Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dude, That’s Epic!

Dude, chickens are EPIC!
Pies are EPIC!
Chicken-pies are EPIC!
Pie-chickens are EPIC!
If you don’t know what chicken-pies
or pie-chickens are
then obviously you’re not EPIC
because all the EPIC people are just…EPIC!

Dude, this poem is EPIC!

If you don’t think this poem is EPIC,

then maybe you need to take an EPIC chill pill
and look in an EPIC mirror to find your EPIC soul
because I know what’s EPIC and what’s not EPIC
and EPIC is the most EPIC-est thing … and EPIC!

<(0_0<) ^(0_0)^ (>0_0)>



Thursday, June 23, 2011


Dear Listeners,

There's so much good music in the world, and I just found some more, and I want to tell you about it. It's Tristen!

Remember when I saw Joe Pug last month? Well, one of the opening acts was this lady, Tristen, and I remember really liking her music, although it bugged me that I couldn't understand her lyrics. But what I understood, I liked. And even when I couldn't decipher the words, I liked the sound of her voice, and I liked the sound of the instruments she and the other guy, Buddy, were playing. And my favorite song of the night was "Wildflowers," a cover of a Dolly Parton song. I've listened to the Dolly Parton version, and I think I like Tristen's cover better than the original. But that usually happens with covers. Usually you like whatever version you hear first. For example, most people like Jimi Hendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower" more than Bob Dylan's, even though Dylan wrote the thing.

Tristen's kind of country, kind of folk-rock, kind of I-don't-know-what, but you probably won't hear her on the radio because you know how the radio is. Unless you're lucky enough to have satellite radio... or you might hear her on Pandora or something. So far she only has one album, "Charlatans at the Garden Gate," and I just bought it on iTunes. I've listened to the whole album twice now, and I think I love it. It seems to get better the more you listen to it. It's catchy. I wish it had her singing "Wildflowers," on it, but oh well.

I hope this isn't just a passing phase. I hope I won't wake up tomorrow morning with buyer's remorse. But I really don't think I will. I rarely get buyer's remorse when I buy music. The only CDs I wish I wouldn't have bought (that I can think of right now) are the Wood Brothers. I don't know why I don't ever want to listen to the Wood Brothers. They bug me. Especially their song, "Chocolate on my Tongue." I hate that song! Why did I buy both their CDs? I think it was because I heard them on Pandora, and I liked their song "Postcards from Hell," and I was click-happy so I rushed over to iTunes and bought it. Dang.

Maybe I don't like the Wood Brothers because they're from Boulder, Colorado. I don't like that city. I've never been there, but I've met a few people who've been there, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't I want to go. It's ultra-liberal. And yuppie. I think Boulder was a main part of the inspiration for Stuff White People Like.

So the Wood Brothers came from Boulder, and they're trying to sound all folksy, but they're not folk, you know what I'm saying? They grew up with privilege, they didn't grow up picking cotton, like Johnny Cash or Leadbelly. Boulder Colorado is also where Allen Ginsberg taught, and while I like "Howl," I don't like "Howl." It's an exciting poem with lots of interesting things going on in it, but I'm tired of it. It's immoral.

Oh, and Hunter S. Thompson lived in Boulder, too, or at least he hung around there for a while. And while I liked "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", I don't like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

But back to Tristen... she seems like a nice person. That's important to me.

Here's a video I found on You Tube of her singing that Wildflowers song I was telling you about:


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Enter the Musician

singing, shaking that tambourine,
slapping it against her hip
closing the eyes, dipping down
dipping down, rising up, rising up,
her mouth meets the microphone
to moan out these miracles
and I stand there and sway
and sway and sway and sway.

And what I’m doing here is
traveling around the country
that’s all I’m doing, that’s it, sometimes
circling around in a big truck with
a Vietnam veteran at the wheel
and I don’t ever want to see him again,
getting my ticket
getting on the bus,
and other times I walk around
and I put my lunch in my backpack
so I can have lunch later on
and that's it, and off the road a ways
I get sleepy but I feel like walking,
going to the tress,
going to the plains, the rivers,
the uncultivated lands where nobody goes,
to the one spot where nobody’s stood
except the daughter of an Indian Chief
a thousand years ago and ghosts
who wander the Earth
smelling trees, smelling trees.
Wild! Wild! Opening gates
being a stranger, becoming stranger
talking with ghosts by campfires
getting by, eating this, drinking that
sleeping there, stretching, picking up
moving on again- fighting, fighting,
a bloody lip, tears, jaw bashed on a rock
heat drilling the peak of my scalp
in the middle of the desert
I can’t even lay on the ground.

But one thing's for sure. I'm gonna
stab this rusty spike straight through
the heart
of the government goon
that's trying to take my baby away.
I've got a baby in my arms.
I'm swaying to soothe her, shading her
from the desert sun with hunched chest.
This baby will be a musician.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My conflicting feelings about illegal immigration

Dear Readers,

I just wrote the following comment on one of my favorite blogs, Seeing Red AZ, on this post about churches and illegal immigration. You kind of need to read the Seeing Red AZ blog post to get all the references in this long comment I wrote, but I think you can also enjoy my comment without some of the context. I really like Seeing Red AZ most of the time, but sometimes, like this particular time, the blog criticizes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for supporting the Utah Compact.

When the Church supported the Utah Compact, I rethought my position on illegal immigration. On the rare occasions in which the LDS Church and my politically conservative values are at odds, I think it is best to side with the Church. Now, I still support SB 1070 and I still support Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but my feelings about what to do about the illegal immigration problem are conflicted.


I have no problem with Christian churches, whether Catholic, Mormon, Baptist or whatever, preaching to the Hispanic immigrants in America. In fact, I would like to see more preaching to every race, creed, tongue and people, wherever they live. What would Seeing Red AZ have us Mormons do? Check the immigration status of those that walked into our churches? Have missionaries double as ICE agents? I'm glad that SRA endorses Mormon candidates and generally supports socially conservative causes, but I'm upset that so many of the commenters here are expressing such a cynical view of organized religion. We aren't trying to fill pews and make money. We're trying to save souls. And that's the truth.

Maybe the white Christians are gradually losing their faith while non-white Christians are gaining faith. So what? Does SRA feel that white Christianity is great and non-white Christianity is not-so-great?

To Kimball, I say that personally, the fortunes of Churches doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I like them. How would churches spread their messages and do their good works without money? I would rather see people giving their hard-earned money to churches than to the government.

I enjoyed the video. It made some good points. But I think that in posting the video in conjunction with this post, SRA is implying that Mormons, Catholics and Baptists should help stop illegal immigration by ignoring them in America, and instead improve the material conditions of those in the third world. But Mormons are already going to the third world in addition to preaching to everybody in America! Missionaries serve world wide. And in addition to proselyting, Christians are feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and those in prison, just as Jesus Christ did. The whole world needs the message of Jesus Christ, and I think that that message is the surest way to bring the world out of poverty and suffering.

Look, I support Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe's efforts to curtail illegal immigration. I want all the illegal immigrants in prison or jail for committing other crimes deported. However, I think the commenters on this blog need to have more compassion and understanding. I work with a lady who came here illegally... um... I think there was war in her home country in Central America or something, so she might have been a political refugee... but anyway she was granted amnesty under President Reagan. And you know what? She is one of the nicest ladies I've ever met. Hard-working, God-fearing, positive, happy, family-oriented- the salt of the Earth. This country would be greater with more people like her. And as much as we may not like the politicians who use the term "God's children" to describe illegal immigrants, it is true that those who come into the country illegally really are "God's children," worthy of our love.

By the way, you might be interested to know that the Bible verse referenced in this blog post, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s…” was also Adolf Hitler’s favorite scripture.

Of course, there is a world of difference between SRA and Hitler’s views- make that a galaxy of difference- but maybe both SRA and Adolf Hitler are both fond of denying the spiritual world, of reducing humans to their economic utility.

I wish I could end my comment there, but, in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I think I heard that Mark 12:17 was Hitler’s favorite scripture on a documentary once, but after a bit of googling, I’ve come the conclusion that that factoid might be nonfactual.


Mother Teresa’s Advice to Politically Conservative Bloggers

Dear Readers,

I’ve been reading a little bit of In the Silence of the Heart: Meditations by Mother Teresa of Calcutta and I’ve been overwhelmed by what a good, good woman Mother Teresa was.

I spend a lot of time thinking about politics and thinking about how to fix the whole world. Of course, I don’t do much to actually fix the whole world, but it’s still a nice intellectual exercise to pass the time, much like doing crossword puzzles.

I often think, “If only country X would get rid of their dictators and replace them with democratically elected representatives bound to a written Constitution, then all the suffering in country X would vanish.” Or, “If only country Y would banish communism and embrace capitalism…” Or, “If only country Z would renounce global warming and enthrone the monster truck as the most enlightened mode of transportation…”

And so I spend a lot of time trying to convince people, and re-convincing myself, especially around election season, that small-government, democracy and capitalism are the way to go. But really, maybe that’s the wrong way to go about relieving the suffering of the world. Maybe my attitude should be more like Mother Teresa’s, who writes:

Our Sisters are working around the world and I have seen all the trouble, all the misery, all the suffering. From where did it come? It has come from a lack of love and a lack of prayer.

Notice Mother Theresa doesn’t say that all the trouble, misery, and suffering comes from a lack of capitalism, a lack of democracy, or a lack of correct political structures. She writes that the suffering comes from a lack of love and a lack of prayer. In my opinion, if rulers were to have more love for their neighbors, and spend more time in prayer, then they would organize society so that everyone was benefited as much as possible. Freedom, love and happiness would abound.

And so I think it is important that we Americans look for faithful, preferably Christian candidates to fill the seats of all levels of government, from the small-town mayor to the Commander-in-Chief. Typically, Christians have more love for people and spend more time in prayer than agnostics or atheists do. Oh, and I should say that it would be fine to vote for candidates of just about any religion, so long as they love people and spend a lot of time in prayer. But I just feel the most comfortable with Christians governing us, and, bearing in mind the percentage of Christians in our government, apparently so do most Americans. Sure, a lot of politicians are lousy Christians, but at least they’re Christians.

Mother Teresa’s ideas may appear to conflict with some conservatives’ views of welfare:

It is striking with what kindness the Missionaries of Charity receive the same patient several times. Once cured, the patient returns to the street and after a short time he stands at the door again, sometimes in a worse state than before. The Sisters are always ready to admit him and begin the nursing once more. It is one of the characteristics of the poorest that they cannot free themselves from this cycle. For our western mentality it contradicts all ideas of a profitable system to look after incurable people. For the Missionaries of Charity there is no incurable person.

Some conservatives might do a cost-benefit analysis when deciding whether to help people through government action. The death panel created by ObamaCare will do a similar cost-benefit analysis.

However, the conservatives’ beef is not with the concept of welfare itself or with charitable giving. Conservatives have a problem with welfare administered by the government, which administration is usually fraught with waste, fraud, and abuse. And instead of lifting people from poverty, government welfare programs often elongate poverty.

Plus, there’s little comparison between the poor in contemporary America and the poor in India during Mother Teresa’s ministry. The poor in her time and place were so much worse off than the poor in America.

By the way, conservatives give more to charity than liberals do. Liberals console themselves by saying that their efforts at structural, governmental change will help more people than individual donations ever will. That’s why liberals love big programs that aim to lessen suffering, like the National Children’s Study. After all, liberals think, the food stamps program alleviates the hunger of a million bellies. But if we could cut out the administrative costs of the food stamps program, conservatives respond, if we all individually gave to the hungry out of the charitable feelings of our hearts, how many more bellies would be filled?

Liberals may think that if charity weren’t forced out of Americans’ paychecks, then the nation’s hungry would go unfed and the nation’s sick and poor would go uncared for. But I say, if we get to a point where Americans are not willing to share their bread with a starving stranger, all the governmental welfare programs in the world can’t save us. I also say that Americans are very charitable, in addition to the social security and such that is automatically deducted from their paychecks. Plus, I bet that Americans would be even more charitable if they were taxed less.

I would hope that before people go to the government for help, they would go to their family, to their friends, to their church or any church, and even to their acquaintances.

But there I go thinking about big systems again, unlike Mother Teresa, who, with a heart full of love, focused only on the needy person before her:

We are not social workers but contemplatives in the world….I cannot analyze systems, economic patterns and ideologies… So many times I have been told that I must not offer fishes to men but rods so they can fish for themselves. Ah! My God! So often they do not have the strength to hold the rods. Giving them fish I help them recover the strength necessary for the fishing of tomorrow. There are in the world those who struggle for justice and human rights and who try to change structures. We are not inattentive to this but our daily contact is with men who do not even have a piece of bread to eat. Our mission is to look at the problem more individually and not collectively. We care for a person and not a multitude.

How close Mother Teresa was to Jesus! Like Jesus, Mother Teresa did not aim to change political structures. Christ made no effort to overthrow the Romans or to establish a Jewish/Christian state. He didn't publish a Constitution for Utopia, he wrote the Sermon on the Mount, which says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect."

Jesus went after people individually. He wanted to change their hearts. He commanded individuals to live up to his standards, all the while loving them unconditionally, healing them, feeding them... giving out welfare. Jesus said, just as well as Mother Teresa could have said,
"Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s."

Christ's revolution was a spiritual revolution. It seems to be that Christ's thinking was, change the hearts of men, and a transition to celestial political structures will organically follow. Submit yourself to the political powers that be. (Except in extreme situations, like when Herod is trying to kill you; then you can flee Israel and seek asylum in Egypt.)

I think the same ethos is expressed in Titus 2:9 and Ephesians 6:5, which talk about how servants should be obedient to their masters. It's not that Jesus endorsed slavery. In fact, Jesus would ultimately be known as an abolitionist, but in the infant stages of the Christian church, disciples might as well keep the slavery system unchallenged. The slavery system would fade away in its time, when Christian hearts were ready.

Anyway, this post might be a little disorganized, and I drift around from digression to digression, but if you're a longtime reader of Telemoonfa Time, you've come to expect that from me. I only hope that my lack of focus and eloquence is eclipsed by the importance of the subject matter and the sincerity of my feelings. For surely content is superior to form.

I hope you're doing well.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

National Children’s Study Vanguard Study

Dear Readers,

The other day we got a letter in the mail informing us that we might be invited to join the National Children’s Study Vanguard Study. The next day we got another letter telling us the exact same thing. Then this past Thursday while I was at work a lady, Fran, came to the door and talked with my wife for about 10 minutes on the doorstep about participating in the Study. Fran set an appointment to come to our house yesterday, Friday, to talk with us more about joining the Study and to get us to sign the consent form.

So, we sat through the hour-long visit with Fran, the nice lady from the government.

We had never heard of the Study before, but now I know enough about it to know that I don’t want to do it. The Study has good intentions, for sure, the well-being of children, but if you follow the money trail to see who’s funding the Study, you’ll see that it’s the usual boondoggly suspects: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Gosh, the EPA. Those are the guys that want to regulate CO2- the stuff we exhale every moment of our lives- even though Cap and Trade didn’t pass, and global warming is a hoax.

This Study has been in the works for 10 years, and they’re just starting to select children to follow. But the children they want to follow aren’t even born yet. So first they have to wait for the children to be born, and then they have to follow them to see how healthy they are for, get this, 21 years!

But wait, there’s more! Right now they’re just doing the pilot program, in which they will follow 5,000 children. The pilot program will be followed by the main program which will include 100,000 test subjects. So, all in all, I wouldn’t be surprised if this Study took about 50 years to complete. But once the Study is complete, Fran assures us, we will have more information about why some children get diabetes, ADHD, autism, etc., and other children do not. They want to find out if there’s something in the air or the water or the food that’s making more children sick. Once they find out the culprit to our children’s sicknesses, I’m sure they’ll designate a commission to ban construction materials and put more warning labels on household products.

So, in my opinion, the National Children’s Study is part of our socialist-leaning government’s pipe dream of ridding America of health inequality once and for all through top-down, command and control policies. The Study is also one more way to feed the infestation of bureaucracies in our federal government. Think of all the people with good salaries and benefits who are working on this Study.

And to think that the lady who brought news of the Study to my home, Fran, used to be such a nice woman. Alas. Her spirit has left her. Now she is another one of Obama's unmanned drones.

Fran asked us a lot of questions about our race and income level, and that kind of bothered me. I don’t like the government dividing us by race, which is why I gave a smart-aleck response to the race question on my 2010 Census questionnaire.

Right now on my desk is the glossy covered booklet with the title, “Informed Consent Form – Non-Pregnant Women, OMB Control Number: 0925-0593 v 20101109”

Now, I know that if my wife and unborn child did not participate in the study, they would just find somebody else to do it. But as my father likes to say, two wrongs don’t make a right. State governments find themselves in the same predicaments. If they don’t accept federal funds, the federal government won’t say, "Oh, well, if conservative Utah doesn’t want to funds, we’ll just re-allocate those funds to paying of the national debt." No, the federal government will just give the money to liberal California.

So, my wife and I decided not to do the study, even though we would get 25 bucks every time people from the Study came to visit.

On a brighter note, the weather is nice today and I'm headed to the temple. I really am a happy person, most of the time. It's just frustrating to see the inefficiency of the government so up-close and personal.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Rise of Mitt Romney

Dear Readers,

A poll came out today reporting that Romney is beating Obama among registered voters, 49% to 46%.


And Romney has astounding fundraising capabilities. Last May 16th, Romney raised 10 million bucks- just in that single day! Plus I’m sure he’s got a few tens of millions of dollars of his own money stashed away that he’ll use on the campaign. He’s going to need all that money to compete with Obama, who has the ability to squeeze money out of Unions and Hollywood stars, and maybe some terrorists. I think Obama said he wants to spend a BILLION dollars on his re-election campaign. It's sort of sad, but the reality is that you need a ka-billion-trillion-willion bucks to run for President these days.

Wow! I really really think Mitt Romney is going to be the next President! Isn’t that exciting?! I’ve been following Mitt Romney for years now. He’s just an incredible man. His personal life is above reproach. He has such a beautiful family and a moral soul and a solid work ethic and a patriotic spirit. He is a leader if I’ve ever seen one.

I’m nearly positive that I’ll vote for him in the primary election and in the general.

But… Mitt Romney is not my ideal candidate. There are a few things that bother me about him. Here are three of them.

1] RomneyCare

I wrote a little before about RomneyCare
. There are major important differences between RomneyCare and ObamaCare. The former was supported by the people, the later was forced down the throats of the people. RomneyCare was state-wide; ObamaCare is country-wide. RomneyCare was done at a time when the state government had a surplus; ObamaCare was done when the national government had major budgetary problems. These differences are important and I think that the whole RomenyCare vs. ObamaCare debate needs to be more complex than "RomneyCare is just Diet ObamCare!" One of my conservative heros, Mark Steyn, writes about RomneyCare brilliantly here.

2] Global Warming

Mitt Romney recently said he believes in man-made global warming and he thinks that government ought to incentive the public to reduce their carbon emissions. I've written profusely about how I feel about global warming, but one of my more entertaining posts about the subject can be found by clicking on the words right now that you are reading because these words lead you to a new magical place on the Internet.

3] Ethanol subsidies.

LinkRomney recently said he likes ethanol subsidies. (Gosh, the amount of links in this post is really getting profuse. I only provide them to let you know that I've done research into the things I write about. I'm not clueless about the opinions I hold. The truth is, I think I'm right about 90 % of the time when it comes to politics. I'm willing to debate anybody who wants to debate politics.) My opinion is, we ought not subsidize any energy. Let the free market work, you know?

I really hope that Romney is acting more moderate so he can get elected, and then once he's in office, he'll get more conservative.

Those things aside, Romney is looking really hot right now. My three concerns - RomneyCare, global warming, and energy subsidies - will hurt Romney in the primary election, but in the general election, those three things might actually get him more votes from independents and Democrats.

I think I actually like Michelle Bachmann or Herman Cain more than Mitt Romney. But I just don't think their chances are as good. They don't have as much money or name-recognition or support from the political machine.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Poem About a Waitress

A Poem About a Waitress 

This is a poem about a waitress 
I saw at a diner last night.
I didn’t talk to her very much 
because I don’t talk to waitresses very much, 
especially the ones who are attractive.
And this one, in particular, was attractive,
so we didn’t talk 
more than we were supposed to.

When a waitress like her
takes my order,
when she says, “Hi, how are you?”
or when she scribbles little circles
with her red ball-point pen
in the corner of her paper pad
until the ink finally flows,
I gotta keep away.
I'm married, you see,
and I like to say
that in my own small way
I keep monogamy going.

She was wearing the outfit: a clean white
shirt that buttoned in the front,
black pants, black shoes, an apron,
but with her the uniform was different.
It was the way she wore the clothes,
the way they fit,
the way she moved,
but I don't want to get
carried away.
I'll just say
one more thing:
her hair was brown.

Was she sad?
The smile left her face
just before she turned her head
and walked back into the kitchen,
where she took orders from
short-tempered cooks and a lazy boss
who don’t understand her,
who don’t appreciate her.
They just give her orders
and then they go home.

I wanted to ask the waitress
if she liked Elvis Presley
and I wanted to tell her
that I had a motorcycle
and my name was Hunter,
but the only things we talked about
were where I wanted to sit
and what I wanted to eat
and what I wanted to drink.
Maybe she mentioned the weather.

And all I did was give her my order.
And all I asked her for a was
a hamburger, some french fries
and a soda.

A few minutes later
she brought me the burger,
the fries and the drink
and then she looked at me and said
“Let me know if you want anything else.”

After the meal my head felt hot.
I found my car in the parking lot.
I got inside and drove it home,
and this is the absolute end of this poem
because I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Thank You for Purchasing Killz ‘Em Good Ant Eliminator

Begin by spreading the granules evenly
on the ground around the anthills.

Of course, first you must find the anthills,
where the little ants are living,
where the soldier ant makes his rounds,
where the worker ant has painstakingly
built up protective banks of dirt,
one spec of dust at a time,
in the blaze of this Arizona afternoon.

First find their homes, the anthills,
inside which they give to one another,
through moonless nights,
lengthy, multi-armed ant-hugs.

Find their homes,
where the ants gather
at the end of the day
to caress feelers with feelers.

Apply ¼ cup Killz ‘Em Good
Ant Eliminator directly to the hole.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter where you
put the poison, whether you spread it evenly
or pour it into a pile,
so long as its somewhere the ants will find.

The ants will think it’s food,
appearing as manna from the sky.
They will carry it back to their Queen,
who will draw together her Queendom,
declaring a feast and a rest from all bitter servitude.

Use with reservation.
A little goes a long way.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Warning!!! Aluma-Wallet SCAM!!!

Dear Readers,

The other day I was at Walgreens, waiting for the nice people to get me my happy pills, and I found this wallet, the Aluma Wallet. It looked really really cool. It was red, and it said it was indestructible, and it said that it was on TV! I wanted a new wallet because the pockets inside my old wallet are getting all ripped up and stuff. Plus, sometimes at work I get all wet when I spray out paint buckets with a pressure washer, and the water gets in my pants and my wallet is in my pants and so the stuff in my wallet gets wet. Well, the Aluma-Wallet said that it was water-resistant. That sealed the deal. I bought it. Thus began my misadventure with the Aluma-Wallet.

(I wish that the Aluma Wallet wasn't sold in plastic packages you couldn't open in the store. You know, usually in stores they let you look inside the wallet before you buy it. If I had been able to see inside it in Walgreens, I certainly would not have bought it.)

I thought that I would have the newest, coolest wallet ever. See, just look how cool the wallet looks:

And the wallet still looks pretty cool when you get it out of the package:

But watch what happens when you try to put money in the wallet and then close it:

It won't close! The wallet has to snap shut, and the wallet is so small that you can't even fit cash in it and then close it!

Well, there is actually a way to make cash fit in the wallet. You have to fold your dollar bills in thirds, like this:

Blaaarrrgghh! Who folds their cash in thirds? Nobody! Folding cash that way is really really annoying, and it takes too long, and I didn't want to do it, so I returned the wallet to Walgreens and I got my twelve dollars back.

Oh, and I was just kidding about taking happy pills. I don't take medication to alter my mood or to control my mental state. I don't see a counselor either. Not that that's anything to brag about. It's none of your business why I was at Walgreens, OK?!

Sorry if I seem like I'm in a foul mood. I'm really not in a foul mood. And I don't need any pills to put me in a better mood, if that's what you're thinking. I just like to buy good products that turn out to be everything they were promised to be in the commercials. Is that so much to ask?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lying for the Lord

Dear Readers,

I think there are times when the Lord has encouraged people to lie, and has encouraged people to purposefully lead others to believe something false. Of course, 99.999% of the time, God wants everyone to tell the truth. But the Scriptures record a few instances that constitute the remaining .001%. Here's three quick examples from the Bible:

1] Abraham tells people that Sarah is his sister, not his wife. (Genesis 20) That's a lie, and God seems to be OK with it.

2] Jacob and Rebekah conspire to make Isaac think that Jacob is really Esau, thus securing the birthright for Jacob, and God seems to be OK with that inter-familial conspiracy. (Genesis 27) That whole story has lots of deceptions and lies in it, and God seems to be OK with them. (Though with this story, I'm willing to believe that there are lots of mistranslations and interpolations in it. To quote the eighth article of faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: "We believe the Bible to be the Word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.")

3] Rahab lied about the Israelite spies, and God seems to be OK with it. (Joshua 2)

There are more examples of righteous people lying in other scriptures. In the Book of Mormon, Nephi dons the garb of Laban, and misleads Zoram into thinking that Nephi really is Laban. (1st Nephi 4) In this case, God not only seems to be OK with Nephi's lie, but He actually performs a miracle to help further Nephi's deception. Nephi writes that he "commanded [Zoram] in the voice of Laban." So, unless Nephi happened to be an accomplished voice actor, his speaking in the voice of Laban was a miracle wrought by God.

OK, so I think that's enough examples of to show that sometimes God has people lie. Now, keep in mind that in every case, a greater good was brought about by the telling of the lie. Also keep in mind that these cases are the very rare exception, not the very common rule.

My next point is that God sometimes purposefully withholds information from people.

The most obvious example of withholding information is God's withholding of a sure knowledge of his own existence from just about everyone. Think about it. If He wanted to, God could appear to everyone and say, "I am God," and he could make water gush out of a rock just to make his point clear. With a single visitation, he could put centuries of theological debate to rest. But in his wisdom, God does not appear to everyone.

Another example of withholding information from some and giving it to others is temple work. Much of what goes on in LDS temples is not to be shared with the uninitiated. (Of course, everyone is invited to find out what happens in LDS temples. But first you have to have faith in Christ, repent of your sins, believe in the LDS Church, join the church through baptism and confirmation, be old enough, be a good member for a year or so, and then voila! You get a temple recommend and you get to go to the temple!)

The very act of calling prophets and speaking to them is an example of giving some people more information than other people. Sometimes withholding information is wise. Not discussing wages with co-workers, for example, is a good way to avoid conflicts.

God also asked people to withhold information about some of the miracles He performed. When He raised the daughter of Jarius from her near-deathbed, for example, Jesus told the parents not to tell people about the miracle. Jesus had his own wise reasons for telling people not to spread the miraculous news.

So... I'm finally getting to the meat and potatoes of this blog post... I know this is a hard pill for faithful Mormons to swallow, but maybe Joseph Smith lied. Just a little bit. Or maybe he withheld information, or misled people, only very slightly, and only on rare occasion. Maybe some of the lies he told had divine approbation, but maybe some of them did not. Joseph Smith was a mortal man who sinned, after all.

Now, I am not saying that Joseph Smith lied about the First Vision, or about his story of finding the golden plates and translating them into the Book of Mormon. I accept him as a true prophet. I have a testimony, etc. etc. And I trust him when he writes about his First Vision, "Many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time."

But, on a basic level, obviously Smith gave more information to certain individuals than to others. Some people saw the golden plates with him; others did not. Some saw angels with him; others did not. He confided in his friends. He gave more information to the faithful, just like Jesus did. Don't you think that the Apostles knew more about Jesus and his doctrine than the common disciples did?

And when it came to his plural marriages, Joseph Smith was... shall we say... less than forthcoming? Yes, it appears that Joseph Smith did not want the word about his polygamy getting out. Maybe it was for political reasons. Maybe God told him to keep his polygamy a secret. I don't know why. Maybe fewer people would be willing to investigate the Church if they knew that many of its leaders were practicing polygamy. Maybe it was part of the Lord's plan to keep polygamy on the down-low because most people weren't ready to handle the doctrine and the lifestyle.

I'm not going to go into details about how Joseph Smith concealed his plural wives, some of them teenage wives. You can read about Joseph Smith's wives here. That's not an official LDS Church site, but it seems to be pretty accurate and not too hostile to the Church. But then if you go to that last link, you need to go to this link. And actually, if you want to learn more about controversial early LDS history and stuff, I think FAIR is a great place to go. I mean besides the Scriptures and prayer.)

And today, I think the Church is perpetuating the obfuscation of its polygamous roots. But that's OK! In fact, it's more than OK! I applaud the Church for the job its doing telling its own history, both to its own members and to the rest of the world.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its history is an open book. Literally! Read us! Just because the Church doesn't talk about polygamy in General Conference, that doesn't mean we aren't willing to talk about it. We just choose not to empasize polygamy anymore. And that de-emphasis makes sense, really. We de-emphasize polygamy the same way we de-emphasize animal sacrifice. We believe in it, we just don't practice it anymore.

I mean, even though Mormons "believe in animal sacrifice," we don't talk about it very much, because that was revelation for a different time.

But actually, in a way, we Latter-Day Saints still sort-of kind-of practice polygamy. A widower who was previously sealed can be sealed to another woman, so he will have two wives in the celestial kingdom. But LDS men can no longer be married to two living women at the same time.

I'm glad I have this forum to talk about things that have been on my mind lately. Maybe I'll write more LDS apologetics in the future. I like trying to provide a reason for the hope that is within me. Feel free to leave comments, as always.