Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A List of Articles in this Blog

Dear Reader:

Nearly fifty articles were posted to this blog between May 6 and July 26 of this year. I stopped because there was no indication anyone was reading what I’d written. The way this blog works is annoying too.

First, you can look backwards in time from wherever you are, but you can’t always look forward. Archives are only available on the home page or one of the Archives pages.

Second, the links to the articles are in reverse order in the right hand column. This makes it difficult to read multi-part articles in order.

Third, there is no easy way of getting a global view of what is on the blog.

To address all three problems, I’m posting another blog with a list of all the articles, organized in a more-or-less logical order by subject.

My Autobiography


June 23 - My 64th Birthday - An Autobiographical Sketch

May 9 – No Games, Just Sports

May 14 – Dürer: Self-Expression and Depression

Mother’s Day

May 9 – Mothers to Emulate – Mary Fielding and Emma Smith – or maybe not...

Father’s Day

June 15 - Father's Day: The Names of God - Introduction

June 15 - Father's Day: The Names of God - Abba to Zur

Memorial Day

May 26 – Musings on Memorial Day

The Family

July 12 - Families: Defending Traditional Marriage I

July 16 - Families: Defending Traditional Marriage II

July 24 - The Proclamation on the Family and David Bednar’s challenge.

Religion and the Scriptures

May 19 – The Ages of the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph

July 4 - The Bible - Inspired and Imperfect

Poetry and Parallelism in the Scriptures

June 6 - My Poetry - or - from the Sublime to the Ridiculous

June 8 - English Poetry and the Poetry of the Scriptures

June 9 - Chiasmus I - Noah, the Flood, and Hebrew Poetry

June 12 - Chiasmus II – Parallelism in the Old Testament

June 16 - Chiasmus III: Isaiah in the Book of Mormon

June 22 - Chiasmus IV: Six Book of Mormon Stories from 1 Nephi

June 22 - Chiasmus IV: Nephi’s Outline One

June 24 - Chiasmus V: Nephi’s Outline Two

June 29 - Chiasmus VI: Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, and Mormon

June 29 - Chiasmus VI Revisited: Alma 13 in greater detail

July 2 - Chiasmus VII: Some Modern Examples

Columbus and the Flat Earth

May 21 – Columbus and the Flat Earth I

May 22 – Columbus and the Flat Earth II

Art and non-Art

May 24 – The Emperor’s New Clothes

Education

July 8 - Public Schools: Salina Kansas eighth-grade final exam

July 9 - Public Schools: Salina Kansas revisited

July 22 - Public Schools: And You Think You Have Problems

Entertainment

July 6 - Hollywood’s Three Big Lies

July 10 - Trash TV: We Can Clean the Screen

July 16 - One Hundred and One Reasons Not to Watch TV - April 1992

July 26 - Television 1996: That Vast Wasteland!

Creation and Evolution

May 28 - Darwinism: There Are No Limits and I Can Do Anything I Want

May 30 - Darwinism: People before Adam and Eve?

June 5 - Darwinism: Cultural Continuity and the Universal Flood

Mass Extinctions and Global Warming

June 14 – Mass Extinctions

June 2 - The Carolina Bays and the Younger Dryas impact event - I

June 3 - The Carolina Bays and the Younger Dryas impact event - II

June 4 - The Carolina Bays and the Younger Dryas impact event - III

June 18 - Motion: Global Warming Is NOT a Crisis!

July 20 - Motion: Global Warming is Not a Crisis II

Urban Legends

June 26 - Urban Legends and The Thermodynamics of Hell

June 28 - A Great Cookie Recipe from Nieman-Marcus

Miscellaneous Mutterings and Musings

May 15 – The Horrors of an Unread Blog

June 20 – Oxymoron: Artificial Intelligence

June 30 - Relativity in Words of Four Letters or Less

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Television 1996: That Vast Wasteland!

Our family (this was written in 1996) has not been hooked up to cable television for more than fifteen years. Once in a while I look through an issue of "TV Times" to see what we're missing. The following 109 movies are a representative sample of what was offered during the first week of 1996, although I didn't get around to writing this article until March. The sit-coms and soap operas and advertisements on TV all have pretty much the same sort of message too.

I made the following print tiny so that if your kids are looking over your shoulder you can hit the BACK button before they see too much.

A

Accidental Meeting: Two women scheme to kill men for each other.

After Dark, My Sweet: Widow and con man try kidnap caper.

Almost Golden: Insecurity, substance abuse plague newswoman.

Ambassador: Blackmailers have U.S. ambassador's wife on film with PLO lover.

Ambition: Writer plays mind games with mass murderer.

American Cyborg - Steel Warrior: Killer cyborg hunts last fertile woman on Earth.

Angel Face: Socialite and her chauffeur up for murder.

At Close Range: Rural teen joins father's crime clan.

B

Babysitter: Baby sitter is the object of clients' obsessions. (T)

Bad Boys: Detectives probe murders linked to stolen heroin.

Badge 373: Racist police detective hunts thug for killing partner.

Bedroom Eyes: Jogging Canadian stockbroker peeps on kink, sees murder.

Belly of an Architect: Architect in Rome thinks wife is poisoning him for rival.

Blackout: Amnesiac cannot recall murders: ex-policeman can.

Blue Tiger: Woman seeks her son's tatooed killer.

Body and Soul: Medical-student boxer, his girlfriend, and the mob.

Body Chemistry 4 - Full Exposure: Attorney falls under sex psychologist's spell.

The Border: Easy money corrupts Border Patrol officer.

Breach of Conduct: Army colonel stalks wife of officer at Utah base.

Bret Maverick: Lazy Ace: Arizona poker player acts when sore loser robs bank.

The Burning Bed: Battered wife sets bed on fire with husband in it.

C

Cal: Young IRA recruit and policeman's widow have Ulster affair.

Caroline at Midnight: Reporter seduced by corrupt policeman's wife.

Casual Sex?: Single women talk about men at health spa. (V)

Charlie Varrick: Thief and partner rob mob bank, flee hit man and police. (V)

Choices of the Heart: The story of the U.S. founder of the birth control movement.

Choose Me: Radio sex therapist, romantic, hipster, gangster, and wife.

Club Med: Resort manager in Mexico has ex-lover as guest.

Cobra: L.A. detectives protect model from neo-fascist slasher. (V)

Code of Silence: Chicago cop attacks cocaine store by remote control.

Color of Night: N.Y. psychologist seeks friend's killer in L.A.

Columbo Goes to the Guillotine: Police detective suspects mind reader of murder.

The Comfort of Strangers: English lovers seduced by diplomat's son in Venice.

The Companion: Android's love for novelist turns lethal.

Cross My Heart: Couple spend third date lying, confessing.

D

Daddy: Pregnancy forces teen lovers to make adult decisions.

Dallas Connection: Bikini-clad assassins vs. secret agents.

Dead On: Married lovers scheme to kill for each other.

Deadly Love: Policeman falls for vampire photographer.

Deadly Past: Ex-convict helps blackmailed ex-girlfriend.

A Death In California: Socialite lies for man who raped her and killed her fiance.

A Death In Canaan: Writer defends teen for killing his mother.

Death Valley: Boy joins mother and her boyfriend, finds corpses.

Death Wish 4 - The Crackdown: Vigilante targets L.A. drug rings in girlfriend's behalf. (V)

Devil's Bride: Duke and friends form pentagram against satanist in 1920s.

Dial M for Murder: London playboy plots perfect murder of wife.

Dirty Work: Bail-bond buddies torn by mob and betrayal.

Disclosure: Boss accusses her co-worker of sexual harassment. (T)

Dolores Claiborne: Murder suspect and her daughter face past traumas.

Double Cross: One night of lust connects man to murder.

Dress Gray: Military cadet mired in general's cadet-murder cover-up.

E

Ed and His Dead Mother: Clerk's dead mom comes back as cannibal.

The Egyptian: Maid loves, Babylonian Temptress ruins Pharaoh's doctor. (T)

Experiment in Terror: Woman helps FBI agent catch killer holding her sister.

F

Fallen Idol: French ambassador's son casts murder shadow on butler.

Final Analysis: Psychiatrist beds patient's sister, prompting murder.

The Final Conflict: Antichrist Damien, now ambassador to England.

Four Weddings and a Funeral: English charmer meets lusty American.

Friday: Loafer, pot-smoker hang out on front porch.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle: Petty Boston hood rats on friends to avoid jail.

Friendships, Secrets and Lies: Baby's skeleton points toward ex-sorority sisters.

The Fugitive: U.S. marshal hunts doctor for murder of his wife. (T)

G

Ghoul: Ex-cleric in 1920s England keeps cannibal son in attic.

Gorilla at Large: Law student or gorilla could be fun-park killer.

The Graduate: College man gets seduced by his girlfriend's mother. (T)

The Great White Hope: Boxing champ punished for having white mistress circa 1910.

H

Hard Vice: Las Vegas police suspect call girls of murder.

Harlem Nights: Night club partners sting white mobster in 1930s Harlem. (V)

The Haunting of Sarah Hardy: Heiress's husband and friend plot seaside mansion murder.

Holy Matrimony: Hutterite's widow weds 12-year-old brother-in-law.

The Horror at 37,000 Feet: Jet captain's cargo brings ghosts on board.

How Sweet It Is: Photographer and wife flirt with others in Europe.

I

Illicit Behavior: Policeman's abused wife plots revenge.

Impact: Man hides with widow after wife botches his murder.

Indecent Behavior II: Sex therapist suspected in her patient's murder.

L

L.A. Dreams: Sleazy film producer casts small town starlets.

La Strada: Carnival strong man mistreats witless waif.

The Last Hit: Ex-CIA hit man loves widow marked for murder.

The Legend of Hell House: Physicist, wife, medium and researcher bait demons.

The Lost Weekend: Boozing writer lands in Bellevue with DTs.

M

The Manitou: Psychic asks witch doctor to get evil off girlfriend's back.

Meatballs III: Porno queen's ghost coaches summer-camp nerd.

Natural Born Killers: Lovers go on spree through New Mexico.

N

Night of the Demons: Teen holds Halloween seance to scare friends.

Night Visions: Writer experiences sexuality through the ages.

Nightmare on the 13th Floor: Travel writer finds cult of Satan in Victorian hotel.

Nuts: Public defender sides with call girl up for manslaughter.

O

Out of Sync: L.A. DJ falls for drug dealer's girlfriend.

P

Paradise Motel: Teen lets local Romeo use family's motel suite.

Parallax View: Reporter traces corporate assassination conspiracy.

Perfect: Rolling Stone reporter seduces aerobics instructor.

Poltergeist II: American Indian helps family prey to poltergeist. (V)

Poltergeist III: Demons find girl living with aunt and uncle in high-rise.

Popeye Doyle: New York detectives link call girl's overdose to Mideast power play.

Prince of Foxes: Cesare Borgia sends Renaissance man to seduce duke's wife.

Professional: Italian hit man protects orphan girl in N.Y. (V)

R

Raw Justice: Murder links ex-policeman, call girl and suspect.

S

Scorned: Wife seeks revenge on husband's co-worker.

Serial Mom: Baltimore housewife kills in her spare time. (V)

The Seven Year Itch: Wife's away; blonde upstairs gives man ideas. (V)

Sex, Love and Cold Hard Cash: Call girl and ex-con go after embezzled savings.

Sleep With Me: L.A. man loves his best friend's wife.

So Evil My Love: British widow joins con man in Victorian crime and passion.

Stay the Nite: Teen's mother entraps his lover whose husband he killed.

T

This House Possessed: Evil force holds rock star and his nurse.

Traces of Red: Palm Beach Policeman works sordid serial slayings.

V

Vice Squad: Hollywood hooker helps detective trap sick pimp.

W

The Wedding Banquet: Gay partners try to fool Taiwanese parents with fake wedding.

Y

The Year of Living Dangerously: Reporter betrays friend, lover in 1965 Indonesia.

That's the list, arranged alphabetically.

Sadly, I must admit that I have watched five of the above movies (T) in the theater, and have brought home nine others (V) from the video store. We have a TV set and a VCR, but no cable hookup. We rent movies and have a rule about not renting anything rated 'R'.

Now here is another alphabetical list of the beliefs, lifestyles, and ideals you will have firmly implanted in your hearts and minds if you watch these movies (or the sit-coms, soap operas, and advertisements) on TV. Every one of these sickening ideas is expressed in one or more of the movies above:

Wives are ABUSED. People make ACCUSATIONS and have AFFAIRS. We find the ANTICHRIST. There are ASSASSINATIONS by ASSASSINS. People AVOID JAIL.

BAIL BONDSMEN ply their trade with BANK ROBBERS. BATTERED WIVES burn their husbands. People with BEDROOM EYES keep BEDDING one another. We have BETRAYAL, BIKINIS, and BIRTH CONTROL. People BLACKMAIL one another. Men and women have BODY CHEMISTRY and are BOOZERS.

They use CALL GIRLS and resort to CANNIBALISM, CASUAL SEX, and CHILD ABUSE. They go to the COCAINE STORE, where there are CON MEN involved in CONSPIRACY with CORPSES. CORRUPTION and COVER-UPS are used by CRIME CLANS and CULTS OF SATAN.

Couples indulge in DEADLY LOVE and DEATH WISHES. They have DELIRIUM TREMENS. There are DEMONS and the DEVIL'S BRIDE. People do DIRTY WORK and are involved in DOUBLE CROSSES with DRUG DEALERS and DRUG RINGS.

They look for EASY MONEY, and are involved in EMBEZZLEMENT and ENTRAPMENT to get it. throughout the whole thing there is EVIL and EVIL FORCES. EX-CONVICTS and EX-LOVERS abound.

Lovers FAKE their FLIRTATIONS and FOOL one another. FUGITIVES flee.

GANGSTERS lurk. GAY PARTNERS deceive their parents. GHOSTS and GHOULS grimace.

There are HAUNTINGS and appeals to HELL. People are hooked on HEROIN. HIT MEN, HOODLUMS and HOOKERS provide a sense of HORROR.

IDOLS are idolized with ILLICIT BEHAVIOR and INDECENT BEHAVIOR.

There are KIDNAPPINGS, wives KILL their husbands, and husbands are KILLING their wives. It is all very KINKY.

There is LETHAL LOVE and there are LIES. Of course the LOVERS are unmarried and LUSTY.

We find MANSLAUGHTER and MASS MURDER. MEDIUMS and MIND READERS provide inspiration. MISTRESSES and MOBSTERS MURDER each other. There are a whole host of MURDER SUSPECTS.

NEO-FASCISTS in NIGHT CLUBS experience NIGHTS OF LUST and then have NIGHTMARES.

OBSESSIONS for children and drug OVERDOSES occur.

PASSION involves PEEPING TOMS who make PENTAGRAMS while dreaming of the PERFECT MURDER. Meanwhile, PLAYBOYS are PLOTTING to POISON POKER PLAYERS. There are some POLTERGEISTS and some PORNOGRAPHY QUEENS. People become POSSESSED and SMOKE POT with PSYCHICS. There are unwed PREGNANCIES.

RACISTS RAPE and RAT on each other and get REVENGE.

SATANISTS SCHEME during SEANCES to SEDUCE people. People are involved in SERIAL SLAYINGS and feel the SEVEN YEAR ITCH. And of course throughout all is SEX, SEX, SEX! SEX is overused and abused in every possible way. There are SEX PSYCHOLOGISTS and SEX THERAPISTS. There is SEXUAL HARASSMENT and SEXUALITY THROUGH THE AGES involving SICK PIMPS and the SKELETONS of babies. There are SLASHERS. The whole thing is SORDID. SORE LOSERS cast SPELLS while STALKING STARLETS. Bad cops and dirty detectives perform STINGS involving STOLEN HEROIN. There is politically correct SUBSTANCE ABUSE. Many SUSPECTS are suspected.

TEEN LOVERS and TEMPTRESSES feel TERROR. THIEVES and THUGS do their thing.

VAMPIRES with VICES are hunted by VIGILANTES. And of course throughout all is VIOLENCE, VIOLENCE, VIOLENCE!

There are even WITCH DOCTORS.


I have had people tell me that they don't have enough time to read the scriptures every day. They claim they don't have time to say their personal or family prayers. They state that there isn't enough time for family home evening. These same people often watch several hours of television every night.

They may even defend some of the movies in the above list. They'll say, "I saw this one and it wasn't all that bad..." It will be pointed out that television includes much more than the movies I've listed here. But as I've noted, the sit-coms and soap operas and advertisements all espouse pretty much the same themes. I guess if you could really limit the channels on your TV to KQED and the History Channel or something similar it would make a difference. But how often are parents around to supervise what children watch? And how often, when parents are at home, is supervision taking place?

It worries me a little that some of the people who read this might actually have their prurient interests stimulated by it, and use it as a list of movies to rent. Maybe I'm wrong to write these things.

P.S. You'd better click the BACK button right now and not leave this on the screen where your kids might see it.....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Proclamation on the Family and David Bednar’s challenge.

The Proclamation on the Family is a statement of Latter-Day Saint doctrine concerning the family. It was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Proclamation on the Family addresses the overwhelming attack on traditional family values currently taking place in America and around the world. I've already talked about this attack in previous articles.

In "Let Our Voices Be Heard", an address given in October 2003 General Conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard says this.

Church leaders have the responsibility to speak out on moral issues and to counsel individuals and families. The family is the basic unit of society; it is the basic unit of eternity. Thus, when forces threaten the family, Church leaders must respond.

The family is at the heart of Heavenly Father’s plan because we are all part of His family and because mortality is our opportunity to form our own families and to assume the role of parents. It is within our families that we learn unconditional love, which can come to us and draw us very close to God’s love. It is within families that values are taught and character is built. Father and mother are callings from which we will never be released, and there is no more important stewardship than the responsibility we have for God’s spirit children who come into our families.

Within this context of the preeminent importance of families and the threats families face today, it is not surprising that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles used strong words in the proclamation to the world on families: "We warn that individuals … who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."


I’ve already posted several articles about the effects of TV and other "entertainment" in our lives. Elder Ballard says this about TV programming.

"The fall of the year is when television airs its season premieres and introduces its new shows. A friend told me that there are 37 new TV series being inaugurated this fall. As he has read the reviews, he has found few if any of them that he would want his children to watch. Most of the sitcoms, dramas, and reality shows contain immorality, violence, and subtle ridicule of traditional values and traditional families. Each year the new shows seem to get worse, pushing the envelope of what the public will accept. What comes out of Hollywood, off the Internet, and in much of today’s music creates a web of decadence that can trap our children and endanger all of us."

On Saturday January 9, 1999 Elder David Bednar spoke in the priesthood session of our Stake Conference. He talked about The Proclamation on the Family and gave us an assignment. We were to write each sentence from the Proclamation on one side of some sheets of paper and then try to write what we thought the devil’s take on each of them would be. When I got home that night I did what he suggested. I wasn't able to finish because I got disgusted at what I was writing. Elder Bednar said that's the same thing Elder Boyd K. Packer said when he did the assignment. But, he said, the important thing was to do the assignment.

In 2000 the same assignment was given to everyone by Elder John B. Dickson in the Sunday session of Stake Conference. I wonder how many people did it?

Here's what I wrote.




The Proclamation goes on after this, but, as I said, I got disgusted at this point and didn't go any farther.

I assume the same assignment was given to every stake in 1999 and again in 2000. Do you remember it? Did you do it?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Public Schools: And You Think You Have Problems

When my kids were really little I served as vice president of the PTA at Sun Terrace Elementary school for several years. When they were a bit older I was on the Glenbrook Site Council for a couple of years. I’ll admit I was more than a little frustrated by the lack of real, measurable success.



This is the Mission Statement of the California State PTA.

The mission of the California State PTA is to positively impact the lives of all children and families by representing our members and empowering and supporting them with skills in advocacy, leadership, and communication.

Sound vague? You betcha! Have anything at all to do with Reading, and Writing, and Arithmetic? Doesn’t sound like it. On another California PTA page is a somewhat more detailed list of goals. The use of "family" is laudable until you get to the fifth bullet.

We believe:
  • Every adult has a responsibility to ensure that all children have the opportunity to develop to their full potential

  • Parents/guardians are children's first teachers

  • Family involvement is essential throughout a child's educational experience

  • Family is the basic unit of society responsible for the support and nurturing of all children

  • Family may be defined in many ways

  • Our collective responsibility includes advocating for the safety, welfare and the opportunity for quality public education for all children


What did The Sun Terrace PTA do to further any of these goals? Oh, we had great ideas, but we wound up spending nearly all our energy trying to raise funds for the school. You’ve seen this bumper sticker?


Amen, and amen.



The first year I was on the Site Council at Glenbrook Middle School, Sacramento gave the school about $50,000 as part of a special program. There were certain guidelines, but (within reason) we could spend it any way we saw fit. How to spend this money was debated that entire school year. Several hundred dollars were spent for small projects the principal wanted to push through. Almost all that money just sat in a bank somewhere, accomplishing nothing for Glenbrook. I was the treasurer that year, so I pretty much know what I’m talking about.

We eventually arrived at a general consensus about using the money to buy computers and software for the school. We bogged down on whether to buy Apple hardware or PCs, and what software to buy. I’m an electrical engineer. I managed fiber optic and Ethernet voice and data network installation projects. I suggested we install a network around the school with outlets in each classroom that could be patched in a centralized multimedia closet from a server to classroom PCs and from a bank of video cassette players to TV sets mounted on the walls in the classrooms. That would give the school administration control over what was shown and by whom. With $50,000 to spend we could have accomplished a lot.

At the end of the year it was decided to purchase a round table with vertical dividers and Apple computers to go in each of the sections. These would be interconnected using Appletalk. These would go in the library and be available the following school year. Of course that was only going to cost a few thou$and. The rest of the money would be continue to molder in the bank. Or maybe the unused funds would revert back to the state. In any case, it was the last straw, and I was already carrying a Bunch of Bales.

I resigned. In my journal I wrote, "I attended my last meeting this afternoon. In retrospect I can scarcely believe I have been willing to subject myself this long to that circus."



In my July 8 article about the Salina Kansas final exam, I asserted that we might not be getting as good an education as people did a century ago. I said I thought our "entertainment" had a lot to do with the "dumbing down" of America. I placed a big part of the blame on problems with the family. I meant the traditional family, which, as I wrote on July 12 and July 18, is under attack. An example of that attack is the California PTA's assertion that families "may be defined in many ways". I’ll restate those four observations here.

  • Blue-collar vs white-collar families. Parents with higher education have different attitudes toward school than those who only finished high school – or less.

  • Families in which English is not the primary language. This observation is reversed in families from Southeast Asia, whose students characteristically excel. ESL does a lot to help, but the school system can only do so much.

  • Single parent families. A single mom has to do more than is humanly possible. So-called "latchkey" kids get into a lot of mischief while mom is working, and don’t get as much help with their homework. This problem also tends to exist in families where both parents work.

  • "Minority" families. The problem here is that many minority parents have low expectations. They haven’t seen the system work for them, they have experienced lifelong prejudicial treatment, and they transmit their cynicism, frustration and despair to their kids.

During the years I served in the Sun Terrace PTA presidency and on the Glenbrook Site Council I associated with teachers who were Caring and Capable. One little-known fact about California teachers is that, on average, each teacher spends about $2,000 per school year, out of his or her own pocket, on classroom supplies the school can’t afford to buy.

I guess the person I told you about in my July 8 article, who taught at Concord High, could have purchased textbooks for her classes. Right? How would you feel if the company you work for expected you to do your job but wasn’t willing to supply the materials you needed to get it done? Would you be willing to spend $2,000 a year of your own money on office supplies?

If you are like most people you expect to get paid for the time you are at work. You resist and resent unpaid overtime. The last thing most normal people would be willing to do is give up their weekends and evenings to volunteer at work. A lot of the parents I met were upset that more teachers didn’t want to attend PTA meetings or be on the Site Council. They expected teachers to be available for "consultations" whenever parents needed to talk to them. How is a parent’s time any more valuable than a teacher’s?

So far I've identified several problems facing public schools.

  • Our "entertainment" industry - whether intentionally or because it brings them the most money - seeks to dumb us down.

  • Families do not adequately support education - for a variety of reasons.

  • The PTA spends all its time trying to raise money for the schools.

  • The schools don't have enough money for textbooks and classroom supplies - the teachers try to fill the gap out of their own pockets.

  • Even when funds are available they may be diverted or held back because of management's indecision.

There are darker forces at work.

On Halloween in October 1992 the gymnasium at Ygnacio Valley High School was turned over to the local witches – ON A SCHOOL DAY – for a series of meetings and ceremonies. A portion of the "Faculty Parking" lot became "cult Parking", with "Fa" and "y" masked off on the sign. Our three oldest kids, who attended YVHS, told us about this and brought home a copy of the school newspaper. Below is the newspaper article.


I'll stop here and let you mull that over for a while before I continue.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Motion: Global Warming is Not a Crisis II

On June 18 I posted an article about the Motion: Global Warming is Not a Crisis. My brother read it yesterday and wrote to point out abortion was not on the WHO World Health Statistics 2008 chart. I was surprised/shocked/dumbfounded that I’d missed that! I guess the reason why abortion is not on the WHO chart is because abortion is legal and WHO is politically correct.

There is another huge cause of death that seems to be missing from the WHO chart – that I also failed to include in my June 18 article – but I’ll leave that for another article in a few days. Can you figure out what it is?

Here is an article I wrote toward the end of 1998 about abortion.



At various times in my life I’ve had the pleasure of teaching the adult Sunday school class in our church. On September 6, 1998 in a class about the book of Micah, I made this statement.

One of the most terrible sins committed by Israel was that many of them worshipped the pagan fertility gods and goddesses of their wicked neighbors. One practice of these religions was the murder of their firstborn sons as sacrifices to these devil gods. Micah refers to this practice (Micah 6:6-8). What common practice done by many people around us today is similar to that ancient evil? [abortion.] It makes my skin crawl when I hear people supporting the murder of millions of innocent children. And these little babies are killed merely for convenience, not for some supposedly religious reason, but just for convenience. I think people who are pro-abortion are much more evil than those ancient people who murdered their babies, because the ancients – in their twisted way – thought god (lower case) wanted them to. Abortionists are chaff (see Isaiah 5:20-24) indeed.

Some people might think this is a harsh statement. But listen to the words of one of the presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think you'll find that abortionists gave him the creeps even more than they do me. More than 100 years ago, President John Taylor (Journal of Discourses, Vol.23, p.36, March 5th, 1882) said:

The pious, zealous, religious and hypocritical in our day, uniting with political demagogues, have set up a God for us to worship, which they boastfully represent as the embodiment of everything that is pure and virtuous, embodying the enlightenment and civilization of the nineteenth century. Their god is overlaid with gilt and tinsel, but inside it is pregnant with the social evil with its twin adjuncts feticide and infanticide. Like a great Moloch it is crushing out female virtue, trampling upon innocence, and prostituting and destroying millions of the fair daughters of Eve. Yet this loathsome, filthy, debauched, degraded monster is held up for our veneration and worship by its corrupt Christian devotees as the essence of everything that is great and grand, noble and praiseworthy; and we are called upon to fall down and worship this loathsome monster under the threat of unconstitutional pains and penalties, and the violation of every principle of liberty and protection guaranteed under the Constitution. Shall we worship this unnatural, lascivious Moloch? Shall we bow down before the shrine of this fetid, corrupt and debauched monster? No! We will worship the Lord our God, yield obedience to his behests, and, if we are faithful, live our religion, and keep his commandments, the God whom we worship will deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, and we shall triumph over all our foes.

Now THAT is harsh! In the 1880s they called abortion "feticide" (or foeticide) - just like genocide, homicide, and infanticide. They hadn't softened it yet to "abortion." Two years after the statement quoted above, President Taylor spoke on this subject again. This time he was quoting George Q. Cannon. President Cannon, in turn, had an article published by the American Social Sciences Association that discussed abortion in America. It seems that in the 1880s, the practice of murdering babies had spread in New England to the point that (from the ASSA article)

"nowhere in the history of the world was the practice of abortion so common as in this country .. in New England alone, many thousands of abortions are procured annually. ... we have become a nation of murderers. ... 15% of wives have the criminal hardihood to practice this black art, [and] there is a still large and additional per cent who endorse and defend it. ... Among married persons, so extensive has this practice become, that people of high repute not only commit this crime, but do not shun to speak boastingly among their intimates of the deed and the means of accomplishing it. ... examining the number of deaths, we find that there are absolutely more deaths than births among the strictly American children, so that aside from immigration and births of children of foreign parentage, the population of Massachusetts is rapidly decreasing. ... The birth rate in the State of New York, shows the same fact, that American families do not increase at all, and inspection of the registration in other States shows the same remark applies to all."

After reading this quote, President Taylor had this to say (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 25, p. 315, October 6 and 7, 1884).

"If any doubts existed heretofore as to the propriety of my warnings on this subject, they must now disappear before the fact that the world itself is beginning to be horrified by the practical results of the sacrifices to Moloch which defile our land. Again I warn you that they who do such things cannot inherit eternal life. If there be a special damnation for those who shed innocent blood, what must be the portion of those who have no mercy upon their own flesh."

Hartman Rector, Jr., in April 1981 General Conference quoted D&C 2:3 and said, "I have often wondered how or why the earth would be 'wasted' if the children's hearts did not turn to their fathers." How and why indeed! A Church News article (April 11, 1981, p.18.) describes what he said.

"Attacking the practices of abortion, sterilization and homosexuality, Elder Hartman Rector Jr. of the First Quorum of the Seventy said in his Sunday afternoon address that the family is under the most serious threat of any time since the creation, with the possible exception of the days of Noah. He decried the philosophies of governments to enforce birth control, abortions and sterilization in order to limit the number of children in a family. He said that the family is the basic unit of society and of exaltation and that such restrictions will literally destroy nations.

"He criticized a commonly accepted idea that governments should care for the aged family members, thereby relieving the children of any responsibility. For the U.S. White House Conference on Families in 1980, many delegates tried to get state conventions to define a family as "any group of people living together." This would not have meant the traditional mother, father, children relationship, but any group of people living together. "Now whom do you suppose would sponsor such a resolution?" he asked. "It is those who represent the so-called 'alternate life-style.' Birth control is rampant. Sterilizations and vasectomies increase annually. The statistics on abortion in the United States are mind-boggling.

"For example: abortionists will kill over 2 million babies in the next 12 months. That amounts to three abortions every 60 seconds. Abortion kills more Americans in one year than all the wars did from Valley Forge to Vietnam. Eight million American babies have been slaughtered by abortion since Jan. 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion and over $3 million of taxpayers' money will be used to pay for government funded abortions this year.

"He said the conditions today seem similar to those Noah faced. He quoted D&C 2:3 and said, "I have often wondered how or why the earth would be 'wasted' if the children's hearts did not turn to their fathers. Today, it is very clear for all to see. If, when the Lord comes, He finds nothing but birth control, abortion, sterilization and homosexuals, the earth is wasted. What was the purpose of its creation anyway? This earth was created so God the Father would have a place to send His children to receive a body of flesh and bone and prove themselves. If we will no longer permit Him to do so, of what good is the earth to the Lord? Therefore, it is wasted and as in the days of the flood He will surely destroy it."


I think many people may be unaware of the incredible number of babies murdered each year. The table below came from Baptists for Life, which cites the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those two sources yield different figures.




A more recent AGI report says there were 1,313,999 abortions in 2000, 1,303,000 in 2001, and 1,293,000 in 2002. Abort73.com says 1.21 million babies were murdered in 2005.

According to the AGI, from 1973 until the end of 2005, more than 45 million babies were murdered in the United States.

And worldwide? A National Right to Life article cites the same sources used in the above table and says 46 million babies are murdered annually worldwide.

Horrifying.

In case you forgot what this article is really about, it is about the Motion: Global Warming is Not a Crisis.

Global Warming is not even an issue. Whether Al Gore likes it or not.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Families: Defending Traditional Marriage II

Have you heard about Proposition 8?

This November, the California Marriage Protection Act will be on the ballot as Proposition 8. This will amend the California constitution, adding SECTION 2, Article I, Section 7.5. These words will be added to the constitution, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

A few days ago I posted a letter from LDS Church leaders asking members in California to support Proposition 8. I also commented on a piece of Yellow Journalism about the First Presidency letter that appeared in the Contra Costa Times newspaper.

In this article I’ll try to give some background information about Proposition 8, the California Marriage Protection Act.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA, was passed by Congress by a vote of 85-14 in the Senate and a vote of 342-67 in the House of Representatives, and was signed by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. It became Public Law No. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419.

Its provisions are codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C. You can look these up, but I’ll put the pertinent text here.

1 U.S.C. § 7 says, "In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word "marriage" means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."

28 U.S.C. § 1738C says, "No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship."

In other words, the federal government would not recognize, and no state would be forced to recognize, same sex marriages even if legal in one of the states. It was left up to the states to pass their own legislation deciding how marriage would be defined in their jurisdiction.

In 2000, California Family Code section 300 defined marriage as, "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary."

Even though the definition governing who may marry explicitly precluded contracting a same-sex marriage in California, a separate provision, section 308, governed recognition of marriages contracted elsewhere. "A marriage contracted outside this state that would be valid by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was contracted is valid in this state."

Section 308 was seen as a "loophole". Proposition 22, also known as the California Defense of Marriage Act, and the Knight Initiative after its author, the late state senator William "Pete" Knight, closed the "loophole". Prop 22 added section 308.5, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The fourteen words in Prop 8 are identical to what was in Prop 22.

At the end of 1999 and during the first months of 2000, I spent many hours going door-to-door in the city where I live handing out brochures and telling people about Proposition 22. Thousands of other people did the same thing in other places across California. Our efforts to make people aware of the issues surrounding Prop 22 were successful. Voters adopted the measure on March 7, 2000 by a wide margin, with 61.4% in favor.

That’s where things sat for several years in California. What were things like elsewhere? At the end of 2007 only Massachusetts allowed same-sex marriage. Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Rhode Island did not have statutory or constitutional language protecting traditional marriage. Of the other 44 states, 24 have both constitutional and statutory marriage protection, 17 have statutory protection, and 3 have constitutional protection. California was one of the statutory states. (The link in this paragraph has complete information, including a clickable US map.)

On May 15, 2008 the California DOMA was ruled unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court as a violation of the "equal protection" clause. The decision took effect on June 16, 2008, and was hailed with a flurry of gay "marriages".

The proposed California state constitutional amendment was then placed on the 2008 California general election ballot.

In addition, Federal constitutional amendments were proposed in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005/2006. So far none has passed. Senator Roger Wicker introduced the 2008 Federal Marriage Protection Amendment on June 25. This year’s Marriage Protection amendment is identical to the 2004 version. It states, "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

If that could be added to the federal constitution, a lot of nonsense in a lot of states could be avoided. But if not, then it is up to us to promote and enact Proposition 8.

Leading the Proposition 8 initiative is ProtectMarriage.com, a diverse coalition of various organization and individuals. This coalition consists of many organized Christian denominations including: Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Mormons, Presbyterians, and many protestant non-denominational churches as well. Some well-known individuals supporting this measure include: Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson, Republican State Senator Tom McClintock and presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John McCain. ProtectMarriage.com reports support from over 1 million individuals.

This article gives a history of efforts to defend traditional marriage. It does not present the pros and cons of traditional marriage. I'll take a stab at that in a few days. I encourage you to study the issues and (from the First Presidency letter), "do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman."

This article is part of my effort to follow the prophet.

One Hundred and One Reasons Not to Watch TV - April 1992


In the following list of movies from the April 19-25 Oakland Tribune "TV Book" you will find affairs, ancient rituals, bordellos, child abuse, corpses, crimes of passion, dead bodies, devil cults, drugs, drunkedness, eroticism, fatal attractions, ghosts, homosexuality, hookers, infidelity, killing, kinkiness, lust, murder, pedophilia, pornography, prostitutes, rape, Satanism, scandals, seduction, selling souls, sexual triangles, temptation, warlocks, wife sharing, and witches. Is there anything missing?

If this doesn't shock you, in a few days I'll post a similar article I wrote four years later, in 1996. That should be enough.

1. The Bad Seed - Freak accidents force a widow to realize her precocious 9-year-old daughter was born to kill.

2. Badlands - A thrill-seeking teen-age girl joins a garbageman on a South Dakota killing spree.

3. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant - Two women form a sexual triangle with a fashion designer in her arty apartment.

4. Blame it on Rio - A middle-aged coffee broker eyes his partner's nubile teen-age daughter on vacation in Brazil.

5. Blaze - Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long has a scandalous late-1950's love affair with stripper Blaze Starr.

6. Body Chemistry - A kinky colleague has a fatal attraction for the married director of a sexual-behavior research lab.

7. The Brotherhood of Satan - The leader of a small-town devil cult seeks young members for ancient rituals.

8. The Burning Bed - A battered wife with three children sets her marital bed on fire with her drunken husband in it.

9. Cannery Row - An ex-ballplayer studies marine biology and a bordello girl in his run- down town.

10. Carmen Jones - A sultry plant worker drives a wartime soldier to murder in Jacksonville, Fla.

11. Cherry 2000 - A 21st-century tracker leads a yuppie to a warehouse of parts for his out-of-order robot sex object.

12. The Comic - A silent-film comedian drinks, cheats on his wife, bullies his buddy, and makes a brief TV comeback.

13. Corvette Summer - A student hooker in a van picks up a Las Vegas-bound teen on the trail of a stolen Stingray.

14. Dream Machine - An heiress gives a Colorado fraternity pledge a Porsche 911, with her husband's corpse in the trunk.

15. Drop Dead Gorgeous - The debut of a fashion model is followed by fame and by people around her being slain.

16. Eleven Days, Eleven Nights - Lusty New Orleans writer meets man getting married in 11 days.

17. The Entity - Psychic-phenomena experts and a psychiatrist treat a California mother for supernatural rape.

18. Escape to Paradise - Frenchwoman tempts man amid balmy island unrest.

19. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) - No explanation needed.

20. Fourth Story - A private eye's client becomes his lover as they search for her husband, who may be someone else.

21. Frankenhooker - A New Jersey mad doctor reguilds his girlfriend with body parts from exploded hookers.

22. Ghosts Can's Do It - No explanation needed.

23. The Good Mother - A Boston woman's ex-husband sues for custody of their daughter after an incident over her live-in lover.

24. Heart Beat - Beatnik drifter Neal Cassady shares his wife, Carolyn, with writer Jack Kerouac.

25. Heat and Dust - An Englishwoman's affair in India parallels her great-aunt's 1920s scandal.

26. Hot to Trot - No explanation needed.

27. Impulse - An undercover Hollywood policewoman goes too far with an assistand district attorney on a drug case.

28. Jaws of Satan - No explanation needed.

29. Lady Chatterley's Passions - No explanation needed.

30. Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III - No explanation needed.

31. Limit Up - A commodities-exchange runner sells her soul to the devil for a chance to trade soybeans.

32. Midnight's Child - A lawyer sees the devil in the Swiss au pair she and her husband have hired for their daughter.

33. Never on Sunday - An American intellectual tries to reform a happy prostitute in Greece.

34. No Secrets - Three teen-age girls play dangerous games with a handsome stranger who has something to hide.

35. The People Across the Lake - A couple and their children move to the country, where they open a shop and find dead bodies.

36. The Postman Always Rings Twice - A drifter stops at a Greek diner and helps the owner's lusty wife become a widow.

37. Pretty Woman - A corporate raider pays a gorgeous hooker to be his escort for a business week in Beverly Hills.

38. Right to Kill - An IRS agent subjects his wife, son, and daughter to daily abuse; his son ends it with a shotgun.

39. Sensual Pleasures - Feuding couple share tour guide in Greek hotel.

40. Shattered Innocence - A Kansas cheerleader turns 18, moves to Los Angeles, and becomes a porno star hooked on cocaine.

41. She Done Him Wrong - Gay '90s saloon-keeper Diamond Lou shoots another woman, seduces a missionary, and sings.

42. Totally Exposed - Tanning-salon co-workers get frank.

43. Twisted Obsession - An American screenwriter feels drawn to a British director's strangely erotic sister in Paris.

44. Unfaithfully Yours - Thinking his wife loves a violinist, a conductor orchestrates a crime of passion for revenge.

45. Valentine Magic on Love Island - A witch and her assistants bring four couples to a resort for a memorable Feb. 14th.

46. Warlock - No explanation needed.


OKAY! I know there aren't 101 movies listed here. Frankly I got really sick of the whole thing after 46. How can people watch this filth? And these were just the blatantly evil movies. There were a much larger number of movies that peddle a more subtle filth.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Families: Defending Traditional Marriage I

On June 29 the following letter was read in LDS sacrament meetings throughout California.


On July 7 the Contra Costa Times ran a front page article, Mormon notions of gays may shift, written by Rebecca Rosen Lum. This is the first sentence.

"Some Mormons are rejecting their prophet's call to campaign for a ban on same-sex marriage in California, suggesting the church leadership's sway over the issue of homosexuality may be weakening."

I'm always intrigued by statements and articles about my church by people who are not members and who don't understand us. I'm sure Ms. Lum is a good person, and she possibly meant no harm when she wrote the article. In any case, Freedom of the Press is one of the foundations of our republic.

In spite of that, a little fairness in reporting – an honest and unbiased presentation of both sides of the issue – is one of the hallmarks of Great Journalism. I would have to label the article Yellow Journalism, at best. It is so strongly biased in favor of homosexuality and against the LDS Church that the email I wrote to Ms. Lum is no doubt a waste of time. The same is probably true of this post. But even though I don't hope to change how anyone thinks, maybe I can at least put some additional thoughts into someone's mind.

First of all, there have always been "dissidents". One of the great things about America, which goes right along with Freedom of the Press, is the opportunity for people to have differences of opinion without getting arrested for their beliefs.

Let's do a thought experiment here. Suppose the LDS church is telling the truth when it proclaims Thomas S. Monson to be literally a prophet of God. Then any rational person should "follow the prophet" to the best of his or her ability.

Now suppose the LDS church is wrong: Thomas S. Monson is just a nice old man. If that's the case, then the LDS church doesn't matter. Who cares what we think?

But a lot of people obviously DO care a lot about what we think, even though they don't believe God speaks to man through prophets today like He always did in ancient times. I have to ask myself when I read Yellow Journalism about my Church: why are people who don't think it is true so concerned about it? I suspect their motivation comes from darkness, rather than light.

Don't forget that a lot of very confused (but perhaps well-meaning?) Jews crucified the Savior of the world. They will regret what they did for all eternity. But they had every right to disagree with the Man and his Message. They had every right to choose darkness over light. We likewise have our agency today.

I was also intrigued by the "Mormons" Ms. Lum quoted in her article.

In any organization there is always a group of "core" people who keep the organization running. There is a much larger group of people who are there for the benefits and the fellowship. There are even people who participate just to avoid the pain of separation – in the business case so they don't get fired, and in churches because they are on a guilt trip and think they are "supposed to" be there, or because their family is pushing them into it.

In Ms. Lum's newspaper office there are people who are movers and shakers, who promote themselves and their causes with great efficiency, who are charismatic and sociable, who fit in well, and who have outside window offices. Then there are the rank-and-file employees who contribute meaningfully but who lack the excitement and the energy to be leaders. Finally, there are the drones; people who are hard to get along with, who put in their eight hours, but won't give more, and who do just enough to keep their jobs. I daresay the Contra Costa Times staff includes all three kinds of people.

The same "organizational behavior" is found in churches. Some people are "anxiously engaged ... and bring to pass much righteousness" (D&C 58:27). They give 10% of their income to their church. They accept "callings" to positions in the church organization and try to do a good job serving in those positions. Other people are there every Sunday because that's where all their friends hang out. They don't usually pay tithing or accept callings. (I'm the financial secretary of my church, so I have a first-hand knowledge of who does what.) A third large group of members don't come to church very often. They typically don't ever read the scriptures or have much understanding of the beliefs and doctrines of their church. But they are still members, and if you asked them about having their names removed they'd get all huffy with you.

"Members" of the LDS church – in all the different categories of membership – are under no obligation to support the church leaders with their time or money. Those who openly oppose the church leaders, on the other hand, cannot expect to remain in the church. How in the world would that make any sense? I'm sure you can get away with a lot of misbehavior and still remain an employee of the Times, but if you were to write and publish articles criticizing your boss or coworkers, how long would you keep your job, especially if what you wrote about them was filled with twisted half-truths and biased misrepresentations like this July 7 article?

Businesses reorganize periodically, try to adopt a new corporate culture, and in the process downsize. They get rid of some of the drones. Churches are unlike businesses in that respect. God is "unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity" (Moroni 8:18), so a true church would never reorganize or try to adopt a new corporate culture. Churches never downsize you, either, as long as you don't break any of the rules (commandments) too badly.

I think most of the "Mormons" Ms. Lum talked to are in the extreme outer fringes of church membership. They are almost certainly not "anxiously engaged" or even socially motivated. They might be people who have lost their membership because of immorality. It is interesting that they have (and express) these opinions and lack of faith but still tell you they are "Mormons".

In a talk he gave in General Conference in October 1998, Why We Do Some of the Things We Do, President Gordon B. Hinckley explained the position of the Church on homosexuality.

"In the first place, we believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. We believe that marriage may be eternal through exercise of the power of the everlasting priesthood in the house of the Lord.

"People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.

"We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families."


I believe that God's prophets have always taught these things. The New Testament certainly teaches that homosexuality is an abomination to God. Things were the same in Old Testament times. Look at what the prophet Moses taught his people in Leviticus 20:13, for example.

The Lord God has always taught the same standard of morality, and He will never change.