About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

Yes, some conspiracy theories are real

This post makes a simple argument, which I want to make clear from the beginning: some — NOT ALL — conspiracy theories are real. There really are conspiracies in which people conspire to get money and power and sometimes even commit murder as part of the conspiracy.

This does not mean that EVERY claim of a conspiracy theory is true. In fact, you could safely argue that most conspiracy theories are not true. Just to cite one example, I don’t buy that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” perpetrated by the U.S. government. I have looked at the evidence, and it just doesn’t seem likely to me.

The reason I am writing this post is that I hear smart people, both inside the Church and out, dismiss something as a “conspiracy theory” as if that ends the argument. That is simply an ad hominem claim and a logical fallacy. And the problem is that many people dismiss “conspiracy theories” that don’t fit their paradigms without ever considering the evidence. This is a dangerous tendency and completely against Latter-day Saint — and indeed all Christian — orthodoxy.

The central event in Christian history was the Atonement. In a worldly sense, the Atonement was the result of a conspiracy by the leading religious authorities in Jerusalem who conspired to kill an innocent man to protect their power. The entire thing was a classic secret combination.

Of course Latter-day Saint scriptures point out that secret combinations have been around since the days of Abel and Cain. Moses 5:51: “For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother.”

The secret combinations continued in every society: “And they did reject all the words of the prophets, because of their secret society and wicked abominations.” (Ether 11:22) “For behold, they murdered all the prophets of the Lord who came among them to declare unto them concerning their iniquities; and the blood of those whom they murdered did cry unto the Lord their God for vengeance upon those who were their murderers; and thus the judgments of God did come upon these workers of darkness and secret combinations.” (Alma 37:30) “And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.” (2 Nephi 9:9).

I am going to make this very clear: it is impossible to honestly read LDS scriptures without coming to the conclusion that secret combinations (ie conspiracies) 1)happen throughout history 2)are inspired by Satan 3)are more pervasive than we think and 4)are going to be common in the Latter days.

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Would you be the one shouting to crucify the Savior?

In 1951, a psychologist named Solomon Asch performed a conformity test to study how willing people are to go along with the crowd, even when they know the crowd is wrong.

Students were told they were part of a “vision test.” Prof. Asch put one naive participant in a room with seven confederates who were in league with the professor. The confederates had agreed in advance how to answer the question in the vision test. The participants were asked to compare the length of lines, in which it was obvious that there was only one correct answer. But the seven confederates would insist on incorrect answers, and in some cases 75 percent of the naive participants would agree to go along with the crowd in giving an incorrect answer even though they knew it was wrong.

To be “Asch negative,” you need to be the type of person willing to go against the crowd, often at the cost of being publicly embarrassed. You must be strong enough in your convictions that you will not be influenced by peer pressure.

In short, you would have to be the type of person not to abandon the Savior in His moment of public humiliation or to abandon Joseph Smith when most people in society hated him.

Most people reading this are saying to themselves that they would never bow to peer pressure, but you may want to consider the story of Peter denying the Savior three times. The reality is that we all are more likely to influenced by peer pressure than we think.

The French philosopher Rene Girard has considered this issue in depth and written extensively on the unfortunate historical tendency of people to engage in witch hunts. Girard sees the Atonement of Christ example of a classic witch hunt in which the leadership of a society used Jesus as a scapegoat for all of their problems. The Pharisees succeeded in stirring up the crowd against Jesus, even though there is no evidence he did anything wrong.

Girard’s point is that this happens in societies all of the time. For a variety of reasons, leaders afraid of losing power often try to find scapegoats to blame for societal ills. Most readers can see how this applied historically to the Jews, who have blamed for societal problems in Spain, Russia, Germany, Eastern Europe and just about everywhere else they lived in the diaspora.

Girard, if he were alive today, would not be surprised by the rise of cancel culture, which he described throughout history. Social media has made cancel culture one of the most prominent features of modern life.

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What ‘intellectuals’ are saying about your kids’ education

Christina Wyman is a “public intellectual” and academic who specializing in teaching critical theory. This is about all you need to know to realize she knows nothing about teaching and/or surgery.

It is disheartening to see so many people “liking” this argument because it may be one of the most ignorant statements about education since Terry McAullife’s election-destroying comment: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Let’s start with the easy part: parents ARE involved in surgery. What happens is that the doctors involved in the surgery come to the parents and give them options. I can tell you that the surgeon himself (or herself) will usually discuss the situation with the parents. No surgeon can force the parents to do the operation, and the parents are always allowed to get second and third opinions. Depending on the type of operation, many parents do get second and third opinions, so they are indeed “interfering” with what the surgeon may want to do. And sometimes parents decide not to get surgery at all because the condition makes surgery optional. Very often, surgery is more dangerous than the other options.

Once the surgery starts, it is necessarily closed off for reasons of health and security, but the strict parameters of the surgical process have been set by parent involvement. It is not as if surgeons have the freedom to say they are going to do heart surgery and then decide, mid-operation, to perform transgender surgery.

So, to sum up, it appears that Christine Wyman knows nothing about what happens during surgery.

But unfortunately she also knows nothing about public education. By design, the public school system necessarily involves parent involvement. (Whether or not parents take advantage of this is another question — most of us do not do the due diligence we should). Parents are involved in electing the school board, which sets curriculum and other policy. Parents are involved in seeing the grades that their kids get, these days via on-line portals, and teachers rely on parent feedback to make sure kids are getting assignments done on time. Teachers are available via email or other on-line systems for interaction with parents. And of course there are the old-fashioned parent-teacher conferences that actually are essential to the educational process.

So, in fact, the public school system relies extensively on parent involvement and feedback. I get daily emails from multiple teachers regarding my three kids still in public schools. I get opt-out forms for various classes all the time, meaning the school recognizes that I as a parent can decide whether or not my kids will participate in certain subjects that I might find objectionable.

Need I mention that according to recent US Census figures, 5 to 6 percent of kids nationwide are homeschooled, meaning the parents and the kids together do all of the schooling without government involvement in any way?

The alternate world of the Christina Wymans is a dystopian nightmare in which your children are owned by the state system and are programmed by the critical race and gender theorists to believe a long list of woke talking points. This is what the Christina Wymans of the world want: complete control over your kids so they can be brainwashed away from the influence of parents.

This is who Christina Wyman believes should be teaching your kids, not the parents for heaven’s sake.

Remember Sweden?

Remember when Sweden was going to be a COVID killing field? Sweden had no lockdowns and no mandates, including no vaccine mandate. In the first year of the pandemic, the trolls who lurk around this blog like ghouls used to send me death reports from Sweden.

Strangely I don’t get those anymore. What could be the reason?

Well, it turns out that Sweden has the virus under control, and much of the rest of Europe does not. Here are confirmed cases:

Cases of COVID

Here are confirmed deaths:

Deaths in Europe

Let me posit something that might make sense: Sweden was the only country in Europe that approached the COVID pandemic the same way we have approached all pandemics for decades (until the COVID cult took over in 2020): ie, health authorities urged the most at-risk to stay home but encouraged everybody else to go about their business. This led to a large increase in cases and deaths in the short run, but the population developed herd immunity, which is playing out now in very low case and death rates.

It turns out that when it comes to COVID there really is no school like the old school.

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