influence." [6]

And in the "Proclamation on the Family" (issued September 23, 1995, and was approved by Uchtdorf) declares, "We affirm the sanctity of life" and "we call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society." [7]

Warnock

Yet per his political donations, Uchtdorf supported Warnock, who is a self-admitted pro-choice pastor [8] who has pledged to oppose new restrictions on abortion. He also vigorously lobbied against Georgia's so-called “heartbeat“ anti-abortion measure. [9] Warnock also refused to renounce Marxism and socialism. [10]

Ossoff

Uchtdorf also donated to Ossoff, who publicly endorsed defending [11] and upholding Roe v. Wade and "will only vote to confirm judges who commit to upholding Roe v. Wade.” [12]

Biden

Joe Biden -- another Uchtdorf donation recipient (many times over) -- "supports abortion rights and has said he would nominate federal judges who back the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. He’s also said he’d support a federal statute legalizing abortion if the Supreme Court’s conservative majority strikes down Roe. Biden committed to rescinding Trump’s family planning rule, which prompted many clinics to leave the federal Title X program providing birth control and medical care for low-income women. In a personal reversal, Biden now supports repeal of the Hyde Amendment, opening the way for federal programs, including his prospective public option, to pay for abortions." [13]

“If we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives.” (Brigham Young)


QUESTIONS

Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions for Elder Uchtdorf:

  • Do you believe in the sanctity of God's words as contained in the Standard Works?
  • Do you believe the scriptures which reaffirm the sanctity of life?
  • Do you believe abortion is a sin?
  • Then why did you donate money to federal office candidates whose policy positions run contrary to God's words regarding abortion?
  • As members, we are told that we can trust the Brethren  M. Russell Ballard said, “In today’s world, where 24 hours a day television and radio commentators spew forth conflicting opinions, where marketers compete for everything from your money to your vote, there is one clear, unpolluted, unbiased voice that you can always count on. And that is the voice of the living prophet and the apostles. Their only motive is ‘the everlasting welfare of your souls’ (2 Ne. 2:30).” [14] How is supporting, endorsing and donating to politicians who espouse anti-Christian values and principles enhancing the everlasting welfare of our souls?  
  • You could say that it was a family-based donation. But it has your name on it, doesn't it?
  • It could be postulated that one donation to one pro-choice candidate is a fluke. But several donations implies a philosophical and political alignment with them. How do you explain that?
  • Because you are “not employed,” “self-employed” or “retired,” is it accurate to say that you are performing your responsibilities as Chairman of the church's Missionary Executive Council, Chairman of the Correlation Executive Council, and being the primary contact for the church's Europe and Europe East areas [15, 16] without compensation?
  • If you are still being compensated for your responsibilities, and are not in fact “not employed,” “self-employed” or “retired,” how does it feel to be publicly lying to a U.S. regulatory agency?
  • What kind of example does this set for other members who look up to you as an example and role model?
  •  

SOURCES

1. https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/official-statement/political-neutrality
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_F._Uchtdorf
3. https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/03/12/family-dieter-uchtdorf/
4. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-536_e1pf.pdf
5. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1973/03/news-of-the-church/abortion-is-considered-revolting-sin-by-church?lang=eng
6. Pres. Spencer W. Kimball, "Guidelines to Carry Forth the Work of God in Cleanliness," Ensign, May 1974, p. 7, 9.
7. The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, November 1995, p. 102
8. https://twitter.com/ReverendWarnock/status/1329190179735826439?s=20
9. https://www.ajc.com/news/black-ministers-send-open-letter-to-warnock-asking-him-to-change-pro-choice-stance/LWFRQI5AEFHW3KNCNMJZMGF7TY/
10. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/warnock-not-condemning-socialism-georgia-senate-debate
11. https://twitter.com/ossoff/status/1211677548905664512
12. https://electjon.com/jon-ossoff-statement-on-supreme-court-ruling-upholding-womens-medical-privacy/
13. https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-joe-biden-donald-trump-climate-us-supreme-court-598d9adf4626a7faadffc73563fed360
14. M. Russell Ballard, in “Sustaining Our Prophets and Apostles,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also “Here Am I, Send Me” (Brigham Young University devotional, Mar. 13, 2001), 5, speeches.byu.edu
15. "Assignments Announced for Elder Uchtdorf: Apostle oversees Europe, key Church departments", Newsroom, LDS Church, January 22, 2018.
16. "So what is Mormon apostle doing now? For now he is overseeing global LDS missionary efforts," David Noyce, sltrib.com. Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 27 March 2019.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

When the Brethren’s Lack of Discernment Cost Lives, the Church's Reputation and Funds

As members, we are told that when it comes to the Church's leaders,

“Their voices can be trusted. Their voices are: clear, unpolluted, unbiased. You can always count on them. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, nor the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord.” [1]

“In today’s world, where 24 hours a day television and radio commentators spew forth conflicting opinions, where marketers compete for everything from your money to your vote, there is one clear, unpolluted, unbiased voice that you can always count on. And that is the voice of the living prophet and the apostles. Their only motive is ‘the everlasting welfare of your souls’ (2 Ne. 2:30).” [2]

“There is one thing which we should have exceedingly clear in our minds. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, nor the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord.” [3]

“…We will not and … cannot lead you astray.” [4]

“Keep the eyes of the mission on the leaders of the Church. … We will not and … cannot lead [you] astray.” [4]

“Always keep your eye on the President of the church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, even if it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it but you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.” [5]

“You keep your eyes riveted on the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We will not lead you astray. We cannot. Let me tell you why. Every week that I am in town, I attend a meeting of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve on the fourth floor of the Salt Lake Temple. If you could see the process by which decision and direction comes from that meeting, you would have a deep sense of confidence and comfort that the will of the Lord is being taught by the leaders of the Church. So keep your eyes riveted on the leadership of the Church. While individuals may falter, the body of general Church leadership will remain steadfast and true. If someone tells you that they have received revelation that the First Presidency and the Twelve have not received, run away from them.” [6]

Yet all these quotes (spoken by church apostles/prophets about church apostles/prophets) do not apply to circumstances in which they are regularly and personally meeting with a man who is consistently deceiving the church of untold thousands of dollars, about to ruin the church's reputation and will murder two individuals mere minutes before meeting with an apostle (who is now next in line for the church's presidency).

"Murder Among the Mormons"


On the morning of Oct. 15, 1985, a homemade bomb exploded in downtown Salt Lake City, killing financial consultant Steve Christensen, who collected historical documents. Shortly afterwards, a second bomb went off in Holladay, UT, killing Kathy Sheets, the wife of Christensen’s former boss.

The next day, a third bomb went off in a car parked in downtown Salt Lake City. It seriously injured document dealer Mark Hofmann and set off an investigation that lasted more than a year, resulting in Hofmann’s lifetime imprisonment.

35 years later, most members have only a vague recollection at best regarding Mark Hofmann and his murders.  [7]

What most don't remember is another victim of Hofmann's maniacal mayhem: the church's reputation.


The Church Deceived in 1980 

 In 1980, Hofmann claimed that he had found a 17th-century King James Bible with a folded paper gummed inside. [8]  The document seemed to be the transcript that Joseph Smith's scribe Martin Harris had presented to Charles Anthon, a Columbia classics professor, in 1828. According to Joseph Smith–History, the transcript and its unusual reformed Egyptian characters were copied by Smith from the golden plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon. 

Hofmann actually constructed his version to fit Anthon's description of the document, and its discovery made Hofmann's reputation. Dean Jessee, an editor of Joseph Smith's papers and the best-known expert on handwriting and old documents in the Church’s Historical Department, concluded that the document was authentic. The Church announced the discovery of the Anthon Transcript in April and purchased it from Hofmann for more than $20,000. [9]



Why can't discernment no longer help true prophets and apostles detect when a forger and soon-to-be murderer is standing right next to them selling a bogus document?

The Church Deceived in 1981 


Hofmann arrived at Church Headquarters with a document which supposedly provided evidence that Joseph Smith had designated his son, Joseph Smith III (rather than Brigham Young) as his successor. In a forged cover letter, purportedly written by Thomas Bullock and dated January 27, 1865, Bullock chastises Young for having all copies of the blessing destroyed. Bullock writes that although he believes Young to be the legitimate leader of the LDS Church, he would keep his copy of the blessing. Such a letter, if true, would portray Young and, by extension, the LDS Church, in an unfavorable light. 

Hofmann tried to sell the letter to the Church’s chief archivist. Hofmann expected the church to "buy the blessing on the spot and bury it." When the archivist balked at the price, Hofmann offered it to the RLDS Church (now known as the Community of Christ), which had always claimed that the line of succession had been bestowed on Smith's descendants but had never had written proof. A scramble to acquire the document occurred, and Hofmann, posing as a faithful member, presented it to the LDS Church in exchange for items worth more than $20,000. [10]

Gordon B. Hinckley Deceived in 1983 


Hofmann bypassed the LDS Church's historical department and sold, for $15,000 to Gordon B. Hinckley (then second counselor in First Presidency), an 1825 Joseph Smith holograph purporting to confirm that Smith had been treasure hunting and practicing black magic five years after his First Vision. Then Hofmann leaked its existence to the press, after which the church was virtually forced to release the letter to scholars for study, despite previously denying it had it in its possession. [11]

The Church Deceived in 1984 


This is where we discuss the famous "Salamander Letter" -- a (forged) letter purported to reveal that a magical salamander guided Joseph Smith to the gold plates. It’s a shocking contrast to the Church’s orthodox account, which says the Angel Moroni appeared to Smith and led him to the plates. Hence the belief that the church bought controversial documents to hide them from the general public. 

Hoffman sold the forged “Salamander letter” to Steven F. Christensen on January 6, 1984, who then donated the letter to the church on April 12, 1985. Hinckley accepted the donation. [12]

1985: Hofmann Kills, then meets Dallin H Oaks 


On October 15, 1985, Hofmann killed document collector Steven Christensen (as well as injuring a secretary in the leg with shrapnel). Later the same day, a second bomb killed Kathy Sheets, the wife of Christensen's former employer. 

On the afternoon following the bombings, Hofmann met with LDS Church apostle Dallin H. Oaks about the McLellin collection, a meeting which fellow document collector Brent Metcalfe believed had religious significance to Hofmann. "He's just killed two people. And what does he do? He goes down to the church office building and meets with Dallin Oaks. I can't even imagine the rush, given Hofmann's frame of reference, that this would have given him. To be standing there in front of one of God's appointed apostles, after murdering two people, and this person doesn't hear any words from God, doesn't intuit a thing. For Hofmann that must have been an absolute rush. He had pulled off the ultimate spoof against God." [13]

Regarding that meeting, Oaks said Hofmann expected to be questioned by the police regarding the murders. ''He said he was worried about what he should say to them,'' said Oaks. ''I told him he should just answer their questions and tell them the truth.'' After about 10 minutes, Oaks said, Hofmann left.” [14]

The following day, Hofmann himself was severely injured when a bomb exploded in his car. Although police quickly focused on Hofmann as the suspect in the bombings. 

The Church Publicizes its Purchased Forgeries 


On April 28, 1985, the Church News published the full text of the Salamander Letter. This solidified the fact that the church had been unknowingly purchasing forged historical documents, with church funds, from Hofmann before the bombings. 

“But during the investigation, it has become evident that high officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were doing a brisk business with Hofmann. Hinckley said at a press conference that, starting in 1980, he had purchased about 40 documents from Hofmann. Only a few of them have been made public; others are in a church vault. Whether they cast any new light on the church's past is not known.” 

Hinckley himself fielded criticism for some time for "being duped" and being "unable to discern the evil intentions of a man like Hofmann". Hinckley later noted: 

“I frankly admit that Hofmann tricked us. He also tricked experts from New York to Utah, however. We bought those documents only after the assurance that they were genuine. And when we released documents to the press, we stated that we had no way of knowing for sure if they were authentic. I am not ashamed to admit that we were victimized. It is not the first time the Church has found itself in such a position. Joseph Smith was victimized again and again. The Savior was victimized. I am sorry to say that sometimes it happens.” [15]

1987: The Church’s Official Admission of Being Duped 


In the October 1987 Ensign Magazine, the Church published a list of forged documents that had been referenced in the Ensign so that readers would not refer to them in error. [10]

In the same magazine, Dallin H. Oaks explained the extent of the church’s dealings with Hofmann: 

“What President Hinckley said was that he had purchased two documents, and Church History Department personnel had acquired the rest.” [16] 

Oaks then defined what made up the totality of the documents acquired… 

“On 11 April 1986, after months of searching through its records and collections, the Church published a complete list of the forty-eight documents and groups of court records then known to have been acquired from Mark Hofmann. That list spoke for itself: It was a mixture of the already-published, the intriguing, the routine, and the trivial. Now, over a year later, we know that some of the forty-eight are forgeries, because they were named in the criminal charges and confessed by Hofmann during his questioning by prosecutors.” 

…and the associated costs: 

“all of these documents were listed publicly over a year ago, together with their total cash purchase price of $57,100, plus traded documents of undetermined value.” [16] 

But why were Hofmann's deceits not detected by the several Church leaders with whom he met? Here's Dallin H Oaks again...

“In order to perform their personal ministries, Church leaders cannot be suspicious and questioning of each of the hundreds of people they meet each year. Ministers of the gospel function best in an atmosphere of trust and love. In that kind of atmosphere, they fail to detect a few deceivers, but that is the price they pay to increase their effectiveness in counseling, comforting, and blessing the hundreds of honest and sincere people they see. It is better for a Church leader to be occasionally disappointed than to be constantly suspicious." [16]
 

QUESTIONS

Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:

  • So, "you can always count on" the Brethren. Would you agree if you were a close friend or relative of Mark Hofmann, Steven Christensen or Kathy Sheets?
  • “Church leaders cannot be suspicious and questioning of each of the hundreds of people they meet each year.” While this is true, I would think that sitting (in their own Church Headquarters office) across from a man who is about to commit multiple murders, while already deceiving church leaders and publicly robbing them of their credibility, would kind of rise above the rest.
  • So two dead people and the church's discernment powers in shambles is the price leaders "pay to increase their effectiveness in counseling, comforting, and blessing the hundreds of honest and sincere people"? Please explain. 
  • So, people getting blown up are "occasional disappointments"?
  • Although President Kimball was supposed to be a "seer" and have the power to "translate all records that are of ancient date" (Mosiah 8:13), he was unable to translate the characters which appear on the (fake) Anthon transcript. Was he a seer or not?
  • The Apostle Peter caught Ananias and Sapphira red-handed in their attempt to deceive the church with regard to a financial transaction: "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?" (Acts 5:3). This was not an atmosphere of trust and love. But now we are told that “Ministers of the gospel function best in an atmosphere of trust and love.” 
    • Why couldn’t a modern-day apostle do the same as Peter? 
    • Or have discernment dynamics among apostles changed so that they can only discern “in an atmosphere of trust and love”?
    • Does the “atmosphere” need to be one of “trust and love” in order for discernment to kick in?
    • If leadership can only discern “in an atmosphere of trust and love”, and aren’t expected to be suspicious and questioning around bad people, then how are the bad people ever to be detected and approached?
  • If church leaders had the discernment of Peter, could they have conceivably detected Hofmann's bombing plans? Could that discernment have saved lives and church funds? 

SOURCES

1.  Dallin H Oaks, “The Lord Leads His Church through Prophets and Apostles”, Ensign, March, 2020)
2.  M. Russell Ballard in “Sustaining Our Prophets and Apostles,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also “Here Am I, Send Me” (Brigham Young University devotional, Mar. 13, 2001), 5, speeches.byu.edu)
3.  Joseph Fielding Smith, “Eternal Keys and the Right to Preside,” Ensign, July 1972, p. 88)
4.  M. Russell Ballard, October 2014 General Conference)
5.  Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78)
6.  Russell M Ballard, “When Shall These Things Be?” BYU Devotional, March 12, 1996)
7.  https://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/tv/2021/02/23/murder-among-mormons/ 
8.  Robert Lindsey, A Gathering of Saints: A True Story of Money Murder and Deceit (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), p. 65-66.
9.  Ibid, p. 66-69
10.  Ibid, p. 80-81
11.  Allan D. Roberts, "The Truth is the Most Important Thing: A Look at Mark W. Hofmann, the Mormon Salamander Man" Archived 2008-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
12.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamander_letter
13.  Simon Worrall, "The Poet and the Murderer: A true story of literary crime and the art of forgery," 2002, p. 232, Also see Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 24, 1985
14.  Robert Lindsey, "The Mormons; Growth, Prosperity And Controversy", Time, Jan. 12, 1986
15.  Sheri L. Dew, Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley, page 432; FAIR sets the date of Mr. Hinckley's statement as October 18, 1995
16.  https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1987/10/recent-events-involving-church-history-and-forged-documents?lang=eng

Sunday, January 24, 2021

When government, corporations and the church takes away your God-given rights

Joseph Smith once said that "the Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God." [1] He is quoted several times as being a staunch supporter of the Bill of Rights. [2]  

Under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to seek and receive news and express opinions. [3]  Many countries flout this international standard by banning or severely restricting the freedom of speech. They enforce silence with imprisonment, digital and physical surveillance, and other forms of harassment.  

Brother Joseph would certainly be no fan of countries which abridge fundamental civil rights. And these days, there are quite a few of them. Today, the world's most censored countries include: [4]

1. Eritrea
2. North Korea
3. Turkmenistan
4. Saudi Arabia
5. China
6. Vietnam
7. Iran
8. Equatorial Guinea
9. Belarus
10. Cuba

In all of these countries, if the private sector (especially the media) exists at all, it is in complete and total lockstep with the country's totalitarian regime.

Sound familiar?

I haven't even started.

The Rise of the Anti-Civil Liberty American Communist Party

In all the countries I mentioned above (and many more that I didn't), several governments not only prefer abridged freedom of speech, but also "selective enforcement," where laws are unequally applied nationwide. [5] Selective enforcement is widely considered a legal abuse and a threat to the rule of law. [6] 

The "Democratic Party," which now runs the United States government (and its supporters) is itself philosophically aligned with the concept of selective enforcement of laws. For example:

  • It favors not only punishing those who vandalized the U.S. Capitol building, but also those who were nowhere near Washington D.C. yet are politically aligned with the protesters who entered the Capitol. For example, musician Ariel Pink made the mistake of attending Trump's pre-march address, and didn't go anywhere near the Capitol; after the rally, he returned to his hotel and fell asleep. But for the crime of attending a political rally, Pink was punished. His record label promptly dropped him like a hot potato. He's likely more virulent than COVID in the music industry, and probably on the no-fly list, too. Yet these same politicians were silent while Antifa and BLM were defying law enforcement, destroying businesses and in fact lives in various cities across the U.S last summer.
  • On May 16, 2017, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted, "Our election was hijacked. There is no question. Congress has a duty to #ProtectOurDemocracy & #FollowTheFacts. Was she ever charged with insurrection? No. Yet today, those who say the same about the 2020 Presidential Election are unfriended, blocked, silenced, blacklisted, threatened, jailed and worse.
  • Last summer, left-wing protesters destroyed a police precinct (and laid siege for several days) in downtown Minneapolis. Yet soon thereafter, the Democratic Party, big tech and even current Vice President (then Senator) Kamala Harris supported establishing the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which bailed out the insurrectionists.

So, when left-leaning protesters destroy property, businesses and lives, it's OK. It should be supported. But should anybody dare to be at least a little right-leaning, their lives and livelihoods should be destroyed. 

That's called "selective enforcement."

The Rise of Corporate Communism

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

So, you won't see Congress scrambling to take away your freedom of speech anytime soon. But they don't have to.

The Biden campaign enthusiastically touted "Joe Biden's Plan to 'Build Back Better' for American Workers." The JoeBiden.com website publicized "Build Back Better: Joe Biden's Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan for Working Families."


What does that mean?

"Build back better" is a World Economic Forum (WEF) plan to "reinvent capitalism" so that companies are more focused on the greater good, not profits. [7]  How to accomplish that? "A 'great reset' of capitalism," the WEF wrote in June, 2020. [8] Three months later, it was called "The Great Reset Initiative." [9] 

Another three months later, the WEF launched a new initiative called the "Davos Manifesto."    It posed the question, "What kind of capitalism do we want?" And it answered by laying out three possibilities - "shareholder capitalism" (like we have in the U.S.), "state capitalism" (like China's emerging markets) and "stakeholder capitalism," which "positions private corporations as trustees of society, and is clearly the best response to today's social and environmental challenges." [10]

The bottom line: You're in good with the world's economic leaders if you put "the greater good" over profits...even if it's going to sting a little.

"Clearly, companies should still seek to … maintain an entrepreneurial mindset," the WEF wrote. "But they should also work with other stakeholders to improve the state of the world … In fact, this latter proviso should be their ultimate purpose." [10]

This is essentially what then-Senator Kamala Harris called for -- insisting that their opponents should be forced to stop talking -- in a Presidential Primary Debate last year. [11] What did Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, Instagram and Twitter do as soon as the electoral vote was finalized? They set their sights on Parler, another social media app. Not one person in law enforcement or the media has shown any conclusive evidence between any of the criminals caught on camera at the Capitol Building and Parler. Parler committed no crimes. So why are they gone? It's because conservatives spoke to each other (which was considered dangerous) on Parler. So they killed it.


That's a small, very small, glimpse into how corporations driven by social consciences serve: they become the arbiters of proper and acceptable human behaviors. They become the dictators of governance.

Don't like what your political opponents are saying? Not only kill their accounts, but also the social media platforms they use. Destroy any business who dares hire them. First Amendment, whoosh. Gone.

Congress won't pass so-called common sense gun controls? No worries; private companies will restrict firearms' sales. Banks will restrict funds to companies selling firearms. Businesses will boot all gun-carriers from their businesses. Second Amendment, whoosh. Gone.

And elections? Well, I think we've seen what private enterprise, mass and social media can do when they put their hearts and minds to it.

With the "build back better" and "great reset" campaign criteria, "No mask, no entry" (which is now the normal brick-and-mortar sign) will evolve into "No vaccine, no entry" and eventually into "No vaccine proof, no buying or selling" -- all per the standards set by corporate heads and their WEF partners.

The Death of the Freedom of Speech

So it should come as no surprise that if these companies can kill a competitor without any political repercussions, they're pretty dang secure in knowing they can shut down your individual freedom of speech, too. 

The Courts have ruled that the First Amendment, which addresses government actions, does not apply to corporations, which are more powerful than they have ever been in our nation's history. So Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media can limit speech on their own platforms if they want to. [12] If they don't like your pro-Trump meme, they can kick you off. If they don't like your pro-Republican post, you can close your account.

The scope and depth of this liberal-leaning, unprecedented crackdown on civil liberties is so repugnant, immoral and anti-American, it should shock our sensibilities. 

It sure shocked Alexi Navalny, the Russian dissident who was apparently poisoned last year by the Putin government. He's watched the recent crackdown by American Communists and their allies in the media and big tech. His conclusion: "We have seen many examples in Russia and in China of such private companies becoming the state's best friends and enablers when it comes to censorship. This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world." 

So even in Russia, they know what's happening: America is witnessing the rise of communism dressed as social justice capitalism. It is the Russians, of all people, who know that it is dangerous and wrong.

This trend isn't just limited to mass and social media corporations. Earlier this month, PayPal (which is supposed to be a payment processor, not a political party or a law enforcement agency) suspended the accounts of Trump supporters who traveled to Washington D.C. It's not clear that any of these people participated in illegal acts. But we do know they were shut down for their political views. AIG Insurance also canceled the account of baseball legend Curt Schilling because of his conservative social media profile. [13] 

In 2017 (a few weeks after the aforementioned Pelosi tweet), a Bernie Sanders supporter tried to murder Republican congressmen at a baseball practice in Arlington, Virginia. He almost succeeded; he shot and almost killed Rep. Steve Scalise. Yet none of these "woke," morally aware corporations suspended donations to Bernie Sanders or Nancy Pelosi. These same companies also remained silent while BLM set fire to the Episcopal Church in front of the White House. They also said nothing while rioters destroyed a federal building in Portland, OR. 

The twin sister of selective enforcement is selective, biased journalism, which we see in virtually every news organization in the country today.

The Biden Era was originally touted as a return to normalcy. But it turns out that it is instead a new normal: silencing or eliminating the potential for dissent, blacklisting and threatening groups of people for their political beliefs. All for the "greater good."

Which leads us to a discussion about the Church's newly-revised General Handbook of Instructions...

How the Church Now Takes Away Your Membership Rights

One corporation which has also taken away your rights is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

D&C 102 is the doctrinal and administrative foundation of the church's membership disciplinary process. It is the foundation because it is canonized scripture, which assumes a preeminent status in all matters of doctrine unless the church, via the Law of Common Consent, approves a new canonized revelation which supersedes previous revelation. 

In a stake disciplinary council, the high council and stake presidency meet to deliberate upon the member's membership status. 

Although it is not called such, here is how a disciplinary council meeting is supposed to operate (per D&C 102):


Lest anyone doubt the approval of these procedures, here is what is recorded in the History of the Church:

"Bro. Joseph … said he would show the order of councils in ancient days as shown to him by vision. The law by which to govern the council in the Church of Christ. Jerusalem was the seat of the Church Council in ancient days. The apostle, Peter, was the president of the Council and held the keys of the Kingdom of God on the earth [and] was appointed to this office by the voice of the Savior and acknowledged in it by the voice of the Church. … It was not the order of heaven in ancient councils to plead for and against the guilty as in our judicial Courts (so called) but that every counsellor when he arose to speak, should speak precisely according to evidence and according to the teaching of the Spirit of the Lord; that no counsellor should attempt to screen the guilty when his guilt was manifest. That the person accused before the high council had a right to one half the members of the council to plead his cause in order that his case might be fairly presented before the President that a decision might be rendered according to truth and righteousness. … Bro. Joseph said that this organization was an ensample to the high priests in their Councils abroad. … It was then voted by all present that they desired to come under the present order of things which they all considered to be the will of God." [14] 

When the corrected minutes were later presented, Brother Joseph wrote, "We all raised our hands to heaven in token of the everlasting covenant, and the Lord blessed us with His Spirit. I then declared the council organized according to the ancient order, and also according to the mind of the Lord." [15] 

In December 2020, the church produced an updated General Handbook of Instructions (GHI). [16]  Here is a comparison of D&C 102 and the new GHI section concerning "Membership Councils":


As you can see, GHI 32.9.2 now makes the high council's involvement in the disciplinary process optional. This is important because D&C 102:2 tells us that "The high council was appointed by revelation for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church or the bishop's council to the satisfaction of the parties." 

But now, "Members of the high council do not normally participate in stake membership councils."  "However, the high council may participate in difficult situations (see Doctrine and Covenants 102:2). For example, the stake presidency may invite the high council to participate" in certain circumstances.

Although the GHI quotes D&C 102:2, it not only disregards, but it boldly supersedes, D&C 102:12-27. All without a vote of the members per the Law of Common Consent. [17]

Pres. George Albert Smith called the involvement of high councils tantamount to a "correct organization of a court on earth":

"I believe that there never was a more correct organization of a court on earth than our High Councils, for these men go to work and investigate a case, hear the testimony pro and con, the Councilors for each party litigant present the case, it is submitted to the President who sums up, gives his decision and calls on the Council to sanction it by their vote, and if they are not united, they have to go to work and try the case over again in order that they may ascertain more perfectly the facts in the case and be united in their decision."  [18]

Additionally, if a stake membership council is appealed, the matter is in the hands of the First Presidency. "The case is conducted again, according to the former pattern written, as though no such decision had been made." (D&C 102:27). Yet in the new GHI (32.13), the re-conducted case is now optional ("If a membership council is held to consider an appeal...")

Members (and even those who are barely members) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have rights. According to our canonized scriptures, they have the right to have their cases heard by a high council, an essential component endorsed by Joseph Smith and Pres. George Albert Smith. Members also have the right to have their case heard "as though no such decision had been made" by the First Presidency.

UPDATES

QUESTIONS

Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:

  • Do you believe the scriptures to be the revealed words of God?
  • Do you believe D&C 26:2 ("And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith.") to be the revealed word of God?
  • Do you believe that the General Handbook of Instructions has supremacy over the scriptures in terms of church operational procedures? If so, when did church members vote on this per the Law of Common Consent? 
  • Do you believe D&C 102:12-27 to be the revealed word of God?
  • When were the policies which overrode D&C 102:12-27 voted on by the general membership of the church?
  • Do you believe Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God?
  • Do you believe his statements regarding the importance of high councils?
  • Does God change his mind, or are his paths straight?
  • Why does the church no longer want high councilors to be part of disciplinary council meetings?
  • Why are appeals to the First Presidency no longer automatic?

SOURCES

1.   Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 147-48
2.   https://www.latterdayconservative.com/quotes/joseph-smith/
3.   https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
4.   https://cpj.org/reports/2019/09/10-most-censored-eritrea-north-korea-turkmenistan-journalist/
5.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_by_country
6.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_enforcement
7.   https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/now-is-the-time-for-a-great-reset/
8.   https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/to-build-back-better-we-must-reinvent-capitalism-heres-how/
9.   https://www.weforum.org/great-reset
10.   https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/12/why-we-need-the-davos-manifesto-for-better-kind-of-capitalism/
11.   https://youtu.be/MNwq_VgTmSs?t=281
12.   https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R45650
13.   https://www.libertybell.com/baseball-legend-curt-schilling-says-aig-cancelled-insurance-because-hes-conservative-but-heres-who-they-will-insure/
14.   "Kirtland High Council Minute Book," Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, pp. 29-32
15.   History of the Church, 2:32-33
16.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/general-handbook/32-repentance-and-membership-councils
17.   D&C 26:2
18.   George Albert Smith, "Necessity of Understanding," Journal of Discourses 10:59