Archive for February 20th, 2007

Mormon Wars

February 20, 2007

I want to address a common charge that has poisoned the minds of the anti-Mormons. It is simply that the LDS church is a church of murders and wars.

This complaint is not new. The short answer is that, yes, mormons have killed and will kill again. But we are only allowed to kill under specific circumstances. These include the defense of our life, the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors, or property. It also includes fighting in wars for our country.

The LDS church is strict: we abide by all laws of our country, whether we like them or not.  In fact, in countries where it is illegal to preach or worship, we do not preach or worship. That also means that if our country declares war, we also declare war. This resulted in mormons fighting mormons in World War II as there were mormons in Germany and the United States.

Now, as for allegations of mormons murdering in Missouri or Illinois back in the latter half of the 19th Century, I hope to lay this to rest. You have before you plenty of historical resources from which you can draw historical facts. You can go read about the Missouri Mormon Extermination Order, where mormons could be shot on sight. You can go read about the President of the United States refusing to send troops to Missouri and Illinois to stop the violence. You can also read about the various militias that were raised, legally and lawfully, and put under the command of the state authorities in those states.

Let me give you the short version. There were people who hated the mormons, hated them so much that they would kill them. A particularly painful event in our history is the massacre at Haun’s Mill in Missouri, where a mob moved in and murdered in cold blood women, men, and children.

You can read about how assassins were sent after Joseph Smith and others, and how they were unsuccessful. In one instance, an assassion caught Joseph Smith alone in a barn. When confronted, Joseph Smith put his arms in the air and challenged him to fire his gun. The man fled, thankfully, giving Joseph a few more years of his life.

Was there a Mormon War in Missouri? Yes, there was. As mormons moved into Missouri, the natives began forming mobs and harrassing the mormons. To stop the fighting, the governor sent a general to raise troops and quell the violence. The troops raised were from the mormons, and they were ordered to disarm the mob. This involved violence, violence which was exaggerated until it reached the governor’s ears. Then the order came to disarm the mormons and arrest the leaders. The leaders surrendered and the mormon militia disbanded. Then came the Extermination Order. The leaders were carried away into a dismal, cold jail, where they barely survived the winter. The rest abandoned their belongings and moved to Illinois.

In Illinois, the church enjoyed a few years of relative peace, thanks to the generosity of the residents there. However, it wasn’t long before the mobs were stirred up, and war was about to break out between the lawfully organized Mormon Militia in Nauvoo, and the illegally rallied mob. Joseph Smith was summoned for trial, and like a lamb to the slaughter, he went. There, the mob broke into the jail, and murdered Joseph and his brother Hyrum, martyring them.

The church was driven out of Illinois, once again abandoning their cities and their property. Once again, they had to flee through winter. Once again, they paid a heavy price in human lives. The trek across the plains was no picnic either. Not only did they who lived in Illinois have to flee, my own ancestors among them, but converts from England had to make the trek also to join the church in Salt Lake Valley.

I wish to share you a story of the faith of these converts. These were not frontiersmen like the earliest members were. These were city folk, usually of lower class. They took handcarts in companies, led by an able captain. The Willie and Martin Companies left a little late from their starting point. The captain cautioned them to stay the winter and try in the spring. They were willing to take the risk to spend that winter with the saints in the valley, and so he led them.

Caught in a terrible snowstorm outside of the valley, President Brigham Young heard the news and cancelled general conference to organize a rescue party. With great effort, and even the sacrifice of human lives, they brought the companies the last few miles into safety.

Even in the Salt Lake Valley, however, the persecution did not stop. Far away in Washington D.C., anti-mormons were spreading false rumors of the mormon’s intention to form a separate nation. A worried president dispatched federal troops to quell the rebellion. Yes, this was another war, a war that ended once again with the church surrendering. Luckily, no lives were lost on either side, but the mormons had to suffer a military base in the middle of their capitol city, complete with prostitution, gambling, and alcohol.

Whenever anyone sets their hand to do what is right, the hands of opposition are there to stop it. Anyone who has made an effort to do good knows this. The greatest acts of goodness are met with the greatest acts of violence and intolerance. The mormons were no exception to that rule.

As for intolerance, hatred, cruelty, and persecution, LDS members worldwide are familiar with these even today. LDS members are taught not to hate their enemies, but to love them. They are taught not to complain, but to praise God. We are taught to count themselves lucky to beaten with a few of the stripes that Christ was beaten with. We are taught to respond to all the intolerance and hatred and fear not with antipathy and violence, but with kindness and love and faith. That is the history of my ancestors and my church, and I am not ashamed of it.

Rep. Murtha, Man of Corruption

February 20, 2007

Liberals love to call President Bush names, and love to accuse the right of being corrupt. Of course, when their accusations do prove true, the right is quick to punish the guilty and them from office. Several ex-members of congress of the Republican Party are facing jailtime for their crimes because republican prosecutors and congressmen refused to tolerate their corruption.

Even in cases where corruption is not evident but only accused, the republican party is willing to wash their hands of the accused. This is the case of Rep. Tom DeLay, who is, in my mind, being charged with nothing at all. When he is cleared, I doubt the left will apologize for smearing his name. They have yet to apologize for being wrong about slavery, President Reagan, or the “Star Wars” program.

However, on the left, things are different. Corruption is ignored. Corruption is invited. In fact, it is celebrated.

In the case of Rep. Murtha, who avoided indictment for bribery by testifying against other members of his party, and who consistently brings home the bacon for his district through the now-hated earmarks, we see considerable corruption. And yet, he stands almost as second-in-command in the House. Indeed, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (who is also corrupt) was upset when he didn’t get that position.

I know this is hard for the left to understand, but corruption exists in Washington D.C., and it is found mostly on the left side of the aisle. That is for one simple reason: the right side does not tolerate it, not even a little.

Corruption is bad because it creates corrupt people, people who would sell their country’s soldiers for a little political gain. When corruption reaches this extreme, it moves into outright treason.

Rep. Murtha is doing this right now. In my mind, if a congressman starts asking, “How do we lose this war?” he should be tried for treason. If a congressman starts putting into motion a plan to undermine the war, then he should be tried quickly before he can vote. I believe Rep. Murtha, and everyone else who wants us out of Iraq now, no matter how many delusions they have caused themselves to believe, should be tried.

If guilty of aiding and abetting the enemy, which I believe plotting the defeat of our troops is, they should be hung. Go ahead and show it on national TV, to all the little schoolchildren. I hope they have that image of that congressman dangling from the end of a rope, with the subtitle “Traitor Hung” below him burned into their memories. At least they will grow up knowing that treason is never tolerated, and that the constitution means something. Perhaps it will also scare off all the corrupt politicians who think they can violate the public’s trust and get away with it.

I don’t know why President Bush and the republicans are so nice to the opposition in this case. What favors can traitors possibly give us? What good can negotiation or compromise give, when they only want to see our young men’s mission nullified? What good can they do for the country? The longer they preach our defeat, the stronger our enemy will become. The longer they try to underfund and stop the reinforcement of our troops, the more American blood will be spilt.

Am I extreme in this view? If so, I hope always to be called extreme in the support of liberty, whether it be the right of the American people to live without fear of terrorists, or the right of the Iraqi people to have their own government. I will defend it even if it means pointing out those who wish to undermine it and calling for them to answer for their crimes against our country. In fact, I will even bear arms and kill our enemies, if need be, to secure our liberty.

I wish the left were half as enthusiastic about liberty.

How To Negotiate With The Enemy

February 20, 2007

I have heard too many times now that the left wants to negotiate from the enemy. This idea is so absurd you would think it was a bit of propaganda invented by the right. The reality is that it is the left that thinks we would all get along if we just all talked.

Forgetting the history of the 20th century, and forgetting everything we have ever learned since the beginning of time, and forgetting that such a thing as logic and reason exist, and that they dictate that negotiating with your enemies is impossible, let me illustrate in the simplest way possible what a negotiation with Iran or Al Qaeda or any of our enemies looks like.

Pres. Ahmedinajad:  President Bush, thank you for coming. We are here to negotiate the terms of your surrender.

Pres. Bush: Surrender? Excuse me, but I don’t think that was the original premise. We are coming here to discuss what it would take to get you to stop your nuclear program.

A: Well, I think we’ve been quite clear. We are demanding that the world blow up in a ball of flames to bring the 12th Imam to restore God’s law on earth. That is all we want. You die, we live. It will be much easier to kill you when you are dead.

B: This is insane. Why would we want to allow you to kill us at your pleasure? What we want is for you to join the 21st century, the world community, and become our closest ally, like Japan, Korea, and Germany. We want to send engineers and economists to your country to teach you how to create a free, productive society, where everyone can participate in their own future.

A: But you don’t understand. We don’t want those things. We want you to die. Now, there are a few scenarios I was imagining. Under scenario one, we distract the world using our puppet states while we finish building nuclear bombs. Then, we surprise you and set some off in your cities. Scenario two is much like that, except we blow up your allies in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Under either scenario, we are hoping to get a full nuclear war. You should note that we are working closely with Russia, who also wants to see the US cut down a few notches.

B: That’s unacceptable. Why would we give up those things if we are in the position of power? Shall I inform you of your predicament? You are standing on top of a political revolution about to hit your country. You are also stuck between two countries we currently occupy. Your puppet states have all but fallen in Africa. We possess unimaginable military might, and Russia is still a shadow of its former self, unable to even employ its scientists. We have two carrier groups sitting off of your coast, several air bases located not far from your borders, and an advanced satellite network. These things allow us to cripple your economy, destroy all the progress you’ve made towards a nuclear bomb, and also destroy your government, all in a few days of work. The United States will not rest until you no longer threaten the world with nuclear holocaust.

I may be missing a few things in this discussion, but let me be clear about how negotiations really work.

First, you need to come to the table willing to give something to get something. If what you are willing to give does not match what the other party wants, or if what you will get does not match what you want, then negotiations are dead on arrival. In the case of Iran, they want to destroy the world. If you think I am making this up, you haven’t been reading President Ahmedinajed’s speeches nor reading the religion of the Ayatollah Khomeini. In the case of the US, we simply want a peaceful world where people don’t go around killing each other.

When your negotiating goals do not line up, there is no negotiating. There is only conflict. You can try to convince one or the other parties to either shift their goals or be willing to offer something more, but that is usually pointless. Only when it has become apparent that one party has something you really need and you cannot accomplish your goals without it, then negotiations will happen.

In the case of the US-Iran conflict (and we are in conflict because our goals do not align), we can make it clear to Iran that their hope for world destruction will not happen. You could make it clear that you are willing to kill them to stop them. Of course, Iran could do the same to us. If the American hope of creating a peaceful world dies, then perhaps, they might reason, we can accomplish our goals.

It is clear that Iran is never going to come to the negotiation table with anything less than world annihilation as their top priority. They have said this on multiple occasions, and have never backed away from it. It is also clear that the US will never tolerate a world at war, but would rather have peace. Since Iran is not willing to give peace (it would frustrate their plans, obviously), and since we are not willing to allow Iran to destroy the world (it would frustrate our plans too), then we are not going to negotiate.