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.

Federal judge reminds us the lockdowns are unconstitutional

A federal judge in Pennsylvania decided the state’s lockdowns violate the 1st and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. For many of us who have been concerned about the lockdowns since March, we can celebrate the decision while also being disappointed that it took so long for a judge to overturn the tyrannical actions in one state.

From the article I linked:

In the 66-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania William Stickman struck down Wolf’s limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings of up 25 and 250 people, respectively. The limitations, Stickman wrote, violate “the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment.”

Stickman ruled that the governor’s stay-home order and mandatory closure of businesses, which were deemed non-essential to curb the spread of the novel Wuhan coronavirus, infringed on citizen freedoms and discriminated based upon arbitrary “life sustaining” and “non-life sustaining” standards breaching 14th Amendment protections.

In the ruling, Stickman said he “believes that defendants undertook their actions in a well-intentioned effort to protect Pennsylvanians from the virus. However, good intentions toward a laudable end are not alone enough to uphold governmental action against a constitutional challenge. Indeed, the greatest threats to our system of constitutional liberties may arise when the ends are laudable, and the intent is good — especially in a time of emergency.”

Stickman emphasized that once liberties erode under a public emergency, they become difficult to repossess.

“Even a vigilant public may let down its guard over its constitutional liberties only to find that liberties, once relinquished, are hard to recoup,” Stickman wrote.

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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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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.)

Is this the behavior of Saints?

A friend reports these signs are popping up in Utah after area authorities urged Latter-day Saints to wear masks in public.

This is exactly the reason I wrote this post. Creating a sign like this — and claiming that you are only a follower of Jesus if you follow certain worldly conditions — is exactly the opposite of what Latter-day Saints should be doing. This sign does nothing but try to exclude other people. One commenter pointed out that people who put up signs like this are like the Zoramites. I see some similarities.

What does Alma say about the Zoramites?

Alma 38: 13: Do not apray as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen that they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom.

14 Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are abetter than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my bunworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times.

Should you wear a mask in Utah in public? Yes, unless you have a health condition or some other legitimate reason not to wear a mask. Should you try to follow the advice of area authorities? Yes. Obviously. Should you go around telling other people that they are apostates if they don’t wear a mask? NO. Such attacks only bring contention, which is of the devil.

As President Nelson wrote in May 1994:

Our Creator decreed “that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.”15

Intolerance seeds contention; tolerance supersedes contention. Tolerance is the key that opens the door to mutual understanding and love.

Stop with the masking shaming! Please.