Thursday, July 23, 2009

Violence and Christ

"Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment -- even to death. If one had committed a murder; the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy." (C.S. Lewis "Mere Christianity") Both Cole and JH responded to me 2nd amendment posters with a somewhat different view point. I would like to describe here how I look at Violence with regards to the teachings of Jesus Christ and his apostles.

There are four basic views that Christians normally have with regards to violence and war. Most Christians will fall into one of these categories. Some Christians believe in Pacifism, others in Nonresistance, some adhere to the the Just War theory or when violence is just, and lastly some Christians ascribe themselves to a theory of Preventive War or of Preventive Violence.

To the best of my understanding pacifism takes the stance that all war and violence is morally wrong. Pacifist adopt the stance that the Lord instructed us to turn the other cheek and that love even our enemies and we cannot love someone that we kill.

Pacifists adopt the belief that all violence is contrary to the will of God and un-Christian. Pacifists believe that even using violence is self defense is morally wrong. If we cannot absorb the violence on a personal level without resorting to resistance or to retaliation how can we then be proponents of pacifism at a national or international level.

Some pacifists argue that we as Christians are citizens of God's kingdom and we should fore go the secular justifications of the world and we should obey God rather than men. That even though we live in a fallen world we should not be part of that world.

Nonresistance is a view that some Christians take that comes from the concept found in Matthew 5:39 that we should not resist and evil person. Adherents of nonresistance would not go as far being conscientious objectors in war or in violence but rather that we should be non combatants. That we can do good but that we should not personally resist the enemy by taking up weapons and hurting or killing others.

The Just War adherents of Christianity hold the view that an aggressive war or use of violence is wrong but that defensive violence is acceptable and that to support a nation's right to peaceful existence. Those who advocate the use of justified violence or war see pacifists and those nonresistors as not taking scripture out of context and avoid responsibility toward there fellow man. Some would even say that simply surrendering to evil is immoral.

Those who believe in justified violence see a Christian duty toward making the world a better place and that human life is a gift from God and should be protected and that violence is justified if it protects and defends the innocent. They believe as Christians they must make a stand against evil. If we do not stand against evil with more than words then how can we stand against evil in other forms.

Lastly we have those who believe in Preventive War. Preventive war advocates see that we should pursue the cause of justice further than simply defending ourselves against aggression. People who believe in preventive violence see that if self defense is biblically justified then why should we react to violence we know will happen. They would argue why should I wait for the first blow when in certain circumstances that first blow may be the first and the last if that first blow is sufficiently strong. If there is clear and present danger then Violence and war are justifiable. Preventing violence means that sometimes Christians will have to use violence to correct gross injustices, stop the Hitler's of the world, and stop innocents from hurt. As Christians we are bound by a moral obligation to lift the yoke off of those who are victims of tyrants and despots.

However I believe that this discussion should also look at some of the scriptural outlooks on violence. For these outlooks I turned to Keith Stump's article.

"Luke 3:14. "Then some soldiers asked him [John the Baptist], 'And what should we do?' He replied, 'Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely -- be content with your pay.'" John condemned not the profession itself, but the unethical practices associated with it. He nowhere advised soldiers to leave the military.

· Matthew 8:10. "I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith." Jesus thus praised the extraordinary faith of the Roman centurion in Capernaum. Jesus did not oppose earthly
governments or their right to maintain armies, nor participation of the faithful in those armies.

· Matthew 10:34. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Christ came to bring peace between people and God. But the inevitable result of Jesus' coming is conflict between good and evil on the earth.

· Luke 22:36-38. "If you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Thus Jesus warned his disciples of perilous times to come. They would need defense and protection. These are not the words of a pacifist. (This does not conflict with Jesus' forbidding Peter to use a sword in a religious cause -- Matthew 26:52; John 18:36.)

· John 2:15. "So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area...." Jesus violently drove the money changers from the outer court of the Temple. The Greek language implies that he used the whip on the money changers as well as on the sheep and oxen. Physical force can be applied with justice.

· Matthew 5:9. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Peace is rarely the product of appeasement. In the words of Billy Graham: "There come times when we have to fight for peace."

· Matthew 5:39. "Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." A slap on the cheek is an insult, but certainly an insufficient provocation for violence. Christians are to go out of their way to avoid conflict and live in a peaceable manner.
But those efforts will not always succeed. What about a more serious injury than a slap? To suggest that Jesus is requiring Christians to be passive victims of violence, abuse and exploitation is taking the scripture far beyond its intent.

Some commentators have also suggested that Jesus' advice involved a special circumstance. If his followers at that time had replied to Roman violence in kind, they would have been swiftly crushed, and the fledgling Christian cause extinguished. It should also be noted that Jesus himself did not quietly turn the other cheek when slapped, but boldly protested the affront (John 18:22-23).

Understood in its own context and that of other scriptures, "turning the other cheek" does not support an attitude of non-resistant pacifism in the global arena.

· Matthew 5:44. "Love your enemies..." Is there an incompatibility between love and the taking of human life? A Christian never delights in the killing of people. But one can actively oppose a criminal without hating him. Through the centuries, devout soldiers with deeply held Christian convictions have shown that it is indeed possible to overcome hate in one's heart and kill without a vengeful spirit of hatred.

"Loving one's enemy" does not mean accepting what he has done and allowing him to avoid responsibility for it. Love sometimes calls upon Christians to restrain an enemy that seeks to harm the innocent. Seeking justice is not inconsistent with loving and forgiving the perpetrators. An enemy can be challenged in love. We can forgive him, but he still has to live with the consequences of his actions -- and sometimes die because of them.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was saying that Christians should not lash out in revenge, returning evil for evil. Vengeance and vindictiveness have no place in the Christian life. But it is not inconsistent with biblical teaching to defend oneself and one's loved ones. Love requires action to protect human life. Self-defense is not revenge, but the restraining of further evil.

· Acts 10:2. This sympathetic reference to the "devout and God-fearing" centurion Cornelius implies an acceptance of the worthiness of a military career.

· Ephesians 6:10-17; 2 Timothy 2:3-4. These and other military allusions of the apostle Paul do not square with a pacifist orientation. A pacifist would never use martial imagery in a positive context. Jesus also used illustrations of war and battle to convey spiritual lessons (Luke 14:31). The New Testament does not renounce using the physical equivalents of spiritual weapons.

· Hebrews 11. Military men are among those recognized as heroes of the faith.

· Romans 12:17-19. "Do not repay anyone evil for evil... If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone... Do not take revenge...." Notice that Paul says, "if it is possible." Christians are to cultivate peace with everyone -- to the extent possible.

Hatred and vengeance must not shape our actions. But there is a difference between vengeance taken with a hateful heart and appropriate self defense. Retributive justice is not the same thing as revenge. There is an appropriate use of force that is neither vengeful nor vicious, and is aimed at seeking peace and justice.

· Romans 13. In this key chapter, the apostle Paul teaches that civil government is ordained by God and should be supported by Christians. Paul was no anarchist.

Those in authority, Paul notes, do not bear the sword for nothing. "He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer" (verse 4).

Here is an unambiguous biblical endorsement of the use of the sword for the maintenance of good order. As long as there are those who are bent on doing evil -- victimizing innocent, law-abiding citizens -- police and military will be necessary to restrain evil and protect the weak and innocent.

God has given human governments authority in the physical sphere. And nowhere in Scripture does one find a prohibition on Christians having full participation in legitimate governmental functions -- including the right to use arms to restrain and punish evildoers.

Spiritual Warfare

The above interpretations are presented to explain the majority Christian viewpoint, not to belittle or condemn other legitimate moral choices.

All Christians, however, can agree on this: Prayer can help resolve conflicts!

Physical warfare exists because spiritual warfare exists. There is an underlying spiritual conflict between the forces of good and the forces of evil. The powers of darkness are continually attempting to subvert the purposes of God. The apostle Paul acknowledged this spiritual warfare when he wrote that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the spiritual forces of evil" (Ephesians 6:12).

The clear mandate for all Christians, therefore, is to pray that evil will be restrained, and that the innocent will be protected. Prayer combats the evil forces ultimately responsible for violence and wars. This victory can be won only with spiritual weapons.

Further, it must be kept continually in mind that God will bless those nations that honor him. (Psalm 33:10-17). The strength of a nation is in its devotion to

God, not in the size of its armed forces. This is not to diminish the need for a strong defense, but to remind us that our ultimate confidence must be placed in God.

There will come a time when the nations of this world "will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." (Isaiah 2:4). All humanity will seek to live by the peaceable wisdom of God rather than the passions of corrupted human nature.
But that time is not yet.

Christians must not let the promise of the final removal of war distract them from working for its elimination here and now. We must reach out to all humanity, working to change enemies into friends, working to remove the causes of suffering, working to change the world for the better in every way possible.

For some Christians, this effort will involve participating in armed conflicts. Each individual is responsible before God for his own decision in that regard.

Regardless of our personal views and convictions, we can all thank God for the courageous men and women who fight against the evildoers of this world -- and especially those who, at this very moment, face peril far from home.

Many -- like Sgt. Alvin York -- are soldiers of deep spiritual faith, who prove their courage and character by fighting -- and sometimes dying -- for God and country.

They are all heroes.

Alvin York carried a Testament with him and read it through five times during his stay in the army. "It was my rock to cling to," he wrote in his diary. And so it is with countless others who bear arms.

Whether at home or abroad -- whether in times of peace or of war -- those who follow the Prince of Peace must be in the forefront of those working for a better, safer world -- whether their warfare is spiritual, physical or both. "

Also I would like to list some perspectives on violence and war from prominent Christians we can look at.

"Now personally, I'm a man of peace, but this is a defensive war against a destructive evil. As a Christian ethicist, I believe that the most loving thing to do is to seek out the evil perpetrators and their supporters and bring them to justice. If someone comes up and strikes me on the right cheek, I turn the other one. But if someone comes to destroy my family, love becomes justice."
-Henlee Barnette, professor emeritus of Christian ethics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Those responsible for such barbaric acts must be held to account. But we must be guided by higher goals than mere revenge."
-George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury

"So I speak as a Quaker of not particularly good standing.It seems to me that in confronting the forces that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the United States has no sane alternative but to wage war; and wage it with unflinching resolution."
-Scott Simon, host of National Public Radio's Weekend Edition

"Drape the sanctuary in black and mourn that we've had to kill."
Stanley Hauerwas at a forum at Duke University

There are certain truths in this world. I hope for a better world. I look forward with faith to the coming of our Lord where the Lion shall lay with the lamb, but until that time happens I realize that we live in a fallen world. That war and violence existed antemortally. That there was a war in heaven. I have been commanded not to murder but that does not mean I have been commanded not to kill in self defense or in preventing violence to myself. Yahweh himself is describes as a "man of war" in Exodus 15:3. Abraham in his battle to free his nephew Lot from Kedorlaomer did not leave Lot to live in slavery. Abraham who was by Paul counted to be the father of the faithful went after those who were the aggressor and attacked them and defeated them. If I must use violence to defend my God, my family, my freedom, or my country then I will do so. In taking up arms to defend my self or those I love from violence I will not do so with a glad heart delighting in bloodshed but with a reluctant heart knowing that one day I will not have to wage war any more and that violence will be a thing of the past.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday's Christlike Ideal of Humility

Last week the principle and ideal of faith were discussed and I give much thanks to Rev. Paul for helping me to have a better understanding of the principle. This week I will post about the concept of humility and how it applies to our lives. Humility is one of the greatest attributes man can strive to obtain, and while I am still a fledgling in the gospel of Jesus Christ I will seek to explain how I look at Humility.

Humility incorporates the idea of avoiding high positions when possible and discouraging and dismissing the flattering words of thoughtless friends. Humility can be thought of as a state of being meek in spirit, or freedom from pride and arrogance. A wise man once wrote, "Modesty is a shining light; it prepares the mind to receive knowledge, and the heart to receive truth. Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues." Humility also inspires an individual to learn by study, prayer, and divine guidance. It is a willingness to learn from others. It is the understanding that no mortal man can have a monopoly on the knowledge of all things.

Throughout the New Testament the idea of Humility can be found. In the Sermon on the Mount our Savior states, "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for their's is the kingdom of heaven."(Matthew 5:3) and then later in the same sermon our Master proclaims, "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the Earth."(Matthew 5:5) Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians states, ". . . in lowliness of mind let each esteem other(s) better than themselves." (Philippians 2:3) The savior also speaks of Humility in Mathew 23:5-12

" But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. "

Once again our Lord would not ask us to do something he did not do. Christ lived and emphasized the ideal of humility in his life.

He taught his disciples, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child..."(Mathew 18:4) or in Matthew 18:3 when he said, "Except ye be converted and become as little children." The savior was trying to instruct his followers that as children our minds are often open and inquisitive but as we grow older our necks become stiff and our hearts hardened to new information that does not fit with what we believe. We need to exhibit the humility to understand that we can still learn, that we do not know all.

When his disciples were jocking for position regarding who would be greater in the kingdom of God our Lord taught them " But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:" (Matthew 20:25-27) We must remember not to let our humility become a thorn for us. That we are not to take the glory of men upon ourselves. That our pride should not lead us to the vain ambitions of the world that include the love of honor and glory so that we might be greater than those we serve.

We must also remember to not so highly place our position and honor that we are not willing to serve those we should. The Lord taught this by example when he washed the feet of his chief apostle Peter and instructed him that though we might prize our present position and reputation in life we must not cherish these things so much that we are unwilling to lay them aside for the humble things we may be called upon to do. We must not be afraid to get our hands dirty from time to time.

The Savior speaks and teaches of the importance of humility in our lives because its opposite pride is what comes between a man and God. It is pride that stops a man from entering into a relationship with Christ or following Christ later on. A proud man will lose all of sense of duty to God. He will place himself in the place of God. He starts to think from this wrong position and it influences the rest of his life negatively.

Part of humility encompasses the realization that "thy will be done" instead of "my will." As a follower of Christ we must realize that God is our Standard of perfection and that in comparison to his perfect and infinite virtues we are sorely lacking.

"And every virtue we possess,
And every victory won,
And every thought of holiness

Are His alone."

When we can acknowledge the things that God provides for us we will no longer be arrogant toward our fellow brother and sisters. We do not advertise ourselves to others. We do not do things to be seen of men. We do not need to be like the Pharisees who did their deeds to be seen of men, sought the positions of honor at feasts, clamored for the best seats in the synagogues and the worst of these was that they thought they had no need of repentance from sin.

There are two parts to humility we should consider. We should have personal humility and social humility. Personal humility incorporates the ideas of a proper perspective of the place we have in God's vast creation. It also embodies the idea that we must have humility for out personal progression in our relationship with Christ. We must also note that humility builds character and that humility is necessary for a true rendering of service to others.

Thomas Edison realized the vastness of God's creation when he said, "We don't know the millionth part of one percent about anything. We don't know what water is. We don't know what light is . . . We don't know what enables is to keep our feet when we stand up. We don't know what electricity is. We don't know what heat is. We don't know anything about magnetism We have a lot of hypothesises about these thing, but that is all. But we do not let our ignorance about these things deprive us of their use."

We need to realize that, "The Heavens declare the glory of God; amid the firmament sheweth his handwork." (Psalms 19:1) We need to realize that the Milky way in which we live is but a tiny fragment, and within this tiny fragment is our solar system which is an infinitesimal speck and and within this speck is a microscopic dot which is Earth.

A test of humility lies not in failure but in success. When we are tempted to forget that all of our power and achievements have come because of God. We might deserve the success we gain in life but we will fail a far more important test if we do not acknowledge God's role in our success.

Baynard Taylor taught the idea of how humility can help us in the game of life,

"Our Business in life is not to get ahead of other people, but, to get ahead of ourselves. To break our own record, to outstrip our yesterdays with our todays, to bear our trials more beautifully than we ever dreamed we could, to whip the tempter inside and out as we never whipped him before, to give as we have never given, to do our work with more force and a finer finish than ever. . . To beat our own game means a great deal. Whether we win or not, we are playing better than we ever did before, and that's the point after all- to play a netter game of life."

Pride can keep us from providing service to those we should. Sometimes the color of ones skin causes us to be conceited and prevents us from doing the right thing. Other times we might be tempted to be a self righteous church goer, or we might possess the haughtiness or wealth or display the cruelty so often exhibited by social climbers. All of these sins can be overcame with the application of humility. If we do not have sympathy for our fellow man because of our pride we will no help them or serve them. Pride creates the idea of exclusiveness and unbrotherliness.

At the core of the ideal of humility is the expression that we must realize that we are no better or any more important in the eyes of God than anyone else who is striving to do good.

In closing I leave the words of a poet,

"He who must lead must first himself be led;

Who would be loved to be capable of love

Beyond the utmost he receives, who claims

The rod of power must first have bowed

And being honored, honor what's above:

This know the men who leave the world their names."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday's Christ like Ideal of Good Will

I decided I want to post something here having to do with how we can become better women and men. I would say that I don't mean to be preachy but my walk with Christ has changed my life and I want all of the world to understand how Christ can change their life for the better. If you don't want to hear about it then I'm sorry.

In the gospel of St. Luke Chapter 2:8-14 we the angels praising the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ say, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

In this angelic chorus two ideals are expressed. The first and most important is the praise of God. This is properly placed first as the beginning and the foundation of all our human hopes. For if we should deny God or fail to praise and exalt him, we can never thereafter exalt and praise man so highly.

The second ideal of the angel's song is the proclamation of "peace on earth and good will toward men." Christ lived the ideal of good will for the world so completely that He is our standard of perfect kindness and brotherhood.

"Yet in the dark street shineth
The everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight."

All of us must figuratively go to Bethlehem. As John Mulholland wrote, "All the world must go to Bethlehem though some but shut the door to Christ. . . all the world must go to Bethlehem and some will.. .find the world's wisdom there. . . All the earth must go to Bethlehem, for there is earth's hope."

If we are to become one with Christ as he promised, we must keep our "Christmas within."

"Then let every heart keep its Christmas within,
Christ's pity for sorrow, Christ's hatred of sin,
Christ's care for the weakest, Christ's courage for right,
Christ's dread for darkness Christ's love of the light
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!"

In having good will and being a Christian there are tests of our discipleship to Christ. R.H.L. Shepard said, "Christianity consists not in abstaining from doing things that no gentleman would think of doing, but in doing things that are unlikely to occur to anyone who is not in touch with the spirit of Christ."

One of the questions we must ask of ourselves if we are to have good will is do we have room in our personal lives today for Christ. Do we put first things first. Do we give too much of ourselves to something other than Christ whether it be music, books, art, the Internet, video games, playing outdoors, or many other things. Christ stands at the door knocking and saying, "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come to him, and will sup with him and he with me."

"Let not our hearts be busy inns,
That have no room for thee,
But cradles for the living Christ
And his nativity.

Still driven by a thousand cares
The pilgrims come and go;
The hurried caravans press on;
The inns are crowded so!

Oh, lest we starve, and lest we die,
In our stupidity,
Come, Holy Child, within and share,
Our hospitality.

Let not our hearts be busy inns,
That have no room for thee,
But cradles for the living Christ
And his Nativity." -Ralph Spalding Cushman

Someone once said, "Whosoever thinks long enough in terms of Christ, lives long enough in terms of Christ will, in the end, become like Christ."

If we follow Christ and become more like him each day that we walk in his footsteps we will naturally find that we begin to have more good will toward our fellow man. Let us follow our Master and he will not lead us astray and by following him there will be peace on earth and good will toward men.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Fourth Turning Part II

These archtypes also have refrence to "turnings" as the author describes them. There are four turnings.

The First Turning is a High —an upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism, when a new civic order implants and the old values regime decays. Old Prophets disappear, Nomads enter elderhood, Heroes enter midlife, Artists enter young adulthood—and a new generation of Prophets is born.

The Second Turning is an Awakening —a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime. Old Nomads disappear, Heroes enter elderhood, Artists enter midlife, Prophets enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Nomads is born.

The Third Turning is an Unraveling —a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, when the old civic order decays and the new values regime implants. Old Heroes disappear, Artists enter elderhood, Prophets enter midlife, Nomads enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Heroes is born.

The Fourth Turning is a Crisis —a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one. Old Artists disappear, Prophets enter elderhood, Nomads enter midlife, Heroes enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Artists is born.

Like the four seasons of nature, the four turnings of history are equally necessary and important. Awakenings and Crises are the saecular solstices, summer and winter, each a solution to a challenge posed by the other. Highs and Unravelings are the saecular equinoxes, spring and autumn, each coursing a path directionally opposed to the other. When a society moves into an Awakening or Crisis, the new mood announces itself as a sudden turn in social direction. An Awakening begins when events trigger a revolution in the culture, a Crisis when events trigger an upheaval in public life. A High or Unraveling announces itself as a sudden consolidation of the new direction. A High begins when society perceives that the basic issues of the prior Crisis have been resolved, leaving a new civic regime firmly in place. An Unraveling begins with the perception that the Awakening has been resolved, leaving a new cultural mindset in place. The gateway to a new turning can be obvious and dramatic (like the 1929 Stock Crash) or subtle and gradual (like 1984’s Morning in America). It usually occurs two to five years after a new generation of children starts being born. The tight link between turning gateways and generational boundaries enables each archetype to fill an entire phase-of-life just as the mood of an old turning grows stale and feels ripe for replacement with something new.

The four turnings comprise a quaternal social cycle of growth, maturation, entropy, and death (and rebirth). In a springlike High, a society fortifies and builds and converges in an era of promise. In a summerlike Awakening, it dreams and plays and exults in an era of euphoria. In an autumnal Unraveling, it harvests and consumes and diverges in an era of anxiety. In a hibernal Crisis, it focuses and struggles and sacrifices in an era of survival. When the saeculum is in motion, therefore, no long human lifetime can go by without a society confronting its deepest spiritual and worldly needs. Modernity has thus far produced six repetitions of each turning, each repetition lasting roughly the duration of a phase of life and corresponding to an identical constellation of generational archetypes. Each sequential set of four turnings constitutes a saeculum. (Pretty much all of this was taken directly from Fourth Turning )

The Fourth Turning

I am rereading a book entitled the Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Niel Howe that gives a new perspective on history that makes history somewhat prophetic. It addresses that old adage, "That those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." I am going to be copying and pasting alot from this website Fourth Turning

In the book four archtypes are used, The Hero, The Nomad, The Aritist and The Prophet.


We remember Prophets best for their coming-of-age passion (the excited pitch of Jonathan Edwards, William Lloyd Garrison, William Jennings Bryan) and for their principled elder stewardship (the sober pitch of Samuel Langdon at Bunker Hill, President Lincoln at Gettysburg, or FDR with his “fireside chats”). Increasingly indulged as children, they become increasingly protective as parents. Their principal endowments are in the domain of vision, values, and religion. Their best-known leaders include: John Winthrop and William Berkeley; Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin; James Polk and Abraham Lincoln; and Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. These have been principled moralists, summoners of human sacrifice, wagers of righteous wars. Early in life, none saw combat in uniform; late in life, most came to be revered more for their inspiring words than for their grand deeds.

A lifecycle outline:

As PROPHETS replace Artists in childhood during a High, they are nurtured with increasing indulgence by optimistic adults in a secure environment.

As self-absorbed PROPHETS replace Artists in young adulthood during an Awakening, they challenge the moral failure of elder-built institutions, sparking a society-wide spiritual awakening.

As judgmental PROPHETS replace Artists in midlife during an Unraveling, they preach a downbeat, values-fixated ethic of moral conviction.

As visionary PROPHETS replace Artists in elderhood during a Crisis, they push to resolve ever-deepening moral choices, setting the stage for the secular goals of the young.


We remember Nomads best for their rising-adult years of hell-raising (Paxton Boys, Missouri Raiders, rumrunners) and for their midlife years of hands-on, get-it-done leadership (Francis Marion, Stonewall Jackson, George Patton). Underprotected as children, they become overprotective parents. Their principal endowments are in the domain of liberty, survival, and honor. Their best-known leaders include: Nathaniel Bacon and William Stoughton; George Washington and John Adams; Ulysses Grant and Grover Cleveland; Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. These have been cunning, hard-to-fool realists—taciturn warriors who prefer to meet problems and adversaries one-on-one. They include the only two Presidents who had earlier hanged a man (Washington and Cleveland), one governor who hanged witches (Stoughton), and several leaders who had earlier led troops into battle (Bacon, Washington, Grant, Truman, and Eisenhower).

A lifecycle outline:

As NOMADS replace Prophets in childhood during an Awakening, they are left underprotected at a time of social convulsion and adult self-discovery.

As alienated NOMADS replace Prophets in young adulthood during an Unraveling, they become brazen free agents, lending their pragmatism and independence to an era of growing social turmoil.

As pragmatic NOMADS replace Prophets in midlife during a Crisis, they apply toughness and resolution to defend society while safeguarding the interests of the young.

As exhausted NOMADS replace Prophets in elderhood during a High, they slow the pace of social change, shunning the old crusades in favor of simplicity and survivalism.


We remember Heroes best for their collective coming-of-age triumphs (Glorious Revolution, Yorktown, D-Day) and for their hubristic elder achievements (the Peace of Utrecht and slave codes, the Louisiana Purchase and steamboats, the Apollo moon launches and interstate highways). Increasingly protected as children, they become increasingly indulgent as parents. Their principal endowment activities are in the domain of community, affluence, and technology. Their best-known leaders include: Gurdon Saltonstall and “King” Carter; Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. They have been vigorous and rational institution builders. All have been aggressive advocates of economic prosperity and public optimism in midlife; and all have maintained a reputation for civic energy and competence even deep into old age.

A lifecycle outline:

As HEROES replace Nomads in childhood during an Unraveling, they are nurtured with increasing protection by pessimistic adults in an insecure environment.

As teamworking HEROES replace Nomads in young adulthood during a Crisis, they challenge the political failure of elder-led crusades, fueling a society-wide secular crisis.

As powerful HEROES replace Nomads in midlife during a High, they establish an upbeat, constructive ethic of social discipline.

As expansive HEROES replace Nomads in elderhood during an Awakening, they orchestrate ever-grander secular constructions, setting the stage for the spiritual goals of the young.


We remember Artists best for their quiet years of rising adulthood (the log-cabin settlers of 1800, the plains farmers of 1880, the new suburbanites of 1960) and during their midlife years of flexible, consensus-building leadership (the “Compromises” of the Whig era, the “good government” reforms of the Progressive era, the budget and peace processes of the current era). Overprotected as children, they become underprotective parents. Their principal endowment activities are in the domain of pluralism, expertise, and due process. Their best-known leaders include: William Shirley and Cadwallader Colden; John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson; Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson; Walter Mondale, and Colin Powell. These have been sensitive and complex social technicians, advocates of fair play and the politics of inclusion. With the single exception of Andrew Jackson, they rank as the most expert and credentialed of American political leaders.

A lifecycle outline:

As ARTISTS replace Heroes in childhood during a Crisis, they are overprotected at a time of political convulsion and adult self-sacrifice.

As conformist ARTISTS replace Heroes in young adulthood during a High, they become sensitive helpmates, lending their expertise and cooperation to an era of growing social calm.

As indecisive ARTISTS replace Heroes in midlife during an Awakening, they apply expertise and process to improve society while calming the passions of the young.

As empathic ARTISTS replace Heroes in elderhood during an Unraveling, they quicken the pace of social change, shunning the old order in favor of complexity and sensitivity.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009


No matter what Christian faith you adhere to this teaches us that there is more to Easter than bunnies, eggs, or baskets filled with plastic grass. Let me know what you think of this video? Does it teach the reason for Easter? Thanks and Happy Easter

Thursday, March 19, 2009


The Meaning of the Atonement

From a talk by W. Cleon Skousen

Right now I would like to share with you some things that are beautiful and powerful and almost lost from the Church and were introduced by President Kimball at the Priesthood meeting on Saturday night, April 2nd (1977).

There are many profound and beautiful things that have been restored with the Gospel that are not often discussed. Sometimes when they are discussed, you will hear people say, "Why don�t the Brethren talk about that more?" Well, when the Brethren are heard in conference, they are talking to the world. If you get the Brethren together in a cloistered setting, you�ll hear it. If you are a group of missionaries with one of the General Authorities, they�ll open up on the profound truths of the Gospel that are not generally discussed when the Brethren are talking to the world.

These truths are very sacred, and President Kimball introduced on Saturday night what I want to comment on briefly because it is the whole foundation of Easter, but it is hardly ever discussed. We just don�t talk about it, and we are the only people who know about it. And we have almost lost it as a doctrine of the Church, and I was thrilled when I heard President Kimball introduce it. He said, "I want everyone to understand that in this life we only have a very limited amount of Priesthood authority with which to function. There are many ordinances that must as yet be given in the next world, and one of them will be the ordinance of resurrection. We are not allowed to perform that ordinance here. It is an ordinance of the Priesthood. You�ll get it over there. Over in the next life you will also have the ordinance of begetting spirit children with your then resurrected bodies. That is something that we have no power to do here. Physical bodies, yes, but not spiritual."

Then he got on a theme that I am sure seemed strange to some ears. He said, "You will be able to have access to the intelligences in the universe and organize them and make planets and organize kingdoms." Now this is a beautiful doctrine, and it is time that we discuss it a bit more because if we understand that principle, it will help us understand why there had to be an atonement

I don�t know if this bothers you or not, but when I was a little boy in Alberta, Canada, and in Sunday School they talked about the terrible suffering of Jesus on the cross, I would say to my teacher, "Who wanted that anyway? Who was all that suffering for? Who is it to satisfy?" And my teacher would reply, "Well, it was to satisfy Heavenly Father." That didn�t answer my question. It seemed that if Heavenly Father wanted us to come to the earth, after we repented, all he would have to say was, "Come on back. You did the best you could." Why do we weed all this suffering? And all my life, at least until I went on my mission, I asked those questions.

So one day I was riding along with President Widstoe, who was in charge of all the European Mission. I was only 17 when I was called on my mission, and I thought that this was my chance to ask Brother Widstoe all these questions that had been on my mind since I was a little boy and so I asked him. "Who told you to ask me that question?" And I said, "It�s my question. Nobody told me to ask it."

So he said, "This is the most profound question of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it shouldn�t be answered until people are at first capable of wondering about it so they can understand the answer. So I�ll share the answer with you over a period of time." (And if you�ve never wondered, you can stop reading right here.)

That�s great!" I said and started getting out a pen and paper. "If you�ll just give me the scriptures, I�ll write them down." He started to tell me, "One scripture is in the D&C, another is in the Book of Mormon." "Aren�t you going to give me the chapter and verse?" "I wouldn�t deprive you of the pleasure of finding them yourself."

As my mission continued, and after it as well, I would report in on my progress. He would say, "You�re doing quite well. Try the 38th section of the Doctrine and Covenants," and so on. It took me another seven years until I finally put it all together, but I was so thrilled when I finally did it and he said, "Yes, that�s the picture now." I�ll give you all the references so it won�t take you seven years.

Actually read the passages and you will begin to see what a marvelous ocean, an avalanche, a veritable waterfall has been poured out upon the Saints in the latter days, and some of it we have allowed to run off without really appreciating what it meant.

No the first is in 2nd Nephi 2:14. Here is what you shall read. Father Lehi says that everything in the universe is made of two things. This is where we get our building block concept. Something to act and something to be acted upon.

Your next reference is D&C 93:29. A thing that acts is called Eternal Intelligences, plural.

The next one is D&C 93:30. These intelligences are independent and act voluntarily. They are not compelled, and the Heavens wait on them until they obey. They don�t do anything until they are ready�just like us. And our Heavenly Father built the whole universe with this element of action. This energy factor in the universe is intelligence, and it only operates as fast as it wants and in a direction it is willing to follow.

Now Abraham 3:19. These intelligences are graded from the lowest to the highest, and the highest of all is God�s intelligence himself, and we are in between. Some intelligences were assigned to the elements, some were assigned to plant life, and some were assigned to animals. Those that were His very special, superior, super deluxe intelligences were given bodies in His image, and you are they. You are very, very special people.

Now, Joseph Smith describes this in D.H.C. 8:519. He says, "...And I explained to the quorum of the Twelve and their wives about the doctrine of Eternal progression of intelligences." Then he doesn�t tell us what the explanation is. So you have to go to Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and Heber C. Kimball, and they explain what he explained to them, but they got the doctrine from him.

All right, your next one is D&C 93:33. Those which are acted upon, see there is a thing to act and a thing to be acted upon, are called Eternal elements. It is element. It is matter. Joseph Smith said that matter existed in two dimensions. The very refined element is called Spirit, and the more coarse element is called this temporal matter that we have here (referring to the body). So it is that all matter exists on two planes. It is like ice and water. They are really the same thing, but they are on different dimensions. Now, everything is made up o a combination of intelligence and matter. These are the building blocks of the universe (Abraham 4:10, 12, 18 and Helaman 12:8-9).

If you�re a scientist, this will be very exciting information because our most advanced research scientists in the pure research area have just proven that this is true. Matter does not function mechanically. It has an element of finite intelligence they say. That�s what Burgeson, the French philosopher, called it. It can distinguish. It can choose. It doesn�t always do what the rules say. Same of those little elements are just as ornery as you and me. The go wandering around, and it is the aggregate, we say, that is the law of chemistry. In the aggregate, yes, but you look at them individually, and they are fooling around. As a matter of fact, Robert Milliken said that if all the elements were obeying all the rules of chemistry, you would never die. There is rebellion in the flesh, and it is called the "Seeds of Death."

At God�s command, the elements that have received intelligence attached to them will obey. You want a mountain to move, talk to it. God commands it, or His Priesthood does it by His authority. When God commands, those intelligences obey in the elements. That�s Jacob 4:6 and 1st Nephi 20:13.

You listen to Brigham Young discussing this principle. "There is light or intelligence in all matter throughout the vast extent of all the eternities. It is in the rock. It is in the sand, in water, air. It is in the gases and, in short, in every description or organization of matter, whether it be solid, liquid, or gas. Particle operation with particle." Now all of a sudden, we begin to catch the vision of this miracle of God�s creation. He goes into the outer darkness of unorganized intelligences and unorganized bits of elements and combines them together so that a little tiny bit of element has an intelligence attached to it, and now He can command it. The Lord has said, "I have given all of them a pattern which becomes the law by which they operate."

God speaks, and they obey. Things are made up of things that act and things that are acted upon. They have been identified for us by name, and President Kimball said that in the next world we will have access to these intelligences to organize our own great systems. Now, our Heavenly Father says, "You know what makes me God?" The source of God�s power is described in D&C 29:36. It is in some other places, too�Moses 4:1,4.

What makes him God? What makes, over a process of time, a God? "My honor is my power." My honor is my power so that when He speaks and says, "Water reorganize into wine," a very high grade of wine, there is no problem. It reorganizes. We call it a miracle, but it is nothing in the world but obedient intelligences. That is the doctrine!

Now, keeping in mind D&C 29:36, what would happen if the Father violated the confidence of these intelligences? What do you think would happen. No one on the face of the earth has dared to announce the doctrine contained in the back of Alma 42. No church has dared to suggest that God could fall. Our Heavenly Father has said, "I want you to know I walk the razor�s edge of celestial law continually in order to maintain the confidence and honor of all these who trust me, because that is the source of my power.

This gives us a while now understanding of our Heavenly Father. In Alma 42:13, 22, and 25, it is repeated over and over again. In Mormon 9:19, it is repeated. If He were unjust, if He were arbitrary, if He were false in any sense, He would what? He would cease to be God. Who dares to suggest anything to challenge the power of the Almighty Elohim, Chief of the Gods?! Our Heavenly Father says, "I want you to know and understand me. I word within very strict rules. I have to function so that I enjoy confidence and so not to violate it." In Alma 34:9, the Father says, "Once I put you down into the second estate, I lost all capacity to bring you back. If I brought you back myself, it would be arbitrary, capricious, and unjust and violate the rules by which the whole kingdom was established. I lost complete control over the possibility of brining you back myself."

God the Father cannot save us. See, these are the doctrines of the Church that we seldom see in these dimensions, but this is the Easter story. This is the real Easter story. Had it been left to the Father, He would have been helpless to get us back! If there had not been some other way for us to get back to the presence of the Father, we would have ended in outer darkness with Satan and his hosts. And everything that had been organized by the Father in connection with us, our Earth, the other earths on which part of this family is located, and all of the creations connected with it, would have disintegrated and would have gone to outer darkness.

Now this takes all the magic out of the creation. All of a sudden, the Father becomes much more rational, comprehensible, and our appreciation accelerates as we begin to realize what a remarkable, beautiful personality He is.

2 Nephi 9:9 says that we would end up with Satan and his angels were there no atonement, that it is absolutely beyond the capacity of our Heavenly Father to lift children who have stumbled while learning the difference between good and evil back into his presence because He has to operate according to law. All the other intelligences would say, "Father, they have sinned and come short of their glory. They cannot come back. Remember all the laws that held us back. We didn�t get to be these top people. We were graded down. You kept talking about laws. We are they who demand justice, and will not let them return." And should God try it, as it says in Alma, they would cease to honor Him, and He would cease to be God. That is the doctrine. Then how do we do it? Alma 34:11 says no person can suffer for the sins of another person. That�s the law. That is what all these little intelligences are saying. You just stop and think why that is so.

If I commit an offense, a very serious offense, can you die for it and satisfy this audience? Do you thing you could, even though we love each other, and you say to everybody, "No, don�t let Brother Skousen be killed. I�ll die for Brother Skousen." Do you think they are going to be happy about that? No. It would violate your sense of justice and it does all those little intelligences and Alma 34:11 says that no person can die or be punished for the sins of another and have it be accepted as justice. The demands of justice, that is what these little intelligences defend. "They cannot come back, Father." Everybody see the problem?

Now, the genius of the solution: The gods know that these little intelligences have a capacity for compassion. Therefore, the atonement is based not on law, but on mercy. That�s in Alma 34:15. In other words, we are going to try to get to these little intelligences in some way so that we can overcome the demands of Justice. The families of God must have worked this out eons and eons ago with other families. So this is the pattern.

Remember when they were selecting a Savior? Jesus volunteered. Then Satan said, "You know, Father, this is a very old-fashioned plan. I mean, this isn�t necessary. You can satisfy the intelligences of the universe. Just put your children in strait jackets and get them through the second estate, and it is a great idea I thought of. I really would like credit for it. I am offering the whole human family no-risk insurance. All I am asking is for you to give up on this hang-up that this family has always had on this free-agency thing. It�s only for a little bit of time. We take them down, they get bodies, we prevent them from violating any laws, and we bring them back. It is that simple."

"No," said the Father, "it is not that simple," apparently implying that if you introduce compulsion into our eternal plan of salvation or into the cosmic universe you also plant the seeds of what? Revolution. Disintegration. Everything we have out there is moving as it is willing to move. You don�t get any revolution that way. But Satan said he would start a revolution, and he got it. I wouldn�t be surprised if the real followers of the Father were a minority for a while. We had a big, uncommitted, in-the-middle majority.

Jesus said, "Father, I will do it your way. I will do it the way they have always done it before. We do have casualties, true, bet we are able to maintain voluntary participation. I know that someone has to suffer in order to have an atonement and create that felling of compassion, but I�ll do it."

And so we had a big argument, and revelation says that the war in heaven was a kind of big testimony meeting. We said to one another, "Look, Father�s way is the right was. We don�t want to introduce compulsion. If we start compulsion, who is to say where it will end? Lucifer is trying to steal the throne of our Heavenly Father and he wants glory for it and there is nothing in that direction but rebellion and destruction."

We finally got two-thirds on our side. I won�t be surprised, when we see this vision, to learn that we only had a minority to begin with, but we finally got our majority while the other third went for no-risk insurance. They wouldn�t take a chance with us

All right, now how does this atonement work? Watch how the principles function. You are an intelligence. You are capable of being subjected to so much sympathy and compassion that you stop asking for every "pound of flesh" that the law permits. To overcome the demands of justice on all mankind, you must have a person who is infinitely loved as it says in Alma 34. You know that infinitely means universally. Everyone recognizes that. So we take a spirit who is so superior that he is the first counselor in the First Presidency of Heaven. He is so honored that when the Father wants something done He speaks to this person, and then he in turn speaks to these intelligences. He is identified as the Word, the one through whom the word passes. He is loved and respected by all, just like the Father is. So we use him. He is infinitely loved, and we have him come down to the second estate and live a perfect life without offense so that he can return to the Father. While laboring among the human family, we have him suffer so terribly that the little intelligences of the entire universe are affected. They abhorred the suffering that he went through. They loved him, as it says in the Book of Mormon, and the very elements cried out against this torture of someone they loved. All this was done by design.

That was the mission of Jesus Christ. He had to suffer so much that when He goes to those little intelligences and pleads on the behalf of someone who did the best he could, which is called repentance, they�ll say, "Well, he shouldn�t go back, but if you want him to, after all you�ve gone through, then, yes, he can go up." That�s the atonement. Listen to Alma 34 as we hear the prophets who used to understand and preach this doctrine extensively, which we kind of stopped preaching among ourselves. Alma 34:15, "And this he shall bring salvation to all those who believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy�" Whose mercy? Our Father already has mercy for us. This is His plan. We don�t have to create that in Him. We have to create that in those who are demanding justice. "Father, they have sinned and come short of the glory of God." That is where you must arouse the bowels of mercy which overpowereth justice. And thus, mercy can satisfy the demands of justice and encircle them in the arms of mercy, while he who does not exercise faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of justice. Therefore, only unto him who has exercised this faith is brought about the great and eternal plan of salvation.

Now let me turn to Doctrine and Covenants 45, and you listen to the Savior telling you about it. Verse 3, "Listen to him who is the advocate of the Father, who is pleading you cause before Him saying, Father, behold the suffering and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified. Wherefore, Father spare these my brethren that believe on my name." You see how he did that? He doesn�t plead for those who do not believe in him. He can�t. That would rob justice. "Spare these my brethren who believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life." And the Father can do that without ceasing to be God. Because of what? Mercy. Let me give you an example of how that works.

During the Civil War, there was a 19-year-old soldier who went to sleep on guard duty. A whole section of the Union army was wiped out in that particular sector. He lost many of his very best friends, all because he fell asleep and the opposing forces were able to make a surprise attack on one flank of that particular defense effort. He survived the battle, was court-martialled, and was sentenced to be hanged for neglect of duty and going to sleep, which is routine military law.

The death sentence and order of execution were placed on the desk of President Lincoln, and he was prepared to sign it. President Lincoln was contacted by a little old woman. I think she came in person, but I�m not sure. Anyway, this little mother said to President Lincoln, "When this war started, I had a husband and five sons. First I lost my husband and then, one by one, four of my sons. I have just one son left, and he�s sentenced to die for neglect of duty. He feels just terrible about what happened. He expects to die. He thinks it is only just that he should die. President Lincoln, I was wondering if you could pardon him, not for his sake, but for my sake."

And President Lincoln said, "Little mother, for your sake, I pardon your son. Pray God that he will survive the war and be a blessing to you all the days of your life." See how compassion works. It completely overcame the demands of justice, and nobody criticized President Lincoln for that decision.

would like to just pause at this moment and ask, "What is an Intelligence?" It is a wonderful, self-knowing, eternal, little entity that says, "I am." "I am" is right inside. That is the seed of power. You want to know what an intelligence is? It�s you. And you are one of the very advanced intelligences. You are so smart that one of your brothers, at your level, thought that he was as smart as the Father and tried to take over the Father�s kingdom. Than is something the other intelligences wouldn�t even have thought of.

I tell you this is an exciting place to be. And it took eons to bring us here, and everyone is so precious that Heavenly Father says that if you see one of them trying and backsliding, we must work with him and forgive him seventy times seven as long as he is trying. Keep pushing, and we might make it eventually. Maybe you have an Alma the Younger in there, who knows?

Towards the evening, they went to the Last Supper. They partook of the Passover lamb, and ho looked out as his twelve apostles and said, "One of you will betray me." Peter said, "Which one? John, you�re the closest, ask him which one." And so John asked, "Master, which one?" The Savior whispered, "Him to whim I give the sop." He then picked up a piece of bread and dipped it in the gravy and handed it to Judas Iscariot and said, "Judas, what thou doest, do quickly." Judas got up and just went out.

Now Jesus became very depressed and rose up and gave that beautiful high priest�s prayer found in John, Chapter 17, where he pleads to the Father, "to bless these that they might be one, as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they all may be one in us." And he said, "Bless these who shall believe in these words who have not seen me, that they also may be one."

Then he said, "Let us be gone. I need to pray." So they went from the part of the city where the poor people lived. It is dark now, and he tells eight disciples to stay by the gate. He took Peter, James, and John and went back into the grove and he had them watch while he went further up the hillside in the grove. Apparently, only John stayed awake, and he heard Jesus fall on the ground. He didn�t kneel on a rock, he fell full length on the ground, and he said, "Oh, Father, all things are possible unto thee, take this cup from me. Nevertheless not my will bet thy will be done."

What he is saying is, "Father, you are God! You can do anything. Don�t make me go though this. Please work it out some other way." And that is when an angel came to administer unto Jesus. What the angel must have said, though we don�t have the message, was something like this. "Oh, Jehovah, thou son of God, you do not have to do this if you don�t want to, but you should know that unless you fulfill this assignment, Heavenly Father will not only lose his family but the entire creation associated with them�the planets, the plants, the animals. Everything that you helped create will be lost and go back to outer darkness from whence it came."

He must have said something like that because when the angel had finished ministering unto him he said, "Thy will be done." He sweat great drops of blood. We can�t understand how terrible it was, but Jesus himself has given us an idea of what he went though in the 19th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, in which he said at the beginning of the 15th verse, "Therefore I command you to repent�repent, lost I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger and your sufferings be sore�how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, how hard to bear, you know not. For behold, I God, have suffered these things for all that they might not suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at ever pore and to suffer both body and spirit�and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink�Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men." In other words, "If you will be obedient and repent, the spirit will justify you, and I will sanctify you. I�ve done it. I�ve paid the price... don�t waste it! Come unto me. Remember. Come unto me."

Now Judas came with the soldiers, and Jesus heard them coming. He came back and found the apostles sleeping again. Judas came up to him. It is nighttime, and they want to be sure to get the right one, so Judas came up to him and, embracing him, says, "Master!" The Savior looked down at him and said, "Judas, betrayest thou the son of man with a kiss?" Then the soldiers cried, "Seize him!" Everybody fled. The Savior was taken to the house of Aninias, and all of you remember the terrible night he spent. You will remember the three denials by Peter. He is terrified. He will find it hard to forgive himself for these three denials.

The next morning there is an illegal trial before the Sanhedrin. They can�t kill Jesus without the consent of Pilate, and so they take him into the fortress, right next to the temple square. And right in the middle of that open square, they brought Jesus and turned him over to Pilate. Even Pilate, a gentile, tried to create sympathy in their hearts by flogging him and putting a crown of thorns on his head and letting the blood run down his face. Jesus� robe is saturated with blood, and Pilate brings him and says, "Behold the man." And they scream, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate said, "See to it. I wash my hands of this judgment."

So they took him with his cross and made him carry it as long as his broken body could support it. Finally they led him to the place of the skull, and there they nailed the nails first into his hands, then into his wrists, then his feet, and they lifted the cross into position, two thieves crucified either side of him. Towards the end he cried, "I thirst." They put a sponge with vinegar to his lips because it was supposed to dull some of the pain. He looked down in his agony and said, "John, behold your mother. Mother, behold your son." Apparently, Joseph had passed away. He was saying that John should take care of his mother. All this was foreseen by David.

Then, when the agony was almost past bearing and it was getting towards dusk, Jesus looked up and said, "It is finished. Unto thee, Father, I commend my spirit." Then he departed. At that moment Jesus became the Christ. He has done what was necessary to overcome the demands of justice so we could go back. He did it by the great power that was in him. He was gone for three days and three nights during which time he received a resurrected, purified, and glorified body.

That is the Easter message, and our God suffered so much that night in Gethsemane. And our Heavenly Father was suffering so much that night that he wanted at least one of his children here on earth to know what it was like, so he said to our great ancestor, Abraham, "I want you to take your best beloved son to the top of Mount Moriah, and I want you to offer him to me as a sacrifice." In Jacob 4:5 it says that this was done specifically so that one human father would know what the pain and agony was like when our Heavenly Father was asked by his son to "take this cup from me."

You know, as you begin to understand this beautiful doctrine, the foundation of which President Kimball was speaking about in Priesthood Meeting, the intelligences in the universe�the fact that they are here on earth�God and what makes him God�the fact that if he lost their confidence, he would cease to be God.

These are basic doctrines of the Gospel as it says in Jacob, Chapter 2. I don�t know what this knowledge does for you, but it has made me love my Heavenly Father like I never loved Him before. He loves me as much as He loves the Son. He had to go through all that to give me the chance to live with Him again. And I have learned to love my Savior like I have never loved Him before. Now I know what these two wonderful people did for me and you, for my children, and for all the people in the world�for the planet we live on, and for the beautiful things He has blessed us with. They would all be lost if those two beautiful people hadn�t done what they did. I love them for that.

bear witness to you, my brothers and sisters, from the depths of my heart, Jesus is the Christ. We have a Father in Heaven who loves us. The atonement is real. The atonement works. There is a resurrection. There is forgiveness of sin. And although our sins are as scarlet, if we will truly repent, all can be restored and taken back to our Heavenly Father, cleaned white as snow.

pray that our Heavenly Father will help us so that we will not let him down, so we won�t betray the Christ. Be good missionaries, and we will spread the message to our neighbors and take it to every valuable child of God, wherever we may find him. Our Heavenly Father�s children deserve every blessing and advantage that we can give them. We can�t take them faster than they are willing to go, but every soul that is saved will bless us beyond any measure that we can dream of.

May I leave my blessing with you and a prayer that we may be worthy of both the atonement of Jesus Christ and the Gospel which he has restored for our salvation. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

What do you think of this?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Forgotten Man

This is from The Forgotten Man
By Robert Awenius • March 1985

In the last ten years of the 19th century and the first ten years of the present the American republic was thrust into a great drama of American Destiny carried to the far reaches of the world. America breached the trade barriers of Japan and China, and after winning the Spanish- American War, wrenched Cuba and the Philippines from Spain. The Philippines became an American colony and the idea of American Destiny moved strongly across the Pacific Ocean. We witnessed American imperialism; we were told it was our duty to carry the American concept to the world.
We strongly backed freedom for the Philippines, placing at one time as many as seventy thousand troops there and later sending ten thousand young American teachers and experts on sanitation, nutrition, tropical medicine, and agriculture to improve living conditions and wipe out disease. This Philippine adventure was a great pivot-point in American history, and as was stated by Richard O’Connor in his book Pacific Destiny:
It signaled our determination to gain and hold supremacy in the Pacific and over as much of Asia as our military power could sustain. The consequences of that move have involved us in three wars so far and promise an unending, possibly unavailing conflict on the Asian littoral.[1]
Not all persons approved this stated American notion of world power. One great voice in opposition was a crusty conservative Yale University professor named William Graham Sumner, who based his opposition on humanist grounds. His voice was prophetic because what he said also relates to the title piece of this article. Sumner’s reasoning is put this way:
The Forgotten Man, to whom he referred continually in his essays, was not the slum-dweller but the person who paid his bills for what later sociologists would term the disadvantaged. The Forgotten Man of Sumner’s canon was the one who “just when he wants to enjoy the fruits of his care, is told that it is his duty to take care of some of his negligent neighbors, . . . but the point now is, that if preaching and philosophizing can do any good in the premises, it is all wrong to preach to the Forgotten Man that it is his duty to go and remedy other people’s neglect. It is not his duty. It is a harsh and unjust burden which is laid upon him, and it is only the more unjust because no one thinks of him when laying the burden so that it falls on him. The exhortations ought to be expended on the negligent—that they take care of themselves.”[2]
Sumner was saying that the millions of dollars of American wealth and resources spent on military and civil affairs at home and abroad were paid by the Forgotten Man, and that this burden was imposed upon him as a duty. His thesis went beyond application to the bellicose events of his era, since he meant his general theory to be applied broadly to all acts of the state.
So, likewise in the field of political science and sociology, the Forgotten Man is the common man who after working hard and paying his bills and taxes is told by the liberal establishment (oftentimes his government) that it is his “further” duty to become responsible for all the unfortunate persons, institutions, or other entities who, through negligence on their part or for other reasons, look to the government for their support.
Here, for example, is the teen-age girl who becomes pregnant outside of wedlock. In the view of many, if she has no funds for an abortion or for childbirth, these expenses must be paid by the state. And, further, when she goes on welfare she will receive Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) until the child’s eighteenth birthday. All of this is to be paid by the state from taxes of the Forgotten Man.
The Forgotten Man is told, also, that his taxes are needed to provide housing for families whose breadwinner fails to provide.
The farmer who produces more grain than the market will absorb at support prices is told by his government that his grain can be stored as collateral for a commodity loan, with the loan proceeds coming from the Federal treasury, and supported by the Forgotten Man’s taxes.
The arts and humanities groups (museums, symphony orchestras, theaters, painters, sculptors, writers, etc.) claim they are entitled to receive—and do receive—millions of dollars of government aid. And all this comes from taxes paid by our Forgotten Man.
He is told that certain categories of citizens—and even non-citizens—are entitled to have legal counsel furnished by the government, and this expense is to be borne by him through his taxes.
He is told that certain classes of citizens are entitled to food stamps, and he must pay for this through his taxes.
Our Forgotten Man is told that when a large national bank in a great city makes ill-advised energy loans that jeopardize the bank’s capital structure, the federal government should infuse billions of his tax dollars into that bank in order to save it.
In short, he is advised by liberal spokesmen that all the poor and unfortunate of the land should be taken care of by the government, and that he (the Forgotten Man) should pay for all this. Never mind whether many of the poor and unfortunate became so through their own negligence.
The Forgotten Man is told that besides managing his own life he also should manage others’ lives. In that regard the late Leonard E. Read stated, “Managing one’s own life is complex enough; managing the lives of others is impossible.[3]
And to support all this government spending again the Forgotten Man is called upon:
He is the Forgotten Man. If we go to find him, we shall find him hard at work tilling the soil to get out of it the fund for all the jobbery, the object of all the plunder, the cost of all the economic quackery, and the pay of all the politicians and statesmen who have sacrificed his interests to his enemies.[4]
Human Motivation
The Forgotten Man of whom we speak is in fact a very uncommon man in view of the burden cast upon him. He is a man of utmost integrity, and he has been so since civil social experience began. He has searched for certain ends and purposes in life and sought to reach them. He does not welcome all the burden that so many well-meaning people impose on him, since he places first in all his thoughts the provision for his own family’s welfare. The history of mankind shows this strong incentive is continually reduced by the state, as well stated by Russell Kirk in his book on Conservatism:
A . . . motive always has been the desire to provide for the welfare of one’s own family and heirs; but the assumption by the state of the functions of education, economic management, and responsibility even for foods-supply and housing, has diminished the responsibility of the individual here, while taxation has hacked at the very foundation of the idea of bequest.[5]
Today, as at the turn of the century in Sumner’s time, the Forgotten Man is paying the public cost of those who do not pay their share. In the Forgotten Man we behold the principle of dualism present in every person who pays his expenses and also those of the state. “He will . . . accept heavy taxation if he feels it necessary for the maintenance of Society, yet make every legitimate effort to keep his own contribution as low as possible.”[6]
This is the same Forgotten Man who during the war years of the nation does all of the fighting and most of the dying. In many of these wars he is told he is fighting for democracy, when in many cases the countries he is trying to save do not know the meaning of democracy.
When we are discussing the rights of our Forgotten Man, we are dealing in the field of civil liberty. In this respect William Graham Sumner ably stated it this way:
The notion of civil liberty which we have inherited is that of a status created for the individual by laws and institutions, the effect of which is that each man is guaranteed the use of all his own powers exclusively for his own welfare.[7]
All of history and philosophy tells us that the free citizen in a democracy should be guaranteed the exclusive enjoyment of all that he produces through work. It certainly is not the function of the state to make men happy; they must do it in their own way, and at their own risk.
The Oppressive State
For the Forgotten Man to be told by his own government or by other spokesmen that he has a duty to support others who do not support themselves, is to accept dictation by a privileged class that is asserting itself to create an immoral political system. This imposes upon his earnings an ill-defined duty to make others happy. Our Forgotten Man rebels at this duty others cast upon him because he wants the state to be kept within reasonable bounds of power and function. He full well knows that the state has a tendency to become oppressive.
The social doctors focus their attention on a group of people—the poor, minorities, workers—appealing to sympathy and imagination, and devising programs to care for them. They (the social doctors) set in force motion and forces that react throughout the entire fabric of society, and in the furtherance of their grandiose plans ignore the effect upon other members of society. They have developed the myth of a government competent to solve problems. They forget “that the State cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This is the Forgotten Man.”[8]
Their programs thus shift capital from one group of men to another. The men from whom the capital is taken, individually, are the Forgotten Men. This transfer takes from one and gives to another, who performs no productive effort to earn the property that comes his way. The property transferred—usually money—is diverted from productive use. The person who produces this property is our Forgotten Man. This largess brings to mind the illustration of a man who gives a hungry man a fish. The better plan for the small philanthropist to follow here would be to give the hungry man a fishing pole and teach him how to fish. When he is hungry again, he will fish for his meal and not ask for a handout. Sumner phrases the situation in this manner:
There is an almost invincible prejudice that a man who gives a dollar to a beggar is generous and kind-hearted, but that a man who refuses the beggar and puts the dollar in a savings-bank is stingy and mean. The former is putting capital where it is very sure to be wasted.[9]
In the above example the man who placed the dollar in a bank will start a process of the dollar going into the labor market as a demand for productive services. The real party in interest is the man who performs the productive service. He is the Forgotten Man. He is the one who the social doctors never think of when they lay their plans.
The way to keep the state within bounds is to restore to the individual his sense of self-reliance and the control of his private property and right to inheritance:
The conservative is no anarchist; he knows that the just state, kept within reasonable bounds of power and function, is a force for our common betterment; but today the danger is that the state shall become all, quite as oppressive as the danger, in other times, that the state might waste away to nothing.[10]
The state certainly has a proper interest in expanding the opportunities for its free citizens to pursue their happiness. In this free democratic society, of which we speak, the only duty a free man has to other men of his same rank and standing is to render the others respect, courtesy, and good-will; here his duty ends. In other words, what we are saying is that men who have not done their duty to others in the world never can be equal to those who have done their duty tolerably well. The class distinction which we see in a democratic society results from the different degrees of success whereby men have utilized their chances from opportunities placed before them. Sumner, again, says it well: “Instead of endeavoring to redistribute the acquisitions which have been made between the existing classes, our aim should be to increase, multiply, and extend the chances.”[11]
If, as a nation, we try to satisfy every demand put forth by the social planners who endeavor to help the “poor,” we’ll learn that there is no way to meet such a ravenous appetite. We might just as well try to bail out the Atlantic Ocean with a sieve.
At every step in the process of government, we should examine the effect on the Forgotten Man, since on his economic and political health depends the safety and security of our nation.
1. Richard O’Connor, Pacific Destiny (Little-Brown & Co., Boston- Toronto, 1969), p. 258.
2. Ibid.
3. Leonard E. Read, Meditations on Freedom (The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, Feb. 1972), p. 22.
4. William Graham Sumner, What Social Classes Owe to Each Other (The Caxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, Idaho, 1978, Eighth Caxton Printing, 1978), pp. 125-126.
5. Russell Kirk, A Program for Conservatives (Henry Regnery Co., Chicago, 1954), pp. 108 107.
6. Karl Mannheim, Freedom, Power, and Democratic Planning (Oxford University Press, New York, 1950), p. 282.
7. Sumner, op. cit., p. 30.
8. Sumner, op. cit., p. 108.
9. Sumner, op. cit., p. 109.
10. Kirk, op. cit., p. 120.
11. Sumner, op. cit., pp. 144-145.