Friday, January 31, 2014

Mixed Messages

As the rock man told Oblio, people see what they want to see, people hear what they want to hear. The result of this purblindness is people refusing to acknowledge what's right in front of their noses if it goes against what they want to believe. 

As the culture war marches insidiously on, the world around us, through every societal entity, is sending mixed messages. Two sides battle against each other. On the wrong side we have powers and principalities and, tragically, pawns who don't know they are being enslaved and exploited. On the right-ish side we have the ambushed unprepared, many who are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, merely doing damage control, even contradicting themselves, undermining each other, and in stark disagreement. People, especially impressionable young people, are getting the wrong messages, while others are maintaining the right ones.

Associates, fellow congregants, lifelong friends, family members, peers, teammates, young and old, ostensibly on the same side, suddenly find themselves aligned against each other, at school, at church, at lunch, during neighborly visits, coming home from a game on the bus. This is confusing and hurtful. So much for unity.

Yes, we are getting mixed messages from the right side, both correct and incorrect, both true and false, both from Christ and from the devil, either by the way we perceive them or by the unclear and/or contradictory way they are being presented. People who have taken the wrong side who nevertheless cling to their cultural church-going roots won't admit to the mixed messages. Holy scripture seems to have been relegated to the trash. They only see the messages they want to see. Then they throw those wrong messages into people's faces who are holding fast to the word of God. 

Here's an example. We get very angry anonymous emails quoting the leaders of our Church to show that we at SoL are in opposition to the Church. These are people who hear the Brethren say something like: same-sex sexual attraction might be something you struggle with all your life, but ignore the word might. They celebrate the idea that the Church has embraced the gay identity. But the truth is, might is not an absolute; it is a qualifier. It implies there most definitely is also a might not. These people's thinking is obtuse. They are hearing only what they want to hear, which in turn validates and encourages wrong thinking and bad behavior.   

We have to see this whole thing clearly if we are to hold to the rod, which is the word of God. The fact is, for whatever reason, people are not only perceiving but actually receiving watery and seemingly radically opposing mixed messages. Yes, this is a fact; we can lay them out to compare and contrast in black and white. Therefore we have a choice. Which message will we embrace?

Harold B. Lee, president and prophet, said, "The time is facing you right now when you will not be able to stand on borrowed light. You can only stand on the light you have by the witness of the Spirit."

Thank heaven that message is clear.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014


The attitude we're supposed to be adopting is "respect" for people who have different beliefs and identities than we do (as if we are generally disrespectful which we are not). This is fine, but it only goes so far. All human beings have boundaries for tolerance, much as people nowadays hate to admit it, in a thousand ways. We don't tolerate plenty of ideas and behaviors, just as we don't tolerate a murderer entering our house and killing our children. There are plenty of dishonest, harmful, and dangerous positions and acts that our society has decided to punish. People say and do some awfully bad things. So if we espouse this blanket "respect" for all, the word ceases to have meaning.

First let's get one thing straight. I value all people as children of God--that's wishing the eternal best for them -- but some children of God, what they say, what they do, what they stand for, what they want, do not  deserve my respect. Any sort of evil is not deserving of respect. We've gotten so soft on right and wrong, so careful about people's perceived "rights," that we won't even protect innocent children from out-and-out wickedness, as in the case of allowing easily-accessible pornography in our society. 

I am a mother whose child was hurt by homosexual pornography and older male homosexuals. In no way am I going to act as if I "respect" the porn-peddlers and predators who influenced and exploited my child. No, I don't "respect" people who boldly proclaim a perverse sexual identity, who seduce younger people, or who  campaign to teach this debauchery to children and youth. In fact, if I ever met up with one of those who abused my kid, I might have to be held back. My husband certainly would. (Our son was just over 18 so there was nothing we could do.)

More generally, when it comes to randomly crossing paths with openly proud self-proclaiming gay or whatever people, I'm not going to be rude, but I'm certainly not going to flatter and coddle them. And I'm not going to "include" them in my social circle and certainly not in my church. "[T]he good shepherd . . .commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed" ( Alma 5: 60). In other words, we are not to admit unrepentant sinners into the church because they will undoubtedly lead others astray. Their names are supposed to be "blotted out." Now don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about people with sexuality problems and addictions who are humble and privately getting help and resisting wickedness, as our son did on his journey back to reality, health, truth, and forgiveness. I'm talking about those who make their sin a public identity, who go about proclaiming that there is no sin, that there is no need for repentance, which pretty much puts them in the category of Korihor and his ilk, the Book of Mormon anti-Christs.

Yes, we're all sinners. But there are sinners who are repenting continually (turning to God for correction and forgiveness) and sinners who are not. Hugh Nibley put it this way: The righteous are the ones who are repenting. The wicked are the ones who are not. 

If we really respected these people, in the true sense of the word, as in wanting the eternal best for them, we would never pretend they deserved the sort of blind, blanket respect we talk about so much these days, as if they are thinking, feeling, and doing nothing wrong. We would warn them in no uncertain terms of the danger they were in, if we had any true respect for them at all.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock

In Primary we sing a song about the wise man building his house on a rock. We have visited a house actually built on a giant red rock in Moab, Utah. It felt awfully solid. Here at SoL we try to build all of our beliefs and information on solid truth. That's why it's astounding when we get comments, not criticizing our facts but criticizing us personally. These detractors apparently think that because we are offering an opposing worldview about a certain huge issue in our culture today we need professional help.This reaction says more about them than us.

There are innumerable issues one can learn about, be passionate about, write about, speak about, meet about, converse about, even lend one's personal resources to. Governments and individuals give their precious time, energy, and money to innumerable causes, from saving the whales to researching shrimps running on treadmills. Why is the truth about homosexuality the one issue people must be "sick" to care about? It's an issue now wildly public which has forced its deceptive and false ideology against the people's will into changing and demeaning every aspect of life including law, public policy, health, education, religion, marriage and family, even freedom of speech and religion! As such, decent citizens are obligated to discuss it with wisdom and an open mind free of cultural trends and political correctness.

What causes certain young people (we figure our most vocal detractors are under 30) to take on an entire culture? What causes them to demonize people who wish to share their deeply-held, life-long, generational, God-based belief systems regarding sexual morality? What causes them to wish to silence and punish people for expressing these religious convictions as per human rights guaranteed by the Constitution? What makes them think moral, religious people want their children exposed and indoctrinated toward homosexualism and transgenderism in school?  What made them build their house on sand?

These young people (and plenty of older people are going along with them) have exceeded the normal limits of  youthful know-it-allism. In a prosperous culture that foolishly worships, indulges, and spoils youth, many  have been pretty much brainwashed into thinking this generation is somehow smarter and better than the generations before, that they should be able to ignore, attack, and vilify the wisdom of the ages, biological reality, and God Himself and get away with it. What brashness is this? What arrogance? What ignorance? 

We submit that our sophomoric detractors, young and older, are products of an age of distorted values, propaganda, and meaninglessness. Trained to give up their agency to others and untrained in the power to think critically and be personally converted (which comes with effort from the Spirit of the Lord), they have been unthinking followers all their lives and as such are primed to take up with any shiny cause that comes along. This is the sort of house that sooner or later washes away. 

No wonder so many people today are so miserable that they escape into dark, self-destructive paths, never feeling true peace or lasting comfort. They are ignorant of history, truth, wisdom, knowledge, good vs. evil, the real Christ, and real human nature. They don't have a modicum of understanding of the condition of mankind, what mankind has done and will always do, of mankind's need for a Savior. Therefore they are thrown for a loop at every turn, surprised, disillusioned, despairing, yearning, angry, bitter, arrogant, and wanting others to share in their misery.

What they need is a little humility, which would include some real education, that is, knowledge. Here at SoL, Janice, and Steve along with her, became an autodidact years ago when she realized in mid-life that her formal education had huge gaping holes in it. She tried going back to school, but found much of university "education" today is taught by those described in the above paragraph, and consists of distorted material appealing to arbitrary rules and human pride and emotions rather than transmitting actual knowledge, besides being discriminatory against critical thinking. She did, however, appreciate the very few professors who stuck to knowledge and sense. Taking her education upon herself, she got a book called The Lifetime Reading Plan (Fadiman and Major), essentially a long book list and chronological guide to classic world literature, for her outline, taking some from other book lists and guides as well. She began with Homer (800 B.C.) and is now up to reading from the 17th century: Bunyan, Locke, Defoe, Swift, Voltaire. And when she finally completes reading through this formal list, she'll begin it again; it quickly becomes obvious that only one reading of the works of Euripides, St. Augustine, Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Descartes, Milton, Pascal, etc., is not nearly enough.What a feast of human experience and thought! Of battles, of quests, of sacrifice and of selfishness, of beauty and of ugliness, of faith and of unbelief, of right and of wrong, of consequences, of gained wisdom, of oftentimes painful truth, and of hearts that change.

And let's not forget the literary and educational value of the best-selling book in the world, the Bible, and the glorious Book of Mormon, which she includes in her list. (The Koran, Buddhist, and Hindu writings are also on the list; we found they could not in any way compete with the Bible and Book of Mormon.) In the midst of this classical reading marathon Janice and Steve found that Holy Scripture blows everything else out of the water. Not only is it full of stunning literature and transcendent truth, it supplies the greatest education on human nature and, of course, God. The word of God gives a person essential knowledge, perspective, humility, purpose, and truth, if those things are what one seeks, which in turn ground and comfort. No longer is that person tossed to and fro by every personal anxiety or need, or this or that philosophy, trend, or travesty. One learns to trust solely in the Lord rather than focusing on their own feelings or their own understanding of a given situation, even if those feelings are warranted or that understanding is sadly correct.

This is the difference between ignorance and wisdom, bitterness and peace, building on sand or on rock. Mankind is always only one generation away from destroying itself. The way things are rapidly degrading, it appears that the current rising generation is indeed that self-destructive generation. As Robert Bork warned (along with all prophets of God), the only thing that will save our society is if the people as one body rise up in a huge revival of religion and morality, or in other words, mass repentance.

Because mankind is sinful, and because Christ will redeem all who will come to him in humility, and because Christ is the author of all that is true and right and good, the original author of the wisdom of the ages we here at SoL have been enjoying getting acquainted with, and because the world is intent on building on sand and threatens to wash us, our loved ones, and all of civilization away with it, we keep this scripture in mind:

"And now my sons, remember, remember, that it is upon the rock of our redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation, that when the devil shall send forth his mighty wind, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless woe, because of the foundation upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation upon which if men build they cannot fall." Helaman 5:12