Why does the world appear to be going crazy all around us?

If you are at all like me, you may have come to the realization a few years ago that the world appears to be changing in alarming ways. The thing that really drove it home for me was the time in 2015 that a friend argued that any boy who said he was a girl was really a girl.

This friend is very well-intentioned, so I sincerely tried to understand his position.

“Wait, you are saying that any boy who thinks he is a girl really is a girl?” I said.

His answer: “Yes.”

“Well, what about the biological differences between girls and boys?”

“Biology is not as important as the reality that the person feels that he is a girl trapped in a boy’s body.”

“I agree that we should treat these people with love and compassion, but this does not mean that we must deny basic biology.”

“Biology is not as important as the perceptions and lived experiences of these people. If you have real compassion, the only thing you would care about is how they experience life, and you would have charity for their reality.”

To be frank, I was flabbergasted. “Their reality.” Not “reality,” as in things that are real and not real, such as biology. The implication was that there was no objective reality — just feelings and emotions and desires, which are completely subjective and personal. And this friend of mine was arguing that these personal feelings were more important than objective reality.

I said to my friend: “I am not sure you understand the end point of your argument. What you are saying is not just that a boy can say he is a girl. Your argument also means that a boy can say he is a chair or a dog or a horse *as long as he perceives reality that way.*”

My friend would not concede that point — he insisted that we were only talking about gender issues. But I warned him at that time that if society adopted his viewpoint there would be a whole list of repercussions, everything from fights over bathrooms to the end of girls sports. And, today we already witnessing the destruction of girls sports right in front of our eyes.

But that discussion seems harmless and quaint compared to the insanity around us in 2020.

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Come Follow Me: Alma 53-62

My blog post on Come Follow Me: Alma 53-62

Excerpt:  The sons of Helaman

The Ammonites, those Lamanite converts that swore to never take up weapons of war again, were ready to break their covenant of peace, in order to help rescue the Nephites.  The prophet Helaman, however, would not have them break their covenant.  Instead, a different solution was brought forth.  The children had not made the oath to bury their weapons of war.

Note here that the Ammonites could not really be called pacifists, as they are willing to recognize the necessity of arms to defend oneself and home, nor had they taught their children to refuse to fight. But their covenant was instituted for a higher and different purpose. 


BYU students release petition asking BYU to return to a ‘Christ-centered education’

BYU students Hanna Seariac and Tristan Mourier have released a petition asking that BYU return to a “Christ-centered education.”

As of this writing, the petition, which can be signed here, had 667 signatures. Here are some quotations from the petition:

We ask for an assessment of whether or not the University encourages courses, clubs, panels, conferences, events, and activities to align themselves with Latter-day Saint religious values. We write this letter to make the University aware that students and alumni fear that some public and some less-known decisions by the University may have opposed or did not support the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its religious values. The members of the Church deserve to have confidence that they are sending their sons and daughters to BYU to have their faith strengthened, not weakened.

We recognize the faculty’s need for academic freedom, and acknowledge that academic thought does not necessarily constitute personal opinion. At the same time, we recognize the need to, as Wilkinson put it, “place LDS religious values in all of the activities of the institution…to produce students who are fully appreciative of the principles of the Latter-day Saint faith and of their roles in the universe as sacred and independent individuals.”

We do not believe that the University should trade the eternal life of its students for the praise and accolades of modern, secular academia. To do so would be to sell our birthright for a mess of pottage. We are grateful to the University for maintaining the Honor Code, religious education requirements, and other aspects of the University that show commitment to BYU’s mission. However, we ask that the University consider whether correct doctrine is consistently taught in classes, whether the connection to religious knowledge is made clear throughout the entire curriculum and not just within religious education courses, and the University’s commitment to religious standards.  

We along with many other students have felt that the University’s commitment to this has wavered on a practical level and would ask for an assessment of whether or not the University encourages courses, clubs, and activities to align themselves with Latter-day Saint religious values.

Ezra Taft Benson’s testimony from 1988 reads like today’s news

Watching and reading President Ezra Taft Benson’s testimony from 1988 is like reading today’s new. The prophet said:

I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14–16D&C 84:49–53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. (See Ether 8:18–25.)

I testify that the church and kingdom of God is increasing in strength. Its numbers are growing, as is the faithfulness of its faithful members. It has never been better organized or equipped to perform its divine mission.

I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested. God’s wrath will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure. (See JS—H 1:45D&C 1:9.) But God will provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph. (See 1 Ne. 22:15–23.)

I testify that it is time for every man to set in order his own house both temporally and spiritually. It is time for the unbeliever to learn for himself that this work is true, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom which Daniel prophesied God would set up in the latter days, never to be destroyed, a stone that would eventually fill the whole earth and stand forever. (See Dan. 2:34–45D&C 65:2.) It is time for us, as members of the Church, to walk in all the ways of the Lord, to use our influence to make popular that which is sound and to make unpopular that which is unsound. We have the scriptures, the prophets, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Now we need eyes that will see, ears that will hear, and hearts that will hearken to God’s direction.

And of course here is the good news:

I testify that not many years hence the earth will be cleansed. (See D&C 76:41.) Jesus the Christ will come again, this time in power and great glory to vanquish His foes and to rule and reign on the earth. (See D&C 43:26–33.) In due time all men will gain a resurrection and then will face the Master in a final judgment. (See 2 Ne. 9:15, 41.) God will give rewards to each according to the deeds done in the flesh. (See Alma 5:15.)

Book Review: Jacob – a Brief Theological Introduction

Book Review: Jacob – a brief theological introduction, by Deidre Nicole Green. Published by Maxwell Institute.
This is the third book in a series that is covering each of the books in the Book of Mormon. The series is an attempt to share basic, but key, theological ideas with the average Latter-day Saint reader. My first two reviews can be found here: 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi.

Diedre Nicole Green earned a PhD in Religion at Claremont Graduate University, Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from BYU.

The Book of Jacob fills less than 19 pages of the Book of Mormon. So how can one write a 120 page book on so little, and provide so much to think about? That is one of the strengths of studying theology – the study of God. It is easy to skim quickly through this short book, and get a little understanding of what is going on. Green shows us how the various, seemingly disparate, teachings and events in the Book of Jacob and his previous teachings and experiences all connect.

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