Saturday, November 14, 2015

Of Christians and Pharisees... Of Saints and Hypocrites

I sometimes need to write out of frustration. This time it’s more out of disgust. 

I find it ridiculous how many people in our nation call themselves Christians, but who do or say hateful things to those who don’t believe exactly as they do.

First example: Recently I read a post on Matt Walsh’s blog that had to do with attacks on Christianity in general. In the post, Matt mentioned that he is Catholic, which apparently was news to many people, including me. What followed was a long thread of insults toward Catholicism. People digressed from the actual subject of the post and totally lost track while throwing insults at Matt over his particular brand of Christianity. “Where in the Bible does it mention a pope?,” one comment asked. They got worse from there. The self-righteousness of many pseudo-Christians was exposed.

Now a couple more personal examples:

#1: My niece who lives in Texas recently applied for Health Insurance with a supposedly Christian online insurance company, Medi-Share out of Florida. She paid them a $50 to apply for coverage. According to her story, they took her application fee, then told her that because she was a Mormon (The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints), she wasn’t a Christian and was therefore ineligible for coverage through them. She also said they refused to return her application fee.

#2: My nephew who also lives in Texas was recently arrested for a minor offense (he was foolish… no excuses… but it was a minor thing) and was put in jail. He is also a Latter-Day Saint. When put in jail, they took away his personal copy of the Book of Mormon. They didn’t just lock it up in property. According to what I heard through his bishop, the guards actually destroyed his copy of the book. There were Muslims in the same jail who were allowed to keep their copies of the Koran with them in their cell. But not the Mormon boy. Nope, his book of scripture was destroyed.

We are all entitled to our personal beliefs. If you don’t think Matt Walsh is a Christian just because he is Catholic, I respect your right to think that, but I will say I believe you are completely ignorant of what a true Christian actually is.

I am going to take the liberty to quote a Book of Mormon verse and insert Matt’s name into it in order to demonstrate my opinion of him:

“Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto [Matt Walsh], behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.” (Alma 48:17, name substituted for illustration)

It doesn’t matter if he’s Catholic or any other brand of Christianity. He leads people to think righteously, he raises his family with a knowledge of and reverence for Jesus Christ, and he is a light unto the world. He is one from whom we can see “good fruit.” (Matthew 7:20)

Likewise, those who don’t believe Latter-Day Saints are Christians are entitled to their beliefs, although I believe they are baseless and ignorant in the same way.

The Bible does not define a Christian by the specific tenets one embraces. It defines a Christian by the way people live their lives. Yet we have many Pharisees who have taken it upon themselves to assign non-Biblical labels to anyone who doesn’t believe exactly as they do. Many have concocted doctrines based on their best guesses of what certain scripture passages MIGHT mean, and then purport to have a factual knowledge of such doctrines even though there are often more verses to dispute their beliefs than to support them. Nevertheless, they treat anyone who doesn’t embrace their best guesses as a non-Christian, a cult, or whatever juvenile barbs they wish to use.

This post really isn’t about those who keep their opinions to themselves. It is about the self-righteous Pharisees who must vocalize or publicize their hypocrisy.

Dear Pharisees, those who persecute Mormons, Catholics or anyone else who doesn’t believe exactly as you do, please stop calling yourselves Christians. You are not Christians. You are Pharisees and hypocrites, much like those that Christ confounded in the Bible. You profess to follow Christ, but then you do and say hateful, bigoted things to people who have genuine faith, many of whom might be doing a much better job personally of following Jesus Christ and His example than you are. You make up your own "rules" and then try to apply them to others in a ridiculous, matter-of-fact way. Calling yourselves Christians is an insult to Christ. You are mocking Him by pretending to be aligned with or following him. As long as you do these hateful things, you are following Satan. You are dividing through hatred rather than uniting through peace and kindness. That should be clear to everyone except to you. Until you gain some spiritual maturity and actually start behaving in a way that Christ could be pleased with, don’t mock Christianity or those of us who don’t do hateful things to others out of such self-righteousness.

I fully expect to get a barrage of hateful responses to this from the Pharisees who insist that their hateful behavior is in the name of Jesus. Some will call me a hypocrite or self-righteous for posting this. So be it. I don't do things to negatively impact your life. Many of you cannot say the same. 

Please reread Matthew 7 in its entirety. If you really want to know about true Christianity, read the books of Philippians and James with an open mind.


In the end, Mormons (and probably others) don’t really care if you think we’re Christians or not. We know we are, and your opinion is irrelevant. God didn't put any of you in charge of determining that for us. Your only reason for saying things like that is driven by hatred. You are entitled to your opinions. But when you actually spew your bigotry in word or act and affect the lives of people who genuinely follow Christ, you not only show your true colors as a non-Christian and a hypocrite, but you disgrace those of us who truly are Christians by pretending to be with us. You disgrace and mock your Savior. You fuel Satan’s efforts to divide us. Please get a grip and decide who really is your master, not just in name, but in the way you treat others. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Truth Doesn't Matter to Haters

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been getting a lot of negative attention lately. That is not news. What is news, and what is sad, is that more and more of that negative attention is coming from within the church, from people who were once solid members. Satan is very clever. He has a way of injecting worldly logic and reason into spiritual issues to make religious matters sound foolish. So it is with current LDS issues. The result is personal apostasy, and the potential loss of eternal blessings, over what many will ultimately see was deceptive nothingness.

Haters will hate the church regardless of the truth. Haters don’t have truth. They have hatred. They cannot base their bitterness in fact. It is purely emotional.

We all choose to believe things we cannot physically verify. Today many latter-day saints are losing their faith over internet documents that discredit the church. A great many of these documents cannot be verified for their accuracy or authenticity. Documents such as journal pages from people in the mid 1800s making claims against Joseph Smith’s integrity or fidelity. People are accepting these as true, without being able to trace them to their source. They don’t consider the motivation that put those documents on the internet. It most likely wasn’t neutral. Yet people choose to accept them as factual.

Those who are honest in heart before God will go to God for their answers to tough questions, rather than persecute the Church. I have seen many people lately – some of them members of the church  posting comments and articles on Facebook and other locations, openly criticizing the Church for its stand on various topics. They do so with no regard to God’s reasons for these decisions or policies. This is an obvious sign of personal apostasy, whether they can admit it or not.

Do we choose to be a Nephi, or are we a Laman in the way we react to tough questions in the Church?

“16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

“18 But, behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto the Lord for them.

“21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.” (1 Nephi 2:16, 18, 21)

Those who have solid faith will do as Nephi did, and will go to the Lord for their answers. Those who do not have that strength will do things like post critical remarks on Facebook, align with pseudo-Mormon support groups, etc.

To me, this is where the great "sifting of the wheat from the tares" in the last days begins.

One of the temple recommend interview questions goes something like this: “Do you support, agree or affiliate with individuals or organizations whose teachings are not in harmony with the Church?” The answer “yes” would render a person unworthy of a temple recommend until they can answer “no.” In this sense, it is as the Lord told Nephi: “They shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.” (1 Ne 2:21)

So ask yourself:

When the Ordain Women movement gained attention, did you jump on their bandwagon, post your support on Facebook, quit going to church, etc… or did you pray to your Heavenly Father for understanding and for His guidance on the issue?

When the church took a stand in defense of the family and the definition of marriage as ordained by God, did you post a rainbow profile picture on your Facebook page, make publicly critical comments about the church, quit going, etc… or did you pray to your Heavenly Father for understanding and for His guidance on the issue? Maybe read, ponder and pray about “The Family – A Proclamation to the World?”

When you heard all the “news” about Joseph Smith and all of his apparent wives and alleged adulterous activity, did you post critical remarks on Facebook? Did you run to a support group full of other Mormons who also refuse to go to their Heavenly Father for answers, thinking that would strengthen your faith… or did you pray to your Heavenly Father for understanding and for His guidance on the issue?

When you heard all the supposed evidence against the Book of Mormon, such as DNA evidence (which has since been debunked quite convincingly, I might add), or considered all the bones dug up by Paleontologists who summarily and prematurely conclude that their bones constitute proof of evolution, did you believe their findings – all of which you cannot personally verify… or did you pray to your Heavenly Father for understanding and for His guidance on the issue?

And most recently, when you heard all the recent stir about the church’s policy regarding the baptism of children who live in a same-sex household (which was not a new policy at all), did you immediately disagree with what you heard or thought of it, and share your disapproval on Facebook… or did you pray to your Heavenly Father for understanding and for His guidance on the issue?

And if you say you prayed for your answers, how long or diligently did you pray? Did you stay on your knees all day long and into the night, as Enos did (See Enos 1:4)? Was this an important enough topic that you stayed on your knees as long as it took, or did you do it until you felt like you had prayed enough? In other words… on YOUR terms? How badly would you want to know? How important is your faith? At what price can it be bought by Satan?

The truth about these issues can be had. It comes from God, not from worldly opinion, not from the internet, and certainly not from Facebook posts. From God. Through revelation, the answer to prayers. Through His prophets. Through a witness of truth from the Holy Ghost – which is the Holy Ghost’s purpose, by the way… to testify of truth.

There are those who say they didn’t get the answer. They don’t believe in the power of the Holy Ghost because they say it didn’t answer them. My response is that they didn’t try hard enough, or they insisted that they get their answers on their own terms, and not on the Lord’s terms. Try again. Try longer. Be more humble and sincere. The answers come if we submit to the Lord and don’t demand it to be on our own terms.

The common denominator of haters, persecutors and antagonists who once belonged to the church is that at some point along the way, they lost the companionship of the Holy Ghost. They quit reading their scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon. They quit saying their prayers. They became sloppy in their spirituality in other ways. They became spiritually out of shape, much like an athlete would if they quit working out. As a result of spiritual sloppiness, they stopped listening to the Spirit’s promptings. Or perhaps they never learned to recognize them in the first place. Either way, they are without that essential communication from God that allows us to know His mind and will. Instead, the mind and will of the world – Satan – fills that void in them.

The reality of that spiritual witness cannot be refuted by the haters and disbelievers. Millions upon millions of people have testified of the answers they have received regarding many issues ranging from the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the reality of the mission of Joseph Smith, the blessings of the law of tithing, divine protection, and others. Many of these people have seen these witnesses repeated hundreds of times in their lives. Those who try to argue against the validity of these experiences simply look foolish to the many millions who have actually witnessed them. It's as silly as arguing that Tahiti (or any other place) doesn't exist simply because you have personally never been there and never made the required effort to go.

There is no other possible explanation for people who once had testimonies of the church to suddenly become its adversaries, than to lose the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Logic, fact, reason, etc, are not valid answers, because no physical evidence against the church’s teachings can be verified. To the contrary, only God’s word can be verified, through the witness of the Holy Ghost. That is the only source of verification that exists. Further, its validity can be tested. Millions and millions of people testify of the blessings they receive for obedience to various laws and principles of the gospel. This is solid evidence. It’s even more solid when it happens to us, and we don’t just read the accounts of others.

Haters cannot experience this. It takes genuine faith, humility, sincere desire and effort. Haters mock what they cannot understand or cannot experience. The Apostle Paul understood this:

“11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-14)


Haters don’t have any proof. They have simply chosen to blindly believe something that they cannot verify. Instead of putting God to the test and proving Him, they choose to believe the counterfeits and distractions. And sadly, they shall have their rewards. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Why There Is No Such Thing as “Values Neutral”

The ever-increasing liberal influence in our world attempts to nullify any type of moral compass, so as to justify their rush toward self-destruction. Some say there are no morals, that it’s up to the individual to decide what’s right for them.

This is a terribly flawed way of thinking. The underlying assumption is that random, differing values can peacefully coexist in society. Here’s where the idea fails: Based on our values or morals, either we contribute to the success of our nation, or we hinder that success. Either we produce more than we consume, or we consume more than we produce. Either we respect others' right to think differently, or we don't. 

We need to apply the “what if everyone else was like me?” test.

What would our society be like if all people were…

Pro-choice?
If all women got abortions, we wouldn’t have solved a population growth issue. We would quickly be extinct. Even if half of society got abortions, we might be an endangered species. Without those who hold the sanctity of life as a sacred, God-granted power, abortions might be the norm, not the minority (despite the 50+ million performed in the US already), in terms of how pregnancies ended.

Population growth is controlled through self-restraint and personal responsibility. People would have children when they want them and can afford them. Most unwanted pregnancies would not occur if people behaved responsibly.

Homosexual?
We’d be extinct in one generation.
HIV and AIDS would be more epidemic than they have been up to now.

In favor of a “living” minimum wage?
What exactly is a “living wage” anyway? Isn’t that completely subjective? Suppose a person wants to flip burgers at McDonald's and make $15 per hour? That comes to about $30,000 per year. So then they overspend their money (because it really doesn't go far enough to live on anyway) as so many people naturally do, get deep into debt, and want more, claiming they are underpaid. Where does it end? It doesn’t. That’s the problem here.

A “living” minimum wage would drive prices up, making the “living” wage even less affordable. Employers would have to raise prices to cover the increased wage expense. They might have to lay off a good portion of their crew. The “value menu” at a fast food restaurant would start at $3 instead of $1. We end up with higher prices, higher unemployment, causing the living wage to not be enough to "live" on after all. So then do we raise it again, and keep going through this same cycle?

On welfare with no desire to become self-sufficient?
Simply, our system would bankrupt quickly. Welfare depends on some people paying others’ way. If everyone was on welfare, there would be no producers, only consumers. People would starve. There would be no public utilities or services. The government could not sustain the system because there would be no tax revenue from those who work.
We could go on and on with our “what if” examples.

Engaging in pornography?
Families would be even more endangered than they are now. It is well established that pornography destroys families. It destroys trust between spouses. It erodes one's ability to have a normal, healthy married sex life. Divorce rates have increased sharply because of porn addiction. This causes increased need for social services for kids as well as adults, which are largely government funded. The victims of porn addicts often need government financial assistance. Teen dropout rates increase. Teen substance abuse rates increase. Teen pregnancy increases. Teen suicide increases. These happen because the family, the god-ordained institution in which civility and moral stability is taught, is broken. Liberals want to dismiss the value of the family, but they cannot refute the facts that support the value and positive social impact of families. Liberals also want people to believe that pornography is harmless. The evidence proves quite the opposite.

Sexually active outside of marriage?
This already appears to be the norm, not the exception. So what do we have now? More disease, more unwanted pregnancies (therefore more abortions), more welfare because of teenage and unwed mothers, more fatherless children (with all the social disadvantages that brings), and so on.

Do these examples sound like they are value-neutral? Absolutely not.

Some forms of liberalism can exist only if conservatives are funding them. What if those who believe in certain programs or philosophies were the only people supporting them? When we go to a state or national park, or to a zoo or other attraction, we pay an entrance fee. Ideally, those who enjoy these venues are the ones paying, and not costing those who do not visit these places. Even further, what if only those who believed in a certain philosophy were the ones paying for it? What if only liberals were paying for prolonged welfare entitlements for those who could and should attempt to find work, improve their earning potential, and produce rather than consume – since conservatives by and large are already doing this? What if only liberals paid for abortions? What if only liberals supported Planned Parenthood? What if only liberals paid extra for a McDonald’s hamburger so they could support a higher wage for those who “want” it but cannot justify it with their actual work?

Liberalism cannot survive with only liberals supporting it. They must force those who don’t believe in their flawed philosophies to help pay for them, or to participate in them. Since liberalism creates dependency, it can only survive if they steal from those who produce. If liberals could not rob conservatives, they would cease to exist.

So ask yourself… what would our world be like if everyone were like YOU? If you are a producer, then you probably are a victim of political theft to support the weak (the liberal welfare/entitlement/special interest crowd). If you are a consumer… wanting more welfare, etc, you are part of the reason why our nation is bankrupt and broken.

It should be clear that there is no such thing as “values neutral.” If that were true, then our society would neither prosper nor wither based on “what feels right to us” individually. It would remain constant. But that obviously is not what is happening. Our nation is decaying. Crumbling. Self-destructing. Because those who are naive enough to think that values don’t matter are destroying the foundation of civility and liberty through selfishness, the violation of others’ rights, laziness and irresponsibility, rather than strengthening it through personal responsibility and obeying the law. Modern liberalism is the opposite of that which is good and virtuous: a work ethic, personal responsibility, liberty in law, and mutual respect.














Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Teaching Our Children to Have Deep Faith

I have learned a few things about parenting in the church. I have always believed that I’m pretty good at it, but I have learned lately where I can do better. 

We have been counseled to do specific things to strengthen our families. We hear it often: Daily scripture study, daily prayer, Family Home Evening, and church attendance. We have been promised that if we do these things, our families will be strengthened and protected.

Having Family Home Evening, family scripture study, family prayer and attending church together are indeed important. Letting our kids see our examples of paying tithing and fast offerings, attending the temple and serving others is also very important. They learn more from our examples than perhaps any other source.

But these things are not enough. Lucifer is far too clever and cunning… downright evil… and his tools and his forces are getting worse. We need to ingrain these basic gospel activities into our children as core principles with tangible benefits, and not simply as casual exercises in obedience. But we still need more...

When our teenage kids become old enough to learn to drive, we don’t just ‘teach them’ by our example. We don’t depend on them watching how we drive, handing them the car keys and saying, “Now go do what I did.” No, we get our kids behind the wheel with close supervision and a lot of prayers for protection. That’s the only safe way they can learn… if we can even call that safe! Eventually we do turn them loose with the car keys… and even more fervent prayers. And they survive it. Why? Because they learned by doing. Will they make some mistakes? Probably… that’s why car insurance for teens is so expensive. But they will correct and strengthen their abilities.

In a work environment, management trainees get to experience the daily frustrations of running an organization and making tough decisions while under the supervision of someone who can mentor them. The trainees are learning hands-on, making their own decisions and dealing with difficult situations, not just by watching someone else or reading about it in a book. Co-pilots learn side-by-side with the captain of the airplane. Eventually, after many hours of hands-on training, the co-pilot will be in command of an aircraft. They cannot accept the responsibility for the lives of those they are transporting until they have experienced many different situations including weather, mechanical failures and administrative challenges.

When we follow the counsel from our prophets that I mentioned above, we indeed are helping develop testimonies in our children. But I have come to realize just how much these testimonies are borrowed. Our kids are leaning on our faith. That is good as they get started. But the time comes when they will be tested and tried. I mean really tested with something serious. And we won’t be there to shelter them or for them to lean on. What happens then?

If we have prepared them well, they will rise above the challenge with strengthened faith, better able to endure and overcome the next trial. If we have not prepared them well, they might be likened to the seed that fell upon stony places, as the Savior described in His parable of the sower:

5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. (Matt 13:5-6)

We need to allow our children to ‘learn by doing’ in the gospel. This means that we need to let them exercise their own faith. We need to let them struggle. We need to let them feel the pain and fear of significant trials. We need to let them plead to their Heavenly Father for answers or relief, whichever is appropriate for the occasion. We even need to let them fail at times… and encourage them to get back up and keep trying. And as the crowning part of this exercise, we need to help our children recognize the answers and blessings that come from the trial of their faith. They need to see these results.

Seeing the results of their own exercise of faith is like the experience that comes from driver training… there is no substitute for doing it. Seeing someone else do it is not good enough. It’s helpful but insufficient on its own.

One way we can help our children is to include them and involve them in family issues. If we have lost our employment or are dealing with a serious illness or other substantial trial, we should not try to protect our children’s feelings by keeping it a secret. While doing so seems emotionally protective, it can be spiritually destructive, as it denies them the chance to grow in personal faith. As long as confidentiality is not a concern, we need to include our children.

Example: Dad lost his job, and this creates a potential hardship on the family. By discussing the situation at Family Home Evening, all of the children can be aware of the concern. The family can pray together. The children can pray individually as well. Perhaps they can fast together, and the kids can feel some personal sacrifice / investment by being hungry for a little while. They can all provide encouragement to Dad as he looks for new employment. And when they see him get another job, they can rejoice together in the blessings. What the children take from this is that they personally exercised their faith and saw the promised blessings. They are genuinely stronger.

Many years ago my family was on a vacation in Colorado. My four-year-old daughter was miserable with mosquito bites all over her body. She was so itchy that she could not sleep. It seemed that all the Calamine lotion in the world could not bring her relief. So I suggested that we pray together and ask Heavenly Father for help. As I remember it, we both prayed, and she gave the sweetest, cutest little girl prayer. The next morning, she came to me excitedly and let me know that the prayer had worked, and that she was able to get a good night’s sleep.

I have always loved this story. It shows a child exercising her own faith, and when the blessings come, seeing that faith strengthened. That faith is not borrowed, and the experience can never be taken away from her. This is the beginning of real depth to a testimony.

Heavenly Father has a job to do… “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) He cannot accomplish this by sheltering us and letting us forever lean on His knowledge of eternal truths. He must let us learn for ourselves, including some tough, heartbreaking experiences. And if we want to give our own children the same blessings, we must let them learn the tough lessons of life as well. We must let them struggle, exercise their own faith, make their own sacrifices, and see the blessings come. Depth of faith can come in no other way that I am aware of.

 I would like to see my children have enough experience exercising their faith on their own and seeing the blessings and answers that come, that they could never doubt what they know. Jacob, the brother of Nephi, gives perhaps the best description of what I hope to see in my children:

"And he (referring to Sherem) had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken." (Jacob 7:5)

Whether we see angels is not important here. What matters is that we have enough experiences with the exercise of faith and seeing the blessings come that we know for ourselves and cannot be easily shaken. And if we can help our children gain genuine depth of faith and experience, I believe we truly will have done our jobs as parents in Zion. 

Right now I feel like I have some work to do.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

"In the Church" vs. "At Church" - Some Revealing Questions

The spiritual challenges that people in the LDS faith are having in this day and age stir me to want to bear witness of some truths.

One of my favorite church books is “Christ and the Inner Life” by Truman Madsen. I have loved this book since I was missionary age. One of the chapters in the book is titled “Twenty Questions,” where Brother Madsen describes a conversation he had with another man who had drifted away from the church. He asked the man about twenty varying questions to gauge his depth of experience and understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end of the conversation, Brother Madsen concluded that his friend was ‘a member of the church but was not really “in” the church.’ I love that chapter of the book. It is perhaps the best ‘litmus test’ of sorts that I know of to measure a person’s depth of conversion and faith in the gospel. I have created my own list of questions here, based on Brother Madsen’s list. I give reference to this book because I didn’t want to plagiarize something I respect so much and believe to be quite profound.

Here are the questions I would like everyone to ask themselves:

Not Lost in the Crowd

Do you feel like just another obscure person in the church, one in a crowd of people trying to worship a disconnected being that nobody knows? Or do you know that God is your Heavenly Father – your Father – and that He knows you personally? Have you ever experienced a feeling of closeness to Him when you have fasted or prayed, or simply pondered on spiritual things?

Feasting on the Word

Have you ever become so interested in reading the scriptures that you just did not want to put them down? Granted, it probably didn’t happen while reading Isaiah, but have you ever enjoyed reading to the point where boredom, other priorities, or even sleep fled from you? Joseph Smith stated that ‘he who reads [the Book of Mormon] most will like it best’. Have you experienced this?

Speaking Directly to You

Have you ever felt while reading in the scriptures, wherever in them you were reading, that the words jumped off the page and spoke directly to you? Have you ever been able to do what Nephi did and ‘liken them unto yourself, that they might be for your own profit and learning’? Moroni told us that he ‘saw our day, and knew our doing’. Have you ever felt that some verses of scripture fit your circumstances or concerns so accurately that these ancient prophets could have meant their words just for you?

Just For You

While pondering about the Atonement of Christ, perhaps during the administration of the sacrament, have you ever stopped to really think about what the Savior did for you personally? Not as a general service for all, but for you? Have you ever thought about the big mistakes you’ve made in your life, and considered how He can just make them go away? Perhaps you have personally felt the cleansing that comes from feeling forgiven. Have you ever really studied with an open heart the words of Hymn 193, “I Stand All Amazed”? Have you ever become emotional when considering the incredible gift of redemption that Christ gave to you?

Words Beyond Your Own

Have you ever born your testimony, given a talk, given a blessing, or shared or defended the gospel of Jesus Christ in some other situation, and realized that you were using words that were not your own, or that thoughts came to your mind that did not originate from any memory or experience you had had? The Savior taught us that the words we need to share would be given to us at the very moment. Have you ever experienced this, and been able to understand where those words came from?

Thin-Veil Experience

Have you ever had the experience when you definitely felt the presence of more people, perhaps many more, than you could physically see? A ‘crowded’ place where you couldn’t see the crowd? Perhaps the death of a loved one, or a birth, or an experience in the temple?

Loving Those You Serve

When you have served other people, whether it be a home teaching or visiting teaching assignment, an extra act of service like taking a meal or repairing a car, or something else for someone who needed help… did you do it because you felt obligated? Did you do it because you felt the need to ‘give back’ what had once been given to you? Or did you do it because through a life of serving others, you have learned to feel love for those in whom you have taken some personal ‘ownership’ in their happiness or well-being?

Talking to a Friend

When you pray most earnestly, perhaps while in the car alone, or during a personal trial, do you really open up to Heavenly Father and talk to Him as if He is sitting there next to you? Do  you talk to Him as if he is distant and mildly interested in you, or do you talk to him openly and candidly as if He was a personal  friend?

Sweat Equity

Have you ever really struggled? Ever had your faith tried and tested by some challenge in your life? Pushed to what you believed was your breaking point? Did you plead with your Father for answers or relief? It can be something as simple as paying tithing when you feel like you can’t afford it, and you see blessings come that are otherwise unexplainable. It can be as simple as recovering from a sickness or injury after a priesthood blessing. It can also be something bigger, like seeing a loved one healed of a terrible disease, or finding a job when your financial back was against the wall. And when you did your part to exercise your faith, to increase your obedience or humility, did you see the blessings come? Did you recognize where those blessings came from? Have you repeated this process enough times in your life to know that it will continue to happen as you humble yourself and draw near to your Father?

Listening Deeply and Patiently

When you pray about something that is deeply concerning to you, do you prepare? And do you listen? I mean, really listen? Before you actually starting ‘talking’ in your prayer, did you take some time to ponder on the situation? And after you ended your prayer, did you just get back to the mundane tasks of life and forget about the process of spiritual communication and revelation, or did you continue to ponder for a while and listen closely to the Spirit? In the same way we need to let our eyes dilate and adjust to darkness if we want to look at the stars at night, we must let our minds eliminate the noise of life and become more sensitive to revelation. Have you ever just listened for a while after praying?

Your Will or His Will

When you have prayed during tough times, did you ask for guidance to help you grow from your trial, or did you ask for relief to make it go away? Most often the Lord wants us to grow. He wants us to work through it and become stronger. He has the objective of growing us and preparing us to be like Him and to do what He does. That cannot happen if He just bails us out. Did you pray for what you wanted, or did you pray to know His will in your circumstances?

Conclusion

A person who can answer all or most of these questions affirmatively – meaning that you have depth of experience in the gospel – is not one who is ‘delicate’ in their faith, and who is not prone to have their spiritual foundation weakened by issues like Ordain Women, Joseph Smith and polygamy, or some newfound controversial documents about Joseph Smith or other church-related issues that have suddenly appeared on the internet. A person who answers these questions affirmatively has depth to their faith. They have a deeper knowledge based on their experience with spiritual things. They put their trust in what they have proven time and time again – tests of faith followed by consistent and dependable blessings, as well as personal revelation in many contexts. They do not trust the wisdom of the world more than they trust God, His prophets and His divinely revealed word.  Those who answer affirmatively are like Jacob when he was confronted by Sherem in Jacob 7:5. Their faith cannot easily be shaken by worldly ‘wisdom’.

Those who have not had the experiences I ask about in these questions are not only likely to look to the world, but they are more likely to mock those who don’t do the same. They may be ‘at church’ but they are not ‘in the church’. They do not understand the spiritual essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They try to prove… or more accurately disprove… the validity of the gospel, using worldly evidence. This is impossible. See 1 Corinthians 2:11-14. Yet they try because they have no other methods available to them in their state of denying the Spirit of revelation.

There are no examples in the scriptures of anyone who embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ because they proved it using physical evidence, documents they read, or because they heard it from someone else. They embraced it because they had a spiritual witness, much like Peter did (Matthew 16:16-17). Trying to prove spiritual truths through worldly physical evidence is not only impossible, but it is frankly absurd in my opinion. Yet those who cannot receive a spiritual witness, either because they refuse to earnestly seek the truth at the risk of being wrong, or are simply unable to humble themselves before the Lord, will always be frustrated. So they mock.


“Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble” (Alma 32:16).

Friday, June 27, 2014

Seek Not to Counsel Your God

I am disturbed by several things I am hearing and seeing regarding the degradation of faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel compelled to speak up. And again, I am sorry this is long. My posts are always long… we lawyer types must like to talk.

If it sounds like I’m being judgmental, I am. And it’s OK. We SHOULD be judgmental of some things. The scriptures teach us to know people “by their fruits” (Matt 7:20), and how to judge righteously (Moroni 7:16-19). We must judge some things in order to protect ourselves from false doctrines, evil-designing people, and other spiritual hazards. In making these judgments, I am focusing on things, not necessarily people.

Several people, including some who are close to me, are losing their faith over non-spiritual, trivial matters. Others are losing their testimonies of the gospel because they have succumbed to the philosophies of modern liberalism in our society, rather than following God.

As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland so accurately stated, these people are “creating God in [their] own image.” (General Conference, April 2014)

Before discussing the specific issues, I would like to state that the solution to the problem is the same in all cases: People have abandoned the value of spiritual confirmation in deference to worldly evidence. Throughout the scriptures, the Lord has emphasized the importance of receiving a witness of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost, and not by other means alone.

People who were once active and (seemingly) converted members of the church are now seeking for signs to refute the visual evidence they embrace. The Lord taught that faith never follows signs, but that signs follow the exercise of faith.

Faith is wavering for many people. Something about the wisdom of the world has caused people to doubt their beliefs. If that faith had been built on spiritual experiences that cannot be denied, on the trial of our faith followed by the commensurate blessings, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

I read the comment recently that “Ignorance is the prerequisite of faith.” I disagree. That definition is technically impossible. It seems to be an attempt to marginalize and minimize spiritual answers. The scriptural definitions of faith include: ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ (Hebrews 11:1), and ‘not a perfect knowledge of things’, but a ‘hope for things which are not seen which are true (Alma 32:21). A person cannot have faith in anything if they are ignorant of it. They must know what it is they believe in.

The problem is that ‘faith’ is shifting away from spiritual witnesses to tangible, worldly evidence. People are putting their trust the world and its wisdom more than they are trusting God. And because they are losing their sensitivity to spiritual promptings in this way, they move further away from the truth they seek, without even realizing it.

Moroni taught that ‘by the power of the Holy Ghost, [we] may know the truth of all things’ (Moroni 10:5). The Savior taught that the Holy Ghost would testify of Him, and would bring all things to our remembrance that He has commanded us (John 14:26, 15:26).

I feel blessed that I have had a lot of trials in my life. They have given me the opportunity to humble myself before the Lord, do things His way instead of fight him or try to ‘outsmart’ Him with the world’s wisdom. They have given me the chance to try His promises… to exercise my faith in humility, and see the blessings come. And they have come. Plentifully. So many times and so consistently that I could not deny my faith now. I have said I am a lot like Jacob when he was confronted by Sherem. With the exception of seeing angels, I think that Jacob 7:5 describes me pretty well.

Depth of faith is required to withstand the distractions that Satan is bombarding us with. A shallow testimony that is not built on exercise, where we have been tried and tested and blessings have followed, cannot endure long.  

Now down to the nitty gritty:

Either you believe that God is your loving Heavenly Father or you don’t. You believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior, or you don’t. As a Latter-Day Saint, you either believe that the Book of Mormon is a book of scripture along with the Holy Bible, or you don’t. And if you believe that the Book of Mormon is true, then it follows that you believe that Joseph Smith Jr. was God’s instrument (prophet) in translating it and bringing it to the world. If you don’t believe these very basic tenets, then the rest doesn’t matter. We’ve identified the problem. Go no further.

All other issues are ancillary to these core beliefs. If you struggle with women having the priesthood or not, or whether Joseph Smith had multiple wives and was wrong for doing so, or anything else that might imply imperfections in the people of the church, it does not need to shake your entire faith if you have previously developed a solid testimony of the core doctrines. If these issues do shake your faith, then your foundation was weak to begin with. Asking questions and praying about some things is appropriate. We all have questions about things. Having questions about doctrinal issues that bother us is not discouraged in this church. What is important is how we try to obtain an understanding.

Something happened on my mission that really bothered me. I got through it. I got a priesthood blessing, and not long after that I understood. The difference here is that I didn’t run to the world and its secular views, or anti-Mormon sources, to get my satisfaction. I didn’t join a support group full of other people who also refuse to turn directly to the Lord for help but are wanting to do things their own way. I went to the Lord. I prayed. I studied. I got a priesthood blessing to help me understand things through the Spirit. It worked.

I love the example that Nephi set when he struggled with the decision his father Lehi made to leave Jerusalem by commandment from the Lord:

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” (1 Nephi 2:16, emphasis added)

Those who will do what Nephi did, with sincerity and humility, will get the same result. Those who look elsewhere because they don’t have the faith to trust the Lord will get their satisfaction elsewhere. That’s a natural result that comes as no surprise.

Someone I know said that ‘a testimony helps people look past the facts.’ I disagree. A testimony doesn’t ‘help us look past facts’, assuming those statements referred to are even facts at all.  A lot of false information is posed as ‘fact’. A real testimony built on diligently seeking the truth for oneself, through study, prayer and obedience to God’s commandments, and then seeing the blessings after the trial of our faith, does allow us to consider issues and information without it having to shake the very foundation of our beliefs. That is part of what I believe Christ referred to when he gave the parable of the sower:

“5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches andpleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:5-15)

Where we are personally on this spectrum is up to us to determine, but if we are questioning our entire faith and abandoning core values over things like women and the priesthood or gay marriage or anthropology, and unable to hold onto spiritual witnesses given to us by God, then we certainly are not ‘those that fell on good ground’ according to this parable. Those that fell on good ground reconciled their concerns the way Nephi did… directly and humbly with the Lord, and not with worldly statistics, secondary literature or outside support groups. Those who follow Nephi’s example are the ones I would say fell on ‘good ground’.

I am hearing of attempts to ‘prove’ the validity of the LDS faith through census statistics, books written by independent authors, scientific evidence of unproven theories, and the like. A spiritual reality such as the existence of God or the truthfulness of the LDS faith cannot be proven through worldly means. It’s a total waste of time, and those who attempt this get further away from it as they get wrapped up in the wisdom of the world. They get further away from believing they can trust God to provide their answers. So they continue to look elsewhere… census data, support groups, or whatever. Instead of going to their Heavenly Father, they look to other sources. And they have their reward… the wisdom of the world instead of Him who created all things. The more they search the world for answers about God and His kingdom without first putting their trust in a divine witness, the weaker they become spiritually.

Spiritual things cannot be understand by worldly pursuit without including God and the witness of the Holy Ghost.


"11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:11-14)

So when we don’t get the answers we want… what do we do? Do we keep looking for what we want? Or do we finally humble ourselves and turn back to the Lord? The latter is apparently very hard to do once a person has traveled the worldly path for a while.

We cannot obtain spiritual knowledge on our own terms. It is always on God’s terms. But that knowledge will come to all who will humble themselves and do things the Lord’s way. I am sure of that. I believe those blessings will come dependably and consistently as we do it His way. It is no different than a scientific experiment. If a nuclear physicist wants to split an atom, he cannot dictate the terms of the experiment and expect success. He cannot say he’ll only accelerate the atom to a certain speed, etc. Likewise, we cannot dictate the terms upon which the Lord reveals spiritual knowledge to us, or blesses us according to our obedience. We’ll be disappointed if we assume such foolishness.

“ 31 Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?
32 I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.
33 Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above.” (D&C 58:31-33)

The ‘Ordain Women’ movement is nothing short of apostasy by those who want God to recreate His divine, eternal governing structure to fit their fleeting liberal feelings. To hear some of these supporters proclaim that they are active, committed LDS members is preposterous.

One of two things must be true here: Either these supporters believe that the women/priesthood issue is a policy created by the church itself, and that it is not of God, and that He is not in charge. Or they believe that they can persuade God to change His eternal structure for the salvation of His children, something that has been working beautifully for eternity.

If they are trying to get God to change his eternal doctrine, may I refer all to the last verse in D&C 22:

Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.” (D&C 22:4)

AMEN!

It is clear that followers of the Ordain Women movement do not accept the Lord’s revealed doctrine as it now exists. They apparently don’t accept the president of the Church as a prophet, seer and revelator, because he’s not revealing to them what they want to hear. They side with an organization that is diametrically opposed to the divine nature and calling of women, not just in the church but in the eternities. Therefore, they have distanced themselves from the influence of the Holy Ghost and from worthiness to enter the temple and receive those additional blessings. Perhaps in their state of being influenced by worldly views, they no longer value the Gift of the Holy Ghost or temple attendance.

Kate Kelly (the organizer behind the Ordain Women movement) is not a martyr because she got excommunicated. She is an apostate. And she’s trying to take others down with her. And sadly, many people who should know better are following her.  She has since expressed her determination to keep up her effort to change the Lord’s eternal system of family and government. Ms. Kelly might be a fine person in all other aspects. But in this context, she is an adversary to the truth of God. Satan is using her to dismantle the faith of some, and to destroy families. The destructive power she is exercising needs to be recognized for what it is.

This is not an issue of the Church being unrighteously oppressive toward women or anyone else. This is an issue of God’s eternal family and government structure, one that has been proven to work since the beginning of His kingdom, and people wanting Him to change it to fit their own philosophies.

Isaiah was right on:

“9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:
10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” (Isaiah 30:9-11)

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was also right on:

“Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.

Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?” (General Conference, April 2014)

When we embrace the liberal philosophies of the world, whether it be about women and the priesthood, or gay marriage, or women wearing pants to church to be equal to men (remember that one?), or all worthy male members of the church receiving the priesthood, we are showing that we care more about those philosophies than pleasing God. We show that we trust the world more than we trust God. In effect, we are choosing another god in place of the One who created us and who is our Father.

Satan can make worldly philosophies appear to be sensible. That is where the Gift of the Holy Ghost is so important. The power of discernment that is part of that gift is critical to our being able to avoid pitfalls like this.

The ‘support’ websites for people who struggle with their faith are not helpful in genuinely returning to the church. Rather, they manufacture even more justifications for dissident views, and a latent further distancing from the influence of the Holy Ghost. They are populated by others who lack the faith to approach God, and the desire and humility to do things His way.  

In the book of First Nephi in the Book of Mormon, when Lehi was taking his family out of Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and going… they didn’t yet know where… Laman and Lemuel rebelled… they whined and sniveled. They questioned their authority figure, their father, who happened to be a prophet of God. They beat up their younger brother (Nephi) who didn’t agree with their rebellion. They even threatened their own parents on the ship if they even verbalized support for Nephi.

But what did Nephi do during this time? He went to the Lord for his answers. He didn’t rebel. He didn’t go find a support group of fellow strugglers who were trying to find a sugar-coated, roundabout way to reconcile instead of doing what they should have and turn directly to their God. He didn’t publicly whine and murmur and criticize. He did it right. He went right to the source. Again I quote:

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” (1 Ne. 2:16)

I remember reading an article right after the 2012 general election entitled “Nine Mormon Women who Voted for Obama.” Before I share my summary of this article, I want to reiterate the Church’s position at election time. They do not support a particular party or candidate. But the Church must, and does, take positions with moral issues, including political issues that are at odds with God’s will for His children. There are good people in all political parties, and some good ideas in all. But modern moral conservatism and modern liberalism blur their boundaries between the parties. It is a usual practice for the Church to send a letter to each ward and branch in the United States to be read at election time, basically reminding the members to do their civic duty and vote for those candidates and propositions/laws that will aid in righteousness and in furthering the Lord’s kingdom on earth. So why were these nine LDS women so proud that they voted against a former church missionary, former stake president, a deeply spiritual man in the Lord’s kingdom, and a proven financial success both in business and in government, who clearly puts family first and has Church principles at his core… and instead voted for someone who clearly opposes financial responsibility, personal accountability, liberty, morality, the sanctity of human life at birth, and the pure rights granted under our God-ordained Constitution? My simple answer is because they followed the ‘wisdom’ of the world rather than God. They believed what they heard in the mainstream media rather than understanding that through the power of the Holy Ghost they could know  the truth of what each candidate stood for and who would be best according to the Lord’s desires for the people of this nation, and particularly members of the LDS church. In short, they demonstrated their spiritual weakness, and they seem to be proud of it. Another example of abandoning a spiritual witness, and instead trusting the world and its wisdom.

President Boyd K. Packer said:
“Enos, who was “struggling in the spirit,” said, “Behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind.” (Enos 1:10; italics added.) While this spiritual communication comes into the mind, it comes more as a feeling, an impression, than simply as a thought. Unless you have experienced it, it is very difficult to describe that delicate process.
The witness is not communicated through the intellect alone, however bright the intellect may be.
“The natural man,” Paul told us, “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.)
Recently the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles issued a statement alerting members of the Church to the dangers of participating in circles which concentrate on doctrine and ordinances and measure them by the intellect alone.
If doctrines and behavior are measured by the intellect alone, the essential spiritual ingredient is missing, and we will be misled.
Personal testimony is confirmed to us initially and is reaffirmed and enlarged thereafter through a harmonious combining of both the intellect and the spirit.” (General Conference, October 1991)

In summary, there is no other way to gain and keep a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with all that goes along with it, without the witness of the Holy Ghost. I believe it is impossible to maintain that testimony without continued exercise of it, by putting the Lord to the test. We need to exercise that faith and see the blessings come. All the wisdom in the world will not convince anyone of the truthfulness of God’s work. But when a person has been through the “refiner’s fire” and has seen the blessings time and again, perhaps hundreds of times, there is a spiritual witness with depth that all the wisdom in the world cannot refute. And there are millions of people in the world who have such depth because of the exercise of their faith, who will not succumb to the absurdity that is at the core of the Ordain Women movement and other satanic attempts to incite apostasy. I wonder what will come next… Satan is clever.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Trayvon Martin Case: A Lesson in Pure Corruption

The Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman incident probably taught us more about corruption in American society than any other in recent history. And I believe that most people are not aware of exactly what corruption I am referring to. Those who listen to the mainstream media are led to think that this case was a miscarriage of justice, that a murderer got away with his crime. But it’s not just the media pushing this belief. It’s the 'leadership' of the black population in general. And it’s our government. (Disclaimer: If you object to my use of the word ‘black’, just get over it. I’m not playing the politically correct term-of-the-day game. That is weak and cowardly. The use of the word ‘black’ wasn’t derogatory before, and it’s not now… blacks use this term to describe themselves, therefore it is OK. Just get over it.)
As one educated as a lawyer and having attended two police academies (one of which I finished at the top of the class), I am trained to consider established facts and available evidence, and to dismiss emotionally-charged opinions, racism and agenda-driven selfish interests. I am trained to see our courts and our legal system as a place where reason and law prevail, and not public opinion or emotion.

The Trayvon Martin case has been more emotionally and racially charged than any other case in my memory.

I will divide the underlying corruption into three parts.

The Media

First, a basic understanding of the media is necessary.

The media does not report facts. They do not report impartial truth. Only the na├»ve actually believe this. We must remember that these mainstream media outlets are businesses, in fierce competition with other media corporations. They must earn a profit. The personalities we see and hear on the television and radio must add to that profit. This is true of all of them, from Katie Couric and Matt Lauer to Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. If they cannot draw the loyal followers, they are replaced with someone else who can. Liberal media outlets appeal to a different crowd than conservative ones. But they have the same struggles: ratings and profit.  Even so-called non-profit media outlets, such as National Public Radio, must appeal to certain groups in order to attract sponsors. They may not sell commercial advertising space, but ratings – and therefore listener appeal – are still of primary importance.

The problem is that truth does not necessarily sell. It doesn’t increase profit or ratings. It does not command premium rates for advertising spots. What sells are those ‘stories’ that appeal to our emotions and selfish interests. That is what people want, and they tune to the media sources that give it to them. These media organizations are corporations with revenue and ratings goals, first and foremost. Let’s not lose sight of that fact.

In other nations, such as North Korea and mainland China, and the former Soviet Union, the media is controlled by the government. Everything that is broadcast is approved and filtered by the government, according to their agenda. Thus, there is no impartial truth there.

Whether the media is commercially run or government-run, whether liberal or conservative, truth and facts are not necessarily on the menu. The organization behind the scenes has an agenda… that determines what gets aired.

Now… what does all of this have to do with the Trayvon Martin case? Simple. Everything.

The media has made no effort to broadcast truth and facts. They have consistently told lies that sell. An honest look at the available facts and evidence of this case would lead any reasonably thinking person to conclude that George Zimmerman did not murder Trayvon Martin. The evidence is overwhelming. It’s not even a close call. But the media has never covered the case based on facts and evidence. They have covered it based on public perception. Why? Because if they defend George Zimmerman based on the evidence and facts, they lose ratings. Big time. They lose millions of black viewers. They lose anti-gun advocates. They lose pretty much anyone who makes their decisions based on emotional impact rather than facts. And unfortunately, that is a large percentage of Americans.

Instead, the media gave people what sells: an innocent, unarmed little black teenage boy needlessly shot and killed by a white racist. The mainstream media outlets did not present any substantial amount of the overwhelming and compelling evidence that proved George Zimmerman’s innocence.

And even after the jury returned a verdict of not guilty based on the very facts and evidence that the media ignored, the media continued to air video of black groups around the nation crying injustice and racism. They had to point out repeatedly that the jury consisted of five whites and only one black… injecting more racism into the mix. They aired Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, telling people about how her son would not go to college and how she would not have grandchildren from him ‘because of a law that allowed [Zimmerman] to go unpunished for his crime.’ None of what she said was true. This was a mother publicly mourning the loss of her son and appealing to emotion instead of facts. I suppose I can’t blame her for that. But does the media care about the truth here? Of course not. Sybrina Fulton's speech sells advertising space. She gets ratings. Damn the truth. Bring on the profits.

What I find particularly disgusting about the mainstream media is how they openly claim to be a credible source of ‘news’, impartial and factual. They are the opposite. The inherent dishonesty and hypocrisy in the mainstream media, especially given their self-proclaimed social mission in society, is repugnant. If our emotionally-charged society sided with truth, virtue and integrity, they would convict the mainstream media of criminal fraud.

The “Court of Public Opinion”

One of the most dangerous trends in the evolution of our legal system is that verdicts are becoming less dependent on facts and evidence, and are based more on public perception and emotional impact. Justice is migrating more toward political correctness and away from truth.

Race is perhaps the biggest influence in the ‘court of public opinion’, often having its roots in cultural defensiveness. Particularly pertaining to the black population, they have struggled mightily for a couple of centuries to feel established and accepted in what used to be considered a white man’s society. It is a fact that for many years, blacks in America were at a disadvantage for several reasons. Those reasons have been largely unfounded, meaning that there were no good reasons for treating them differently than everyone else. To think that blacks do not deserve equal opportunities with whites and others is racist on its face.

Racism against blacks should be extinct by now. Unfortunately, it is kept alive by so-called leaders of the black population, much more so than by whites. If people would have embraced the peaceful ideals of Martin Luther King, there would be equality everywhere for some time now. Instead, we have grandstanders like Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson who continue to incite racism and hatred, because they profit by doing so. If these racist hate-mongers didn't exist, or if people didn't listen to them, there would be peace and harmony among the American people. If they didn’t continue to manufacture societal division for the sake of personal gain, blacks everywhere in this nation would be where Dr. King once dreamed of. Making the problem even worse, the cry of racism is used all too often in order to manipulate others and to exploit our political, legal and economic systems. This is also encouraged by those who don’t truly want equality because it wouldn’t be good for themselves – ie: black ‘advocates’ and many politicians. The media often uses the race card, too, again because it’s popular and brings loyal patronage.

Back to our issue…

Trayvon Martin was a black teen who was shot by a white-Hispanic man. The instant reaction around the nation, and implied by the media, was that this was yet another ‘lynching’ of an innocent black by a white racist. And despite the overwhelming facts and evidence to the contrary, black leaders and media outlets still have not let up on this untruth.

Black citizens nationwide were demanding that George Zimmerman be prosecuted when no evidence against him existed. When Zimmerman was found by the jury to be not-guilty, blacks all around the country went into mourning, crying injustice. “Zimmerman must be guilty because he’s a white man and he murdered an unarmed black teen” seemed to be the consensus. Zimmerman started receiving death threats and the like. People could not trust our justice system to render a verdict based on facts and evidence, when our emotionally-charged feelings didn’t agree with it. To refuse to consider the overwhelming evidence in Zimmerman’s favor (Trayvon Martin had almost no evidence in his favor, despite much of what favored Zimmerman being declared inadmissible), and still condemn him, largely because of the race difference, is racist itself. To refuse to accept our legal system when it worked as it should, simply because it didn’t favor our race, and to threaten the ‘opponent’ after justice was administered, is corruption.

Further, the NAACP has pressured Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to initiate Federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman after his acquittal in the murder trial. They cannot accept that a jury has weighed the evidence and found him innocent of murder. So they look for another angle with which to punish him for what they accuse him of, again without any evidence to support it. The NAACP is racist in this action. They are corrupt in their behavior. They are part of the problem of inciting hatred and racism, not part of any solution.

As long as blacks allow themselves to be led by those who foster hate and racism, there will be division and distrust between the races. As long as racists like Sharpton, Farrakhan, Jackson, the NAACP, and others continue to incite conflict, there will be animosity, racism and violence. As long as the race card is dishonestly played as a toxic, manipulative tactic, whether by individuals, organizations, the media or the government, there will be corruption.

The Government

The state of Florida did not have the evidence necessary to prosecute George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Yet Barack Obama pressured the state of Florida to initiate a prosecution anyway. Why would hedo that?

I have previously described Obama as ‘the father of all vote whores’, because that is what he is. He is the master panderer. He is a racist. He has no personal convictions other than socialism and his Muslim faith (This is not a bash on Muslims. Not at all. Just on Obama’s dishonesty about his faith while claiming to be Christian so as not to alienate himself from voters). Obama will pander to any person or group of persons who will keep him in power. Liberals are a very easy group… just give them anything they want and they will vote for you.

Here, Obama wanted to preserve the loyalty of the black vote just prior to the 2012 election. His statement, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin” was a racist barb to incite anger toward the defendant, George Zimmerman, for a crime he did not commit. It was designed to rally blacks emotionally rather than based on his record.

After the jury in George Zimmerman’s trial, Obama said in a statement, “We are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.” Yet Obama and Eric Holder are considering, again at the urging of the NAACP, to bring Federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, again without evidence. They cannot let the jury’s spoken verdict rest. They have to keep the racism alive because it empowers them. That, my friends, is political corruption… something that permeates the very fiber of Obama’s being.

Further, Eric Holder stated that the 'Stand Your Ground' law, upon which Zimmerman tried to base his defense, should be repealed. That law was upheld a couple of years ago by the Supreme Court as the "Castle Doctrine". But for Holder to say a good law should be repealed simply because the outcome of a racially-charged case (upon which he can personally gain) didn't go his way, is just another indication of power-grabbing corruption in Washington.

Summary

Nearly all the evidence and available facts show that George Zimmerman is not a racist. Yet that is what the media and our government have led people to believe.

Nearly all the evidence and available facts show that Zimmerman was defending himself and honestly believed his life was in imminent danger when he shot Trayvon Martin. Yet that is not what our media showed the nation.

Barack Obama pressured the state of Florida to initiate prosecution proceedings against Zimmerman despite a lack of evidence. Yet he acted like a ‘compassionate leader’ in a time of national tragedy when on camera.

Upon acquittal, blacks around the nation cried out against Zimmerman as ‘one who got away’ rather than respecting the overwhelming facts. This is what the media basically told them. Those who had the facts available concealed them instead of presenting them. Racism was needlessly allowed to boil... because it is profitable to some.

Zimmerman faces death threats because of the inherent racism and concealment of facts in the media.

Obama and Holder, at the urging of the NAACP, are considering Federal civil rights charges to keep the hatred and racism alive despite a lack of evidence.

From every angle, corruption is at the center of this case. From the media’s dishonesty and greed, to racism in society, to pandering for support in government… too many people have a stake in convicting an innocent man for their own personal gain and gratification. I have learned to try to stay away from potential conflict, because when justice and public opinion are at odds, fairness is not on our side.