Salt Lake Tribune still has not apologized for calling for martial law against the unvaxxed

On Friday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Gerard Neri held that the COVID vax mandate for healthcare workers was immediately “null, void, and of no effect.” The court found that the mandate was “arbitrary and capricious” since the shots don’t stop transmission, destroying any rational basis for a mandate in the first place.

In fact, the judge underlined, italicized, and boldfaced the words in his order:

This happened almost exactly a year after the worst newspaper in the world, the Salt Lake Tribune, called for martial law against the unvaxxed.

As we reported a year ago:

If you want to see yet another example of crazy COVID hysteria in action, you only have to look as far as Utah’s largest newspaper, the increasingly out of control Salt Lake Tribune. There, we find an editorial with this paragraph:

“Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere.”

Civilized? Only if you consider Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Cambodia under Pol Pot civilized.

A year later, I will note that the SL Tribune is no longer calling for people to be starved to death if they don’t get the jab. So, perhaps there is some progress. Will the SL Tribune ever apologize for its tyrannical and unscientific opinions on the COVID vax? I am not holding my breath.

In case you need a reminder why this is important: the worst things in society happen during times of pressure and fear. This is when people are tested to see whether they will keep their principles, whether they will uphold the liberty and dignity of others, whether they will engage in true tolerance. During the pandemic M* remained virtually alone in the LDS intellectual space in calling for people to avoid being motivated by fear, to avoid government mandates, to avoid destroying the liberty of others.

For this, we were insulted and pilloried endlessly, including by many former writers for this blog. It turns out we were right and they were wrong. I have gotten a few apologies, but there are literally hundreds of people who should be writing or calling to apologize. This is not a personal thing, although that of course would be nice. It is really about learning from our mistakes and from history. There will be another pandemic again someday, or there will be other international crises. How will you react when those crises happen? Will you act rationally or will you let your fear cause panic?

New anti-porn law in Louisiana asks for age verification

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ view on porn is unequivocal: the Church is against pornography.

A new law in Louisiana may be a way to restrict kids’ viewing porn. The law asks for age verification, and only adults can visit porn websites. These websites are defined as having more than a third of sexual content without “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

I am against porn, but I am also against censorship, which doesn’t work in the long run. Unfortunately, the widespread viewing of porn is a sign of our times, and getting rid of porn altogether will never work until the Millennium.

But fewer kids viewing porn? Sure, we should all favor that.

The Church web site points out:

Physical intimacy is a sacred part of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. However, the adversary tries to thwart the Lord’s plan of happiness by suggesting that physical intimacy is only for personal gratification. Pornography is a tool of the adversary and its use causes the Spirit of the Lord to withdraw from us (see Doctrine and Covenants 63:16).

Potential effects of pornography include isolation, secrecy, and deceit that damage relationships and leave one vulnerable to poor self-esteem, anxiety, and depression; unrealistic expectations and misinformation about sexual intimacy; conditioning us to see people as objects to be used and abused; and the development of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

There are unconfirmed reports that porn sites have stopped offering porn in Louisiana because of this new law, which of course is a sign that the porn promoters were indeed aiming at kids. It also might be that they have no way to verify their users’ ages and are unwilling to do so.

Will kids still be able to see porn in Louisiana? Sure. There are VPNs and other way of getting around this new law. But will fewer kids see porn? I think the answer is yes.

Joseph Smith’s athletic nature — inspiration for the new year

A lot of prominent United States men in the 18th and 19th centuries were extremely physical men. They were competitive in the sports of their days, including the martial arts that were practiced, such as boxing and wrestling.

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were extremely proficient grapplers and practiced a form of submission wrestling that was common for men of the time. Several other 19th century presidents were wrestlers, including Grant, Garfield and Jackson. Friendly and not so friendly boxing matches were also common among men in the 19th century.

Another common physical sport was called the stick pull, some examples of which you can see here:

I mention this because by all accounts Joseph Smith was a relatively large and muscular man, and he had spent most of his youth working hard around the farm, so of course he would have done what other men of his day did, ie, engage in physical contests of one kind or another.

George Q. Cannon said of the prophet: “When he had achieved the prime of his manhood, he seemed to combine all attractions and excellencies. His Physical person was the fit habitation of his exalted spirit. He was more than six feet in height, with [an] expansive chest an clean cut limbs—a staunch and graceful figure.” By all accounts, Joseph Smith was at least six feet tall and about 200 pounds, which would have been larger than average for the time.

In the article “Joseph Smith: The Prophet” in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Richard L. Bushman and Dean C. Jessee said of the prophet: “It was not uncommon to see him involved in sports activities with the young and vigorous men of a community. He is known to have wrestled, pulled sticks, engaged in snowball fights, played ball, slid on ice with his children, played marbles, shot at a mark, and fished.”

There are numerous stories of Joseph Smith challenging other men to wrestle. And remember that in those days wrestling was not freestyle wrestling we see in high school or college. It involved manipulating limbs and fiercely competitive takedowns where competitors would throw each other around, much like modern-day jiu jitsu.

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To Listeners of John Dehlin: A Christmas Peacemaking Letter

Dear brothers and sisters,

Last year, as some of you know, I released two short videos addressing the work of Dr. John Dehlin. I’ve written plenty of things that triggered frustration; never as much backlash as this one. There were nearly 800 commenters on his response expressing frustrations before I stopped counting. 

In this season more focused on “peace on earth, good will to men,” and with President Nelson’s nudge earlier this year to “end the conflicts that are raging” inside and around us, it felt like an especially good time to write this letter.

I won’t be responding here to John. He and I have had productive interactions in the past, and I’m open to that in the future. I’m willing to take up his questions in a serious conversation. But I’m writing today not to him, but to you, his listeners. 

I hope this note finds you with joy and peace in your life. My heart hurts to see estrangement and bitter feelings between so many current and former members. Does it have to be this way? I know many wonderful people doing good things in the world who don’t see the world like I do. In fact, some of my dearest friends are Marxist, atheist, and uber-progressive—each of whom thinks some of my core convictions are flat-out wrong (and vice-versa). But despite even vociferous disagreements, we really do love each other, enjoy each other, respect each other. I’ve wondered a lot this last year why that sort of relationship seems so much harder to cultivate between those with different conclusions about faith?  

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Joseph Smith wins again

Yes, some conspiracy theories are real.

It really is true that the CIA was involved in killing JFK.

And it turns out that the FBI ran Twitter like its own personal fiefdom and committed 80 agents to monitoring and censoring the tweets of everyday Americans.

Yes, Joseph Smith was correct, the government has become a mob. Note: this does not mean that every person in government is a mobster or dishonest. But it is impossible not to see that the agencies we are supposed to trust — like the CIA and FBI — are becoming mobs. Yes, they are.