Wednesday, May 07, 2014

April 2014 General Conference: I Have Given You an Example




Elder Richard G. Scott spoke of the examples he has followed in his life.

"For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."  (John 13:15)

When he was growing up, Elder Scott remembers his grandmother, visiting her grandsons, concerned that the boys not baptized.  She facilitated that event.  Elder Scott benefited from continued support from faithful grandma throughout his formative years. Her example changed the course of his life.

Elder Scott also found motivation for missionary service from girl he was dating at one time.  She said, “When I marry, it will be to a faithful returned missionary in the temple.”

These people and the example they set helped Elder Scott to choose the correct path for his future.  They knew he could do more with God's help than he could on his own.

We love those we want to help.  Giving help through your love can help others find help from God's love.

Our example must be grounded in principle and doctrine in the Gospel. We must understand the Plan of Salvation. To help those we love, we ask them questions that make them think.

The challenge is to help your loved ones to want to obey.  As we seek to strengthen families, it may take a long time, and we must be patient.

As companion to love, trust.

Keep your sharing of the Gospel simple.  The Savior is the perfect pattern for everyone in life.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Gay in the News: Loving My Apple


News reports disparage a Florida man who is claiming that he should be allowed to marry his Apple computer.

The claimant, Chris Sevier filed his complaint in the court hearing same-sex marriage arguments.  According to him,

Recently, I purchased an Apple computer. The computer was sold to me without filters to block out pornography. I was not provided with any warning by Apple that pornography was highly addictive and could alter my reward cycle by the manufacturer. Over time, I began preferring sex with my computer over sex with real women. Naturally, I 'fell in love' with my computer...

Sevier claims that government protection should be extended to "other minority sexual orientation groups" as with homosexual. He equates his thought process to gay couples having "the right to marry their object of sexual desire, even if they lack corresponding sexual parts."



Considered in the context of other rationales being argued to justify homosexual "marriage", such insanity makes perfect sense.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

2014 BYU Women's Conference



More than 11,000 women from around the world were in attendance at the opening session of BYU’s Women’s Conference Thursday morning.  Speakers and classes were on the agenda through the day Thursday and Friday, May 2-3.

Several articles were published in the Church News regarding the conference.  Conference introduction, dealing with mental illness, bloggers sharing the Gospel through social media, counsel from General Women's Auxilliary Presidency, and new approaches to missionary work.

Transcripts will be made available here.

I am disappointed that such LDS women's events do not attract media attention.  12,000 faithful LDS women gather at BYU and nobody takes notice.  A handful of dissidents line up on Temple Square to attend the Priesthood Session even though they knew ahead of time that they would be turned away, and it gets national attention.  I suppose both groups have their reward.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

April 2014 General Conference: Let Your Faith Show


Elder Russel M. Nelson offered counsel regarding our personal faith.  As he was travelling, the plane lighted the "fasten seat belt" warning. Seated near him, a hysterical woman was terrified and agitated by the turbulence they encountered.

Because faith is the antidote for fear, Elder Nelson said, "I wished that I could have strengthened her faith." After arrival, the woman's husband apologized for her.  He said the best reassurance he could offer was, "Elder Nelson is on this flight, so you don't need to worry."

In the challenges to our faith in the modern world, religion is the tie back to God.  Are we securely tied to God or something else?  Where is our faith?  Celebrities can fade.  Faith is always safe in Christ.  We need to let our faith show.

In his career, Elder Nelson faced medical challenges against his religion.  Medical associates asserted that he should not combine his medical practice and his religious faith.  Elder Nelson observed that truth is not divisible.  All truth emanates from God.  All truth is part of the Gospel.

He did not comply with the associates demands.  He let his faith show.

Full freedom cannot be experienced if it is constrained by men.  We experience problems as a result of putting priorities ahead of God. Danger lurks when we try to divide ourselves with expressions such as “my private life” or even “my best behavior.”

Evil, error, and darkness will never be truth, even if popular. A scriptural warning so declares: 
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.
Public opinion polls are informative, but cannot be grounds for violating God's commands, even if popular.  Notwithstanding the wisdom of the popular WWII song, 50 million Frenchmen CAN be wrong.

In 1986, President Thomas S. Monson said:
Of course we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. … Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with [faith] have courage as well.
Increase your faith, proclaim your faith, let your faith show!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

LDS Church Missionary Funds


The 1990 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Davis v. United States (110 S.Ct. 2014 [U.S. 1990]) is relevant to this issue, and it resulted directly in a change in Church policy.


Although it was apparently not challenged prior to this, in an income-tax refund suit brought by parents of two former missionaries, the Supreme Court held that funds sent directly to LDS missionaries for their support were not deductible as a charitable contribution and could not be listed as a charitable deduction on their tax return. To qualify as a charitable deduction, IRS rules now stipulate that the funds be given to the Church itself or else donated through a trust or other legally enforceable arrangement, for the benefit of the Church.


Prior to this ruling, general practice was for those supporting individual missionaries to send funds to them directly.  Following this court ruling, the policy of the Church was modified.  When I served as a Church missionary in 1973, my parents mailed me a monthly check for my living expenses.  I never got the impression that qualifying for tax exemptions was ever an issue for my parents.

Since 1990, the Church policy regarding missionary funds is that donations are tendered as a voluntary general gift given to benefit the Church.  Missionary Fund donations are made through the same channel as any other donation to the Church, using the provided donation form in the member's individual ward.


Missionary funding is handled through two different channels, but it has the same effect.  At the ward level, there is a financial category designated as "Ward Missionary Fund", which the bishop of the ward can make disbursements from at his discretion, but the money is still held in trust at Salt Lake.  At the general Church level, the General Missionary Fund serves the same purpose, but the trust is administered by the Missionary Department for disbursement.  Either way, the missionary receives funds disbursed from the Church, from Salt Lake City, not from individual donors.


This satisfies the IRS requirements for charitable donations, and allows the Church missionary program to continue.

President Thomas S. Monson counseled in the October 2013 General Conference,
To help maintain our ever-increasing missionary force, I have asked our members in the past to contribute, as they are able, to their ward missionary fund or to the General Missionary Fund of the Church. The response to that request has been gratifying and has helped support thousands of missionaries whose circumstances do not allow them to support themselves. I thank you for your generous contributions. The need for help is ongoing, that we might continue to assist those whose desire to serve is great but who do not, by themselves, have the means to do so.  (Thomas S. Monson)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Anti-GMO Pseudo-science



In the midst of raging GMO debate, I keep wondering, why should I believe that it represents corporate interests to poison their customers?



Does anyone really suppose that Monsanto has a secret conspiratorial agenda and a host of mad scientists laboring to invent plants that kill people, and honestly thought they could keep it all a secret?

There seem to be few who can even conduct a rational discussion of relevant facts.  One admirable and interesting effort to bring the two sides together is being staged at a UCB class, reviewed in this article.



Of course, that nefarious and frightening mad scientist by the name of Norman Borlaug is behind the whole conspiracy.  Without him and his successors, most of the world would be literally starving today.

You never heard of him, you say?  How wonderfully successful the secret conspiracy has been!

In April 2014, the State of Vermont legislated requirements for GMO product labelling, after California voters rejected the Prop 37 initiative in 2012.  Now if those Vermonters can just settle on what constitutes "GMO"...

More Scarey Bundy Hype




Another example of media distortion from the New York Times.  Regarding the revealing of supposed "racism" from rancher/philosopher Cliven Bundy.  As it turns out, the Times own revision of the "evidence" was presented through carefully edited video comments from Bundy.  The original uncut video shows how it was modified for the NY Times to use.

Difficult to unravel the lies and false premise from layers of revisionism. Although I find no general justification for trading in human lives, I had the impression that black slavery has been a common practice between warring tribes in Africa as a convenient way to dispose of enemy prisoners. Apparently economic demand from other countries just made it more profitable.

There are existing records which seem to indicate that American slaves, at least some of them, were far better off than their African counterparts. I have met and worked with black families whose ancestors were American colonial slaves. They had chosen to be adopted into the slave owners family, took the same last name, and were treated like every other family member. This family group owned and operated a ranching cooperative, shared the work, and the profits. They did not depend on the welfare state.

While I have no reason to insist that happy coexistence may have been representative, it provides some evidence that black slavery in America was probably not the unrelenting hellish nightmare some would have us believe.  Bundy's real crime - he was naive enough to believe that he could speak the truth without apologizing.

Defending these ideas is not popular these days. Everyone is more anxious to establish their own victim's posture. But it seems problematic to counteract supposed lies with lies of your own.


Apparently colonial slavery was not limited to Africans. Slavery at that time was equal-opportunity indenture.


One of many interesting comments about this issue.

Bundy's idea was hardly original.  Stated by others...

Welfare has been worse than slavery. (E.W. Jackson)
The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family.  (Walter Williams)
Bill Cosby has long been an outspoken critic of the nanny state.

Ben Carson has stated:
  • Charities better at providing for needy than the government. (Mar 2013)
  • Those who don't want to work? They are on their own. (Jan 2012)
  • Government entitlements compete with private-sector charity. (Jan 2012)
  • Eradicate poverty by providing education and requiring work. (Jan 2012)
Don't people ever grow weary of hearing everyone identified as "racist"?  These men cannot be considered "racists" for making such observations.



Gay in the News: Parents Impose Transgender on Child



How can a child make an informed choice about "gender identity"?  Apparently, some parents believe they can do it for him.  There is no question that such personal confusion is sometimes manifested from an early age.  But for the parents to commit to such a resort without any other basis does not represent love, it is simply projection.

The report says,

Amazingly, Keat (formerly Keaton) Rhodes, a 9-year-old boy from Ohio has “identified” himself as a girl since the very young age of just 4. The boy’s adoptive parents, Emily and Clint LeVan, claim that their child has already begun his gender transformation.

In several states a physician would be violating the law to even suggest that there are remedial approaches for treating gender disorders.  But apparently what that means is that instead they are obligated to encourage and facilitate transgender fantasies parents project on their children.  In more traditional medical practice, such a problem is commonly known as "M√ľnchausen syndrome by proxy".  Perhaps it would be more appropriate had the parents submitted themselves for "trangender" process.

From the Wikipedia entry for "MSbP":
The primary distinguishing feature that differentiates MSbP from "typical" physical child abuse is the degree of premeditation involved. Whereas most physical abuse entails lashing out at a child in response to some behavior (e.g. crying, bedwetting, spilling food), assaults on the MSbP victim tend to be unprovoked and planned.
Also unique to this form of abuse is the role that health care providers play by actively, albeit unintentionally, enabling the abuse. By reacting to the concerns and demands of perpetrators, medical professionals are manipulated into a partnership of child maltreatment.  Challenging cases that defy simple medical explanations may prompt health care providers to pursue unusual or rare diagnoses, thus allocating even more time to the child and the abuser. Even without prompting, medical professionals may be easily seduced into prescribing diagnostic tests and therapies that are at best uncomfortable and costly, and at worst potentially injurious to the child.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 2014 General Conference: A Priceless Heritage of Hope



President Eyring addressed his remarks to those who have chosen to return to placing the covenants they have made with God back in the center of their lives.

When you are on the path to eternal life, you leave an inheritance of hope to those who follow.  These are family bonds that continue forever.

He referred to the example of Heinrich Eyring, a faithful ancestor.  “I name this in my history that my children may imitate my example and never neglect this … important duty [to assemble] with the Saints.”

For all of us, as they were for Heinrich, our duties are sometimes simple but are often difficult.  But remember, the duties must sometimes be difficult because their purpose is to move us along the path to live forever with Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in families.

And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever. (Abraham 3:24-26)

Keeping our second estate depends on our making covenants with God.

The blessings of Atonement bring us universal inheritance from Jesus Christ.

Parents sorrow over children who have chosen to break their covenants.  But there are miraculous examples from the scriptures to give hope, even when they resist his invitation.  Every parent shares in the desire for righteousness for their children.
God makes it attractive to choose the right by letting us feel the effects of our choices. If we choose the right, we will find happiness—in time. If we choose evil, there comes sorrow and regret—in time.  Those effects are sure.  Yet they are often delayed for a purpose.

We take both the short and the long view as we try to give the inheritance of hope to our family. In the short run, there will be troubles and Satan will roar. And there are things to wait for patiently, in faith, knowing that the Lord acts in His own time and in His own way.

They will remember.  Memories may bring them back.

We rely on faith, hope, and charity to guide us as we look at the long view.

Church leaders share a spirit of optimism - "Oh, things will work out".


Gay in the News: Lesbian Trio is Expecting


In contemporary terminology, the newly coined term is "throuple".

This gang proudly announced the production of offspring in the news media.  Not that lesbians are capable of conceiving without some outside assistance.  The father was reportedly just an "anonymous" sperm donor.

Though the proud parents undoubtedly plan to raise a happy child, this event begs the question of what rights should be afforded to biological parents, "anonymous" or not.  And what kind of rights are afforded to otherwise helpless children.

When the mother of a child leaves leaves maternity care, she has a reasonable expectation to go home with her biological child, not a random choice selected by the nurse.  Is this not a proprietary choice that should be afforded equally to the biological father, to associate with a his own offspring?

When a child is born, does he have a reasonable expectation to association with the natural biological parents? If the parents do not respect such rights, does the state have a reasonable responsibility to do so?