Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Value of a Life

I have read of a sermon by a funeral parlour minister in which he mentioned that the sun always looms larger on the horizon - at the very pont of its exchange between heaven and earth. He pointed out how that human life is like that in that it is only at the point of exchange between heaven and earth (at birth and death) that the true worth of a person's life is realized.

When a pop singer dies he suddenly becomes more famous than he may have ever been in life. We may say little to a relative until they pass on; and then we wish we had said more.

I remember when young watching westerns. The baddie and the goodie would face each other out in the street and go for their guns. Of course the goodie won. It all seemed so glorious to me at that age. I had my own set of toy guns and holsters. I'd watch movies about the Roman legions and their conquest of the opposition. The power and the glory bit hit me. The Egyptian empire the same.

Yet when I joined the army my perspective altered dramatically. They took us down the range and set up a 44 gallon (200 litre) drum full of water. They fired a shot at it and then took us over to see the result. It had a small hole in the front where the bullet had gone in. But the entire back of the drum was ripped apart. They told us that this is what happens to people when the bullet hits.

Along with this they showed how the bullet could travel through a double brick wall and kill whoever was on the other side: There was no way to avoid them. They travel faster than sound, so if you hear the sound it missed.

Then I found myself at the firing range looking at a human like target. It really began to sink in that they were anticipating that I would kill a human being.

The reality of a person being killed hit me very strongly. I remember my mother speaking of hundreds or thousands dying in some disaster. While my mother and whoever she was speaking to would demonstrate their grief at the loss of life, I had felt nothing. Yet at this point the death of 5 people suddenly began to feel a major catastrophy to me.

Since that time Heavenly Father and I have had discussions on the subject; and I now have assurance in his wisdom in when people pass on to the spirit world. Yet it is sad to lose a loved one: We miss them.

When I now look back at those empires and westerns I see a different thing. I see the problems in the background. I see the wasted death, inequality and corruption that comes by not following what God lays down for peace and happiness.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fourteen Fundamentals Examined Part 4

This is a continuation of an analysis of a controversial talk by Brother Ezra Taft Benson (then president of the quorum of the twelve). In it he presented 14 fundamentals to following a president of the church. Not all 14 have drawn criticism, but I'll cover all anyway. This is for the purpose of seeing his intent and making facts clearer.

Ninth Claim: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter—temporal or spiritual.
To explain and support this claim he presented the following _

"Said Brigham Young:
'Some of the leading men in Kirtland were much opposed to Joseph the Prophet, meddling with temporal affairs …

'In a public meeting of the Saints, I said, ‘Ye Elders of Israel, … will some of you draw the line of demarcation, between the spiritual and temporal in the kingdom of God, so that I may understand it?’ Not one of them could do it …

'I defy any man on earth to point out the path a Prophet of God should walk in, or point out his duty, and just how far he must go, in dictating temporal or spiritual things. Temporal and spiritual things are inseparably connected, and ever will be.' (Journal of Discourses, 10:363–64.)"

As with Brigham people have often presented to me that the prophet is correct in all things spiritual, but doesn't have to be in temporal things. To which I have never been able to find anyone capable of proving to me where one finishes and the other starts. Even something as seemingly temporal as going to the toilet has spiritual significance in looking after the body we have been given.

Some would point out that claim isn't unique to the president of the church, but counts for all. This is true. There is only one of these 14 claims that I find totally unique to the president of the church. Yet it has to continually be remembered that he didn't claim them to be unique to the president.

Tenth Claim: The prophet may well advise on civic matters.

"When a people are righteous, they want the best to lead them in government. Alma was the head of the Church and of the government in the Book of Mormon; Joseph Smith was mayor of Nauvoo and Brigham Young was governor of Utah. Isaiah was deeply involved in giving counsel on political matters and of his words the Lord himself said, 'Great are the words of Isaiah.' (3 Ne. 23:1.)"

This seems a restructuring of the last claim to some degree. And it seems a bit of a simplistic statement, as anyone can advise on civic matters. I think he is suggesting that the president could be inspired with answers on civic matters. Again this could be the case with anyone able to receive revelation. But it is worth noting, and seems indisputable.

Eleventh Claim: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

To justify this concept he presents the following _

"The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them, otherwise the prophet is just giving his opinion—speaking as a man. The rich may feel they have no need to take counsel of a lowly prophet.

In the Book of Mormon we read:
'O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

'But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

'And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.' (2 Ne. 9:28–29, 42)"

While fully supporting the part of the claim that says that those that consider themselves wise and rich are hard of spiritual hearing; I would have to add a third member to the group to make it complete.

When Satan came to Christ and Eve he made an attack upon each of our 3 parts - intelligence, spirit body and physical body. These were intelligence - "desired to make one wise" "if you are the Son of God cast yourself down" (this is the "pride of life" [learned]). Spirit body - "pleasant to the eyes" "all these things will I give thee" (this is the "lust of the eyes" [rich]) And the Physical body - "good for food" "turn this stone into bread" (this is the "lust of the flesh"). (Gen 3:6, Matt 4:2-9, 1 Jn 2:16)

So to me he has only represented two groups of the three. While pride and greed are serious problems, so is lust of the flesh. I don't see this group as being inferior problems to the other two. With the inclusion of this group I'm quite in agreement with him.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Hypocracy in Regard Child Pornography?

I have sometimes wondered about just how much underage pornography existed on the internet. Recently I finally got around to investigating the matter.

Most would probably be aware that displaying a female of 18 or over for pornographic purposes is at least legal. So I set out to find what could be obtained in regard those of 12 to 17. It wasn't long before I discovered, much to my horror, that typing in anything about that age group brought up pictures of girls between 6 and 11. Some even boasted as young as 3 years old.

What I typed in was things such as _ 14 yo sexy nude. I varied it to 15 yo and even down to 12 yo. Yet the overwhelming response was to obtain sites where although those figures were quoted on the page to draw in visitors the girls shown were what they term a Lolita or Preteen (someone 11 yo or under). - amazing what you learn on the internet.

While the girls weren't naked they certainly weren't well dressed. The intent was obvious as picture after picture appeared with them dressed in skimpy bikinis or high cut shorts etc.

The sites presented that this was legal because the girls weren't naked.
The thing that seemed eqally bewildering to me was that in spite of this no site posted such pictures of girls of 12 to 17. There were those sites that offered downloads that you could pay for of 14 yo girls etc, yet they displayed none.

What insanity! We can see a 6 yo inappropriately displayed, while pictures of a 16 yo in such pose are policed.

Obviously we need to put some judges, lawyers and politicians on the case that aren't visiting the sites themselves. It seems they weren't visiting the sites with those older but underaged. Is that cynicism, Doug, or have you just been reading the Book of Mormon too much?

I think it time to change the laws sufficiently to disallow such legal pornography also.