How the scriptural “helps” brainwash you


In 1981, when the new, modern, LDS editions of the scriptures were published, there were also included many helps. As time passed, these helps were expanded to include the following: chapter headings, section headings, verse summaries, footnotes, a Guide to the Scriptures, a Bible Dictionary, a Topical Guide, an Index, lengthy excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation, Bible Maps, Church History Maps, Scriptural Photographs and Church History Photographs.

The new scriptures and new helps were a very big deal at the time. There were even some GA talks about the significance of the new edition of the scriptures. (For example, see the Library of the Lord by Elder Packer.)

I remember that some members were quite reluctant to give up their old editions and to use the new editions. My own wife was one of them. But, eventually, the switch was made by most members and now it is hard to find an old edition anywhere.

For the most part, the footnotes, headings, Index and Topical Guide were helpful, at least at first. A person who was not familiar with the scriptures could quickly find similar scriptures in all four standard works by following the footnotes. A person could search out topics using the Topical Guide and Index. On the surface, it appeared the new editions’ helps were, indeed, helpful in making the saints more scripturally aware.

But then I started to notice something peculiar: conditioning.

Chapter headings and D&C verse summaries

When a person would read a chapter, they would begin by reading the chapter heading, which is supposed to give a summary of the chapter. Sometimes, though, the chapter heading contained an interpretative summary. Consider the following examples:

Alma teaches the poor whose afflictions had humbled them—Faith is a hope in that which is not seen which is true—Alma testifies that angels minister to men, women, and children—Alma compares the word unto a seed—It must be planted and nourished—Then it grows into a tree from which the fruit of eternal life is picked. About 74 B.C. (Chapter heading of Alma 32)

Most of that chapter heading is factual, but the statement “faith is a hope in that which is not seen which is true” is an interpretation (and is false.) When people read that heading first, they are conditioned to believe that faith is a hope. Then they go on to read the chapter itself, which defines faith differently than hope, but as they are already conditioned by the heading, they supplant the definition found in the scripture for the heading’s definition.

Another example of conditioning is found in the verse summaries of D&C 89:

1–9, Use of wine, strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks proscribed; 10–17, Herbs, fruits, flesh, and grain are ordained for the use of man and of animals; 18–21, Obedience to gospel law, including the Word of Wisdom, brings temporal and spiritual blessings.

In this case, the statement “Use of wine, strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks proscribed” is an interpretation (and is false.) Only hot drinks are proscribed, all the other items mentioned are given legitimate uses. But, as people first read the verse summary, when they get to the actual words of the revelation, they substitute the verse summary’s interpretation for what the scripture actually says. In other words, the summary immediately conditions a person’s mind to receive the scriptural text in only one way.

In conditioning, there is a presupposition that is accepted. The presupposition is that since the church publishes the scriptures and authorized the text of the chapter headings and verse summaries, the chapter heading and verse summary interpretations must be correct. In other words, the presupposition is that the headings and summaries give the correct interpretation of the scripture that follows and can be entirely trusted.

The danger in relying upon the chapter headings and verse summaries for interpretation is that they are often found in conflict with the scriptures themselves, or that they are too narrow in the broad scope of the scriptures, and thus a person who relies upon them will either entirely miss the true meaning of the scriptures or they will only get a part of the meaning and not the bigger picture or other meanings.

Another problem is that the headings are often completely substituted. I have seen people just skip over chapters entirely and just read the headings, thinking that they are still “feasting upon the word of Christ.” The tendency, therefore, of the headings and summaries is to produce scriptural midgets and not giants. People can check their brains in at the door and absorb the headings’ interpretations without going through the mental exercises and processes to really figure things out. This tends to make a people think they know a lot, when really they know little to nothing.

Footnotes

Another danger to an individual’s correct understanding of the scriptures is the footnotes. Like the chapter headings and verse summaries, footnotes condition the individual reading them. For example, look at the following scripture and footnotes:

24 And there stood aone among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and bwe will make an earth whereon these may cdwell; (Abraham 3: 24)

24a

The footnote for “24a” tells a person to look up Jesus Christ, Firstborn in the Topical Guide. The implication is that the “one” referred to in this scripture is Jesus Christ. As the LDS reader presupposes that the footnote interpretations are correct, that is the end of discussion. So, when someone brings up that Michael is a Hebrew name which means “ONE LIKE GOD,” they are already conditioned into believing that this scripture is referring to Jesus, due to the interpretative footnote.

Not only can Topical Guide (TG) footnotes interpret scripture, but also the alternate translations from the Greek (GR) and Hebrew (HEB), as well as the explanations of idioms and difficult constructions (IE) and clarifications of archaic English expressions (OR). Due to space limitations, not all of the alternate translations can be listed, so the one or two that are given tend towards a limited interpretation. Either a person needs to learn Greek and Hebrew and read the texts himself, or he needs to consult the multiple translations into English that have been done by using Biblegateway.com or some other resource. Only in this way do the scriptures open themselves up to understanding. For idioms, difficult constructions and clarifications of archaic English expressions, instead of getting a one or two word “sound bite,” which is all that can be given in a footnote, one should consult with either the Oxford English Dictionary or another resource that specializes in all the shades of meaning that archaic expressions can have. This leaves the reader with the opportunity and responsibility to determine what the scripture means, guided by the scriptural text itself, the various translations, the English language tools, and the all important gift of the Holy Ghost.

Anything that points the mind in one direction or another, to the exclusion of all the other directions, conditions it to look at the scripture from only one vantage point, which is not the correct way to understand scripture. The entire scriptural canon needs to be used to interpret correctly any portion thereof. This is why even footnote scriptural references can be interpretative and thus, bad or misleading. To give an example of how footnotes can condition a person into thinking one way, and one way only, consider the following:

In the past, when I still used scriptural footnotes, I often had the experience of following the footnotes only to discover that important scriptures that threw a lot of additional light upon the subject were left out of the loop. By loop, I mean, for example, let’s say that there are 20 verses that speak of the same subject, but only 10 of them are footnoted and referenced, while 5 of them are only referenced. This means that when you come to five of them, there will be no footnotes in them nor references pointing to them, whereas another five have no footnotes but there are references pointing to them and the other 10 have both footnotes and references pointing to them. When a person comes across a footnoted scripture, the footnote will reference other scriptures, which, when followed, will also have footnotes referencing other scriptures, which if followed may cause you to end up at the beginning scripture. This is a loop. As long as all scriptures relative to that topic are referenced, allowing you to footnote surf through all of them, such a loop is helpful. But if 5 verses are out of the loop, not being referenced or footnoted, the loop becomes a method to keep information out.

A peculiarity of the scriptures is that the information is scattered with smatterings everywhere, in a seemingly random manner. Human minds, when writing learning books, do things in sequential order, building from basic knowledge to more advanced subjects. No so with the mind of God. His scriptures contain both the basic and advanced subjects all over the place, a piece here, a bit there, with apparently no rhyme or reason to it. This means that to understand any part of it, one has to read all of it and use all of it to understand any part of it. So any human endeavor, no matter how well intentioned, that tries to direct the human mind to only parts of it, will inevitably cause that mind to misunderstand the information, or misinterpret it.

It is my view that the modern edition scriptural helps, although well-intentioned, have created more mental laziness and more scriptural ignorance than ever before. The helps have become a crutch upon which the people lean for understanding, but due to the limited nature of the crutch, it is insufficient to allow scriptural comprehension.

The Topical Guide and Index

The Topical Guide is not immune to these accusations, as it, also, limits the scriptures that a researcher has access to. The TG opens up by giving a disclaimer:

“This Topical Guide, with selected concordance and index entries, is intended to help the reader find scriptures most often used in gospel classes and study. Because of space limitations, the guide is not intended to be comprehensive. It is also recommended that the reader look up each scripture and examine it in its context, in order to gain a better understanding of it.”

The problem is that unless it is comprehensive, or exhaustive, it is of value only as tool of exclusion (excluding those scriptures it fails to mention, scriptures that may throw sufficient light upon a topic as to make the understanding of it substantially different.) The Index falls into the same category as the Topical Guide.

The Bible Dictionary

The disclaimer attached to the Bible Dictionary says the following:

“This dictionary has been designed to provide teachers and students with a concise collection of definitions and explanations of items that are mentioned in or are otherwise associated with the Bible. It is based primarily upon the biblical text, supplemented by information from the other books of scripture accepted as standard works by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is not intended as an official or revealed endorsement by the Church of the doctrinal, historical, cultural, and other matters set forth. Many of the items have been drawn from the best available scholarship of the world and are subject to reevaluation based on new research and discoveries or on new revelation. The topics have been carefully selected and are treated briefly. If an elaborate discussion is desired, the student should consult a more exhaustive dictionary.” (Emphasis in bold type mine.)

It is unfortunate that although it was never intended to be official, the BD is often considered definitive by the LDS. Interpretation is found throughout, which, in and of itself is bad enough, but due to the brief treatment of the topics, the scope is all too narrow to open up the full vistas of the gospel. The LDS are naturally quite zealous, but are also mentally lazy, so the inclusion of the Bible dictionary in the standard work editions practically guaranteed that no LDS would consult a more exhaustive dictionary. This ensured that LDS remained scriptural retards, to put it bluntly.

The Guide to the Scriptures

The newest “help” offered by the church is the Guide to the Scriptures (GS). This thing takes a gospel topic and dumbs it way down so that the most idiotic person in the whole world is left without the excuse that the “gospel is too hard to understand.” Unfortunately, by dumbing it down, you can’t really call what is expressed “the gospel.” It is more like a semblance of the gospel. The GS is in the vein of the PlainBookofMormon, which takes the Book of Mormon (which is already plain) and puts it into eighth grade language so that eighth graders can understand it. (I had no idea eighth graders were now retarded and didn’t know how to read plain English.) Unlike its predecessors (the TG, BD and Index), the GS makes no disclaimer. Its opening paragraphs actually intimate that it is official:

“This alphabetical listing of gospel topics defines selected doctrines, principles, people, and places found in the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. It also provides key scriptural references for you to study for each topic and can help you in your individual and family study of the scriptures. It can help you answer questions about the gospel, study topics in the scriptures, prepare talks and lessons, and increase your knowledge and testimony of the gospel.

“Each entry gives a short definition of the topic and provides the most significant scriptural references about that topic. Each reference is preceded by a short quotation or summary of the scripture. The scriptural references appear in the following order: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.”

Although it carries itself with official weight, the only official church doctrine is found in the standard works (the scriptures themselves) and the only official scriptural interpretations are given by First Presidency Statements. The GS, however, has no listed author(s) and since we don’t know who wrote it, it should be ripped out of every edition and tossed right into the trash. In every aspect, both in its definitions, its limited scope, and its arrogance in proclaiming that it “provides the most significant scriptural references” about a topic, as well as its fascade of officialdom (only the LDS people themselves decide what is official church doctrine, by canonization vote, through the law of common consent) and its conciseness to the point of saying almost nothing, the GS is a monstrosity that has attached itself like a leech to every modern edition of our scriptures, to the detriment of the unsuspecting new convert. (Can you tell that I don’t like the GS?) 😉

The modern trend of the helps

Unfortunately, the dumbing down of doctrinal explanations appears to be the new pattern of the latter-days. I do not blame the GA’s for this new trend, though. Apparently, people are getting dumber as time goes on and their attention spans are getting shorter. We are losing the ability to think and perform tasks that were routine just a decade or so ago. For example, most kids today in public school can’t read or write cursive. As if that were bad enough, a recent study showed that only 12 percent of teachers have taken a course on how to teach handwriting. So, as the newer generations become more stupid and mentally dense, it may be necessary to paraphrase the doctrines of the scriptures in a way that even their clouded, vapid minds can comprehend.

The danger, though, of including these watered-down versions of doctrine in the standard works editions is that the mentally lazy LDS will also grab a hold of them and use them as “the standard,” instead of the scriptures themselves.

Another example of this doctrinal dilution trend is the web site mormon.org, to which we are instructed to refer investigators. I, personally, can’t visit that site without cringing. A click on the Glossary link at the bottom of the home page and a selection of any of the topics brings up the most shallow and concise definitions I’ve ever heard. I understand the correct doctrine of piece by piece, line by line, but this is nano-bite by nano-bite. If I were investigating the church today (instead of decades ago), and was given these bits, I would spiritually starve to death. Luckily, the scriptures are still there to sup from and feast upon, but with all the emphasis on “helps,” it’s a wonder if anyone actually reads their scriptures anymore.

The only real helps

The church has given only one real help, and that is the online scriptural search feature, or the downloadable search features. This allows a person to quickly look up any word or phrase found in the entire standard works. It is exhaustive and comprehensive and permits a person to use all the scriptures to interpret any one particular verse. That is the only true help that should be used by LDS.

Additionally, the Bible Maps, the Church History Maps, the Scriptural Photographs and the Church History Photographs are likewise truly helpful. The maps and photographs do not interpret anything, but give additional information that allows us to come to better conclusions.

The JST, although it is interpretative and non-canonical, is important to know nonetheless because the Lord gave Joseph that task so that we could read what came out of it. Although it doesn’t necessarily belong in the scriptural editions (it being non-canonical), having it there makes it easier to compare it to the scriptural text and see what changes have been made. The changes give views on the Prophet’s vision of the gospel and these views expand our own, so in my estimation, it is as okay to leave it in the edition as it is to remove it. Nevertheless, there is still the tendency of the LDS to use any and all interpretation as a crutch upon which to understand scriptures which they refuse to read or refuse to understand by the power of the Holy Ghost, so it may be wiser to remove it, too, until such time that it becomes canonized.

So, in conclusion, the LDS may be better off ignoring all chapter headings, verse summaries, footnotes, the Topical Guide, the Index, the Guide to the Scriptures, the Bible Dictionary and even the Joseph Smith Translation when studying their scriptures. They ought to just use the scriptures themselves and the Holy Ghost to figure it all out.

Note: thanks goes out to Christian and T J for bringing this topic to my attention.

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Lakota independence—prophecy starting to be fulfilled?


Christian Kenny Heap brought to my attention the recent Lakota declaration of independence from the U.S. and I thought it was important enough news to merit a blog post. As I stated in my follow-up comment to his remark, it reminded me of a scripture:

The Lord said, “And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.” (D&C 87: 5. See also Micah 5: 8-15; 3 Ne. 16: 7-15; 3 Ne. 20: 15-21; 3 Ne. 21: 12-21; D&C 109: 65-67.)

In case you are not up to speed on what the Lakota nation is doing, read the FoxNews report, visit any of the Lakotah Oyate web sites (LakotahOyate.com, LakotahOyate.org and LakotahOyate.net), visit the Republic of Lakota web sites (RepublicOfLakota.com and LakotaFreedom.com), check out the WordPress blogs talking about Lakota, or just Ixquick “Lakota, independence” or some other term like that.

So, now that the Lakota nation has declared its independence, does this mean we are entering the time in history when the prophecies of the above listed scriptures will be fulfilled? My gut feeling (not inspiration or revelation, yet) is that both the Lakota secession and the Aztlan movement (Ixquick“Aztlan”) are pieces of the future (perhaps not-so-future?) fulfillment of these prophecies.

So, what do you, dear reader, see in these occurrences? Does the Spirit whisper that the departure of Lakota from the U.S. is a sign of the times to be examined, or is it nothing of any significance and to be ignored?

For me, this can play out any number of ways, but none of the peaceful ones seem likely.

First of all, the enemies of the U.S. would probably immediately jump on the legitimizing secession bandwagon, by recognizing the Lakota nation as a sovereign country. Apparently Russia is already considering this. If foreign countries recognize Lakota, it will be fuel to the fire if the U.S. decides to handle another bid at secession like the War of Northern Aggression (for Southerners) or the War Between The States (for some Southerners and some Northerners) or the Civil War (for Northerners), however you call that conflict. Even if the U.S. tries to handle the situation peacefully, by fighting it through the courts, the Lakota nation is pretty well grounded legally, and probably would win legally, but with recognition by other nations, the Lakota people will have already won the first battle in declaring their legitimacy as a sovereign nation. The recognition by other nations of the Lakota nation will but help to divide America into two parts: U.S. citizens and Lakota citizens. A divided nation is good if you have ideas of conquering it.

Secondly, there is a large amount of land involved, in which plenty of non-Lakota people live. These Americans “own” land, which apparently really belonged to the Lakota people, and when the Lakota nation starts issuing liens, what is going to be the reaction from these people? There is definitely going to be a whole lot of irate individuals as a result of this.

The Lakota are extending an invitation to all people, of any race, that they can come and live in their land tax-free, if they will renounce their U.S. citizenship. They are already issuing Lakota passports and Lakota driver’s licenses to accommodate people. How many people who have had it with U.S. taxation are going to take them up on this offer? The influx of people may be exceedingly great if the U.S. allows secession to go through peacefully. Only the threat of violence or illegitimacy from the U.S. might dissuade tax evaders and those who are tired of oppressive U.S. taxes (a great number of people) from becoming Lakota citizens.

If the U.S. decides to determine the right of secession by conflict, like Lincoln did, it will be facing an impoverished people who currently have nothing to live or die for. In other words, these people are destitute right now and may become galvanized into action by conflict. They have an extremely high suicide rate, indicating nothing to live for. If suddenly they have to fight for their land and freedom, the U.S. will have given them both a reason to live and a reason to die. Such an enemy will be on the defence, defending their lands, homes, wives, children, etc. (Just fill in Moroni’s whole title of liberty.)

There is also the problem of justification. Would the U.S. be justified in the eyes of God in attacking the Lakota nation? Is the Lakota nation justified in seceding from the U.S.? As LDS, we have modern scriptures that help us arrive at the correct answer to these questions, as the Lord has revealed his laws of justification in D&C 98: 33-38, as well as other places.

All in all, based upon the U.S. government’s past behavior when it comes to secession, a peaceful solution does not seem likely. Conflict seems probable. I do not expect the U.S. government to give up sizable chunks of real estate in 5 States and the accompanying tax revenue, nor allow itself to be drained of tax-paying citizens who renounce U.S. citizenship to live tax-free in another part of America, without objection. (The Lakota still live in America, so, it is not like they would be going to a totally foreign country or a completely foreign land.)

Finally, if the Lakota situation does erupt, Aztlan or other groups (such as Vermont secessionists) might see it as the opportune moment to take what they want of America. The potential for a firestorm is definitely here.

In case this comes up…

Yes, Russell Means, otherwise known as Oyate Wacinyapin, is part of the Lakota Freedom Delegation and is also the actor who starred in (among other movies) The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis. Means played Chingachgook, the very last of the Mohicans, but in actuality, he “was born an Oglala/Lakota Sioux Indian,” according to IMDb (the Internet Movie Database.)

Next Anarchism/Anarchy article: The tribal nature of the gospel

Previous Anarchism/Anarchy article: A basic right denied

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To LDS women: beware of kissing


“A man loses his sense of direction after four drinks; a woman loses hers after four kisses.”Henry Louis Mencken

Apparently there is now scientific research that indicates that when a woman engages in kissing with a man, the hormone oxytocin is released in her body. Oxytocin is known as the “love drug” and causes a woman to bond with the man with whom she is kissing. It clouds her rational thought processes and affects her on an emotional level. Oxytocin bonding is very dangerous because regardless of the character of the man she is kissing, once the bonding takes place, she will be emotionally attached. She may find out later he has vices, is violent, is dishonest, is of another religion, or is incompatible in a multitude of ways with the standards she has set for the kind of man she wants, but due to oxytocin bonding, she may find it exceedingly difficult to break the relationship. After this chemical process occurs, and bonding is initiated, friends who see that the man is not right for her may tell her directly and point out the cons of the guy, but she will make excuses because “when I kiss him he makes me feel (fill in the blank).”

Ladies, the only way to keep your head straight so that you think rationally and choose the best man for you is to keep to a “no kissing plan.” Absolutely never kiss a man or boy before you have decided to marry him and are engaged to him. Only after you have made the decision that this is the man for you, should you kiss him, allowing oxytocin bonding to occur.

Just think of how much misery and heartache could be spared by just informing our daughters about the physiological response of their bodies when they kiss a boy, and counseling them to avoid it at all cost, until they are engaged. Virtually every relationship disaster, every immorality tragedy and every relationship disease can be avoided by this simple plan.

All men know the effect kissing has on women, but only until recently have scientists shown the link between kissing and the female hormone oxytocin. So, men, no, it isn’t your great kissing technique that makes a woman melt. When she decides, desires and initiates kissing with you, that hormone is released in her and she’ll melt, regardless of who you are, what you look like or how good or bad you are. Once she has experienced oxytocin bonding with you, she is yours.

This information should scare the daylights out of single and divorced women and parents of girls. Having boyfriends, meaning friends who are boys that you kiss, is dangerous ground to tread. If you don’t want to end up with someone who makes you miserable, but to whom you are oxytocin bonded, don’t ever kiss a man who isn’t your fiance or husband. Period.

For further information, click on the following link:

www.nokissing.com

Next Relationships article: Slim pickings is not the problem with the single adult program: FAT women are

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The faith of God, part three


Continued from part two.

To summarize from part two: faith is not hope, nor hope faith, nor either of these charity, but these are three distinct principles. Also, faith is a noun, meaning that it is a thing or things that can be possessed or obtained, but that once the thing or things is obtained or seen, in other words, once the thing or things become perfectly known, faith becomes dormant in that thing or things and knowledge takes over. Knowledge and faith, therefore, are opposing principles, each one nullifying or canceling out the effect of the other. As God has all and perfect knowledge, it appears that my Buddhist ex co-worker monk was correct in his conclusion that it is impossible for God to have faith. Nevertheless, there are more evidences to consider.

Acts of faith summarized

The whole of the standard works records acts of faith from page one to the very last, but two writers in particular dedicate a chapter each to a summary of those acts. In Hebrews 11 and Ether 12, Paul and Moroni go through the list of things accomplished or obtained by faith. Essentially, they conclude that all things are accomplished “by the faith of men” (Ether 12: 8). Or, in the words of Ether, “by faith all things are fulfilled” (Ether 12: 3).

Mormon also talked about faith (and hope and charity) in Moroni 7. Like Ether and Helaman, quoted in the previous part, Mormon explains that faith precedes hope. (See Moroni 7: 41-42 “…ye shall have hope…because of your faith…” and “…without faith there cannot be any hope…”) In fact, the order of these three grand principles is always given as “faith, hope and charity” because faith precedes hope, or allows hope to be engendered and then faith and hope allow charity to be engendered. (This is a topic for a different post and will not be covered here. I mention it merely to show that faith is different than hope and charity and required in order to obtain the other two necessary principles.)

Living by faith is better than living by knowledge

One of the more curious aspects of faith is that in the scriptures it is emphasized more than knowledge is. The scriptures even go so far as to say those who live by faith are more blessed than those who live by knowledge. (See Scriptural Discussion #10 for these scriptures.) Both Alma and Jesus himself stated this. Strangely enough, though, modern LDS stress the acquisition of knowledge over the acquisition of faith. For example, we bear our testimony, not our belief, in fast and testimony meeting each month. We say, “I know the church is true,” not “I believe the church is true.”

If we follow the thought of Alma and Jesus and apply it to God, then we get that God is less blessed than us since he knows and sees all things and cannot (according to the Buddhist) exercise faith, whereas we mortals, seeing and knowing very little, can be more blessed than him if we exercise faith. But can anyone be more blessed than God? Such a thought seems impossible. God possesses all things. Can anyone possess more than God? Surely not.

The easy way out of this quandary is to simply say that the scriptures apply to mortals, only, and not to God. We exercise faith until we become like God, knowing and seeing all things, and then our faith becomes dormant and we live by our knowledge, as he does. Faith, then, becomes a crutch or means to obtain the knowledge that God has. Once obtained, we need faith no longer and rely upon our knowledge from then on.

A lot of LDS probably think along these lines. I think that the Buddhist was probably also thinking along these lines. But what if the scriptures apply equally to God, as they do to man?

Assuming that God has faith…

What if the principles communicated in the scriptures, beginning with the very first principle of the gospel, which is faith, are all part of the nature and characteristics of God, which must be developed by us in order to becomes like him? One of the comments to the previous article took the view that God does have faith, but that there are two types of faith: pre-knowledge (lower level) faith and post-knowledge (higher level) faith. Personally, I found the creativity involved in making this distinction quite refreshing. Most people never give the thought of God having faith more than, “yes, he does” or “no, he doesn’t.” The problem posed by the Buddhist is a valid one. If God has faith, how is this possible since knowledge nullifies faith? If God does not have faith, why are we continually striving to develop an attribute which is ungodly?

Let’s assume the impossible. Let’s assume that the scriptural principles are descriptions of the attributes of God and that God sees and knows all things but lives by faith, thus making him qualify, according to his own words, as “more blessed.”

In subsequent parts I will attempt to show that, in fact, God possesses all knowledge and all faith, that he walks both by sight and by faith in all possible ways, and that his power does not reside in his knowledge, but in his perfect faith. I will attempt to show that it is through his immense faith that he obtained his knowledge and that it is through his faith that he continually increases his knowledge and that it is through his continually increasing knowledge that his faith continues to increase. I will show the reader that God’s fullness of faith, knowledge, etc., are not a set amount, but that these things continually expand as his dominions increase.

This is probably going to be fairly deep doctrine, but I’m going to keep it out of the Deep Waters section, as faith is so basic to everything. I want to open it up completely and give everyone who reads a good long look at my understanding of why faith accomplishes all things, why faith is needed by us mortals, why it is the very first principle of the gospel, how it is obtained, how it is maintained, how it is expanded, why God possesses a fullness of faith, and why he would cease to be God if he didn’t both have and exercise all faith.

Once this understanding is communicated, it should be easier to see why the whole purpose of the gospel is “that faith…might increase in the earth” (D&C 1: 21). It is the acquisition and exercise of a fullness of faith that makes us like heavenly Father and it is the acquisition and exercise of a fullness of faith that keeps heavenly Father in power. That’s it, in a nutshell. We are here on Earth to obtain and live by faith and to increase it continually until we receive a fullness. Everything else is an appendage.

Next Faith of God article: The faith of God, part four: the word of God

Previous Faith of God article: The faith of God, part two

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A basic right denied


The Declaration of Independence, beginning with the second sentence, says the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. [Emphasis mine.]

The right of the people to (peacefully) abolish their government has been denied since the inception of the present forms of government. The system is set up so that if the majority of a population wants to abolish any government, city, state or federal, they must arm themselves to do it. There is no peaceful means available. As it is more likely that a people will submit to abuses than take up arms, (unless the abuses become extreme,) the present system continues on despite the vast amount of growing disaffection and apathy towards government.

Were we living in a just system that allowed the exercise of the right to abolish a government, our ballots would contain a final option under each office: NONE OF THE ABOVE.

Because “none of the above” does not exist on our ballot, elections are nothing but an instrument to perpetuate the existence of the state, despite the growing number of citizens who are tired of government intrusions into their lives.

A ballot lacking the option of “none of the above” is akin to a vote on items that will be brought along for a community, family camping trip. Here are the options, along with the instructions, “please choose only one” :

Tobacco

  • a) Winston cigarettes
  • b) Marlboro cigarettes
  • c) Cuban cigars

Alcohol

  • a) Jack Daniels
  • b) Rum
  • c) Bourbon

Coffee

  • a) Star Bucks
  • b) Columbian, fresh-roasted coffee

etc.

A Latter-day Saint that looks at that list of options is going to be livid. Had the simple option of “none of the above” been listed, the Latter-day Saints would have been able to vote that these things not be taken on the camping trip. But without such an option, and knowing that there will be tobacco, alcohol and coffee on the trip, what Latter-day Saint is going to take their family camping?

In the same way, elections are rigged to perpetuate statism. Because of these rigged ballots, the state propaganda machine for years has put out that it is our patriotic, civic duty to vote, that “if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.” Actually, the reverse is true: only those who participate in the system have no right to complain about the results, since by voting they are agreeing to the rules of the game, that whoever wins the elections by majority vote is entitled to rule. In contrast, those who refuse to participate are the only ones who have the right to complain about both the results of an election and the game of voting itself.

Next Anarchism/Anarchy article: Lakota independence—prophecy starting to be fulfilled?

Previous Anarchism/Anarchy article: The prophetic counsel against having kings (rulers)

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No, I haven’t abandoned the blog…


…but with Thanksgiving, and now Christmas, and soon New Year’s, and also work pressures, it hasn’t been the priority of my life these days. Still, the real reason why new articles have not been forthcoming is that my attempt to tackle the topic of faith has proved to be quite the task. I’ve got it in my head, but putting it down on paper (even digital paper) requires certain creative inspiration, which has not been forthcoming. With the proper inspiration, I can write a lot in a short time, but if I don’t feel inspired, things just sit there (in my mind), instead of being transferred to paper. Any writer knows what I’m talking about. So, I’ve decided to recycle some old posts that no one commented on, while I organize my thoughts sufficiently to publicly disclose them.

I was hoping that what4anarchy would also post here, to give me needed breathers, but alas!, it appears that he’d rather not take the chance that people would recognize his language patterns and figure out who he is. I recommended an easy way to disguise them, but he’s still wary about it, so I don’t believe he will attempt to post anything.

Anyway, I just don’t want anyone thinking I’m ditching the blog after starting it, because I’m not. I still make comments and I still visit the blog daily and work on draft articles.

Note: The recycled articles, in my opinion, are thought-provoking, but as I posted them in the infancy of the blog when no one visited it, they never really got the chance to be commented on. Time will tell whether they receive comments now that people actually visit.

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Power of the Law of Common Consent


The law of common consent is explained in the following scriptures:

LAW OF COMMON CONSENT

“And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7)

Mosiah said, “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.” (Mosiah 29: 26)

The Lord said, “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. Amen.” (D&C 26: 2)

The Lord said, “For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.” (D&C 28: 13)

The Lord said, “And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference;” (D&C 124:144)

Now, how much power does this law give the people of the church? Here are some scenarios:

  • Scenario #1: The bishop calls brother Smith to be the new teacher’s quorum adviser. A vote is called and 51% of the people raise their hand in opposition. Does Brother Smith become the new teacher’s quorum adviser?
  • Scenario #2: The bishop calls sister Jones to be the new relief society president. 30% of the people raise their hands in approbation. 10% of the people raise their hands in opposition. 60% of the people do not raise their hands, at all. Does sister Jones become the new relief society president?
  • Scenario #3: The president of the church claims to have received a new revelation from the Lord, which he reads in general conference. The contents are controversial. A vote is taken to approve of the revelation and add it to the scriptural canon. 60% of the people raise their hand in opposition. Does the revelation get added to the scriptural canon?
  • Scenario #4: The members of the Green Leaf 3rd Ward are tired of their tyrannical bishop. They feel he is exercising unrighteous dominion as he attempts to micromanage everything. They want to remove him and decide, amongst themselves, to take a vote in sacrament meeting to that end. One is selected to propose the vote. During the next sacrament meeting, during the voting portion, brother Carlson suddenly stands up and asks that a vote be taken to determine whether bishop Young should be removed from his position over them. At the protest of the bishopric, brother Tenney stands up and seconds the motion of brother Carlson. A vote is taken and 70% of the people vote to remove the bishop (dissolve the bishopric.) Is the bishopric dissolved? What will happen to brother Carlson and Tenney, if anything, for their actions?
  • Scenario #5: After the Carlson and Tenney affair has voted out the bishopric, brother Humphrey stands up and presents the name of brother Johnson as the new bishop, calling for a vote. Brother Johnson is a likable fellow and is voted nearly unanimously as the new (un-ordained) bishop. The people of the ward are adamant that they only want brother Johnson as their bishop and in the ensuing chaos that results when the stake president comes down to “set matters straight,” every non-brother Johnson bishop that is presented is voted down. Must the stake president accede to the wishes of the people, like Samuel, and ordain brother Johnson?

Next Common Consent article: Anarchy in action: congregational nullification

Previous Common Consent article: Is our procedure for sustaining a rubber stamp?

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