Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

Never accept the proposition that just because a solution satisfies a problem, that it must be the only solution.

~Raymond E. Feist

Mormons and the 4th of July

I am writing this in advance of the 4th of July, as a portrait of where I am today in my belief system.  Where I am today in what I believe and know is clearly not where I was one or two years ago and, hopefully, will not be where I am in a year or three.  I truly hope that I will continue to grow, learn and avoid being one of those who profess “All is well,” or someone who merely suggests that we should just have more faith and stop analyzing so much.  I hope you are on a similar journey of learning, growing and experiencing the Universe, in whatever way it presents itself to you.

The 4th of July, as it is known today, is our general celebration of “independence,” however loosely that term may be defined.  Like many holidays, it’s used as an excuse to get an extra day off from work, to celebrate our “freedom” with barbecues, fireworks, picnics, parades and other frilly activities.  My goal in writing this is not really to analyze the history of the holiday, nor to treat the discussion as a research into its historical background.  Rather, my goal in writing this is to discuss how I feel with the modern celebration we’ve come to know and, for most of us, love.  More specifically, this is mostly going to be about the celebration of the 4th of July amongst Mormons.  Such is the angle from which I am approaching this subject.

Past 4th of July’s

Last year at this time I was living in Layton, Utah, in the shadow of Hill Air Force Base, a humungous swath of land, largesse and military force.  According to Utah’s Department of Workforce Services, Hill Air Force Base is the 6th largest employer in all of Utah, employing upwards of 15,000 people at any given time and only behind the State of Utah, Wal-Mart, Intermountain Health Care and both the University of Utah and BYU.[1]

Nearly one year ago (almost to the day) I attended the annual 4th of July celebration at the Ed Kenly Ampitheater, where the local orchestra played music to the firework festivities.  Each year, so far as I can tell, a prominent local citizen is brought forward to be the guest conductor for at least one of the arrangements.  Last year at this time it was Major General Andrew E. Busch who was introduced as the guest conductor.  Major General Busch had just been promoted to the commander (or whatever the chief leadership position is at each base) of Hill Air Force Base and was being celebrated at this function.  And so he stood, bowed and graciously accepted the overwhelming applause that those in attendance gave to/for him, it was evident that this man, and what he represented as a Commander in the military, was being celebrated for providing us all with the freedom we profess to have.  A few years earlier I would have been among those gleefully thankful for the wars promoted and directed all around us, wars which I had felt were responsible for providing me with freedom to do as I pleased.

At this time last year I did not and could not join in the celebration.  Instead, there I stood merely observing the crowd and the individuals making up that crowd.  That’s the stance I usually take these days, no matter the situation – merely observing what is going on around me.  You see, I don’t really fit in with today’s society, neither amongst the church nor amongst the general populace, or so I think.  Perhaps I do, but then perhaps I don’t want to.  I don’t think I really know.  It’s just a feeling I get – one of being a fish out of water.

Taken for Granted

My view of the 4th of July changed a few years ago as I began to put a few question marks on those things to which I had previously taken for granted.  The thing about taking something for granted is that it’s rarely known that it’s being taken for granted…typically it’s only realized in hindsight.  Bertrand Russell once summed this up nicely:

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”

And so it was with me.  I began to put a few question marks on a few things I had always believed and slowly my worldview began to change.   One of these things was the use of war as a policy decision and the use of war to justify freedom for myself, but not necessarily for those where wars were being fought.  And perhaps it’s only fitting that, as I write this, news reports are coming in on how Iran is currently surrounded by US troops in no fewer than 10 countries and pointing out the near inevitability of escalation in that part of the world later this year.  Perhaps, as some suggest, that conflict will escalate into a global thermonuclear war.  Perhaps it won’t.  Odds are, though, that if (perhaps when) that happens, the false priests of the media will be those spinning the biggest yarns while their loyal listeners will be parroting those lines to their friends across the world.  War will once again be used as a policy decision, and Americans far and wide will support the war, don bumperstickers and continue the rhetoric that urges more fighting, more war, more violence.   For a country that professes to follow a constitution that Mormons profess to be “inspired,” I find it increasingly ironic how much and how frequently we, as Mormons, profess gratitude to some God for protecting our freedoms throughout the world.

LDS members, by and large, will support and honor such decisions.  As Spencer Kimball noted many years ago, war seems to be one of our favored idols.  Though I don’t necessarily agree with everything Kimball noted in his discourse, The False Gods We Worship, this following bit I do agree with:

I am reminded of an article I read some years ago about a group of men who had gone to the jungles to capture monkeys. They tried a number of different things to catch the monkeys, including nets. But finding that the nets could injure such small creatures, they finally came upon an ingenious solution. They built a large number of small boxes, and in the top of each, they bored a hole just large enough for a monkey to get his hand into. They then set these boxes out under the trees and in each one they put a nut that the monkeys were particularly fond of.

When the men left, the monkeys began to come down from the trees and examine the boxes. Finding that there were nuts to be had, they reached into the boxes to get them. But when a monkey would try to withdraw his hand with the nut, he could not get his hand out of the box because his little fist, with the nut inside, was now too large.

At about this time, the men would come out of the underbrush and converge on the monkeys. And here is the curious thing: When the monkeys saw the men coming, they would shriek and scramble about with the thought of escaping; but as easy as it would have been, they would not let go of the nut so that they could withdraw their hands from the boxes and thus escape. The men captured them easily.

And so it often seems to be with people, having such a firm grasp on things of the world—that which is telestial—that no amount of urging and no degree of emergency can persuade them to let go in favor of that which is celestial. Satan gets them in his grip easily. If we insist on spending all our time and resources building up for ourselves a worldly kingdom, that is exactly what we will inherit.

In spite of our delight in regarding ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had—in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people—a condition most repugnant to the Lord.

We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we align ourselves against the enemy instead of aligning ourselves with the kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44–45.)

We forget that if we are righteous, the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us—and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7)—or he will fight our battles for us (Ex. 14:14; D&C 98:37, to name only two references of many). This he is able to do, for as he said at the time of his betrayal, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53.) We can imagine what fearsome soldiers they would be. King Jehoshaphat and his people were delivered by such a troop (see 2 Chr. 20), and when Elisha’s life was threatened, he comforted his servant by saying, “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kgs. 6:16). The Lord then opened the eyes of the servant, “And he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” (2 Kgs. 6:17.)

Enoch, too, was a man of great faith who would not be distracted from his duties by the enemy: “And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions were heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch.” (Moses 7:13.)

What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is positive: to forsake the things of the world as goals in themselves; to desist from idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.

We must leave off the worship of modern-day idols and a reliance on the “arm of flesh,” for the Lord has said to all the world in our day, “I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.” (D&C 64:24.)

Hugh Nibley, in briefly responding to this discourse in his Leaders & Managers article, replied with the following:

Most of you are here today only because you believe that this charade will help you get ahead in the world. But in the last few years things have got out of hand. The economy, once the most important thing in our materialistic lives, has become the only thing. We have been swept up in a total dedication to the economy which, like the massive mudslides of our Wasatch Front, is rapidly engulfing and suffocating everything. If President Kimball is “frightened and appalled” by what he sees, I can do no better than to conclude with his words: “We must leave off the worship of modern-day idols and a reliance on the ‘arm of flesh,’ for the Lord has said to all the world in our day, ‘I will not spare any that remain in Babylon’ (D&C 64:24).”10 And Babylon is where we are.  In a forgotten time, before the Spirit was exchanged for the office and inspired leadership for ambitious management, these robes were designed to represent withdrawal from the things of this world—as the temple robes still do. That we may become more fully aware of the real significance of both is my prayer.

On one side, war is continued because of the financial ramifications it has for certain circles of influence, and on the other side many of us, especially Mormons, support war because we hold on to war as our only pillar of support in a society that, we feel, requires it.  When 9/11 happened, instead of decrying the obliteration of individual freedoms, we clamored for increased unity and support for a President thrust into an unimaginable role.  That increased support, it seems, served little purpose other than to embolden certain circles of influence to further destroy individual freedoms.  Freedom, it seems, is a thing greatly misunderstood.

Full Disclosure

In an effort at full disclosure I should probably admit a couple of things:

(1)    I almost joined the military.  More than once.  It was never so close as to ever enter some recruiter’s office, but as recently as this past year it was a path I was semi-seriously considering.  I even spoke with a recruiter or two over the phone to ask some preliminary questions.  The first time was shortly after my Great Deception (i.e. 9/11).  The second time was this past year, following a year of unemployment and nary a job offer on the horizon.  The Great Deception was avoided because I felt like I couldn’t really join the “cause” as I then called it because I had a young child and didn’t want to leave my wife and child alone.  The second time (this past year) I couldn’t go through with it because I’m leery of the future and didn’t want to get caught somewhere I didn’t want to be, to say nothing of other untenable positions I’d be forced to support in one way or another if I joined.

(2)  While I’m adamantly opposed to war – and may very well find myself walking out of church this coming Sunday if the warmongering continues – I empathize with the individuals involved in that part of our world and have no beef with them on an individual level.

(3)  My favorite hymn used to be the Battle Hymn of the RepublicUsed to be.  I even went so far as to play it at my mission farewell in the middle of January.  Then, while in the MTC serving my 10-week penance for being called on a foreign mission, I made some attempt to translate it into French.  It was probably an awful attempt, though I know of no tangible proof of what I translated other than some vague imagination.  I still love the music, but can’t stomach the message behind the words or the events which inspired its creation (I’m referring to the Civil War, not slavery.  The Civil War was the single greatest reason for the creation of our current federal government, in my opinion, and the single greatest reason for abolishing states’ rights).  It was sung this past Sunday during Priesthood opening exercises and I couldn’t manage more than a half-hearted, pathetic attempt at singing.  In fact, that’s how I treat most songs about America are treated.

So, What’s My Beef?

Valid question, that.  Looking at the 4th of July, I see the same nationalism that presented the Great Deception in my own life.  Following the events of 9/11 I remember writing my brother, then on his mission in Brasil, lamenting how these “gadiantons” had somehow bypassed our security measures and attacked our motherland.  I remember exactly where I was that day, the emotions I felt and the images on the screen.  It was one of those days that left something of an imprint both on and in my system.  Those beliefs remained in my system for several years.  Several years too many.

I had been like those who both wrote and adamantly supported the Battle Hymn of the Republic, convinced that a certain path was right, even when it wasn’t.  What on earth am I talking about?  Well, Lincoln and the Civil War were both about far more than the abolition of slavery.  Among other things, Lincoln suspended the Constitution and habeas corpus, used the military to invade the southern states without the consent or approval of Congress, imprisoned thousands of Northern citizens without trial, shut down opposition newspapers, censored all telegraph communications, nationalized the railroad industry, confiscated firearms, interfered with elections using federal troops and deported outspoken critics…among other things.  It sounds eerily similar to the deteriorating process we’ve been witnesses to for the past 20 years, or more, and yet somehow we continue to support the same system decade after decade.  Yes, it was during this time that our country went from “these united States” to “these United States.”  And it was done under the guise and belief that what they were doing was God’s will.[2] The author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic wrote the song as a warning of God’s judgment – the Civil War being God’s judgment.  Apparently written in response to a dream/vision, the Hymn would become both Lincoln’s “best loved marching song” and the marching song of the Union troops.

Just as it was a deception to destroy states’ rights at the feet of a soon-to-be giant federalism, it was an even greater deception in my life (if only because it was so much more personal this time) to believe that a war was a justified reaction to what happened that fateful day in 2001.  I managed to justify civilians, soldiers and others being killed, maimed, bombed, plagued, castrated, pummeled, humiliated, and relegated to a life in shambles, all in the name of conquest.  Conquest by any other means is still conquest.

Then, as time slowly passed from 2001 to 2007-ish, a question mark began to be placed on a long held belief.  Not by me, mind you, but by someone, or something.  I didn’t set out to challenge the status quo on 9/11 or my belief that wars such as the “war on terrorism” were divinely justified, but rather was led to some information that challenged the status quo as I began to study alternative topics.  One thing led to another and I began to realize that I had been played.  I had seen the Great Deception and that Deception had played me like a fiddle for a number of years.  Played so long that I’m still surprised the strings didn’t break earlier.  I had supported and voted for a president after president as they all, regardless of party affiliation, dismantled both my rights and my privacy; I had supported ideologies which told me that there were people I could legitimately hate and I had embraced a perspective that created a self-righteousness in my own heart (i.e. since I’m better than some poor Afghani or Iraqi who’s been buffaloed by some crazy fanatic, I deserve to live and they deserve to die).  I was better than them and that meant that I could both hate them and persecute them by my words and by my beliefs.  And, just as described in D&C 121, I did so without fully knowing just how wrong and misguided I was.  Only in hindsight could I see what I had become.

Now, in hindsight, I can’t really understand how I could be someone who supposedly valued his own right to pursue his own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and yet could not afford the same privileges to other individuals around the world, regardless of nationality. God is no respecter of persons, so why should I be? Any loss of or damage to life should be avoided and opposed, and not simply excused when it supposedly becomes necessary to “save American lives”.

And yet, here I sit, knowing that come this Sunday (the 4th of July, ironically enough), I’ll be all too privileged to sit inside church, listening to testimonies given on how grateful we should be for our freedom, for our troops defending said freedoms the world over.  And, on the back end, I’ll sit here fully knowing that these same people would likely run me out of town if they knew just what I believed on this, and other issues.

As I right that, I’m faced with another dilemma.  My daughter’s favorite story in the Book of Mormon is of one Teancum.  A rather inconsequential fellow, only mentioned in a smattering of chapters in the book of Alma, easily lost amongst the 500+ other pages of that divine tragedy.  He, like many today, was a soldier of some sort.  Friends with Lehi and Moroni, and described as no less than a “true friend of liberty.”[3] The record we have on him seems to suggest that he didn’t like fighting anymore than myself, and yet there he was right in the middle of the fight.  His way of ending the fighting was to steal away into the opposition’s camp long after it was dark and kill the leader.  One time, it worked marvelously.  So marvelously, in fact, that he tried it a second time.  Same plan, same method.  Sneak away by himself, find a way into the opposition’s camp, find the king’s tent, throw the sharpest object he could find or bring with him at his heart and hope for the best.  Somehow he thought this single death would end the fighting, that the remaining fighters would be forced to surrender.  His goal was liberty, his method to get liberty and end the fighting was by killing the enemy, or at least the leader of the enemy party.  Somehow, amid all this, he was still regarded as a true friend of liberty.

So, was Teancum wrong to do what he did?  Was his support for the war, and his actions justified, because the war he was fighting wasn’t the result of the corporate interests which largely rule our world today?  Am I wrong to distance myself from it all and settle into the role of a mere observer?

Whatever the answers to those questions, I may just walk out of Fast & Testimony meeting the minute the testimonies start spilling out in gratefulness for the wars, anger and fighting that litter our world.  If not, well, idol worship is the next best thing.

People still retain the errors of their childhood, their nation, and their age, long after they have accepted the truths needed to refute them.

~Condorcet, Progress of the Human Mind, 1794



[3] See Alma 62:37.

I had to write a paper this week for my IT class.  We’ve been dealing with computer crimes and privacy issues inside the workplace.  The following is a paper I had to write, which I thought I’d throw up here.  I’m not typically prone to write and discuss politics or political activities.  I used to be interested in that area, but no longer.  I’m an impartial observer mostly.  I prefer to sit back and observe.  Though I may have strong opinions one way or the other, I typically keep them to myself.  That being said, I think this might be a good read for some out there:


Ethics, of all sorts, are and will be problematic in the years to come as men and women across all boundaries labor to delineate where personal privacy begins and ends.  Sadly, though, these lines have already been drawn and yet most do not even know they have been drawn.  One such statement, from the module, seems to echo this issue:

“Although most organizations use data files for legitimate and/or justifiable purposes, opportunities for invasion of privacy abound. Legislation such as The Children’s Internet Protection Act has been enacted to protect minors using the Internet. Other laws have been enacted also, such as the Privacy Act of 1974, the USA Patriot Act, and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.”[1]

I must preface my comments on this particular paragraph of the module before continuing.  Within this paragraph exists some ambiguity, something which is less than desirable for someone, like myself, who is trying to write an unambiguous response to the question at hand.  Nevertheless, in looking at this paragraph, I am compelled to draw a few conclusions.  Chief among these conclusions is that the Privacy Act, the USA Patriot Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act are believed to have been enacted to “protect” individuals from an “invasion of privacy.”  I wholeheartedly acknowledge that I may err in this assessment and, if so, so be it.  However, based off the current construction of the paragraph I am compelled to believe that the writer of this paragraph is of the frame of mind that they were largely written and passed as a way to protect individuals throughout America.

I may come across as being mildly cynical in class and on the forums where we post responses to weekly questions and topics, though I do not consider myself to be of the cynical variety.  I prefer to think that I look at things from an objective standpoint.  Yes, if you’re thinking, I subjectively think that I am objective.  The ultimate dichotomy.  Nevertheless, I prefer to sit back in as impartial a manner as possible and assess things as they come.  Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed.  The joy is in neither the success nor the failure, but in the personal improvement that comes from not accepting everything at face value and truly learning for myself.

I would like to say that I am surprised that people view legislation such as the USA Patriot Act as a way of “protecting” individuals.  It’s seemingly championed as protecting individuals from individual harm.  However, to me, it’s incontrovertible that the Patriot Act has done more to destroy individual freedoms and privacy than any other piece of legislation that I can think of.

Even taking some items at face value, it’s hard not to notice the language at the website which can be accessed by following the above hyperlink on the Patriot Act.  Following that link will lead the reader to a statement which reads:

H.R.3162Title: To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes[2]. (emphasis added.)

A cursory reading of the title must lead the reader to assume that “investigatory tools” have been “enhanced.”  Disregarding the fact that the Patriot Act was passed merely one month after 9/11 when the public and elected officials were so shell shocked at what had happened, as that would necessitate a whole book to discuss the ramifications, a simple internet search of the far reaching tentacles of the Patriot Act should lead some to question the party line that the Patriot Act was for our “protection.”

Benjamin Franklin once stated that, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  This statement is perhaps best juxtaposed against the following graphic:

On one hand, we have the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine decrying the idea of giving up our individual freedoms for some peace, and on the other we have the likes of George Bush, the President at the time of the passage of the Patriot Act, being paraphrased in the above graphic saying, “Give up your liberty, or we’re all gonna die!”  The alarmism is all too palpable in this discussion on the Patriot Act.  Today, most have bought – hook, line and sinker – into the latter philosophy, as witnessed by President Obama’s recent extension of the so-called “Patriot” Act, which was “necessary” to protect us from “terrorism.”[3] Some fail to see the irony in this statement, though it is quite thick.

According to an article by TaFoya Court, the extension allows the government to continue with “court approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones, court approved seizure of records and property … and surveillance of … non-U.S. citizen suspected of terrorist activities.”[4] Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, states that the Patriot Act has resulted in nothing more than “the gagging of our nation’s librarians under the national security letter statute [and] the gutting of time-honored surveillance laws, the Patriot Act has been disastrous for Americans’ rights.”[5]

Included within the Patriot Act is the ability of federal authorities to perform “sneak and peek” warrants.  A “sneak and peak” warrant enables these federal authorities to search a person’s home, office or other personal property without the person’s knowledge.  Librarians, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, as well as bookstores, are currently required through the Patriot Act to provide the records of books read by their patrons.  As Representative Ron Paul opined some years ago:

“[t]he Patriot Act waters down the Fourth amendment by expanding the federal government’s ability to use wiretaps without judicial oversight. The requirement of a search warrant and probable cause strikes a balance between effective law enforcement and civil liberties. Any attempt to dilute the warrant requirement threatens innocent citizens with a loss of their liberty. This is particularly true of provisions that allow for issuance of nationwide search warrants that are not specific to any given location, nor subject to any local judicial oversight.

The Act makes it far easier for the government to monitor your internet usage by adopting a lower standard than probable cause for intercepting e-mails and internet communications. I wonder how my congressional colleagues would feel if all of their e-mail headings and the names of the web sites they visited were available to law enforcement upon a showing of mere “relevance.”[6]

Later that same year, Representative Paul stated:

“Recent revelations that the National Security Agency has conducted broad surveillance of American citizens’ emails and phone calls raise serious questions about the proper role of government in a free society. …

“…most governments, including our own, cannot resist the temptation to spy on their citizens when it suits government purposes. …We have a mechanism called the Constitution that is supposed to place limits on the power of the federal government. Why does the Constitution have an enumerated powers clause, if the government can do things wildly beyond those powers – such as establish a domestic spying program? Why have a 4th Amendment, if it does not prohibit government from eavesdropping on phone calls without telling anyone? … The rule of law is worthless if we ignore it whenever crises occur.”[7]

Why indeed.

The Patriot Act, a misnomer if there ever were one, is only one example of individual “protection” getting thrown out the window in the name of safety.  Truth be told, the extraordinary power granted to the government through the Patriot Act, and other acts promising individual “protection,” enables this same government to look into our private lives and be used for far too many purposes wholly unrelated to terrorism.

As we have seen in the course forum on BlackBoard, most of my classmates are all too eager to implement far-reaching surveillance measures to justify protection of corporate assets and intellectual property.  Most argue that since the “law” dictates that employees are not entitled to personal privacy rights while at work, then there’s no reason to afford them any.  It would seem the rational is that a salary is sufficient collateral to buy off the privacy of the individual.

In truth, I’m surprised that so many put the “corporate” needs above the “individual” needs.  Even though this is a very complex and nuanced problem, there is simply no reason, as Franklin stated, to give up “essential liberty” to purchase “temporary safety.”  Though the Supreme Court recently granted corporations all the privileges of citizenship,[8] a decision which is buttressed by a “125 year-old precedent in the case of Santa Clara v. Santa Fe, where the Court first developed the legal doctrine of corporate personhood,”[9] we must never forget that employees are individuals with rights that do not end the moment an employee enters the doors of his or her place of employment.  Similarly, we should not presume that the “Patriot” Act is a valid “protection” of individuals when it does so much that undermines and tears away the very foundations of individual liberties we seem to believe in.  I say “seem” because while we profess the belief in individual liberties and privacies on the one hand, all too frequently we support, uphold and vote for legislation like the Patriot Act which goes against all our personal beliefs and the subject, all because we buy into the “official” story sold to us by main stream media outlets and paid representatives.


That is where my paper ended.  In a spiritual sense, I would add that these measures are far reaching.  While many people champion and promote the idea that the War in Heaven was fought over Lucifer trying to “force” us into obedience, I more closely align with the idea that Lucifer was trying to “destroy the agency of man”[10] by removing the consequences of sin.  Greg Wright, in his book Satan’s War on Free Agency, argues persuasively towards this end.  I think it may have been a combination of the two.  In order to convince a “third part”[11] (note, a “third part” does not mean “one third” no matter who says it does) of the hosts of heaven, he must have been very persuasive.  In order to persuade someone to accept an alternative plan, it would have to have been appealing.  Greg Wright argues that, in today’s world, the far more persuasive plan is one where everyone can do whatever they want without punishment.  Trying to sell the “force” plan, as he calls it, would be much, much harder, if only because the “third part” that followed him had to be convinced that an omniscient God’s plan was somehow inferior to Lucifer’s.

In the end we must be mindful of the increasing encroachments on our individual liberties.  As we give more and more of our liberties away to employers who would monitor us at all times, agencies which do monitor us at all times, and others, we lose a bit of ourselves and the agency with which we were endowed eons ago.  It is one of the many ways by which we “receive not the light.”

D&C 93:30-32 summarizes this perfectly:

30 All truth is independent in that asphere in which God has placed it, to bact for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.

31 Behold, here is the aagency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is bplainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.

32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the alight is under condemnation. (Emphasis Added.)

[1] IT-500, Module 9.

[2] Website, retrieved 03/06/2010:

[3] Cort, TaFoya.  “Obama, Congress extend Bush’s PATRIOT Act.”  03/04/2010.  Retrieved 03/06/2010.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Paul, Ron.  “Reconsidering the Patriot Act.”  05/03/2005.  Retrieved 03/06/2010.

[7] Paul, Ron.  “Domestic Surveillnace and the Patriot Act.”  12/27/2005.  Retrieved 03/06/2010.

[8] Klinger, Scott.  “The Bush-Packed Supreme Court Thinks Corporations Are People Too.”  01/22/2010.  Retrieved 03/06/2010.

[9] Id.

[10] Moses 4:3: “Wherefore, because that aSatan brebelled against me, and sought to destroy the cagency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be dcast down…”

[11] D&C 29:36:  “And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the adevil—for, behold, the bdevil was before Adam, for he crebelled against me, saying, Give me thine dhonor, which is my epower; and also a fthird part of the ghosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their hagency…”