Saturday, October 25, 2008

Earn Your Master Mahan Degree Online!

ITT Tech and The University of Phoenix were not the first institutions to offer accelerated courses with quick job placement. In fact, this marketing/education tool has been in use from the days of Cain and Abel. I speak, of course, of the Master Mahan degree offered at Satan’s University (“SU”). You can find information about SU, whose mascot (of course) is The Devil, through several ways: disregarding the promptings of the Holy Ghost, watching anything on MTV or VH1, listening to 99.99% of the music on the radio today, and many other ways.

“[SU’s inception] begins . . . with Satan seeking to promote himself even in the pre-mortal existence, and being cast out of heaven in his pride, and dedicating himself upon his fall to the destruction of this earth, ‘for he knew not the mind of God’ (Moses 4:6). [On earth] he . . . will control the world economy by claiming possession of the earth’s resources; and by manipulation of its currency – gold and silver – he will buy up the political, military, and ecclesiastical complex and run everything his way. . . . He not only offers employment but a course of instruction in how the whole thing works, teaching the ultimate secret: ‘That great secret’ (Moses 5:49-50) of converting life into property. Cain got the degree of Master Mahan, tried the system out on his brother, and gloried in its brilliant success, declaring that at last he could be free, as only property makes free, and that Abel had been a loser in a free competition.” (Hugh W. Nibley, APPROACHING ZION, pp. 165-166)

The proud Dean of SU, Satan himself, taught Cain “the great secret,” that you can murder your brothers and sisters to get gain. After graduating from SU, Cain said, “Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder to get gain.” (Moses 5:31) “Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan; and he gloried in his wickedness.” Id.

Graduation from SU entails a great secret combination, which is outlined in Moses 5. SU’s Master Mahan course of instruction includes 3 easy steps:

1) The student must love the Dean more than God,
2) The student must swear unto the Dean by his throat that if he reveals the secret he will die,
3) The student must make his accomplices swear by their own heads and the living God that they will not reveal the secret or risk losing their own lives, and
4) The Dean will then swear unto the student to do anything the student commands – like deliver the student’s brother unto him so that the student may murder his brother and take his brother’s possessions. (Moses 5:28-30)

Now that’s quick job placement! Satan imitates everything in the Gospel, and perverts it. His original plan was to save everyone, and now it is the mockery of the ordinances of the endowment. Look at Moses 5:29 again, the students swear by the Living God, but the Dean doesn’t want Adam to know about it because Adam is the head of the Church and would put an abrupt stop to it.

“The discipline was handed down through Lamech and finally became the pattern of the world’s economy (Moses 5:55-60). . . . One may see Mahan at work all around, from the Mafia, whose adherence to the principle needs no argument, down to the drug pusher, the arms dealer, the manufacturer and seller of defective products, or those who poison the air and water as a shortcut to gain and thus shorten and sicken the lives of all their fellow creatures.” (Hugh W. Nibley, APPROACHING ZION, pp. 166-167)

In the last days, John teaches that the “merchants of the earth” would weep over Babylon’s demise. Why? Because they lose their industry wherein one of their hottest products was “slaves and [the] souls of men” (Rev. 18:11-13). Some may say that this refers to false religions buying and selling men’s souls as prophesied in Mormon 8:32. But I believe Babylon enslaves and destroys men’s souls using “the great secret.”

The degree of Master Mahan is being earned every day at an unprecedented rate by people we see, and in some instances worship. I speak not only of the “merchants of the earth” who are the peddlers of the filth and immorality spewing from the Internet, our television sets, and radios, but also of celebrities whose immoral and idiotic lives have captivated millions of our brothers and sisters. Truly, the world’s economy in these last days is run on the Master Mahan system.

On a daily basis celebrities graduate (some with high honors) from SU and covenant, whether they know it or not, with the Dean. (I find it amusing when some of them attempt to be religious) The Dean, on the other hand, has no trouble delivering all of us unto them through the innumerable media outlets. Once we are captivated by the celebrity allure, the Master Mahan methodically converts our life into property, by taking our spiritual lives as we consistently throw our money, acclaim, and adoration at their feet.

Apparently, the system works! Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Generals in the War in Heaven Strike Back

For those of you who remember that unsupported quote from a few years ago that was attributed to Elder Packer about the youth being generals in the war in heaven, the time has come once again that a talk was attributed to Elder Packer from a recent Sacrament Meeting. It's possible that some of our readers on this blog have seen this forwarded, despite not being officially transcribed for publication.

FAIR has done some research and has posted its finding on its wiki here. Make sure that you stop the panic and hysteria on this one if you receive the forward please. Do a reply-all to stop this and send the FAIR link if you can.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lessons from Gorbachev

I recently bought a book at Ross for $10. It's called Atlas of World History and is like a 10th Grade History book with comprehensive charts and maps about major world events. It's nothing special, but it's a great book for basic research and understanding.

I was browsing though the book yesterday and was reading through the section on the fall of the Iron Curtain. Of particular interest was the discussion on perestroika and glasnost, programs that were designed to revive the stagnant and bankrupt Soviet economy. At that time, economic output was dependent on government mandated projections and not based on normal market pressures (supply and demand). Sovient Premier Mikail Gorbachev tried to use perestroika to open the Soviet economy to normal market principles, recognizing that his citizens were becoming aware of superior western living standards. Anyone can read about this on wikipedia or history books, but the following surprised me when I read it.

"One typical law passed as part of Perestroika was the law of state enterprise,
which allowed companies to determine their own output based upon the demand for
the goods they produced. Furthermore
the government was no longer
expected to bail companies out if they went bankrupt

I am not advocating one way or another for the recent bailout, but I do find it interesting that a Soviet reformer determined that its own economy was stagnant because companies could always rely on a state-sponsored bail outs and thereby could take unchecked risks.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Does Baptism Always Remit Sins?

After a baptismal service, I doubt that I am the only member of the Church who has heard a variation of the following statement given by a member of the Bishopric, “And we would like to introduce the newest and cleanest member of our Ward.” Is that individual necessarily the “cleanest” member of the Ward?

On May 15, 1829, the resurrected John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood. As explanation, John taught that the Aaronic Priesthood held, among other things, the keys of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins (see D&C 13)

As a result of such semantics it is supposed by many in the Church that the remission of sins comes in the waters of baptism. Independent of keeping the commandments, however, this is not and cannot be the case. The obvious example includes an individual who lies concerning his personal worthiness during his baptismal interview. Would this individual receive a remission of sins by simply entering the waters of baptism by immersion? Obviously not.

In “The Vision” received by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in 1832, the Lord revealed the separate qualifications required to enter the separate degrees of glory. With reference to Celestial Kingdom inhabitants, we learn that:

They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given— That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins . . .

Notice the difference between “the commandment” in verse 51 and “the commandments” in verse 52. Verse 51 speaks of the commandment to be baptized in the same manner in which Christ was, while verse 52 speaks of general commandments of spiritual worthiness.

Similarly, Moroni said in teaching this principle, “Baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth forth remission of sins (Moroni 8:25). Thus, it is not baptism that cleanses one from past sins, but keeping the commandments that make one worthy of such an ordinance. In some instance, this worthiness may occur some time after the fact.

The same principle, I believe, applies to ALL temple blessings as the Holy Spirit of Promise cannot seal the ordinance until worthiness has been demonstrated.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Does Illegal Immigration Fulfill Prophecy?

During the chaos of an election year, we are constantly bombarded with heated political arguments. One political issue, in particular, has always interested me in light of scriptural prophecy. I speak of illegal immigration through America's southern border and the immense effect that it has on the economy. Although I retain personal and quite strong feelings on the subject, this post is not intended to be a political commentary. Instead, I am simply putting forth my personal interpretation of a scriptural theory.

D&C 87 is generally remembered as the prophecy that foretold the Civil War. I submit that the revelation reaches far beyond that sorrowful conflict that pitted brother against brother and father against son to be as prophetic for us as it was when first recorded. D&C 87:5 reads:

And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.

What is this "sore vexation" that we are to be afflicted with? Some scholars argue that this verse is tied to Micah 5:8. They argue that this prophecy may find fulfillment through the events involving all 12 tribes of Israel and encompassing the whole earth. In my opinion, however, D&C 87:5 may see its fulfillment in the ramifications resulting, in part at least, from illegal immigration.

After administering the sacrament to the Nephites, Christ said:

14 And the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you this land, for your inheritance.
15 And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—
16 Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
(3Ne 20:14-16)

In short, the Lord promised Lehi’s remnant an inheritance in the Americas, and unless the Gentiles repent after they received “the blessing” (referring to temple blessings – see vs 27), the remnant is to act to acquire their inheritance. Christ stated that the remnant would go among the Gentiles, and be in the midst of them who are many. To me, this sounds a whole lot like illegal immigration through America's southern border, as 11 million+ Mexican citizens (a handful of “the remnant”) are among the many (300 million+) Gentiles.

Illegal immigrants are also “as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces.” A lion among a flock of sheep clearly causes havoc and distress among the flock. But the lion, nonetheless, is a “young lion” possibly meaning that it will not retain leadership capabilities. Instead, the young lion creates an abundance of difficulties that “shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation” (D&C 87:5).

Up until recently, I always thought that the “sore vexation” likely referred to the crippling effects of the drug trade that emanates from south of our border. But the frightening reports of the economic and moral effects that illegal immigration wreaks upon our land have me leaning toward a new interpretation.

Regardless, now that the temple blessings have been introduced on this continent for over 170 years, I don’t believe the Gentiles are repenting. Both Micah and Christ (and Mormon – see Mormon 5:15-24) make it clear that in the face of such a “sore vexation,” “none can deliver.” The only question in my mind, then, is the extent of damage that the “young lion” will have on this country.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

No Need for Modern-Day Prophets?

I recently returned from a business trip in western New York where I had the opportunity to travel for a few hours with an Evangelical colleague. I was surprised when he asked me to elaborate on the inception of the LDS Church as he knew we were driving through the same area where it had its humble beginnings. We spoke of the Book of Mormon, modern-day revelation and prophets. When I testified of a living, modern-day prophet he automatically replied with a handful of scriptures purporting to show that there was no need for prophets today as the Bible was to be our only guide.

In particular, he quoted from Hebrews 1:1-2:

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.

I did not argue what the scripture clearly states. Indeed, the verses simply detail Paul’s understanding of the nature of the Godhead: the Father’s word was spoken over the ages by prophets, but recently the Father spoke more directly by his Son. This did not, however, signify God’s end of his modus operandi of always calling a "go-to-guy" on the Earth to lead his people. Instead, as I explained, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

As we are all familiar, Paul illustrated the importance of divinely appointed apostles and prophets in the Church in Ephesians 4:11-14:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive....

In other words, without apostles and prophets, even a community of believers may be tossed about by every wind of doctrine, drifting like a ship without a rudder. For example, the false doctrine of infant baptism did not emerge until apostles and prophets ceased to be called in ancient times, marking the inception of the much-prophesied Great Apostasy. Soon basic doctrines about the nature of God became replaced with ideas more palatable to the Hellenized thinking of the 3rd and 4th centuries. This transformation of the faith was obviously completed by the writing of the Nicene Creed in A.D. 325.

I continued to explain to my colleague that without continued revelation through divinely appointed apostles and prophets, his Evangelical church, no matter how devout it may be, is like a ship without a rudder, depending on human logic and debates among scholars to settle issues and provide guidance. I paraphrased Brothers Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig Ostler in “Revelations of the Restoration” (pg. 55):

[T]he notion that salvation can be found in any of a host of contradictory doctrines defies reason and argues that God’s kingdom is one of chaos and disorder. We are being asked to believe that if a dozen people add a column of figures and each arrives at a different sum, we must accept each of them as right. After all, it is not the sum that you come to that matters but the zeal with which you add the figures that counts.

McConkie and Ostler continued to give another great example of contradiction:

Similarly, this notion argues that all men, women, and children who receive a prescription from a doctor are entitled to go to the pharmacist and concoct their own mixture of drugs. . . . [Such] a notion reveals itself to be a deceptive ploy lulling people into the belief that it is for them to dictate the terms of salvation and to determine the nature and character of God. In such a God, we have no interest.

Our theological discussion concluded when I boiled down Evangelical religion to Bible religion. In short, Bible religion is itself unbiblical as no one within the covers of the Bible ever had a Bible. Instead, their religion was one of apostles and prophets, and continuous revelation. Never in Bible times was God’s Church governed by a book!

God has always worked through apostles and prophets, and has not changed in that regard. As Amos 3:7 explains: “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Heavenly Father does His work through His servants, the prophets, to whom he reveals His truths and teachings. If there are no prophets, then something is clearly missing.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Temple in Independence?

Ok, I am speculating of course, but the announcement at General Conference that the Church will be building temples in Rome, Calgary, Cordoba in Argentina, Philadelphia and another temple in the Kansas City area, really got me thinking. The Kansas City area includes Independence, Missouri of course and we are all familiar with the divine commandment to build a temple there, despite different LDS groups already sharing the land. It's way too earlier to tell, but it would be one of the most interesting announcements of the new century if the temple was built there. There is nothing that LDS like to do more than speculate.

Take a look at what already shares the temple lot. My favorite is the sea shell.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Challenge to the Country - The New Space Race

I have some additional thoughts about the current state of the global economy. I apologize if it's not directly relevant to apologetics but it does affect us all one way or another.

We need a modern day space race to shake things up here. This is no longer the 1950's and 1960's where fears of Soviet missiles inspired us to beat them in the space races. We are losing the technology and educational/science battle and we don't even know it. President Kennedy harnessed our fear of the Soviets and used it to develop our science and technology plan for the 1960's. He said two months after Yuri Gargarin had reached space:

I believe that we possess all the resources and talents necessary, but the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshaled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to ensure their fulfillment...[Plan to put man on the moon before the end of the 1960's]. Let it be clear that I am asking Congress and the country to accept a firm commitment to a new course of action, a course which will last for many years and carry very heavy costs...This decision demands a major national national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, material and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of dedication, organization and discipline which have not always characterized our research and development efforts.
Well said indeed. I agree with Tom Friedman's idea advocated first in The World is Flat and more recently in Hot, Flat, and Crowded. What if the next president, whoever it may be, said something along the lines of Kennedy and demanded an accelerated program for alternative energy and conservation to make America energy-independent by 2018.

Think of the benefits:
  1. No oil dependence from unstable areas of the world where we are not welcome, usually including Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Russia to just name a few.
  2. $140 a barrel for oil? Need I say more? Wait until next summer or until another hurricane...
  3. A boom in green-technology where knowledge management is in the US.
  4. New job creation for the next generation.
  5. A decrease in gas emissions. If you believe in global warming, then this applies as well. Even if you don't believe in global warming, decreasing gas consumption is still better for the air.
  6. By removing ourselves from the Middle East, we would eliminate one of the primary reasons terrorists attack the US. Osama bin Laden's big beef with us is 1) Supporting Israel and 2) Having Jewish and Christian soldiers in the land of the Two Holy Cities (i.e. Saudi Arabia). With no Saudi oil to protect, those troops would be home asap.
  7. With no oil to rely on, the above-mentioned regimes would have no way to ignore calls to reform. Do you honestly think we can force the Russians to leave Georgia when they control Europe's gas lines? Ask the Germans who voted down Georgian NATO membership (hint: it was the Germans. Any guess why?)
  8. After we create our own energy independence, we can sell that technology to others around the world. It's a win-win for us all. We create and patent the technology, then sell it to others. If we don't someone else will create it and sell it to us.

I know this isn't a really LDS-based post, but we are all affected by global economics, whether we like to believe it or not.

We used to say to kids: Eat your dinner because children in India and China don't have any food." As Friedman puts it, we should say, "Do your homework because children in China and India want your job."