Friday, December 12, 2008

Great post on following the prophets when the subject is not popular with the rest of the world

All of the resentment and frustration with the LDS Church's support of various moral issues struck a chord with me when I was reading the Book of Mormon in Alma 48:10  when Moroni was leading the people against opposition forces who were trying to usurp and destroy the people's liberties, it says:

"Alma 48: 10 And thus he[Moroni] was preparing to asupport their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of bChristians." (emphasis added)

I find it ironic how similar the comments are nowadays when Christians stand up against forces that would take away our freedom's; freedom to bring our children up the way we see, freedom to be free of morally relative persuasions in our schools, freedom to follow tried and true age old traditions that are the bedrock of functional and healthy society's like the traditional family and traditional marriage. 

I ran across the following blog post that had elements of several common threads and referenced a talk on Loyalty to the prophets I had posted on as well, it's a well written and very well documented commentary, I highly recommend it:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Traditional Marriage Wins across the nation

It's great to finally be over! Here are the results on Local Initiatives which I personally think will have more far-reaching effects than the presidential election.

Election results:
Prop 102 Official Results from AZ Sec State - Wins, 56%
California Secretary of State Prop 8 Results - appears to be winning, 52% yes with predominantly yes leaning precincts still reporting.
Florida Marriage Amendment - Wins - 62% yes

I am totally NOT depressed today, regardless of how crappy or possibly not crappy Obama is, the nation and people of faith scored a huge WIN in 3 states for traditional marriage and the ability to teach our children our values.

If you didn't see the No on 8(california Marriage initiative) commercial I recommend watching it on youtube, the voters shut those lies down. In short the video depicts MORMON missionaries (they actually use the phrase "We're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" in the video) breaking into a lesbian couples home and stealing their wedding rings and marriage license. Metaphor or NOT the video is a total lie and a major misrepresentation of young men who provide selfless service for 2 years in the prime of their lives. It completely distorts the truth and singles out the LDS church out of a group of more than 500 religions and faith based organizations supporting Proposition 8.

People of faith in California, Arizona, and Florida proved that hard work and dedication triumphed over lies and deceipt.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Arizona Proposition 102, Get out and vote!

I'm stoked for election day to be here, is it going to be positive?  I guess that depends on what you hope happens of course.   Ultimately life will go on no matter what happens with our favored candidates and preferences on propositions.  Recently I had someone at church discuss that they thought that it was interesting that our Church (The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-Day Saints) had such a strong opinion on Proposition 102, the Constitutional Marriage Amendment,  in Arizona.  It certainly took us by suprise to hear such support for anything having to do with Election day but it's not unprecedented, the church supports items that have moral consequences and infringe on anything that would limit the Church's freedom of practicing religion, which it's clear from various documented instances that this issue could have consequences, see this story from NPR:

NPR Article- When Gays and Religion Clash

If you have any doubts about the Church's perspective on Morality and supporting policies that have far reaching Moral effects I suggest the following reading: 
Religious Values and Public Policy: Dallin H. Oaks  - This Article describes in really great details the justification and reasoning behind Church support of non-political /non- party based policies and propositions.  

Historical Precedent for voting on moral issues
One very key and visible instance of support for membership voter action in Church History was regarding  Prohibition and Utah's part in repealing that Amendment.  Long story short the Prophet at the time, Heber J. Grant,  exhorted the saints to vote against repealing "prohibition", aka the law prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages.  The state of Utah ended up having the deciding vote that overturned prohibition.   In a 2003 article (linked here) President Hinckley discussed this issue and said how it affected President Grant, "President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel".   

How could Utah have let that happen?  In 1933 Utah must have been at least 90% LDS?  I would propose the following:
  • Not enough members got out and voted for maintaining prohibition
  • Many members of the Church rationalized themselves out of the support and didn't follow the prophet's admonition
I haven't done much research on that particular policy, my opinion on it is irrelevant but the issue at hand is will enough member's follow the clear call by our Church leadership to vote for maintaining marriage as God intended between a man and a woman.   Is it possible that what will likely win this proposition is simply that enough people show up who would likley vote yes?

Remember Edmund Burke’s statement: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.", ie.  The only thing nessary for 102 to fail is for member's of the LDS to church to NOT show up at the booth. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Which of the candidates have the most experience?

Ok, so I'm sick of the election cycle already - as if reading news articles or watching the talking heads spin their favorite candidate will make any of this better. I've been told time and again by my much better half to stop reading the news so I think I'll take that advice....after the election :-) Just kidding, but I did have a thought on a method of comparing the two candidates because aside from all the mudslinging I usually don't seem to get any kind of decent side by side comparison to go off of. Hopefully my comparisons will be devoid of bias as to invoke a non-emotional view on the candidates.

The news seems to love comparing experience and "readiness" of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates for office, in that case let's just make an assumption that since we cannot simply or easily judge the quality of a candidates' time in office we are forced to compare the quantity of actual work experience including non political service(excluding schooling although we could add that in if you are upset by it), in that case here are the numbers:

McCain = 22 years in the Navy, 4 years in US congress, 22 years in US Senate, Total: 48 years work experience

Obama = 1 year at Business machines(83-84), 3 years as community director(85-87), 4 years of work after Harvard Law school as attorney and lecturer at Univ of Chicago(92-96), 8 years in Illinois state senate, 4 years in US Senate(04+), Total: 20 years work experience

Palin = 1 year as reporter(88)? 4 years city council(92-96), 6 years mayor(96-02), 4 years as Chair of Alaska Oil and Gas Commission(02-06), 2 years Governor(06+, Total: 17 years (should we count raising children as work experience? I'd say yes because anyone working full time knows that's easier than raising kids, OK, I've talked myself into it and if you argue against it than you're a bigoted anti-stay-at-home-mom chauvinist), so accounting for that we'll say 3 more years for that- Total of 20 years work experience(oddly close to what Obama has)

Biden = 2 years public defender, 2 years city council, 36 years US senate = Total: 40 years in political service (Holy CRAP did this guy ever work outside of politics? answer is Yes, wow, for two whole years as a public defender)

Total for McCain / Palin: 68
Total for Obama / Biden: 60

Experience comparison round 2
After doing this I thought, OK - this could be biased, let's simplify it further and say anything AFTER their last round of school is considered "real work" and hence qualifies as work experience, let's run the numbers:

McCain: Graduates from Naval Academy 1958, to 2008 = 50 years experience
Obama: In this case we're going to go from his bachelors from Columbia (83) since he has a period of work experience between that and Harvard Law School (88-91 excluded): 21 years experience
Palin: Graduates from University of Idaho: 1987: 21 years of experience
Biden: Graduates from Syracuse University College of Law in 1968: 40 years of experience

Total for McCain / Palin: 71
Total for Obama / Biden: 61

Hmm - let's argue that? Why would I choose to use only post schooling experience you ask? Although as an overly educated student loan slave I firmly believe school is harder than work and many times much more difficult I also think that it isn't looked at on a resume in the same light as a "real job", HR departments look at school as one segment of life experience and work experience as another, hence my consideration of only post graduation experience. I also think that the propensity for group think and hive thinking is much greater in an educational environment than in a work environment where there is a far greater diversity of experience, backgrounds, age, talents, interests etc, the educational environment looks at things idealistically and critically, in the "real world" your grades aren't on the line, your job and bottom line is, it's kind of a different experience wouldn't you agree?

So who wins? On simple duration of experience, I'd say McCain has it hands down over Obama, together McCain and Palin have it over Obama and Biden. If you compare Palin to Obama it's actually pretty close, leaving aside "quality" and "depth" of experience, if you throw those factors in it probably leans towards Obama although he's a lawyer so that should be a couple of negative points. If you compare Palin to Biden, wait, you really can't, Biden's been in the Senate for his entire career(other than 2 years as a Public Defender), if anyone in the whole dang world doesn't understand my needs is that blowhard so I can't even remotely consider him.

I'll have to say for now that McCain/Palin score on the "simple" experience comparison. Plus, did I say Biden sucks?

Timelines for McCain and Obama are from George Washington University:
McCain: (Wiki)
Obama: (wiki)

Timeline for Palin from ABC News and wiki:
Timeline for Biden from Reuters and wiki:

After writing this post I decided I'll have to revisit other aspects of the candidate comparisons in subsequent posts, what I thought was simple turned out to take longer and that excluded any kind of quality analysis of the candidates experience.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What is Tolerance?

Man alive, it seems sometimes having an opinion or a stance on a moral issue is regarded nowadays as "intolerance" or bigotry? Really? Since when did having a value or perspective on an issue become intolerant and how is that justified? Intolerance, plain and simple, is not accepting that others can have a difference of opinion. Tolerance according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is: definition "2 a: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own "

I personally like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' recent discussion on tolerance in respect to the subject of gay marriages:

Tolerance, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom
Those who favor homosexual marriage contend that “tolerance” demands that they be given the same right to marry as heterosexual couples. But this appeal for “tolerance” advocates a very different meaning and outcome than that word has meant throughout most of American history and a different meaning than is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Savior taught a much higher concept, that of love. “Love thy neighbor,” He admonished. [13] Jesus loved the sinner even while decrying the sin, as evidenced in the case of the woman taken in adultery: treating her kindly, but exhorting her to “sin no more.” [14] Tolerance as a gospel principle means love and forgiveness of one another, not “tolerating” transgression.

In today’s secular world, the idea of tolerance has come to mean something entirely different. Instead of love, it has come to mean condone – acceptance of wrongful behavior as the price of friendship. Jesus taught that we love and care for one another without condoning transgression. But today’s politically palatable definition insists that unless one accepts the sin he does not tolerate the sinner.

As Elder Dallin H. Oaks has explained,
Tolerance obviously requires a non-contentious manner of relating toward one another’s differences. But tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination. [15] The Church does not condone abusive treatment of others and encourages its members to treat all people with respect. However, speaking out against practices with which the Church disagrees on moral grounds – including same-sex marriage – does not constitute abuse or the frequently misused term “hate speech.” We can express genuine love and friendship for the homosexual family member or friend without accepting the practice of homosexuality or any re-definition of marriage.

Tolerance versus Acceptance
There are those who claim that religious or morally motivated individuals are intolerant because they do not accept a course of action or activity because it clashes with thier values. In reality they won't consider a person tolerant until they are accepting or condoning of the activity with no value judgement whatsoever.

I really like this video on tolerance: