Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kim Jong-il

Is dead, praise be to the light. But this leaves a great many questions up in the air, while most are assuming that power will pass to Kim Jong-un, and it most likely is going to by my estimation, the process of the transfer of power wasn't completed. Kim Jong-il died before everything could be taken care of in that department. Honestly I'm kind of scared, and I'm surprised that everyone else isn't. The fact that the government isn't making any official statements other than organizing the funeral is somewhat of an indication that there's a play for power going on in a nation full of crazies brainwashed from birth. Sure I don't think that Kim Jong-un is gonna be out of the picture, I just think that some of the generals are making a play for power right now in terms of "advising" him. Ah well, there's my rant. Sorry it's been a few months.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A New Direction

I think I might expand the purpose of this blog, or at maybe make another so I can write reviews of movies for when I get back from my mission and the very short time before, not like I am excessively qualified for it or anything, but just as a thing to do on the side of politics and other stressful issues. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Racism and the LDS Church

Another repost while I write 2 more posts.

Questions and Answers
Q : I hear that the Mormon Church is racist, or at least that many Mormons are. Anything to that rumor?
A : I guess most white people in America have grown up with some racist beliefs, and Mormons have had their share. However, national polling data for more than a decade have revealed that Mormons are actually less likely than other Americans, on average, to support racist ideas and policies.
Q : But aren’t black people unwelcome in the Mormon Church, or subjected to some kind of second-class status?
A : Not for the past twenty-five years. It is true that from the middle of the nineteenth century until 1978 the few black people who joined the Church could not be given the priesthood.
Q : Why was that?
A : The reasons are not entirely clear, but the policy seems to have begun officially in 1852 with an announcement by Brigham Young, who was Church president at that time. He made that announcement as part of the deliberations in the Utah territorial legislature over the legal status of both blacks and Indians, and in particular whether slavery should be permitted in the territory.
Q : So, was it permitted?
A : Yes, for about a decade.
Q : That sounds pretty racist to me. How can you justify that?
A : I wouldn’t try to justify it. Slavery in America was a racist institution. Brigham Young himself did not actually want slavery in Utah, but he did believe that black people were not the social or intellectual equals of white people, and that slavery should be tolerated for Mormon slave-holders moving to Utah as long as it was tolerated elsewhere in the United States.
Q : Why would Brigham Young believe such things?
A : Because he was a nineteenth-century American, and hardly any white people of that time, North or South, believed in equality for blacks. Slavery was still an unsettled issue throughout the nation, with some even in the South opposed to it, and many even in the North who were willing to tolerate it. Brigham Young’s ideas were really right in the mainstream of American thinking at that time. They were very close to the ideas of other prominent Americans from Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln, who himself did not even free all slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation.
Q : I thought most Americans of that time believed in God and in the Bible. Where was God in all this?
A : It is doubtful that God had anything to do with it. Many Americans of the time, including Brigham Young and most other Mormon leaders, believed that the scriptures justified the subordination of black people because they were descendants of Cain or of other biblical figures who had sinned egregiously. Latter-day Saints do not believe that God takes responsibility for the evil in the world, or that He condones the use of his name or of the scriptures to justify evil. Yet he has granted human beings their agency either to operate a society according to His principles or to pay the consequences. The Civil War and the racial strife since then have been the consequences of slavery.
Q : But don’t Mormons believe that their Church is led by prophets of God? How could prophets have permitted racist ideas and practices to become part of their religion?
A : Prophets are not perfect and don’t claim to be; nor do they always act as prophets in what they say and do. People in all ages, including those who become prophets, grow up without questioning much that is assumed by everyone else in their respective cultures, unless some experience motivates them to seek revelation on a given matter.
Q : Well, maybe so, but racism is such an obvious evil that I would think authentic prophets would have been more sensitive to it.
A : … It seems obvious to all of us now, but not to people who believed in Manifest Destiny, the White Man’s Burden, and “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Even the original apostles of Jesus assumed that non-Jews could not become Christians unless they first accepted Judaism and circumcision. The apostle Paul disputed that, but the idea persisted.
Q : Did all the early Mormon leaders hold racist ideas?
A : Pretty much–like all other Americans. But there was a range of opinion. Not all of them embraced all of the racist ideas in the culture. For example, Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the LDS Church, saw no reason to keep black people from holding the priesthood, even though he shared the conventional idea that they were descendants of Cain and Ham. We have no record that he ever sought a special revelation on the question; he just accepted blacks into the priesthood. He also believed that the innate inferiority of blacks so widely assumed at that time was as much a result of inferior environment and opportunity as of lineage.
Q : So why didn’t Joseph Smith’s views on such matters prevail in the Mormon Church?
A : Joseph Smith was assassinated while still a young man, and well before the race question led to the Civil War. We can’t be sure whether his ideas would have changed later or how. We do know that his successor, Brigham Young, had somewhat different ideas, though not necessarily based on revelation; and he headed the Church for more than thirty years.
Q : Didn’t anyone question Young’s views during all that time or later?
A : All of Brigham Young’s successors tended to assume that he had had a good reason for withholding the priesthood from black members and had probably gotten the policy from Joseph Smith. A few black members questioned the policy a time or two, but when they did so, the Church leaders reconsidered and simply reiterated it. By the time the twentieth century arrived, no Church leaders were living who could remember when the policy had been otherwise. Meanwhile, the nation as a whole had become permeated with so-called Jim Crow laws restricting all kinds of privileges for blacks. In that environment, the Mormon restriction on priesthood seemed entirely natural.
Q : But other religious denominations were critical of such racial restrictions, weren’t they?
A : Eventually they were, but not until the age of civil rights in the 1960s. Prior to that time, only a minuscule number of blacks were ordained in any denomination–except, of course, in the so-called black denominations such as the AME and the predominantly black Baptist groups.
Q : But wasn’t the Mormon racial policy more pervasive and severe than in other religions?
A : Not really. In the Mormon case, the policy was simply more conspicuous because of the universal lay priesthood that Mormons extended to all men except blacks. In other churches, the racial restrictions were more subtle. Ordination to the ministry in all major denominations required access to the professional seminaries. Before the age of civil rights, the seminaries, like the schools of law and medicine, were the gatekeepers to these careers, and blacks were rarely admitted to any of the professional schools, including seminaries (except, again, in the black denominations). Most of today’s religious critics of the erstwhile Mormon racial restriction belong to denominations in which there were scarcely any more black ministers or priests than in the Mormon Church. Not many institutions in American society, including religious institutions, can be very proud of their historic treatment of black people.
Q : So you are saying that the Mormons were really no worse than others in their teachings and policies about black people?
A : That’s about right, small comfort though that might be in retrospect. National surveys comparing Mormons with others in racial attitudes indicate that Mormons in the West, at least, were close to the national averages in all such measures during the 1960s and 1970s–more conservative than some denominations but more liberal than others.
Q : When did the Mormon Church finally change its policies about blacks?
A : 1978.
Q : That seems a little late. Didn’t most churches and other institutions drop all their racial restrictions a lot earlier than that?
A : Yes; generally a little earlier. But Church leaders had the matter under consideration for at least twenty years before 1978.
Q : What took so long? Why couldn’t the prophet just change the policy?
A : Especially in such important matters as this one, a prophet or president in the LDS Church is not inclined to act alone. The president, his two counselors, and the twelve apostles are all considered “prophets, seers, and revelators,” and they usually act as a body when deciding on fundamental doctrines and policies. This process is by definition a conservative one, since it requires a relatively long period of discussion, deliberation, and prayer in order to reach a consensus–in order to feel that they have all been moved by the Holy Spirit toward the same decision. The prophets came close to consensus more than once across the years before they finally achieved it in 1978.
Q : That seems like a very cumbersome process, which might actually constrain God in getting through to the prophet with a revelation. Why couldn’t God just speak to the president or prophet and tell him what to do?
A : Well, of course, God could do anything He wanted to do. In the Mormon tradition, however, the revelatory process normally (not necessarily always, but normally) begins with human initiative, whether that of a prophet or of any other individual seeking divine guidance. The individual formulates a question or proposal and takes that to God in prayer for divine confirmation. This was the pattern followed by Joseph Smith himself in what Mormons call “the Sacred Grove.” It is the pattern also in Mormon scriptures such as D&C 9 and Moroni 10:4-5. Mormon prophets do not sit around waiting for revelations. They typically take propositions to the Lord for confirmation, and these propositions are the products of a great deal of prayerful deliberation, both individually and collectively.
Q : So this is what finally happened in 1978?
A : Yes. President Spencer W. Kimball had anguished for some time over the restriction on black people, and he took a great deal of initiative in persuading his colleagues to make it a matter of the most earnest prayer and deliberation. In response to their collective efforts, he reported on June 8 that “the Lord (had) confirmed” (my italics) that the priesthood should be extended to all worthy male members (Official Declaration #2).
Q : Was President Kimball the first prophet to focus so intensely on the issue?
A : Not necessarily. Most of his predecessors said little or nothing about the matter, except for President David O. McKay (1951-1970). He was clearly deeply concerned about it even in the 1950s, when he visited several parts of the world with black populations, and even black Church members. One of his counselors, Hugh B. Brown, was also publicly anxious to see a change in Church policy. However, they were apparently never able to galvanize the consensus among the other apostles that might have changed the policy ten or fifteen years earlier.
Q : Too bad. It would have looked a lot better for the Church if the change had come sooner.
A : Maybe, but not necessarily. During the 1960s, the Church was under a great deal of pressure over its racial restrictions from various national organizations and leaders….Yet if the Church had made the policy change then, the public relations outcome might have been anticlimactic, since the Church would have appeared to be caving in to political expediency, rather than maintaining its own prophetic and procedural integrity, even in the face of public criticism.
Q : Well, anyway, now that the Church has dropped its earlier racist ideas and policies, is it attracting many black members?
A : Conversions in Africa are really quite startling, but of course racial conflict in the U.S. has never been especially salient to Africans. The growth of the Church among African Americans, however, has been much slower, largely because of the lingering racist heritage of the past, and the seeming inability of the Church to deal with this heritage candidly. Those black members and investigators who find it hard to look past all that have also found it hard to remain active in the Church. We have a lot yet to do.

From the Mormon Defense League;

Re-post of a Re-post of a Riposte to the Christian Game

Christianadjective: of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings : the Christian Church.
informal having or showing qualities associated with Christians, esp. those of decency, kindness, and fairness.
noun a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.[1]
A few weeks ago CNN published an interview with Tricia Erickson, a dedicated Evangelical critic of Mormonism, wherein it was repeatedly affirmed that neither Mitt Romney nor the Church he belongs to is authentically Christian. On Sunday, July 17, 2011 the Deseret News printed an article that reported how “‘Fox & Friends’ co-host Ainsley Earhardt said Mitt Romney was not a Christian during her program this morning.” The pertinent statement by Ms. Earhardt, as reported by the Deseret News, is as follows:
“Can (Gov. Rick Perry) get in and raise money with Mitt Romney? That I don’t know,” said host Dave Briggs.
“There are a lot of Republicans who think he can’t,” replied co-host Clayton Morris.
“Well the Christian coalition — I think (Perry) can get a lot of money from that base because (of) Romney obviously not being a Christian,” said co-host Earhardt. “Rick Perry, he’s always on talk shows — on Christian talk shows — he has days of prayer in Texas.”
I am puzzled by this statement. What is it that is so “obvious” that proves Mitt Romney is not a Christian? Presumably Ms. Earhardt has in mind the fact that Romney is a Latter-day Saint and because Latter-day Saints are not Christians ergo Mitt Romney is not a Christian.
This of course brings up the question as to whether or not Mormons are Christians. As Professor Stephen E. Robinson has written[2], there are typically six categories that the arguments of excluding Mormons from being Christian fall under, viz.,
1. The Exclusion by Definition (Mormons are excluded from being Christian because of ad hocidiosyncratic definitions of “Christian” and “Christianity” offered by sectarians who deviate from the standard English lexical definition.)
2. The Exclusion by Misrepresentation (“Latter-day Saints… [are] judged to be non-Christian for things they do not believe, whether these things are fabrications, distortions, or anomalies.”[3])
3. The Exclusion by Name-Calling (Hurling unsavory epithets such as “cult” at the Church in an attempt to alienate or estrange outsiders and shock members. As with the “Exclusion by Definition”, in most cases the epithets are idiosyncratic definitions that go beyond the accepted standard English definition.)
4. The Historical or Traditional Exclusion (Mormons do not accept certain “historical” or “traditional” Christian beliefs or practices, and thus are not Christian.)
5. The Canonical or Biblical Exclusion (Mormons have an open canon of scripture, and accept additional books as canonical which are not accepted by other Christian denominations. Thus, Mormons are not Christian.)
6. The Doctrinal Exclusion (Mormons do not accept “orthodox” Christian doctrines, and hold to “heretical” views of the nature of God and scripture, to name only two. Therefore, Mormons are not Christian.)
The question as to whether or not Mormons are Christians is a horse that has been beaten mercilessly in recent years, and so I do not wish to launch into a full exploration at this point. Suffice it to say that the Latter-day Saints are positively appalled at this accusation, and have responded vigorously to critical arguments[4]. However, I do wish to ask a few questions for discussion that I feel are pertinent to this debate.
1. First and foremost, what is “Christianity” and who therefore can rightly be called “Christian”?  On what basis/criteria does one define these terms?
1. Who is allowed to define who is Christian and who isn’t? By what authority or on what grounds does this individual/group/Church, etc., claim the right to be the final arbiters in deciding who and who isn’t Christian?
2. Mormons are accused of not being Christian because they do not accept “orthodox” beliefs. What is “orthodoxy” and who is allowed to define “orthodoxy”? On what basis was this definition of “orthodoxy” established?
3. Mormon doctrine is often alleged to be contrary to “biblical teaching”. Who has the right to establish what “biblical doctrine” is? By what authority is such established? What methodological and/or exegetical tools were employed to establish this standard?
4. Is doctrinal difference enough to exclude Mormons from being Christians? What about Jesus’ teaching that his true disciples [i.e. Christians] are those who keep his commandments and love their neighbors (John 13:34-35)? In other words, is any weight to be given to Jesus’ criteria for true and false prophets (or, in this case, disciples) as found in Matthew 7:15-20 when it comes to evaluating who is a Christian and who isn’t?
5. If Mormons are to be excluded from being Christian because they do not conform to “traditional” or “historic” Christianity, then what of those disciples of Christ who antedate the arrival of these “traditional” doctrines (eg. Nicene Trinitarianism, creatio ex nihilo, etc.)? Are they likewise not Christian? [Hint: This is a question about maintaining consistent standards in evaluating who is and who isn't a Christian]
These are some questions that I put forth for discussion. Those who wish to exclude the Latter-day Saints as being Christian must, I contend, first adequately answer these questions.
[1]: Oxford American Dictionary, s.v. Christian.
[2] Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christian? (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1991).
[3]: Robinson, Are Mormons Christians?, 21, emphasis in original.
[4]: See especially Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks, Offenders for a Word: How Anti-Mormons Play Words Games to Attack the Latter-day Saints (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1992). This wonderful text is available online at the website of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. See here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Book of Mormon Challenge 2.0

Okay, here's a logical look at the Book of Mormon. Brother Hugh Nibley, a Book of Mormon teacher at Brigham Young University in Utah issued a challenge to his students, and especially after Non-Mormon attendance at BYU rose. On the first day of classes he would present an opportunity to the students, they could do absolutely no assignments if they could create a fictional account of an ancient civilization to form a foundation for a religion. The Book had to be at least 600 pages long, the approximate length of the Book of Mormon. The work could not contradict itself in any of the 600 pages, it had to be written in 1 semester(giving the student more than double the amount of time many claim Joseph Smith took to do this) they had to convince a group of people that it was true given to them by revelation. The students had a distinct advantage over Joseph Smith, having exponentially more education than he did and having a very nice college library at their disposal compared to a relatively uneducated man who lived in the 1800's. Upon doing this the student would receive an A in that class and any other religion classes from Brother Nibley, and he would acknowledge the possibility of the Book of Mormon being Fabricated.

I would argue there should be another part of this challenge, the student and those who they convince should be willing to be driven out of their homes across the country, tarred and feathered multiple times, unlawfully imprisoned and beaten and still proclaim the truth of the work. Really it just doesn't make sense to me how people could say it's fabricated. It just doesn't make sense to me at all.

For more information you can look up Hugh Nibley on wikipedia or go to to learn more about the LDS Church.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mormons and Mitt Romney, as well as why I support him.

I am a supporter of Romney, let me get that out of the way first. But I cannot tolerate being at a LDS School and hearing people say that they think a Mormon President would solve all our problems, well being a member of this church doesn't mean he's going to go in and solve all of our problems. Most of the problems we have landed ourselves in haven't been solved because of Partisainship. And unless he's the biggest Ta'veren since Artur Hawkwing (For you Brandon) he's not going to be able to solve all the problems. To quickly end my thoughts on Mormons and him, don't like him because he's the same religion as you. Like him because he is well qualified for the Presidency.

On to why I approve of him. Mitt Romney was a Conservative Governor of a VERY Liberal State, and he was successful in compromising during his term to make a good deal that appealed to both sides. Also he is an excellent economist, and speaking humbly I think we need that instead of someone who's biggest qualifications during his campaign were I'm black and I speak purty. Romney also has the fact that he is genuinely conservative instead of a pathetic attempt to appeal to both sides that McCain was (Seriously what was that, you get a person with no spine then throw in a woman just to try and get as many votes as you can?) I think the parties need to work together, but that doesn't mean the President should be as flaccid as a boned fish. There's just a brief overview as to why I personally plan on voting for him in the primaries unless someone better shows up to try for the nomination. If you want more information about Romney go ahead and check out his website at

Friday, May 20, 2011

Israel and Palistine

Just a thought-President Obama's proposal to move from the present borders to the 1967 borders is absolutely ridiculous. Let us picture the situation in terms more acceptable. What would you do if someone came to your wonderful home country of New Jersey, which had been granted as a haven to your people and religion after a brutal genocide left your culture and population in shambles. But because of the racism of those around you as well as people who have proved they can't peacefully coexist with you declare that they are oppressed the most powerful nation on earth comes to mediate. You expect a fair solution because they have supported your right to a place where you should be able to feel safe in the past. But this country is now run by someone with a new policy. This new President proposed to you that you cede relatively large tracts of land to those who used terrorist tactics against you and now leaves your major population centers, at most, 22 miles away from nations that have proved hostile to you since the creation of New Jersey after World War 2. Would you bend over and accept this? As citizens of the U.S. we sometimes feel that other countries have differing rights than us. Should the United States give back all it's land to the Native Americans after it took them after 1787? If you're answer is yes than it's okay to return to the 1967 Border. But Israel has defended itself and done what was needed for their survival. They were set upon in the 1967 war and fought the countries back to more defensible borders. They could have continued and wrought havoc in those countries but they did only what was needed to survive. We shouldn't use the excuse of, "We're not involved so we're not biased" as an excuse to meddle, we should understand that we have no way to truly comprehend the fact that Israel has been fighting for it's life since it's establishment.