Thursday, August 21, 2008

This is part of why I am proud to support Obama

I just read this wonderful article on Obama's economic vision. This is one of the reasons we desperately need Obama in the White House.

How Obama Reconciles Dueling Views on Economy

It’s Deja Vu All Over Again!

Ever wonder what it would have been like to have been witness to Joseph Smith tell his tales right there in front of you? A few former Mormons in England have founded a new church. They have a prophet that has translated a new book of scripture written by the ancient inhabitants of England. Their poor prophet hasn't the creativity to think of anything new, he is following the Joseph Smith story line by line as if it were a script. It is hilarious and sad. I wonder how big a following he'll get and how much money he'll make. As P.T. Barnum said, "There is a sucker born every minute".
Here is the church's website.
Here is a youtube video explaining the Book of Jeraneck.
This guy is an amatuer nave.
Matthew Gill's story does remind me of another, much more gifted Joseph Smith imitator, Christopher Nemelka. Nemelka claimed to have translated the Book of Lehi (remember the 116 lost manuscript pages) and the sealed portion of the golden plates.
His site has been updated since the last time I visited: thesealedportion
He acknowledged his fraud here, but apparently he resumed his fraud hoping his followers won't learn of his earlier confession.
His online calendar.
Oh, and for a fun flashback, remember this story, when a woman interrupted the 2005 Christmas Devotional? Well, she was a follower of Nemelka's.
The whole structure and doctrine of Mormonism breeds these kind of copycat prophets. Almost every boy wants to be like Joseph and the next prophet.


On a thread on PostMormon, Hiker R wrote:

A father took his son into the barn one day and asked him to climb up in the hay loft. Then he told the son to jump into his arms. The son said he was scared because he was pretty high up and didn’t think his dad could catch him. The dad assured the son he could. The son jumped and the dad stepped out of the way and the son hit the ground. The dad approached his son and said, “Important business lesson; don’t trust anybody.”

I wanted to dedicate a thread to the topic of trust. I disagree strongly with this father's tactics and the moral of the story.

I believe that we should trust others, but not with more than we are willing to lose.

Like it or not, homo sapiens evoled to become social animals, and trust is essential in all social interactions. We are vulnerable all the time - vulnerable to being taken advantage of, stolen from, injured, confined, or killed by others. We also depend on others, at least in part, for protection from all of those things.

I am not advocating that we be foolish with the trust we have to invest. I think we should start slowly in new relationships, risking only a little and then seeing what they do with it. Over time a track record is established. Nothing is certain; even the best performing stocks can fail. But, I'd rather invest in an individual with a proven track record than in an unknown person.

Before I invest a lot of trust in an etity that I have no previous experience with, I do my homework by learning of the experiences others have had with that entity. I check the BBB, epinions, and background checks depending on what services I'd use them for.

It can be scary when we realize how much we trust others. I trust my wife with my life every time I let her drive. Heck, I trust my life to every other driver on the road, and I know nothing about them. Any determined person could kill me if I didn't see it coming (school shootings, pipe bombs, arsenic poisonings, etc). Our society would not work without trust. Despite all the risk, I think prudent trusting is worth it. Because through it, we can get our emotional needs met, accumulate wealth, and enjoy the freedom to do what we want.

So, are you a "Trust no one, Mr. Mulder" kind of person; a carefree, perhaps overly trusting person; or one who builds trusting relationships carefully?

Scattering of the Saints: Schisms within Mormonism

For those interested in learning about the various sects of Mormonism, there is an excellent book called, "Scattering of the Saints: Schisms within Mormonism".

The following graphic is of the front cover and shows the presidents of a few of the various offshoot churches. The image is a little hard to read, but the book itself goes through all the various churches.
Once the image comes up, you can click on it to make it a little bigger.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon.

And here and here and here is some online information on a few of the sects (a number of which have their own websites).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It is not our fault the Church isn’t what it claims to be

Sometimes TBM family members look down on us as if we are to blame. All they see is that we disrupted the balance. But, I believe that their disapproval is misdirected. It is not our fault the Church isn't what it claims to be. Blame Joseph Smith and those who followed for the emotional turmoil and familial upheaval. We just discovered the "bad thing"; we didn't cause it. And there is nothing wrong, morally or otherwise, with discovering the truth even if it is bad news.

It is similar to discovering my sister's husband is having an affair, and the rest of the family hears that I don't believe he is being faithful to my sister. They are unwilling to ask about or really consider the reasons I feel that way and the evidence I have against him. Instead, they all stand up for him and bear their witness that he is a good and faithful husband, and then accuse me of being deceived and blame me for causing this disruption in the family.

"Look, it is not my fault he cheated on his wife and I have done nothing wrong by discovering his unfaithfulness. You could know it, too, if you'd look at the evidence, but you won't consider it. I am not the bad guy here, and you guys are being unreasonable. I'm being ostracized when he should be the one that is ostracized. I am not going to substitute your judgment for mine when I aware of more facts than you are. You can't fairly judge whether I am telling the truth or not until you at least examine the evidence I am more than happy to share with you, but I won't force upon you".

Similarly, it isn't our fault the Church isn't true. We didn't do anything wrong by discovering the truth. It is the Church and its founders that have done a lot of things wrong. Perhaps we could be rightfully faulted if we tried to force our disbelief on family members. But, we suffer disapproval and judgment and are ostacized just for simply no longer believing, if others know about our disbelief. I repeat, it is not our fault Joseph lied, and TBM's negativity is misdirected if aimed at us.