Posts Tagged ‘Babylon’


This is Part III of a three part series.  Part I can be found here.

Now, the “other endeavors” I discussed in Part II are generally well documented, or at least in your average, run-of-the-mill newspaper outlet (i.e. Deseret News, etc) has covered these topics in some degree or another.  Pretty much anyone can find some information on these items if they but know what they’re searching for.  This next section deals with a slightly more nuanced, and hidden topic, one that is hard to pin down and find good information upon which to base this write-up.  Perhaps that is how it should be.  Perhaps I just haven’t searched using the correct terms or have not, as of yet, been led to something more concrete.  In any case, it does touch on some of the issues of this article thus far, but none more so than the Deseret Ranch in Florida.

Namely, this section discusses the possible link between larger, more nefarious financial connections and the LDS Church, as initially connected through the Deseret Ranch, at least through the point of view of someone.  It’s even slightly more difficult to pin down because of the scope of this article (generally speaking, the discussion of church finance) is a topic that is altogether avoided in Mormondom.  Outside of the COB, very few people actually know any details regarding church finance.  I count myself among the very many who know next to nothing about the details of church finance.

Cultural Hypocrisy

As some have noted elsewhere, I am likewise bewildered at how the wider church membership, which trends toward the conservative side of the political spectrum, react and respond to the church at large.  While this conservative mass decries “secret combinations” in the government, decries the lack of transparency at all levels – from local and state governments to the federal taxing authority and to the behemoth that is the (not so) Federal Reserve – and generally belittles any public figure who feigns ignorance on any given topic or those who plead the need for privacy.  Those special whipping boys include Ben Bernanke, Harry Reid and others, but the story is generally the same:  give us details on where our tax money is going, who owns or controls you, disclosure on balance sheets, etc.

One recent example included the call by many “conservative” thinkers to get full disclosure of those banks receiving money from the recent federal stimulus programs.  Those against public disclosure stated, among other things, “Our member banks are very concerned about real-time disclosure of information that could cause a run on banks.”[1] And, who is to say it’d be wrong to call for such disclosure?  But, alas, that’s not the point of my raising the issue.  My point is to suggest and point out that Mormons by and large were joining in on these requests by the boatload, led chiefly by their ringleader Mr. Glenn Beck.  [Aside:  I did find it interesting that in going to that link, the only advertisement on that page was for the “…And, I’m a Mormon!” campaign.  See this:  Mormon Advertising (1).]

It seems incredibly ironic that Mormons in general (especially those who lean conservative) usually lament the lack of transparency at governmental and corporate levels of all shapes and, and yet blindly accept what goes on inside the Church Office Building.  For example, if a Mormon gives $10,000 to any given charity, or pays $10,000 in local and federal taxes, you’d be right to assume that that Mormon (or anyone for that matter) is going to monitor that money to ensure its being used as efficiently as possible.  And, if it isn’t, that Mormon will at the very least petition the taxing authorities or whomever it is through letters to the editor, complaints, calls, or by voting those members out of office.  If it’s a charity, and the Mormon isn’t happy with where the money is going or what’s happening with it, they’ll move on and donate to a different charity the next time around.  Point is:  they vote with their pocketbook, and rightly so.

But, place that same Mormon in a temple recommend interview where they just wrote out a year end check for $10,000 in order to officially be recognized as “worthy” and this member won’t think twice about where the money is going.  That money enters the black hole that is the Church Office Building, never to be seen or heard from locally.  Whereas the member will require accountability on behalf of anyone not named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ™, inside Mormondom we Mormons somehow develop an amazing ability to not only forget about the money given to the church (or at least the details of what happens to it), but also never think twice about it.  Some would even readily give more were they able (and some do – it’s a pay-for-rewards scheme.  You pay your tithing and miraculously you purchase fire insurance and receive a key to unlock the windows of heaven).  To hell with the “poor and needy,” what we need here is a few extra billion pouring into projects like the City Creek Center.  It seems the transparency issue only works outside the walls of church.

And, if that weren’t enough, bishops near and far neither question nor think about what’s going on.  They routinely see sums in the tens of thousands of dollars (if not much more) leaving their ward or branch on its merry old digital way to Salt Lake City, never to see, hear or touch these funds again, and never stop to think about what’s happening, or if it’s the way the Lord would want it to be.  Tithing paid locally not only does not help local congregations, but is often spent on things that just don’t matter at all.  Whereas the 2010 Church Handbook of Instructions suggests that “The Lord has given bishops the sacred trust of receiving and accounting for the tithes and other offerings of the Saints (See D&C 119; 42:30-33),”[2] these same bishops “may not use tithing funds for any purpose.”[3]

Did y’all catch that?  The Church™ states that local bishops are entrusted with the “sacred trust” of “receiving and accounting” for local donations, no matter their reason, but in no way can they use these same funds “for any purpose.”  So, what does a bishop do if he needs funds to help his ward members?  Ah, fear not dear reader, the church™ has answered this question by providing wards with “budget allowances.”  Who needs tithing when the church has graciously allotted various “budget allowances.”  These budget allowances are based on “attendance” at Sacrament meeting, Young men and women classes, primary and young single adults.  If your attendance is high, your budget amount goes up.  If it’s low, it goes down.  It’s that simple.  These budget allowances were created to “reduce the financial and time burdens” on members.[4] Yes, that’s right, a ward – for example – might pay $100,000 in tithing over the course of the year.  Based solely on attendance (and notably based neither on the needs nor wants of its individual members)[5], and is then allotted a budget allowance of $5,000 or so to spend amongst its various organizations (Young mens, Young womens, Primary, Relief Society, Sunday School, activities, etc.).  The remaining $95,000 is shipped off to Salt Lake City and then invested in Babylonian investments (i.e. stocks, bonds, businesses, hedge funds, etc) for two to three years.  At the end of the two to three years, the Church™ uses the original $95,000 for “church” purposes (i.e. Temple construction, meetinghouse construction, general upkeep of properties, salaries of Church Office Building employees, and God knows what else), while approximately $25,000 (the “investment income” earned while the tithing funds were invested) is spent on for-profit projects (i.e. City Creek Center, the new Laie, Hawaii hotel[6], etc.).

So, somehow shipping 95% of local funds (my estimate, though I doubt the “actual” ratio is much different) off to a “black hole” where things go to never be heard from again is not viewed as a “financial and time burden,” but allowing the local congregations to keep the other 5% is viewed as a way to “reduce” these same financial and time burdens.  Holy smokes, Batman, is that some funky, contorted logic.  How about keeping 95% of all tithes and offerings local, while sending in 5% for the collective good of the organization?  How much help could a righteous local bishop provide with $95,000 at his disposal, versus $5,000, spread across ~300 members or so?  Act local should be the mantra (in my opinion), but instead it’s “ignore” local and think “global.”  After all, the COB knows better than we strangers in Babylon ever could.  They do employ, after all, financial advisors and investment managers to manager untold billions of dollars and are thereby much more qualified than I or you are.  Trust me.  They have the certifications to prove it and, after all, certifications are certified by some certifiably certified body of certified certifieds.

Institutional Insanity

In this scheme, and many other, the current status quo reinforces is the supremacy of the institution at the expense of the individual.  Wayne Jacobsen wrote about the “institution” in his book, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, and couldn’t have penned more appropriate words:

“The institution provides something more important than simply loving each other in the same way we’ve been loved. Once you build an institution together you have to protect it and its assets to be good stewards. It confuses everything.  Even love gets redefined as that which protects the institution and unloving as that which does not. It will turn some of the nicest people in the world into raging maniacs and they never stop to think that all the name-calling and accusations are the opposite of love. … Institutionalism breeds task-based friendships. As long as you’re on the same task together, you can be friends. When you’re not, people tend to treat you like damaged goods. … Any human system will eventually dehumanize the very people it seeks to serve and those it dehumanizes the most are those who think they lead it. … Over time institutions … become abusive when the demand for conformity takes over. … Once people are in love with the program and grow dependent on it as the spiritual component of their lives, they won’t see its limitations. It cannot substitute for their own life in him and it can only produce an illusion of community because it is based on people doing what it takes to sustain the institution … ”[7]

Ah, but I digress.

Paul Drockton on the Rothschild’s and Dick Cheney

Returning to the whole “secrecy” issue and high-finance, a fellow named Paul Drockton has written a few articles on the subject at large.  In researching this topic, I reached out to Drockton and found him to be far too short on offering any further details to a virtual (literally) stranger.[8] And, as a result, you’re left reading my words as opposed to some other fellow, who is more than likely much more in tune and smarter than I.

In order to understand this topic, one might start by thinking back to a few years to where Dick Cheney (of all people) was awarded an “honorary doctorate” from BYU and BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson.  The background information leading up to Cheney giving the commencement speech is perhaps worthy of its own discussion, elsewhere, but those readers familiar with Stephen Jones’ work on 9/11 may know some of these details.  And, while at this same commencement ceremony where Cheney was lauded and applauded, J. Craig McIlroy, then president of the BYU Alumni Association, offered the following words of praise on the Rothschild family[9], of all families:

“As new graduates, many of you may be focusing on the possibilities that lie ahead to create wealth for yourselves. Might I suggest that you consider wealth creation as a commodity made up of financial, human, and intellectual capital.  Business people know that they must spend 70 to 80 percent of their time growing assets. In families, growing the human and intellectual assets is often overlooked. The members in the family are the human capital. Their collective life experiences and knowledge make up the intellectual capital. The financial capital supports the growth of the other two. James E. Hughes, Jr., suggests these concepts to us in his book, Family Wealth.

He reminds us that:

In the mid-eighteenth century, Mayer Amschel Rothschild founded the House of Rothschild. This creator of the Rothschild fortune had five sons, each of whom he set up in the banking business in one of the era’s five principal European financial capitals: Frankfurt, Vienna, London, Paris, and Naples. He lent them the money to get started at lower than normal interest with the proviso that they pay him back. He directed that each son keep the profits of his individual bank once the original loan had been repaid. He also charged interest in the form of intellectual currency. He requested each of his sons relay to him every bit of financial information he gained in his city. He agreed to share this intellectual interest with his other sons. In modern terms, he created an effective information network.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild also used a powerful investment technique to manage the risk to his family’s human capital. By sending each son to a different city, he diversified his human assets into five separate investments, thereby increasing the probability that at least one of the branches would survive political and economic risks. Ultimately, only the London and Paris branches survived and continue to prosper. Today, some 250 years later, the name Rothschild is synonymous with wealth. [James E. Hughes, Jr., Family Wealth: Keeping It in the Family: How Family Members and Their Advisers Preserve Human, Intellectual, and Financial Assets for Generations (Princeton: Bloomberg Press, 2004), 32; adapted by permission]

Mayer Amschel Rothschild understood that two important elements of a family’s wealth are its human and intellectual capital. He saw to it that all family members were well educated and that they worked. He also provided specialized mentorship opportunities as his sons entered the workforce.

Like the Rothschild children, you have been given a figurative loan, if you will, in the form of a financial subsidy of your tuition by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You represent the human and intellectual capital of your own families and, in a broader sense, of the Church.

I’ll excuse you if you need to go vomit after reading that drivel.  In my book, equating humans as “capital” is as nefarious and heretical a doctrine or idea as there is, but certainly one not lost on your average member or your average congregation.  Life is, after all, about making money, ascending the corporate latter and, as a result, giving back of your time and money to the “church.”  Ironically, this very mindset fits in with the “Rothschild” mindset where humans are mere tools to use to make money.  I’m not so sure that Christ would ever refer (or insinuate or imply or even think about) to us as “capital” to both society and the church, and think that we should do more to ponder such statements.  And yet, irony abounds within this context.  Mormons are known as some of the more industrious and obedient people there are.  Right-wing Mormons (if I may resort to categorizing) who are entirely against “secret combinations” yet give people like McIlroy and Cheney standing ovations (as was done at Utah Republican Conventions dating back to the mid-1990s where Cheney was present).

Perhaps it should be noted that McIlroy is a Certified Financial Planner who just happens to live in a $500k home in the Denver area whose entire career is predicated on people amassing large sums of wealth, and thus the idea that (a) defining people as “capital” and (b) amassing “wealth” is in his best interests.[10] I’m sure there’s no coincidence there.  Or, perhaps he’s merely positioning himself to manage the untold billions in church investments somewhere down the line.

Likewise, perhaps it’s just mere coincidence, but the championing of the Rothschild’s at a BYU commencement ceremony the very same day that Dick Cheney received his honorary degree from the “hallowed” institution seems a bit bizarre.  Then again, there are no real coincidences in life.  Just opportunities for us “capital” to miss out on underlying meanings that are too nuanced for our pea brains – after all, if all we’re good for is capital then we’d be better off spending our time thinking about how to make a dollar or five for our employers and the church.  For those of you unfamiliar with the whole fiasco created by Cheney’s insistence that he be the commencement speaker[11] and the resultant wake it left for Dr. Steven Jones and his career there at BYU, here’s a footnote[12] to a good article on the topic.  Dr. Jones offered his own account of the story, stating that he was placed on administrative leave on Sept 7, 2006.[13]

It All Revolves Back to Henry Moyle

But, getting back to the financial aspect of the Rothschild’s and the LDS church, one would have to go back to the mid 1900s, if not earlier, to understand what was going on.  Back then Henry Moyle was running the church into financial ruin with an “if you build it, [church growth] will come.”  Some even credit Moyle, and the aggressive building program, with the rather infamous “baseball baptisms” of the 1960s[14] that troubled many a missionary in the latter half of the 20th century and probably even today.

This very same Moyle, incidentally, was the same to teach Boyd K. Packer the principle that it’s OK and acceptable to ignore inconvenient questions and, in lieu of answering the inconvenient questions, it’s perfectly OK and reasonable to provide answers to those questions someone should have asked instead:

“Later, as we were returning to the car, I said, “President Moyle, that was marvelous, just marvelous.  How did you do it?

“President Moyle asked, “What do you mean?”

“I said, “All those antagonistic questions he asked you; it was just marvelous the way you handled them.  He was so antagonistic and bitter and yet the interview itself was successful.”

“I have never forgotten his answer.  He said, “I never pay any attention to the questions – that is, if the interviewer is antagonistic.  If he doesn’t ask the right questions, I give answers to the questions he should have asked.”[15]

“That short statement from President Moyle held great wisdom, and on a number of occasions I have been rescued from difficult situations by referring back in my mind to his comment.”

Should I ever meet Packer, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he’d give me answers to the questions I “should have asked” if I were to ask him about this building programs, or about the Deseret Ranch, or some other topic wholly unrelated to the whole “follow the prophet” meme.  Even so, Moyle was the one in charge of buying the Deseret Ranch in the swamplands of Florida.  Barnett describes the purchase in the following terms:

“After a visit to the Sunshine State in 1949, western cattleman and church leader Henry D. Moyle became convinced that Florida’s climate would make it an ideal place to raise cattle. (The key to the industry, as uncomplicated as it may seem, is growing grass.) Moyle pitched his idea for a Florida ranch to fellow members of the church’s first presidency – the Mormons’ worldwide leadership council. The council bought the original 54,000-acre tract in 1950. In 1952, a dozen Mormon families sold their homes out west and moved to the property to help the church turn wetlands and tangled forests into roads and pasturelands.”[16]

Moyle, it seems, was an avid businessman (who’d have known that the church and business go hand-in-hand?), as well as a successful cattleman.[17] Combine his business, cattle and church interests (and positions) and perhaps the investment in a huge cattle ranch, somewhere, was all too certain.  Throw in a location near Orlando where Disney was out buying up land to build its own empire and speculation and profit-making motives are more than likely going to get a hold of people’s best interests.  So, in 1950 Moyle spearheaded the church’s efforts to purchase the Deseret Cattle and Citrus Ranch by buying some 54,000 acres, or roughly 85 square miles worth of land in central Florida.  There are some who suggest that this land deal, when combined with the additional acreage the church purchased later on to equal today’s total of 312,000 acres, nearly 500 square miles of land, nearly pushed the church to insolvency in the early 1960s.   Paul Drockton is one such person.

It’s no secret that the church had some severe financial problems as a result of its massive building program under Moyle.  What we don’t know, unfortunately, is what details contributed to this near-insolvency.  Was it this land grab or that land grab, or everything lumped together?  Drockton’s article suggests that this land deal indeed pushed the church to the precipice of insolvency, only to be rescued by one Roberto Vincent de Oliverri – and, if you’ve never heard of this man you wouldn’t be alone in that thinking.  De Oliverri, according to Drockton’s article, was a billionaire who somehow was tracked into by the local LDS missionaries.  De Oliverri was taken by the message (or taken by the opportunity to infiltrate the LDS church, depending on who you blieve), accepted baptism and then proceeded to infiltrate the church in behalf of the Rothschild dynasty by helping repay the $500 million loan on the Deseret Ranch once it reached default status.

The problem I have with this article is that De Oliverri doesn’t exist, at least according to the Google seerstone I have before me, outside of this article.  This is the only article (though it’s been picked up by the likes of Rense and others), where he is ever mentioned in any context.  I understand anonymity, but for someone quoted as being “the second richest Rothschild in the world at the time” who somehow met the missionaries who knocked on his door, I would think there’d be a few more details somewhere on the internet.  Perhaps that’s asking too much, but one would think that he exists somewhere outside of this article.

And, when was the last time you knew of a missionary to proselyte in the richest of the rich neighborhoods?  I served my mission along the Mediterranean amidst the richest of the rich.  While there I spent approximately seven months among the richest city in the particular country where I served.  We’d frequently see Lamborghinis, Ferraris and every other car imaginable drive up and down the streets where we lived.  We also walked some of these “richest” neighborhoods – after all, we were 20 year olds who loved a big house and fancy car as much as any other 20 year old guy – to see just how big these houses were and spot whatever fancy car we could spot.  These were houses overlooking the Mediterranean amongst reinforced steel gates, walls taller than we were in order to keep our eyes off of their stuff and lush vegetation wrapped around the houses to further obstruct our views.  Now, I only mention this to discuss some of my skepticism regarding this story.  We simply didn’t proselyte in these rich areas and, when we did, it was either a “no answer” (95% of the time) or a maid/butler/employee who answered our intercom calls.  If De Oliverri was indeed the 2nd richest Rothschild at the time, then odds are he’d be approaching the 2nd richest person in the world at that time.[18] And yet somehow not only did the missionaries find his home, but they also managed to get into his house and teach him the gospel?  A few dots aren’t lining up.

But, even so, suppose Drockton’s reporting is even remotely accurate.  Suppose somehow De Oliverri did join the church.  Would his records then be accessible via FamilySearch.org?  Perhaps, but the only thing I could find that even remotely resembled his name, as reported in Drockton’s article, was one “Robert Bra Oliveri”[19] who was born in Maryland in 1920 and died in 2002.  This Robert would have been around the right age to match the article and perhaps it was indeed him.  I don’t know.  Or maybe he’s not yet dead.  Maybe he’s still alive today shrouded in secrecy and anonymity.  I only raise these questions as a way to verify what Drockton wrote/reported in his original article.[20]

Knee Deep in Mud (that link will take you to Joseph Smith’s last recorded dream, which is well worth the read.)

It’s entirely possible that this person exists and that this story happened, but I tend to believe that the church’s financial dependence on, and co-mingling with, Babylon happened long before De Oliverri would have or could have came along to rescue Moyle and the Church™ from insolvency.  Susan Staker, in compiling Wilford Woodruff’s biography, wrote how Woodruff was then (1880s and 1890s) courting financial power brokers to help stave off “temporal” disaster with the church.  In fact, in Waiting the Worlds End Staker relates a vision/story Woodruff had on 23 August 1868 wherein he stated his belief that by 1898 Logan, Utah, would be home to over one million “Saints” and these “Saints” would already have been to Jackson County, Missouri, with President (of both the church and the U.S.A.) Brigham Young and built the temple at New Jerusalem.  Instead, almost 30 years to the date, Woodruff was cozying up with the financial power brokers and the Bohemian Club in San Francisco.  Staker describes it this way:

“In fact thirty years later on 27 August 1898, Wilford was in heathen territory – at a meeting of the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, California – rather than in New Jerusalem’s temple in Jackson County, Missouri.  He died in San Francisco a few days later on 2 September.  The distance could scarcely have been greater between the scenario predicted by Wilford and warranted by Young and the very different story which unfolded for Wilford and the church during the 1890s (with Wilford not Young as prophet).  A temple did stand on the Logan bench as Wilford predicted, but in an ironic twist, temples, rather than the signs of power he predicts, displayed church weakness within fin-de-siècle political and economic arenas.”[21]

Less than 30 years after Woodruff’s initial meetings with the Bohemian Club / Grove, one of his eventual successors, Heber J. Grant, was meeting with his own financial power brokers.  In 1923, President Grant and his associates took out a $30 million loan, using the entire temple block in Salt Lake City as collateral[22].  [For those interested, $30 million in 1923 would, today, be worth the equivalent of $374 million and change.  Let’s not be too bashful about it, shall we.]  The tabernacle, the lands, the Salt Lake Temple, Deseret Gymnasium, the Beehive House and everything in between was mortgaged to the hilt in order to finance various “business ventures.”  And, it was a mortgage that lasted into the 1970s.  One of the chief financiers of this venture was Chase National Bank.

An official affidavit of this event reads

“… one mortgage document issued by the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company in the year of 1936 to the Wells-Fargo Trust Company of San Francisco; and also one mortgage … issued by the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company to the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the purpose of securing certain debts contracted by the latter corporation form the Chase National Bank.”

So, whether the dabbling in Babylon began with Brigham Young and the multi-million dollar empire he created thanks in large part to his access to the church’s coffers, interest free[23], Wilford Woodruff and his cozying up with the Bohemians and financiers in San Francisco, Heber J. Grant and his penchant for using temples built by others as collateral on multi-million business loans in order to invest in sugar beets and God knows what else, or Henry Moyle and his leading of the church to the brink of insolvency through expansive building programs that may or may not have required a “bailout” from the Rothschild’s, I don’t think it really matters.  Suffice it to say that this sort of dabbling has been going on for decades, if not centuries and is far from an “once-in-a-lifetime” type of endeavor.

Neither Deseret Ranch and Cattle Company, nor City Creek Center is the beginning, nor, unfortunately, the end of the church’s investment in for-profit enterprises that have nothing to do with Christ, nothing to do with Zion and nothing to do with creating a gathering of saints.  Whereas the church initially began creating and starting businesses as a way to help members and to help create a Zion which had zero reliance on Babylon, however misguided they may have been,[24] today the church contents itself on creating businesses and business models that have little-to-no relation with the church or church members at all.  The only real relation has to do with using membership rolls and obligating tithing in order to make an extra dollar or two.

Heaven help us.  We sure need it.

Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon; agather ye out from among the nations, from the bfour winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

– D&C 133:7


[1] Madrak, Susie.  “Banks Vow to Fight All the Way to Supreme Court to Keep Fed Aid A Secret.”  April 15, 2010.  Retrieved 10/15/2010.

[2] Church Handbook of Instructions, Handbook 1 (2010), 14.6.1

[3] Ibid, 14.4.1.

[4] Ibid, 14.7.2.

[5] Mosiah 18:29 – “And this he said unto them, having been commanded of God; and they did awalk uprightly before God, imparting to one another both temporally and spiritually according to their needs and their wants.”

[6] This hotel is estimated to cost at least $30 million as of 2007, though Hawaii Reserves, Inc. (the land management arm of the church in Hawaii) admits this cost is outdated.  The 220-room hotel will supposedly be operated by Marriott International and operated as one of Marriott’s “various brands.”  Given Marriott’s penchant for allowing “adult” channels within their hotels, it will be interesting to see whether this particular hotel follows suit.  See “Hawaii Reserves plans 220-room Laie Hotel” for more information.

[7] Jacobsen, Wayne.  “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore.”  2008.

[8] In preparing for this article, I reached out to Drockton on several occasions (via email) in hopes of getting more information on some of the questions I had about his articles.  My biggest concern largely revolved around the sources, lack of corroborating information and scanty details in many of his articles.  His only response to my various inquiries was, “All info is on the website.”  Needless to say, that was about as clear as mud.  (Cue sarcasm.) So, if any of you that read this know Drockton, feel free to pass along my appreciation. (End sarcasm.)  For a man dedicated to truth and exposing certain things, he sure wasn’t willing to share any details or open up about anything to a stranger like myself.

[9] McIlroy, J. Craig.  “Stewardship, Sacrifice and Ownership.”  Apr. 26, 2007.

[10] It’s quite amazing just how much information you can cull from the internet given a few extra minutes.  For example, in a matter of five minutes, I was able to find out where McIlroy lives (a 3000 sq. ft. house on ½ an acre valued at $500,000 in a bucolic suburb of Denver) and works (Lincoln Financial Group as a CFP).  Heck, I even know how much McIlroy donated to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign a few years back.

[11] Nadar, Ralph.  “Cheney and the BYU 25.”  Apr. 30, 2007.  In this article Nadar opines, “Could anyone have imagined that the major commencement protest at a University graduation thus far occurred April 26 at Brigham Young University (BYU)? Probably not.”  But then could anyone have imagined that the Vice President with the lowest approval rating in modern American history would request and receive an invitation to be the commencement speaker?

[12] Allan, Sterling D.  “Silencing Cheney Dissent – How BYU Obstructed 911 Justice,” Greater Things.  Feb 7, 2010.

[13] Jones, Steven.  “BYU and Prof. Steven Jones Revisited.”  May 9, 2010.

[14] See this article on Baseball baptisms for more information.  Retrieved 10/04/2010.

[15] Packer, Boyd K.  “Teach Ye Diligently,” page 63.

[16] Barnett.  “The Church’s Ranch.”

[18] Drockton, Paul.  “Did Rothschilds Buy Mormon Church.”  Retrieved 10/11/2010.

[19] See www.familysearch.org for more details and to perform your own search.

[20] It should also be noted that Drockton’s original article was based on news from one Steven Davis whose father, Clyde, happened to be cozy with the Rothschilds (at least according to Drockton’s article).  Steven Davis, if the names are correct, penned a lengthy letter to then U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales regarding some rather fishy business going on over at the COB.  His letter can be read here, though I admittedly haven’t had the time (or interest, at least not yet) to delve further into its contents and accuracy.

[21] Staker, Susan.  Waiting the World’s End.  Pages VIII-XXI.

[22] Salt Lake County Recorder’s Office, Deed No. 501, 787, Bk. 11 U, page 440, dated Nov. 19, 1923, and recorded Nov. 21, 1923. Issued by Heber J. Grant, Trustee in Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two other deeds followed: #501,790 and #502,184 also issued by Heber J. Grant. Despite this legal documentation, President Grant publicly denied it had occurred – Deseret News, 4 April 1936.

[23] See “Brigham Young’s Estate” for more information on his money issues.  Leonard Arrington, LDS Historian, once wrote, “This ability to draw, almost at will, on church as well as his own funds, was a great advantage to Brigham Young and was certainly one of the reasons for his worldly success…. while Brigham Young was probably the largest borrower of funds from the trustee-in-trust, he was certainly not the only one.” (“The Settlement of the Brigham Young Estate,” 1877-1879, Reprinted from the Pacific Historical Review, vol. 21, no. 1, Feb. 1952, p.7-8)

[24] Brady, Rodney H.  “Church Participation in Business.”  1992.  Retrieved 10/16/2010.


For, behold, the abeasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is bordained for the use of man for food and for craiment, and that he might have in abundance. But it is not given that one man should apossess that which is above another, wherefore the bworld lieth in csin.

D&C 49:19-20

There’s an interesting argument going on over at BCC (By Common Consent) about money, salaries and what qualifies as too much for a “good” Mormon.  The vast majority of the comments to the article, predictably (not because of the blog, as it’s a thought provoking place to go, but rather the visitors and those who comment because they generally come from Mormon stock and are prone to justification as they search for “prosperity”) are all about justifying income, expenditures, this or that and excuses where needed.  Not that this is inherently bad, because we all do it, but I thought a more inviting discussion would be on exactly what we’re supporting when we go to the schools and universities, work the jobs and do everything else in the one giant “system” that’s all around us.

This may come off overly trite, perhaps it is, but why do we remain to prop up a dying system, one whose fall could easily be described as “great” or “biblical” or “apocalyptic” or whatever word you might choose to use.  If we really broke it down, we spend the majority of our first 20-30 years of our life in an education system that is built around creating machines, usable parts to fit easily in a system which is predicated on little more than power and/or greed.  We go to school – elementary and high school – and by the time we’re ready to graduate the vast majority of us are thinking about college and obtaining that influential “degree” which certifies that we’re ready to make the big money.  Some continue on to master’s and doctorate programs, 90% of which have a significant financial reward attached to them.  Some suggest they pursue this or that degree for altruistic reasons, and that may be the case, but most people choose a career or profession which will remunerate them for the rest of their life and, if all goes well, set them up for a good pension or retirement.  Money is a very significant and driving force in these decisions.  Many of these people, and many others who bypass the University system, go on to jobs (either working for themselves or someone else) and do make good money.

If we return to the system in which all of this plays out, it’s really none other than Babylon.  Babylon rules the day.  We work to “earn” money.  With this “earned” income, we buy clothes, cars, electronics, goods, services, housing and all sorts of other “dainties” which were produced in Babylon.  Many of us justify these purchases as “needs,” arguing that we need that car to get to work, we need those clothes to hide our nakedness, we need those electronics to create efficiencies and we need that housing to protect us and our families.  We justify every purchase in one way or another.  All of us do.  Babylon, as a system, is set almost entirely on a “consumption” based economy, one whose growth is predicated on continued consumption.  And consume we do.  We buy groceries which were either grown in a mass-agriculture field, or produced in a factory owned by an unfathomably large conglomerate whose sole goal is money and, if it is a publicly traded company, it really is all about the money.  We buy clothes that were probably built in a sweatshop or some factory where the workers are paid $0.10/hour and where they work 12 hour days, 7 days each week, just to get buy and feed their families.  We buy cars whose inputs come from dozens of smaller countries where the labor conditions are likely the same, or worse.  It’s an endlessly painful process which we’re conditioned to both ignore and crave at the same time.  We’re conditioned to ignore the inputs and process by which good X wound up on some store shelf in front of my eyes while at the same time being convinced that this very product is both a “need” and a “right,” a right because I work hard, dang it, and deserve to be able to buy these things.

Hugh Nibley, in Approaching Zion, spoke of this “consumption” attitude by saying:

“I have spent a lot of time speaking here. It’s insolent for me to speak after the Lord has spoken. We should just go read the written word. What does every civilization leave behind? What is going to be the net product of our civilization? It’s garbage, it’s junk. You can see that, and it’s mounting. It sounds rhetorical: we have to produce things (expand in producing); then we have to increase consumption, so we have to increase desire for things with advertising flim-flam; then we have to consume very fast and discard a great deal, because there is available a new and improved version. So discarding goes on, as Congressman Wright pointed out recently: “The principal exports of the United States today are used packages and scraps.” We are impatient of the slow ways of nature. We have to go faster and faster, and the biggest question has become the dumps. …

“Quite literally, the net contribution of our present society to the history of the world will be a pile of garbage—and that very ugly garbage. Great civilizations like the Egyptian or Greek left magnificent garbage, sometimes great stuff to look at. When Salt Lake City is leveled by a nuclear bomb, what will be left behind? What will future civilizations dig up? What will be worth even looking at or digging up? What will survive? The Lord says, “There is no end to my works or my words” (Moses 1:4). The civilization survives only on its words. That’s what we have from the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Hebrews. We have the scriptures. We have the Testaments. We have the Book of Mormon. What has survived is a voice from the dust speaking to us; that’s all that has survived. We wouldn’t even know that that civilization ever existed without the voice from the dust. That which survived is the word. At least we will leave that behind. But the nice thing about the order the Lord wishes to establish here is that it is eternally perpetrated, not only in the heavens but here, as long as it needs to be anywhere. We can carry on and have a wonderful time.”

Brigham Young, in supposedly quoting Joseph Smith, stated,

“Said [Joseph Smith] – ‘Never spend another day to build up a Gentile city, but spend your days, dollars and dimes for the upbuilding of the Zion of God upon the earth, to promote peace and righteousness, and to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man, and he who does not abide this law will suffer loss.” (JD 12:59).

All the while we’re impervious to the whole Babylonian system that is held up by the work of our hands.  Yes, our hands.  We use her banks, her currency, her government, her churches, her goods and her services.  Neither Zion, nor the law of consecration, are even discussed or viewed as legitimate possibilities today.  No longer do we dream of a Zion-like society, justifying our continued whoring around with the Ultimate Mistress – Babylon.  No longer do we desire to consecrate all of our earnings, all of our goods, all of our possessions, instead justifying our whoring around by paying a flat tax tithing that may not even be scriptural to begin with, and certainly contrary to both D&C 119 – oh wait, I forgot, interest has been redefined as “income” in the modern lexicon – and Alma’s church, where the flat tax (i.e. 10%) would likely be viewed as revolting, having rejected that very system under King Noah, hence their graduated structure discussed in Mosiah.  No, we continue to believe that these things will only come about when some “top down” message is sent from Church Headquarters, when the “real” prophets speak and tell us to start.  We continue to believe that we can’t act as stewards of the goods and energies Christ has given us outside the bounds of some organizational hierarchy, instead believing that some “man” has to tell us what and when to give.  If they say give a flat tax (10%), well that’s what we give.  If they say up our fast offerings, well we up them.  If they say donate generously to other “funds,” so we donate.  It is, as John Taylor Gatto suggests in his diatribe on the results of public schooling, “We are addicted to dependency; in the current national crisis of maturity we seem to be waiting for the teacher to tell us what to do, but the teacher never comes to do that.  Bridges collapse, men and women sleep on the streets, bankers cheat, good will decays, families betray each other, the government lies as a matter of policy, corruption, shame, sickness, and sensationalism are everywhere.”

All the while the HQ peddles in real estate and investment ventures which, they profess, weren’t built or financed with tithing income, just the “investment income” that came from the tithing funds.  All the while we, as individuals, peddle in stock markets, investments and financial ventures in search of more “investment income,” just like HQ.  And, when we do prosper, we think it’s the Lord who wants us to be rich, who wants us to have all this money.

And, so it is.  Instead of growing closer to Zion, we continue our fornication with Babylon.  Instead of approaching Zion, we distance ourselves from her principles.  Instead of establishing equality where no rich nor poor exist, we establish socio-economic wards and branches where some are rich, some are poor and some are dumbfounded at how amazingly different we are from where we should be.

I hate to borrow so much from another author, but Hugh Nibley has discussed this topic at such great length, and his words generally forgotten, that I thought I should share one more from him:

It is money we love and respect. This week it was announced that judges must have higher pay if lawyers are to respect them, the corollary being that no one respects anyone who has less money than he has. Not that they need it—these old duffers who are tapering off spend all their days in closets, so why do they need more than $125,000 a year? Oh, to make them more respected by the lawyers. You can’t respect a man who is making less than you, can you? That is the sentiment expressed by the late great lawman John Mitchell. The Latter-day Saints reverenced Howard Hughes and resented any criticism of the sickly and unbalanced billionaire; his money sanctified him. On a single day in the newspaper in 1972 the president declared drugs the nation’s number-one problem; along with this is a statement that alcohol is the most dangerous of all drugs, and on the same page United Airlines is announced as the world’s largest purveyor of alcohol by the drink, with W. Marriott in second place.

This week a finance writer is proud to boast the Utah connections of Daniel K. Ludwig, perhaps the world’s richest man, and glowingly praises the purity and simplicity of his way of life—like Mr. Walton’s bringing his lunch to work in a brown bag. We forget that the arrogance of wealth is not in the spending, which is merely foolish, as Veblen showed, but in the acquiring of it. This man by his penurious personal habits simply shows, as did Scrooge, that nothing in the world counts for him but money. The word miser describes one who lives a miserable existence out of reluctance to spend a penny of his ever-growing and zealously watched wealth. It is as if we were to pronounce blessed a man who keeps a thousand expensive suits locked in his closet and proves his humility and modesty by never wearing one of them—or letting anyone else wear one.

This sentiment is marked by an undisguised contempt for anyone without money. My own experience from talking with many transients has shown that nowhere in the nation are tramps more evilly treated than in Utah. So much for the stranger within thy gates.

Let us make a list of the offenses that are darkening the skies of our time. Crime of all sorts—street crime, muggings, rape, white collar crime (the worst in our nation, and worst of all since it is committed against those who trust us), corporate fraud, drug traffic, steroids, corrupt athletes, pornography, prostitution (and the resulting AIDS), wars great and small, brush-fire wars, paramilitary organizations, soldiers of fortune, hit men, terrorism, arson, kidnapping, illegal aliens, armaments sold by all to all—including germ warfare, gas and nuclear weapons, pollution of water and air, poisonous spills, dangerous and inferior products, destruction of the environment, extermination of species, urban decay, educational neglect and fraud, racism, religious fraud, and on and on. Carry on the list for yourself, and ask yourself at each label in the cumulation of horrors, What is the prime motive behind it? Can we deny that money really is the “root of all evil?” Has not Satan carried out the work he threatened to do? You can see it all on the TV.

The best possible summary of the situation is the inspired First Presidency message given by President Kimball on the solemn occasion of the bicentennial of the nation. When he viewed the condition of the Church and the country, his reaction was not one of glowing admiration and praise. On the contrary: “The Lord gave us a choice world and expects righteousness and obedience to his commandments in return.” This is the principle stated a hundred times in the scriptures: Notice the old law of Moses: “I have given you this land and I expect obedience.” President Kimball continued, “But when I review the performance of this people in comparison of what is expected, I am appalled and frightened.”55 What appalls and frightens him? He views the prime evils of the time under three headings: (1) deterioration of the environment, (2) quest for affluence, and (3) trust in force of arms. Massive documentation will show that in the enjoyment of each of these three vices, the people of Utah are second to none. At the first meeting of Congress under the present administration, it was declared that the delegation from Utah were the most anti-environmentalist in the nation. Ecology and environment are dirty words in Utah. As we have seen, more people are dedicated to the quest for wealth and none more trusting in military solutions to all problems.

And whatever became of President Kimball’s remarkable address to the Church? It was given the instant deep-freeze, the most effective of censorship, a resounding silence. In 1969 an even more painful silence greeted another voice, that of the Lord Jesus Christ. In that year was reproduced in the pages of the BYU Studies the earliest known and fullest account of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, written in the hand of Warren Parrish in the winter of 1831-32 at the dictation of the Prophet. When I heard the news, which was just before general conference, I declared that there would be dancing in the streets when this document came out. Instead I have heard not a mention of it from that day to this. How is that possible that we should censor the words of the Lord himself? Well, those words began with unflattering picture of all us of: “Behold the world at this time lieth in sin, and there is none that doeth good, no not one, and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the world to visit them according to their ungodliness.”

“The world lieth in sin.” Why? we ask. The answer is loud and clear in Doctrine and Covenants 49: “For behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance. But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need” (D&C 49:19-21).

Brigham Young said it this way:

The doctrine of uniting together in our temporal labors, and all working for the good of all is from the beginning, from everlasting, and it will be for ever and ever. No one supposes for one moment that in heaven the angels are speculating, that they are building railroads and factories, taking advantage one of another, gathering up the substance there is in heaven to aggrandize themselves, and that they live on the same principle that we are in the habit of doing. No Christian, no sectarian Christian, in the world believes this; they believe that the inhabitants of heaven live as a family [Deuteronomy 31:12 and 12:6-7 say that offerings should always be made in a family group—the individual is the one responsible, but he must always bring his family], that their faith, interests, and pursuits have one end in view—the glory of God and their own salvation, they may receive more and more. . . . We all believe this, and suppose we go to work and imitate them as far as we can. (JD 17:117-18.)

In the end, we wake up 5-6 mornings each week to go to a job to make money and, if we’re lucky, enjoy our time there.  All the while propping up the same system which so contrasts the Zion we should want to be establishing.  All the while supporting the same system which makes us little more than slave labor.  All the while supporting the same paradigm which strives to mold us into machines and parts that are easily replaced, so that the next guy or gal can pick up and continue the charade without causing too much disruption.  All the while propping up a dying system, a system that will collapse.

What about we flip this argument on its head?  For instance, inherent in the title, “Can a Good Mormon Make Over $100k a Year?,” is a subtle indicator of exactly where we are.

This may come off overly trite, perhaps it is, but why do we remain to prop up a dying system, one whose fall could easily be described as “great” or “biblical” or “apocalyptic” or whatever word you might choose to use.  If we really broke it down, we spend the majority of our first 20-30 years of our life in an education system that is built around creating machines, usable parts to fit easily in a system which is predicated on little more than power and/or greed.  We go to school – elementary and high school – and by the time we’re ready to graduate the vast majority of us are thinking about college and obtaining that influential “degree” which certifies that we’re ready to make the big money.  Some continue on to master’s and doctorate programs, 90% of which have a significant financial reward attached to them.  Some suggest they pursue this or that degree for altruistic reasons, and that may be the case, but most people choose a career or profession which will remunerate them for the rest of their life and, if all goes well, set them up for a good pension or retirement.  Money is a very significant and driving force in these decisions.  Many of these people, and many others who bypass the University system, go on to jobs (either working for themselves or someone else) and do make good money.

If we return to the system in which all of this plays out, it’s really none other than Babylon.  Babylon rules the day.  We work to “earn” money.  With this “earned” income, we buy clothes, cars, electronics, goods, services, housing and all sorts of other “dainties” which were produced in Babylon.  Many of us justify these purchases as “needs,” arguing that we need that car to get to work, we need those clothes to hide our nakedness, we need those electronics to create efficiencies and we need that housing to protect us and our families.  We justify every purchase in one way or another.  All of us do.  Babylon, as a system, is set almost entirely on a “consumption” based economy, one whose growth is predicated on continued consumption.  And consume we do.  We buy groceries which were either grown in a mass-agriculture field, or produced in a factory owned by an unfathomably large conglomerate whose sole goal is money and, if it is a publicly traded company, it really is all about the money.  We buy clothes that were probably built in a sweatshop or some factory where the workers are paid $0.10/hour and where they work 12 hour days, 7 days each week, just to get buy and feed their families.  We buy cars whose inputs come from dozens of smaller countries where the labor conditions are likely the same, or worse.  It’s an endlessly painful process which we’re conditioned to both ignore and crave at the same time.  We’re conditioned to ignore the inputs and process by which good X wound up on some store shelf in front of my eyes while at the same time being convinced that this very product is both a “need” and a “right,” a right because I work hard, dang it, and deserve to be able to buy these things.

Hugh Nibley, in Approaching Zion, spoke of this “consumption” attitude by saying:

“I have spent a lot of time speaking here. It’s insolent for me to speak after the Lord has spoken. We should just go read the written word. What does every civilization leave behind? What is going to be the net product of our civilization? It’s garbage, it’s junk. You can see that, and it’s mounting. It sounds rhetorical: we have to produce things (expand in producing); then we have to increase consumption, so we have to increase desire for things with advertising flim-flam; then we have to consume very fast and discard a great deal, because there is available a new and improved version. So discarding goes on, as Congressman Wright pointed out recently: “The principal exports of the United States today are used packages and scraps.” We are impatient of the slow ways of nature. We have to go faster and faster, and the biggest question has become the dumps. …

“Quite literally, the net contribution of our present society to the history of the world will be a pile of garbage—and that very ugly garbage. Great civilizations like the Egyptian or Greek left magnificent garbage, sometimes great stuff to look at. When Salt Lake City is leveled by a nuclear bomb, what will be left behind? What will future civilizations dig up? What will be worth even looking at or digging up? What will survive? The Lord says, “There is no end to my works or my words” (Moses 1:4). The civilization survives only on its words. That’s what we have from the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Hebrews. We have the scriptures. We have the Testaments. We have the Book of Mormon. What has survived is a voice from the dust speaking to us; that’s all that has survived. We wouldn’t even know that that civilization ever existed without the voice from the dust. That which survived is the word. At least we will leave that behind. But the nice thing about the order the Lord wishes to establish here is that it is eternally perpetrated, not only in the heavens but here, as long as it needs to be anywhere. We can carry on and have a wonderful time.”

Brigham Young, in supposedly quoting Joseph Smith, stated, ““Said [Joseph Smith] – ‘Never spend another day to build up a Gentile city, but spend your days, dollars and dimes for the upbuilding of the Zion of God upon the earth, to promote peace and righteousness, and to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man, and he who does not abide this law will suffer loss.” (JD 12:59).

All the while we’re impervious to the whole Babylonian system that is held up by the work of our hands.  Yes, our hands.  We use her banks, her currency, her government, her churches, her goods and her services.  Neither Zion, nor the law of consecration, are even discussed or viewed as legitimate possibilities today.  No longer do we dream of a Zion-like society, justifying our continued whoring around with the Ultimate Mistress – Babylon.  No longer do we desire to consecrate all of our earnings, all of our goods, all of our possessions, instead justifying our whoring around by paying a flat tax tithing that may not even be scriptural to begin with, and certainly contrary to both D&C 89 and Alma’s church.  No, we continue to believe that these things will only come about when some “top down” message is sent from Church Headquarters, when the “real” prophets speak and tell us to start.  We continue to believe that we can’t act as stewards of the goods and energies Christ has given us outside the bounds of some organizational hierarchy, instead believing that some “man” has to tell us what and when to give.  If they say give a flat tax (10%), well that’s what we give.  If they say up our fast offerings, well we up them.  If they say donate generously to other “funds,” so we donate.  It is, as John Taylor Gatto suggests in his diatribe on the results of public schooling, “We are addicted to dependency; in the current national crisis of maturity we seem to be waiting for the teacher to tell us what to do, but the teacher never comes to do that.  Bridges collapse, men and women sleep on the streets, bankers cheat, good will decays, families betray each other, the government lies as a matter of policy, corruption, shame, sickness, and sensationalism are everywhere.”

All the while the HQ peddles in real estate and investment ventures which, they profess, weren’t built or financed with tithing income, just the “investment income” that came from the tithing funds.  All the while we, as individuals, peddle in stock markets, investments and financial ventures in search of more “investment income,” just like HQ.

And, so it is.  Instead of growing closer to Zion, we continue our fornication with Babylon.  Instead of approaching Zion, we distance ourselves from her principles.  Instead of establishing equality where no rich nor poor exist, we establish socio-economic wards and branches where some are rich, some are poor and some are dumbfounded at how amazingly different we are from where we should be.

I hate to borrow so much from another author, but Hugh Nibley has discussed this topic at such great length, and his words generally forgotten, that I thought I should share one more from him:

It is money we love and respect. This week it was announced that judges must have higher pay if lawyers are to respect them, the corollary being that no one respects anyone who has less money than he has. Not that they need it—these old duffers who are tapering off spend all their days in closets, so why do they need more than $125,000 a year? Oh, to make them more respected by the lawyers. You can’t respect a man who is making less than you, can you? That is the sentiment expressed by the late great lawman John Mitchell. The Latter-day Saints reverenced Howard Hughes and resented any criticism of the sickly and unbalanced billionaire; his money sanctified him. On a single day in the newspaper in 1972 the president declared drugs the nation’s number-one problem; along with this is a statement that alcohol is the most dangerous of all drugs, and on the same page United Airlines is announced as the world’s largest purveyor of alcohol by the drink, with W. Marriott in second place.

This week a finance writer is proud to boast the Utah connections of Daniel K. Ludwig, perhaps the world’s richest man, and glowingly praises the purity and simplicity of his way of life—like Mr. Walton’s bringing his lunch to work in a brown bag. We forget that the arrogance of wealth is not in the spending, which is merely foolish, as Veblen showed, but in the acquiring of it. This man by his penurious personal habits simply shows, as did Scrooge, that nothing in the world counts for him but money. The word miser describes one who lives a miserable existence out of reluctance to spend a penny of his ever-growing and zealously watched wealth. It is as if we were to pronounce blessed a man who keeps a thousand expensive suits locked in his closet and proves his humility and modesty by never wearing one of them—or letting anyone else wear one.

This sentiment is marked by an undisguised contempt for anyone without money. My own experience from talking with many transients has shown that nowhere in the nation are tramps more evilly treated than in Utah. So much for the stranger within thy gates.

Let us make a list of the offenses that are darkening the skies of our time. Crime of all sorts—street crime, muggings, rape, white collar crime (the worst in our nation, and worst of all since it is committed against those who trust us), corporate fraud, drug traffic, steroids, corrupt athletes, pornography, prostitution (and the resulting AIDS), wars great and small, brush-fire wars, paramilitary organizations, soldiers of fortune, hit men, terrorism, arson, kidnapping, illegal aliens, armaments sold by all to all—including germ warfare, gas and nuclear weapons, pollution of water and air, poisonous spills, dangerous and inferior products, destruction of the environment, extermination of species, urban decay, educational neglect and fraud, racism, religious fraud, and on and on. Carry on the list for yourself, and ask yourself at each label in the cumulation of horrors, What is the prime motive behind it? Can we deny that money really is the “root of all evil?” Has not Satan carried out the work he threatened to do? You can see it all on the TV.

The best possible summary of the situation is the inspired First Presidency message given by President Kimball on the solemn occasion of the bicentennial of the nation. When he viewed the condition of the Church and the country, his reaction was not one of glowing admiration and praise. On the contrary: “The Lord gave us a choice world and expects righteousness and obedience to his commandments in return.” This is the principle stated a hundred times in the scriptures: Notice the old law of Moses: “I have given you this land and I expect obedience.” President Kimball continued, “But when I review the performance of this people in comparison of what is expected, I am appalled and frightened.”55 What appalls and frightens him? He views the prime evils of the time under three headings: (1) deterioration of the environment, (2) quest for affluence, and (3) trust in force of arms. Massive documentation will show that in the enjoyment of each of these three vices, the people of Utah are second to none. At the first meeting of Congress under the present administration, it was declared that the delegation from Utah were the most anti-environmentalist in the nation. Ecology and environment are dirty words in Utah. As we have seen, more people are dedicated to the quest for wealth and none more trusting in military solutions to all problems.

And whatever became of President Kimball’s remarkable address to the Church? It was given the instant deep-freeze, the most effective of censorship, a resounding silence. In 1969 an even more painful silence greeted another voice, that of the Lord Jesus Christ. In that year was reproduced in the pages of the BYU Studies the earliest known and fullest account of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, written in the hand of Warren Parrish in the winter of 1831-32 at the dictation of the Prophet. When I heard the news, which was just before general conference, I declared that there would be dancing in the streets when this document came out. Instead I have heard not a mention of it from that day to this. How is that possible that we should censor the words of the Lord himself? Well, those words began with unflattering picture of all us of: “Behold the world at this time lieth in sin, and there is none that doeth good, no not one, and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the world to visit them according to their ungodliness.”

“The world lieth in sin.” Why? we ask. The answer is loud and clear in Doctrine and Covenants 49: “For behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance. But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need” (D&C 49:19-21).

Brigham Young said it this way:

The doctrine of uniting together in our temporal labors, and all working for the good of all is from the beginning, from everlasting, and it will be for ever and ever. No one supposes for one moment that in heaven the angels are speculating, that they are building railroads and factories, taking advantage one of another, gathering up the substance there is in heaven to aggrandize themselves, and that they live on the same principle that we are in the habit of doing. No Christian, no sectarian Christian, in the world believes this; they believe that the inhabitants of heaven live as a family [Deuteronomy 31:12 and 12:6-7 say that offerings should always be made in a family group—the individual is the one responsible, but he must always bring his family], that their faith, interests, and pursuits have one end in view—the glory of God and their own salvation, they may receive more and more. . . . We all believe this, and suppose we go to work and imitate them as far as we can. (JD 17:117-18.)

In the end, we wake up 5-6 mornings each week to go to a job to make money and, if we’re lucky, enjoy our time there.  All the while propping up the same system which so contrasts the Zion we should want to be establishing.  All the while supporting the same system which makes us little more than slave labor.  All the while supporting the same paradigm which strives to mold us into machines and parts that are easily replaced, so that the next guy or gal can pick up and continue the charade without causing too much disruption.  All the while propping up a dying system, a system that will collapse.


“And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.”

Helaman 6:38

I recently had a discussion with my dad.  As we were driving to a small dairy farm in rural Wisconsin to pick up some raw milk for our personal consumption (personal aside:  I LOVE raw milk), he asked me my thoughts on the tea party movement.  If any of you were to ask me the same question, I’d give you the same answer I gave him:  “It’s not my cup of tea.”

Okay, that’s not really what I told him, but that was what my response meant.  I don’t usually think that fast on my feet, as my wife would readily admit.  While I mostly agree with the foundational ideals of the tea party movement, I’m hesitant to join or support any group because of the general ignorance of the politics which trouble our nation and the ability to easily co-opt the group for ulterior motives.  For instance, I firmly believe – and ample evidence suggests – that the tea party has been co-opted by republican operatives (Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.) to redirect the efforts toward and underneath the umbrella of the official establishment.  Their goal:  to ensure that the “official” republican opinion makers – the false priests if you will – will continue to corral the general public and keep them from really connecting the dots to what is going on in society.

You see, most people will never admit, and I will give an example shortly, is that it’s neither a Republican nor a Democrat issue.  It’s an entire failed system, a systemic issue.  Whether or not our nation will ever wake up and realize the false dichotomy that plagues our political system remains to be seen.  I have my doubts, but do hope that eventually mainstream Americans will reject the two party system.  I recently posted an interview of Thomas Barnett of the band Strike Anywhere and would redirect readers there to see how I view our current political system.  It is an interview that is more than worthwhile given the breadth of understanding Barnett portrays and how well spoken he is about the issues which trouble us.  The reason I bring up that interview is because (a) I agree with what he said, but also because (b) he speaks of the corporate interests which influence our political environment, an ominously similar issue as the “spoils” the Nephites dealt with.

This all serves as a mere preface to my earlier conversation.  During this conversation, my father related a discussion he had with one of his acquaintances in the LDS temple he works in on a weekly basis.  One of his fellow workers is known for his penchant for amassing and storing supplies (guns, ammunition, etc).  My father approached him one day in the temple and asked him what he thought we needed to do to get out of the economic problems we’re facing.  This person’s response surprised my father at the time, to say nothing of the reaction I had when my father related the story to me.  This man’s response highlights the utter lack of understanding prevalent in both the tea party and the general populous.  I readily admit that this man’s response is likely not indicative of what most people would say, ceteris paribus, but, to me, it highlights the general ignorance one sees regarding the political system.

How would you fix the economic situation we find the nation and world in?  Well, let me tell you that this man’s belief is so utterly ignorant of the current situation, utterly ignorant of the political processes, utterly ignorant of our “awful situation” that I don’t know where to begin, but begin I shall.

His response?  In a much more concise and direct manner, he stated: get r.1.d of Obama.  You’d do well to ponder other ways to say “get rid,” because that’s what this man said.  In the temple, presumably in temple garb, awaiting “further light and knowledge.”  Though I’m tempted to throw an ill-advised joke here, I’ll just state that the “further light and knowledge” must have been going in one ear and out the other, but I digress.  I won’t relate the precise words he used, because this is a “family friendly” site, but you can use your God-given intellect to divine what this man stated.  To say that I was surprised or shock was an understatement.  Dumbfounded more like it.  I guess I knew that somewhere, in the recesses of this nation and society, some harbored such feelings.  What I did not guess, however, was that these feelings were shared by some who should know better, someone presumably willing to spend all day working in the temple, and yet come out with no clue as to what we’re facing.  Wasn’t even on my radar screen, to be honest.

How, you ask, does this relate to Helaman 6, the tea party movement and the “spoils”?  First, we must realize that it really doesn’t matter which president is in office.  For the last 100 years (dating back to at least 1913), if not much, much longer (look for the quote from Andrew Jackson and connect a few dots), all presidents have been doing their bidding at the direction of others.  Be it corporate interests, Wall Street, international power brokers or others, president’s act at the behest of others.  They rarely make a decision without consulting with special “advisors,” most of which hail from either Wall Street or extremely influential international power brokers who dictate and lead policy.  Whether it’s the Bilderberg Group, the CFR, the Trilateral Commission or any number of similarly nefarious groups, it really doesn’t matter who is in office, be they Republican, Democrat, or Stupicancrat.  It is all the same. If someone really took a step back at the last 20-30 years, they’d see similar policies, a similar direction and similar actions all in spite of the letter (‘R’ or ‘D’) following someone’s name.  Be it Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II or Obama, it’s been one continual march in the same degraditive process.  Obama is a mere continuation of Bush II.  That’s the game of this whole thing.  Pitting two parties against each other, when they are merely two wings of the same bird heading in the same direction, is nothing more than classic dialectics aimed at confusing those who think they are doing the electing.  The false priests of the main stream media spin fantastic stories dripping with enough convincing rhetoric that we buy into their spin and believe the party line, especially as it relates to violence and the false gods we worship.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild once stated, “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes her laws.”  It doesn’t matter who makes the laws because the money supply will be controlled.  Give someone control of the money supply, and the ability to create upheaval via depressions, phony wars/conflicts, economic disasters or inflation, and politicians will soon be beholden to these same powers.  G. Edward Griffen has spoken and written extensively on this topic, and any reader would do well to understand or at least give cursory attention to what he’s talking about.  Mayer Amschel’s wife once infamously stated – or perhaps not, as most of the general populous pays little attention to such things as they prefer to regale in American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, or whatever the popular show du jour is –that, “If my sons did not want wars, there would be none.” All we need to do is look at the (not really) Federal Reserve to see where this process takes us, as Americans.  John Hylan, former mayor of New York City in the early 1920s, once stated that, “The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation”  Whether it’s control of the government, a “giant” octopus, the “military industrial complex,” a “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy,” or some “secret societies,” we’ve been both warned and forewarned again and again.  Though history suggests the masses will not listen, we as individuals can and should find ways to undo the chains that bind us down.

The person with whom my father was talking, like most of America, has yet to make that connection.  Anyone who suggests that it’s Obama on whom the blame should be placed neither understands the history of our nation, nor the real process behind electing a president.  I don’t suggest that I do understand either issue fully, but I can see the mechanics behind them both and am frankly not confident in the electoral process as it is presently constituted to bring about anything remotely resembling a positive change toward the system God would give us if we were willing.  Where many of those hailing from the tea party movement, or any party for that matter, miss the boat is in assuming that replacing Obama with a Republican will solve the problems.  Forget that this man has lost sight of the political process which follows when a President is removed from office (i.e., laws on the succession of the President due to poor health or death or whatever it may be), a new election will neither yield better results (absent a true 3rd party candidate), nor yield real change.  The powers that be are simply too deeply entrenched in the system to hope for anything different.

I don’t mean to sound like a pessimist, but in regards to our political system that’s exactly what I am.  Like the Nephites, our entire culture has generously shared in the spoils to such an extent that we simply do not understand the machinations going on behind the scenes, and most evidence suggests that we have no desire to understand these machinations.  Why?  Because we enjoy the spoils too much and because a “true” change away from Babylon would be too problematic and scary for all of us.  Be it money, wealth, benefits, favors, luxuries, ease of life or the false paradigms presented to us (i.e., the two party system, the main stream media as purveyors of truth, etc.), the spoils simply smell and taste too good to give away.  Like the Nephites, we’ve been seduced to such an extent that even when we think we’re “awake,” we’re confronted with more and more layers to the onion that is our screwed up society.  Like the Nephites, we’ve joined in the secret murders and combinations to such an extent that I wouldn’t be surprised if we all have blood on our hands in one way or another through our direct support of the whore that is Babylon.  Like the Nephites, we both believe in and thoroughly support the works of Babylon.  We drive her cars, watch her TV, listen to her false priests on the radio, buy her food, drink her milk, live in her houses, dress in her clothes and use her computers…to say nothing of the myriad of other things we do every day to support this Godless system.

Though I’d love to see a true 3rd or 4th or 5th party emerge from the ashes or our fallen nation, I simply don’t see it happening absent some cataclysmic event which is long overdue.  It’s not that I don’t want it, far from it, it’s that there are so many skewed and faulty beliefs, programs, policies, federal organizations and structures that need to be entirely swept away before any new candidate can hope to mold or re-shape the nation.  Then again, perhaps the American public will continue to believe that our elected officials and powers-that-be would never knowingly mislead us.

“The least you can do is investigate.  The minimum that is expected of you as a sentient being is to question your reality.  The minimum is that you realize that you are in a box, you are being controlled.  You are being fed.  You are having buttons in your mind pushed, and controlled… .”  – Alex Jones

Question everything.  Question your reality.  Question authority.  Question leadership.  Question the main stream media.  Question your existence.  Stop buying, serving and proliferating the lies you read, watch and listen to every day.  Stop being a pawn in someone’s sick and twisted game.  Stop the idolatry at the feet of Babylon.  Question.


Amateur Hour

The other day, reading a few random talks from random individuals, I came across a very short essay written by Hugh Nibley.  This essay discussed the idea of a paid clergy within the church and the pros and cons of a paid clergy.  What is so interesting about many of Nibley’s essays is how they discuss history and how that applies to a modern context.  That essay, entitled “The Day of the Amateur,”[1] is still as applicable today, if not more so, than it was then.

The article, as the title alludes to, is little more than a discussion and contrast of professionals on the one hand, and amateurs on the other.  Professionalism is, as Nibley states, “the child of the universities.”[2] Before there were professionals, there was what is called the Sophoi, “ancient traveling teachers who gave the modern world its moral and intellectual foundations.  They were, to a man, amateurs.”  Professionals, as we all well know, are paid for their opinions, works and teachings.  Amateurs, like Olympian athletes, are not.  They simply do what they do either out of charity or because they feel compelled to do so out of some duty to the human race.

According to Nibley, the amateurs were required by law to be amateurs, “because what they were doing was holy business and not to be contaminated by ulterior motives and ambitions.”[3] In ancient history the Sophists, the great imitators of the Sophoi, eventually overran everything and professionalized it all.  These Sophists were the great professors and the reason why Socrates eventually “advised students to examine prospective teacher’s credentials very carefully and critically.”[4]

As Nibley opines about a day gone by in his usual manner:

“Learning, [now] forgotten in the universities, was revived in academies, salons, societies, courts and coffee houses where amateurs came together to revel in the things of the spirit and make the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the high point of western civilization.  It was the Age of the Amateur.”

Fast forward a few years to the mid-nineteenth century, universities slowly took hold of society and by the twentieth century (and now in the twenty-first century) everyone goes to school for accreditation of some sort.  College teaching, for the most part, offers a “safe birth for mild and mediocre souls who in time, by the sacred role of seniority, [end] up ruling [the] institutions.”[5] Professionals, in this regard, can be boring, inept and lacking of any real inspiration, but the amateur, to get any recognition of any kind, has to be good and inspired.  To maintain the status of an amateur, as the Sophoi of old, the amateur must be honest, dedicated and incorruptible.

Professionals, however, all they need is a certificate, a piece of paper hanging on a wall, a couple of initials after one’s name and, magically (at least in today’s society), they’re granted virtual hero status.  People fawn over them, accept their word as scripture and certainly give much more credence to a professional than some guy with no initials after his name, no degree.

What is particularly troublesome about this essay, to me individually, is that I have often fallen prey to some of the arguments used by the Sophists.  I have been swayed by their opinions, their calls for degrees and certifications.  I went to college because I felt I needed a degree to succeed (financially) in the world, not thinking that there were other ways to succeed, to get by, to live and learn.  I had bought into the following statement, hook, line and sinker:

“You are moving into the most competitive age the world has ever known.  … You need all the education you can get.  Sacrifice a car; sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify to do the work of the world.  That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field.”[6]

I went to school to get a degree in order to get paid from the world “what it thinks [I’m] worth.”  While I appreciate the opportunity to go to school, I nevertheless look back on those years wondering why it was that I fell in line with the crowd and failed to think for myself.  Today, however, I would hope that this statement would raise a few red flags for someone interested in establishing Zion and someone who is, if only slightly, aware of LDS history from the 1800s.   While I agree that education is important, I disagree with the premise of the above statement that implies that education is found only through college and universities, institutions where we may become a “professional” and get a degree, a certification, or whatever it is these days to tell the world that you are now “[qualified] to do the work of the world.”  This quote was restated in the April 2009 New Era, page 19[7], and is juxtaposed between statements of youths from across the United States discussing the importance of attending college and gaining an “education.”  Even more bothersome for me is the urging of the President of the Church imploring the youth of the church to “sacrifice anything that is needed … to qualify to do the work of the world.”  Seems, to me at least, to be a bit too Babylonian in nature, especially when prophets of old have given counsel in direct contradiction to this statement.

According to a discourse given by Brigham Young, Joseph Smith appeared to him in a vision “given right in broad daylight” and gave him a message relating to the building up of Zion.  Young related the following:

“Said [Joseph Smith] – ‘Never spend another day to build up a Gentile city, but spend your days, dollars and dimes for the upbuilding of the Zion of God upon the earth, to promote peace and righteousness, and to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man, and he who does not abide this law will suffer loss.”[8]

Yet, in spite of this statement by Brigham Young, we are much further away from the “upbuilding of the Zion of God upon the earth” today than we ever were then.  Now, in lieu of counsel to build up Zion, we receive counsel which essentially builds up none other than the Great Babylon.  Truly, it is an interesting juxtaposition.  Nevertheless, this quote is used in this article to merely discuss our proclivity to obtain certifications, degrees, and an “education” at the hand of Babylonian professors.  We, naturally, then rely on these certificates to be taken seriously in our personal and professional lives.

Relating this to things of the spirit and the church, some of you may have noticed a certain trend that occurs within the halls of most meeting houses and places of worship, especially among the LDS faith.  Other than the first Sunday of the month, members are asked to prepare and given talks over the pulpit.  This is a way of encouraging mere members of the church to share their experiences, knowledge and spirit with the congregation at large.  It is an inspired practice, it would seem.  It serves as a way for member’s to learn to acquire the spirit, to study the gospel and teach everything by the spirit.

What is an inspired practice, however, has morphed into uniformity of thought.  It’s a true LDS oddity how this could happen.  Pay attention to the next week’s talks, those given by regular members on any given Sunday.  What you will likely find, if your ward or branch is anything like mine, is that most members will simply relay their thoughts in the form of an old Ensign or General Conference talk.  Some of these members will simply read the old Ensign or General Conference talk as if it were their own words, others will re-read the talk word-for-word giving due credit and others still will intersperse their words with the words from the talk.

What makes this unique to the LDS faith is largely the role of general authorities and members of the first presidency and quorum of the twelve apostles in the lives of everyday members.  These men, once called to one of these positions, take on super-human status.  They are no longer capable of error, of giving bad advice or interpreting scriptures to fit a box for which they weren’t meant to fit.  Instead, they become mostly infallible (though no one will admit as much).  Obedience to their words is what is required to be a card-carrying member of the LDS church.  Somehow their words become inspired, their statements become scriptures.  No longer do we, as mere members of the church, filter their words through the spirit to verify whether it is the spirit that is teaching us or whether we’re hearing the man’s opinion.  Instead we rely, word-for-word, on what they say.  Their words then, as a result, become our words.  We quote them, reference them, and repeat them, verbatim, over countless pulpits nearly every week of every year.  Instead of using the scriptures and allowing the spirit to speak through us, we draw on their words to give authority to ours, we rely on their words to justify ours – everything we do is filtered by what “so-and-so” apostle or general authority said.

I am, in this regard, no different.  I have used these very same practices to justify my statements both here on this blog and in talks I have given over the pulpit in years past.  My ability to recognize this issue is highlighted mostly by my own experience, day in and day out, practicing this very method to support and uphold my words.  Only recent have I begun to question what it is, exactly, that we are doing by practicing this sort of “idol” worship, if I may say as much.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, the “general authorities” have taken on expert status when it comes to the gospel and the doctrine of the gospel.  Somewhere along the way we gave them what they never (to my knowledge) asked for – doctrinal authority.  Christ, in his interactions with the Scribes and Pharisees, “distinguished between their right to preside over the church (which He did not challenge), and their assumed exclusive right to teach and interpret scripture (which He utterly rejected).”[9] The scribes and Pharisees, as well as the Sanhedrin, jealously guarded their right to claim leadership by asserting their authority.  “Their appointment to leadership offices, … priestly trappings, and possession of the temple were all used to buttress their claimed rights to preside and exercise control and dominion over the Jews.”[10]

I am not prepared to place these same accusations on the LDS hierarchy, though I see striking and troubling similarities.  At this point, it is the members who presume that the LDS leadership has an “exclusive right to teach and interpret scripture,” though certainly the leadership has, in certain instances, declared that to be their right as leaders.  This exclusivity to teach and interpret scripture is the reason why so many talks rely on so many quotes and statements from “professionals” within the LDS church.  By professionals, I mean those who have a title in front of their name, be it Elder or President or something else.  In our private lives we generally rely on the initials which follow someone’s name to know what to do, what to believe and how to act, be it an M.D., a PhD or something else, while in our religious lives we do exactly the same thing, the only difference being how we rely on the title which precedes a general authority’s name.  No longer, as the logic follows, is it the message that is the most important thing, though surely it is important, rather it’s the title in front of the name which lends especial credence to the message.

I am, admittedly, not quite sure why we have such a fascination with quoting others.  As I previously stated, I am as guilty as the next.  It is, indeed, easier to write and share my thoughts when I bring in quotes from outside sources.  That all being said, it is simply not a black and white issue, though the current practice in the LDS church, in my opinion, is overkill.  Members are all too eager to pick up their favorite talk or a talk which has been given either to them by a member of their Bishopric or one on the subject at hand, and regurgitate it for all to hear.  That, to me, does little more than destroy the spirit of the meeting.  It is true that a well placed quote, a poignant thought and outside sources can indeed enhance the message we are trying to convey, but all too often those quotes become paragraphs.  The paragraphs extend into pages and, before you know it, the talk is over and it turned into one giant quotation.  So be it.  I can only change myself – and I aim to – and you can only change yourself.  The change starts at an individual level and hopefully it does.  Let that change begin with you.  Instead of opening the most recent Ensign, open your scriptures and your heart to hear what the Spirit would teach you.

John Taylor Gatto wrote, in his book Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, the following, which underscores one of the reasons why we are so quick to look for the expert to lead us, guide us and save us from ourselves:

“We are addicted to dependency; in the current national crisis of maturity we seem to be waiting for the teacher to tell us what to do, but the teacher never comes to do that.  Bridges collapse, men and women sleep on the streets, bankers cheat, good will decays, families betray each other, the government lies as a matter of policy, corruption, shame, sickness, and sensationalism are everywhere.”[11]

In writing this, ironically enough, I was reminded of a book I just started reading.  A friend recommended this book several months back, at which time I bought it, but it’s been sitting on my shelves gathering dust until this past week.  In the introduction to this book, I found a statement that rang true to my spirit and one which I am trying to convey in this article:

“…What I have tried to convey are the thoughts and consciousness of Jesus that were behind his words when he uttered them.  I commune with Christ and ask him:  ‘I don’t want to interpret the Bible from my own views.  Will you interpret it?’”[12]

Encapsulated in this brief sentence is a meaning that is easy to forget:  we are all too often eager to use someone else’s opinion of the scriptures to justify our thoughts, beliefs and intentions.  Rare, indeed, is the man who searches the scriptures and seeks out the only true interpretation from the true source of light and inspiration.  We would do well to seek Christ and His interpretation of the scriptures as opposed to another man’s interpretations, no matter how good that person’s interpretations may be.  The Pure Source is really the only source from which we should drink.[13]

Nibley, in closing his essay, addresses this very issue and states his opinion on the importance of everyone contributing to the dialogue:

“If we have no professional clergy in the Church, it is not because the Church cannot use expert knowledge, but because all members should be experts where the gospel is concerned, and as such they should make their contribution. All the same contribution? Not at all! The Church is structured for eternal progression, and that takes place as we all feel our way forward along a broad front. Seeking and searching are among the most common words in our scriptures; we are all supposed to be seeking all the time. Just as missionaries go forth as an amateur army, searching out the honest in heart in the most scattered and unlikely places, on the widest possible front, so the rest of us increase in knowledge, here a little and there a little, not by trusting a few experts to come up with the answers, but by all of us searching, all along the line, finding out a fact here and a document there, and reporting the discovery to the whole body.  When he was editor of the Times and Seasons, the Prophet Joseph invited all to contribute.”[14]

The next time you give a talk, or assign someone to give a talk, I hope you take these thoughts to heart.  Stop quoting others and start trusting the spirit and your ability to be taught by the spirit.

What is especially interesting is Nibley’s typical retort at the end of one of his lectures, after having discussed similar ideas:

“Just remember — these things we’ve talked about here today aren’t really that important. What is important is that you keep the commandments and pray for the Lord’s guidance.”[15]

Truly, that is what is most important.  Instead of relying on others to tell us what to believe, to interpret the scriptures for us, to give us quotes and statements to justify what the spirit has undoubtedly taught us, we should pray for and then rely on the Lord’s guidance.[16]

**Approximate percentage of this essay which is made up of direct quotes from others:   23.2% – (676 out of 2,916 words)**


[1] Nibley, Hugh.  “The Day of the Amateur.”  New Era.  Volume 1, number 1.  January 1971.  Pages 42-44.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Hinckley, Gordon.  “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth.”  New Era.  January 2001, Page 8.

[7] “Questions & Answers,” New Era.  April 2009.  Pages 18-19.

[8] Young, Brigham.  “The Priesthood, Etc.” JD 12:59.

[9] Snuffer, Denver.  Come, Let Us Adore Him.  Page 97.

[10] Ibid.  Page 60-61.

[11] Gatto, John Taylor.  Dumbing Us Down:  The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.  1993, page 99.

[12] Yogananda, Paramahansa.  The Second Coming of Christ:  The Resurrection of the Christ Within You.  2004, page XXX.

[13] See John 4:10.

[14] Nibley.

[15] See http://www.zionsbest.com/amateur.html and the “About the Author” section.

[16] See Jeremiah 31:31-34 for a better discussion on this principle and idea.