Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tolerance - A Mormon characteristic?

I read an interesting post at a blog I follow entitled Dissenting in Part regarding the issue of Mormon tolerance and what it means. I was going to add my comments but it got lengthy, so rather than post an essay there, I will just add it here.

Mormons are tolerant in their own minds and according to their definition. Somehow Mormons lump tolerance and acceptance into the same definition. In other words, I know plenty of Christians that consider homosexuality a sin and are not accepting of the practice yet are tolerant of this group of citizens and their Constitutional rights to equality in treatment. Tolerance is not equivalent to condoning.

This all trails back to the inability of the majority of Mormons (and evangelical Christians) to separate their religious convictions with civil policies. How do you convince someone who believes that when Christ returns religious law will become civil law that in the mean time we have a wide variety of religions and beliefs and one cannot dominate at the expense, or discrimination, of all the others? Regardless of how sure you are that your particular brand of religion is the one true path that you believe in with every fiber of your being...

Tolerance is allowing obnoxious 19-20+ year old kids to canvas neighborhoods across America knocking doors to spread their religious convictions. Tolerance is allowing non-profit religious groups to own for-profit companies. Tolerance is having government officials meet with Church leaders to discuss upcoming legislation. Tolerance is freedom of religion but it is also freedom from religion.

Mormons are also pretty adamantly against smoking and drinking but I don't see tens of millions of dollars being pumped into legislative policies seeking to prohibit the sale and use of those vices. Tolerance. Mormons are against abortion as birth control and highly in favor of family yet there was no memo encouraging funding and support of parental notification being required for underage females 48 hours prior to having an abortion in California Prop 4. Tolerance.

I would echo that Christ also taught us to stand up against ridiculous laws imposed by those who were allegedly in positions of moral superiority. Regarding an issue of sexual fornication, which the True Believing Mormon will say is the exact issue at hand in Prop 8, Jesus instructed: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone..."

I will grant you that Jesus in no way "condoned" fornication (hetero or homo) but what He did do in issuing that damning challenge is to turn away those that would attempt to execute punishment of a religious code or moral infraction via societal civil legislation.

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.” - John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th U.S. President

Friday, April 24, 2009

Flashback Friday - The Beach Boys vs Dick Dale

Flashback surf edition. I love the surf edition so we get two songs from each!

The Beach Boys - Surfin' USA

The Beach Boys - I Get Around

Dick Dale and the Del Tones - Misirlou

Dick Dale and the Del Tones - Nitro

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In-N-Out and Northern Utah?

Here's the response I got from In-N-Out customer service when inquiring about the rumors surrounding additional restaurants expanding into Northern Utah, specifically Draper. It seems a bit ambiguous but looks like I may have a Double-Double animal-style sometime in the next decade.


Dear T.J. Shelby:

Thank you for your e-mail, and for your interest!

We are happy to hear about the excitement regarding In-N-Out Burger's future expansion in Utah. We would ultimately like to have more than one location in and around the Salt Lake City area, and we are looking into a number of possibilities. We currently hope to open a store in Draper, Utah. However, as plans are still very tentative and subject to change, we do not have any further information about this, or any other new locations in Utah at this time.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us. We look forward to the possibility of serving you and your community in the future.


Aimee Cherry
Customer Service Representative

Ozzy Osbourne - His 20 Best Songs

20. Never Know Why

19. Bark at the Moon

18. Goodbye To Romance

17. Shot in the Dark

16. You Can't Kill Rock And Roll

15. Walk on Water

14. In My Life (with Slash):

13. Over The Mountain

12. See You On The Other Side:

11. Changes (Duet with Kelly):

10. Mr. Crowley

9. Flying High Again

8. I Don't Wanna Stop:

7. I Don't Want To Change The World

6. No More Tears:

5. Mama, I'm Coming Home:

4. Dreamer:

3. Paranoid:

2. Diary of a Madman:

1. Crazy Train:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Unwed mothers in 2007 delivered 40% of the babies born in the U.S.

Now get ready for some MAJOR sarcasm...

A recent CNN.com article details the record high number of out-of-wedlock births in the United States. However, we need to keep such reports in context as to not let it destroy our faith. We need to understand that we undoubtedly cannot blame these men and women for their sexual fornication. Obviously the mockery of the holy sanctity of Christian marriage isn't their fault.

The fact that out-of-wedlock births are up 25% in last five years may not show a growing trend towards traditional Christian values but again, let's look through our distorted Religious Right glasses and see the situation for how it really appears. (Sigh...)

I think we, as God-fearing obedient Christians, all know who the real culprits are and where the blame appropriately lies...

The homosexuals.

However, I'm sure once Prop 8 gets reversed and same-sex marriage is allowed, and those wicked creatures stop conceiving out of wedlock, I'm positive that number will come down to under 5%...right?

Disclaimer - Lest any think I seriously mean any of this, please scroll down and click on the Prop 8 label link to read any of my previous 33 Prop 8 posts to see how I really feel.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What's The Worst Part of Moving to Utah? Two Words: Glen Beck...

The worst part of living in Utah is that everyone thinks this guy is awesome. He's like the Mormon Rush Limbaugh.

Unfortunately, that wasn't a compliment...

Here are a few diatribes about what an idiot Glen Beck is:

1. From Discover Magazine online
2. From Bill Bowman at TPM
3. From John Amato at Crooks and Liars

Or you can just watch some videos to demonstrate the point...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

NBA 2009 Playoff Predictions


#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs #8 Detroit Pistons
Winner: Cleveland 4-1

#2 Boston Celtics vs #7 Chicago Bulls
Winner: Boston 4-2

#3 Orlando Magic vs #6 Philadelphia 76ers
Winner: Orlando 4-0

#4 Atlanta Hawks vs #5 Miami Heat
Winner: Atlanta 4-1


#1 Los Angeles Lakers vs #8 Utah Jazz
Winner: Lakers 4-1

#2 Denver Nuggets vs #7 New Orleans Hornets
Winner: Denver 4-3

#3 San Antonio Spurs vs #6 Dallas Mavericks
Winner: Dallas 4-2

#4 Portland Trailblazers vs #5 Houston Rockets
Winner: Houston 4-2

Cleveland vs Atlanta - Winner: Cleveland 4-2
Boston vs Orlando - Winner: Boston 4-3

Lakers vs Dallas - Winner: Lakers 4-1
Denver vs Houston - Winner: Denver 4-3
Conference Championships
Cleveland vs Boston - Winner: Cleveland 4-3
Lakers vs Denver - Winner: Lakers 4-1
NBA Championship
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Los Angeles Lakers
Winner: Los Angeles Lakers 4-2
Finals MVP - Kobe Bryant

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Prop 8 Songs...er...My Top 8 Songs about California

Since I'm a little homesick for California, I thought I'd give some musical props to my favorite songs about California.

8. LL Cool J - "I'm Going Back to Cali"

7. California Dreaming - Covered by Pennywise

6. 2Pac - California Love

5. California Girls - The Beach Boys

4. Led Zeppelin - Going to California

3. The Eagles - Hotel California

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge

1. The Doors - LA Woman

L.A. Woman [New Stereo Mix] (Advanced Resolution) - The Doors

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brigham Young and Prop 8...

"Marriage is a civil contract."

Remarks by President BRIGHAM YOUNG, in the Bowery, in G.S.L. City, August 19th, 1866. REPORTED BY G. D. WATT. Journal of Discourses 11:270 (266-272)


Sunday, April 12, 2009

For Those Awaiting Word Of My Apostasy...

Your wait will have to continue. In spite of my many blog posts discussing the doctrinal inconsistencies, personal doubts, and outright lies found in my studies of the history of Christianity, the LDS faith and my eternal search for truth, know this: I still have faith in the Risen Christ.

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Easter Sunday with family and loved ones. May you all find faith in Christ to the level of your own desires.

His Hands:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mormon Leader comments on Prop 8 at LDS General Conference

I was going to put this as a comment on Chris' recent blog post about Prop 8 but I'll just make it a mini-post here.

President Thomas S. Monson (Apr 2009 Gen Conf) said: "In addition, the moral footings of society continue to slip, while those who attempt to safeguard those footings are often ridiculed and, at times, picketed and persecuted."

What I find funny and a little ironic about the quote is that the NO on Prop 8 supporters could make the exact same statement. It clarifies perfectly why I was in a position of opposition to Prop 8.

Just in the mood for it - Grateful Dead...


Friday, April 10, 2009

Please start watching the NBC show "Life"

There are rumors that it may not make it to the next season and please take my word for it: Charlie Crews is one of the most interesting characters on television right now. I just watched the season finale and it was amazing. The brave, bold writing left my jaw dropped at the end.

Flashback Friday - "Just Say No" edition

This is your brain...

I learned it by watching you...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hardball - Gay Marriage discussion

Human Rights Commission - End The Lies website:

"The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened."— John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prop 8 and the legislating of Christian Law...

I believe that all citizens are entitled to their own religious beliefs only insofar as they do not intrinsically infringe upon the free will actions of other citizens. I suppose that is why I have such an issue with California Proposition 8. You have one set of citizens, predominantly of the Christian faith, who are attempting to legislate their religious moral code upon the entire community of citizens.

We make a gigantic error when we confuse a Constitutionally guaranteed right (a liberty) with the moral category of "rightness" (validity). There is no logical connection between what you have a right to do, and the right thing to do; but there is a psychological temptation to move from one to the other.

"I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample underfoot." ~ Horace Greeley

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Play Ball...

Enjoy the season...

My 2009 MLB Predictions:


East - New York Mets
Central - Chicago Cubs
West - Arizona Diamondbacks
Wild Card - St Louis Cardinals


East - Boston Red Sox
Central - Minnesota Twins
West - Los Angeles Angels
Wild Card - New York Yankees

1. Chicago Cubs vs St Louis Cardinals
Winner: Chicago Cubs
2. Arizona Diamondbacks vs New York Mets
Winner: New York Mets

1. Los Angeles Angels vs New York Yankees
Winner: New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox vs Minnesota Twins
Winner: Boston Red Sox

NLCS: Chicago Cubs vs New York Mets
Winner: New York Mets

ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees
Winner: Boston Red Sox

World Series: New York Mets vs Boston Red Sox
Winner: Boston Red Sox

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dude, this is so wrong...

Oscar mistakes...

I am a movie buff. I have been for as long as I can remember. I love the prestige of the Oscar's in honoring fine cinematic works. What really annoys me is when the Oscar's are not awarded to what I consider to be the best works. For the purposes of this rant, we'll discuss solely the Best Picture category.

While I could go back probably to the 1960's, I think I will just begin at when my love of movies began, around age 12.

In 1989, Driving Miss Daisy won the Oscar, while two more deserving movies did not win. My Left Foot starring Daniel Day Lewis and Dead Poet Society were much better choices.

In 1990, one of the most horrendous travesties of all time occurred when Goodfellas was snubbed in favor of the talentless hack Kevin Costner's directorial debut, Dances With Wolves.

1991 - The Silence of the Lambs. Excellent.

1992 - Unforgiven. Clint, good pick.

1993 - Schindler's List. Got it. Okay.

In 1994, the fan favorite Forrest Gump took the honors. Go back and watch it again. See if you can honestly say that it was a better movie than runners up, Pulp Fiction or (my pick) The Shawshank Redemption.

1995 - Braveheart. Easy choice.

In 1996, a minor upset in my mind when the award went to The English Patient over my pick, Shine, with Geoffrey Rush.

In 1997, Titanic won. Need I say any more? FYI, Boogie Nights wasn't even nominated.

In 1998, again, just a minor upset because I did like winner Shakespeare in Love but I would have went with Life Is Beautiful.

In 1999, my least favorite of the five won. Okay...American Beauty was better than The Cider House Rules but not better than The Sixth Sense, The Green Mile, and definitely not better than The Insider. Was it really so socially progressive to have a middle-aged guy bang a teenager? Really?

2000 - Gladiator. One of my favorite movies of all time.

In 2001, A Beautiful Mind was a great movie but because Moulin Rouge didn't win, they gave Chicago the award a year later in 2002 over two much better flicks in The Pianist and Gangs of New York.

In 2003, while I was happy that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was honored by giving the award to the third and final installment, I felt bad for Mystic River because movie-to-movie, it was better than the individual 3rd movie of the LotR trilogy, but how do you compete against a trilogy?

In 2004, someone ruined the ending of Million Dollar Baby, so I never bothered to watch it...

From 2005 until the present I feel they have been spot on:

2005 - Crash. Awesome movie.

2006 - The Departed. Great gangster flick with superb acting.

2007 - No Country For Old Men - Wonderfully acted movie.

2008 - Slumdog Millionaire - A moving film.

There you have it. Do you agree or disagree?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Black History in Mormonism

“We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.” George Orwell (1946)

Those who know me know I have issue with the LDS history regarding treatment of those of African descent yet some don’t see why it is such a stumbling block in my testimony. Before I begin I must give a cautionary warning. This will not be an apologetic approach to previous Mormon position to help reconcile the shady past. It is a full-fledged rant.

Harry Emerson Fosdick, in his autobiography The Living of These Days stated: “The fact that astronomies change while the stars abide is a true analogy of every realm of human life and thought, religion not least of all. No existent theology can be a final formulation of spiritual truth.”

On a positive and optimistic day, Fosdick outlines my feelings regarding the history of this issue. On less than favorable days, my feelings border on dissent and apostasy. The problem with reviewing the history of this particular topic is that one realizes that the Church and its leaders can be wrong. There are some in the faithful flock who will fall in line and shrug off years of institutional racism and false doctrine preached by general authorities and even by Prophets but I can't seem to do it. Not on this issue.

"It's behind us. Look, that's behind us. Don't worry about those little flecks of history." (CBS "60 Minutes." Mike Wallace interview with Gordon B. Hinckley, broadcast 7 April 1996)

I’ll give Hinckley the benefit of the doubt and assume he has never heard or read the hundreds of statements from previous general authorities because if he had, calling them “little flecks of history” is blatantly offensive to anyone capable of intellectual reasoning.

While I can share any number of statements (I do have a hundred plus years worth to choose from), I’ll just share a couple that have had the most lasting and damning effects upon the minds of generations of Mormons.

Our 2nd Prophet Brigham Young said: “Cain slew his brother....and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin...”_(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, pages 290-291) This is the quote that invoked Hinckley’s comment.

What about the personal revelations of Apostle Bruce R. McConkie that he felt compelled to share with the general membership? “Those who were less valiant in pre-existence and who thereby had certain spiritual restrictions imposed upon them during mortality are known to us as the Negroes" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 527, 1966 edition).

How about more from Brigham Young: “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot, this will always be so.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, page 110)

Well, forget what that past Prophet said, just follow McConkie’s advice “And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet.” Obviously he’s teaching us that while past Prophets clearly have the ability to be wrong, CURRENT Prophets are never wrong…

Or are they? Do you believe the statement from Wilford Woodruff that “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray… If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God…”

To me, if a doctrine has proven itself to be false, then I can no longer believe it. I cannot accept that “never lead us astray” means “never teach false doctrine.”

My point is backed up by Bruce R. McConkie in his All Are Alike Unto God BYU address, he said, “Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world… We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.”

Setting aside my disdain for his speech as a whole (maybe I’ll review his whiny, sniveling blasphemous speech another time), the problem with making the above statement without following it up with corrected doctrine (or counter-arguments) regarding the African race to oppose the lies and “limited understanding” is that it rings hollow and comes off insincere. It is like the kid who is more upset that he got caught rather than feeling sorrow for committing sin.

So where do we stand with this? Either the Church was right or the Church was wrong. Those are the options.

If the Church was right, well, McConkie told us to throw that out the window. We can’t rely on any statements from pre-1978 revelation. Or we can say that the Church was right but God changed His mind due to the negative effect that being known as a racist church would have upon the "stone cut out of the mountain." Yeah well, that leaves us one other option.

If the Church was wrong, then the doctrine was never inspired of God. The problem with that option is like opening Pandora’s box. If they were wrong about this, what else were they wrong about? Everything comes into question now.

The point I'm trying to make with this rant is that Hinckley and any other future Prophet shouldn't be able to get away with saying "that's all behind us" when it comes to the racist doctrine of Mormonism. We all understand we are a global church and everything is like a rainbow coalition now, that’s great, but the current head of the Church is not off the hook just yet. He still needs to give a full explanation as to why the doctrine was introduced in the first place. I want to hear more than racially friendly PR talking points. I want President Monson to address this from a logical standpoint. Heck, skip that and just apologize for crying out loud.

I realize that the LDS Church wasn't the only religion to have a racist history. However, they are the "only true and living church" that claims a Prophet as a mouthpiece who speaks for the Lord, "as if from (His) own mouth." The LDS Mormon church was also 13 years late making the 'social' correction. While other Christian churches made efforts to embrace folks of color after the Civil Rights Movement, the LDS church showed no signs of moving. Until Brazil. And the IRS.

President Hinckley gave the most honest answer I’ve heard when asked why it took so long for blacks to receive the priesthood. Unfortunately the answer, as honest as it is, it scares the hell out of me. He was the Prophet, the mouthpiece for the Lord and he doesn’t know why the Church didn’t allow any with African blood to hold the Priesthood until 1978?

He was an apostle, "One sent forth to serve as a special witness of Jesus Christ." He was the Prophet. "The only person on the earth who receives revelation to guide the entire Church." If he doesn't know, who would know then? And if he didn’t know, why wasn’t he asking God?

I did find this statement from Hinckley on the LDS.org website and had to chuckle, “no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church.” I wonder how Brigham Young, John Taylor, Joseph Fielding Smith, and many other former Prophets and Apostles would feel about that stinging criticism? Ahh, but they’re just dead Prophets, "They don't matter anymore", they are just “little flecks of history.”

Explain this to me, why is it that in a record-keeping church that has meticulous files of so many previous revelations and journal entries that we use today for doctrine (and/or quasi-doctrine, Journal of Discourses), why is there not one iota of historical proof of a revelation placing a ban on those of African descent? If the curse was lifted why are people still born black? I guess we can throw that one out the window...

Why were there blacks that held the priesthood in Joseph Smith’s day? Click HERE to read more about them at a fantastic blog posting by Mormon Heretic.

I do not share Elder Boyd K. Packer’s belief that “There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not…Some things that are true are not very useful.” (“The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect", 1981, BYU Studies, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 259-27)

Who is he to decide what level of truth I receive? History (even Church History) is NOT required to be faith promoting before availability and dispersion to the general public.

I end, with sadness and new understanding, upon the words of Friedrich Nietzsche: “I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”