Friday, March 31, 2006
In a talk given at BYU, current Vanderbilt Chancellor, Gordon Gee made the following remarks:
Gee challenged members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to avoid religious isolationism, saying that while Mormons have long considered themselves a peculiar people, they are now in a peculiar position to make a difference in the world. Gee said Latter-day Saints should experience the complexities of the world without fear of it, with a critical eye toward tradition and with respect for all. "As Latter-day Saints, we are no longer served by a persecution mentality or an enclave mentality, nor would such ever be worthy of us," he said. "We have nothing to fear of loss or distillation from taking part in the world around us. . . . Beyond saying we have nothing to fear, we have everything to gain, and even more accurately, that we have everything to contribute."
In other words: DON'T HOMESCHOOL YOUR CHILDREN!!!!! DON'T BE WEIRD ABOUT NON-ISSUES and, for the love of all that's sacred and holy, DON'T MAKE MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLEHILLS. Mormons should be peculiar for good reasons, not because we are becoming some kind of Postmodern Amish.
That is all.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
They claim bias but then abuse privilege. Everything is politics to them. The names on restaurant dishes, the Atlanta Airport, the need to constantly reinvision and appropriate a history that their rhetoric does little to solve, resolve, or absolve.
"I was urgently trying to get to an important meeting on time to fulfill my obligations to my constituents. Unfortunately, the police officer did not recognize me as a member of Congress and a confrontation ensued. I did not have on my congressional pin but showed the police officer my congressional ID. I know that Capitol Hill Police are securing our safety, that of thousands of others, and I appreciate the work that they do. I deeply regret that the incident occurred," she said in a statement.
Good grief....it's like the powertripper Hollywood movie stereotype screaming, "Do you know who I am" at some poor underling. That, "to fulfill my obligations to my constituents" quote just makes me want to vomit. Bullspit, total bullspit. She thinks she is above the law. Look at her track record. That she refuses to wear the pin that allows her to bypass the detectors (a ridiculous privilege) and then plays the race card speaks to her moral character.
Remember how she was gone from Congress for one term because she lost the election when she claimed that the Bush administration might have had advanced knowledge of the 9/11 Attack and let it happen for their political benefit? http://www.counterpunch.org/mckinney0918.html
On Berkeley's KPFA, McKinney even implied that President George W. Bush knew in advance that the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were coming — declaring that the President let thousands of innocent people die because this would somehow profit the Bush family's wealthy friends.
"We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11. What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?….What do they have to hide?"
Pressed to retract or substantiate this blood libel, McKinney weaseled: "I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case…. On the other hand, what is undeniable is that corporations close to the Administration have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of September 11.
She represents the most gerrymandered congressional district in the US of A.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, Mckinney's wrote that "Al Gore's Negro tolerance level has never been too high. I've never known him to have more than one black person around him at any given time." The Gore campaign pointed out however that his campaign manager was black.
She asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff why he shouldn't be charged with negligent homicide for the federal government's apparent failure to save more Hurricane Katrina victims. Pulling out a series of news reports as she questioned Chertoff during a House committee hearing, McKinney read the headline: "Nursing home owners charged in deaths," in the case of 34 residents who were not evacuated from the floodwaters in New Orleans. She then had the gall to ask: "Mr. Secretary, if the nursing home owners are arrested for negligent homicide, why shouldn't you also be arrested for negligent homicide. It seems that chaos was the plan that was implemented, Leadership, Mr. Secretary, was lacking."
This article lists many of the bad things she does, but the author has a decidedly antagonistic tone.
McKinney also wants to confiscate the property of American whites (most of whose ancestors never owned slaves, or who were not even here when slavery existed) via tax-supported reparations to black Americans. "Eight generations of African-Americans," she said last April, "are still waiting to achieve their rights — compensation and restitution for the hundreds of years during which they were bought and sold on the market."
During her two years out of office, as noted earlier, McKinney held the position of Visiting Professor at Cornell in Ithaca, New York. "The selection of Cynthia McKinney as a Class of '56 professor is an affront to the intellectualism of Cornell University," wrote Professor Emeritus Peter Swartz. "Ms. McKinney is a racist and anti-Semite of the first rank. If she were white and male, she would be David Duke. It is unfortunate that the selection committee was so open minded that its collective brain fell on floor."
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
#1 They are too expensive. The ticket prices are worse than concerts and the theatre.
#2 I think the athletes are assholes. I live next to thugs; I don't want to glorify their lifestyle by watching their sports heroes act like misogynistic pubescent brigands.
#3 I don't like games that have clocks. If football had 12 possessions per team, that would be awesome. If after 12 each, you played one extra like extra innings in baseball, that would be awesome. Basketball should play first one to 100 points.
#4 Baseball is more diverse than any other professional sport. I like a game where anyone with good eyesight, strong arms, and in reasonably good shape can be a star. Being really tall or really strong isn't as big an advantage in baseball.
#5 It's a gentleman's game (usually).
#6 It is the hardest game to play professionally and I think it takes the most skill. I cannot play baseball well and I like to watch others do what I can't do.
One of my favorite parts of the internet is the ease with which rotissierre baseball can be accomplished. I have been in a fantasy league with my brothers-in-law ever since I got married. We held our league draft last week, and among the ten teams (My team is The New Orleans Levee Tweakers) here is my 25 man roster:
C B McCann
C M Piazza
1B R Sexson
1B K Morales
2B C Biggio
3B C Jones
SS D Eckstein
SS N Garciaparra
OF K Griffey
OF J J. Gomes
OF B B. Wilkerson
OF P Wilson
DH F Thomas
DH J Lopez
SP Cliff Lee
SP J Marquis
SP M Mussina
SP G Chacin
SP A Pettitte
SP B Colon
SP R Oswalt
RP Chris Ray
RP T Jones
SP J Sosa
RP B Lidge
I am pleased with my team, though I do hope to find a sleeper bat on the waiver wire this season as I spent all of my early draft picks on starting pitching. My bro-in-law Cody pointed out that I have a large number of Astros. This was unintentional.
I have always hoped to get enough people together to do a what if? sports league. It's not expensive and could be a blast.
My favorite players of all time:
Dale Murphy, Tom Glavine, Brooks Robinson, Darrell Evans, Phil Niekro, Stan Musial, and Pete Smith....otherwise known as the baseball players that treated me like true gentlemen when I met them. Dale Murphy visited my grandmother at home once a month as her Mormon home teacher. Tom Glavine called me from my dad's cell phone from the lobby of a hotel where my dad was staying in Arizona. He thanked me for being a fan. Brooks Robinson, stood up and shook my hand when I got his autograph--a total class act. I went to Six Flags over Georgia in 1991 one day during the Summer. My friend and I (I think it was Shawn Markshausen) recognized Darrell Evans in the gift shop near the sky buckets and went up to him to talk to him. He said, "Boys, I'm honored you recognized me. I'm here with my family and would like to avoid a crowd, so could you please leave us alone today?" He asked very nicely and we agreed. I knew that he would be at a baseball card show I was going to in the next couple of months. When I got in line to get his autograph, he asked, "Do I know you?" I recounted the story of Six Flags and he stood up and shook my hand and said thank you for letting his kids have a nice time. I asked if I could see his 1984 Detroit Tigers World Series Championship ring....he took it off and handed it to me. WOW! Phil Niekro talked to me for about 15 minutes once at a lull in a baseball card show. He was so nice to my stupid questions. Stan Musial is just as nice as Brooks Robinson, he also hit five homers in one day once. Top that! Pete Smith wasn't that remarkable of a player, but when I had season tickets to the Braves he actually began to recognize me (because I always wore a Red Sox hat) and talked to me all of 1988 and 1989. He always signed autographs and was a nice guy.
Baseball players I do not like: John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, Pete Rose, Jose Canseco, Nolan Ryan, Orel Hershiser, Bo Jackson, Oil Can Boyd, Barry Bonds, Darryl Strawberry, and Roberto Alomar.
John Kruk swore f-bombs at me for asking for his autograpg. Lenny Dykstra was an attention whore who I suppose holds the player record for most season and career ejections. Pete Rose wouldn't sign "to Mac" when I paid him for his autograph (Note: He has been my favorite baseball player previous to my meeting him). I asked him to date it, he said, "I don't know the date." He was engrossed in a Bengals game on TV while he was signing. That was January of 1988. Asshole, may you never enter the Hall. Jose Canseco was rude and wouldn't look you in the eyes or say hello when you paid him for his autograph. Nolan Ryan wouldn't even acknowledge my existence. I can forgive Orel Hershiser for the Beckett Monthly 'I AM NOT A MORMON" full page ad, but I can't forgive him saying "get the f--K out of my way" to a group of kids at Spring Training 1988 who wanted his autograph. They weren't even in his way. Bo Jackson did finish his education, which is noteworthy. He was a jerk in Spring Training, taunting fans. Not cool. Oil Can Boyd swearing at kids in Spring Training--bad form from a bad pitcher. Barry Bonds, do I have to explain this one? Darryl Strawberry I don't like because he wasted his amazing Hall of Fame talent on drugs and fast living. Poor role model. Roberto Alomar spit on an umpire and then refused to apologize. He belongs alongside Pete Rose.
Most amazing talent I've ever seen: 1) Darryl Strawberry could turn any pitch into a homerun. 2) Ron Gant had one stance and when I watched him on TV, you could see his body line up just right. Every time he did it, I would say "home run" and he would hit one for sure. I wasn't the only one to notice this.
3) Greg Maddux can put the ball wherever he wants.
4) Barry Bonds in 1988. He hit a homerun to center in Fulton County that took maybe 2 seconds to clear the wall.
5) John Olerud, holy crap he was a patient hitter when I saw him in 1990 at SkyDome
6) Julio Franco once fouled off 13 consecutive pitches.
7) Mariano Rivera in the 1996 World Series. DAMNIT ALL TO HELL he was good.
The coolest baseball things I've ever seen:
1) The Cardinals' Terry Pendleton crawling home after tearing his hamstring rounding third on May 24, 1989 against the Braves. The Braves sucked so bad he was still safe. Seriously. He would win the MVP for them 2 years later.
2) Jeff Treadway getting someone out at first with the hidden ball trick. He put it in his left armpit and waited for them to get a big lead and then tagged them out. Dummy the pitcher wasn't even on the mound.
3) Sid Bream 1992 NLCS
4) Otis Nixon climbing the wall
5) In 1989 the Braves ran off the field after only getting two outs. No one noticed until the umpire looked at the scoreboard as the first batter was heading towards the box. Man the Braves stunk that year.
6) Tom Glavine being put in as a pinch runner when he was a rookie.
7) Fernando Tatis hitting two grand slams in one inning. This will never be repeated.
8) Kirk Gibson's homerun in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series
9) Craig Biggio as a rookie, holy crap!
10) Dante Bichette's throwing arm.
11) Pascual Perez picking someone off first by throwing between his legs to the firstbaseman.
Things I don't like about baseball:
1) There are two too many teams.
2) The Braves belong in the NLWest
3) Wild cards
4) Interleague play
5) That someone who played the vast majority of their career as a designated hitter could be eligible for the hall of fame
6) Dale Murphy isn't in the Hall of Fame but Kirby Puckett is
7) A save should be 2 or more innnings and if you give up ANY runs it shouldn't count.
8) Contracts should have guaranteed minimum performances and if you're supposed to hit 30 homers, but you only hit 25, you get less money. If you hit more, you get a bonus. Pitchers should get paid by the win or the save (under my revised criteria)
9) Millionaires do not need collective bargaining
10) A baseball ticket should cost the same as a movie ticket. There are 162 games in a season.
11) Paying $6 dollars for a hot dog. No coolers allowed into the stadiums due to "homeland security"
12) Owners should not be baseball commissioner
13) Pete Rose once won the Roberto Clemente Award....it should be expunged.
Men that do not take care of their children will have to answer to God for their lack of responsibility. How could you not love your own flesh and blood?
Monday, March 27, 2006
You could make millions....
In all seriousness, I had this condition from age 12-16 and I still have it every morning when I wake up. Nothing worse than sitting there in Mrs. Belk's class at E.T. Booth and getting a ragingly throbbing erection for absolutely no reason--none. I can remember lying to Mrs. Como's math class that I didn't do my homework so I wouldn't have to stand up and write the correct answer on the chalkboard.
Granted, sometimes just looking at a girl was enough for it to happen (several times daily) but other times, it would just spring up for absolutely no perceivable reason. It hurt and not having an outlet could make one suicidal.
I find this syndrome interesting, but I can't imagine most men finding this remarkable as they awake every day with the same phenomenon.
(this whole post was meant as sarcasm)
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
Well since it's Q&A time with the Mormon, I have another one:
Now, granted this situation I'm about to describe can be found in almonst any culture, I'm curious about the Mormon view. But, is it true that women are kept in the dark about a lot of the things going on in the church? A Mormon girl I know said she is told things on "a need to know basis," and only knows what she knows about Jesus through her husband. I think this is a dangerous way a manipulative man could control a wife, but again, same thing could happen in my church if it were a conservative family, except my church places an emphasis on a individual relationships with Christ, and as I've been told, the Mormon church hold more of the view of a relationship through elders. . . similar but not exactly like Catholicism. . . I guess what I'm really wondering is, what is the stance of women in your church?
Where to start? Maybe at the beginning. Eve has been grossly wronged in the press for 5 millenia. God gave Adam and Eve two great commandments: 1) multiply and replenish the earth and 2) not to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As they were innocent in the Garden they didn't know the difference between pleasure and pain; they would've been unable to fulfill the first commandment.
Satan was cast out of Heaven because he wanted to take away mankind's freewill and take all of the glory for the salvation of man for himself instead of giving it to Heavenly Father. He wanted mankind to be under his thumb. As his plan was accepted by a third of heaven (who became the devil and his angels) they were cast out of Heaven by Michael. Once Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden in a state of innocence, he (Satan) immediately wanted them to have the very freewill he fought against in the War in Heaven. He tempted Eve first. Eve understood that in order to follow the first commandment she would need to understand the difference between good and evil, pleasure and pain, etc. She did not sin, but transgressed the law. Sin is something that inherently wrong at all times like adultery and murder. Transgression is something that is wrong at the time like getting a ticket in 1988 on a road for doing 65 in a 55 and that same road today has a 70mph speed limit. It was a transgression at the time, but not an inherent sin. She ate of the fruit and her eyes were opened. She got Adam to eat so that mankind could be. She was not evil, but a wise person who saw what had to be. Adam too saw that it had to be and chose to eat of the fruit. For this they were cast out of the garden, but as they now knew what had to be, they were able to fulfill the first commandment given to them and had Cain, Abel, Seth, and surely hundreds of other children. Elder Dallin H. Oaks has written:
It was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality. Her act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life. Adam showed his wisdom by doing the same. And thus Eve and “Adam fell that men might be” (2 Ne. 2:25). Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall (Bruce R. McConkie, “Eve and the Fall,” Woman, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979, 67–68). Joseph Smith taught that it was not a “sin,” because God had decreed it (see The Words of Joseph Smith, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1980, p. 63). Brigham Young declared, “We should never blame Mother Eve, not the least” (Journal of Discourses, 13:145). Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: “I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 1:114–15).
Interestingly, Satan originally sought no freewill and then wanted to make Adam and Eve use their freewill, and once they did, he began to seek to take it away from them again. He began trying to enslave them and their progeny to vice, addiction, and sin. He suceeded to the point that the Lord flooded the Earth and started over with Noah and his family.
Also, the Lord created the plan of Salvation from before the formation of the world, for we all existed previous to this life and chose to follow Jesus' plan. Jeremiah wrote of this when he said:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:8 KJV)
As part of the plan of Salvation, and since mankind had become imperfect because of sin, he could no longer dwell in the presence of God, we needed a Savior. The Lord also provided two things to help us while outside of his presence: prophets and the priesthood. Prophets are the communication between man and God. Personal communication between God and his children is possible through prayer and the Holy Ghost, but it is the prophet that can receive revelation for more than just himself and his family. His calling is to guide the believers and warn them, admonish them, inspire them, and other duties. The priesthood is the authority given to man to act in the name of God. The priesthood permits the holder to use the power of God to BLESS others. The priesthood allows (depending on the office held) to bless the Sacrament, baptized, give the Gift of the Holy Ghost, bless the sick, preside in a meeting, etc. By divine guidance the priesthood is only held by men. Some have argued that since women are able to conceive and create life inside of them that the priesthood is a consolation prize to men. I think that the priesthood is held by men because that's how God wants it to be. I'm not saying that he couldn't change his mind and allow women to officiate at some point, but as of yet, he has not. We would be made aware of this change by his prophet. My church is led by Jesus Christ through his Holy Ghost. I believe God has chosen a man named Gordon B. Hinckley as his prophet on the earth today.
He was chosen as an Apostle by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles many years ago. As Apostles pass away and others are called, the remaining Apostles rise in seniority. When the prophet dies, the most senior Apostle becomes the prophet. The first prophet of the Restoration (when God restored his church to the earth) was Jospeh Smith. He was given the Aaronic priesthood by a resurrected John the Baptist and the Melchizedek Priesthood by a resurrected Peter, James, and John who visited him and ordained him by the laying on of hands. The Aaronic Priesthood is the lesser priesthood and holds the power to bless the Sacrament and to baptize. The Melchizedek Priesthood is the greater one and holds the power to give the gift of the Holy Ghost, bless and heal the sick, etc. Each priesthood has different offices. The Aaronic is divided into Deacon, Teacher, Priest, and Bishop. The Melchizedek Priesthood is divided into Elder, High Priest, Seventy, Apostle, Patriarch, and Prophet. I am an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood.
With a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, a man who holds the priesthood looks upon marriage as a sacred privilege and obligation. It is not good for man (Mac) to be alone. Neither man nor woman can fill the measure of their creation without the other (1 Corinthians 11:11). A man who holds the priesthood should demonstrate perfect moral fidelity to his wife. A husband should love his wife with all his heart and cleave unto her and none else. President Spencer W. Kimball explained:
“The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes pre-eminent in the life of the husband or wife and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, p. 250).
Those are wise words. Far too often we let outside influences take precedence over our family. A slackening of this importance can lead to wandering. Any and every intimate relationship outside of marriage is expressly forbidden. A spouse's infidelity breaks the other's heart and destroys the marriage. We are supposed to be faithful in marriage in thought, word, and deed. Pornography, flirtations, and unwholesome fantasies strike at the foundation of a happy marriage and poison the soul. If you allow your thoughts to betray your partner and thereby commit adultery in your heart, and you do not repent, you won't have the Spirit, and you put yourself in danger of denying all faith. The wicked and adulterous seek signs and want proofs of knowledge instead of relying on faith.
Just as Adam and Eve, we are still under commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. This commandment has not been removed from us, which explains why Mormons have big families. Mothers are given a sacred privilege to “bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of the Father continued, that he may be glorified” (D&C 132:63). The prophets have said: “Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind” (Messages of the First Presidency, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 6:178). Mothers do somethingthe priesthood cannot do--they create life, the only divine power, other than the priesthood, given to mankind. The prophet David O. McKay wrote: "No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home” (Conference Report, Apr 1935, 116)
The prophet Harold B. Lee said: "The most important of the Lord’s work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 255).
In 1994, the prophet Howard W. Hunter said:
Effective family leadership, brethren, requires both quantity and quality time. The teaching and governance of the family must not be left to your wife alone, to society, to school, or even the Church.
A man who holds the priesthood accepts his wife as a partner in the leadership of the home and family with full knowledge of and full participation in all decisions relating thereto. Of necessity there must be in the Church and in the home a presiding officer (see D&C 107:21). By divine appointment, the responsibility to preside in the home rests upon the priesthood holder (see Moses 4:22). The Lord intended that the wife be a helpmeet for man (meet means equal)—that is, a companion equal and necessary in full partnership. Presiding in righteousness necessitates a shared responsibility between husband and wife; together you act with knowledge and participation in all family matters. For a man to operate independent of or without regard to the feelings and counsel of his wife in governing the family is to exercise unrighteous dominion.
Keep yourselves above any domineering or unworthy behavior in the tender, intimate relationship between husband and wife. Because marriage is ordained of God, the intimate relationship between husbands and wives is good and honorable in the eyes of God. He has commanded that they be one flesh and that they multiply and replenish the earth (see Moses 2:28; Moses 3:24). You are to love your wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it (see Eph. 5:25–31).
Any man who abuses or demeans his wife physically or spiritually is guilty of grievous sin and in need of sincere and serious repentance. Differences should be worked out in love and kindness and with a spirit of mutual reconciliation. A man should always speak to his wife lovingly and kindly, treating her with the utmost respect. Marriage is like a tender flower, brethren, and must be nourished constantly with expressions of love and affection.
We encourage you, brethren, to remember that priesthood is a righteous authority only. (Howard W. Hunter, “Being a Righteous Husband and Father,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 49).
In the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C), a collection of modern revelations given by the Lord to prophets, we have the following Scripture which completely condemns unrighteous dominion:
34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? 35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson-- 36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. 37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. 38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. 39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. 40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen. 41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; 42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile-- 43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; 44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death. (D&C: Section 121:34-44)
But I think the most comprehensive explanation of our beliefs in answer to your question come from the Proclamation on the Family.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan. Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah."
I think that many times people have this perception of Mormons as men with multiple wives that lord over them with a heavy hand. The Southern Baptist Convention caught some grief a few years back for trying to basically express the same notion of fathers presiding, but their wording wasn't as succint, it carried the possibility of misunderstanding and perceived support of unrighteous dominion. This decision was satirized by Eric Cartman of South Park:
Cartman: Hey, get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!"
"Hey, missy, go knit me a sweater before I slap you in the face!"
So your Mormon friend that told you she learns about Jesus on a need to know basis through her husband has some serious problems. I don't know her, but her comment speaks to me of someone who does not understand the Scriptures, someone who does not understand the Gospel, and someone who doesn't pray like they should. Our individual relationship with Heavenly Father is the most important thing we have, period. No man, save Jesus Christ, can help us return to live with Heavenly Father--no matter his righteousness, his priesthood, or his charisma. We must know God in our hearts and ask for his forgiveness. The prophets and the priesthood are there to help us on our journey, but unless we get down on our knees and pour out our hearts and establish a relationship between God and ourselves, why bother? A god that requires someone else (besides my spouse) in order for me to get back to him is boring and unfair. There is no paid clergy in my church; there is no preacher. We have elders and bishops, etc, but they are not people that must help you build a relationship with Heavenly Father; they are there to help me out if I need them. We all work together. In order to get the brass ring, I only need (in no particular order):
2) The Gift of the Holy Ghost
3) Being married to Mickelle for time and all eternity
4) The Sacrament
6) Scripture Study
8) Love my neighbor as myself [meaning serve my fellow men]
I can't get to heaven without Mickelle, nor she without me; we are equal partners. Even though I preside, I would never make a serious decision unless we were in complete agreement. Nor would I ever pull that "I forbid it" bullcrap that other men try to do.
Men who do that are evil losers and will get their reward.
The God of Islam, referred to as Allah (meaning "the [male] god") in the Koran, evidently requires complete submission to every facet of life. A Muslim who no longer believes in the religion of Islam must be executed. Evidently an all powerful god is incapable of striking down the convert himself and needs humans to execute unbelievers for him. Why does God need a spaceship?
We stood by while they blew up those Buddhist statues before the war. We should move in and rescue this man if indeed they move to execute him. Give him religious asylum.
I cannot support continued involvement and investment in Afghanistan if their Constitution does not protect this man's religious freedom. If he is executed, I submit that we salt their poppy fields and leave them to their own devices.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Arab loathing of dogs goes back centuries, probably predating the creation of the Muslim faith. The Muslim Moors that invaded Spain in 711 AD and would have kept going into all of Europe had not my ancestor Charles Martel stopped them at the battle of Tours. The Moors ruled parts of Spain for almost 800 years until Granada fell in 1492. Moors were often referred to as dogs, or can(es) by their Christian subjects. The famed Reconquista or Reconquest saw Christian kings fighting for centuries against their Moorish invaders. The poem of El mío Cid tells of one such adventure, only el Cid serves both Christian and Moorish kings.
Spanish kings were apt to reward their knights that had shown valor in battle by bestowals of different grades of nobility, royal approval of coats of arms, and a royally chosen surname. Perhaps the most obvious of these names is Matamoros. Mata=kill, moros= Moors/Arabs. So there are hundreds of thousands of people today whose last names mean Arab Killer. Another name is Canseco. Can=dog and seco= dry (as in bled dry by wounds). So someone with the last name Canseco literally means dead dog or Dead Arab. The most amazing of these type of last names is Diezcanseco, which would translate to 10 Dead Arabs.
The Spaniards must have sensed the Arab fear of dogs and used this as an insult for them, though it is not uncommon to insult ones enemy with references to canines.
This is soldier's story is such BS. His dog never bit anyone, he just let them think he was going to bite them. I am terrified of dogs and I think that this should be a legitimate interrogation method of hardened terrorists. At least he didn't use an attack pig.
That he is going to jail for this truly makes him a scapegoat. Physical torture and privations are wrong. Embarrassment and shame and fear are fine by me. Or maybe we should turn Jack Bauer loose on anyone we want information from; we are at war after all.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
1941= 24 days
1942= 365 days
1943= 365 days
1944= 366 days
_____________ = 1357 days
War on Terror: September 11, 2001 - Today
2001= 111 days
2006=81 days and counting
_____________ = 1653 days and counting
World War II saw us with a clearly defined enemy and location of where to attack. The heavy handed tactics such a fire bombing the general populace of Tokyo and Hamburg will not fly in today's world. If the Romans were dealing with the situation in Iraq the population would be much smaller due to executions and relocations from slavery. We do not do such barbaric things these days because of moral and political concerns. In World War II if Germans hid in churches we razed those churches. I guarantee that if we destroyed mosques when militants sought refuge in them, they would stop doing it. I hate war. I wish it could be avoided. I wish there was no war on terror; there was no terror. We have to ask ourselves if we have done anything to bring this hatred on ourselves. Chalking it up to pure evil is simplistic. It is best to understand one's enemy and not simply label him as such-and-such without trying to understand his motivations.
I don't think we can win this war without a drastic change in policies. In an extra-moral sense, in order to win we need to:
1) Reinstitute the draft and swell the ranks of the military (political suicide)
2) Invade Pakistan, Iran, Syria and seize all Saudi oil reserves. (wrecking the global economy)
3) Adopt hardline tactics against Iraqis that attack us. If you fire on troops your mom gets jailed until you turn yourself in. If a village supports insurgents raze the village. (immoral and Unamerican)
4) Destroy the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the holy sites in Mecca, and the holy city of Qom. (just pure hatred)
5) Park all our troops on the plain of Armageddon and call out all the bad guys. (I'm in no hurry to meet God)
Since obviously none of the tactics mentioned above are plausible, moral, or ethical where do we stand? I don't think our current leadership is bad, per se, but I'm ready for someone else to give the war a shot. Is there a better plan out there? We can't just pull out now....look at what happened in Vietnam and Cambodia after we left........absolute genocide via the Khmer Rouge. If we leave now, the country will break apart. If we stay we are pushing an elephant up the stairs. How would like to know that your son died for political considerations? I HATE WAR, but realize that it is necessary. Someone please make the madness stop. I do not understand our enemy.
So, first I guess I'll have to explain why I, for religious reasons mostly, do not drink beer or any alcohol, coffee, tea, smoke, or abuse drugs.
As I've previously stated, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which makes me a Mormon. I believe in its doctrines because of my own personal testimony and what I've felt are answers to my interrogative prayers about what is the Lord's true Gospel. Therefore, I (try to) obey the commandments that our Prophets and Apostles (my choice to capitalize, not a Mormon thing so much as a Mac thing) have received from the Lord. We're supposed to keep the law of chastity which means no sexual relations other than with the person to whom we are legally and lawfully married. We're supposed to keep the Sabbath Day (Sunday) holy, which means no merchandising on Sunday. We're supposed to do all sorts of things, and there is one big suggestion of things we are supposed to abstain from ingesting; we call it the Word of Wisdom, here goes:
THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result. The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet.
(hyperlinks are part of the copied text and will only link to other Scriptures with those same words in them. They were not linked by me. Likewise, the black dots after every linked word.)
1 A WORD OF WISDOM, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word• of wisdom, showing forth the order and will• of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
3 Given for a principle with promise•, adapted to the capacity of the weak• and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—
5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine• or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure• wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
7 And, again, strong• drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs• God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving•.
12 Yea, flesh• also of beasts• and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used•, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
14 All grain• is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And these• hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit• of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—
17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall• receive health• in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall find• wisdom and great treasures of knowledge•, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall run• and not be weary•, and shall walk and not faint.
21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass• by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.
So, we can see that in the 1830s we received a guide to health that stands the test of time. While this is offered not as a commandment, no member would ever be excommunicated for breaking the Word of Wisdom, members who do not follow its prohibitions against alcohol, tobacco, and hot drinks (later clarified as coffee and tea) may not enter into the temple. Temples are different from churches. The temple is the House of the Lord, the church is where we meet for the Sacrament. Temples are special places where we perform eternal marriages (not til death), baptisms for the dead and other sacred ordinances. Those wishing to go to the temple must obey the Word of Wisdom.
The key benefits are twofold: health and the ability to choose. While the health benefits of some things are self-explanatory, others are in dispute constantly (wine is good, wine is bad, wine is good, wine is bag again, etc.). A key characteristic of avoiding habit-forming things and things which intoxicate is that we try to avoid anything that could take our ability to choose correctly and thus ultimately our free agency/free will. Addiction impairs one's ability to choose.
In an extra-religious sense I don't drink because I am not one excelled at self-control of consumption. I loved alcohol and found liquor to be both tasty and an easy way to relax. I was never a beer drinker. It smells and tastes too much like moldy bread/overproofed pizza dough for me to ever enjoy it. I'd rather drink grape juice than wine, but liquor was amazing. However, given my inability to truly regulate and discpline myself by consuming small amounts of something (for example, my Coke consumption in my 20s), I have gone cold turkey. I don't drink because I like it too much. Luckily I had the foresight in my youth to have avoided using drugs. I knew I would like them too much. Perhaps I was ignorant, but I don't really think a lot of people in my social circle at school did drugs. By the time my little sister went to Etowah five years later, she didn't know anyone that didn't do drugs, most Mormons included. I would never have done drugs had I not become Mormon, but my alcohol consumption would've gotten progressively larger until I joined the storied ranks of the alcoholic members of my family tree. Frankly, I don't miss alcohol. Iced tea however still makes my mouth water when I smell it brewing at a restaurant. It's smell, like a simile between Lot's wife longingly looking back at Sodom, makes me sigh and long for its delicious taste.
Hugh A. Nibley, perhaps the most respected Mormon scholar ever, wrote the following exegesis of the Word of Wisdom that explains why we do what we do much better than I can explain it: This is from a Sunday School lesson that he gave in the Manavu Ward in Provo, Utah in December 1979:
The Word of Wisdom is a greeting, not a commandment or constraint, but a word of wisdom, the order and will of God for the temporal salvation for all Saints in these last days. The covenants you make are eternal, but you're not going to be worried about tea, coffee and tobacco in the world hereafter. In the ages to come I don't think smoking will be a serious problem with any of us. In fact, it isn't even now, as far as that goes. It's a temporal law to supply us during this life, and this is the way it was taken.
The Word of Wisdom doesn't belong to the order of the eternal Gospel. It is temporal and temporary but no less the will of God. We do not covenant and promise to keep the Word of Wisdom, because our promises and covenants are eternal. But we are bound while we're here, so it is not secondary in importance. However, we often make a big fuss about the Word of Wisdom while ignoring the other commandments. President Joseph F. Smith used to say that we make the Word of Wisdom a subject of religious hobbyism. "As long as I keep the Word of Wisdom, that's the thing," someone may say, and then preach that and nothing else. That is not the fullness of the Gospel. It is a minimal requirement, a principle with a promise, a first step: No great achievement but you get a reward for it. Others keep it better than we do. For example, on the whole the Seventh Day Adventists are better keepers of the Word of Wisdom than we are, but it's not the Gospel.
We have been warned and forewarned against the evil designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men. Today this is recognized as the promotion of harmful products. But where do we draw the line of harmful products? And where do we strike a balance between harmful products and the money they bring in? Do you remember the time when all watches had luminescent dials on them? It was a great blessing to be able to see the time in the dark. But what did we ever do with luminous dials? We junked them, because the disadvantage of radioactivity was greater than the advantage of luminescence. People were saying we couldn't get along without it, but we have been getting along without it. It's the same with exhortations in the Word of Wisdom. How can we do without certain things?
Wine and strong drink are only for the sacrament. Make your own. Tobacco you may use only for medicine. Discover its use by experimentation. Dr. Marv Roberson, trainer, uses tobacco quite a bit for sprains and bruises quite effectively, but it is to be used with judgement and skill. Skill means experience. (There's your wisdom again.) President Joseph F. Smith says the Word of Wisdom means just that?'wisdom.' You use your wisdom. A commandment, on the other hand, means 'You must do this!' A Word of Wisdom you must judge for yourself. Heber C. Kimball included chocolate and cocoa among the hot drinks, but then they drank them extremely hot. When they said hot, they meant hot!
All wholesome herbs. Well, what makes the herb wholesome? For the constitution, use and nature of man. Ah, but you must know how. Every herb in the season, every fruit in the season. Joseph Fielding Smith used to say, "Well, we put up our preserves, we freeze our vegetables?when they are ripe." We don't freeze them and use them when they are green. Or when they are rotten. We freeze them in the proper season. That doesn't mean that you're supposed to only eat peas in the three weeks when the peas are perfect for picking. But you can freeze them. You can preserve them in the season, of course. You're still eating them in the season and not taking them prematurely. We get such cranks in this business. Notice: 'With prudence.' There's the answer to the cranks, right there, for prudence means providence, foresight, and thanksgiving.
Meat sparingly. Again, sparing is a good word. It means 'sparing Gods creatures.' It is to be used with thanksgiving and not with gluttony, which is one of the national weaknesses. (Overweight is one of our national diseases.) That's gluttony, which is one of the seven deadly sins. You have a right to meat, according to the 49th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. The family who needs a deer to get through the winter have a right to that. The Lord will not deny them, but He is also pleased with those who forbear. They can eat meat only in times of starvation, winter, cold, famine. 'Starve' means to die of cold as well as of famine. And the Saints need meat to see them through the winter and restore their fainting strength. Remember the miracle of the quails, for example. Game only in times of famine and excess of hunger. But the supplies are limited, and we cannot afford to hunt the year round, promiscuously. At the first sight of buffalo in Iowa, the plain was covered with buffalo as far as the eye could see. Brigham Young called the brethren together and told them not to shoot one unless they absolutely need it. And this turned out to be a great blessing for them.
Grain is the staff of life, the underpinning of the whole cycle. The angiosperms are encapsulated, highly concentrated nourishment supplied from the insects right on up the food chain. (They like to share it with us, too.) It's not an exclusive diet, though. We lean on it more than anything else, but verses 10 and 11 tell us the importance of herbs, of fruit, and of meat. They are essential, too. All grains, fruits, and berries are good for man. All must be processed in some way, however. The indians used their berries and acorns a lot, but they had to process or wash them or they would be eating deadly poisons like cyanide and other things. If they didn't process them, they found out by experience how to treat these things. They used a lot of things that we don't think are useful at all. It's amazing. Tommy Martin has spent his days looking for edible and useful herbs in that lot around his house. He found 128 plants and herbs growing right around his house that people use for some purpose of nutrition, medicine or otherwise. That just shows that they are all around us. But we don't know anything about it?that's something that takes a lot of skill.
And then the great promise. It is not included in mortality for man to be immune from suffering but it does guarantee that things will be as they should be. The main thing about the Word of Wisdom is that it represents a new way of life. We don't realize this, but when we go back to the Journal of Discourses: tea, coffee, tobacco and liquor are all a part of our way of life, but they are luxuries, a form of indulgence, a form of gracious living. The Saints need to break away from that. They are things we really don't need because they are stimulants or narcotics. The early Saints were forced to give them up when they ran out of supplies. The Saints in St. George had no trouble at all with the Word of Wisdom because they couldn't get any of the stuff. They adopted the Word of Wisdom, and it worked. In other words, they were forced into a new way of life. There's a new book that's just come out on alcohol in American history. In the 19th century it seems that Americans imbibed a pint of liquor every day. This was our way of life, perfectly normal. The Word of Wisdom was absolutely necessary to effect a break with these customs, for the coming forth of the kingdom in these days demanded it. Brigham Young said the older generation is too far gone. "We must begin with the younger generation. The older ones need it. They collapse without it. They must have their coffee, etc." Ezra T. Benson said that this was a whole new way of life, a cultural revolution which the Saints have not yet accepted.
Brigham Young again: "When we first heard the revelation many of us thought that it consisted just of our drinking tea and coffee. But it is not just these things but every other evil that is calculated to contaminate this people. We should feel to thank the Lord that we have escaped thus far the contaminating influence of the Gentiles." George Albert Smith said the same in the conference: "The Word of Wisdom sifts the people. They do not realize it. How carefully they are being tested. It's a gradation, so to speak. It's a cultural revolution. So also is their treatment of animals, etc." And the same year (1855) Brigham Young again speaks: "The people have laid the foundation of short life through their diet, their rest, their labor, their doing this, that and the other in a wrong manner with improper motives at improper times." 'Let all things be in moderation' is what we have here. "Suppose I say, 'Come wife, let's have a good dinner today.'" Well, this is a Victorian tradition, you see. What does she get? "Pork and beef, stewed, roasted, fried, boiled, potatoes, cabbage, onions, turnips, eggs, custard, pies of all kinds, cheese and sweet meats. Now I admit that my wife and I sit down and overload our stomachs until we feel the deleterious effects of it from the crowns of our heads to the soles of our feet, eyeballs protruding and belts snapping and everything else." Then he says, "The whole system is disturbed by its operations and is ready to receive heart disease. A child begotten under such conditions is liable to be born with a tabernacle subject to pain and distress. Will all hearken to this plain statement? No. You might as well talk to the wild geese that fly over us."
In a speech given in Provo on the Word of Wisdom Brigham Young says. "It has been an organic part of the church teachings at all times. Like the temple garments, it is a protection. It is an admonition to wisdom, giving appetites, desires and passions within boundaries, and is to be considered with discretion. It is a protection from evil and designing men and from many things that can harm us." These things are habit-forming.
Now I want to talk about a good example of religious hobbyism. In 1833 the Saints commenced to build a temple in Kirtland. A mere handful of Saints commenced that work, but they were full of faith and energy. In a few weeks some of them apostatized. The trials were too great, the troubles were too severe. For instance, a certain family having traveled a long journey arrived in Kirtland and the Prophet asked them to stop and stay with them until they could find their own place. Sister Emma, meanwhile, asked the old lady if she would have a cup of tea or coffee to refresh her after the fatigues of the journey. The whole family apostatized because they were invited to take a cup of tea or coffee after the Word of Wisdom was given. (After all, this was just a stimulant for an old lady. It wasn't a coffee bust!)
Amasa Lyman once said, "The Word of Wisdom is just that. It conducts us in way of progress, which is a progressive repentance." A workaholic is as culpable as the alcoholic. The positive side of it is, "Don't overwork. Don't get yourself exhausted so that you need stimulants. You must go to bed early and rise early. Let your minds and your bodies be rested. If you overwork, then you are breaking the Word of Wisdom because you are forcing yourself to fall back on these drugs to give you a pick up. The Word of Wisdom is nothing to flaunt before the world, it's merely a means of assisting us in salvation and work for the human race. In 1867 Brigham Young said, "The situation is not good in the church." He reminds them that the Word of Wisdom is not a fetish. The Word of Wisdom is one thing, and ignorance, superstition or bigotry is another. Then again, he gives the story of an elder in Nauvoo who refused to administer to the sick when he saw a teapot in the house! (There was no tea in the teapot, only some herbs, they didn't have Brigham tea at that time.) We had a friend who refused to use Carnation milk because it was advertised to be used with coffee. That's being very puristic, isn't it?
Erastus Snow at the same conference said, "Don't make the Word of Wisdom a hobby to the exclusion of everything else so as to disgust people, but in the true spirit of the Gospel seek to bring the matter home to the hearts and understandings of the people. Feel after those who may be stupid or ignorant. Being instructed in these things is the important thing. (Stimulants and narcotics are even necessary sometimes, but this does not license their general use. Those who covenant have no option but to keep the Word of Wisdom.) Then he says, "Like money, it's right to have pharmaceutics sufficient for our needs, but they can be poison if overdone. More than that, they can be deadly." George Q. Cannon says, "Not only stimulants, but any extreme diet, any food fads, etc. And this goes for cholesterols, synthetics, sugar-free diets, all sorts of things like this.
"Having food and raiment, let us therefore be content," says Paul to Timothy. We can get into trouble if we start overdoing things. Orson Pratt says that a man should not constrain his family to obey it, but every man will have to give an account of his doings. Man may keep the Word of Wisdom as far as tea and coffee and tobacco are concerned and still come very short. If he wishes and contends to be right he must convey this together with all the commandments of the Word of Wisdom, for if you keep the Word of Wisdom but don't walk in obedience you will not receive health to the navel and marrow to the bones. That includes regulating our thoughts and all our doings.
In the sermons from the General Authorities from the beginning it becomes increasingly apparent that the Word of Wisdom is far more advanced than we have realized. Every time a new step is taken today we find that the Word of Wisdom anticipated it. An example: In 1870 Brigham Young said, "Why are these things so popular, and why are they bad? The narcotic spirits in these substances are the cause for their being so much liked by those who use them. They are habit-forming. Their most dangerous effects make them that." Everything that we eat contains poisons, as far as that goes, but these are habit-forming. But the important thing, he says, is the state of mind. One must be sober and clear-headed to receive revelation. Narcotics of any kind beget delusion, unreality. That's why we don't indulge in any excesses. We don't have the music, the lights, the colors, the incense, the bells, the organ and all this. Not in the temple. Cold, sober. It has to be like that. Orson Pratt says further, "Take the Word of Wisdom which is given for our benefit and our temporal salvation. It is true. Disobedience to it is not so gross as with some others, but still it is given for our temporal salvation and should be observed. We should preach it every two weeks so that this people is persuaded to hearken to it. And yet they know it is the will of the Lord. They go away after hearing the most glorious discourse upon this and other revelations and perhaps they will keep the Word of Wisdom for two or three days, but it makes their head ache, so they take a little tea, and it does them good for the moment, and it is such a trial! It must be a terrible trial, for the Lord said, "The weakest of all."
The Word of Wisdom is necessary for unity and cooperation. It's a form of common sense and honesty. Drugs, luxuries, self-indulgence, fashions and wealth: they all go together. The Word of Wisdom is simply a warning to beware of the world, and although it is a temporal revelation, the keeping of it will help us to keep the more eternal covenants we have made with our Heavenly Father.
So, that's why Mormons limit themselves. I don't think Paul needs to worry about having a beer in heaven. It won't even cross his mind. There will be no need for it.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
I have pretty much always done the things I was supposed to do. Unlike almost all members of my nuclear and extended family, I got good grades, didn't do drugs, didn't have sex outside of marriage, went on a mission because I wanted to, graduated from college, got married in the temple, etc. I generally do what's right. My sister, my parents, my cousins all got to raise hell and then they usually repented and all was forgiven.
At church I have the opportunity to serve in the bishopric and as such I am privy to all of the happenings and drama amongst the members of my congregation, which can be an onerous burden. My family never gets mentioned among all the drama. We are a millpond.
Sometimes I think the prodigal son had the better end of the deal. If you can do whatever the hell you want and then say you're sorry, why be good? If the Lord forgives all, what's the difference between virtue and repented virtue? I know there's a flaw in my thinking somewhere, but I am tired of me having to suffer the stress and headache of other people's poor choices. The man last night made poor choices that led him to want to accost me. I live my life in such a way that I do not make others suffer by my selfishness. But, the pride that makes me write this entry is the same narcissicism that makes him pick up the bottle or someone else do things even worse. Save murder and adultery isn't all sin the same?
Sometimes it just seems too hard to always be good. I am usually good andyet others can harm me because of their own selfishness....it aint fair. We are commanded to be like Jesus, an impossible task. He had to be half divine to accomplish it. It isn't hard to be good when others are good, but when someone wrongs me, I loathe choosing the right. I almost always do, but damnit if I don't struggle with being Christlike. It ain't easy, but I do it--eventually--because I know it's right. I am not perfect, but I don't bring the drama into other people's lives (outside of mine and Mickelle's). My mistakes are my own.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
This morning, the young LDS missionaries were answering questions posed to them by the bishop with "yep" and "nope," something that would have received a swift correction had it been done 20 years ago. My culture is that you respond "yes" and "no" at the very least, if not "yes sir" or "no sir" when someone in authority or honor addresses you. My neighbors continue to complain about our Hispanic neighbors' loud music on the weekends. White people complain about black people being loud in public. Black people complain about white people discriminating against them. The list is endless. It made me angry this morning to hear those two boys respond, what to me can only be called, flippantly to my bishop. They may not have known that they were being disrespectful, but if I assume that they are, then the problem lies with me and my prejudice (literally=pre-judgment) of them.
So when those same two boys called me an hour ago to tell me that they needed my help, this same conversation came back into my mind. On the way to pick them up at Lee Circle with a flat tire, I thought about how I could best tactfully tell them they needed to watch their behavior because they were in a different culture now and needed to be sensitive to that.
When I got there to pick them up, they were speaking with two men who were obviouly drunk. As we disassembled their bicycles, one of the men began stumbling towards my open car door, in an obvious attempt to enter it. I moved between him and my car and said "Dude, stay away from my car." Now as he was drunk, he took more offense at this than he should've and began to swear and call me a "Fat cracker motherfucker" and telling me "why don't you lose some weight" and other divers playground insults. The large Tongan missionary put himself between the man and I while I tried to load the bikes into the car. I was not too worried for my safety as I had a means to defend myself, but I do not seek out violence or confrontation. I merely wanted the man to leave me and my car alone. As he was black, him calling me "cracker" is meant as a racial epithet. I didn't tell him to stay away from my car because he was black, but because he was drunk and moving towards it in a not-normal way.
I endured his insults while I loaded the bikes into my car. I drove the elders home in silence, electing to not talk to them about something that seems now so trivial when faced with insults I just received.
It would be far too easy to call this man the flipside of the racial insults and their accompanying stereotypes, but my momma taught me better. Before I ever had religion, I had my momma. Mother is the name of god on the lips and in the hearts of every child. She taught me that race doesn't matter when it comes to someone's character. She taught me to avoid confrontation whenever possible. My mother's words echo not in my mind but in my instinctual behavior. I could've easily inflicted harm with extreme prejudice on that man tonight in self-defense. I could've have yelled back my own racial slurs at the man. But all of that behavior is not who I really truly am. I am not a violent person. I do not think ill of the man because of his race. My momma taught me better than that.
That man made choices that have since enslaved him to alcoholism to the point where he now walks the streets at night, drunk and aimless and confrontational. Nothing I could say or do to that man will change his behavior, especially while intoxicated. Like it or not, he is a son of my Heavenly Father, and as such, my brother. I do not take that relationship lightly.
I hope I did the right thing. Part of me wants to drive back down there and fight the man. Luckily, that's the part of myself I usually choose to ignore.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
I'm so tired, I haven't slept a winkI'm so tired, my mind is on the blinkI wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink No,no,no. I'm so tired I don't know what to doI'm so tired my mind is set on you I wonder should I call you but I know what you would do. You'd say I'm putting you on. But it's no joke, it's doing me harm. You know I can't sleep, I can't stop my brain. You know it's one week, I'm going insane. You know I'd give you everything I've got for a little piece of mine.
Happiness is a warm gun (bang bang shoot shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun mama
When I hold you in my arms and
I feel my finger on you trigger
I know nobody can do no harm
Because Happiness is a warm gun mama
Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is
Happiness is a warm, yes it is, gun
Ah, don't you know that Happiness is a warm gun mama
Baby, when I think about you
I think about love
Don't wanna live without you
And your love
And if I had
Those golden dreams
Of my yesterday
I would wrap you
In the heavens
And feel like dying
On the way
I feel like makin'
I could father a host of children tonight.
Friday, March 17, 2006
I repeat, I have no carnal knowledge of Mickelle Fonnesbeck Williams and she has never engaged in such ghastly behavior as coitus with me or anyone else for that matter.
Mickelle ydy forwyn i mewn 'r chreuau chan Celi
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Lo sublime es lo que se puede sentir, ver, oler, saber y oír pero que no se puede describir con palabras. Edmund Burke escribió que ver una catarata y sentir de su poder no se puede capturar con palabras. Los poetas luchan hacerlo con palabras en sus poemas, pero hay algunas cosas que, no importa la cantidad de palabras que gastamos intentando lograr describirlas, no llegamos. El romanticismo nos convenció por dos siglos que en casos de amor, las palabras no se prestan muy bien para describir los sentimientos. Les pagamos mucho dinero a los poetas y cantantes que logran capturar quizás una parte de una esencia común de un sentimiento universal porque su talento les ayuda a decir lo que no somos capaces de componer. Echo de menos tanto a mi esposa cuando no está que casi no aguanto su ausencia. Esta canción de Maná describe exactamente como me siento ahora mismo. Espero que les guste.
"Sábanas frías" por Maná con Rubén Blades
Cómo me duele este frío,
aquí en mi cama,
cómo yo extraño tus besos
Quisiera dormir amor
sobre tus pechos,
quisiera vivir amor
atado a tus huesos
Estas sábanas mi amor
están muy frías,
ven a darme tu calor
y arrancarme el dolor
Yo te quiero compartir toda mi vida,
te comparto mi cuarto mi cama
y todo mi amor
Vente a vivir conmigo amor
que mi sábana esta fría.
Vente a vivir conmigo amor
que mi cama esta vacía.
Vente a vivir conmigo amor
hiriendo a mis sentimientos.
Sábanas Frías sin su amor.
Y te cuidaré por siempre
Y donde quiera,
te amaré como uno quiere
a su bandera.
Yo te quiero compartir
todo, todo mi amor,
te comparto mi cuarto mi cama
mis besos y todo, todo amor.
Vente a vivir conmigo amor, Ay amor caribe mexicano
Vente a vivir conmigo amor, No le cuente a su mamá, sólo a su hermana
Vente a vivir conmigo amor, Yo te hago el café por la mañana
SÁBANAS FRÍAS SIN SU AMOR.
Sábanas frías sin su amor
qué dolor, qué dolor
sábanas frías sin su amor,
qué dolor, qué dolor
sábanas frías sin su amor,
qué dolor, qué dolor
sábanas frías sin su amor,
qué dolor, qué dolor.
Sábanas frías sin su amor
arobame por tu cuerpo
qué dolor, qué dolor
sin tí soy un hombre muerto
sábanas frías sin su amor
sin tí morena
sin tí no hay vida
sábanas frías sin su amor,
sábanas frías de mi cama cama cama duele duele duele el alma
qué dolor, qué dolor
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
On Monday March 13, 2006 I went to the Elmwood Station located in Harahan, LA 70123 to mail several packages that I needed to ship. Since the Carrollton Station near my house still has no phone lines and cannot take packages, I went to Harahan to avoid the long lines at the other New Orleans post offices. There were two employees servicing customers at the Harahan location. I had a postal crate full of packages on my left arm as well as a large package (it cost over $18 to ship) on my other arm. When I was next in line and the man at a station left and I started walking towards the employee because I wanted to get down to business and rest the packages on the counter. As I approached, the employee named Monica (an african-american woman in her mid to late 40s--early 50s) told me (without looking at me) "Uh Uh Uhhhh, I didn't call you. I am finishing a transaction, you get back in line." Now I don't care where you work, you don't tell a customer "Uh Uh Uh." I am a 32 year old man and a paying customer, you don't talk to me or anyone that way when you work somewhere. She had zero tact. She could've told me, "sir please wait until I call you to my station so you're not waiting unnecessarily." I am sick and tired of postal employees' attitudes in New Orleans. Three years ago I wrote to you about a postal employee at the Carrollton Station that told a Spanish speaker he had to speak English, saying "My country, my language." Every damned time I go to the post office I or someone else there gets some drama from your workers, and I'm sick of it. I sell over 2,000 items a year on ebay and I ship all of them via the USPS, but I am seriously considering switching to a private carrier so I don't have to deal with all the bullshit I have to endure from your employees. I told Monica "I don't care where you work, you don't say Uh Uh Uh to your customers. Instead of attending to me, she just walked into the back and waited until the other teller, a polite lady named Rose, finished helping her customer and started helping me. I have put up with the odious attitudes of your employees during the recovery from Katrina because I figured that they were stressed out; but we all are, and it's been long enough where they need to stow the attitude and do their job, or you need to find someone else to replace them. Feel free to contact me. Mac Williams
Four jobs I have had in my life:1) McDonald's, started at $3.35 an hour 2) Bait store clerk at age 12 for $2.25 an hour: I got minnows, worms, crickets, and such for anglers 3) Pizza Hut delivery driver (6 years, 12,000 pizzas) 4) I got paid $4 an hour to play Warcraft II and Command & Conquer against people at a computer arcade in Marietta, GA called Sybernet. I was that good.
Four movies I would watch over and over: 1) Shawshank Redemption 2) Groundhog Day 3) Kelly's Heroes 4) Stalag 17
Four places I have lived:1) Acworth (Oak Grove) Georgia (1982-1993, 1995-1997, 2005 [Katrina, you bitch]) 2) Dillard, Georgia (1978-1982) 3) Provo, Utah (1997-2002) 4) Costa Rica (1993-1995)
Four TV shows I love to watch:1) The Sopranos 2) Monster House 3) Scrubs 4) Lost & 24
Four places I have been on vacation:1) Europe (twice) 2) Costa Rica (honeymoon--though we didn't get outside much ;) 3) Hawaii--boring, like Los Angeles on an island 4) The Bahamas--if you go to the Out Islands, and not a resort, the Bahamas are truly wonderous.
Four websites I visit daily:1) www.hotmail.com
2) wuapinmon.blogspot.com 3) www.fark.com 4) www.cnn.com
Four of my favorite foods1) Sushi
2) Pecans 3) Sweet potatoes 4) Cherry Coke
Four places I'd rather be right now:1) Pine Valley, Utah 2) Alajuela, Costa Rica 3) debajo de Mickelle 4) Las Vegas
Four people (dead or alive) I would love to spend the day with: 1) Tim 2) Dallas 3) Jorge Luis Borges 4) Anyone who reads my blog
Four favorite things to do:1) Have sex 2) Sleep 3) Eat 4) Hang out with friends
Four friends I send this to who I think will respond 1) Not many, most of my friends are internet snobs. 2) Tim might if he's in the right mood. 3) Paul maybe, but probably not 4) My sister if she ever reads this thing.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Mickelle has been gone for three days. She has called me every day, but I still miss her. I miss Marley too, but I miss Mickelle more. Not having my right half around to talk to is what makes her little jaunts out west so excruciating. The Scriptures say in Genesis 2:18, "It is not good that Mac should be alone." I get insomnia when Mickelle is away. I was exhausted yesterday evening, yet no sleep came to me until 2AM. I awoke on the hour, every hour, until six and rather than lie there for 45 minutes waiting for my alarm to ring, I got up and decided to write this entry.
I can't concentrate on anything. I have gout and it hurts to walk. El coco se está inchando y no hay remedio.
Gloom, despair and agony on me,
Deep dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck
I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair and agony on me
I need, you here with me, not way over in the land of Disney.
I am happy in this photo porque estoy con las que amo.
The Bourne movies are good entertainment. Sucks that he will ruin it visually.
Here are the lyrics with my comments in italics:
I was totin' my pack along the long dusty Winnemucca road (we have the anti-hero figure of the drifter on a road in Nevada trying to hitchhike. The defenite article "the" means that the listener can pinpoint the exact road to Winnemucca of which the song speaks)
When along came a semi with a high canvas covered load (Again, the high-plains-drifter motif. The semi driver is the modern-day stagecoach driver, the modern cowboy)
If you're goin' to Winnemucca, Mac, with me you can ride (The driver offers travel to Winnemucca. Mac, aside from being my name, is a common term for an unknown individual. Similar terms are dude, bro, buddy, or partner. This means that he has not offered his name, something that someone on the lam would not do.)
And so I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside (not much here)
He asked me if I'd seen a road with so much dust and sand (the question begins, since the desert weather is the same day-in day-out they begin talking about the boring landscape of the desert west. The implicit complaint is that there is only dirt and sand in the area and the question implied is "who would want to live here?")
And I said, 'Listen! I've traveled every road in this here land' (The self-aggrandizing drifter replies, that he has truly been everywhere and there is nothing new that he hasn't seen before)
I've been everywhere, man (He claims to have been everywhere, man)
I've been everywhere, man (Yeah, you just told us that)
Crossed the deserts bare, man (Okay)
I've breathed the mountain air, man (okay)
Travel...I've had my share, man (But why has he been traveling. Later lyrics point to a more sinister reason for his drifting. He doesn't drift because he can, man, but because he has to, as we shall see)
I've been everywhere (again, we got it)
I've been to
Reno (Where he shot a man, just to watch him die, as we learn from the Folsom Prison song. It's odd that he would mention Reno first given the ties between the other song, it's importance in his oeuvre, and the obvious primacy of the notion that the criminal always returns to the scene of his crime. He goes to Reno first in his list, because it is what caused him to drift in the first place. He shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die).
I'm a killer (Hidden here at the end of all the cities he has visited, we see the rhyming confession, "I'm a killer"; in this otherwise fun song, we have a dark, ominous threat against the driver, against the listener even. )
I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Travel...I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere
I've been to:
For Pete's sake
I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Travel...I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere
I've been to
Fond du Lac
See what I mean
I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Travel...I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere
I've been to
What a pity (and here at the end, we have "what a pity". A pity that he has been all over running from the law, from his demons. It is a pity that one man would have had to have drifted so much. The all-seeing eye of the Great Other still sees him wherever he goes, and he has flees in vain, knowing that he will eventually be caught and face judgement.)
I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Travel...I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere
This song is deeper than it seems.