Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fourteen Fundamentals Examined Part 2

This is a continuation, examining 14 contraversial claims made by Ezra Taft Benson in regard following prophets.

Third Claim: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

To support and define this claim he quotes the following

"God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the Ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore the most important prophet so far as you and I are concerned is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each month in our Church Magazines. Our instructions about what we should do for each six months are found in the General Conference addresses which are printed in the Church magazine.
Beware of those who would set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence."

To support this he starts off with a good arguement. Which certainly fares well as one side of the equation. But without considering the other side at all, he then says that church magazines are better than the Scriptures. Then he presents his opinion that living prophets take presedence over dead ones.

I would present the following statement from Harold B. Lee, who was president at the time he said it.

"If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth." The First Area General Conference for Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Spain of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Munich Germany, August 24-26, 1973, with Reports and Discourses, 69.

This presents that no one's words can just be taken as the mind and will of the Lord. Their words must be supported by the Scriptures to be regarded as anything but personal opinion. In the case of the president there is exception WHERE it is presented to the church and sustained as new doctrine. In such cases it is then placed in the Standard Works to become part of the accepted doctrine of the church. Sustaining people to positions DOESN'T mean we sustain every opinion they present.

If these statements of the president were the mind and will of the Lord at the time of Harold B. Lee, are we to believe that God changed his ways between 1973 and 1980? And was this acceptable because Brother Lee was dead when Brother Benson (who was then president of the quorum of twelve) proposed this?

The death of an individual does NOT alter truth. Those principles Christ preached in the Scriptures to Joseph Smith, Christ's apostles and other inspired men are as relevant today as they were on the day they were written. They don't become removeable truths because the people who stated them have since died.

Jesus Christ's sermon on the mount is far more important to us than anything any prophet states or stated throughout history. You'll find it in the Standard Works written by dead apostles.

I think Brother Benson's statement would have been better to have said,
"The living president may, at any time, receive revelation that we need to hear at this time. Therefore as a suppliment to Scripture reading I would advise reading of what the current president is talking about."

Fourth Claim: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.

In support of this claim he quotes the following from Brother Wilford Woodruff,

“I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 212–13.)

Then he presents the following from Brother Marion G. Romney (of the Council of Twelve),

“I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home … Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’ ” (Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78.)

I have written on this matter in a recent post. So some of this will be a direct quote from that post.

This was stated because of the great opposition he faced from church members and leaders due to his declaration opposing the present practice of plural marriage. So his statement should be kept in context.

Today there are those that choose to believe that this is a reason to feel that nothing the President of the church says can be wrong. However that statement not only says that the President of the church would be removed out of his place but that ANYONE attempting to lead people astray, from the words of God, would.

To be moved out of their place they must have some "place" to be moved out of. It is posing church positions. So are we to believe that all bishops, stake presidents, high councilmen, elder's quorum presidents, relief society presidents, scout leaders, class secretaries, ward mission leaders, home teachers, visiting teachers etc are infallible in their offices: That every word they say is the mind and will of God?

Because that's what you would have to believe to use Wilford Woodruff's statement as used by some, concerning opinions expressed by the president of the church.

Note also that he states that it would have to be a deliberate attempt to lead astray, on behalf of the leader - "...If I were to attempt that...any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray..."

I think we have to use a bit of sense in our understanding of his intention. He is posing that such a major change, as he was presenting, wouldn't be allowed by God if it were wrong. To make more out of it not only is ridiculous (as demonstrated 3 paragraphs above) but doesn't fit in the context, nor with other statements of church presidents to the contrary.

Additionally such thinking leaves members open to anti-material where they demonstrate the differences of ideas expressed by church presidents and other GAs. We need to move beyond such ideas, as we learn in the gospel.

The idea that we should look to another man, in some position, to tell us what God has to say, is essential for new members, those with mental retardation problems, children under 8, those who have recently reactivated, people suffering altzeimers disease, those coming to church only for social reasons and those having serious troubles seeing the point in obeying God (such as Israel at the time of Moses).

For any others there are 2 men that actually ARE infallible. One we call "Heavenly Father." And the other we call "Jesus Christ." Fortunately both are very much available for comment. You don't need to book an appointment to see them. You can just ask at any time.

Along with them we have the Holy Ghost, who is quite happy to reside inside you ALL the time. He can guide you in anything. He also is infallible.

That sounds a much better idea to me. The other is just being spiritually lazy, in my opinion.
I have to add that if Brother Woodruff's statement were to be taken as Brother Benson suggests then how did the apostacy occur? Someone lead the church astray as its president.

I would further add that Brother Grant's teaching of blind obedience would only be suitable when a person is incapable of receiving personal guidance from the Holy Ghost. Otherwise they'd better get on their knees and find out or they will be accountable for what they do.

His statement would have been better to have stated _God seems to have suggested that no further restoration will be occurring before the millenium. Therefore the president of the church will continue to have God's authority.

Fifth Claim: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or diplomas to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.

To define this idea he states the following,

"Sometimes there are those who feel their earthly knowledge on a certain subject is superior to the heavenly knowledge which God gives to his prophet on the same subject. They feel the prophet must have the same earthly credentials or training which they have had before they will accept anything the prophet has to say that might contradict their earthly schooling. How much earthly schooling did Joseph Smith have? Yet he gave revelations on all kinds of subjects. We haven’t yet had a prophet who earned a doctorate degree in any subject. We encourage earthly knowledge in many areas, but remember if there is ever a conflict between earthly knowledge and the words of the prophet, you stand with the prophet and you’ll be blessed and time will show you have done the right thing."

I would fully support this claim: Relative to the subject it is completely correct. The only thing I would add to this (in the interest of perspective) is that this not only pertains to the president, but to those statements in Scripture and any statement by a person receiving revelation.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reasons Why Anti-Women Sentiment and Injustice is Rising in our Society, Part 2

Due to the contraversial nature of this subject I feel it necessary to first remind readers that blogs aren't official church sites (as I've stated at the top of the site). This is my own personal observations with some references to what God has said.

Serious problems also exist in the area of protection orders. I counselled with two women who were having marriage disputes where both wives took out protection orders against their husbands (both of whom WERE violent - I knew them). The first made big point of how violent he was and how scared she was of him. She was definitely committed to not having him back. The next thing I know he's back and she's accepted it. This left me rather confused. With the second she was actually physically shaking with fear about what he might do to her and the children. She asked if I would come over if he turned up. He did turn up. And I gave it a couple of minutes (listening for any sound of violence, as they were next door). Upon going over I found her no longer shaking with fear. I realised that she was no longer shaking because she was talking with him rather than thinking of what could happen any moment when unable to see him _ as had been the case before. So the latter seemed preferable. In other words the protection order hadn't really worked against these two violent husbands, because of the wives genuine fears.

On the other hand let's consider the case of Bill and Alice, who'd been married for about 20 years and things weren't going well. During their marriage Alice had initiated any violence that had occurred _ She had hit and kicked Bill four times, and Bill had hit back once and kicked back once in those years _ while not a perfect record, certainly for either to claim the other a serious threat would be a wild exaggeration.

However Alice wanted a divorce, but wanted to live in the home (rented in Bills' name) and wanted custody of the children. She also wanted justification with her local church, where her husband had good standing. In the hall-way one day, while arguing, she pushed against him with her chest goading him, asking continually, "what are you going to do about it, go on, what are you going to do about it?" He regarded this as a claim that he wouldn't dare punch her _ as happens in schoolyards etc. So, foolishly, he gave her a small punch in the side, where he calculated she had plenty of flab to handle it.

Unfortunately, by this action she had justification to take out a court order against him, and did so. At this point she had hit him 4 times and he'd hit her 3 times, but he had a court order against him. This, truly, was a farce, and an abuse of the point of the law. Unfortunately this is all I hear from the many examples I've seen and heard of. If some court orders are actually working against truly violent husbands it would appear to be rare, and far outweighed by the abuse that's happening.

I urge all to consider these problems and refrain from extreme notions. More laws don’t resolve the problem, it requires a new thinking: Doing things God’s way for a change. Another great problem that shows up in all these areas is the very long jail sentences given to the proposed perpetrators of sex crimes. While all care must be given to protect women, equal care must be employed, by a just society, to protect innocent men from being incarcerated at the rate, and for the lengthy periods for which they presently are being.

This is a suitable condition from Satan's point of view as it turns men off women and therefore creates more homosexual and lesbian problems. I couldn't tell you how many men I have come across who are now anti-women because of the apparent lack of fairness within society relative to men. Men complain that the women are more likely to get custody of the children, even when the woman has demonstrated serious problems. Women are more likely to get use, therefore, of the house.

These problems and the threat of going to jail for sex crimes not committed are all responsible. Men complain that their ex-wives have actually threatened such against them if they argue custody etc.

One further point in this regard is the freedom from prosecution for those making such claims. When God gave the law to Moses He made sure that there was fair penalty to those abusing it. Deuteronomy 19:18-19 states that if a person is found to be bearing false witness that the penalty for them shall be the penalty that would have been given to the accused. With such penalties we'd find far less court cases of sex claims, I'm sure. The Police involved in these things should also be sent to jail when it is obvious that they have been involved in the lie.

Sooner or later all this will swing back against women, and this I don't wish to see. I urge women, for their own futures' sake, to refrain from abusing these laws for personal gain, and advise their friends the same.

The real answers to a nation’s ills were delivered by Jesus Christ around 2000 years ago. He was raised under the leadership of a tyrannical government (the Romans) whom he made no attempt to depose. He knew that the answer lay in changing peoples' hearts. Make the people better and all these problems will fade away. However I'd also advise people to petition politicians for fairer and more sensible laws.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Reasons Why Anti-Women Sentiment and Injustice is Rising in our Society

As the subject is so large I will be putting this out in 2 pieces.

Due to the contraversial nature of this subject I feel it necessary to first remind readers that blogs aren't official church sites (as I've stated at the top of the site). This is my own personal observations with some references to what God has said.

A serious problem in our society today is the incredible ease with which an innocent man can be jailed for rape, or sexual acts relative to children. Lots of noise is occurring about men not being found out. This is all focused on men having sexual problems. While all should be appalled if people of either sex aren't being found out, this has created a mass hysteria about sex crime allegations. While someone accused of murder needs to be proven guilty, a man accused of sex crimes (particularly those involving children) must prove his innocence _ an incredibly difficult thing to do. Twisted interpretations of phone conversations and innuendo become "evidence" in courtrooms that juries (also people in the same society) accept. Those convicted (particularly where bad "evidence" isn't exposed) feel that the government funded defence lawyers they were given were either amazingly inept or supporting the states case to convict in spite of being there to defend _ some making the other side look good.

It is a blight on our society that a cheesed-off ex-wife can send an innocent man to jail for 15 years, at public expense, and (just to add insult to injury) be compensated with tens of thousands of dollars or more, also at public expense.

Some argue (relative to child claims) that "children don't lie, particularly about these things." The structure of this sentence is a lie in itself. Let's examine it. "Children don't lie" it starts with. Then before people can realise what rubbish that is they then add the unknown factor - "partiularly about these things." Of course people have no idea whether they do or don't, and so assume it to be true. This shows a typical way the devil implants false perceptions into people's heads. It has been shown over and over again that children do lie about these things. Children certainly DO lie. What's worse is that children can easily be made to believe that something occurred which didn't. They only need to be told often enough, particularly if tired _ they start to visualise it in their head and it becomes real. This is particularly easy when it is loosely based on an actual (harmless) event. We are on the one hand saying that they are children, and therefore not capable of making an informed decision about sex. Yet on the other hand saying that they are all-knowing when giving testimony against the proposed offender. This is a contradiction.

No one would sensibly propose that allegations aren't looked into, but it should be treated as any other allegation where good evidence must be presented to convict. Those lawyers there to defend must do so with genuine earnestness. If a case doesn't have such evidence it's time to accept that most probably it's because the person actually didn't do it, and the proposed crime didn't occur at all. If you think that the legal system is bad that all those accused who aren't convicted are guilty, then by the same logic you would have to conclude that all convicted by that bad system are innocent. By focusing your thoughts on only one side (i.e. he did it and got away with it) thinking becomes twisted and true justice lost.

Serious difficulties also exist relative to rape. While it is true to say that "rape is rape", it is a bit like saying, "theft is theft" or "murder is murder". All these statements are true but courts make varying penalties in the latter two. A person has even murdered, been found guilty and then sent home, because of the circumstances surrounding the crime. Rape, however, seems to be treated quite differently; which is wrong. There are great differences in degree of rape and its effect and surrounding circumstances. While I abhor rape, and there is no such thing as a justified or right rape, I think it incredibly unjust to throw all rapes together as if a totally equal act.

To quote one extreme: I remember years ago when I was in the army, I was on guard duty and a young woman approached me (we'll call her Rose) and said that she wished to complain because some army fellows had raped her. I knew this young woman by sight as she was in the army canteen every night and it was known that several guys would buy her drinks for the evening and at some point they would all go out and she would have sex with them all. This apparently happened every night, and I knew some who had been through this with her. I, myself, had seen her there whenever there myself (as much as I bothered to remember). Morally all were doing an incorrect act. Both Rose and those guys involved each night were abusing a wonderful thing _ the ability to procreate (have children).

When I called out the guard commander and he heard the allegation he seemed to be even more surprised than I was when she told me (I'd only been there several months). I would assume that several guys had bought her drinks, taken her out and been a bit pushy. She may have felt that she wasn't being charmed enough, and wanted to be charmed first. And they've felt that they'd paid the price in buying her the beer. This doesn't make it right to just take sex against her will, naturally. But what kind of a deal was this anyway? Is it a good and wholesome one?

But look at a woman who is walking home from work because her car broke down, minding her own business, and a carload of guys force her into a car and rape her. The latter is a far more aggressive action upon a far less involved woman. Also the question would arise as to how much trauma each of these women actually went through in this process. Rose, while showing a sign of feeling indignant, was very casual about it all, and showed no sign of trauma whatsoever. Considering that some women end up severely traumatised and even some in a mental institution by violent, aggressive rapes, I think in order that we have true justice we need to make some segregation somewhere. I must also say that I personally feel it a belittling of violent and aggressive rape victims to throw them in with situations like that of Rose (without detracting from the seriousness of that which happened to Rose).

Along with this I see Rose guilty of assisting in the creation of rapists, and feel a penalty must be placed upon her.

Also a problem in all this is wife / girlfriend rape, where an accepted sexual relationship already exists, but has been violated. At what point did the woman say "no", and how convincingly did she convey this opinion? What if she says, "no", then he gives some reason for continuing, and she makes no further statement but makes some "humph" sound, and all this happens during the process of them having sex? He may have said something he shouldn't have and then apologised. Afterward she starts to feel miffed about it and claims rape against him. On the other hand there can be genuine violent rape by a husband / boyfriend (there are also cases of violence against husbands).

Because of the many things that can occur in this regard I think a distinction has to be made between where permission for sex has already been given and not formerly retracted, and where never given. This area also is far too open for serious abuse by a disgruntled spouse / partner.

It is interesting to note that God doesn't allow a wife to testify in regard her husband in the law of Moses. And by the same law a person who has sex with someone at all must marry them. So the same would apply for a live-in partner. He wasn't stupid in making these laws. He knew the abuse that would occur.

This attack and injustice upon men has brought out a lot of anti-women sentiment. Particularly amongst those affected and due to the many other problems, some of which I will discuss in the next part.