Monday, July 6, 2020

The Millennium Probably To Dawn in America

It's July 6th. Over the weekend, Americans celebrated the 4th of July, which is our Independence Day.

This is a good time to consider what Jonathan Edwards wrote in 1758 about America and the "more glorious work that should be in the latter ages of the Christian church."

I posted it here:


Separately, here's a useful suggestion: turn off the news for a day or two.

The news industry has a business model that requires people to watch and read regularly. The more viewers and readers they get, the more money they get from advertisers. You are paying their salaries every time you tune in to their shows or click on their web pages.

The media knows people will watch and read more if they are alarmed, angry, upset, afraid, etc., so they focus on events that generate these emotions. In many cases, they create news to generate these emotions. The pundits do nothing but generate these emotions. They frame everything as a competition between left and right, anti- and pro-Trump, etc.

It's outrage theater and we're better off doing something other than paying for the performances.

Turn off the news, go exercise, and be grateful for all the blessings God has given you.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Moroni's America - the Prince of America

The 4th of July is a good time to review what Elder Orson Hyde taught about Moroni. Speaking on the 4th of July in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, Elder Hyde reiterated the teachings of the prophets that Moroni revealed to Joseph Smith "the history of the early inhabitants of this country."

An Address by Elder Orson Hyde, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, July 4, 1854.
(1854, OH Celebration • JD 6:367)

In those early and perilous times, our men were few, and our resources limited. 

Poverty was among the most potent enemies we had to encounter; yet our arms were successful; and it may not be amiss to ask here, by whose power victory so often perched on our banner? 

It was by the agency of that same angel of God that appeared unto Joseph Smith, and revealed to him the history of the early inhabitants of this country, whose mounds, bones, and remains of towns, cities, and fortifications speak from the dust in the ears of the living with the voice of undeniable truth. 

This same angel presides over the destinies of America, and feels a lively interest in all our doings. 

He was in the camp of Washington; and, by an invisible hand, led on our fathers to conquest and victory; and all this to open and prepare the way for the Church and kingdom of God to be established on the western hemisphere, for the redemption of Israel and the salvation of the world. ...

Under the guardianship of this same angel, or Prince of America, have the United States grown, increased, and flourished, like the sturdy oak by the rivers of water.

(Orson Hyde, JD 6:368)

For more information, here's a great resource:

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Persuasion by small steps

It's a small step to say Oliver Cowdery was just expressing his opinion in Letter VII when he wrote that it was a fact that the Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is the hill in western New York from which Joseph obtained the plates.

It's another small step to say Joseph Smith adopted a false tradition when he republished Letter VII and wrote D&C 128:20.

Then another small step to say the prophets who reaffirmed the New York Cumorah were merely expressing their private, incorrect opinions, including in General Conference.

Yet another step to say Joseph and Oliver were wrong about the translation of the Book of Mormon.

Another small steop to say Joseph never even used the plates.

And so it goes.

This is how persuasion works:

During the Korean War, captured American soldiers found themselves in POW camps run by Chinese Communists. The Chinese treated captives quite differently than their allies, the North Koreans, who favored savagery and harsh punishment to gain compliance
7:54 AM · Jun 14, 2020Twitter Web App
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The Red Chinese engaged in what they called “lenient policy,” which was a sophisticated psychological assault on their captives. After the war, American psychologists questioned the returning prisoners intensively, because of the unsettling success of the Chinese program
The Chinese were very effective in getting Americans to inform on one another, in contrast to the behavior of American POWs in WWII. For this reason, escape plans were quickly uncovered and escape attempts themselves were rarely successful.
When an escape did occur, the Chinese usually recovered the man easily by offering a mere bag of rice to anyone turning him in. In fact, nearly all American prisoners in the Chinese camps are said to have collaborated with the enemy in one form or another.
How did the Chinese get compliance from the American POWS? These men were trained to provide only name, rank, serial number. Short of torture, how could the captors hope to get such men to give military information, turn in fellow prisoners, or publicly denounce their country?
The Chinese answer was to start small and build. Prisoners were asked to make statements so mildly anti-American or pro-Communist as to seem inconsequential "The United States is not perfect." "In a Communist country, unemployment is not a problem."
Once they complied with these minor requests, the men were pushed to submit to more substantive ones. A man who had agreed that the United States is not perfect might be asked provide examples. He might then be asked to make a list of "problems with America" and sign his name
Later, he might be asked to read his list in a discussion group with other prisoners. “After all, it’s what you really believe, isn’t it?” Still later he might be asked to write an essay expanding on his list and discussing these problems in greater detail
The Chinese might then use his name and his essay in an anti-American radio broadcast beamed not only to the entire camp, but to other POW camps in North Korea, as well as to American forces in South Korea.
Suddenly he would find himself a "collaborator." Aware that he had written the essay without any threats or coercion, a man would change his image of himself to be consistent with the deed and with the new collaborator label, resulting in more extensive acts of collaboration
The majority collaborated by doing things which seemed trivial to them but which the Chinese were able to turn to their own advantage. This was particularly effective in eliciting confessions, self-criticism, and information during interrogation.
The majority of the men believed the Chinese story that the United States had used germ warfare, and many felt that their own forces had been the initial aggressors in starting the war. Similar inroads had been made in the political attitudes of the men:
Many expressed antipathy toward the Chinese Communists but at the same time praised them for "the fine job they have done in China." Others stated that "although communism won’t work in America, I think it’s a good thing for Asia."
Our best evidence of another man's true feelings and beliefs is their behavior, not their words. What the Chinese knew is that a man uses this same evidence to know what he himself is like. He observes his behavior to understand his own beliefs, values, and attitudes