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

4 comments:

Jared Livesey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Livesey said...

Dear Sir,

For the sake of discussion, let us grant your thesis - that the officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints neither practice nor teach the commandments of God as given in the scriptures, but have substituted in their place the commandments and precepts of men.

What would be the significance of that?

There are only two issues that seem relevant.

1. What is the individual’s responsibility with regards to the teaching and practicing of the commandments of God as they are contained in the scriptures?

In framing this question, we presume the individual actually believes the scriptures as they are written, without interpretation, for, if he does not believe them at literal face value, his attitude towards the commandments of God is no different in principle than that of the officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to your thesis: he neither believes them nor keeps them, but he substitutes something else for them and calls it the same thing.

2. Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presently possess exclusive authority from God to baptize?

If it does presently possess exclusive authority from God to baptize, then we must submit to its baptism and thus become and stay members of the Church or else forfeit salvation in the kingdom of heaven. In this case, it can’t help anyone to publicly decry any apparent inconsistencies or hypocrisies on the part of the leadership, since doing so can only have the effect of leading people out of the Church, thus damning them. We would have nowhere else to go, after all.

If it does not presently have exclusive authority from God to baptize, then we don’t need the Church. The inconsistencies or hypocrisies of the leadership wouldn’t be relevant to us, since we wouldn’t need them in order to keep the commandments of God as contained in the scriptures.

How might you answer these two questions?

Unknown said...

1. Your framing of this question is disingenuous-- there are many interpretations of scripture that place more authority upon current policy or practice (read false traditions) and/or strain credulity. These interpretations can safely be said to be false in light of the language set forth in the scripture (given verbatim) and our own God-given rational intellect.
2. There is no apparent historical or logical reason to assume the church has the exclusive authority to baptize, and even if it did, and used this exclusive authority properly, efforts to strip members of their membership unjustly would not be honored by God. Even if such individuals were shunned by the leaders and general membership this would not result in their being cut off from God, but rather would simply heap condemnation on the church. Also, just because the mainstream church does not have exclusive authority does not mean that having a church is not needful or that it cannot mend its ways and be the source of much good..

Jared Livesey said...

If I may -

Because individual salvation is contingent upon individually keeping the commandments of God, it is a good thing to both keep them and to persuade others to do likewise. That they are to be kept as written - that is, without interpretation[1] - is attested multiple times.

Moses, in the law, wrote:

Deut 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

Deut 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

From these, we see that there is not to be any written or oral tradition of binding interpretation of the law (no Talmud, no Manual of Discipline, no Didache, no Canon Law, no Church Handbook of Instructions, no Unwritten Order Of Things). The law and the commandments are to be kept as they are written, as Alma wrote to his son:

Alma 37:20 ... [B]e diligent in keeping the commandments of God as they are written.

Even in the D&C, we see this same principle popping up:

D&C 18:1-4, 17, 30
1 Now, behold, because of the thing which you, my servant Oliver Cowdery, have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words:
2 Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things [IE, the Book of Mormon] which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true.
3 And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;
4 For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock.
...
17 Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.
...
30 And you have that which is written before you; wherefore, you must perform it according to the words which are written.

It was failure to do what Jesus commanded in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, as it is written, that has brought The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints under condemnation.

D&C 84:54-59
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

Inasmuch as we have been baptized as a witness before God and men that we are willing to keep the commandments of God all the days of our lives, it being a “suicide pact” as it were, then it becomes us to keep them as they are written, not failing to do so through fear of what men may do to us or say about us. If we seek to persuade our fellows to honor their covenant of obedience to God, then we ought to teach them the commandments as they are written so that all that hear may understand how to keep them.

A man will not receive instruction from one whom he considers his enemy. Our ecclesiastical education, including its defects, is shared by our leaders, whose souls are also precious in the sight of God. How will you persuade them to keep his words as they are written?

[1] Hypokrites, the word transliterated in the New Testament as “hypocrite,” apparently originally meant “interpreter” (see https://chs.harvard.edu/CHS/article/display/6125.appendix-the-origin-of-the-term-hypokrit─ôs ) This meaning may help clarify an episode which is otherwise mysterious (Luke 11:44-45 - remembering lawyers are interpreters of the law), as well as make clearer Jesus’s criticisms of the scribes and Pharisees.