By Rod Johnson

Rodric believes Moroni included special instruction for Modern times and wants to share his unique perspective the same way Moroni shared in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Minimum Wage Hikes Create the New Slavery: Poverty

In the great state of Arizona Proposition 206 passed which raises the minimum wage and dictates mandatory sick days for workers. I understand the mandatory sick days and agree with that part of the proposition.
This IS wealth redistribution. The Government is trying to get the companies to cut costs in management instead of the little guy, the minimum wage earner. The problem with this is, why? I know as a business owner I would not keep my minimum wage laborers, my LEAST valued employees, at the expense of my income drivers--sellers, managers, supervisors, executives and such. Without them, there is no company! The reason why the minimum wage laborers are expendable is they have no value other than a cog in the machine to a company. Positions with minimum wage compensation are meant as platforms or springboards to higher paying and more important jobs. Move on, people! The minimum wage was not meant to be the end, but the beginning. I can replace minimum wage earners. They are NOT that important because they are easily irreplaceable.
As a Christian, it sounds harsh to admit that a person whose only contribution to the company is to mop floors or bag grocery is less important financially. It does not mean that they are less valuable as people—never. It means that the company values THEIR SERVICE less.
My arm is valuable to me. I would absolutely HATE to lose it under any circumstance because it would hurt and cripple my ability to do physical things. If I had to choose between keeping my arm or securing my life, goodbye arm! I can live with one arm, but I don’t want to do it. My arm is important to me. Employees are valuable to companies not matter their position, but some are more critical than others. I cannot live without my head. I cannot live without my nasal cavity or heart. Sure, there are EXCEPTIONS to the rule. People survive with brain matter missing. People have heart replacements. THE RULE, however, remains. Most will NEVER be exceptions.
As a business owner, which I am hoping to one day be, I would go overseas with my company if I could. I would not blame any business for leaving the States to keep costs down.

I do not believe in forced wealth redistribution. 

I even thought about cutting cost by asking the more valuable employees to take a pay decrease to keep the minimum wage workers who do the least desirable jobs. No. Just because I care about people does not mean I will stop rewarding my employees who merit it. I do NOT agree that people who lack the ambition to rise above their circumstances should get something for nothing. I do support taking a pay decrease to save the company when necessary. The proposition has created necessity by infringing on the efforts of business owners. That is the beginning of communism. Can someone remember the USSR, please!
I started watching undercover boss recently. Many people, good people are working in low paying jobs. They struggle to make ends meet, but they work. These people are stuck because of life circumstances, handicap, or tragedy. In this show, the leaders of the companies decided to improve things for their workers, not by mandate from the government. Now I understand why the Founding Fathers did not trust the American people to vote directly for the president of the United States. Thank God this is a republic and not a real democracy.
If I am not mistaken, South Africa is a true democracy. If they decide to become a kingdom, all they have to do is have a majority vote. Thank heaven we don’t have that here!
I am poor, disabled, and earning beneath my potential. But I will be damned if I want the government to pay me to stay mediocre or less. What message does that send my kids? Rewarding people who do not try to excel does not help them. It creates a people who think only to rise above if someone gives them a handout. People want to help people who help themselves because it shows that the investment in the person they helped will amount to something.

The Principle of Truth

The truth of the matter is a handout is sometimes needed. I know I have received many handouts. But if that is all there is, just a handout, a culture of entitlement rises and fewer people exist to drive the market. I am a Christian man who believes in helping people. A true follower of Christ will provide a shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry, clothes for the naked, and comfort for the weary. HOWEVER, not in perpetuity. Even Jesus requires us to repent to benefit from His sacrifice for us. Just because He has the Grace to give does not mean He will not allow people to go to hell who do not meet his qualifications for heaven.
We have made it harder in Arizona to support ourselves, our poor. All the prices will rise over time, but they don’t have too. We have become accustomed to the idea that inflation has to be! It does not. WE cause it to occur by electing the proposition to support inflation. The system does not have to increase. The dollar does not have to decrease. Unfortunately, I am only one voice.
I want to be wealthy one day. Whether I reach that goal or not, I don’t want the government or voters to infringe on my dreams. Alas, my words are tinkling in people’s ears. We have made the choice. Every person who has earned a pay increase above minimum wage has been slapped in the face whether they realize it or not.
All minimum wage earners are slaves to what the government thinks of them now. Only the government can help them rise up. The government CAN help, but it will destroy so many by hiking up the minimum wage. I believe in government involvement, but this is not good. We need to find a way to overturn this through the courts like same gender marriage propositions. I get to marry any adult human, but I cannot pay his or her worth in skills without the government deciding it for me. Seems unfair. Rant over.

Media Produce Fear of Police

My oldest son was outside with all of his friends as I pulled to a stop in our driveway. One of his friends had parked in my usual spot, so I parked behind the car that they all worked on that night.

One of the kids greeted me with a hug, his normal custom, and told me to turn around. He had a stern look on his face, which for this kid was uncommon but I thought that he was fooling with me as this and most friends of my son did often. I think of them as my kids too when they are at my home and tell them as much.

“Dad (all my son's friends call me that),“ he finally prevailed upon me. "You should really turn around," he said. I did. 

To my astonishment, a police officer stood behind me trying to get my attention. A Police officer followed me home! This happened in February of 2016.  He followed me without my knowledge to my house. He did not turn on lights or try to gain my attention in any way other than when I exited the car. 

What I imagined is the picture to the right. 
The scene in my yard so distracted me—of the commotion of teens—that I did not notice the patrol car in my rearview mirror approaching. The officer said, “Sir, I just wanted to let you know your right headlight is out.”

“Okay,” I muttered stunned, and a bit surprised that someone was behind me. The man was one of those fit cop-types too. The one you know knew some type of fighting style that could catch a criminal who darted away on foot.  

“You have a good night sir,” he said leaving. I think he might even have smiled.

“You too,” I responded. After he left, I grabbed the teen who alerted me, and I hugged him tightly with nervous laughter as if he was my rescuer from sudden death!

“I am so glad that you are White,” came the words out of my mouth! “I do not know how this would have gone if you and all these other kids (who were also White) were not here.” He laughed, but I was serious.

I did not let on that I was serious about my involuntary reaction words following the departure of the officer to them. I made a big show of how dangerous it is for me since I am Black and that cops shoot people like us. I had them laughing as I left them to enter my home. The officer was also a White person.

The officer I got was actually like the picture to the left.

One time in my life has the police detained me for looking SUSPICIOUS occurred in Nashville, GA because it was raining outside at night and I was running away from Judge Knight’s house. I had gone there with my cousin to use the phone. We then ran a quarter of a mile or so to the store where a patrol car pulled up, and the officers told us to wait there for our parents. The officers were not mean. We were kids, and we did what they said.

A neighbor had called out of concern because she saw two people running from the judge’s house when she knew that the judge’s wife was at home alone and ill. That we were Black may have been an issue, but I could never know. This neighbor would have called had anyone been running from the judge’s home.

Fast-forward to February 2016. My first reaction was to thank God that there were White people in my yard! I have never been hurt or insulted by the police. I felt guilty. He could have pulled me over and given me a ticket, but he did not. He waited until I was safely in my yard. He did not even yell at me but tried to gain my attention apologetically, and I returned his behavior with fear and distrust.

All of this is because I hear in the media that police shoot Black men, unarmed Black men. I live in Arizona where most people seemed to be armed due to the state laws so I could say he was polite just in case I was carrying, legally carrying and he did not want to surprise me. I could say that he saw the White people in my yard and decided not to harm me due to their presence. I could say many things. He probably didn’t even know I was Black until I exited the vehicle!

I am ashamed, though. I am ashamed that I have started to distrust the police due to what I have seen on TV, heard on the radio, and viewed on YouTube. It is this type of fear that I felt that causes people to believe things that are not true about others.  It causes prejudice.  Little by little, I am allowing the influence of the media to take away my trust in the police. Heck, my wife has an uncle who is a detective! He was an officer of the law for years before that. I have acquaintances who are officers of the law!

I have never been arrested. I received tickets and knew that I deserved them. Thank God I have never met the cops who abuse their position. Even if I did, I would be compliant. Why was I afraid?

I feared because the media, in order to reach its goal to sell information, has fostered a culture of fear and prejudice. They, the media, have taken true events and lambasted them across the information web so much that it has created hysteria. The media is what caused the phenomenon that ended up being World War II! Hitler used it to help win the election in Germany and start another Reich. 

Media, stop supporting fear in my heart and inform me so that I can actually make a choice based on education and not emotion alone. You have betrayed me Media. Stop making me afraid of the police. Stop polarizing the people!

Thanks to you REAL patriots of the world (all nations) who inform us of the truth—real reporters, journalists, and history recorders. I love my USA REAL Patriots for giving the truth though you are small in number. Thanks for keeping me honest about what is going on in society and with me. Now I can guard against the apostasy of New Media.

Getting Personal With Christianity: Messages in Dreams

I dreamed a dream that caused me to think that I will soon be disappointed by a church leader who I esteem highly and should
be prepared for it.

I know that telling the interpretation of the dream before revealing the dream is not the way Joseph, the 11th son of Israel did, but I felt that I wanted to get it out of the way before I started talking about the dream and talking of dreams in general.

I believe that God communicates to us not only by feelings in our hearts, impressions to our minds, or direct speech but also through dreams and vision. Since both dreams and visions are highly subjective and colored by the culture in which we live, God provides an interpreter of dreams.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost
The gift of the Holy Ghost is the privilege—given to people who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, been baptized, and been confirmed as members of the Church—to receive continual guidance and inspiration from the Holy Ghost.

How do I know my dream was from God? Well, it is simple. I have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and I can discern if something pertaining to me is from God or just mental release of stored information, which is what dreams normally are.

I am not a prophet, nor do I claim special privilege that other people cannot have. I just know that the dream or the revelation has relevance to me and I am getting personal with my Christianity and sharing it here.

Also, I did meditate on it and inquired of God if it was okay for me to share my dream. I felt it would be okay. One thing I have learned when dealing with God is that He does not give me things if I cannot keep most of what is given sacred until I am instructed to share.

You know how crazy people would think I was if I shared everything that God gave to me? I am referring to other Christians who would think me insane--let alone the non-believers! If I say that God spoke to me last night, and I have before, I get the raised brow and the knowing nod.

If I say I felt like God was telling me something, I get approval--almost like if it came down to it I could recant it and say that I was mistaken without hurting my image or trying the faith of another person. I have misinterpreted things I have received too, but that is a different issue to be addressed.

God Always Does Things with Purpose.
God would not just give me a dream, an answer to a prayer, or commandment without there being a purpose behind it in some way towards my benefit and salvation. Now, that goes for everyone on the planet too.

Every revelation that is from God that humanity has the honor to read has come to us through necessity. Moses had his visions so that he could lead and teach the Israelites after hundreds of years of slavery to be a free people under God.

Joseph Smith had his visions to restore the Church of Christ on the earth with its accompanying priesthood authority from God. God waited on both men to be ready to receive His communications, as he does for all of us--He waits until we can handle it.

What we choose to do with the information after He gives it to us determines how much more He will give to us. The last thing He will do is overload us or overwhelm us with knowledge.

He wants us to be able to gain understanding, which is why I try unsuccessfully to live the Gospel perfectly. By that I mean, I don't repent each time I make a mistake right away; otherwise, I pray too much and ask for forgiveness to think I am going anywhere but Celestial Glory, but that is another topic.

What is the Dream! I know, I know...
There I was at the home of my stake president with my wife and kids. For some reason, we were there doing some type of activity with our families that I did not pay attention to very well. My wife and I were sitting in the same room with our stake president talking about some particular issue while the president had one of his small children, struggling with him to get the child to comply with some command. It looked like the child was resisting him as he tried to finish dressing him.

As I sat there listening to the president talk, he threw some mild profanity at the child. My wife then exclaimed an affectionate reprimand, "Oh, my Bishop."

She may have only said those words in the dream, but the president and I understood those three words to mean more. She preached a sermon of loving forgiveness and warning to try to be better.

In the dream, I understood her using the title of bishop instead of president since he was also our bishop before he became the stake president. It was a term of endearment so to speak. He understood the reprimand and apologized for using the language and my wife, and he moved on to discuss, whatever it was. I don't remember from the dream.

The president still struggled with the child who fought him on every angle. This same child spoke with us as an intelligent person but transformed between being a young child and an older one. He was very obstinate, but not wicked as I could tell from the feelings that came off of him.

The president let out a few strings of expletives, and I did not know how to receive him after that. I lowered my gaze away from him as he spoke further. My wife again reprimanded him in the words, "Oh, my Bishop!"

After speaking with us for some time, the president asked me, "Rod, what do you think?" He referred to the ongoing conversation we had of which I do not recall.

I reflected on his question for some time and then said. "I don't know. I can't get passed what you did. I cannot even make eye contact with you because I am so disappointed."

That was all I said, but since it was a dream, it was not all I communicated. In those words, I communicated that I was shocked that he would speak to his child in such a crude manner and yet expect me not to comment on it.

I communicated that I was ashamed and hurt by the experience because I was expected to view him still as a Christian leader to direct my spiritual paths. I communicated hurt and sheer shame!

He replied, "I understand and am glad that you were honest with your feelings."

That was all he said, but what I understood was him thanking me for being willing to point it out and be honest with him instead of glossing it over and having a bad experience later. He admitted to not being perfect and still struggling with life's issues though God had called him to be in the leadership position he held. He apologized sincerely and humbly sought my forgiveness, which I gave.

I left his home with my wife and family afterward feeling satisfied with him, but aware also that he was VERY human and in need of God's grace as much as anyone else.

That brings me back to:
I dreamed a dream that caused me to think that I will soon be disappointed by a church leader who I esteem highly and should be prepared for it.

The Lord gives multiple interpretations of Dreams and visions
After I thought about it for a while, I put myself in the position of the president and took all of that first impression out of my mind. One of my children became the me-character in the dream, but my wife remained the same.

I wonder if my children see me the way I saw the president in the dream. I wonder because they see all of me. They have seen me at my lowest and my best. I am their spiritual guide. The older they get, the more imperfections they see in me. I strive with my children to do what is right and often find myself doing wrong and having to repent, just like in the dream.

My wife is my eternal companion, and we are both more prone to be tolerant of each other than other people would be including our children who will eventually grow up and move away.

My wife and I forgive each other of each infraction because we understand life a little more than our children in many respects. My wife always forgives or accepts my imperfections with counsel, but continues to respect me as a righteous man of God willingly listening to my counsel as I listen to God.

Placing myself in the position of the president and my child in the position of my character may be the way I was supposed to see it. I know that I cannot hide my imperfections from my children, but I should be quick to apologize if I make a mistake and move to help the children learn from my mistakes and move on.

So, I dreamed a dream that caused me to think that I will soon disappoint one of my children and should be prepared for it.
  • prepared to ask forgiveness. 
  • prepared to let my children understand that I am in as much need of the grace of God as anyone. 
By doing those things then maybe when they grow up and leave my home to start their own families, they will note that I was a man of God, but also a human with faults who had to depend on the merit of Christ just as much as do they. They will leave my home satisfied that all will be well with them and me.


Glenn Beck: Man of Faith

Updated on February 8, 2015

Is He Mad!

Shortly after I began my job at Cooks Pest Control (If you live in the Southeast US try them out), a fellow coworker introduced me to the Glenn Beck Radio Program. This coworker noticed that I am a fan of talk radio and he thought that I would enjoy Glenn more than I did Rush Limbaugh. He was wrong. I did not enjoy Glenn more. I enjoyed him differently.
When first I began to follow Glenn, I thought that he was a whiny and eccentric man. That has not changed. I still believe that he is eccentric and whinny, well, it depends on the show that day. I started listening to the program in 2002 and the quality of the station his show aired on was horrible. Back then, he just seemed to rant about anything that came to his mind. Come to think of it, that still is his thing.
What captured me is the sincerity in his voice and the passion behind his words. I used to think that any talking head could get on the radio and rant about things to get people all riled up. Glenn proved that I was right about that all along!
Anyone can do a radio show,
but only special people can start a movement and garner a following beyond political ties and religious beliefs. Only special people can find the spark of purity in the hearts of thousands upon thousands of people and promote a renewed spirit to stand for what is good in America!
Who is that person you say? Well, who is the article about?
Glenn Beck!! is not that person, but he is pretty darn close!
I mean, yeah, he did do all of that stuff but come on. He is a former alcoholic. He may have ADHD. He is an Independent for heaven's sake! Who in their right mind would listen to someone who would not choose between Republicans or Democrats? He is a comedian!
He tells jokes and entertains people! What does he know?
I suppose you are wondering if the subtitle above is about Glenn. It is not about him. It is about me, the writer. I say this because why on earth would I say anything negative about my hero?
I just wanted to get it out there before other people jump to the conclusions that media has already thrust upon them. I am not mad as in the true definition meaning insane. I am mad in the wrong definition meaning angry.
Why am I angry, well I just insulted my hero to prove a point! Every article that I read about Glenn baits me in by playing nice just to slam me with slanderous statements about Glenn that are not true! Well, some of them may be true. You know, the alcoholic thing is true. Well, and the comedian thing is true too.... To the point, there is more to Glenn than what the media reveals.
Actually, Glenn is the first to admit he is a regular guy. If regular is being rich, White and Mormon he is just your average Nephi! Kidding aside, Glenn has a way to reach people on the airwaves. Now that he has GBTV, he has added another option for clean entertainment for conscientious people.
Glenn Beck is a good man. Listen to his program and follow his life. He speaks the words that he lives. The fact that there is so much out here about him both good and bad is a testament to his willingness to own his life. He does no dodge the fact of his past addiction to alcohol or hide his past failures. Glenn cleaned his closet so that he can speak from the platform he does without worry that someone will rock him with some secret scandal.
He loves his family and supports his community. All that he does, he does with his family and nation in mind. He has used his popularity to make known causes and injustices that would have gone unnoticed otherwise. He cares about doing all that he can to support the troops, regardless of the person in the White House and he encourages others to listen and research.
Does he get it wrong sometimes? Yes, and he admits it--on air! He truly is a good man. I didn't say kind now. He has been working on his temper--which is what made me listen to him in the first place. "Get off my phone," is fun to hear when it happens to idiot callers on the phone! I am working on some anger issues myself.
His show in 2002 and now--you would think he is a different person.

Glenn Beck Changed His life


Man of Faith

It is no secret that Glenn Beck is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I recall when he did an entire program on the plight of the Mormons in 2002. I was pleased and appalled at the same time to find out that we went to the same church! It scared me. I promised myself I would never claim Glenn because of how he behaved on radio.
Then came the Glenn that won my brotherhood, which he should have had without having to win it--the compassionate Glenn that I noticed as the weeks, months and years passed. The words of encouragement to people and the tolerance he exercised. No more "Get off my phone!"
He evolved into a comedian of faith. His message is important with a twist of humor. He can tell it in his own words in the video.

Man of Faith

It is no secret that Glenn Beck is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I recall when he did an entire program on the plight of the Mormons in 2002. I was pleased and appalled at the same time to find out that we went to the same church! It scared me. I promised myself I would never claim Glenn because of how he behaved on radio.
Then came the Glenn that won my brotherhood, which he should have had without having to win it--the compassionate Glenn that I noticed as the weeks, months and years passed. The words of encouragement to people and the tolerance he exercised. No more "Get off my phone!"
He evolved into a comedian of faith. His message is important with a twist of humor. He can tell it in his own words in the video.

Mental Musings of a Jaded Republican, I meant Independent!

Donald Trump. Is he as bad as the media says he is? I am too prejudiced against him now to care to find out, sadly I already did not like him because of his behavior on regular TV. When I heard he was running for president I laughed aloud.No one would vote for him, I thought. 

I was wrong. I found his crass behavior entertaining initially. I even found myself identifying with him. I would like to tell someone where to stuff his or her attitudes occasionally. I then realized that I don’t do that because it is rude. I dismissed Trump and moved on. I would not want a rude president.

Now, the media has me afraid that there is going to be a race war. Trump is now the party leader for the KKK and any other anti-minority group out there! This all started when he became a viable candidate for president. Crass, yes he is. Racist? Well, he is now according to the media. I have never heard tell of him so being.  I am not in the world like that, though.

The media gave me video of Trump behaving in what they call a racist way. They say he hates Black people and I believed them. It seems that no matter what Trump does his laud grows. His celebrity grows particularly from supporters of Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party to which I belonged until I decided to be independent, the party that eventually freed my ancestors.

A fear begins to enter my heart about the Republican Party, the party of the first free Black people in America. It shows that I allow other people to think for me when I should do it for myself and trust my own research. I do not support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee and will not vote for him because he has bully behavior and that it the ONLY reason I should have. I have witnessed that. Everything else is smoke and mirrors. I fear for the Republican Party though I left it. I fear that it no longer stands for what Lincoln believed, the safety of the Republic of The United States of America.

So, if a republican candidate stands before me, all I see is the fear of discrimination. That is not what birthed the Republican Party. I became Independent because the party no longer represented what I thought it did in the past.

I am not inclined to vote for Hillary Clinton because of her association with the last Clinton in office. That's it. I am not judging her for her so called lies or even her political positions. She could not do much without a Congress to back her if she gets into office other than to appoint judges. I don't want her to win, no. I don't support her party's platforms.  I have never trusted the Democratic Party because they supported the enslavement of my ancestors. Yet, I find myself wishing President Obama could run for another four years and I did not vote for him in either election!

So, is racism alive? Yes, but not in my living room. Are police shooting people? Yeah, not the ones in my area. Is Trump the antichrist? I don’t know, but he is a bully. Am I a Republican? Depending on the day I might be, but not today. It is the party of my ancestors' emancipation. I do not like either party right now—never liked democrats. I fear I might have to write in a candidate for nomination—Mitt Romney.

We do not get to choose who wins president, but we do get to choose who runs. I suppose I will still carry my Republican card and live like an Independent. The old Republican Party is what I long for now. The old Republican party of Regan is what will save us. The Post Civil Rights Movement Democratic Party is also what we need. We need both parties to start again. Yes, I admit we need both parties to function as a whole in this nation.

We need a revolution in the parties and media to be true to its original purpose to further democracy by giving the readers awareness of the truth. Well, I suppose the readers and viewers need to revolution also so that we can be ready to hear the truth that the revolution media gives so that we can have good choices from the revolution parties to support, not just for the presidency, but all elected government. 

Getting Personal With Christianity: Overcoming Doubt

never thought of prophets as perfect. The Book of Mormon even claims prophets are not perfect. I did not believe in Jesus as a God until I read the Book of Mormon since I had lost my faith as a young Christian--if I had faith at all back then. I suppose I had tradition and I accepted the things that were familiar to me.

Over and over, the prophets in the Book of Mormon claim that if there are mistakes in the record, they are errors of men. To me, that is an admission that there would be mistakes--that we should expect some! Joseph Smith, Mormon, Moroni and Nephi were all important men associated with the coming forth of the book to us. If they made mistakes how do they diminish God's role in revealing to them the truth? It does not change the fact, in my case, that I spoke to God about their work/writings and He told me that they are true, a true testament to the divinity of Jesus Christ.

God told me in answer to my prayers certain things. I care, but less what Joseph did before he became a prophet or how many wives he had. And

It kills my spiritual high sometimes when people find out that I am a LDS Christian and they say, “Well, you know that they don't like Black people." 

I want to say, "Really? I am so glad you told me that! I've been in this faith for more than twenty years, and I just could not tell! I just assumed they were nice to me because they were Christian, but know YOU let me know that they were pretending! Yeah, and all the Black Mormons had to be pretending a nice also since there are so many of them in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now!"

Umm, yeah! The members of the church come in all the variety of humanity. I wish that I could say it and it be overwhelmingly accurate that because LDS claim to have the restored truth that it makes us better people. 
Who doesn't want to think their faith makes them the best? Humble people don't want to think that I suppose.  If anything, our faith makes us more accountable before God since we claim to have a direct line to God through a prophet, but people are people.  Israel had a direct line to God through prophets and look at what happened to then. They still worshiped false gods! 
People will be good or bad regardless of the religion. I hope that as Christians, we are more inclined to do good deeds rather. It has been my experience at the beginning of my walk with Christ that LDS earnestly endeavor to live the teachings of Christ. 
I have been a LDS Christian too long to assume someone will be nice to me just because we go to the same church. It is not the case. I have met people with racist ideas and notions. I have met rude people. I met these people in church!

So, do I believe that Mormons have been racist in the past and that some are still racist? Yes, I do believe that. Since when did being a disciple of Christ, mean that we are instantly perfect as a person, community or faith? It is not the church I am converted to per se, but the faith, the teachings of God through the imperfect people in the church.

People cannot accept that I asked God on many occasions about the church and His prophets and He tells me they are authorized to act and speak for Him. I trust God, so I accept the prophets as His official reps on the earth.

I still have my doubts and my issues about this or that doctrine or policy, which I speak about appropriately, but my purpose is to promote faith in others and challenge the things that make me doubt. I still have bouts with God about if He is there! I could see myself slip away from Him if I were to stop praying because then He becomes a distant memory and His revelations just the fanciful whimsy of my simple mind.

I choose not to indulge my doubts. I am sure President Thomas S Monson has issues that his family would confirm if they were inclined to do so. That would not change the fact that for me, God has told me Monson is a prophet. He, Monson, will have to repent of his sins just like I do, but he still represents the Lord officially as His spokesman.

Prophets can fall and lose their way just like any person, but they can also repent and be forgiven without losing their calling. They can also be wrong about something all the days of their lives and teach it as if it is right! That is the reason God gave us the Holy Ghost so that we can discern.  That is why we have 15 prophets instead of just one. We as a people have to learn to trust our personal revelation. We must also learn to keep the commandments so that we are not being led astray because the devil can give revelations too!

We are never to trust the prophet in a way that we exclude prayer and due devotion to God ourselves. If we did, it would be Satan’s plan: to follow blindly in obedience.

Apologists have the wrong idea. I used to be one before I came to my senses. I received such a convincing jolt to my misunderstanding of my faith that I rebooted. I found out that I knew only these two things: that God is real and the Book of Mormon is true. This happened post-mission 12 or so years ago.  Apologists rattled me to the core. I alarmed my wife and friends. They had warned me to stay away from it.

See, foolishly, I had stopped reading my scriptures much and praying with faith while I engaged in apologetics. I only wanted to debate with people about the LDS religion and its preeminence over all others. What rattled me was something that ended up being false anyway! I was just so far from my relationship with God my mind was weak. Doubt worked its way into my mind. Apologetics is great if it is tempered by sincere faith.

We do not NEED to prove the faith or make exceptions for it. I find it comforting that there are people willing to give intellectual explanations for things that are not clear. Those exercises on intellect should never replace sincere and abiding faith in Jesus Christ on a foundation of keeping the commandments He has provided.

Faith is to believe in the absence of proof, which comes with revelation after the trial of our faith. I can promise any of you who are struggling with your faith that read this blog that if you keep the commandments prayerfully, God will reveal the truth to you as many times as you need it.

He set it up this way so that we would seek Him. I know I would not pray as often if I had all the answers right now. What need would I have to talk to Him or develop an open communication with Him at all? It is hard! I have to put my remote down and stop entertaining myself to do that!

There is no proof of any religious belief other than personal revelation. God designed life that way so that we can have the freedom to pursue the gospel or reject it without condemnation if we lose sight of the truth.

For example, we know the law gravity exists, so if we jump off a building expecting it to go away, we will suffer the immediate consequences. It is not so with the gospel. If we choose to leave the gospel level of consciousness we espouse, Mormon, Baptist, Muslim, spiritualism, etc., we lose a little bit of our testimony at a time until it is all gone. We are not doomed to outer darkness but only to a lower kingdom which is still a part of heaven if we fail to repent. Atheists, in my estimation, still go to heaven! Devil worshipers still go to heaven!

I find comfort knowing I can still mess up and get a great reward. I have not seen God, so I do not qualify for outer darkness. But, oh boy for those who have seen Him and decided to reject Him afterward. There are few people with that reward. Nephi lets us know that the hell they will endure exists only for them, and the devil.

So, it is okay for you all to have your doubts. Just, doubt your doubts more than you doubt the things you know. Since many of us still have not seen God face to face, we can get away with more. However, since some of us have heard His voice, we need to think hard how we dismiss past spiritual experiences.

Mormonism is a culture, but the gospel is more than a culture, it is the truth, and I would give up all my heritage and cultures for that.

American Troops Posing with the Dead

The Psychology of Dismemberment

The news of the soldiers taking pictures with the body parts of enemy Afghan suicide bombers has swept across the American nation like a storm of alarm in 2012! Many people were exposed to such graphic images for the first time by the LA Times in an attempt to "expose their readers to the truth."

The relative truth in this exposure is hard to see. LA Times sold more copies and had more views on its website we can be sure. Why did the soldiers pose with the mutilated parts of an enemy suicide bomber?
Soldiers lose comrades in war. In a typical war, the soldiers deal with the psychological losses with the idea that they will be able to defeat the enemy and get revenge for the deaths of friends. The possibility that the persons who killed their comrades are still alive help them to focus their rage on war. Shooting enemies firing upon them gives the soldiers the justification to continue to fight until either the enemy surrenders and is punished for war crimes or is deceased.
In the case of the soldiers posing with the corpse in pictures posted by the LA Times, closure took on a different role. The soldiers in those photos may have lost friends to suicide bombers previously. With such, there is no enemy to shoot because the enemy is dead along with the victims of the bombing. There would be no closure because the soldiers could not seek out and destroy the enemy.
In this situation, the bomb exploded prematurely, so the soldiers reveled in the fact that the enemy failed in its attempt. The psychological effect the picture-taking had on the soldiers was a reminder that Afghan suicide bombers did not win. "You tried to kill us, but you only killed yourself." The soldiers gloated that their lives were spared and they modeled with the parts of the body of the bomber to memorialize the event.
It was not the dehumanization of the bomber but the understanding that a human that would do such a deed failed and pictures were taken as evidence of that failure. To the soldiers, this represented a defeat of the enemy in a war that is not conventional. Any victory no matter how it is obtained is celebrated and glorified. From the perspective of soldiers in combat areas with no sure sense of security because of the rules of engagement, this brought some comfort that an enemy will not kill them.
It is understandable that the soldiers took photos of the event with the memory that one who valued his life only to destroy others did not succeed. All that is left is the remains of the deceased who died without reaching his goal of destruction.
Let us celebrate our life and his death! Let us remember this occasion for years to come that we are alive and he is dead that tried to end our lives with his!
Can we identify with the soldiers on that level? I reason that we can. If our life was threatened and spared, would we oppose taking a picture with the scoundrel that attempted our destruction whether he or she was dead or alive?

Pick Up the Dead Pieces

Originally, I was incensed by the photos for a completely different reason than I am now. I read an article written by a fellow writerAverage American and passed immediate moral judgment based on the perspective of decency. I feel that my position was correct in decency, but my treatment was based on information from only one perspective.
I reacted with horror and disgust at those offensive images and the soldiers who would dare pose with them. I did not take into consideration the circumstances of the soldiers, their environment, and their psychological state. Many would say that their perspective is invalid because they did the horrendous act of using human body parts as trophies.
The government condemns it citing it will increase insurgent activity against the US, though I doubt seriously that insurgents need a boost to increase suicide bombs--this group already despises America and would attack whether the body parts were buried or photographed. The LA Times released the photos to get public attention and gain readers, not to inform the public alone. The military and the press understood the consequences of releasing the photos with a glaring headline that did not give the true meaning of the act of the soldiers.
Should soldiers be reprimanded who do things as morbid as pose with human remains? Yes. Should leaders of groups be charged with dereliction of duty to maintain order in the unit who allow this behavior? Maybe. Should the public weigh in on military affairs? No. We should direct our disdain towards the legislature who will send the issue to the Commander in Chief who will handle the morality of the issue.
America responds to sensationalism and then wants to end all operations because it makes them feel uncomfortable. The fact is that things like this happen in war. It will not be stopped by legislation or protests. The soldiers are not out there to keep the peace and are not trained to be peacekeepers. These men and women are trained to kill. If they wear the body parts of the dead, it is reprehensible but understandable.
Let us be quick to defend human decency but slow to judgment. Let us be quick to understand but slow to accept. Let us be leery of accusations, but open to the truth. Let us use all caution in dealing with this situation lest we find ourselves fighting on the wrong side.
No, we should not allow it. We should teach our young men and women at home to honor life even that of our enemies so that when the lack of leadership occurs to control the urge to lapse into a psychological truth to deal with grief and relief our children will think twice or thrice about the act. The seeds start at home and are not the fault alone of the soldiers.

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