Mormonism and American Exceptionalism


As a follow-up to “Why Mormons Make the Best Presidents”, here is my take on why Mormonism and American Exceptionalism go hand-in-hand.

First, you have to understand that Mormons get their name from a man they consider a prophet of God. The man—named Mormon, of course—lived on the American continent between A.D. 321 and A.D. 385. He was the editor and compiler of the ancient scriptural record called “The Book of Mormon”, which he put together as a spiritual record of his fallen people who were destroyed in a bloody internecine war.

And, he did wrote it as a prophetic warning to us for exactly this time in our history. He saw our day in a vision from God and compiled the book according to what he observed in the vision. This book is written for us and we would all do well to read it at least once.

Throughout the Book of Mormon you will find many mentions of how America is an exceptional and special place. The book tells us that it was hidden from the rest of the world as a “promised land” that could only be possessed by those who served “the God of the land”, which is Jesus Christ. The righteous could live there indefinitely while the wicked would be “swept off the face of the land”. It was to be a place of freedom and liberty to those who accept Christ and keep God’s commandments.

Centrally, the record focuses on the visit by the resurrected Christ to “other sheep” whom he said to those in Jerusalem “are not of this fold”. Christ’s appearance to those people resulted in their passing along the experience to their descendants with such conviction that they could not help but have 200 years of peace in that part of the land.

Mormons believe this record is true, even if others do not. It gives us great hope when personal storms arise, or when national tempests, such as this election, threaten to destroy everything. We believe God’s promises to the inhabitants of this land, that if the majority of its inhabitants are faithful and believe in God, they will be free.

So, quite naturally, we Mormons get a little excited when, during the most defining moment in our nation’s history, where we are on the precipice of choosing socialism’s slavery or Constitutional freedom, one of our own, Mitt Romney, is so close to being elected as the President of the United States of America.  We don’t believe Romney is anything more than a man, with liabilities like anyone else might have (and in spite of the disputable, non-doctrinal LDS “White Horse Prophecy”). But, we do have hope that what he was taught in his home and in church settings about this blessed land will have an influence on his term(s) in office, should he be elected.

You see, this election comes down to the answer to a single question: Is America exceptional, or should it be brought down to the level of other nations in the world?

Our current president is on the record as stating that he only believes America is exceptional in the sense that Greeks believe that Greece is exceptional or that the British believe that Britain is exceptional. He finished that thought by saying that “in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.”

The present occupant of the White House believes that America needs to compromise its values and principles to conform to the notions of governance that other nations adhere to. This presumably (because of his choice of the word “collectively”) includes implementing, under pressure or threat by other nations, principles of Socialism and Communism into the American experiment.

Mormons don’t vote in a bloc. Believe it or not, we’re not all white Republicans and we don’t all vote straight ticket conservative. There are Mormons who subscribe to the Democrat party platform, the Libertarian party, the Constitution party, and just about every other type of party. There are even Mormons who subscribe to the principles of the Communist party (however misguided that association might be). The Church is politically neutral, allows its members to vote privately for whomever the individual wishes, and does not discipline or excommunicate people on the basis of their political beliefs.

However, it is undeniable that the majority of American Mormons do vote in line with conservative principles (if not always on party lines). That is because, by and large, the principles found in their scriptures and revealed doctrines are overwhelmingly conservative in contrast to the increasingly permissive and “progressive” worldview promulgated by American popular culture.

As might be expected of a church that was founded in America, Mormons believe strongly in the First Amendment guarantee to worship freely.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

In our meetings, whenever the subject of discussion is what we call “free agency” (the unalienable right of every person to choose his own path in life), we often reflect with gratitude on the blessings of liberty granted to us under the Constitution. We remark on the many miracles that accompanied the founding of this nation and we marvel at how undeniably God’s Hand was in all of it.

When we pray, we thank God that we live in a country and political system where we are (still) free to worship and establish Christ’s Kingdom. We pray for our troops, who protect us, and we pray that our leaders, from the local to the federal level, will be inspired with wisdom and righteousness so that the country can prosper.

We pray this way because we take seriously the warnings left to us in the Book of Mormon. Here is the summarized list of those warnings.

  • We are to watch our leaders for their participation in “secret combinations” (lies, frauds, and conspiracies) and not let such things “get above” us or escape our notice. Apathy is the enemy of freedom.
  • We are to defend our lands, our families, and our freedom to worship, and to prioritize personal and national sovereignty and its defense so as to avoid physical slavery at the hands of those seeking power over mankind.
  • We are to avoid contentions and internal strife so that we will not be weak upon enemy attack. We are to be united in righteousness.

Because these concepts are threaded throughout the entire book, thus making it particularly difficult to adequately call out properly contextualized examples, and because it is partially my goal to encourage more people to read this uniquely pro-American book of scripture, I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to find these treasures of wisdom. You can start here with the story of a family who, seeking to escape societal collapse and Babylonian captivity, fled Jerusalem near 600 B.C. and were led to America’s promised lands.

In closing, I leave you with the following video montage to help encapsulate the concept of “free agency” as it is understood by Mormons.

Are these not the very principles upon which America was founded? Is not American exceptionalism, at its root, a belief that rights come from God, and not from government? Is that not worth fighting for with every vote and with every conversation we have between now and Election Day?

Any questions? Just ask me in the comments, or on Twitter @proud2b4family.

Please think about what you’ve read here as you cast your ballot on Tuesday.

I miss Paul Harvey


He said it like he was…

Paul Harvey, 2005
Paul Harvey, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via If I Were the Devil – BEST VERSION by PAUL HARVEY audio restored – YouTube.

Scenes from a Beautiful Life: Heaven is Here


20120407-165034.jpgAs I sat waiting to get a haircut today, I picked up a copy of the April 2nd issue of People Magazine. Normally I can’t read this rag. The stories it carries are about as substantive, uplifting, and palatable as watching back-to-back reruns of “The View” or “Judge Judy”. It’s the literary equivalent of daytime TV, full of tawdry, shallow, narcissistic navel gazing by celebrities, and photos of other also-ran celebs doing nothing of significance in the larger scheme of life, the Universe, and everything.

Then I turned to page 82 (it was a long wait) where a story entitled “Scenes from a Beautiful Life” caught my attention immediately. The couple featured in the piece, Christian and Stephanie Nielson, had been the subject of a video posted on Mormon.org by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The video had gone viral but had staying power judging by the number of times I kept seeing it pop up on mainstream social media sites I frequent.

And, for good reason. The story they tell of their freak plane crash (Christian is, or was, a private aviation enthusiast) and their being horribly burned and disfigured is a touching and heartbreaking example of the incredible adversity the most ordinary of people can find themselves enduring. The expectation of today’s popular culture environment would be that the formerly comely couple would lose interest in one another after losing their physical attractiveness. They smashed such low expectations by rekindling their marriage through a whole new courtship. They reconnected with their children, even though it wasn’t easy for the children or their parents, and became an even stronger family today than before.

As a fellow Mormon, everything about their story I could relate to. I could put myself in their shoes and wonder of I would react as valiantly as they did to their trials.

I hadn’t known that Stephanie was writing a book on her comeback. The book’s title is Heaven is Here. You can order it on Amazon.com.

South Carolina Republicans have lost their minds and are losing their souls


Newt Gingrich winning South Carolina is a sad commentary on South Carolinian “conservatism”. I sincerely hope it’s only a one-state aberration, non-representative of the American conservative voters. But…

They were given three candidates (I’m not counting the Republi-tarian here). Two of those candidates have clean records when it comes to basic ethics and morality (don’t steal–and no, venture capitalism is NOT stealing–don’t commit adultery). One of them did not.

So, to avoid the horrors of voting for a candidate whose religion had a brief practice of Biblically-based plural marriage 117 years ago, and inexplicably rejecting the one remaining candidate who really is the ideal evangelical/protestant Christian by just about every measure, the record now irrevocably shows that South Carolina EVANGELICAL Republicans chose the adulterous, ethics-violating candidate as “their guy”.

From now on, I don’t want to hear one word from evangelicals about erstwhile Mormon polygamy being a reason Mitt Romney can’t ever win a national election. Not one blasted word.

What a sad waste of political capital in a moment where Republicans, who’ve been struggling to get back to their core purposes (protecting freedom and family), could have instead been seen as standing steadfast in the traditional values that have proven to make good men and women greater.

English: Al Gore and Newt Gingrich applaud to ...

Image via Wikipedia

There isn’t much else to say about that because it stands on its own. But by way of further illustration, Salon.com very “coincidentally” published an article entitled “Our successful open marriage” as if fertilizing the field (with the usual moral relativism B.S.) for sowing the seeds of “moral compromise”. The end result will be that we’ll get a candidate who is no more ethically above the fray than was Clinton (and who was especially hypocritical during the Lewinsky affair) Pelosi and Reid. We’ll get a candidate who cheats on his multiple wives and lusts in his heart for many women in an open marriage arrangement while running against a candidate who (that we know of) has never cheated on his one-and-only wife (the only thing I admire about Obama).  Even though Obama is obviously not squeaky clean in his own ethics, all we’ll have to show is a candidate who personifies the greedy, unethical stereotype the left lives to paint for us every waking minute of every day. “Better the devil you know” and “I take heart that someone older and fatter than me can still have an affair” will become the watchwords of the 2012 election among swing voters and hardcore conservatives, splitting the vote.

Congratulations, South Carolina Republicans. You just made it that much more likely that Obama will be the front-runner, with his terrifically dismal record on just about every measure of American prosperity. You gave us a leading party candidate who, when held up to the scrutiny and mudslinging of the dominant left-wing mouthpiece media, will all but ensure an Obama victory.

I hope you’re happy with yourselves.

Whose Land? God’s Land!


But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.

These words come from the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, chapter 1, verse 5 by way of Lehi, an Israeli merchant of the tribe of Joseph. He had been called as a prophet of God around 600 B.C., about the same time as Jeremiah of the Old Testament. When his own preaching led to mobs of angry protesters to want to kill him, Lehi was told in a vision to flee Jerusalem with his family, leaving behind his fortune and inheritance.

The land of promise mentioned is the Americas (North, Central, and South) where he spoke these words, and his son Nephi wrote them. What follows is a continuation of this sermon as he speaks to his family, particularly directing his comments to his two rebellious eldest sons, Laman and Lemuel.

Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.

Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.

Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.

But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.

Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.

Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.

O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.

Whether you believe Lehi was a prophet or was just a made-up character in a 500+ page book written straight through by a young man with a 5th grade education in 1829, doesn’t that sound prophetic to you? Especially from our 21st century, end-times, 20/20 hindsight perspective?

Reading on:

My heart hath been weighed down with sorrow from time to time, for I have feared, lest for the hardness of your hearts the Lord your God should come out in the fulness of his wrath upon you, that ye be cut off and destroyed forever;

Or, that a cursing should come upon you for the space of many generations; and ye are visited by sword, and by famine, and are hated, and are led according to the will and captivity of the devil.

O my sons, that these things might not come upon you, but that ye might be a choice and a favored people of the Lord. But behold, his will be done; for his ways are righteousness forever.

And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.

And now that my soul might have joy in you, and that my heart might leave this world with gladness because of you, that I might not be brought down with grief and sorrow to the grave, arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;

That ye may not be cursed with a sore cursing; and also, that ye may not incur the displeasure of a just God upon you, unto the destruction, yea, the eternal destruction of both soul and body.

Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.

It is time to re-unite our nation under a banner of personal righteous living. More than any collective “salvation” such as fixing “climate change”, or adopting international so-called standards of behavior, personal righteousness and a desire to please God before man is the only action that will pull us away from the brink of destruction in this promised land called The United States of America.

Vatican Fulfills Ancient Prophecy About Anti-Christ: Calls for ‘Central World Bank’


I don’t believe in the Rapture, per se, but I do believe in the signs of Christ’s Second Coming and that He will come again…if only to rescue those who want to be rescued from complete and total annihilation at our own hands because of our own stupidity.

Euro Zone: Vatican Calls for ‘Central World Bank’ to Be Set Up – CNBC

Update: The October 2011 article on CNBC is now down the memory hole. Luckily others had copy/pasted it for posterity. I quote:

The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises.

A major document from the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department should be music to the ears of the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators and similar movements around the world who have protested against the economic downturn.

The 18-page document, “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority,” was at times very specific, calling, for example, for taxation measures on financial transactions.

“The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” it said.

It condemned what it called “the idolatry of the market” as well as a “neo-liberal thinking” that it said looked exclusively at technical solutions to economic problems.

“In fact, the crisis has revealed behaviors like selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale,” it said, adding that world economics needed an “ethic of solidarity” among rich and poor nations.

“If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that will follow on the social, political and economic level will be destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid,” it said.

It called for the establishment of “a supranational authority” with worldwide scope and “universal jurisdiction” to guide economic policies and decisions.

Such an authority should start with the United Nations as its reference point but later become independent and be endowed with the power to see to it that developed countries were not allowed to wield “excessive power over the weaker countries.”

Effective Structures

In a section explaining why the Vatican felt the reform of the global economy was necessary, the document said:

“In economic and financial matters, the most significant difficulties come from the lack of an effective set of structures that can guarantee, in addition to a system of governance, a system of government for the economy and international finance.”

It said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) no longer had the power or ability to stabilize world finance by regulating overall money supply and it was no longer able to watch “over the amount of credit risk taken on by the system.”

The world needed a “minimum shared body of rules to manage the global financial market” and “some form of global monetary management.”

“In fact, one can see an emerging requirement for a body that will carry out the functions of a kind of ‘central world bank’ that regulates the flow and system of monetary exchanges similar to the national central banks,” it said.

The document, which was being presented at a news conference later on Monday, acknowledged that such change would take years to put into place and was bound to encounter resistance.

“Of course, this transformation will be made at the cost of a gradual, balanced transfer of a part of each nation’s powers to a world authority and to regional authorities, but this is necessary at a time when the dynamism of human society and the economy and the progress of technology are transcending borders, which are in fact already very eroded in a globalizes world.”

This article reads like it came right out of a Tim LaHaye novel.

Better yet, forget novels. It’s ripped straight from the prophetic headlines of the Book of Revelation.

After reading and reviewing the book Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown and then Shadow Government: How the Secret Global Elite Is Using Surveillance Against You, which also describes a concerted effort to merge all banks into one, I have a hard time believing that what I’m reading daily in the news is just part of an imagined conspiracy theory.

Cover of "Aftershock: Protect Yourself an...

Cover via Amazon

The very real possibility of there being a single world bank in the near future should ring every alarm bell in every human being’s mind. The puppetmasters are now acting in the open. They have leveraged the principle of the Overton Window to break down our barriers and defenses against authoritarianism and have reduced our individual and sovereign governments to ashes by their Machiavellian machinations.

Now they stand at the precipice of that New World Order we were conditioned to think was the invention of the mad Jim Birchers and their ilk. I, too, used to think they were nuts until I actually started paying attention to the news of the world, current events, politicians, and the like. I’m not exactly a card-carrying Jim Bircher, but I do think they have a point and that the preponderance of evidence in this debate is definitely in their favor!

It’s very clear to me now that we, as individuals, can no longer count on our present government to stave off foreign and elitist influence into our daily lives. We are forcibly becoming part of a new scheme to centralize the world’s wealth into the hands of a secret and untouchable few. Their new world diktats will control the details of every aspect of our lives. Their systems of control will spy on our every transaction and our every movement through the world economy they are setting up.

Reverse of the Great Seal of the United States.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s still the same old game of three-card Monte. It’s just that it’s moving to the global playing field. Anyone who thinks that this is Occupy Wall Street’s, or anyone’s, great moment to equalize wealth distribution is about to learn a very painful and troublesome lesson. The Builders are about to erect a new tower to Heaven, with us as their slaves to help them build their monolith. They seek to dethrone God and become gods among men.

They will fail. They have forgotten their history as we also have forgotten ours.

 

Northeastern Atheists Reject Well-Wisher’s Sentiments, Thumb Noses at God


The attitudes and rudeness of some in the face of true, life endangering peril is truly astounding. Take this man’s comments, for instance:

Northeastern Atheists Reject Well-Wisher's Sentiments, Thumb Noses at God

You can read the responses at NYC Mayor: City May Turn Off Power where most other Northeasterners chastise the man for so callously disregarding the well-wishes of others. Still, there are some co-atheists who join him in his negative sentiments.

This kind of attitude, sadly, is becoming more prevalent as people either forget God, or outright reject him in the same way a toddler rejects his parents’ attempts to placate him during a temper tantrum. I wish they could know what I know about God and His deep care and love for us.

It is a teenager’s nature to say “I HATE YOU!” to his parents when things don’t go his way or when bad things happen, even when his parents didn’t exactly cause those things deliberately and would rather he learn from the situation. Similarly, it is the way of atheists to shake their fists to the sky (at what, they don’t know) and proclaim curses against God, who is simply waiting for them to learn and grow from the natural adversities of life.

Mary Magdalene, in a dramatic 19th-century pop...

Image via Wikipedia

That is the purpose of this life…not to be cushioned in a bubble so that nothing bad happens and everything good happens. That would be a very dull and boring life indeed.

Easy for me to say, living in the Midwest where no hurricane activity happens and in a part far enough North to not see a whole lot of tornado activity, right? Not all adversity is storm-related. We can’t assume that just because a person appears to be living a charmed life that they haven’t experienced, or won’t experience, some kind of tribulation. Some atheists would be wise to realize this.

The notion of feeling like you’re so self-reliant that you don’t need God to protect you for any reason whatsoever is just so much spitting into the wind. It’s to blind oneself from the hugely destructive possibilities of both nature and mankind. Prayer DOES work, even if it doesn’t work as the person praying the prayer intends. Having had much experience with answered prayers, I can say definitively that had God answered my prayers the way I had wanted Him to, I would have brought down much more difficulty on myself than His ignoring them might ever have done.

God knows what is best for us…whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not. Trust Him, and not the “arm of the flesh”.