The Problems with Moral Equivalence – A Response to Geoff B.’s Perspective on Ukraine

scales

[This is a guest post by Morgan Deane who is a military historian that teaches history for BYU-Idaho. He is an Mphil/PhD student at Kings College London and writes at http://mormonwar.blogspot.com and http://www.arsenalofvenice.com. He has written a book titled, “Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon”, which will be released shortly. His guest post is in response to Geoff B.’s recent post: Perspective on Ukraine]

Every time the U.S. might take potential military action there are a variety of people who argue that these tyrants and dictators are little different from the U.S. This article in particular caught my eye, since it contained so many of the common moral equivalence errors. Despite the legitimate mistakes made in American foreign policy, America is a different and better country than Russia and our foreign policy is morally superior to that of Putin’s. The quotes are from this article from Geoff B.

The United States is currently occupying Afghanistan

Occupy is a loaded term with a negative connotation. We have troops there, but the most frequent criticism about Obama is that we are leaving too soon. We just left Iraq and the leverage we had there, so I’m amazed at how consistently America is attacked over “occupations” when we seem to be heading towards the exits like scolded gorillas. Continue reading

The Mormon Intellectuals’ Trojan Horses

[The Millennial Star is pleased to welcome Jeff G. as a guest blogger with a fantastic post that should be shared and read widely.]

“When the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions…

“Those professors were all corrupt… “they draw near to [God] with their lips, but their hearts are far from [Him], they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts [source]

Personal Intro

As many of you in the bloggernacle might remember, about 8 years ago I left the church for intellectual reasons. While the exact arguments for my departure are not terribly important to this particular essay what is important is that I had gradually built up and reinforced several intellectual principles and values to a point where intellectual arguments could undermine my faith. I felt, at the time, that I was doing the right thing in following the arguments where they clearly (or so they seemed to me) led, all the while being upfront, honest and clear about my reasons for leaving. I have since realized, however, that my decision was a mistake which I will unfortunately never be able to take back. Furthermore, I can now see with the relative clarity of hindsight many of the ways in which I subconsciously allowed intellectual values to infect, transform and eventually undermine my faith. My deconversion was similar to a chess match wherein earlier, seemingly innocuous moves are later seen to be crucial stage-setting for a masterful killing stroke. In this essay I wish to expose some of these seemingly innocuous, stage-setting moves – these intellectual Trojan Horses, as I will call them – for what they are. Continue reading

Guest Post: The Church Got the Plan of Salvation Wrong

The following guest post comes from Tex Benson.

I have lived in the south-eastern United States my entire life including my mission which was in Houston Texas. God bless Texas. Currently I am in my fourth year of school studying Civil Engineering and Military Science (Army ROTC). At church I serve as the Stake Young Single Adult Representative, which I hate, and I teach Elders Quorum once a month(ish), which I love.

Ok, not the whole Church, just the Mission Department and the Church Education System. I wanted an edgy title.

I realized this while I was on my mission but wasn’t really sure how to address it and the reason I am ranting about it now is because I am ashamed of myself. Recently I attended a Young Single Adult fireside and honestly this one was quite good, however it hit on a pet peeve of mine. Towards the end the Bishop who was teaching asked for a volunteer to come up and draw the Plan of Salvation on the board with the rest of the group assisting them on what to put in. Before the young man drew the Pre-Earth Life I knew what would happen, but I let it go to see if someone said something. I had enough confidence in this bishop to think that if no one else pointed out the problem he would at the end. Sadly, my faith was in vain. The typical Sunday school Plan of Salvation was put on the board complete with Outer Darkness, the War in Heaven, and the Veil. The only time Christ was mentioned as part of the plan was when a woman said “put an A by the Earth for the Atonement”. Sadly she was shouted down by an argument about the Veil of Forgetfulness and her A was never drawn. I had a difficult decision to make, do I call out a Bishop and everyone else or do I stay silent? I chose to stay silent.

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How I Almost Left the Mormon Church; the Second Time

The following guest post is from SilverRain, a frequent M* commenter.  SilverRain blogs at rainscamedown.blogspot.com.

We like to think of the Spirit as a feeling that leads us to find lost car keys, bless the lives of the people around us, and lead us down a spiritual path of happiness. But the Spirit is not always so comfortable. Abraham was guided by the Spirit to sacrifice his son. While he was provided an escape in the form of a ram, the Spirit does not always provide a comfortable alternative. Christ himself was not delivered from His calling to the Atonement.

When my ex-husband left me, I was still determined that Satan would not succeed in having my marriage. I had made covenants and I intended to keep them. Slowly, as I went through counseling alone and with him, the Spirit began to teach me that it was time to divorce. Continue reading

A Well-behaved God

The following guest post is from SilverRain, a frequent M* commenter.  SilverRain blogs at rainscamedown.blogspot.com.

There is something in each of us that wants things to be neat and tidy. If we are righteous, we will get blessings. If we are wicked, we will be punished. Therefore, if good things happen, it’s because we were righteous. If bad things happen, we must have been wicked.

As humans, we continually recreate God in our own image. If we don’t believe in polygamy, or male-centric priesthood, we don’t believe that God supports those things, either. If we feel that modesty doesn’t have to mean covering the shoulders, we believe God doesn’t care whether or not we cover our shoulders. If we feel that our tithing money would be better spent with a local charity, we have a tendency to believe that God wants us to spend it where it can make the most difference.

By doing this, either we focus so much on the details that we miss the principle, or we fancy that if we understand the principle, the details are unnecessary.

 

Continue reading