Mormonism as a Model for National Policy

imageI have great regard for my ward’s PR Representative. Today he forwarded a link to an article in National Review talking about how Mormons are much more observant of their beliefs than other Christian groups, The Mormon Advantage: Leaving theology aside, what can we learn from the Mormons? by Maggie Gallagher.

Embedded within this article was a link to a 2011 thesis published by my alma mater, the Naval Postgraduate School. Intrigued by what military folks might find of interest in the religion I profess, I looked up the paper, Growing an Ideology: How the Mormons Do It, authored by USAF Maj Marshall F. Chalverus and USAF Maj Michael A. Thomas. These two intelligence officers (clearly not Mormon themselves) had decided that it would be worth studying a fast-growing religion that bucks theories regarding how religions grow to determine how it might be best to counter insurgencies in support of US National Policy. Continue reading

Videos on the “Reason for the Season”

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Here are some videos to ponder the birth of our Savior and all that the Son of God did for the World.

The LDS Bible videos Nativity

Popular “The Bible” clip.

A world record musical tribute.

Children tell the Christmas story.

Another good suggestion is to watch the 1977 television mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth” extended telling of the story as part of the complete production. It wasn’t included here because of length and copyright issues, but can be found on Netflix. The Nativity portion ends with the Holy Family standing together and giving a collective “amen” to the camera.

The Historical Life of Jesus

Over a century ago, Albert Schweitzer wrote “The Historical Life of Jesus”, a review of the writings by German scholars from the 19th century on Jesus’ life.  In his review, he shows the various attempts by the historians and other scholars to reduce the life of Jesus to a purely historical event.  Miracles, resurrection, and eschatological teachings were all rejected and determined to be added later, or are reinterpreted. Continue reading

On Torture

imageToday someone wrote that Mormons don’t abhore torture, that they are taught it is more important to obey than to avoid immoral or evil acts. This apparently comes up because Mormons tend to vote for Republicans, and it was the Republican presidency of George Bush under which torture was used as one method of obtaining information regarding the activities of Al Qaeda. Also, there are those who have worked for the CIA and otherwise supported certain of these activities who happened to be Mormons. These critics appear not to have heard the same sermons I have heard, or read the same scriptures. These critics appear not to have learned the same history I learned. Continue reading

The Difficulty of Dialogue Without Disclosure

Many moons ago, there was a certain person that started a certain movement that included something about using civil rights tactics to make changes within the LDS church. At that time I questioned this person, on behalf of a woman thinking of joining this movement, about her [the founder’s] beliefs… and started a firestorm. But I promised to revisit the issue later. I never did.

I started to, but then gave up on it for lack of time. Time passed, the movement largely died out and lost media attention. People got sick of talking about it, and that was that. But I still had this long post that took an interview (that I had in fact, at least in part, caused to take place via my questions) on FMHW and asked questions and drew conclusions based on her own words.

And just being me, I couldn’t resist throwing in a bit of irony:

On the day that Mormons believe John the Baptist restored the priesthood to the earth, [this movement] launched their 6 discussions to promote their cause. Ironically, the question [the founder] would not answer was if she believed that John the Baptist, as a resurrected angel, restored the priesthood to the earth because it was no longer found on the earth.

Continue reading