Category Archives: Current events

Billy Graham breaks with a 30-year policy and appears to endorse Mitt Romney

My good friend Dan Blatt over at Gay Patriot send me an e-mail this afternoon which I just saw a little while ago, pointing to a Washington Post article that states that Mitt Romney met with Billy Graham, and Graham for all intents and purposes endorsed him:

Graham then asked Romney what he could do to help.

“Prayer is the most helpful thing you can do for me,” Romney said. “And what you’re planning, what your son has shown me is going to be very very helpful. And I appreciate that. Its going to be terrific.”

Graham, Franklin Graham and Romney then prayed and as the meeting ended, campaign aides said that Graham told Romney: “I’ll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that.”

Ever since Watergate, Graham has had a policy in place of not endorsing presidential candidates (cf. this 1980 article). He came close in 2000, meeting with George W. Bush just two days before the election, but even there he restated his policy:

Graham, in Jacksonville, Fla., for an evangelistic campaign in the city’s Alltel Stadium, met with Bush for a private prayer breakfast. In posing for photographs with Bush and his wife, Laura, and his son, Franklin, Graham stated: “I don’t endorse candidates, but I’ve come as close to it as any time in my life.”

The Florida Times-Union, on its Internet site, noted: “The legendary evangelical leader, the Rev. Billy Graham, practically endorsed Bush,” whose race against Vice President Al Gore concludes with Nov. 7’s general election.

Graham, who led in prayer when Bush was inaugurated as governor of Texas, was quoted by the newspaper as saying he had already voted by absentee ballot in his home state of North Carolina. “You can guess who I voted for,” said Graham, who has acknowledged being a lifelong Democrat.

The danger, of course, is that the money quote from Graham is being repeated by Romney aides; on the other hand, I suspect the Washington Post did some verifying of its own.

What is truly telling is the language: “I’ll do all I can to help you.” That’s not a tepid endorsement or a ‘lesser of two evils’ resignation; that’s about as full-throated as Graham can get at his age. I will be interested to see if it helps some of those Evangelicals who are concerned about putting a Mormon in the White House to vote for Romney anyway.  ..bruce..

 

Clinton (Bill) plays the anti-Mormon card

Buzzfeed reports on a Bill Clinton stump speech in which the former President gives a false representation of LDS theology:

Clinton also recalled a moment from his youth in Arkansas being approached by two or three Mormon missionaries in Hot Springs, where they explained the Mormon view.
Clinton spoke highly of their effort, recounting the different degrees of heaven as was explained to him 50 years ago, describing it as a pyramid with many levels that put Hitler and Stalin at the very bottom, faithful Mormons on top, and everyone else in between.

Clinton, a Baptist, said the sticking point for him was leaving his friends and family out of the top level of heaven.

“I didn’t want to leave all these other people behind,” he said.

I can’t speak to what those missionaries told Clinton — assuming this ever actually happened — but the representation of LDS beliefs is false. Unlike much of Christianity, LDS doctrine is nearly Universalist as to who gets saved. As I wrote five years ago on this site when Gary South at Politico tried to play the same card:

This posting — indeed, my starting this entire blog [Adventures in Mormonism] — is prompted by Hugh Hewett’s blasting of a piece by Gary South on Politico.com talking about “Mormon Intolerance”. South’s big concern: the LDS Church’s claim that “no other Christian church…is valid” and that only those who receive proxy baptism will be saved. He sees this as intolerance, being apparently unaware of that the LDS belief (and practice) actually is vastly more inclusive than the “problem of the unevangelized” that has plagued Christianity for most of the last 2000 years, viz., eternal condemnation to hell for anyone who doesn’t accept Christ (and, for some churches such as the Catholic Church, the appropriate sacraments/ordinances) in this life. Didn’t South ever read Dante’s Inferno, if not St. Augustine? In fact, by Augustinian doctrine, even Christians, however sincere, who never received an acceptable baptism, are damned to hell forever. Does South consider that religious intolerance?

The irony is that LDS theology is possible the most inclusive and diverse in terms of salvation of any major Christian denomination.

To wit:

  • Honest-to-goodness Mormons (by which I mean — and will always mean on this blog — individuals who in this life have been baptized into the LDS Church since its founding in 1830) will make up a very tiny fraction (<0.01%) of those who who inherit the highest (celestial) kingdom of glory.
  • Virtually everyone (>99.9% and probably >99.9999…%) who has ever lived upon this earth will end up in a kingdom of glory (celestial, terrestrial, telestial — glory likened to sun, moon, stars), in service to God — and the glory of the lowest (telestial) kingdom “surpasses all understanding” (D&C 76:89). Mormons will be scattered throughout all three kingdoms, based on how they’ve lived their lives.
  • Mormons, on the other hand, will likely dominate among those in this life who end up as the “sons of perdition” (D&C 76:26-32, 43), the only group that will not ultimately be saved in a kingdom of glory.

Let me explain.

Read the whole thing. Also, if you’re interested on how LDS concepts of “hell” (a term actually not used much within the LDS Church — instead, we tend to talk about “spirit prison” and “outer darkness”) differ from the rest of Christianity — no actual fire and brimstone and (with a very few exceptions) only of limited duration — here is this post as well.

UPDATE: The irony is that Bill Clinton gave this speech the same day that his wife Hilary, our SecState, tweeted, “The U.S. deplores the intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”

 

 

Some perspective on the “Mormon Moment” from early Christian history

I recently bought Pocket History of the Church by D. Jeffrey Bingham, a brief summary of the history of the Christian church, starting after the death of the Apostles. While reading it this afternoon, I ran across the following passage, which made me quietly chuckle. If you substitute “Modern Christianity” and/or “Modern Secularism” for “Romans” and “Mormons” for “Christians”, there are some remarkable parallels:

Roman religion also was intimately related to the past. Greco-Roman society held that the rites of the ancients were more harmonious with the gods than the newer rites. That is, the past was closer to the ancient gods. For Roman society, only one ancient religious doctrine existed, and it was expressed and maintained in a variety of traditional forms by various nations. Abandonment of these variant but traditional forms and customs was wicked. Novelty in religions, they thought, was irreligious. Therefore, because Christians were seen as antisocial and “new”, they were viewed as a danger to Rome. The gods were unhappy and had to be pacified.

When Christians worshiped only one God, their polytheistic Roman neighbors viewed them as atheistic. When Christians gathered in worship, separate from Roman life, they were seen as destructive to the social structure of the empire. In their refusal to confess the emperor’s deity they were viewed as wicked. Their refusal to engage in civic religion led the Christian apologist Tertullian to write that the Romans considered Christians “public enemies” and “enemies of Rome.”

But the Romans did not end their criticism of Christianity with reference to what they viewed as irreligion. They also criticized Christianity for being irrational. Christians seemed to receive their teachings by faith rather than by rational examination of the evidence or critical thinking. According to the Christian theologian Origen, one Roman, Celsus, wrote that some Christians said, “Do not ask questions, only believe.”

Also, the Romans interpreted some Christian practices as deplorable, because of what seemed to be a secretiveness, a ridiculous perspective of life, death and future judgment, an arrogant haughtiness towards Roman religion and a lifestyle of perversity. Minucius Felix, a Latin Christian apologist of the third century, recorded some early Roman understandings of Christian rites and beliefs. Many unbelievers thought that Christians were “a people skulking and shunning the light, silent in public but garrulous in corners. They despise the [Roman] temples as dead houses, they reject the gods, they laugh at sacred things. . . . They know one another by secret marks and insignia, and they love one another almost before they know one another. Everywhere also there is mingled among them a certain religion of lust, and they call one another promiscuously brothers and sisters.”

The belief that Christians were clandestine in their gatherings because of their shameful “incest” (because they married those they called “brother” and “sister”) was common, as was the charge that they were cannibalistic (they ate the body of Christ and drank his blood). Because of the secret nature of their rites, and also because some groups claiming association with Christianity were reported to have engaged in acts of perversity, the rumors grew to absurd proportions. Christians were even accused of eating infants. The Christian apologist Athenagoras was accurate when he said, “Three charges are brought against us: atheism, Thyestean feasts [cannibalistic banquets] and Oedipean intercourse [incestuous unions].”

As strange as it may sound to modern Christian ears, the Romans were appalled at the supposed wickedness, social rebellion, irrationality and impiety of the Christians. The “popular and uncritical” rumor about the Christians, to use the language of Athenagoras, set the tone for how the Romans responded. Of course, we ought not to think that early Christianity was perfect or without blame. Many Christians did not balance their faith in the one true God through Jesus Christ with a biblical call to morality and state loyalty. In addition, some non-Christians who associated with believers were said to have practiced their Roman religion in feasts that did involve promiscuous rites. On the whole, though, the charges of rampant perversity in Christ’s body within the Roman Empire were false. (pp. 31-33)

Sounds kind of familiar, huh?  ..bruce..

So long, Steve, and Godspeed.

The second personal computer I ever owned[1] was an Apple II, with no floppy drive. I bought it, along with a small color TV, from my close friend Robert Trammel while we were both living in Houston sometime around 1980.We had already spent hours together programming on it, then carefully (though not always successfully) saving our programs out to cassette tape. After three months, I sold the computer and TV back to Robert — not because I didn’t like it, but because I was spending far too much time on it.

A few years later — in 1982 — my close friend Wayne Holder hired me into his nascent software company, Oasis Systems, in part to help with his existing and planned word processing utilities (The Word Plus, Punctuation + Style), but mostly to develop computer games. And we did, developing Sundog: Frozen Legacy on the Apple II, a game for which I still get e-mails (and which Wayne is even now working on resurrecting for modern platforms). In January 1984, a few months before Sundog shipped, we were invited by Guy Kawasaki to come up to Apple to see a preview of the Mac and to talk about what software we could port to the Mac. Through my connections with computer stores in San Diego, I was able to get a personal loan of a Mac for a few days at home prior to the official announcement in Cupertino later that month, which Wayne and I attended as well. That was my first time seeing Steve Jobs in person, and it remains a memorable highlight of my professional life.

When the Mac shipped a few days later, I went down to the one computer store in San Diego that I knew would be getting machines from Apple. I took $3000 in cash with me and managed to convince the store owner — a friend — to let me have one of the three Macs he had to sell. Through a connection with Phil Lemmons — editor-in-chief at BYTE — I ended up writing the official BYTE review of the 128K Macintosh (August 1984 issue). By the end of 1984, I was writing full-time for BYTE, including on-going coverage of the Macintosh, particularly once my BYTE column started in mid-1985. After a few years of writing for BYTE, I switched to writing for Macworld magazine. Steve was now long-gone from Apple, and Apple was having some of its own problems going forward.

But in late 1987, I was contacted by Addison-Wesley. They were interested in having me write a book about Steve Jobs’ new project at NeXT. Folks at NeXT had apparently suggested me to Addison-Wesley, probably due to my writing at BYTE and Macworld. I leapt at the opportunity, particularly since in coincided with our family moving from Utah to just outside Santa Cruz (where I would be doing technical writing for Borland on a consulting basis). Once there, I found myself invited to visit NeXT HQ on Deer Creek Road, sit in on meetings, and attend the 0.3 NeXTstep Dev Camp. And, yes, that meant getting actual face time with Steve Jobs as well — not a lot, but this was a man whose creations had been impacting my personal and professional life for over a decade at this point.

The writing of the book dragged out as I waited to get my hands on an actual NeXT cube, which finally happened (if I recall correctly) at the end of 1988 or early 1989. I wrote the first several drafts of the book on that NeXT cube itself. The book came out in the fall of 1989; it remains the single most successful book I’ve ever written, due to the intense interest in NeXT itself, more than any particular writing skills or technical insight on my part.

The following year, I found myself working with a world-class typographer (Mike Parker) and graphic designer (Vic Spindler) to create a design-oriented desktop publishing system. I was doing all the software prototyping on my NeXT cube, and we made the decision to make the NeXT our first target platform. For five years — 1990 to 1995 — I served as chief architect and CTO at Pages Software Inc, where we developed Pages by Pages and then WebPages, while spending nearly two years just trying to raise venture funding. We closed on funding at the start of 1992 and shipped our first version of Pages in early 1994. We quickly sold all that we were going to in the all-too-small NeXTstep market. My frustrations at seeing larger firm try to leverage off of NeXT’s incredible innovations led to an op-ed piece in the November 1994 issue of BYTE, “Whither NextStep?” The day that issue came out was the last time that Steve Jobs and I spoke — he called me from the back of a car somewhere to ask me what the hell I was doing writing that. I said, telling the truth. Pages would close its door the next year, unable to secure additional funding to move its technology to Windows.

When Steve engineered his brilliant reverse takeover of Apple — getting Apple to buy NeXT for $400 million, then slowly moving himself into the CEO seat — I was not optimistic. I still had unconditional praise for the NextStep technology, but I was dubious about Steve’s ability to sell technology to markets and to compete with Microsoft.

Boy, was I wrong. I was not only wrong about his abilities at Apple, I was wrong in my BYTE article about NextStep being on a downward slope. NextStep, of course, was the foundation of Mac OS X, and Steve transformed Apple into the most-admired, most-imitated, and most-valuable company in the world. And I was tickled that, when Apple brought out its own word processor, it was named “Pages”. Steve had always liked that name when we were developing (and shipping) our own product years before; glad he was able to use it.

To quote John Perry Barlow over on FB, “The world is suddenly a less interesting place.” ..bruce w..

[1] The first was an HP-67 card-reading programmable calculator.

[Cross-posted from And Still I Persist]

Interesting commentary on the US District Court ruling on DOMA

The Defense of Marriage Act, passed by the US Congress in 1996, defines marriage as being solely between “a man and a woman”. Judge Joseph Tauro of the US District Court of Massachusetts just issued a ruling striking down the DOMA as unconstitutional. In so doing, he apparently stated that

DOMA marks the first time that the federal government has ever attempted to legislatively mandate a uniform federal definition of marriage – or any other core concept of domestic relations, for that matter.

Charles Lane, over at the Post Partisan blog of the Washington Post, responds by saying, in effect, “Uh, no.”

During the 1856 presidential campaign, the Republican Party platform had accused the Democrats of countenancing “those twin relics of barbarism–polygamy and slavery” and declared it the “duty of Congress to prohibit” both evils in the territories. Buchanan’s expedition was intended to prove the Republicans wrong. It succeeded only in provoking a few inconsequential clashes between armed Mormons and U.S. soldiers.

Congress subsequently adopted three increasingly harsh criminal bans on bigamy and polygamy in the territories: in 1862, 1882 and 1887. The Supreme Court upheld these laws repeatedly against Mormon challenges alleging, among other things, that they violated religious liberty. The 1887 law, the Edmunds-Tucker Act, abrogated the Mormon Church’s corporate charter and confiscated its property, on the grounds that its leaders encouraged polygamy.

The Supreme Court said that was okay, too. Echoing the majority opinion of the day, the court recoiled in frank horror at a practice the Mormons believed was ordained by God — but which the justices considered a “crime against the laws and abhorrent to the sentiments and feelings of the civilized world.” They compared it to human sacrifice. . . .

So it is a bit misleading to say, as Tauro does, “every [historical] effort to establish a national definition of marriage met failure.” Washington’s triumph over Mormon polygamy, made permanent in a national statute, would seem to qualify as a federal definition of marriage, at least in the sense of what marriage is not.

To be sure, Tauro emphasizes that the states have always had exclusive authority over marriage. Utah was a territory at the time of Washington’s effort to stamp out polygamy, and the constitution gave the federal government paramount authority over territories, including their domestic legislation. (That is why, technically, the anti-polygamy laws aimed at Utah also applied to Arizona, Oklahoma, Alaska and the District of Columbia.) Congress functioned, in effect, as the super-legislature for each territory.

Yet what is noteworthy about the Utah case is that Congress leveraged its power over Utah the territory into power over Utah the state. As a condition of admission to the Union, Utah’s people gave Congress a permanent veto over their marriage laws – a veto that remains on the books to this day. The fact that today’s Mormons are proponents of heterosexual monogamy and opponents of same-sex monogamy, is deeply ironic, but legally irrelevant.

What’s more, Utah is not the only state in which this situation obtains. The language of the Utah Enabling Act was repeated, word-for-word, in the laws that admitted New Mexico, Arizona and Oklahoma as states in the early 20th Century. In short, the federal government has shared authority over the marriage laws of four U.S. states.

Now, I have long been amused by those who state that efforts to allow gay marriage would have no impact on efforts to allow plural marriage. It has always struck me that any successful legal argument allowing gay marriage would have to, of necessity, allow plural marriage — I have yet to see a convincing argument to the contrary, particularly since plural marriage has a much deeper and broader history worldwide (including current active practice, particularly in Islamic and African cultures) than gay marriage does.

If Judge Tauro’s ruling is upheld, it would be interesting to see whether legal challenges to the Federally-mandated Arizona laws might arise from one of the polygamous religious groups therein (Arizona being, in my opinion, the most likely candidate for such an effort). Since Judge Tauro’s ruling does indicate that states can define marriage on their own, such an effort could be quickly ended by a de novo state law banning plural marriage (and for all I know, such a law already exists). But we continue to live in interesting times.  ..bruce..

Interesting view of LDS professionals

The Financial Times (which I read faithfully for a while back in DC, while I still read physical newspapers) notes the increased visibility of Mormons in Western business, government, and culture (free registration may be required):

Mormons are moving from the periphery of modern American life to the very centre. From Romney’s failed tilt at the presidency to the tales of everyday polygamous families in HBO’s popular drama Big Love, Mormonism has become increasingly visible over the last generation. Where its most famous acolytes were once the Osmonds, leading lights now include politicians such as US Senate majority leader Harry Reid (a Democrat) and Romney (a Republican); Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight  vampire saga; Glenn Beck, the popular conservative talk-show host; and self-help guru Stephen R. Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Those are the household names. As important are the Mormons who play central roles at the companies and institutions that make America tick: Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University (one of the biggest in the US); David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airlines; J.W. (“Bill”) Marriott, head of Marriott International; and Jon Huntsman Jr, ambassador to China – to name a few. And while firm data are hard to come by, off-the-record interviews conducted for this article suggest that a generation of Mormons in their thirties and forties is accelerating the trend. For every Hill Cumorah Pageant – an annual set of performances starting this weekend in which a cast of 650 enact scenes from the Bible and Book of Mormon before massive audiences near Joseph Smith’s birthplace – there are much more mundane scenes being played out across the US: an investment banker in New York said, “I was at my final day of interviews at JPMorgan during my senior year in college. They took students from Princeton, Yale, Harvard, U-Penn and Brigham Young University [a Mormon university in Utah]. I was like, ‘what the hell? BYU?’ Then I slowly realised how many Mormons there are on Wall Street.”

The CIA has its eye out for Mormons, who, people say jokingly, ace the mandatory drugs and lie-detector tests. Blue-chip corporations are recruiting, too. And at Harvard Business School, female students note ruefully that attractive male classmates are invariably associated with one of the “three Ms”: the military, the management consultancy McKinsey or Mormonism.

In that complaint lies the conundrum: much of the US still sees Mormons as weirdly strait-laced at best, cultish at worst. Yet elite institutions are embracing them. What does that fact say about the world’s youngest major religion – and about success in modern America?

Much of this is not new — Stephen Covey has been writing for decades, and the CIA was recruiting at BYU when I was an undergrad in the 70s — but I do agree with the articles main points: Mormons and the LDS Church as visible as never before, and — as noted — “elite institutions are embracing them.” Some of their observations and answers are quite interesting.

Must drive the anti-LDS crowd nuts. :-) Read the whole thing.  ..bruce..

Mormons get the blame for Maine

Mollie over at GetReligion.org points out that in wake of Maine citizens overturning the gay marriage law (the Question 1 initiative before voters this past Tuesday), gay marriage supporters are now seeking to blame the LDS Church somehow:

Check out this paragraph in the Post story about the National Organization for Marriage:

Some groups for gays say the organization is a stalking horse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons, which dominated fundraising in the California campaign. Many of the actors in a nationally televised ad produced by NOM, called “Gathering Storm,” turned out to be Mormon activists.

Wow. Okay, so the allegation at play here is that the Mormons are deceiving everyone by operating this group without being up front about it. That is a very serious charge. Nowhere is it substantiated. I mean, I know that the National Organization for Marriage has at least one Mormon board member — Orson Scott Card. But he’s hiding in plain sight. I found out that information by surfing the NOM website myself. And what does it mean that “many” of the actors in a television ad “turned out to be” Mormon activists? I don’t even know what that means, although it does sound scary. What, exactly, is a “Mormon activist”?

I think they’re called Danites. ;-) ..bruce..

A great GayPatriot brunch

Sandra and I attended a brunch today, hosted by Dan Blatt of GayPatriot.net here in downtown Denver. There were eleven of us in all there, and the discussions were all quite interesting. Dan’s a screenwriter in west LA; at one point, he said that the tricky part of living there is not indicating that he’s gay but rather that he’s a conservative, though he says now he does it just to enjoy the reaction (and to get a sense of what kind of person he’s talking with).

If you’re not reading GayPatriot, you should be; it’s in my Blogs Level One bookmarks folder (read at least once/day and often twice/day).

So, what are you doing still here?  ..bruce w..

[Cross-posted from And Still I Persist]

A sticky wicket: the Church and illegal immigration

From the Salt Lake Tribune comes this, well, awkward article for the Church:

The arrest of an undocumented immigrant returning last week from his LDS mission has sparked discussion at the highest levels of the church about how to limit such exposure in the future.

“With the known realization that those risks exist, then we want to do better, or at least learn more,” LDS apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, said Friday during an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune . “We want to be more precise, if we can, about how to help, how to make [a mission] the calmest, most spiritually rewarding experience for everybody.”

Early last week, a missionary was detained at the Cincinnati airport for “lacking necessary documentation to board his flight home,” according to Michael Purdy, LDS Church spokesman.

That triggered fears in the undocumented LDS community in Utah, and already prompted a change in how one Utah missionary returned home. The young man, a Salt Lake Valley resident, completed a mission in Oklahoma and was scheduled to return home two days after church leaders heard of the unrelated arrest in Ohio. The mission president contacted local Utah church leaders, and it was decided the missionary’s uncle would drive out to Oklahoma to bring the missionary home, which he did.

The travel department of the church has to rethink everything. Things have changed, and they need a whole new policy,” said a local church official who was aware of the situation. “With ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] hitting them at the bus terminals and airports, this opens a whole new discussion. I don’t know how many undocumented immigrants we have serving missions, but I’m sure this is going to repeat itself.”

The subject of the Church and proper immigration documentation comes up on a regular basis, given that the Church has missionaries in roughly 150 countries. But this is here in the United States, and it involves calling young men and women who are here in the US illegally to serve missions.

I don’t have a lot of sympathy for this practice. My own mission (Central America Mission, 1974-74) covered four countries — Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama — plus the Canal Zone, then US territory under lease from Panama. (We couldn’t actually proselyte within the Canal Zone itself, though we could teach Zonians who were referred by members, etc.). If I had been found without the proper visa at any time in any of those countries (outside of a few days’ slack when leaving), I would have at best been deported or escorted to the border. At worst, I would have been thrown into jail or prison — and believe me, you wouldn’t have wanted to spend time in any Central American jail or prison in the early 70s.

The varying laws in those countries limited how long missionaries could stay in a given country. For example, in Panama, my visa was only good for three months. So at the end of three months, I had to take an all-day bus ride from Panama City to the Panama-Costa Rica border, get a short-term visa to enter Costa Rica, walk across the border, spend the night in Costa Rica, get a new Panamanian visa in the morning, walk back into Panama, and then take an all-day bus ride back to Panama City. In at least some (and I believe all) of the countries, you had to show an outbound airline ticket before you were allowed to enter the country. And in Nicaragua, before you could leave the country you had to go to a police station and get what was called a paz y salvo – a document that showed you still had a valid visa and weren’t currently wanted for any crimes or lawsuits.

I know that all this juggling was a headache for the mission president. In addition to all the various visa length restrictions (3 to 6 months), some countries had restrictions on who they would let in. Honduras wouldn’t allow any missionaries from El Salvador because the two countries were still technically at a state of war with each other over a soccer game. (No, really.) Panama would only allow missionaries from the US; Panama was far and away the richest country in Central American, and they didn’t want missionaries from nearby countries to stay behind when their visas expired and, well, immigrate illegally.

Still, our mission presidents (Pres. Hunsaker, followed by Pres. Eager) worked carefully to stay within those laws and to act quickly when a problem arose . I spent the last three months of my mission in the mission office, during the transition between presidents, so I was fully aware of all the immigration problems and issues, and the efforts to deal with them.

Back to present day and circumstances: I think the Church is creating a difficult legal situation for itself by continuing to call illegal immigrants to serve missions within the US. This is far more than a problem with a missionary having a lapsed or perhaps questionable (e.g., student) visa; this involves young men and women who are here in the US illegally from the get-go and who are subject to arrest or detention (and possible deportation) at any time.

Thoughts?  ..bruce..

Mormons, the Mossad, and 9/11

Courtesy of Article VI Blog comes a link to this, ah, fascinating article that not only repeats the tired and ridiculous trope that Israel was behind the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, but that the Mormons were involved as well. A few excerpts (all errors and typos are in the original article):

The establishment of a branch of Brigham Young University in Israel created a legitimate front for covert activities of the secret/CIA element of the church. It is from there that Mormon world political interests are promoted and pursued lobbying the Israeli government to pursue its unenlightened, inhuman activities under Mosaic Law of an eye for an eye philosophy against Arab states and the deprived Palestinian people. . . .

The first public awareness of the nexus between Mossad and Mormon secret agents was published by Norman Mailer in A Harlot High and Low in the 60’s when a reconditioned WWII Liberty ship was “hijacked” on the Thames River in London by Mossad. The ship had a cargo of uranium ore that had been originally mined in southern Utah. The details of that intrigue were published in an earlier article on OpedNews http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_doug_wal_071212_romneys_selective_ig.ht

It involved the Utah Corporation which mines the surface of Australia as well as Chile.I mentioned that Secret elements of the church conspired with the CIA to overthrow democratically elected president Allende of Chile so that the business interests of the church could continue uninterrupted by the then recent action of Allende in nationalizing the mines in Chile.

The most recent exposure of that nexus came within the framework of the 9-11 event.Being pre-informed if not directly involved in the plans for destroying the Twin Towers as well as Building 7 on September 11, 2001 is demonstrated by official advice given toMormons working in the World Trade Center to not show up for work that day. . . .

The nexus between the church and the Bush Administration has been documented by the pressure placed on the church from a personal visit by Bush to church headquarters in Salt Lake City prior to the forced retirement of BYU physics professor Steven Jones in late 2006.  Jones was/is in the forefront of scientifically establishing a conspiracy to destroy the World trade Center by pre planted explosives. He is just doing what church founder Smith predicted elders of the church would do in saving the Constitution.

If this weren’t so amusing, I’d be offended. I was living and working in Washington DC on 9/11/2001; in fact, the house that Sandra and I had just moved into was about 4 miles due north of the Pentagon. While I didn’t personally know anyone who was killed on that day, there were plenty of people in our ward who did. And I can assure Wallace that none of us were warned about anything. (Note to Wallace: we had been living in DC proper for nearly two years at that point; the house we had just moved into was 2 miles closer to the Mall and the Pentagon.)

What makes this article even more amusing is that there are anti-Mormon evangelicals who claim that the LDS Church is supporting Arab terrorism. (The Church sent hygiene kits and blankets to the Gaza strip, just as they have sent relief to North Korea. All God’s chilluns need warmth and first aid.) And in all this, I wonder what Douglas Wallace, who authored this article, thinks of the terrorists who keep claiming credit for the 9/11 attacks.

For what it’s worth, Wallace (as he alludes to in his credits at the end of the article) is the LDS lawyer who was excommunicated in 1976 for ordaining a black to the priesthood. The incoherence, paranoia, and anti-Semitism of this article renders him a less understandable and sympathetic character than he might otherwise be.  ..bruce..