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…

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.

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.