Archive for February 8th, 2007

A Little Lesson

February 8, 2007

For those of you who are scared of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, let me share a little story from the Book of Mormon and the lessons I and many other Latter-Day Saints draw from it. This is in the Book of Alma in that book. If you have the time, I suggest you read it for yourself.

Amalackiah and Moroni were contemporaries. Amalackiah may have at one time been a priest in the church–it isn’t clear. Regardless, he later decided that he was smarter than the leaders of the church and they weren’t worth paying attention to anymore. Later, he decided that he was the rightful heir to the throne of the Nephites. Using persuasion and promises of power, he was able to convince almost all of the lower elected officials in the Nephite nation that they should support his bid for the throne.

Moroni, on the other hand, was a religious zealot who also knew how to fight and lead an army. Disgusted with Amalackiah’s plans, he set about rallying the people to fight for their freedom, family, and faith. His symbol was the Title of Liberty. (If you ever get a chance, as Mitt Romney what he thinks about the Title of Liberty.)

When Amalackiah’s people lined up for the war to subjugate the Nephite nation, they soon realized that they were sorely outnumbered and outmaneuvered. Retreating, Amalackiah left his army to be captured by Moroni. Moroni, given authority by the people and the government, began executing those who would not swear an oath to defend their liberty.

Amalackiah, now hiding among the Lamanites, tried to get the Lamanites to go up to battle with the Nephites by convincing the king of the Lamanites. Moroni, having thoroughly defeated the Lamanites not to many years previous, was still fresh on the minds of the Lamanites. So the people began forming their own army to fight the king’s and anyone else who wanted a new war.

Amalackish, finding favor with the king, was given loyal troops to go out and fight the people. Amalackiah took this opportunity to surrender to the people’s army. He then used intrigue and murder to become its leader. Returning at the head of the people’s army, he had his servants murder the king, and then assumed the throne, marrying the queen, no less.

Amalackiah used his new kingdom to prepare for war against the Nephites. This time, he used propaganda, hiring people to go out and shout lies about the Nephites to persuade the Lamanites. If they weren’t scared of the king, perhaps he could stir them up with words.

Meanwhile, Moroni was preparing for war. He was arming his people, training them, and building walls around the cities. He was doing something far more important than all of the above: He was telling his people to keep the commandments of God, because without that critical element, victory was impossible. The Book of Mormon makes a point in saying that the leaders of the church, who were preaching the gospel and baptizing, were of no less service to the people than Moroni.

The point of the story, it seems, is that for all the preparation in the world, you are still throwing your chances in the wind. With God, nothing is possible, and the only sure answer is to trust in Him and not in “the flesh of man”.

As conservatives, we have this fundamental sense that binds us. It is that if we are doing the right things, that everything will work out. If we attend church, read our bible, listen to what Jesus taught us, and just try to do things the right way (the only thing being right being God), then it will be good with us.

This is the same faith that sustained George Washington, except he would put it a little differently. I don’t recall his exact words, but he would say things like, “If God wanted me dead I would be dead; therefore, God wants me alive and there must be some reason I am alive.” George Washington knew about armies and supply chains and guns and tactics and blood. He also knew that in all that uncertainty there was only one certainty: that God lives and his mighty purposes will be accomplished, whether we want them to or not.

And so it is in the world today. We conservatives run around on this world, not knowing much more than anyone else, but trusting that God knows. We have this instinct to follow God first and then let the chips fall. We have this inherent trust that the only thing we can do to save the world from itself is to maintain our own righteousness.

In the Book of Mormon, a common theme is that as long as you keep the commandments of God, you will be blessed in your land. But when you no longer keep the commandments of God, you will be swept away. For the Nephites, that turned out to be true. When they had turned from God completely, then and only then were they completely destroyed to make way for Western Civilization to have its go at it. And in our own country, we look back at our own history and see that as we kept the commandments of God, we did pretty good, but when we abandoned them, we suffered.

Liberals don’t understand this, or they refuse to. It is a simple little thing we like to call faith. Yes, we have eyes and ears and brains and we are pretty good at some of the things we do. But this world is an awfully big place, far more complicated than anyone can ever understand, and this world is a grain of sand (or much less) in this grand cosmos, and nothing we say or do can ever amount to a hill of beans. Ultimately, we survive not on our own, but by faith in something greater.

I look at the War in Iraq and I see a great righteous cause. Why? President Bush didn’t just declare war on an enemy. That even the heathens and non-believers will do. He declared that he would give his cloak also when his coat was demanded. He declared that American wouldn’t just walk one mile in eliminating a common enemy, but walk the second mile in building up a free society in our wake. He is following the principle of giving much where much is had, of imparting to those who have not that which we have.

Establishing a democracy is no easy task. Maintaining a democracy isn’t any easier. But it is the noblest of tasks, to free God’s children from the chains of ignorance and political oppression, and to show people that they have the power to stand up and worship and live and laugh and love without fear.

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Putting Communism in Perspective

February 8, 2007

I am still amazed that people cannot connect the seizing of one corporation’s profits with communism. It is also surprising that people who support and otherwise endorse communist precepts such as taking from the wealthy and giving to the poor are shocked when they are called communist.

I guess the devil would be shocked if I called him evil!

Regardless, let me enlighten my friends of the communist persuasion of the weakness of their philosophy.

There are several vices that communism is built on. Communism is carefully designed to both ensnare the preacher and the believer and is devoid of any virtues the same way radical Islam is devoid of anything good. The one vice in particular that communists prey upon is something called envy.

Here’s how it works. Envy plagues the minds of those who do not have. They are told by envy that they should have what they do not have simply because they do not have it. Envy plays down the true assets in one’s fortunes, and instead causes the victim to wonder about what life would be like if they had what they did not.

Eventually, envy leads to theft, murder, and worse. You see, if you fall victim to envy you will always wish you had something you did not have. Once you have gained it, why, you will turn to something else. I have never met a man overcome with envy who later was satisfied with what he had obtained.

There is a parallel virtue to envy. It is called aspiration. It enlightens the minds of its victims. Instead of the dark feelings of envy and hatred, it spawns feelings of hard work and perseverance. It says, “You to can obtain what they have obtained, if you are willing to pay the price.” Aspiration is a noble desire. It builds instead of destroys. It creates rather than ruins.

Let me point out the problem with imagining taking all of Chevron’s profits to spend on something else. This is illustrated perfectly when you turn the tables. You possess something of value to yourself. Maybe it is your nice CD collection or your car. Maybe it is something intangible. How would you feel if Hillary Clinton turned toward you and said, “If I had what you had, why I’d do something better with it than you ever could because you are too stupid.”

Imagine what life would be like if President Bush threatened to go after George Soros’ billions to end poverty. Or what if he went after Hollywood actor’s and actress’s fortunes in the name of education. Or what if he went after union trust funds and retirement plans for the sake of creating new jobs. How would that make you feel?

I don’t particularly like Chevron. I happen to buy their gas regularly, but only because the station is located conveniently and their gas doesn’t suck. But I don’t like it when people talk about taking money away from someone or some group of people who have sacrificed to get it. Don’t think that profit was a windfall! It was created after carefully calculating the cost and benefit of every little action, overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and bringing people together for the good of mankind. I know what business people have to do to create wealth, and it is never easy.

When you use envy to try and pillage our nation’s greatest success stories, you are playing from the communist playbook. It is communism. Its eventual result is our entire destruction. After a bout of real communism, this country would be thrust back to a time before the first settlers arrived, to a degenerate state of civilization.