Monday, August 13, 2012

Everyone Against Everyone

My Bro-in-law, Anonymous D, just sent me a great email message venting a little. But I thought it was great to post here on the blog  (with his permission and minor edits). I try to get him to write up more postings, but we do have this that is right on point. Take it away, Bro-D!
For years I’ve labored under the delusion that I was somehow normal; that is for a Mormon.  Finally I’ve come to the conclusion which is inescapable; I’m not normal. I’m a radical -way out there.  Actually I’ve known this for some time. But, thought I, when presented with the evidence in the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, members would pretty much come to the same conclusion about things that I’ve come to. It’s in the book right?  The book is nothing if not plain. Matter of fact as it takes pains to point out, it’s as blunt as possible.
What is cause of my trouble might you ask?  Well, in a discussion in Sunday School yesterday I pointed out that Mormon and Helaman just happened to give us the cause for all of their wars and troubles: 
"…there arose a dissension among them, (the “them” being the very priests he had called to the work), and they would not give heed to the words of Helaman and his brethren; But they grew proud, being lifted up in their hearts, because of their exceedingly great riches; therefore they grew rich in their own eyes, and would not give heed to their words, to walk uprightly before God."  Alma 45:23-24.
Upon reading this it’s easy to make the connection; they grew rich, then proud, then rich in their hearts, and finally set out on their own course.  Riches are the problem here. They ruin everything and are set out as a test.  Being warned that  they are bad for you, they become the ultimate test.  In the days of calamity we cling to Him. But what do we do in the days of prosperity?   It’s the one test we can’t pass because we’ve never been inclined to look at prosperity as a test but as the ultimate blessing.
Will we reject riches?  The answer, as I heard yesterday from a member of the Bishopric, is a resounding, "No!"  Every excuse must be made for the wealthy among us, justifying their wealth, not only justifying it but pointing out that it is more likely that you find greed and pride among the poor [!]
Stunned, I finally stated to the bemused church member, "I’m not sure that the real problem can be pointed out any clearer." 
The way I see it, and granted I maybe reading the book in some sort of socialist induced haze, the BOM, from front to back, warns us of the corrupting influence of wealth, with a strong inducement to reject it and seek for equality, that all may be made rich, which of course is the ideal of Zion,  if all are rich there are not rich or poor, but all alike. [See 4 Nephi 1:3, D&C 104:16
It’s all but useless to go before a church member with lists and lists of quotations, facts, and stories from the Book of Mormon pointing out this central fact.  There is always some rhetorical trick, or character from the book of Mormon catapulted out of context in order to justify just the reading of the books with which  we are most comfortable.  In this light, Lehi becomes the uber-capitalist, Moroni the daring and willing example of military machismo, and Jacob the master of putting first things first in order to capitalize on your spiritual bone fides.
In October of 2008 I really thought the calamity was upon us, that finally we would be forced to look at the law of consecration seriously, perhaps even be forced to it in some limited way.  What we did was double-down on the crazy capitalist schemes of the past.  The thought of cooperative action seems beyond our ability to even conceive anymore. It’s everyone against everyone.


  1. I had a similar experience a few years ago, when I pointed out that we shouldn't invade Iraq because the Lord prohibits non-defensive wars. It's right there in the BOM. I was thoroughly derided. I should mention that I did this pointing out through a letter to the local newspaper. But it led to me teaming up with a Quaker and an Episcopalean to put on an anti-war rally. Now my neighbors KNOW I'm a commie.

    1. Elaine,
      My Iraq experience traversed a similar arc, without the rally. No matter how often in class I pointed out that the scriptures prohibited this sort of thing, someone would waive The Title of Liberty in my face. As gently as I could I would try to remind my friends that the circumstances weren’t exactly the same, and even if they were it was Nephite wickedness that brought them to that awful situation, that the Nephites went to war with the greatest reluctance, being compelled to do so to actually defend themselves against the Lamanites aggressors, who, it just so happened were lead largely by Nephite dissenters.
      I’m certainly not blameless, and it’s never my intention to set myself above or apart from others but merely to point out things that seem obvious to me and require a determined agility of mind to avoid. I appreciate your comments.
      Anonymous D

  2. Amen! Choosing Ryan as a running mate has now made it impossible for me to vote for Romney, or even make a logical argument that the values taught in the Book of Mormon are compatible with the Romney/Ryan ricket.

    Book of Mormon teachings? Let's look:

    Care for the widow and orphan? Nope.

    Give food to those that are hungry? Nope.

    Ministering unto the sick and afflicted? Nope.

    Persecuting (blaming) the poor for their condition? Yep.

    Putting states and countries in boundafe (debt) which leaves them barely surviving? Yep.

    Building up great armies with aggresive tendencies and no consideration for the civilians (a la Lamanites)? Yep.

    If Ryan's plan is Romney's plan, then there is nothing I can say or do that would allow me to complete the spiritual gymnastics that it would take to vote for anyone who ran on this platform. It makes me extra sad that Mitt Romney is a Mormon, but without that affinity, there wouldn't have been any reason to take a second look at Romney or the GOP.


    1. Julia,
      Thanks for your comments; Spiritual gymnastics is about right. As I wrote to Elaine, it’s not my intention to place myself above anyone, heaven knows I take my own path often enough, but it’s something to sit in a meeting, or hear the private conservations of my friends espousing policies fundamentally opposed to statements in their own foundational Book, a Book I hear them testify about at least once a month.
      All of this puts the ball in play only for me. Having pointed out the problem, at least as I am permitted to see the problem, it’s up to me to repent. Nobody else can do that for me, and I can’t repent for anyone else for force them to it, nor would I want to.

    2. Thanks for the thoughts that you shared. It actually helped me to get some of my thoughts in order. I took my comment here, added a few more thoughts and it turned into a post for today. I moved a couple of poetry posts around because there are times when it is appropriate to draw a very bright line in the sand, or else we might even come under condemnation for not speaking up when I know something is wrong.

      Keep sharing the truth. It may not always be comfortable, but it is valuable!



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