Thursday, November 26, 2020

Wabbling Back to the Fire

And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. For truly I say unto you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your closet. And when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.

—Matthew 3:28 NC

Recently, the LDS church launched a much-touted video of Russel M. Nelson reminding the world to show gratitude. I suppose it was a timely message and all, since we’re literally hearing the same reminders from nearly every quarter, almost as if it’s Thanksgiving. Some have called the message “timely” and “prophetic,” which I suppose it is, much like my wall calendar that bears the same reminder this time of year.

Nelson stated he was awakened in the dark of night with the impression that he needed to lead the world in a prayer of gratitude. Obviously, with massive A/V Production and PR resources at his disposal, designing an event around this public prayer was easy enough.

The “event” was orchestrated to draw maximum attention, including a week-long run-up to the release of the pre-recorded message. The video had background music, still images, close-up video, and a well-read script. The official press releases and PR pieces included memes, announcements, and social media offerings calling Nelson a “Global Faith Leader” and “The Prophet.” In his video, he reminded us all he was a successful and important heart surgeon, though now he’s more into “heart-sell.” 

He asked the faithful members of his church to post messages of gratitude on social media daily for a week, which many have done, using the hashtag he specified. 

And that’s all just fine. Gratitude is a wonderful and important principle, and certainly one we should remember every day, and not just at Thanksgiving time. Nothing eases the blisters and bruises of the march to Hell quite like a dose of gratitude that the road is, at least, inclined downhill.

We’ll return to Nelson’s message in a minute, but first we need to discuss a MORE prophetic message, delivered a hundred years ago by poet Rudyard Kipling. Perhaps you’re familiar with “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.” For those who may not know, “copybook headings” were proverbs or maxims printed at the top of 19th century British school copybook pages. The students had to write the statements by hand repeatedly down the page to practice penmanship, which had the side benefit of reinforcing the maxims taught. Kipling’s poem is built around a series of sayings that would have been familiar to readers in 1919, when the poem was published.

In this poem, Kipling uses the “Gods of the Copybook Headings” to represent universal truths that remain unchanged, in contrast to “Social Progress,” the “March of Mankind,” and the ephemeral, ever-changing “Gods of the Market Place” that represent mankind’s ill-conceived attempts to pretend universal truths don’t matter. Give it a read below, or a listen at this link:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

By Rudard Kipling, 1919


AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,  

I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.

Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn

That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:

But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,

So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,

Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,

But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come

That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,

They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;

They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;

So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.

But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know." 

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life

(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)

Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death." 

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, 

By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; 

But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, 

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die." 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew

And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true

That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began. 

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, 

And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, 

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, 

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

We live in menacing times. Perhaps at no point in history have more of Kipling’s lines been more applicable than they are today. 

Nightly riots rock our cities while “law enforcement,” at the direction of corrupt politicians, refuses to enforce the rule of law, instead supporting mob rule, theft, arson, violence, destruction and anarchy. Cries of “de-fund the police” reinforce the false idea that crippling law enforcement will bring an end to lawlessness. As Kipling predicted, they swear if we give them our weapons, the wars of the tribes will cease.

Popular culture insists that “love is love” in whatever form it takes, and that there’s no sin in loving your neighbor’s wife (or husband, or both, for that matter) so long as all are consenting adults. 

Our women have fewer children than ever before, while America has killed 50 million of its unborn young since the Supreme Court invented a “right” to abortion on demand. 

Mankind has indeed lost reason and faith. Current events demonstrate humanity’s ability to think critically, reason logically, and consider opposing ideas has dwindled to the point of near-universal stupidity. Patently ridiculous, untrue ideas are promoted with such insistence that any who challenge them face public ruin and private persecution from nearly every quarter. The largest corporations openly and proudly exercise thought control over hundreds of millions of willing dupes, who believe what they are told to believe and ignore what they are told to ignore—regardless of what is true. 

Faith is openly mocked—considered backward, dangerous, and indicative of a weak mind. Serious people now advocate that religion should be publicly outlawed and the faithful should be forcibly re-educated, as takes place in totalitarian communist countries. Opposing ideas may NOT be discussed or considered. They are simply to be eliminated, and those who promote them are to be “cancelled” which is a not-veiled-at-all code word for “destroyed.” 

Many politicians now run on platforms that consist almost entirely of promises to use the power of the state to rob the productive of what they’ve rightfully earned and give it to those who claim they are entitled to take what others have labored to receive. All men should be paid for existing, and no man should pay for his sins, indeed. (And you shouldn’t have to pay back your student loans, either!)

Many Americans now openly advocate the toxic, false notions that our country is dreadfully evil, hopelessly racist, unfair, hateful, and irredeemable. The proposed solution is to burn it all to the ground and start over with a new foundation, modeled after ideas that have failed spectacularly every time they’ve ever been tried, ultimately at the cost of untold human misery, suffering and death. Those who publicly advocate the destruction of our country, our freedoms, and our God-given rights, rather than being called traitors and enemies of us all, are rather promoted, honored, and feared. 

The fact of the matter is that America has demonstrably produced more freedom, economic opportunity, health, invention, happiness, equality and stability for more people than any other nation in history, bar none. America has indeed been the shining city on a hill, showing the world that freedom and self-government are not only possible, but the best possible aspiration for earthly government. Those who hate this nation that has cradled, nurtured, blessed and provided for them better than 99% of the historical population of this planet simply do not understand history, humanity, or themselves. 

They are profoundly ungrateful. But gratitude is not the cure, because lack of gratitude is not the cause. *Evil* is the cause—not only of the current destruction that stares us in the face, but of all destructions of all civilizations in history. Like a dog to his vomit, or a sow to her mire, mankind continually returns to evil, under the influence of the father of lies. 

The behaviors and ideas that now threaten our republic are neither new nor creative. Kipling could predict them because they represent the universal faults of fallen human nature. Railing against freedom and opportunity in favor of control and dominion started before this world began. Within the first generations of mankind, the basest instincts of humanity created a continual scene of excessive wickedness and ultimate disaster. 

As surely as water will wet us, and as surely as fire will burn, there is only one solution to our present predicament. The only possible prevention for the looming horror and slaughter galloping toward us is not gratitude. It is repentance. Period. 

A loving God, who wants—and knows—what’s best for us, has set the pattern. When humanity labors in excessive wickedness, prophets raise the warning. They cry repentance before the sword of justice falls. They leave clear records of their failed civilizations for us to read, in hopes we will be more wise than they were. We ignore those records at our peril.

I don’t suppose I have to go into all the examples from the scriptures; they are so plentiful that if you’re not aware of them, you need to stop reading this blog and spend some serious time in God’s word. The bottom line is this: True prophets cry repentance. False prophets preach platitudes, claiming they will bring “healing.” 

News flash: You don’t “heal” wickedness. You turn from it by repenting, fight it, and embrace truth and righteousness. 

You don’t make “safe space” to protect the fragile feelings of those who believe the moon is made of cheese, pigs fly, or that wishing for something makes it a “right.” You expose these false ideas for what they are: False and destructive.

The Book of Mormon is more applicable today than ever. It specifically, explicitly warns us of the situation we now face. 

And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people; and they are had among the Lamanites. And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints which shall be shed by them shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avengeth them not. Wherefore, O ye gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shewn unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you — which are built up to get power and gain — and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the eternal God shall fall upon you to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be. Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you, that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or woe be unto it because of the blood of them who have been slain, for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who build it up. (Ether 3:18 NC)

We have just completed an extraordinarily contentious election. An aged, fragile former vice president (and likely dementia patient) with a rather embarrassing record, who barely left his basement and spent many days with a complete press black out—and his socialist running mate who was so unpopular that she had to drop her presidential campaign before the first primary—are reported to have beaten the current president, who ran on an extremely strong record in many areas, and who ran a very active, vibrant campaign. The “popularity gap” between the candidates was massive and palpable as thousands and tens of thousands came to Trump rallies and spontaneous demonstrations, while the few Biden events were sparsely attended. 

On election night, all appearances showed Trump had an insurmountable lead in the states still in play, and would easily beat Biden. But overnight, things changed radically, and by the next morning, Biden appeared to have overcome nearly impossible deficits in multiple states for the win. The circumstances of the alleged win have been called into question due to an increasing volume of evidence demonstrating widespread fraud and election tampering. 

The massive cabal of large news organizations, social media companies, and web search operators that exert a near stranglehold over the information we receive, has doubled down on the idea that the Biden win is a fait accompli, even calling him the “President Elect” when he is, by very definition, no such thing. The cabal uniformly and resolutely denies there is any evidence whatsoever of widespread fraud, which is an outright lie. They de-platform, de-emphasize, and slap warning labels on anyone who dares present a different opinion, including on those who actually do present evidence. 

In other words, if there actually WAS fraud involved in this election, they most certainly don’t want you or me to know about it. They are NOT interested in presenting the truth, whatever it may be. This concerns me greatly. This secret combination has taken such hold, they don’t even need to operate in secret any more. They proudly and openly proclaim their intent and bias. They know that if they control information, they can control the minds and hearts of the masses, thereby enslaving you and me to ignorance and submission. The secret combinations have indeed gotten above us. 

Believe it or not, my concern is NOT about a preference of Trump over Biden. That’s merely the stage upon which the disaster is playing out. No, the real concern is that in our republic, we elect representatives to represent our interests and preferences in law and governance. Voting is THE ONLY meaningful way in which we can make our voices heard and affect our government. It is a sacred expression of our will and our freedom to govern ourselves. It is the way in which we tell the government what to do, and not the other way around. It is how the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is why we are not (in theory, at least) governed by a permanent ruling class of elites who control us. Voting is our final, sacred bulwark against tyranny. Voting is what makes us citizens, not subjects or slaves.

Every American, in every situation, and with every political point of view should be alarmed, to say the least, at the evidence of fraud that continues to pour out. Whether your guy won or lost doesn’t matter. What matters is that if a cabal of crooks can change election results to their will, we have lost our Republic. America is over, and this grand experiment in self-government that has produced so much prosperity, beauty, liberty, and opportunity—the envy of the world—has come to an end. 

If the vote was tampered with, this is an attack against our nation, our values, our government, and our people. It is an attack against YOU. It is treason, and those who engaged in it should be tried for the crime of treason. 

The Book of Mormon anticipated such times as these. The venue has changed, but the issue remains the same. From the foundation of the world, the battle has raged over the cause of agency, and it continues to rage. If your freedom has been taken, or worse, willfully surrendered, the adversary of your soul has already won. 

Gratitude isn’t going to fix this. If we don’t awaken to a sense of our awful situation, destruction awaits. Repentance is our only hope. As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.

And now behold, I say unto you, I fear exceedingly that the judgments of God will come upon this people because of their exceeding slothfulness, yea, even the slothfulness of our government and their exceeding great neglect towards their brethren, yea, towards those who have been slain. For were it not for the wickedness which first commenced at our head, we could have withstood our enemies, that they could have gained no power over us. Yea, had it not been for the war which broke out among ourselves, yea, were it not for those Kingmen who caused so much bloodshed among ourselves, yea, at the time we were contending among ourselves — if we had united our strength as we hitherto have done, yea, had it not been for the desire of power and authority which those Kingmen had over us, had they been true to the cause of our freedom and united with us, and gone forth against our enemies instead of taking up their swords against us, which was the cause of so much bloodshed among ourselves — yea, if we had gone forth against them in the strength of the Lord, we should have dispersed our enemies, for it would have been done according to the fulfilling of his word.

—Captain Moroni, Alma 27:7 NC

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Introductory Chapter

Rock Waterman, proprietor of the excellent Pure Mormonism blog, recently participated in an interview with Radio Free Mormon. In that interview, he spoke of a writing project he undertook with Brian Hales, which jogged my memory about the events, and also reminded me of the rest of the story. It turns out I was involved as well, and the outcome of it all may yet be useful. Here’s what I can add to the conversation:

Brian Hales contacted me through this blog in October 2017, looking for someone who could write a history of what he termed, “the Denver Snuffer movement,” together with an anthology looking at Denver’s teachings. His intent was to use the history as an opening chapter in an anthology of works by various authors critically addressing the movement. He felt that having an “insider” write the introduction would give the rest of the critical work credibility and appeal, as well as accuracy. He offered payment for the writing effort.

I didn’t have the time to take on the project, so I suggested he contact Rock Waterman, and I put the two of them in touch. Rock took on the project, and wrote several drafts, but in the end could not provide what Brian wanted, so in January 2018, Brian reached out to me again and asked if I would consider writing the chapter. I agreed to do so and finished my first draft in April of that year. After we had some back and forth about the content of the chapter, it turned out that like Rock, I was not able to provide what Brian wanted, so I withdrew from the project in May 2018. As far as I know the proposed anthology never got off the ground, but Brian predicted it would not be particularly relevant in a few years because he expected the movement would fizzle out on its own anyway.

I should stress that through it all, Brian was a gentleman and though we fundamentally disagree on a number of topics, most notably his treatment of Joseph Smith, our exchange was positive and professional.

So in the end, I was left with the unused fruits of my labor, consisting of a 17,500-word introduction to the Remnant Movement, written as the introductory chapter for a book. 

When I heard Rock’s interview, I thought the chapter might yet be useful, and since I’ve never done anything else with it, I’m posting it here. I believe that with some slight changes and updates, it may serve as a decent introduction to the Remnant movement for those who are curious, and perhaps also as somewhat of an abbreviated history. I’m open to ideas, so let me know what you think.

By way of context, keep in mind this was written in early 2018, so it is about two and a half years behind current history, and it was written as the introduction to a book that would otherwise be critical of the movement. Enjoy!