Why do you stay? (A response to the “Where will you go” talk by Elder Ballard)

Compare and contrast to the “Where will you go” talk by Elder Ballard]

[Update 2/8/2017 11 a.m.: I originally said “Elder Holland” but it was Ballard. Regardless I linked to the right talk]

My grandfather was nearing the end of his life.  his hard years as a coal miner, sheet rocker and handiman had finally taken their toll on his fragile frame.  A cancerous lump grew on his face, un-opperated on as the rest of his body was giving out anyway.  My brother rushed to record some final interactions before his life faded.  He related the following tale:

He grew up in Mormon polygamous Mexico, and when he was old enough, he was invited to one of the youth activities.  Upon arriving at the church he quickly learned that a black man and woman had evaded the bank by saving up enough cash to buy a house outright.  Black men and women were not allowed to get mortgages at that time.

The youth activity was to burn down the house.

My grandfather ran home as fast as he could to fetch his father and once my great-grandfather learned about the activity they both ran to stop it.  They arrived too late.  The house was burning.  The woman had run into the house to save her very last possession.  A piece of pottery with silver dollars in it.  Covered in ash and soot as her dreams literally burned down by her, the men took the urn and smashed it, handing out the slightly melted silver dollars to the boys as a memento of the activity.

My grandfather never returned to church after that.

I can hardly listen to the cassette without weeping.

When I review the “Race and the Priesthood” essay, and it declares solemnly at the end that these things were never taught as doctrine, I feel exhausted.

Why then do you still stay?

When Prophets made declarations like Brigham Young’s that if a man “mixes with the African race” he should be put to “death on the spot”, taught in conference from the pulpit are so quickly dismissed as “not doctrine” or “speaking as a man”; how then can you continue to follow such flawed and heartless leaders?

Maybe you think as those in scripture “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” and trust that there is a greater understanding.  Maybe you rely on the words of those who encourage you to “Stay in the boat”

With this record and question as a backdrop, I wish to speak directly to the believing people of the Church—young in years of age or young in years of membership or young in years of faith. One way or another, that should include just about all of you.

Observation number one regarding this account is that when facing the challenge of love of fellow man over the dictates of leaders, my grandfather truly followed the scriptures in loving his neighbor, regardless of color, as himself.  He didn’t shy from speaking out when he saw an activity that was wrong. He didn’t excuse the behavior of others or hide behind rhetoric or questions of the definition of doctrine.  I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this man! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, put the love of neighbor far over the dictates of man! In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent my grandfather’s, but only a boy at the time, challenge to stand for the right. These challenges already come to all of us as the Leaders of the Church belittle those who leave, who have a different sexual orientation or who do not fit within the norms. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, place love over following leaders who admit they can get the very fundamentals of doctrine wrong.

The second observation is a variation of the first. When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest alone or turn to those within the church leadership for guidance.  My Grandfather, instead sought help from someone who had a firm moral foundation that he could trust:  his father.  There was no debate about the morally correct action.  No hesitation or praying about what was right.  They simply took action. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of faith is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of doubt. It is not! Faith can lead good men to do evil, just as all the men who burnt that house down did.  Every one of them a leader in Zion.  Everyone of them had faithfully listened to the words of the prophet of their day.  And everyone of them now disavowed by the official essay on LDS.org as simply blindly following the precepts of men.  Doubting was not the focus, but being in touch with his internal conscience and immediately reacting in accordance to his own inner-voice over the external voice of church leadership.

So let us all remember the clear message of historical account:

* Be honest with yourself internally; life is full of people who will try to convince you to take actions against your own conscience both within and without the church. But if you and your family want to be choose the right, don’t simply default to what leaders say or you could find yourself misled into hateful, misguided paths purely of men like those who burned the woman’s house down.

Furthermore, you have more reason to question than you think you do on what the church accepts and rejects because of what the Book of Mormon calls “the greatness of the evidences.”

* “Ye shall know them by their fruits,” Jesus said; and the impact to suicide of LGBT, the harm caused by the blatant racism such as the Indian Placement Program, or the misogynistic pressures put on the world’s largest women’s program being dictated and needing permission by and from men.

* The blatant and common for-profit efforts of leaders that trump and dictate their interactions with the religion.  The Book of Mormon warns of Nehor and those who would pad their pockets by preaching the word of God.  How then can one look aside as the organization pays the leaders salaries higher than some governors, their schedules reveal how little they interact with the church, and the vast structure of Deseret Management funneling for-profit efforts directly to their pockets.

Brothers and sisters of the human race, this organization clearly is primarily a real-estate venture and has been since Henry D. Moyle pushed the church to the brink of bankrupcy in 1961 in order to buy 0.7% of Florida for cattle ranching (now 2%).  It is evident in the purchase of a mall for more than the church donated to humanitarian causes over the history of the church. It is evident in the dismissal of youth suicides in areas of high membership.  In dismissal of agitations for priesthood roles for women.  In dismissing with harsh tones those who leave the religion, turning family members against one another where there should exist love.

If church leaders press you to do things against your conscience, to belittle your family, friends and others for having doubts  please don’t hyperventilate.  Simply stand for your moral convictions.   Claims of the church need to be examined, understood, and researched. In reality, what we know do not know can and will hurt us. And remember, in this world, everyone is impacted by the realities of life.

So be rigorous regarding human failings—don’t fall for the foibles of those who call themselves leaders  in a Church that claims they are led by volunteer, mortal men and women in one talk, and then admits; once exposed that leadership is actually paid.  In another talk, or primary song, the demand one follow the prophet without consideration or doubt. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. But that doesn’t mean we must accept bad advice as divine or immoral dictates as edicts of the universe. And when you see imperfection, remember that the only way to correct it is for feedback to make it to leadership and for those leaders to be held accountable for change. As one gifted writer has suggested, “Accountability breeds response-ability” (Stephen R. Covey). Without accountability there is no ability to respond to mistakes and make lasting change.

Last observation: When we see corruption, fraud or abuse within an organization, we need not remain silent. If we want to make life better for future generations, as my Grandfather helped me, we must speak up and tell our stories.  The scriptures warn of Pharisees, Nephite priests and even prophets who misled entire generations leading even to bloodshed.  Indeed the primary messages of the scriptures seems to indicate that a people need not only be faithful to their God, but to hold leadership accountable at every level. I testify that in response to that kind of scrutiny, no underage individuals will be forced into difficult moral decisions with which they must wrestle the rest of their lives.

I said I was speaking to the young. I still am. My mother told me when I was a young boy, that her Sunday School teacher proposed she become his fifth wife.  She refused and held him accountable.  He died only a few years ago, in the penitentiary by the point of the mountain.  When corrupt leaders abuse the money donated, commit fraud, or abuse those precious souls in our care, may we never dismiss those as simply being minor issues of frail mortals.  When words are spoken by leaders that are blatantly and demonstrably false, such as that “Homosexuality is a choice” (decried even on Mormon.org) may they be removed from their positions no matter how high.  And when organizations commit these atrocities without apology or correction and leaders go unchallenged or even be financially rewarded for these misdeeds, may we have the moral conviction to walk away.

Now, with the advantage that nearly 10 years give me since I left the church I declare some things I now know.

* I know that “anti-mormon lies” is a phrase that means “real history we’d rather you didn’t know about”.

* I know that Joseph Smith had over thirty relationships with women that are called “wives” by the church.  That a majority were non-consensual, which is admitted to by the church.  That He lied to his wife, and that the church lied to me and my family about this for generations

* I know that general authorities are paid in direct conflict with scripture. That Josephs Polygamy is in direct contrast with scripture.  That the book of Abraham is not what it claims to be, “Written by Abraham’s own hand upon papyrus”.

* I know that Joseph Smith, who acknowledged that he wasn’t perfect, but the church still reverse and lies by omission about was declared a fraud, and correctly jailed on numerous occasions for actual crimes including illegal banking, divining, and that he committed treason in the Council of Fifty, whose notes were just revealed this year.

* I also know that the Book of Mormon is very clearly a forgery, including fictitious and anachronistic items such as “Brass Plates” containing Isaiah before it was written, Steel Swords in tower of Babel times, and ancient submarines carrying animals that didn’t exist in the new world.

* I know that we can be better men and women than any religion would manipulate us into being, because of the potential for the systems of organized religion to corrupt is nearly a guaranteed

* I know that 15 men whom you sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators absolutely have no claim to priesthood power, and are simply managers of a real-estate company, that consumes your donations in order to spin off interest for their real-estate investments.

These things I declare to you with the conviction of one who has spent years in research, one whose lineage is tied with the success and failure of the church, and whose family line repeatedly took moral conviction and conscience over what a leader said; and is all the better for it.

I say this in the very solemn words of one who wishes you the best in life.

~Mithryn

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The Man who wrote the LDS Essay on the Book of Abraham was a fraud?

Well at least the conclusion that the Book of Abraham has

“parts of standard funerary texts that were deposited with mummified bodies”.

Who wrote the essay?  I’m not sure, it’s unsigned, but what LDS scholar claimed this idea first?

To answer that we need to travel back to 1968 when the LDS church leadership asked Hugh Nibley to publish a set of articles in the New Era on the Joseph Smith Papyri, the Book of Abraham, and what it means.  Why in 1968?

In 1966, Dr. Aziz S. Atiya of the University of Utah noticed that these fragments were clearly part of Smith’s collection of papyri. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) acquired the fragments in 1967. “I Have a Question”. Ensign. July 1988. Retrieved July 9, 2014.)

The church now had the fragments due to a lucky find at The Met, and they needed someone to translate them.  So who better than Egyptologist Hugh Nibley? Except he wasn’t an Egyptologist yet.  He knew Arabic, Latin and Greek, but no Egyptian.  So he wrote a letter to a Dr. Dee Nielson,

How do we know that church leaders approved of Nibley doing this?  He published routinely his findings in Improvement Era, for example February 1968, pp. 40–40H.

With our readers, the staff of The Improvement Era will be looking forward with eager anticipation to additional developments in this fascinating story, and the unfolding of the meaning of the heiroglyphics and illustrations on these valuable manuscripts as they are given by Dr. Nibley in his articles.

And according to a memorandum from President Tanner’s office files photographs of the papyri were then given to Nelson “at the suggestion of Dr. Hugh Nibley” on January 5, 1968. (This was found by Wilbur Lingle on May 18th, 1977, after an “extensive search” because President Tanner had written to a member via telegram “In Reply to your inquiry, I say that I have never Authorized D. J. Nelson to translate the pearl ofGreat Price Papyrus. Signed: N. Eldon Tanner’ )

So what did Nelson Find?

Papyrus

Continue reading

Posted in Apologetics | 2 Comments

Dating Fanny Alger (most likely 1835 – 1836)

DatingFannyAlger

Link goes to a PDF.  Research is someone else’s.  Text of research below:

Dating the Joseph Smith – Fanny Alger Relationship

 

Identifying the exact year of the marriage or relationship between Joseph Smith and Fanny Alger is challenging.  Eight of the nineteen accounts in the chart above provide dates that range between 1832 and 1836.[1]

  Continue reading

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17 new reasons to doubt in 2017

When the CES letter came out, the apologists complained that the issues brought up were “old issues” and despite their answers to many of the old issues being wrong, untested, or simply insufficient, they expected people to doubt the CES letter simply because the issues were “old”.

As such, here are 17 “new” reasons to doubt provided, found, or published in 2016:

17) The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, when briefed about Wikileaks were more concerned with contributors’ sexual orientation than they were about church security.  Being visionaries and prophets, they totally missed this would be leaked.

16) Jeremy Runnels was excommunicated (or excommunicated the church) for asking questions.  The very reason Joseph Smith got answers from God is now grounds for being removed from the church.  That should disturb even the most devout member.

15) Former Senator Gordon Smith admitting he was “Church Broke” and would do whatever the leaders asked of him, which included revealing classified information

14) Elizabeth Smart, member and sex captive of a prophet at age 14, speaks out against the church’s teachings

13) The Price of Rugs in the Celestial Room was leaked to be $17,000.  This caused a lot of people to want financial transparency and realize there was none.  They start #FightTheNewRug in response

12) Stake Presidents and Bishops removing temple recommends for associating with family members.  Possibly not new, but something that should give people pause in any case

11) Internal Survey of Church History shows that most members are concerned about the role of women in the church.  And yet the church refuses to consider the implications.

10) Church History Department video leaked explains they don’t do history but instead were to focus on serving the opinions of leaders

9) Church leaders wonder about altering members via drugs in their meetings

8) Church Leaders  discussed using members in political agendas

7) BYU had to revise its Honor Code section Title IX as it protected rapists and sexual harassers instead of victims

6) Dieter Uchtdorf compared the seerstone rock with an iPhone

5) Romney/Trump interactions along with Romney not running for President because Jeb Bush visited him.  Along with this is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing for Trump’s inauguration after the Deseret News suggested members shouldn’t vote for Trump.

4). The Brass Plates – The gold plates have been criticized for years but the Brass Plates were addressed in my ABC’s and Mormonism series.  They are anachronistic in the following ways:

  • Book binding wasn’t invented yet
  • The 5 books of Moses were not assembled into a single scroll yet
  • Brass etching via acid was not invented yet, which means they had to be engraved increasing the size of each brass plate significantly.

That leads one to wonder how much they would have weighed.  1000 lbs at the minimum or about 2/3 the weight of a cow.  And Nephi walked out with them while wearing armor which leads us to…

3) Armor.  Also from the ABC’s of Science and Mormonism, Nephi, Laman and Lemuel all knew about the stuff because Nephi wore Laban’s armor, so Captain Moroni inventing it shouldn’t have surprised Zarahemna.  Even worse, the Lamanites invent armor in Alma 3 years before Captain Moroni enters the scene (or is even born) in response to Limhi’s people.

2) Wine.  Key to the story of escaping Nephites and King Noah’s Winepress, there was no wine in pre-columbia America.

1) Opioid death in Utah, but Utah declares Porn to be a “Health Crisis”

Opiod death utah

There you go, 17 things that happened this year that still aren’t addressed on FAIRMormon or in any literature that should make anyone take a real long hard look at their religion and wonder where it is headed, and what the next year will bring.

Posted in Current issues | 3 Comments

If you follow the leaders you could end up “a whore in heaven”

Rachel Ivins was raised by Quakers and she had a fault.  She liked to sing hymns.  This one sin was the gateway to a host of activities that were scandalous in her own eyes.

You see Rachel’s family was contacted by a missionary named Jedediah “Jeddy” Grant.  After she joined the Mormons her family complained that she was “all levity”.

singing-hymns

wild and crazy sinning on display

Rachel was 20 years-old when she came to Nauvoo and is quoted by those around her to have charm and refinement. While little is known of her daily Nauvoo activity and interests, her bosom companion was Sarah Kimball one of the wives of Joseph Smith.  Some of her statements are found through Sarah:

 But in private and informal moments, he seemed distressingly “unProphet-like.”  – Rachel Ivins on Joseph Smith

“He would play with the people, and he was always cheerful and happy,” Rachel Ivins on Joseph Smith

Once while visiting the Ivins’ on the Sabbath, Joseph requested the family girls sing the popular “In the Gloaming.” Rachel believed singing and newspaper reading breached the Sabbath and responded with a mortified, “Why Joseph, it’s Sunday!”

Proper and reserved.  And young and desirable and within the reach of Joseph.  You know where this is going.

When she found out Joseph was going to propose to her to be a plural wife like Sarah Kimball she left Nauvoo and ran back to her more reserved family.

She left with the famous statement:

[I would] “sooner go to hell as a virtuous woman than to heaven as a whore.”

And the story might have ended with her as an exmormon who considered herself a virtuous woman except the Prophet’s brother showed up after Joseph died.  Knocked on the door and reminded her of the fun of singing.  She moved out to Utah and in with her “missionary” Jeddy Grant.  They would get married which is sweet and a romantic story except she became his seventh wife, which filters into Rachel’s world view as “a whore in heaven”.

And by following the prophet she happily gave birth to a baby boy… and Jeddy died 9 days later.

Brigham quickly remarried all of Jeddy’s wives to his brother George.  But George had been obedient to Brigham and killed a lot of Indians in the Utah Indian wars in 1851.  He self medicated with alcohol and after a particular public drunkeness incident all seven wives were divorced from George.

Heber, Rachel’s son, said she refused to talk about that whole time period and implicated that abuse may have occurred. She did say

 “One could be happy in the marriage relations without love,” she reportedly advised, “but could never be happy without respect.”

Regardless, Rachel refused to get remarried and started a bed and breakfast where the LDS manuals tell us she and her son were so destitute he didn’t have a proper coat and she sewed late into the night until Heber would help her work the sewing machine so she could continue.

She died a member of the relief society presidency.

So there you go, if you follow the LDS leadership you can end up a whore by your own standard, a single mother so poor you can’t take care of your own kid; while you despise marriage and refuse the institution, just like God’s plan says.  In with the deal you can be forced to marry an abusive alcoholic.

Admittedly this sequence isn’t common in the modern church, but the pattern of going against one’s inner conscious in favor of whatever the leaders prefer and it not being best for the individual will continue as we do more moral tales

 

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Timeline of the Proclamation on the Family

Credit to /u/KickintheFunk from Reddit

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“The purpose of the church history department, rather than the purpose of church history, this is really the purpose of our department, is to help God’s children make and keep sacred covenants”.

“The purpose of the church history department, rather than the purpose of church history, this is really the purpose of our department, is to help God’s children make and keep sacred covenants”.

That’s the church historian, saying that the purpose of Church History is to convince people to believe in the church, not to provide history.

He then rebuts the History Purists who think history should tell its own story.

I’m a purist.  Give me real history, rather than a sales pitch.  I have little respect for marketing wolves in Historian clothing

“They [scholars] are of secondary importance to us”.

He also says the purpose of having scholars is to appear “Respectable, and have scholarly stature”

This is psuedo-science defined.

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Seminary Lesson 7: Matthew 3 – Organizations need to Repent

Lesson 7: Matthew 3

This lesson is one of the most fascinating lessons ever.  No, I’m serious; I’d put it up on the top list of things that logic students, psychology students, business majors and theologians all should study.   It’s about “repentance” and that organizations need to repent too.

You see, it doesn’t just focus on the personal need to repent, like most Christian texts would focus on.  Sure, it begins with “Bring fruits meet for repentance” and John the Baptist, but then it focuses on the Pharisees as a group; and their institution’s need to course correct.  Every organization makes mistakes and needs to course correct from time to time; and so the businessman has a lesson to be learned.  But with the corporate nature of the modern LDS church, I think this lesson takes a deeper dive.  The Pharisee behavior is so similar to what the LDS official position represents that the lesson can be immediately re-directed at the organization that wrote it.  Links to illustrate the hypocrisy will be provided.

John the Baptist preached and baptized in Judea. Jesus Christ traveled from Galilee to the Jordan River, where He was baptized by John. God the Father testified that Jesus is His Beloved Son.

Activity:

Ask the class to imagine how they would feel if one of the students in the class were to get up and begin taking personal items that belong to the other students. Then ask them to imagine that after taking each item, the offending student apologizes but continues to take items from other students.

Ask

  • What would you think about this student’s apologies?
  • How might this student’s actions be similar to trying to repent insincerely?

Compare and contrast:

The LDS church’s stance on race and the priesthood in Brigham’s day

LDS Essay on Race and the Priesthood; note that the church does not apologize

LDS leaders saying they refuse to apologize:

“I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them,” Oaks said in an interview Tuesday. “We sometimes look back on issues and say, ‘Maybe that was counterproductive for what we wish to achieve,’ but we look forward and not backward.”

The church doesn’t “seek apologies,” he said, “and we don’t give them.” Dallin H. Oaks, Jan 30th, 2015 Trib talk interview

Ask the students how they’d feel if the thieving student from the previous example didn’t apologize, but just stopped taking things when caught.  (Distrust, “how would you know they stoppped taking items, are likely answers but this is their opinion, let them express it freely)

Point out that the church is attempting the same behavior with other minority groups

Links:

Invite a student to read Matthew 3:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to look for what happened that would help prepare the people for the Savior’s ministry.

Invite a student to read Matthew 3:7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for whom John spoke to.

Now the Official lesson encourages the teacher to show the students a Palestinian viper

Palestinian-viper-e1462256212816

This isn’t anti-Semitic because John the Baptist says it, and he was a Jew… right?

To be clear, this is the official lesson manual of the LDS church telling not-very-trained teachers to instruct kids that the leaders of another religion are vipers; and actually showing them a viper.

What was it that the Pharisees and Sadducees did that was so bad?

You may want to point out that the Pharisees and Sadducees felt threatened by John, as he drew many people away from their evil influence and false teachings

Elder Ballard recently gave a talk I spoke about where he encourages people to stay away from blogs and podcasts.  They excommunicated John Dehlin.  It appears that the Pharisees and Sadducees (who I’m sure love that they are lumped together, they always got along so well) were guilty of the crime of wanting to keep people from apostatizing from their belief system to follow a “lone voice in the wilderness”.

I don’t think it is respectful to compare the leaders of another religion to snakes, I am just pointing out the hypocrisy; in the hopes that emphasis on divisive rhetoric like this can be removed in future versions.  However photo-shopping Elder Ballard wearing snakes seems about par for the course for the CES systems level of respect.

Write the phrase Bring forth fruits meet for repentance on the board.

I hate this 1920’s style of having the teacher write it up on the board while students watch. I’d rather it said to do this prior to class, as every teacher does it anyway.  Maybe we could modernize it with “Text this to your students”

You may want to explain that the phrase “meet for” means “worthy of”

Remind the class of the scenario you asked them to imagine at the beginning of the lesson

Students may use different words but should identify the following truth: We demonstrate true repentance to the Lord as we change our desires and actions to follow His teachings

Now ask the students if the Race and the Priesthood essay, and Dallin H. Oaks words that the church never apologizes for what it has done means that the church is unrepentant.  Ask if it would be worthy of baptism.  Remind the kids of the how John disliked religious leaders and that John combined the thoughts about needing to repent and the corrupt religious leaders.  Ask them if John might have been calling the leaders to repentance even more than speaking to the people who were already there to be baptized.

But what would I know, I’m just one of those blogs that cries out like a voice from the wilderness about what the CES system teaches.

Exercise in Logic: Write out the logical arguments used in this lesson.  Point out that if A->B where Repentance implies worthy for an individual; and that an organization is a group of individuals; how organizations must consist of repenting individuals to be a worthy organization.  Review if that logic is sound.  Are there exceptions where organizations need to be non-repentant?

Exercise in Theology: Can you find any other organizations in scripture that are expressly called to repentance (examples might be kings, like Nebuchadnezzar or Christ calling Israel to repent as a group, or the Tower of Babel that was all cursed together).  Discuss whether an organization that refuses to apologize for wrong is apostate.  Use scriptures to point out how refusal to repent keeps men from god.

Exercise in Business: Highlight some of your organizations failings.  Discuss how one could “repent” of these mistakes publicly, righting those who were harmed, and altering the course so it doesn’t happen again.  It is typical to affix blame in these cases, but blame matters less than the change.  Talk about how correcting bad behaviors can be profitable for a business

Invite students to ponder any desires or actions they may need to change in order to truly repent. Encourage them to demonstrate true repentance by changing any desires and actions that are not in accordance with God’s teachings.

I invite the LDS leadership to ponder any desires or actions they may need to change in order to truly repent, including publicly admitting historical issues and apologizing for them (including Mountain Meadows, LGBT treatment, and shaming of those who leave the faith).  I encourage you to demonstrate true repentance by changing the desires that drive these actions that are not in accordance with God’s teaching, or basic human kindness.

 

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If God were a Superhero…

Which superhero would He be most like?

Would he be like Batman?

batman-tas

I am Vengeance, I am the night, I am… BATMAN!

Working in mysterious ways, the perfect man, never killing even the guilty, protecting the innocent and always ensuring Justice?

Would he be like Spiderman? 

Spidey-hands

With Great Power comes great responsibility

Is god the under-dog from queens, awkwardly being given power and trying to save everyone and get his homework done on time?

Is God like Captain America?

No you move

I’m pretty sure there’s only one God Ma’am, and he doesn’t dress like that

Fighting the Nazi’s and standing up for Good ol’ American Values; like traditional marriage and love and never altering his position once he knows truth?

Would he be like Thor or Superman?

ThorJesus

Fortunately, I am mighty!

An other-worldy insanely powered individual who maintains His own code of ethics while enjoying combat to protect the innocent?  At first glance, this one is pretty tempting to go with this one, but I’m going to argue no to all of them

God isn’t like Batman, as He killed a huge amount of guilty people throughout the bible, from the 3,000 individuals who rejected the commandments Moses brought down from Sinai, to ordering the children of Israel to commit Genocide.  Beyond that; He also killed the innocent when he flooded the earth.  So, not Batman, or Spiderman.  Brigham Young seceded from the United States when he formed Deseret; so not very Captain America.  The very different commands issued from time to time as doctrine is very un-Steve Rogers as well.

And god rarely drops in to intervene when there is a fight.  He doesn’t use His powers to stop crime, defend the innocent from machine guns, bouncing bullets off his chest or slinging His hammer to protect villages.

No… god is most like Magneto

jesus-magneto

“You are a god among insects. Never let anyone tell you different.”

Here me out.  The LDS God wants people to believe his particular ideology.  Anyone who disagrees is labelled an enemy (A “Lamanite” in the Book of Mormon is anyone not with the Nephites, Brigham calls anyone not a saint a “gentile”, etc.) There is a focus on conversion of those who have not heard of their cause, but refusal to join or leaving the “brotherhood” results in ostracization or shunning.  He grants superpowers and special privileges to those who follow him (I mean, those who follow him have natural talents that are special that are enhanced, but more powers are revealed as they follow him, like a patriarchal blessing).  And he is willing to kill both innocent and guilty to achieve his ends.

In 3 Nephi 9, we hear how God / Jesus destroys entire cities; where innocent and guilty were mixed, without remorse; He enshrouds the remaining innocent (as the guilty are all dead) with darkness for three days.  He touts this destruction to get people to bow to His ideology; and he descends from the sky slowly in a very Magneto style.

God is not good.  God is not kind.  The God of the Book of Mormon is an ideologue who will use death, destruction and utter fear to enslave Homo Sapiens until they agree his chosen group are meant to rule the earth.

All Hail the Magneto-God

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Elder Ballard and Pokemon, continued

I was cut off before I finished my last post on Elder Ballard’s Stake talk, and didn’t get to the Pokemon portion.

I posted the talk to Reddit”s pokemon.reddit.com and pokemongo.reddit.com

Pikachu BoM

Both places gave interesting responses.  From people who stated they met their spouses playing Pokemon, to people whose weddings involved Pokemon themes, to any number of discussions around father’s getting time with their kids on walks due to the game, rather than the kids playing in the basement, it”s clear that this so-called prophet of God is clueless, cinnamon-toast-crunch- style as to why this game is a hit.

i-may-be-blind-cinnamon-toast-crunch

And that is my families experience too.  We have enjoyed poke-walks together, caught rare Pokemon on family vacations, and thrilled together at a shared experience.

What’s more, Ballard’s claim that people are missing the world around them seems downright misleading.  The VR nature means one sees the world around them, just with a Charmander or Pikachu (or more likely 100 Pidgeys)  in front of it.

Pikachu Sydney

Further, anyone who has played knows how many more historical landmarks, places of interest, and key locations were always around them but they never noticed before Pokemon.  Everyone I know who plays has noticed this phenomenon.  His words aren’t just misguided or naive, their actively false.

Finally, I can hear someone reading this saying “But he is right, Pokemon is a distraction.”

Well Actually

“Pokemon is a distraction…right?”

The problem with that logic was pointed out by the Pokemon subreddits repeatedly: anything but God and Family can be called a distraction from God and family.

 

This is called a tautology.  God and Family could be called a distraction from “catching them all”.  Family could be called a distraction from god, and God a distraction from family.

But playing Pokemon as a family can make Pokemon not a distraction from family.

My father used to sing a song “Old Mr. Custer”.  The lyrics were weird and meaningless to my generation.  Then, one night on the Dr. Demento show, we heard the full song.  We recorded it and played it for my father the next day.  Suddenly we had the full context and this item that one might say was a distraction from family became a shared experience.  Bingo, we had a family moment.  My father felt flattered we’d put time into something from his generation; and he could fill us in to why he would sing this song (it was on the radio when he was a sheet-rocker)

Who knows but that some people will “find god” through Pokemon (there are YouTube videos of this.  Yes, I’m serious ).

 

**The real problem**

This illustrates a major flaw with the church… the geriatric nature of apostles illustrates how out-of-touch the church is.  The most common comment on the sub-reddit is that Elder Ballard is just a “get off my lawn old guy making pronouncements”.  And millenia are seeing through it.  They see it in policies towards LGBT.  They see it in how the curch is Utah–centric in both policy and spending decisions.  They see it in every talk given by leaders who are demonstrably out of touch.

Finally, the fact that Pokemon Go!’s popularity is waning by the time the talk is given illustrates how out modded and inadequate the church”s system of information distribution is.

John Dehlin had Ballard’s talk published the next day, but Ballard is reacting to a trend kicked off months earlier.  That lag has haunted the church in its reaction to civil rights, LGBT issues, women’s issues and more, but as the communication systems of the world accelerate, the church will continue to lag behind in even more apparent ways.

I mean, I bet reading this you thought “He’s still talking about that?  That was soon last week”.  Ballard is months behind.  That is exactly my point.  Out of touch, lagging, and trying to control what it doesn’t understand… his Pokemon comments represent the institution perfectly.

In addition; Ballard’s admission he knows nothing about the subject, but then goes on to badmouth it anyway really does some up the leaders’ words regarding church history, LGBT issues, etc. as well.  It’s a microcosm of the real reason why millennials aren’t as interested in the church.

Posted in GA Bullsh*t | 1 Comment