Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Harold B. Lee once said:
“When people ask me whom to vote for, I tell them to read Mosiah 29 and section 134 of the Doctrine and Covenants, to pray about it, and then they will know whom to vote for in any given election. It is just as simple as that” (Ye Are the Light of the World 36).
In other words, the Church and the scriptures will provide correct principles, but the Holy Ghost will dictate specific practices.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Ezra Taft Benson. General Conference Talk – April 1965.
Not Commanded in All Things.
The devil knows that if the elders of Israel should ever wake up, they could step forth and help preserve freedom and extend the gospel. Therefore the devil has concentrated, and to a large extent successfully, in neutralizing much of the priesthood. He has reduced them to sleeping giants. His arguments are clever.
Here are a few samples:
First: “We really haven’t received much instruction about freedom,” the devil says. This is a lie, for we have been warned time and again. No prophet of the Lord has ever issued more solemn warning than President David O. McKay.
Last conference I spoke of a book embodying much of the prophets’ warnings on freedom from Joseph Smith to David O. McKay which I commend to you. It is entitled Prophets, Principles, and National Survival. (Click to read)
Second: “You’re too involved in other church work,” says the devil. But freedom is a weighty matter of the law; the lesser principles of the gospel you should keep but not leave this one undone. We may have to balance and manage our time better. Your other church work will be limited once you lose your freedom as our Saints have found out in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and many other nations.
Third: “You want to be loved by everyone,” says the devil, “and this freedom battle is so controversial you might be accused of engaging in politics.” Of course the government has penetrated so much of our lives that one can hardly speak for freedom without being accused of being political. Some might even call the war in heaven a political struggle—certainly it was controversial. Yet the valiant entered it with Michael. Those who support only the popular principles of the gospel have their reward. And those who want to lead the quiet, retiring life but still expect to do their full duty can’t have it both ways.
Said Elder John A. Widtsoe:
“The troubles of the world may largely be laid at the doors of those who are neither hot nor cold; who always follow the line of least resistance; whose timid hearts flutter at taking sides for truth. As in the great Council in the heavens, so in the Church of Christ on earth, there can be no neutrality.” (Ibid, p. 440.)
Fourth: “Wait until it becomes popular to do,” says the devil, “or, at least until everybody in the Church agrees on what should be done.” But this fight for freedom might never become popular in our day. And if you wait until everybody agrees in this Church, you will be waiting through the second coming of the Lord. Would you have hesitated to follow the inspired counsel of the Prophet Joseph Smith simply because some weak men disagreed with him? God’s living mouthpiece has spoken to us—are we for him or against him? In spite of the Prophet’s opposition to increased federal aid and compulsory unionism, some church members still champion these freedom destroying programs. Where do you stand?
Fifth: “It might hurt your business or your family,” says the devil, “and besides why not let the gentiles save the country? They aren’t as busy as you are.” Well, there were many businessmen who went along with Hitler because it supposedly helped their business. They lost everything. Many of us are here today because our forefathers loved truth enough that they fought at Valley Forge or crossed the plains in spite of the price it cost them or their families. We had better take our small pain now than our greater loss later. There were souls who wished afterwards that they had stood and fought with Washington and the founding fathers, but they waited too long—they passed up eternal glory. There has never been a greater time than now to stand up against entrenched evil. And while the gentiles established the Constitution, we have a divine mandate to preserve it.
But unfortunately today in this freedom struggle, many gentiles are showing greater wisdom in their generation than the children of light.
Sixth: “Don’t worry,” says the devil “the Lord will protect you, and besides the world is so corrupt and heading toward destruction at such a pace that you can’t stop it, so why try.” Well to begin with, the Lord will not protect us unless we do our part. This devilish tactic of persuading people not to get concerned because the Lord will protect them no matter what they do is exposed by the Book of Mormon.
Referring to the devil, it says, “And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, and they will say: All is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” (2 Nephi 28:21.)
I like that word “carefully.” In other words, don’t shake them, you might awake them. But the Book of Mormon warns us that when we should see these murderous conspiracies in our midst that we should awake to our awful situation. Now why should we awake if the Lord is going to take care of us anyway? Now let us suppose that it is too late to save freedom. It is still accounted unto us for righteousness’ sake to stand up and fight. Some Book of Mormon prophets knew of the final desolate end of their nations, but they still fought on, and they saved some souls including their own by so doing. For, after all, the purpose of life is to prove ourselves, and the final victory will be for freedom.
But many of the prophecies referring to America’s preservation are conditional. That is, if we do our duty we can be preserved, and if not then we shall be destroyed. This means that a good deal of the responsibility lies with the priesthood of this Church as to what happens to America and as to how much tragedy can be avoided if we do act now.
And now as to the last neutralizer that the devil uses most effectively—it is simply this: “Don’t do anything in the fight for freedom until the Church sets up its own specific program to save the Constitution.” This brings us right back to the scripture I opened with today—to those slothful servants who will not do anything until they are “compelled in all things.” Maybe the Lord will never set up a specific church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution. Perhaps if he set one up at this time it might split the Church asunder, and perhaps he does not want that to happen yet for not all the wheat and tares are fully ripe.
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared it will be the elders of Israel who will step forward to help save the Constitution, not the Church. And have we elders been warned? Yes, we have. And have we elders been given the guide lines? Yes indeed, we have. And besides, if the Church should ever inaugurate a program, who do you think would be in the forefront to get it moving? It would not be those who were sitting on the sidelines prior to that time or those who were appeasing the enemy. It would be those choice spirits who, not waiting to be “commanded in all things,” used their own free will, the counsel of the prophets and the Spirit of the Lord as guidelines and who entered the battle “in a good cause” and brought to pass much righteousness in freedom’s cause.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
by Michael Cook | 27 Jan 2012
Is it morally wrong to kill people? Not really, argue two eminent American bioethicists in an early online article in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, of Duke University, and Franklin G. Miller, of the National Institutes of Health believe that “killing by itself is not morally wrong, although it is still morally wrong to cause total disability”.
Ultimately their aim is to justify organ donation after cardiac death (DCD). This is a state in which a patient is neurologically damaged and cannot function without a respirator. Within minutes of withdrawing this, the organs are removed. However, the authors state frankly that the patient is not dead at that point because it is possible that the patient’s heart could start beating again. (Other bioethicists disagree, vehemently.)
“[T]he criterion of irreversibility has not been satisfied; hence, these patients are not known to be dead at the time of organ procurement.”
In view of well-publicised organ shortages, transplant surgeons are eager to increase the number of available organs. DCD is an important avenue. However, a nagging suspicion that these patients might not be dead is still a substantial stumbling block because the medical profession insists that donors must always be dead. But Sinnott-Armstrong and Miller have an solution:
“[T]he dead donor rule is routinely violated in the contemporary practice of vital organ donation. Consistency with traditional medical ethics would entail that this kind of vital organ donation must cease immediately. This outcome would, however, be extremely harmful and unreasonable from an ethical point of view [because patients who could be saved will die]. Luckily, it is easily obviated by abandoning the norm against killing.”
This radical conclusion may shock some readers, but the authors are not murderers. They want to bring greater precision to what we mean by killing. Rendering someone totally and permanently incapacitated is just as bad as taking a life, or so they contend. Killing totally disabled patients does them no harm.
“Then killing her cannot disrespect her autonomy, because she has no autonomy left. It also cannot be unfair to kill her if it does her no harm.”
Nor, they say, is life “sacred”. The only relevant difference between life and death is the existence of abilities – and a brain-damaged person no longer has these.
“[I]f killing were wrong just because it is causing death or the loss of life, then the same principle would apply with the same strength to pulling weeds out of a garden. If it is not immoral to weed a garden, then life as such cannot really be sacred, and killing as such cannot be morally wrong.”
Journal of Medical Ethics, Jan 19
Monday, January 30, 2012
Doctrine and Covenants 134:4
"We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul." The Catholic Church is quite upset with the Obama Administration, and nearly every Catholic was read this letter in church:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers,
including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture,
only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience,to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama Administration’s decision.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Alexander K. Sample
Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample
Bishop of Marquette
The Health and Human Services Department recently announced it will require all employers (with few exceptions) to provide health insurance to their employees which includes contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.
This means that religious establishments, like Catholic colleges and hospitals, or other Christian institutions would be forced to violate their beliefs by doing things that they believe to be wrong.
"To give an analogy, it would be like the government mandating that all delis, even Kosher delis, serve pork products and then justifying it by saying that protein is healthy, and many Jews who don't follow Kosher laws and many non-Jews go to those delis. The law wouldn't technically ban Jews from owning delis, but it would effectively ban their ability to run them according to their conscience. " (http://www.businessinsider.com)
Thousands of churches had Catholic priests read a version of the letter to their congregation rebuking this decision as violation of religious freedom.