Tag Archives: religion

Twisting Words

Twisting Words

There are those who, when they don’t like something, start twisting words to make others join in their contentious cause.  Such is the case in today’s victory for religious rights.  Today the Supreme Court upheld Hobby Lobby’s right to follow their conscience.  Reading the “Opinion of the Court” it become apparent the ruling was to protect the owners of Hobby Lobby and their religious freedoms.

Unfortunately, there are those who make this all about a “woman’s reproductive rights”.  One such group went so far to post a meme on Facebook showing a picture of Viagra and a caption stating “covered”, and a picture of birth control pills stating, “not covered”.  Both statements are incorrect.  Most insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act do NOT cover male enhancement drugs.  All plans are required to cover birth control pills.  (Note:  Today’s ruling only allows companies to opt-out of cost sharing for practices or drugs that are contrary to their religious beliefs.  An analysis today by the Kaiser Foundation made it very clear that this ruling does not effect those covered.)

In addition, many are twisting this ruling to be an assault on women.  Even Justice Ginsburg attempts to make this about women, and her dissenting comments seem to ignore the opt-out section of the ruling, and this clause in the ruling:

The most straightforward way of doing this would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections. This would certainly be less restrictive of the plaintiffs’ religious liberty, and HHS has not shown, see §2000bb–1(b)(2), that this is not a viable alternative.

If anything, the ruling was a slap to Congress for not taking care to protect people’s religious beliefs.

Some claim the Greens (owners of Hobby Lobby) are forcing their religious beliefs on others.  Well, they should read the ruling.  Here why it is not…

  • Although the Greens believe life begins at conception, and thus are opposed to abortion, the Greens are not going to fire or not hire someone because they had an abortion.  In fact, it would be illegal for them to ask.
  • As previously quoted, the court is urging Congress to provide the contraceptives.
  • There is no mention of Hobby Lobby’s employees to embrace the owner’s beliefs.

If anything, this was a very libertarian approach to fixing an authoritarian law.  Any law that forces someone to do something against their will, that has nothing to do with the safety of the public, is authoritarian in nature.

I applaud the Supreme Court in this ruling.  It was the right thing to do.

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I took some more pictures at the hill.  The stage is progressing nicely.

copyright 2014 db walton

Hill Cumorah Stage Setup

We’re having a heat wave currently.  Hopefully, this will break before pageant starts.

 

Pageant Thursday 2013

They’ve started tearing down the burned-out buildings. Mark Crane, owner of Mark’s Pizzeria, is rebuilding. He says the new building will look like the old one, and his restaurant will be larger with an open green space next to it where people can eat outside. I applaud Mark for his actions. I am positive his rebuild will be an asset to this village.

We got hit by quite the monsoon today. It came late afternoon. And, of course, water came in the basement again. Ugh. No sooner as I get it dried out, another big storm hits.

I noticed an altercation between one of the anti-Mormons and a newscaster. I’m not sure what kicked it off, but the newscaster yelled something at him and pointed as if to say, “get lost”. I think some of the anti-Mormons do not understand the principle that you catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar.

The biggest thing they try to do is convince members of the church that we are wrong because we don’t believe we are saved by grace.  Well, first off all, that’s wrong.  The Book of Mormon says, we are saved by grace, but they are quick to point out that it is followed by, “after all we can do.”

Well, duh.  After all we can do, we still come up short and that’s where grace comes in.

Of course, if you use their argument, everyone is saved.

You’re saying, “Wait, everyone who confesses Jesus is Lord is saved according to them.”

Well, that’s true.  They use Romans 10:9…

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Now, before I go on, Mormons (Latter-day Saints, Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) believe this scripture too, but we also believe it does not negate the importance of keeping God’s commandments.  However, I’ve been flat-out told by a born-again Christian that if a murder confesses his belief in Jesus Christ on his death bed, that’s all that is needed for him to go to heaven.

That said, let’s read Romans 14:11…

 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

By their own belief, everyone will be saved… if they also believe Romans 14:11.

The bottom line is that no unclean thing can enter the Kingdom of God.  (Ephesians 5:5)

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

I think that’s pretty clear.  Coupling Ephesians 5:5 with Romans 14;11, one must conclude that even those who confess Jesus is their Lord, unless they become clean, they won’t enter the Kingdom of God.  And, since we are all unclean, that is where grace comes in, however, we rob the justice of God and make him a liar if we believe we can live a riotous life and still be saved.

Let’s look at a few more scriptures regarding the necessity to keep the commandments (i.e. works):

Revelation 20:13
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

James 2:26
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Matthew 5:16
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

James 2:24
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

1 John 3:18
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

I simply have to conclude that a mere admittance that Jesus is one’s savior is not enough.  You have to live as though you believe it, and even that will fall short, and that is where grace makes up the difference.

P.S. The Book of Mormon speaks more of Jesus Christ than the New Testament. I find it interesting that those who try to discourage people from reading it, haven’t read it themselves. I guess it is kind of like the men who tried to rob Joseph Smith of the gold plates while claiming they didn’t exist.

Back to California

Our friends went back to California today. It was sure fun having them visit for a week. It forced me to actually take a week off and relax. Typically, when I travel it is a working “vacation”. But, this was more relaxing. I pretty much played tour guide for the week and enjoyed Western New York.

While nursing my back injury, I decided to watch a video recommended by a friend. It was Glenn Beck talking about the Book of Mormon and how before the Nephites were destroyed, they had turned to cannibalism. He related this to recent events in Syria and Russia.

I went on to watch some more of his stuff. While, I don’t always agree with Glenn Beck, I do agree that both parties (Republican and Democrat) have become corrupt and are damaging this Nation. And, I do agree that the Book of Mormon warns about things that destroy a civilization. However, I wish Glenn would have gone further to talk about other things that are pulling us down.

Back in the 70s President Kimball warned that if we did not keep the Sabbath Day holy, there would come a time when gasoline would become so expensive it would curtail activities like boating. It wasn’t long after that that gasoline, which had been 33 cents/gallon for a very long time, started going up in price and difficult to get.

On a larger scale, the Book of Mormon says we will prosper in the land if we keep the commandments. It then warns that if we (in this country) do not keep the commandments we will be wiped out. I’m surprised Glenn Beck didn’t go over some of those things and how keeping the commandments is our only protection in these latter-days.

When you look at the 10 Commandments, you’ve got to ask yourself, “How many people live by these?”

The first three deal specifically with our dealings with God. I bet you can’t watch a movie these days without hearing God’s name being used in vain.

The 4th, is for us to set aside a day of rest and worship. Yet, every where you turn people are going shopping, out to eat, movies, and more on Sunday.

The 5th Commandment is the most misunderstood. Honoring your parents means doing nothing that would bring shame to them. I think that could cover tattoos, body piercing, drug abuse, cursing, and more.

The 6th, “Thou shalt not kill”, is about the only one that is enforced by law.

When it comes to adultery, the 7th Commandment, the scriptures teach, “or anything like unto it.” This covers fornication, homosexual activities and anything else that is a sexual relationship between two people that are not “husband (man) and wife (woman)” legally wed. Again, I challenge you to find a TV show that doesn’t show the violation of this commandment. In fact, I do not know the last time I saw a TV show where two of the characters practiced chastity before marriage.

The 8th Commandment has laws associated with it in most cases. However, entertainment seems to send the message that it is okay to steal if it is for a just cause. Just watch shows like White Collar, Leverage, Burn Notice, and more. And, one might argue that our form of public assistance is a modern-day Robin Hood where money is stolen from the rich and given to those who do not want to work for it.

The 9th Commandment, bearing false witness, has become another justifiable offense. People tend to think it is okay to lie if you are doing it so someone else doesn’t get their feelings hurt. Boo-hoo. Our politicians set a bad example for all to follow. Just watch news reels on YouTube and you can see Nancy Pelosi (just to name one) saying one thing, and then a few years later, contradicting her previous statement without consequence. We even had a former president, Bill Clinton, who lied under oath yet suffered no legal consequence.

Finally, the 10th, coveting, is encouraged everywhere you look. Advertising has the sole purpose to get you to covet what you don’t have.

Recently, atheist were allowed to post their “commandments” near a court house that displays the 10 Commandments. I’m not sure how an atheist can even have commandments. Where there is no God, there is no law. By what authority do they arrive at their commandments?

We live in perilous times. There is no doubt about it. Do I think the world is going to come to an end? No, the scriptures don’t predict that. What they do predict is that wickedness and all those who behave wickedly will be destroyed. I guess it is a matter of deciding on which team you want to be on.

More Small World Stuff

I get a message from a friend who was visiting Temple Square in Salt Lake City. He was talking to some people from Salt Lake who said they were going to Palmyra this summer. One of the couples mentioned they have a daughter serving in Palmyra. It turns out, their daughter is serving in our ward.

Again… it’s a small world.

I taught priesthood meeting today. Because it was the Sunday for the group leadership to choose the lesson, I chose to teach it about the atonement. I felt it went well, and I personally learned a lot. In fact, the reason I chose the topic was to learn more about the atonement. We often hear about it being the aspect of the gospel where mercy and justice can both be satisfied, however, we don’t often hear about how it can resolve sickness and other types of suffering.

Elizabethe is still under the weather, so dinner consisted of me and the elders. I fixed tacos and the three of us ate tacos and had ice cream for dessert.

Elizabethe’s uncle and her cousins arrived, but I was so beat it was all I could do to say, “Hi”. They are taking off tomorrow, so I don’t know how much I will see of them since I have a busy day scheduled.

By the way, if you’re planning to visit Palmyra, make sure you check us out at www.beckwithmansion.com .

Packing for the Route 31 Tour

Today was my second day of packing for the Route 31 tour.  I tell you, packing will take longer than the actual trip.  I’ve had to charge a lot of batteries, clean lenses, arrange photo bags, and so forth.

Four o’clock rolled around before I knew it and I was off to our stake conference leadership session.  It was a great session.  Our stake president mentioned how the church has come out of obscurity in the media and the attention – good and bad – that we get.

It seems that a good portion of the media has to do with the church’s stand on homosexuality and marriage.  Some say, because the church has come out with a compassionate web site on homosexuality that the church has changed its position.  As someone who grew up in the church, I can state that the church has not made any change in position.

Growing up in the church, I repeatedly learned about the parable of the lost sheep.  I was taught that when someone strays from the commandments that we are to show forth greater love to bring them back to the fold.   Another story is that of the stoning of the harlot.  Jesus simply told her accusers that if any of them were sinless, they were to cast the first stone.  He then turned to the lady and said, “Go and sin no more.”  (That last line is so often ignored.)

The church’s stance on marriage is still the same, and will always be:  Marriage is ordained of God and is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman.  (See the Proclamation on the Family at www.lds.org)

During the adult session of conference, the media and the church came up again.  It becomes obviously clear that the harder the adversary fights against the church, the more people flock to the church.

It reminds me of both my chemistry and mathematics education.  In chemistry, molecules seek a balance.  In math, equations balance.  So it appears to me that in this world, the law of opposition exists.  The difference is, in the end, unlike chemistry and math, good will win.

Had you asked me when I was a 12 year old what would be the great conflict of the times when I was in my 50s, I would have been hard pressed to come up with something.  After all, life in the 1960s was so innocent and naïve.   Had you told me the great conflict of the last days would be sexual immorality (well, first, as a 12 year old, I would have been totally unaware of that would have meant) I would have been disgusted once I understood.

Facebook has been a big eye opener.  Before social media, we didn’t have a very good means of keeping tabs on old friends.  Now, we see people who openly abandon their beliefs and publicize it on Facebook.  On the other hand, we have the opposite, people who repent and change their lives, and publish it on Facebook.  For each one on one side, there seems to be one on the other side.  The gray between the two seems to be disappearing.

Perhaps those switch to the dark side, can’t see it.  I watched a pretty young lady from California turn from the teachings she was raised with.  At first, it seemed just a little rebellious, but after she came out in full defiance, changed her Facebook about page to reflect her defiance, things began to change rapidly.  Her last Facebook profile photo didn’t even resemble the girl I knew in California.

On the other hand, I indirectly became acquainted with another young lady.  A friend not knowing I know the girl, mentioned the girls dress and grooming.  I knew right off who she was talking about.  The irony is, the girl joined the church.  Now, a few years later, she is a vibrant, beautiful young lady.

People do see it.

I’m not saying you can judge a book by its cover.  What I’m saying is immorality changes your countenance in a bad way.  Righteousness changes it in a good way.

I digress.

Conference was great.  I especially liked President and Sister Christenson’s talks, and Sister Clawson’s talk.

To quote Pres. Christenson, “It’s true — all true.”

Proof of the Book of Mormon

I won’t go in to all the details about our Priesthood lesson today, but this much I will say…

The Book of Mormon teaches that contention is wrong. To contend about evidence of the book is opposite to the spirit of the book itself. Teachings of the spirit come with their own proof. Sometimes, those proofs are not presented at the same time we receive our spiritual confirmation, but in time, they do come.

For the person who feels they have physical proof, that’s fine, but where does that put them when someone else presents evidence of the contrary?

For the person who has spiritual proof, they are in a better position. So called physical evidence may change as technology advances. Just look at the number of people who have been cleared of wrong-doings because new technology has provided DNA evidence showing they didn’t commit the crime. Likewise, those with spiritual proof may have to wait through periods where science simply isn’t able to come to a conclusion at this time. What science today presents as a theory can change tomorrow with advances in technology.

The real proof is in the reading, pondering, studying and praying.

We’re all entitled to our theories as to what evidence exists, but if we leave it all up to evidence, we are missing the purpose of the experiment. (Read Alma 32 and Moroni 10) The experiment, when skipped, leaves too many gaps and unknowns. The actual proof is in the experiment.

Easter 2013

Yesterday was a pretty nice day weather wise, but things have cooled down quite a bit today.

President and Sister Christianson were our speakers in church today. I’m sure going to miss them. Their mission ends in June.

We now have 3 pairs of sister missionaries in our ward, and 1 pair of elders. Sisters Davis (new) and Jones came to dinner tonight. I had taken the rest of the chicken zafrani sauce and made a chicken zafrani stew with it. It had a very nice mellow flavor and the richness was cut by diced potatoes.

We had purchased a cheese cake at Lyons National Bank (they were having a bake sale in the lobby for the diabetes foundation). We had it for dessert. In all, it was a nice Easter dinner.

The History Channel has been running a series called The Bible. Talk about some scriptural inaccuracies. They also left quite a bit of important events out.

Here’s an example of inaccuracies…

Sampson was black. Anyone with any knowledge of the Hebrews would know that he was a Hebrew. Ancient Hebrews had very strict marriage laws, and Sampson was one of the judges. It is highly unlikely he was anything but a pure Hebrew.

When they came to the tomb, there were no angels. Mathew records an angel coming and rolling back the stone. Mark records they found the stone rolled away, and an angel nearby addressed them. Luke records “two men in shining garments” asked them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” And, John writes that two angels, one at the head and the other at the feet of where Jesus laid, stood by. This TV series had none of that.

It really made me appreciate the work that the LDS Church puts in to their biblical films and movies. If you want to watch some well produced Bible videos you can at http://www.lds.org/bible-videos/?lang=eng

Here is one that is especially applicable on this Easter day.

http://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/he-is-risen?lang=eng

Spring Sick

No sooner as spring hits, my allergies attack. The itchy eyes, itchy inner-ears, and runny nose eventually caused problems in my lungs. Today I felt awful. So, I decided to pretty much rest it out and hope things get better.

Between readings, I watched a few episodes of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. If I could go in with my camera, I’d want Guy Fieri’s job. Of course, I’d have to have a protective case around my camera as he eats some pretty messy foods.

It’s not often I watch the news. I find watching the news just brings to the surface how degenerate our society has become. The very fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is going to decide what constitutes marriage is evidence of how low we have stooped.

I’ve made my views on the matter clear from the very start. The government has no business deciding on the matter. Marriage, in and of itself, is a religious sacrament – a rite, not a right. Thus, my fear has nothing to do with what two adults consent to do, but it has everything to do with the government deciding what we can and cannot teach our children, and what we can and cannot choose to support. My beliefs are in what God defines as marriage, and not what man (i.e. the courts) defines as marriage. And, if man ends up defining marriage differently than what God does, then man’s definition must not trample my rights (not rites) to believe and honor God’s laws.

I hope the men and women of the Supreme Court make the right decision.

Twice in the Last 24-hours

Twice in the last 24-hours I’ve heard comments to the effect (and they were both about the exact same words), “I consider myself to be liberal but…” They went on to comment on Governor Cuomo’s gun control laws as being too extreme.

I think it becomes paradoxical. At what point do gun owners protect their 2nd Amendment rights when someone comes to disarm them?

Is it too late for the 2nd Amendment? Has the nation got to the point where citizens would not be able to protect themselves from an evil uprising within the government?

And, if it is too late for the 2nd Amendment, does that mean the rest of the Bill of Rights is of no significance because you can’t make a stand?

There has been a lot of reference in the LDS Church about Joseph Smith, Jr., having said that the day would come that the U.S. Constitution would hang by a thread. Although there is no evidence of him ever having said that, it seems the statement is prophetic, nonetheless. Even Ron Paul (not a Mormon) has used that phrase recently.

It seems ironic that two people, in unrelated circumstances and admittedly liberal, think Cuomo’s SAFE law is over the top.

I Believe

My religion has 13 Articles of Faith.  They are a wonderful list of things Latter-day Saints believe simply listed.  I usually suggest someone start with those if they want to know what a Mormon believes.

When it comes to government, I’ve been thinking of a list of things that I believe about government.  Here it is…

  1. I believe government exist at the will of the citizens, and history proves that oppressive governments end up being overthrown by the citizens.
  2. I believe laws should be kept at a minimum.
  3. I believe laws should be based on a moral foundation.  In Western Society, that moral foundation is found in the Bible, specifically the 10 Commandments given to Moses, and Christ’s answer that the two great commandments were to love the lord thy god with all thy heart, might, mind and strength, and the second was like unto it – to love thy neighbor as thyself.
  4. I believe that our government should only be concerned with our citizens when it comes to spending tax dollars, that tax dollars should not be given to foreign countries or citizens.
  5. I believe that our government should only be in the business of protecting our borders, providing enforcement of just laws and facilitating interstate commerce (i.e. highways).  They should provide a military (on the National level) and police (on the state and local level) and maintain roads and bridges that connect the states.  The rest should be left to private enterprises.  (Years ago, I would have said they should provide a postal service, but private enterprises have proven they can do a better job.)
  6. I believe elected officials should serve without financial gain.
  7. I believe elected officials should campaign on an equal playing field financially.
  8. I believe elected officials should serve once, and then step aside to give someone else a chance.
  9. I believe certain types of criminals cannot be rehabilitated, and for that reason, we have a death penalty.  We should stop living in denial and execute criminals with no hope for rehabilitation.
  10. I believe welfare should be administered on a personal, family and community level, and federal and state governments cannot effectively administer such a program without corruption.  Such programs should never dole money, but instead, provide food and shelter on a temporary basis.
  11. I believe education is a personal responsibility.  For children, it is the responsibility of the parents to teach them, and for adults, it is the adult’s responsibility to seek learning opportunities.
  12. I believe law enforcement should never seek to confiscate a citizens property, unless that property is being used to harm another, and then, only after the courts have rules in favor of confiscation.
  13. I believe the less a person is taxed, the happier the society.  Heavy taxations to support social programs breed fear and loathing among the working citizens, and crime and laziness among those who choose not to work or choose to be supported by the tax payers (i.e. politicians).
  14. I believe, when it comes to taxation, some taxes are necessary and beneficial for all.  Those taxes are to provide law enforcement and to protect our country.  Most other taxes should be based on use, in order to be fair.  Use a road – pay a toll.

I’ve thought a lot about this list.  So many of our problems with our leaders could be resolved if we just simplified things and reduced the roll of government.