Wednesday, September 30, 2009

President Hinckley Quote

I can just hear President Hinckley's voice when I read this quote...
"When our people first arrived in this valley 155 years ago, they saw with prophetic vision a great future. But I sometimes wonder if they really sensed the magnitude of that dream as it would unfold."The headquarters of the Church are in this city which recently hosted the 19th Winter Olympics. We made a deliberate decision that we would not use this as a time or place to proselytize, but we were confident that out of this significant event would come a wonderful thing for the Church. The great buildings which we have here—the Temple, the Tabernacle, this magnificent Conference Center, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Family History facilities, the Church Administration Building, the Church Office Building, our Welfare facilities, together with scores of chapels in this valley—could not be overlooked by those who walked the streets of this and neighboring cities. As Mike Wallace once remarked to me, 'These structures all denote something solid.'"And beyond this, we had total confidence in our people, many thousands of them, who would serve as volunteers in this great undertaking. They would be dependable; they would be pleasant; they would be knowledgeable; they would be accommodating. The unique and distinctive capacity of our people in speaking the languages of the world would prove to be a tremendous asset beyond anything to be found elsewhere. Well, it all worked out."

Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Church Goes Forward," Ensign, May 2002, 4–5

... I miss him.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Leader of Israel Appeals to the Nations of the World for Support

PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Speech to the UN, Sept. 24, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland.

I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.

The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events. Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth.

Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.

Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments.

Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie?

A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie?

This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie? And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie?

One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife's grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie?
Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.

But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?

A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!

Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You're wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.

This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries.

In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated.

The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death. The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century. The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day.

Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope. The pace of progress is growing exponentially. It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet.

What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come.

We will crack the genetic code. We will cure the incurable. We will lengthen our lives. We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuels and clean up the planet.

I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances – by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment. These innovations the world over offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise.

But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after a horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind.

That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction, and the most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?

Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood?

Will the international community thwart the world's most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism?

Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?

The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging.

Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims. That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.

For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities. Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single UN resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks.

We heard nothing – absolutely nothing – from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one.

In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza. It dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis.

We didn't get peace. Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv. Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare.

You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent.

Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond. But how should we have responded?

Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country's civilian population. It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II.

During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties. Israel chose to respond differently. Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians – Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.

That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances.

Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas. We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave.

Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy's civilian population from harm's way. Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel.

A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.

By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals. What a perversion of truth! What a perversion of justice!

Delegates of the United Nations,
Will you accept this farce? Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days, when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism and when an automatic majority could declare that the earth is flat.

If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity.

And in condemning Israel, this body would also deal a mortal blow to peace. Here's why. When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop. Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense.

What legitimacy? What self-defense?

The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us –my people, my country - of war crimes? And for what? For acting responsibly in self-defense. What a travesty!

Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?

We must know the answer to that question now. Now and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow.

Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
All of Israel wants peace. Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace. We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat. We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein.

And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and the people of Israel, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace.

In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples – a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted that resolution. The Arabs rejected it. We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state.

Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation state of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel. This is the land of our forefathers.

Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They shall learn war no more." These words were spoken by the Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city - in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem. We are not strangers to this land. It is our homeland.

As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity.

But we must have security. The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.

That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized. We don't want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.

We want peace.

I believe such a peace can be achieved. But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order.

The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.

Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the "confirmed unteachability of mankind," the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.

Churchill bemoaned what he called the "want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”

I speak here today in the hope that Churchill's assessment of the "unteachability of mankind" is for once proven wrong.

I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history -- that we can prevent danger in time.

In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Great Column--Excellent Insight

Washington and Zarahemla: The Beltway-Nephite Disease
By Gary C. Lawrence

Six years.

In the thousand-year span of the Nephite people, that’s the time on stage for a prideful group known as the king-men.

The last fourth of the book of Alma, in which the king-men story is imbedded, is a sharp break from the doctrine-laden chapters of the first three-fourths of the book, as Mormon turns to stories about war strategy and political happenings.

Why did Mormon include this story of arrogance? Is it a parallel for our time, a warning, something we should learn?

I think so. Because Mormon saw our time, what he decided to include in his abridgement was not happenstance.

Doing a bit of reverse engineering on the actions of king-men based in the government town of Zarahemla, and drawing on other scriptures describing Nephite behavior, here are nine characteristics to watch for, if and when king-men pop up in Washington.

1. They Will Be Subtle

The king-men eventually came out in full rebellion against the Nephite system of judges as established by Mosiah, but before a defeat by the voice of the people unmasked their true colors, they had a disguised plan to scam the system — to use the law of the land to overthrow the government of the land. Note this intriguing sentence in Alma 51:

“[The king-men] were desirous that the law should be altered in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land.” [Emphasis added.] 1

Mormon’s choice of verbs and direct objects is instructive. If the king-men had changed the law, Mormon would have said so. Rather, he says they attempted to alter the manner of the law — manner being a method or approach, in this case probably synonymous with implementation. The law itself would remain in place, but how it would be interpreted and implemented would be altered.

These people presented their petition to Pahoran, the chief judge, that “a few particular points of the law should be altered.” 2 (Pretty cheeky: use the right of petition to undermine that and all other rights.) We don’t know what particular points they had in mind. They could have been lower judges, just as those who followed Amalickiah, and maybe they had found a penumbra. Or they might have been appointed officials bent on changing the wording of regulations, not to bring about an immediately detectable consequence, mind you, but to set in motion a series of small hinge-point changes that would eventually cause a major governmental change. In such positions, mischief is limited only by imagination.

Whatever the nub of the issue, we can be sure they postured their petition as no big deal — just a few minor corrections.

No subtle plans to see here, folks; move along, move along.

2. They Will Exploit the Desire for Power

Malickiah achieved power by promising power. This Nephite apostate and would-be king over both Lamanites and Nephites recruited followers with the promise that:

“If they would support him and establish him to be their king that he would make them rulers over the people.” 3

No dictator can survive alone. He gathers, maintains, and projects power through a coterie of followers who are promised authority and power over the people and a share in the extracted goodies.

Once in power, such wannabes are tempted by the misuse of power as bluntly described in D&C 121:

“It is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” 4

Power is a reward to those who have a need to feel superior. In a world of nearly seven billion people, it’s difficult for some to believe they are truly unique, and that God knows and loves each one of them. Far better, so they reason, to affirm their specialness by gaining power.

Toward the end of Willie Sutton’s infamous career, someone asked him why he robbed banks. His “duh” answer: “Because that’s where the money is.” Same with Washington — if you know the way, it’s a power magnet …

Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two, they’ll make you a czar

If you don’t make fame in L.A., you park cars and pump gas. If you can’t wangle a Schedule C appointment in Washington, you bide time in a bureaucratic slot or think-tank cubicle until fortune smiles and you grab that golden ring of high authority and low accountability — czardom.

Our current president has appointed more than 30 czars — drug czar, health reform czar, TARP czar, salary czar, car czar, even a Guantanomo-closing czar — unelected special aides with considerable authority over public policy, and virtually no check-and-balance mechanisms such as senate confirmation. More government intrusion means more opportunities for the unelected to wield power — and abuse it.

Count the many staffers, name them one by one.

3. They Will Consider Themselves the New Nobility

King Mosiah established the reign of judges and gave this guiding principle:

“Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law – to do your business by the voice of the people.” 5
The king-men of Zarahemla rejected this counsel and felt entitled to govern because of who their daddies were:

“Now those who were in favor of kings were those of high birth, and they sought to be kings; and they were supported by those who sought power and authority over the people.” 6

Those with nobility impulses today make less of a case for bloodlines (though some clamor for a royal American family — guess who?) and more of a case for intellectual nobility. They maintain that the smarter ones among us should rule (the philosopher king idea), and consulting the voice of the people is too laborious for solving urgent crises.

Hence the battle of the mind of God versus that of man. When God is acknowledged as the highest power in the universe, the selfish ambitions of men are somewhat constrained. But if the mind of man is deemed the highest power, then mental megahertz, cunning, and the management of the creature determine the winners. Which is why king-men, yesterday or today, will avoid discussing God’s mind and focus only on their own. They want a robust pecking order based on intellectual prowess.

The case for intellectual nobility goes up as belief in God goes down.

4. They Will Look Down on Others

My father-in-law, a county attorney and rancher, told what happened when an expert from the Department of Agriculture in Washington visited southern Idaho determined to help farmers and ranchers improve their lot in life. Commenting on lamb production, this expert told the poor benighted folks, “Your problem is that all the lambs are born in March. You have to get the ewes [he pronounced it EE-wees] to produce lambs uniformly throughout the year.” He was hooted out of the room.

Why did this man think that his college degree, his place of residence, and his title in a government agency gave him superior knowledge to people laboring daily in the trenches? If there’s a major symptom of the Beltway-Nephite disease, it’s the arrogant belief that people can’t run their own lives and must be told by enlightened ones what to do.

This plague of pride — “we are powerful, and our cities great” 7 — is the warp and woof of Nephite history, and shortly before the appearance of the Savior on the American continent, nobility by intellect added to the pretensions of nobility by blood:

“And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.” 8

Puffed up with pride, those who feel superior soon enough ask, “What’s the use of being a noble if no one cares or notices?” To be sure they do, hello ridicule.

In America today, outright persecution of the poor is rare, but put-downs are not. Elites on both coasts (especially the Beltway and Manhattan) make fun of “fly-over country” and cannot imagine anything of worth coming from the sticks. Comedians call us stupid and congressional leaders say we’re unpatriotic. As a pollster, I am confident that a solid majority of Americans would tell Mr. Maher and Ms. Pelosi that their arrows are half a compass off target.

And talk about geocentric chauvinism. I once conducted focus groups in New York discussing medical clinics and when Mayo Clinic was brought up, one man said, “If they’re so good, why aren’t they in New York?” Similarly, a woman in Washington was reported puzzling over the results of the 1980 election: “I can’t understand how Ronald Reagan was elected; I don’t know one person who voted for him.”

A self-anointed nobility has difficulty understanding those they deem lower on the rungs of society. Some in Washington have become so blind to common sense that they actually thought they could ask American citizens to snitch on friends and families who pass along “fishy” observations about the president’s healthcare agenda.

Fly-over country, indeed.

5. They Will Flatter

Tell someone he is better than someone else and he will likely believe it.

Almost every villain in the Book of Mormon shared two traits: fluency of language and flattery of the people. To name a few:

* Sherem was “learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery” 9

* Korihor demonstrated his power of language in an argument with Alma, who said it is better that Korihor be lost than souls be brought down to destruction “by thy lying and by thy flattering words” 10

* Amalickiah, the villain of choice in king-men days, was “a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words” 11

* Even Alma the Younger, in his pre-angel-appearance days, “was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people” 12

The essence of flattery is telling someone he or she is better than others, which pride-driven disease plagued the Nephites even before the first scrape of their boat on America’s shores. Flattery requires and builds on class distinctions — a shared sense of us versus them, the “them” being anyone the speaker chooses to demonize, especially those who have supposedly failed them in the past.

Flatterers in the Book of Mormon enlisted others in their fight against church and/or government by telling their listeners that they deserved better. They gave them a sense of purpose, of being important, of participating in a great event — a sense of Kumbaya togetherness and belonging to something bigger than themselves.

But trust them to make their own decisions? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Have things changed? If dissenting Nephites had bumper stickers for their chariots, they could not have done better than…

We are the change we have been waiting for.

6. They Will Deceive

Flatterers and king-men will …

* Rarely speak specifics or directly state their intentions,

* Use vague and nebulous terms that encourage the audience to hear what they want to hear while reserving private definitions that allow for different explanations later,

* Disarm the opposition by appearing to side with them when they really harbor opposite intentions, and

* Speak in frothy, feel-good, cotton-candy platitudes.

The king-men pretended to want to correct only a few details, but knew their plan would overthrow the free government. Amalickiah pledged fealty to Lehonti, the Lamanite king, while secretly having him poisoned. 13 And 50 years later, corrupt judges accused Nephi, great-grandson of Alma, of being un-Nephite, claiming he reviled against the people and the law, while they themselves belonged to Gadianton’s secret band dedicated to usurping the power of government. 14

The sad story is played out repeatedly. The prideful seeking power know they can never show their true agenda because, as Mosiah said, the greater part of the people will choose the right if given a clear choice. Therefore, they cannot and do not trust the people.

As a measure of our culture today, can you think of an adjective that more frequently modifies the word agenda than the word hidden?

7. They Will Strike When Crises Provide Opportunities

The king-men made their move when Amalickiah was running roughshod over the countryside and Captain Moroni and Helaman were out of town:

“For behold, this was a critical time for such contentions to be among the people of Nephi; for behold, Amalickiah had again stirred up the hearts of the people of the Lamanites against the people of the Nephites.” 15

Power expands and freedoms are lost when people face critical threats and are vulnerable to persuasion that their government be granted new powers.

If a situation is or can be manufactured into a crisis, people will allow suspension of some democratic processes (witness especially World War I and the Great Depression). Checks and balances give way to calls for a strong man to make decisions for the common good, however that superior being chooses to define it. Simplification looks enticing.

Never let a good crisis go to waste.

8. They Will Not Trust People’s Freedoms

The Spirit of God is also the spirit of freedom. 16

Power in the secular world is the right to tell people what to do and the policing authority to make them do it. Freedom is the natural enemy to that power. The two vary inversely.

The king-men came out in open rebellion against a free government for at least two reasons:

* They could not very well consider themselves noble and better than others if they were obliged to live under the voice of the people; and

* They wanted power and control, but the more people enjoyed freedom, the less the opportunity to obtain power over them.

The battle for freedom then and now boils down to one question: who gets to decide what? Who has agency — the person for himself, or the government for him?

When people, elected and unelected, show up on the Washington scene, we get dutiful lip service to the cause of freedom, but watch their actions. Do they protect the rights of citizens to make their own decisions, or do they work for bigger government, more intrusion into individual lives, and fewer decisions left to the average citizen?

If the latter, then they’re king-men — thirsty for power with little heed for the agency of man and lulling people into surrendering a few choices here, a few there, in the “interest of the common good.”

Elites do not champion liberties; they protect privileges.

9. They Will Oppose Efforts to Defend the Country

“And it came to pass that when the men who were called king-men had heard that the Lamanites were coming down to battle against them, they were glad in their hearts; and they refused to take up arms, for they were so wroth with the chief judge, and also with the people of liberty, that they would not take up arms to defend their country.” 17

Whether king-men personally pick up a weapon isn’t as important as the attitudes that drive them. The king-men of yore actively hoped for the defeat of the Nephite nation (probably thinking it would provide opportunities for power under the new rulers) and did not lift a finger to help until they were compelled to do so.

Can we spot king-men today by their attitudes? Apply these questions to those in power:

* Are they proud or ashamed of their nation?

* Are they anxious to share American values?

* Do they favor or oppose a robust military?

* Do they support or oppose defense innovations, such as missile defense?

* Do they demonize domestic opponents but apologize to foreign enemies?

* Do they allow interrogators to extract intelligence from sworn enemies to save American lives, or do they prosecute them for their efforts?

* Do they respect debate or do they attempt to intimidate and silence critics?

A would-be dictator stirs people to anger, but upon achieving power wants silent obedience.

Smell familiar?

* * *

The king-men did tremendous damage to the Nephite nation in six short years. Pride, subtlety, flattery, deceit, nobility, condescension, power ambition, geocentric chauvinism, opportunism, distrust of the voice of the people and disdain for freedom from government intrusions — the only element of king-men-ism absent from Washington today is an outright refusal to take up arms to defend the country. But there are many in power who are hobbling those who try.

If the events of 2009 and the attitudes of those currently in power are not those Mormon saw in our day, such that he included the king-men story in the Book of Mormon, what further parallels must occur before we learn the intended lesson?

Are we so complacent to think that the king-men parallel lies yet in the future, a problem for some other generation? Are we willing to take a chance that 2009 could not possibly be the king-men day that Mormon saw?

Look around, America. The answer is clear — very clear.

* * *

Unlike king-men, Gary Lawrence welcomes opposing as well as supporting comments at

1 Alma 51:5

2 Alma 51:2

3 Alma 46:5

4 D&C 121:39

5 Mosiah 29:26

6 Alma 51:8

7 Helaman 8:6

8 3 Nephi 6:12

9 Jacob 7:4

10 Alma 30:47

11 Alma 46:10

12 Mosiah 27:8

13 Alma 47:18

14 Helaman 8:1-5

15 Alma 51:9

16 Alma 61:15

17 Alma 51:13

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An Enemy Hath Done This, pt.2

I wish I could post the entire text of this book here. Every sentence, every paragraph is profound. But here is a particularly poignant section--chilling in it's application to our current situation.
"As a nation we are strong. With the freedom of economic enterprise that we possess, we are able to produce as much industrial goods as all the world combined -- even though we are only seven percent of the world's people and possess only six percent of the world's land.

(Written is 1969, we are now the inheritors of the immense decline of which President Benson repeatedly forewarned. It seems we are the present witnesses of the fruition of his darkest worries.)
These abundant blessings have come to us through an economic system which rests largely on three pillars:

1. Free enterprise...the right to venture...the right to choose.
2. Private property...the right to own.
3. A market economy...the right to exchange.

Working together, we can maintain the strength of these pillars.

There are some in the U.S., nevertheless, who decry free enterprise, who would place business, agriculture, and labor in a government strait jacket.

Our economic order is not perfect, because it is operated by imperfect human beings, but it has given us more of the good things of life than any other system. The fundamental reason is that our economy is free. It must remain free. In that freedom ultimately lies our basic economic strength.

Let us admit the weaknesses that exist. Let us work aggressively to correct them. But never let us make the catastrophic blunder of putting chains on our basic economic freedom.

Yes, our phenomenal material advances have been the fruit of our freedom--our free enterprise capitalistic system, our American way of life, our God-given freedom of choice.

The progress of the future must stem from this same basic freedom.

Yet, these basic American beliefs, principles, and attributes are threatened today as never before.

By whom are they threatened? These basic concepts are threatened by three groups:
1. They are threatened by well-meaning but uninformed people who see the shortcomings of our economic system and believe they can legislate them out of existence. They try to reach the promised land by passing laws. They do not understand our economic system and its limitations. They would load it down with burdens it was never intended to carry. As their schemes begin to break down, more and more controls must be supplied. Patch is placed upon patch, regulation is added to regulation and ultimately, by degree, freedom is lost--without our desiring to lose it and without our knowing why or how it was lost.

2. Our heritage of freedom is threatened by another group--self-seeking men who see in government legislation a way to obtain special privileges for themselves or to restrain their competitors. They use demagoguery as a smokescreen to deceive. These people have no love for freedom or enterprise. They would bargain away their birthright for a mess of pottage. They would learn the value of freedom only after is was gone.

3. A third, still much smaller group is dedicated to the overthrow of the economic and social system that is our tradition. Their philosophy does not stem from Jefferson, but is foreign to our shores. It is a total philosophy of life, atheistic, and utterly opposed to all that we hold dear as a great Christian nation. These men understand our system thoroughly--and hate it thoroughly. They enlist innocent but willing followers from the uninformed and the unprincipled. Through rabble-rousing and demagoguery they play upon the economic reverses and hardships of the unsuspecting. They promise the impossible, and call black white, and mislead with fallacies masqueraded as truth.

If we lose our freedom, it will be to this strange and unlike coalition of the well-intentioned, the slothful, and the subversives.

It will be because we did not care enough--because we were not alert enough--because we were too apathetic to take note while the precious waters of our God-given freedom slipped -- drop by drop -- down the drain.

Heaven forbid that this should come to pass!"
Ezra Taft Benson, An Enemy Hath Done This, pg.24-26

I remember as a youth, President Benson speaking repeatedly to our generation, insisting that we were saved for these last days. I wonder if he foresaw that we would be the generation that restores the Constitution in the days that it would "hang by a thread". Heaven help us to have the courage and strength.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

An Enemy Hath Done This

I am currently reading a book by Ezra Taft Benson, published in 1969, called "An Enemy Hath Done This". This book is as profound as it is cutting in it's condemnation of Communism, Socialism, Fascism, and other atheistic government "isms". My highlighter is running out of ink in the second chapter.

I'm sure I'll be bringing you quotes from it on a regular basis. I'd love to hear from anyone else who'd like to follow along and read it as well.

One of our most serious problems is the inferiority complex which people feel when they are not informed and organized. They dare not make a decision on these vital issues. They let other people think for them. They stumble around in the middle of the road to avoid being 'controversial' and get hit by the traffic going both ways.

To the patriots I say this: Take that long eternal look. Stand up for freedom, no matter what the cost.

It can help to save your soul--and maybe your country...

May God give us the wisdom to recognize the dangers of complacency, the threat to our freedom and the strength to meet this danger courageously...

In this mighty struggle each of you has a part. Every person on the earth today chose the right side during the war in heaven. Be on the right side now. Stand up and be counted. If you get discouraged remember the words of Edward Everett Hale, when he said:

I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
(Familiar Quotations, p. 550)

We need more like this guy in DC