Thursday, November 26, 2015

State of Utah Practices Institutional Discrimination against Handicapped

The State of Utah routinely discriminates against drivers with disabilities by subjecting them to unnecessary road tests and medical exams, and imposing arbitrary restrictions on their driving.

The Utah Drivers License Division applies its Medical Evaluation Program – meant to identify drivers with medical problems that might cause them to crash – to punish drivers who are capable and safe, but have a physical disability. The practice is based on stereotypes about people with disabilities, and it serves as a punitive imposition on those drivers, who must spend extra time and money proving they don’t pose a risk.
Presumed guilt unless and until they can prove innocence to the satisfaction of the State of Utah.

The State of Utah Drivers License Division presumes to interpret every possible evidence by their own privately held and arbitrary set of special rules. The propriety of their management of such concerns is not in question. The problem is a presumptive overreach that extends far beyond any reasonable measures. Such abusive bullying is clearly a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

Obviously, disabled people over the years have endured being subjected to this institutional prejudicial discriminatory attitude. Though the State treats them capriciously, and bullies them into fearful submission, almost all fear to complain, as the State routinely threatens to restrict or revoke their licenses in reprisal.

The State commonly cites medical conditions affecting a person’s ability to drive as the cause of automobile accidents. But there is no evidence to substantiate the claim that drivers with orthopedic impairments, or who use adaptive hand controls, present any increased accident risk.

The State of Utah mandates that health care providers report when patients in their care are treated for any of the health conditions iterated on their list of politically-incorrect conditions. Once a driver is forced into the Drivers License “medical review” program, he or she remains there forever, without hope of reprieve. While in the program, drivers are routinely required to undergo special medical testing, and forced to provide documentation from doctors and therapists disclosing personal medical information that is otherwise supposed to be protected from such government prying. Handicapped people are routinely subject to a set of totally arbitrary special restrictions placed on their licenses. The State is not required to justify or substantiate, and generally gives the impression that there is no possible appeal from their permanent punitive measures.

Among the unjustified restrictions imposed against me personally by the State:
  • Limit maximum operating speed to roads with speed limit of 40 mph or less
  • Distance from home I am permitted to travel must be within a radius of 15 miles
  • Restricted to daytime driving
  • Prohibited from travel on freeways and interstates
  • Prohibited from travel in areas with higher speed limits
  • Restricted to operation of my own vehicles only when accompanied by a fully licensed “normal” driver
The State of Utah has already revoked my driving license, so there is really nothing they can do to impose further additional punitive measures or implement additional arbitrary restrictions. They have to be satisfied with fabricating results from the “driving test” that fail to qualify for their standard of drivers license renewal. I suspect they enjoy the feeling of smug moral superiority that derives from such abuse of the public trust.

A good place to address this problem would be to put a stop to the routine discrimination against drivers with disabilities based wholly on speculation, stereotypes and generalizations. The State of Utah is not entitled to act based on their suspicion that a particular driver MIGHT be dangerous. Either I am, or I am not. Prove it.

Since the State of Utah Drivers License Division has demonstrated an ingrained, institutional predisposition to such behavior, it would be fair and appropriate for their records to be regularly subjected to routine audit by an outside independent and objective auditing agent. This auditing must needs be conducted at random intervals selected by the auditor and unannounced to the management, so that the Drivers License Division is unable to easily falsify or sequester appropriate documentation.

It might also be effective for the State to intervene with at least temporary qualified independent management oversight, since the abuse of public trust is apparently found through all levels of this bureaucratic institution. These discriminatory practices are obviously not the fault of any one particular individual, although I have met certain people who exhibit the greatest enthusiasm for pursuing the job of punishing handicapped people. Perhaps some of them fully believe that they are just doing their duty. And that is probably the most unfortunate aspect of all these problems.

The State of Utah publishes an elaborate and comprehensive summary showing numerous charts and statistics regarding all motor vehicle accidents.  There are no graphics or statistics to substantiate the prejudice against handicapped drivers, though there are other circumstances which are clearly related to the incidence of traffic accidents.  Nearly any observer could look at one of the first graphics presented in this publication and easily see that older drivers are the safest and best drivers on the road today.  I suspect the incidence of handicapped driver-caused accidents is so small it is not worthy of note in this overbloated "summary" publication of over 100 pages.

Apparently they don't really bother to read their own reports.

Overall, a general attitude seems to prevail in  the State of Utah Drivers License Division that is so aptly and succinctly characterized by one of their recent public service ad campaigns.

In my case there is an implied comma after the injunction.  They seem to be saying, we automatically assume a priori that the people we work for are stupid, and treat them accordingly.  The contemptuous and parochial posturing apparently informs this attitude and the institutional policy that formalizes it.

Apostasy Defined

For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? (Alma 5:59).

President Faust's frank discussion clearly defines the boundaries of apostate behavior.  There are no ambiguities.  This is not "secret information".

Free discussion and expression are encouraged in the Church. Certainly the open expressions in most fast and testimony meetings, or Sunday School, Relief Society, and priesthood meetings attest to that principle. However, the privilege of free expression should operate within limits...

Though this address was presented many years ago, in the October 1993 General Conference, in light of current events, it becomes even more appropriate as a voice of warning today.

Those men and women who persist in publicly challenging basic doctrines, practices, and establishment of the Church sever themselves from the Spirit of the Lord and forfeit their right to place and influence in the Church...

Whether or not a dissident member is subject to formal discipline by local Church authorities, it is a foregone conclusion that they have already effectively left the Church.  Many of the outspoken dissidents are indignant to find themselves caught in this compromising posture.  It is popular for them to then detail their grievous treatment at the hands of Church members, invariably identifying Church leaders or members as the source of their sorrows.   
There is a certain arrogance in thinking that any of us may be more spiritually intelligent, more learned, or more righteous than the Councils called to preside over us. Those Councils are more in tune with the Lord than any individual persons they preside over, and the individual members of the Councils are generally guided by those Councils...
In our desire to be broad-minded, to be accepted, to be liked and admired, let us not trifle with the doctrines and the covenants which have been revealed to us, nor with the pronouncements of those who have been given the keys of the kingdom of God on earth. For all of us, the words of Joshua ring with increasing relevance. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).  (Keeping Covenants and Honoring the Priesthood).

I am not suggesting to anyone that I feel it appropriate for me to presume to challenge them, or question their worthiness.  I myself am often surprised to find myself skirting the bounds of propriety. My object of pursuit is self-improvement, not intended as critical analysis reflecting on others.  As an imperfect and aspiring disciple of Jesus Christ, striving to keep Heavenly Father's commandments, I take these as opportunities to repent and try to do better.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Acts: The Martyrdom of Stephen

Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

They Have Their Reward

Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should follow popular societal trends; but take heed that ye do not your protests and resignation parties before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.
Therefore, when ye shall do your resignation celebrations do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the beer halls and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Choose You This Day

Choice about serving the Lord  is a simple binary decision.

Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.  (2 Nephi 10:16)

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 
And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;  (Joshua 24:15-16)

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)

If we are interested in the gospel in the least degree, we should live it wholeheartedly. There is no point in deceiving ourselves and becoming victims of our own indiscretion. It is a fact so simple that even a child may understand—that if we are to be saved in the kingdom of heaven, we must live its laws honestly, completely, and wholeheartedly. To be halfhearted about it is repugnant to the Lord. He has said to the lukewarm that he will spew them from his mouth! (Honesty, a Principle of Salvation)

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Days of Our Probation

Heavenly Father will see us safely through, if we keep the commandments
But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.  (Helaman 13:32-38)

And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened.  (Matthew 24:20)

God’s commandments are not given to frustrate us or to become obstacles to our happiness. Just the opposite is true. He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible. He has provided us with guidelines which, if we follow them, will see us safely through this often treacherous mortal journey.  (Keep the Commandments)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ferdinand Cobabe Family Immigration 1830-1880


Copenhagen Denmark
Sometime around 1850-1860, Ferdinand Frederick Ludwick Cobabe moved his family from the ancestral home in Malchow Prussia to Copenhagen Denmark.  Ferdinand was born in 1828 in Malchow  (German pronunciation: [ˈmalço])  a municipality in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district, in Mecklenburg-Western PomeraniaGermany.

I'm not certain how or why he travelled to Denmark.  It is possible to either cross through Hamburg and north, past Kiel, and into Denmark, or he may have crossed the Baltic in a ship or ferry.

Ferdinand raised his family for some years in Copenhagen Denmark until he came in contact with missionaries. apparently some time around 1860.  At some point in between 1828-1860, Ferdinand Cobabe moved from Malchow to Copenhagen. He was baptized 12 Oct 1862, and in 1864 the Ferdinand Cobabe family sailed to America with a company of Scandinavian converts on the sailing ship "Monarch of the Sea".

The infant daugther Caroline died en route to New York.

I note that the ships manifest for "Monarch of the Sea" lists "Ferdinand Cobabe        36     m   Weaver     Denmark".    If I recall correctly, the German language census that shows Ferdinand Cobabe residing in Malchow lists his occupation as "Tuchmacher" which translates a bit too literally into something like "Towel Maker".

Apparently the ships manifest indicates Ferdinand Cobabe's own declaration of his occupation, so it would seem that at least in his thinking, "Weaver" and "Towel Maker" are closely related, maybe even one and the same basic idea.

From a discussion of origins of Danish textile industries, primarily in and around Copenhagen...

The words dugmager and tøjmager can be confusing, since Dug and Tøj are both derivations from the German word Tuch, which originally had the broad meaning of tool, equipment or clothing.  In German, the combination Tuchmacher has the specific meaning of clothmaker, which has been transferred to Danish as Dugmager, designating a person who is producing fulled fabrics from wool. The word Tøj is also a derivation from Tuch, which originally had the same broad meaning (e.g. equipment), but has acquired the more specific meaning of clothing. Thus, Tøjmager means a weaver who is producing light, non-fulled fabrics from wool, flax or (later) cotton.
In the 1850s time frame, areas outlying Copenhagen became part of a growth industry mass producing textiles.

Presumably this new development was what attracted FF Cobabe there.  Prior to that time, generations of Cobabe ancestors in the area of Malchow, Prussia, were involved in the artisan trade of "Tuchmacher", working with raw wool in a process to create fabrics.  Up until that time, cotton fiber was not known, since cotton is a native American plant.  Everything fabric was either woven from wool or from flax fiber which was the basis for linen.  After this time the American Colonists began producing and exporting cotton.

Copenhagen Watermill
The location around Copenhagen became popular in the 1850's because there was abundant watermill power available to automate cloth-making production.

Fabric fulling involves two processes, scouring and milling (thickening). Originally, fulling was carried out by pounding the woollen cloth with the fuller's feet, or hands, or a club.
These processes are followed by stretching the cloth on great frames known as tenters, to which it is attached by tenterhooks. It is from this process that the phrase "being on tenterhooks" is derived, as meaning to be held in suspense. The area where the tenters were erected was known as a tenterground. 
The second function of fulling was to thicken cloth by matting the fibres together to give it strength and increase waterproofing (felting). This was vital in the case of woollens, made from carding wool, but not for worsted materials made from combing wool. After this stage, water was used to rinse out the foul-smelling liquor used during cleansing.
Felting of wool occurs upon hammering or other mechanical agitation because the microscopic barbs on the surface of wool fibres hook together, somewhat like Velcro. 
From the medieval period, the fulling of cloth often was undertaken in a water mill, known as a fulling mill, a walk mill, or a tuck mill.  In these, the cloth was beaten with wooden hammers, known as fulling stocks or fulling hammers. Fulling stocks were of two kinds, falling stocks (operating vertically) that were used only for scouring, and driving or hanging stocks. In both cases the machinery was operated by cams on the shaft of a waterwheel or on a tappet wheel, which lifted the hammer. 
Driving stocks were pivoted so that the foot (the head of the hammer) struck the cloth almost horizontally. The stock had a tub holding the liquor and cloth. This was somewhat rounded on the side away from the hammer, so that the cloth gradually turned, ensuring that all parts of it were milled evenly. However, the cloth was taken out about every two hours to undo plaits and wrinkles. The 'foot' was approximately triangular in shape, with notches to assist the turning of the cloth.

I'm sure this is more about nineteenth century cloth making than anyone cares to know.  But I found it interesting to learn a bit about what my ancestors did.

In any case, Ferdinand did not pursue his trade of clothmaker after the family arrived in the US.

Maybe people just didn't use towels in Ogden Utah during those times.

Interesting to conjecture.

The company of 974 Saints sailed from Liverpool on 28 April 1864.  Elder John Smith, patriarch to the church, was in charge of the emigrants.  His counsellors were Elders John D. Chase, Johan P. R. Johansen, and Parley P. Pratt.  Jr. Master of the packet was Captain Robert Kirkaldy.

This company also represented many nations, particularly Scandinavia. Although the voyage of thirty-six days was quite pleasant, the death toll was unusually high -- forty-five according to George Q. Cannon and forty-one according to the passenger list. Most of those were apparently children who died in a ship-board measles outbreak. The ship arrived at New York on 3 June.

Sailing Ship-Monarch of the Sea

Liverpool, England to New York  3 June 1864


Excerpt from the list of all the passengers taken on board the Ship Monarch of the Sea where Kirkaldy is Master, from Liverpool, burthen 1979 tons.

168 Ferdinand Cobabe 36 m Weaver Denmark
169 Ane Christine Cobabe 34 f Denmark
170 Ferdinand Cobabe 4 m Denmark
171 Caroline C. Cobabe 3 f Denmark died May 28th
172 Anne M. Cobabe 2 f Denmark

It would appear that the young daughter of Ferdinand Frederick Ludwick Cobabe, Caroline C. Cobabe, probably died in a measles outbreak that spread through the more than 900 passengers of the ship "Monarch of the Sea".

Castle Garden

In the morning of June 3rd the 'Monarch of the Sea' arrived at New York.  Landing of the emigrants at the Castle Garden at once took place.  Castle Garden, today known as Castle Clinton National Monument, is the major landmark within The Battery, the 25 acre waterfront park at the tip of Manhattan.  From 1855 to 1890, the Castle was America's first official immigration center, a pioneering collaboration of New York State and New York City.

In the evening they boarded a steamer for Albany, New York, and from there they travelled by train to St. Joseph, Missouri, then by steamer up the Missouri River to Wyoming, Nebraska.   From there, most of the Scandinavian Saints were taken to the Salt Lake Valley by Church teams, of which 170 were sent out by the Church that season. Thus about four hundred Scandinavian emigrating Saints crossed the plains in Captain William B. Preston's company of about 50 Church teams, that left Wyoming, Nebraska, in the beginning of June, and arrived in Salt Lake City, Sept. 15, 1864.

The journal of Charles C. Bihler chronicles personal experiences during the travels of the Scandanavian Company across the plains and mountains.

I'm not sure how the Cobabe family ended up in Ogden, but eventually they did.

It's clear from historical accounts that the family traveled from New York to Nebraska by the means of modern transportation systems - steamship and trains.  When they arrived in Nebraska the Scandinavian group joined one of the immigrant covered wagon trains, and the Cobabe family traveled the rest of the way to Salt Lake City with one of the immigrant companies.

The 1864 journal account of Nils C. Flygare probably describes the same immigration route taken by Ferdinand Cobabe and family to reach Salt Lake.

Most of the pioneer immigrants crossed over to Salt Lake from Nebraska in wagon trains and handcart companies that had a well kept roster of names of all those in the company.  The Mormon immigrant companies were typically named after the Captain of the company who led them.   A Church web site on immigrants lists Ferdinand and family as members of the William B. Preston company of 1864.

Some of the immigrants who flooded in to the Winter Quarters area seem to have stayed in that neighborhood for quite some time.  I could not find any immigrant journal records or notes that chronicle the specific details of the Cobabe family journey, so I don't know exactly what may have taken place in that part of their travels.  Maybe they kept their distance when they camped, perhaps they just got tired of hanging around with all the Danish and Swedish guys, after a decade or so of living with them in Denmark.

Most of the Scandinavian immigrants seem to have settled in Sanpete County.  Maybe Ferdinand was tired of living with Danes, and just headed in the opposite direction.  If anyone has other ideas it would be fun to hear.

Then, a big surprise...

After he settled in Ogden, it appears that Ferdinand Frederick Ludwick Cobabe established himself as a "Saloon Keeper".  The 1880 Census lists F F and his household with this occupation.  I was indeed surprised to learn this, but it was also confirmed by several articles published in newspapers of the time.  I have no idea what was the preferred beverage in his establishment, but I suspect they didn't serve much lemonade.

The census further surprised me with the information that his household also included two wives, something I had not realized.

Trying to get some feeling for time and place, I looked more closely at the information for these two women.

Anna was born in 1830, and Caroline in 1831, so they were near the same age.

The first wife, Anna Frederika Dorthea Ochs, is identified as originating in Lütjenburg ("Lutzinburg" in FamilySearch records), Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, about 20 miles east of Kiel in Germany, right on the road to Denmark.


Lütjenburg is more than 100 miles northeast from Malchow, so it seems difficult to imagine exactly how the two met.  Ferdinand and Anna were married on 17 Mar 1854.  Ferdinand was 26 and Anna was 24.  Anna was baptized into the Church on the same day as Ferdinand, 12 Oct 1862, so they met some time prior to converting to the Mormon Church.

The other woman, Caroline Juliette Christensen, declares her origin to the census as Copenhagen Denmark, and her parents show in Family Search as Danish as well.   Caroline was baptized into the Church 22 Apr 1858, so presumably some time before she met Ferdinand.  Caroline and Ferdinand were married on 17 Mar 1866, the same day on record as when Ferdinand and Anna were sealed in the Endowment House, a few years after his joining the Church in 1862.  Ferdinand was then 38 and Caroline was 35.

Also interesting to note that the indexing of the 1880 Census pages with his household incorrectly tranliterated Cobabe into "Cobage" in the process.  Apparently the glasses of their Urim and Thummim were a bit smeared that day.

Ferdinand Frederick Ludwick Cobabe apparently became active in the Ogden Volunteer Fire Department during the 1865-1880 years.  I found several newspaper articles that mention his name, in the archived Ogden Herald-Examiner.  He is identified as the Secretary for the Fire Department, and though I found no evidence mentioning his part in putting out a single fire, it does seem to indicate that he was active in organizing an calling for occasional Fire Department Brass Band practices.

If you or anyone else finds some use for this stuff, go for it. Please.  It's all collected from public sources.  :)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Raising a Standard of Our Own

The classic Book of Mormon icon, Captain Moroni raises the Title of Liberty to rally his followers.

In the October 2015 General Conference, President Monson delivered two messages.  Unless we read in context, at least superficially some of his counsel seems contradictory.  At the Priesthood Session, President Monson counselled in his address "Keep the Commandments"...
The Apostle Paul lists six attributes of a believer, attributes that will allow our lights to shine. Let us look at each one...
I mention the first two attributes together—being an example in word and in conversation. The words we use can lift and inspire, or they can harm and demean.
But then a stern warning...
We read in 1 Corinthians: “There are … so many kinds of voices in the world.”  We are surrounded by persuasive voices, beguiling voices, belittling voices, sophisticated voices, and confusing voices. I might add that these are LOUD voices.
I admonish you to turn the volume down and to be influenced instead by that still, small voice which will guide you to safety.
Disregard for the commandments has opened the way for what I consider to be the plagues of our day. They include the plague of permissiveness, the plague of pornography, the plague of drugs, the plague of immorality, and the plague of abortion, to name just a few. The scriptures tell us that the adversary is “the founder of all these things.”  We know that he is “the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men.”

The emphasis in his comments was that instead of heeding the noise of many different loud voices, we must heed the still small voice, promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Then in his opening address on Sunday, his counsel...
Let us speak to others with love and respect, ever keeping our language clean and avoiding words or comments that would wound or offend. May we follow the example of the Savior, who spoke with tolerance and kindness throughout His ministry.
The apparent contradiction comes with the worldly definition for "comments that would wound or offend".  Many of the sources of the LOUD voices take occasion to be "offended" by almost every word we might say.  They claim to be "wounded" by any mention of the doctrines of Christ.

President Monson cites Jesus Christ as the example of the example of tolerance and kindness, but even Jesus spoke harsh criticisms of those who merited strong criticism.

He did not shrink from harsh condemnation of those who deserved it.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?  (Matthew 23:14-17)
President Monson certainly understands the intent and message of these scriptures, so his counsel is fully intended to be interpreted from that context.

We need to continue to promote standards of our own, not compromise our values to speak kindly to soften our words in behalf of those who merit more severe criticism.  It is not a kindness to withhold appropriate sternness from those who try to advocate compromising the commandments of God.  It is not loving to fail to warn those who sin and embrace evil, bringing sorrow and ruin along with them, into the lives of everyone who is touched by their influence.

President Monson's example sets the standard for this.  He does not tone down his rhetoric out of concern that it might possibly offend the LOUD voices.  The guilty will always use the "he offends me" complaint.  They would likely feign offense and bleeding hearts even if he said nothing at all.

Instead, while condemning the sources of evil and ill will with no equivocation, he refrains from employing extra derogatory or hyperbolic characterizations.  Right is right, wrong is wrong, good is good, and evil is evil - it requires no further elaboration or nuance.

An example of making our own voices understood against the competing background was expressed in the April 2015 General Conference by Elder L. Tom Perry...
We want our voice to be heard against all of the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established.
On the following Wednesday, the Salt Lake Tribune published a reaction from a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, advocating to promote homosexual behavior, expressing "deep disappointment" in Perry's comments, which it believes "disparage LGBT families and children as 'counterfeit.' "

HRC asserts families which promote homosexual lifestyles "are not counterfeit — they are real and beautiful.  We encourage Mr. Perry and his fellow apostles to embrace the diversity that already exists within their own church, and reject the language and practice of intolerance."

This is exactly what President Monson refers to as "the plague of permissiveness" and "the plague of immorality."

Then there was a more recent incident of an group of atheists demanding that teaching of LDS Institute Classes at the University of Utah must be stopped, claiming that it is a violation of the Constitutional Establishment Clause.  More belittling and confusing voices.

In the words of the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah,
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.  (Isaiah 5:20)
The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.  (Isaiah 29:19-21)
When dissidents and detractors insist that Prophets who speak for God must restrain themselves from speaking offensive words which contradict their own LOUD voices, they are living by the popular standard Isaiah described so long ago.

Our Prophet of today, President Monson, in his two General Conference addresses, sets the example for us all.  Keep the commandments, and be an example and a light.  Not that any softening of God's commandments or any less condemnation of sin is warranted.

FairMormon Blog: Some Mistaken Claims

A nicely written article at FairMormon Blog discusses mistaken claims made by those critical about Handbook 1 revisions.

The author's conclusion...
It is understandable that good and faithful people may have questions about how this new policy will be administered. We encourage any with questions to study the scriptures, reflect  upon what apostles and prophets have to say on the matter,  ponder and pray, exercise patience, and look deeper than the slogans, memes, and sound-bites.
Throughout the so-called "Bloggernacle" are very few examples of discussion defending the Church of Church leaders.  The comments tend to be decidedly negative and critical.

Of all the blogs participating there, the FairMormon Blog is one of the best to follow.  I also am usually uplifted by posts at the Millenial Star blog.  Most of the others are simply not worth reading any more.  I occasionally waste my time searching for anything lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy.  I seldom find anything that qualifies any more.

It is interesting to note that Bloggernacle coverage of addresses given at the recent General Conference garnered little interest and few comments.  Few threads lasted much beyond the closing prayer.  By comparison, gripes about the Handbook 1 revisions have reverberated through the "Bloggernacle" unabated since the instant the administrative revisons were leaked for public criticism weeks ago.  In spite of the fact that administrative policy is not properly the concern of the general body of the Church, the continuing stress and criticism shows no sign of easing.

I am surprised every time to learn how faithless and fickle public opinion can be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Loving and Inclusive (Patents Pending)

I am laughing about the more-than-usual degree of posturing hand-wringing currently going on amongst "liberal Mormons" who now seem to be faced with the decision of whether or not to jump ship and join the other apostates as formal "ex-mo", who leave the Church, but can't leave the Church alone.  This question has been cause célèbre in the so-called "Bloggernacle" for quite some time.  John Dehlin was apparently their heroic advocate since around 2010, until he was recently excommunicated. I wasn't giving the incident a lot of notice, but since it was aired in public to all the news media, it would have been hard to miss.  The "Bloggernacle" also doted on Kate Kelly and several others who continue a pitched public and legal battle against the Church, but no longer as members.  Dehlin proudly claims credit for disclosing the intended updates to Handbook 1, purportedly passed under the table by some confederate mole inside the Church Office Building. (The do-gooders who wear their bleeding hearts on their sleeve generally seem to easily overlook this kind of duplicity.)  They insist that the Church should be more loving and inclusive.  (By some ironic twist of random fate, I seem to be excommunicated from commenting in such "loving and inclusive" forums.  Saves me a lot of time.)

There is no question that my take on this popular phenomenon is twisted and wrong. I should be properly sympathetic and tearful, and put my arms around the simpering and snivelling displayed by many who take offense about those nasty mean Church rules.  As far as I can tell, most of these are useful idiots being manipulated to serve the agenda of those whose interest is to tear down the Church.  I have been informed by any number of people that I am all at once "pathetic" and "compassionless", or that I am just too critical and intolerant of the views of others.  I'm sure they all have good cause for their  ad-hominem disparaging, though I seldom see anything specifically iterated beyond reference to my general creepiness.  I guess that will serve as sufficient basis for the "loving and inclusive" to transform rather quickly into spiteful and exclusive.

One particularly entertaining and trite example...

One of the many swimmers in the "sea of sameness" of "Bloggernacle" bloggers, for some unfathomable reason, at one time "befriended" me on Facebook.  After a recent disagreeable exchange of comments on her blog, she now asserts that she later "unfriended" me because I tend to be rude and disagreeable.  I vaguely recall that the actual occasion of "unfriendliness" had something more to do with her condescending rejection of my absurd assertion that an LDS Chapel is an acceptable venue for a wedding reception post-Temple sealing.  Apparently not so for any of her precious daughters, who needed a more appropriate and less tawdry social setting.  Anyway, now she testifies assiduously (in her most loving and inclusive manner) what an evil and unpleasant person I am.  Ejected from the choice inner circle of this blogger, among so many others, I am almost beside myself in despair.  Feeling particularly despondent and unloved.  But alas, I was born this way.  It would be foolish and vain for me to try to deny my propensities.

BTW, no word yet on the proposed firing of the Church legal department.

My experience over the last two weeks reminds me of a similar ruckus that was raised over the children's book written by Dr. Wendy Watson Nelson, The Not Even Once Club.  The book is an absolute delight of a trivial little story narrative and cartoon illustrations that I have no doubt would be entertaining to children.  The critics at the Bloggernacle raised so many inane and specious ridiculous criticisms that I bought the little picture book myself.  After I read it, I gave it to my grandkids.  In fact, as I recall from the dusty corner of recollection, the SLTrib "religion" editor also dabbled in such children's books.  But though the same critics gushed with praise for the politically-correct sermonizing, the book seems to have been largely ignored.   A few of her friends probably bought them and stored them in a box in the basement.  Watson's book was almost universally reviled on the "Bloggernacle," though I understand it sold well in the children's book market.  I hope the notoriety in those forums served as free promotion and helped her sell lots of her little book. And I have to wonder if failure as a book author contributed to the SLTrib editors consistent antipathy. 

I am happy to concur with the few outspoken Church leaders who have commented on similar occasions.  One of my favorties...

The Church is like a great caravan—organized, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place.
What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travelers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on.  (The Caravan Moves On)

What can I say?  I'm obviously just a really bad person.  But of course, I have no choice in the matter - I was born this way!

Another note appropriate for mentioning to all those "faithful Mormons" who insist on sniping about Church policy.  Sustaining the Brethren.  I don't expect any of these dissidents to share such ideas, or even bother even a cursory review of the Interpreter article, but it is some small comfort to me to learn that I am not the only Church member who feels this way.

I am not offering to condemn any of these dissident voices so critical of the Church.  I am fully satisfied to let God be the judge between us.  Ultimately, I have little doubt that your own words will bring condemnation.

PS:  I can see from Google Tracking that at least someone from the "Mormon Murmurer" has been checking my blog posts.  Not sure whether that means they are planning to sue me, or if they are actually reading.

The hand-wringing exercises continue.  Here's a more current and up-to-date example.  Women in the "Bloggernacle" seem to believe they are particularly gifted with special insight.  Thus they tend to be collectively holding a vast pool of wisdom that if possible, surpasses any occasional commandment from Heaven.

Another example of the agonized frienzy "liberal Mormons" have worked themselves into.  This particular forum is generally pretty bland, but occasionally the owner betrays her true sentiments.  Now the blog owner complains about suggestions purportedly being offered by intolerant and unloving, "Why don't you just get out?", referring to those who are threatening to abandon their faith in favor of worldly philosophy.  This is a particularly specious complaint in light of the media attention being so craved by those who ARE "getting out" with accompaniment of brass bands and drunken self-congratulatory celebrations.  And particularly ironic to me personally, since this is another forum characterized by "progressive" and "inclusive" ideas that ceased to love me when I presumed to upset their delicate sensibilities, and summarily excommunicated me long ago.

Also most ironic to observe that if you're agonizing about whether to abandon your faith, you obviously already have.

Conclusive evidence that indicates that the "Why don't you just get out?" approach is hardly unique to the Mormon community.  

Yet another post from the "Bloggernacle" from a "faithful Mormon" who now  feels compelled to publicly air his own reasons for letting us know that HE now knows the Church is going astray from the true and righteous leadership of popular social trends.  Turns out that the Church has always been wrong, about this and a whole lot of things, but is sadly still in denial.  Nice to know.

For any who are seriously of the mistaken impression that such diatribes are anything particularly new, please check out Boyd Petersens's ten-year-old review of Martha Beck and her melodramatic fiction "Leaving the Saints".   Interesting parallels.

This has the flavor of a bad SciFi flick.  Freely adapted from "Total Recall"...
The walls of reality will come crashing down.  One minute, you'll be the savior of the rebel cause, and the next thing you know you'll find yourself marching lock-step with the John Dehlin and Kate Kelly fan club.   You'll also have fantasies about your heroic battles against the perfidy of the "Mormon Patriarchy", as you ordered.  But in the end back on Earth, you'll be lobotomized. So get a grip on yourself and put down that pen.