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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.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.


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.


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.


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


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)


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


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.


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

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


Vice Squad: Hollywood hooker helps detective trap sick pimp.


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


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:


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.


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.


OBSESSIONS for children and drug OVERDOSES occur.


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.


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. 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.


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, 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. 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.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Trash TV: We Can Clean the Screen

This is an article by Steve Allen, creator of "The Tonight Show", that was in the September 1, 1999 issue of Family Circle Magazine, p. 124. As you read this article, keep in mind that it is almost a decade old, and that things may have gotten worse or better since then. Which do you think has happened?

Recently I went over to visit my son Bill and his wife, Marie. His children, 4-year-old Amanda, 12-year-old Bob, and 14-year-old Bradley, were watching TV with four or five of their friends. I joined them and was astonished to find that they were watching a video of a film called Scream 2. The movie was littered with shockingly vulgar language and graphically violent images. We’re not talking here about a high work of art, which might also involve shocking language and graphic violence, but about the kink of picture that has only one purpose: to make money.

When I asked Bradley how the video had gotten into the house, he explained that he had bought it a few days earlier from a nearby video store (as easily as the Columbine high school student was able to buy guns), even though it is an R-rated film and not supposed to be available for viewing by children under 17!

Videos aside, these days broadcast television itself is too often offensive. Though The Howard Stern Show might be the worst example, it’s certainly not the only one. Jerry Springer is recognized as a disgrace to television even by people in the medium. And there are other daytime talk shows that are almost as offensive. Dramas are often overtly sexual or filled with violence. As for situation comedies, children watching them must get the impression that there’s nothing the least bit questionable about having sex with casual acquaintances, making endless jokes about flatulence and masturbation, or using course language.

Television was once called an electronic baby sitter. Would you hire a baby sitter who deliberately brought X-rated entertainment into your home?

It’s important to establish that we’re not talking here about a matter of taste. We’re talking about actual psychological and moral harm done by a culture that exposes its children morning, noon, and night to forms of alleged entertainment that are deliberately vulgar and violent.

And I’m not speaking only as a concerned citizen, but also as an outraged grandfather – of 12!

The good news is that as the tidal wave of vulgarity, cruelty, and sleaze increases, so do the efforts to combat it. I’ve been speaking and writing about the issue for more than 10 years. Recently a number of organizations such as Parents Television Council, Morality in Media, The Dove Foundation, The Christophers, and others have been welcomed my participation in the campaigns they’ve been conducting.

Another hopeful note is that more major corporations – the sponsors, of course, of television and radio programming both good and bad – are beginning to pay closer attention to the placement of commercials by their advertising agencies. Our country’s corporate community, by itself, could solve this problem overnight if it refused to advertise on vulgar or violent shows.

Another positive sign is that I am by no means a lone show-business voice criticizing the ugliness that characterizes so much of modern culture. Of course Mother Teresa would have disapproved of programs like Dawson’s Creek and South Park, but so do many popular entertainers.

This is an issue that concerns Americans all across the political and philosophical spectrum. Citizens on the political right and left, religious believers, nonbelievers, and people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are disgusted by a lot of what now passes for entertainment on television. And they can all help to do something about it. You can help to do something about it.

The next time you see a program that includes vile and revolting elements, make a note of the station, the network, and the advertiser. Then send a brief letter of protest to an executive officer of the company sponsoring the program. You might ask if he or she would want his or her own children exposed to such things.

Tell these people that you are holding them personally responsible for corrupting the minds and morals of our nation’s children. Encourage your friends to write, as well. Appeals to decency and morality may – alas – fall on deaf ears, but if corporations fear marketplace repercussions, I assure you they will pay close attention.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Public Schools: Salina Kansas revisited


Or at least Snopes thinks so. Snopes debunks the 1895 Salina exam, but then gives "a certification examination for prospective teachers, prepared by the Examiners of Teachers for the Public Schools in Zanesville, Ohio, in the late 1870s". You’ll notice that the Zanesville test is every bit as difficult (for us, today, at least) as the Salina test. Snopes does not actually say where the Salina Urban Legend came from. And whoever wrote the Snopes article was giving his personal opinion. Maybe there WAS such a test in 1895 in Salina, Kansas.

The point of the Salina test article is that we don’t know as much as 8th graders did in 1895. Snopes says that isn’t so, but then backpedals by showing us the Zanesville test, which sure seems to be saying we don't know as much.

In spite of these things, the Snopes article does bring up some good points.

First, could you or I pass the tests our own 8th graders have to take today? I don’t know if they even give "final" exams in the 8th grade today, but if they do the answer to that question might be interesting.

Second, maybe the test merely looks hard to us older folks because we’ve been out of school for so many years. Snopes says, "If a 40-year-old can't score as well on a geography test as a high school student who just spent several weeks memorizing the names of all the rivers in South America in preparation for an exam, that doesn't mean the 40-year-old's education was woefully deficient — it means the he simply didn't retain information for which he had no use, no matter how thoroughly it was drilled into his brain through rote memory some twenty-odd years earlier."

I sure wish I were 40 again. But I digress...

Third, as Snopes points out, "the questions on this exam don't reflect only items of "basic knowledge" — many of the questions require the test-taker to have absorbed some very specialized information, and if today's students can't regurgitate all the same facts as their 1895 counterparts, it's because the types of knowledge we consider to be important have changed a great deal in the last century, not necessarily because today's students have sub-standard educations."

Snopes then lists some things we would have on our tests today that are missing from the Salina exam: questions about the arts, the greatest works of English literature, algebra, geometry, and maybe even trigonometry. There would be questions about world history, as well as questions about our own government and institutions. There would be a huge difference in the number and type of science questions. There would probably be questions that would require some foreign language competence. An 1895 Salina, Kansas 8th grader wouldn’t be able to pass our test any more than we could pass his.

Snopes goes on to ask, "would it be fair to say that the average Salina student was woefully undereducated because he failed to learn many of the things that we consider important today, but which were of little importance in his time and place? If not, then why do people keep asserting that the reverse is true?"

Well then, how are our public schools doing today? It will come as NO surprise to most people when I say our system of education has serious problems. In my previous article I mentioned the family and our entertainment industry as root causes. If you are having trouble reading this blog you'll have to put down your TV remote or your can of beer so you can use the mouse. One or the other. I'll have more to say. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Public Schools: Salina Kansas eighth-grade final exam

Below is the 1895 Salina Kansas eighth-grade final exam. It was taken from an original copy on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina and reprinted in the Salina Journal. Unfortunately, the date of the newspaper article wasn’t given, so verification is difficult.

Remember when old-timers used to tell us they only had an 8th grade education? That might be more meaningful that you thought! Read on...

For a short time someone I know very well “taught” Science at Concord High. She did almost no teaching.

The high school did not have enough textbooks to go around. Students could only use the books during class and couldn’t take them home to study. Homework? Forget about it.

Some of the students sat at their desks and participated during class time, but many listened to portable radios, used cell phones, walked around the room, talked noisily to each other, and even engaged in fist fights in the classroom. She tried almost everything short of pepper spray to maintain classroom discipline. She complained that she was little more than a babysitter.

The school administration would do nothing to restore order. She was told not to kick students out of class. She was told that if she did not adopt a more passive attitude, she could be fired.

With all the distractions, the students who wanted to learn were very nearly prevented from doing so.

After half a semester of being threatened by the students for trying to teach and by the school administration for trying to discipline, this beleaguered teacher called it quits and went on to something else.

But not all the fault can be placed with the schools. Many years ago I was active in the local PTA and Site Council at my children’s schools. I wrote a research paper – which I might use as the basis for a future post – concluding that, all else being equal, there were four major causes of low academic achievement.

  • 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.

You could add our “entertainment” industry to this list. My previous post, Hollywood’s Three Big Lies, dealt with this subject. More articles are planned. Our “entertainment” industry produces mostly a virulent mixture of dishonesty, sex, and violence, so that even in the best families, parents fight an uphill battle.

The result: we are turning out students who are totally unprepared to be productive members of society.

It all begins in the home, folks. The failure of the home is arguably the greatest peril our society faces today. With all that having been said, here’s the exam.

Could you pass this test?

Eighth Grade Final Exam: Salina, Kansas - 1895

Grammar (Time: 1 hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.

2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.

3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.

4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie,lay and run.

5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.

6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.

7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time: 1 hour 15 minutes)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts. bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?

4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?

5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.

6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre?

8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per arce, the distance around which is 640 rods?

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time: 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?

8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607,1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.

Orthography (Time: 1 hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?

4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e'. Name two exceptions under each rule.

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup

8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.

9. Use the following correctly in sentences, cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.

10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time: 1 hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?

2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?

3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

4. Describe the mountains of North America.

5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.

7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

This gives a whole new meaning to our grandparents saying, "I only had an 8th grade education." I don’t think there are very many college students today who could pass this test. The dumbing down of America is almost complete. But of course, today’s students are being well prepared to wait tables at a local restaurant or to work as a security guard. And there are always "guv'mint" jobs. So what am I complaining about?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hollywood’s Three Big Lies

Our family owns a TV set and a DVD player. We have not had network TV in our house for something like a quarter of a century – ever since we realized the effect TV would have on our children. When I criticize TV, people always pop up with "but we only watch The History Channel" or some such nonsense. Riiggghhhttt...

I’ll be posting several articles about the "entertainment" industry. This one is the text of a Ricks College Forum on October 20, 1994. It was delivered by Michael Medved, an outspoken critic of the decline of moral values and increasing violence in Hollywood movies and in TV programming.

Hollywood’s Three Big Lies about Media and Society

Let me give you a statistic, the most chilling statistic I have ever heard: the average American child, by the time he or she reaches the age of six, will have spent more time watching TV than that child will spend speaking to his father in [his] life time. The media that we consume so eagerly, so avidly, so many hours of the day are a profound influence on every adult and on every child in this country.

The consistent message from the entertainment industry is, "Don’t worry about it, it’s just entertainment, don’t take it seriously. Look at how good the acting performance is, look at those special effects, don’t ever question the underlying messages, the underlying values. The way that Hollywood justifies that approach is with three prominent lies about the impact of American entertainment.

The three lies are: (1) we just entertain, we don't influence people; (2) we just reflect society as it is, we don’t shape society; and (3) if you don’t like it, just turn it off.

Lie #1 "We just are in the business of entertainment, we really don’t influence anybody."

Do you know what? The entertainment industry doesn’t even believe that, it’s purest hypocrisy, and I had a demonstration of this about a year ago now when I appeared in a panel with a number of presidents of major studios. It was me and a bunch of top executives. Naturally they wanted me to speak first, and then the executives would answer me, so I spoke, and I talked a little bit about Hollywood’s responsibility, and some of the messages that the people of America were taking away from mass media. Speaking after me was the president of one of the major film companies in the country. He said, "You know, the trouble with Michael Medved is he only talks about the terrible things that we do; he never gives a credit for the great things that we do. For instance you don’t hear him giving us credit for the fact that our movie Lethal Weapon III saved thousands of American lives."

"How is it that you think that Lethal Weapon III saved all of these lives?" I asked. He said, "Oh it’s very simple, I sure everybody else here understood it. You remember in our movie there is a scene where Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are about to go off on a high-speed chase, and before they do we show an intense close-up showing them fastening their seat belts."

Now just think for a moment about the double standard here. Here is somebody who gets millions of dollars a year to run a film studio and he wants you to believe that three seconds showing somebody fastening seat belts on screen is going to cause millions of people to imitate that, but the rest of the movie, which is all eviscerations and lacerations and gun shot wounds and knife wounds and explosions and broken glass and death and gore, that the rest of the movie nobody will imitate. How absurd can you be, how stupid can you be? But you know the same contradiction is built into the very warp and woof of the TV industry.

In 1982 the surgeon general of the United States released five volumes of data showing that prolonged exposure to violence on TV promoted more hostile, aggressive, and violent behavior and attitudes on the part of people who saw it. It was conclusive‑they had over sixty studies that had been done over twenty years that showed that there was a conclusive relationship between prolonged exposure to violence and aggression and hostility on the part of the viewer.

So do you know how ABC TV responded to that? They trotted out one of their vice presidents who said, "Unfortunately, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to suggest that media imagery impacts real world behavior in any way. Do you know what the proper response is to that? If that’s true, if media images don’t impact real world behavior, then you, Mr. ABC, should start refunding several billion dollars in advertising money that you’ve charged over the years for people to sell everything from canned goods to candidates. The whole idea of a commercial is that thirty second of flickering images on a cathode ray tube can change the way people vote, can change the way people buy, can change the way people think, act, and feel. And you know what, commercials work; they clearly do! Major American corporations are not known to be elementary institutions. They’re not paying millions of dollars a year to ABC and Fox and CBS and NBC because they want to support the high arts. That’s not the motivation. The motivation is they know they can sell products! So what are we supposed to believe, that thirty seconds of a commercial can change people, but thirty minutes of a program can’t?

What about ads? For an advertisement to work, it doesn’t need to reach everybody who sees it. TV doesn’t impact everybody, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact anybody. The whole situation with crime in this country, with violence, with sexual violence directed against women and children, all of that is changed if only one of 100,000 people who see the worst of this material is impacted.

But there’s something else, because that’s not the only influence. . . . By glamorizing violence and promiscuity and anti-social behavior of every kind TV and the movie industry create the idea that this sort of behavior is glamorous, is desirable. It’s maybe not something you’ll do right now, but it’s something that you have a much more positive attitude toward because you’ve seen it so often on TV. That’s the real power of the medium of TV in particular—it redefines normal.

Most people assume that anything they see often enough on TV is normal behavior. And in that sense, the entertainment industry not only changes our notion of what is accepted in society, but it changes our notion of what is expected.

Lie #2 Hollywood apologists say, "It’s just our job to reflect society. We don’t shape things, we just show them as they are." "If the face in the mirror is ugly, you don’t blame the mirror."

Really? How many of you here have ever in your lives witnessed first hand someone being murdered? How many have ever seen a murder dramatized on TV? in the last week? When they say, "We just reflect reality," when it comes to violence in particular, the most violent ghetto in American life is prime time TV.

On average there are seven murders during prime time on any given evening. That means seven out of let’s say three hundred people die. Do you realize we’d have no population problem at all in America if that were the crime rate in real life? Thank God it’s not! There’s no place in America that approaches that kind of crime rate, seven people dying every night, that would mean forty-nine out of three hundred dying in the course of a week, there’d be nobody left! . . . This is not reality!

. . . But it goes to something even more basic. The screen actors guild did a study of the opportunities for men and women in acting jobs, and do you know what they found? In feature films 72% of all speaking rolls went to men. In TV 64% of all speaking rolls went to men. Do you want to know why, because the emphasis is on violence, but the fact is, how can you look at a world that is 64% male on TV, 72% male in movies and say, "This just reflects reality."

Last week there was a major survey commissioned by the University of Chicago, the biggest survey of American sexual behavior that anyone had ever done. And what did it show? Were Americans leading wild and crazy lives? Quite the contrary.

Do you know what percentage of American married people, men and women, cheated on their spouses in the previous year? Six percent, while 94% remained faithful.

Do you know what percentage of Americans, single and married, had multiple sex partners in the previous year? It was 20%. The number of people who had more than five sex partners was infinitesimally low.

Do you know the median number of sex partners for American women in a lifetime, women of all ages? two.

Hollywood portrays a world just like that, right? Does anybody watch soap operas? In soap operas the number of married people who cheat on their spouses is about 120%. It’s not reality! Most people lead sex lives that aren’t at all what you see up there on screen. And yet by creating this image, that everybody else except you is having this incredibly exciting time, how difficult that makes it to lead a decent life, how much harder to lead a happy marriage, how much harder to be a teenager or young adult growing up when you feel that if you’re trying to be decent and to save sex for marriage, that there’s something wrong with you, that you’re a nerd, you’re a wimp, you’re a loser. What a distorted image of sexuality Hollywood portrays!.

. . . And one final thing, while men, and sex, and violence are definitely over-represented in Hollywood, there is another kind of incredibly common activity that is dramatically under-represented. Everybody talks about the Super Bowl. An estimated 130 million people watched the Super Bowl last time out. But that same Sunday, more people participated in another activity even than the number of people that watched the Super Bowl. Do you know what it was? Church! According to every single survey, between forty and fifty percent of Americans go to church or synagogue every week. Do you see that in Hollywood?

The majority of Americans begin their meals, according to the Gallop poll, by blessing their food, and yet the only reference you see to that in Hollywood was on the Simpson show one time. Bart Simpson said, "Dear God, we paid for all this food ourselves, so thanks for nothing." What sense does it make?

A Martian who was trying to do a sociological study on America based only on the images he got on a very powerful satellite dish up on Mars would conclude that religion was something in this country that was limited to a few nuts, a few crooks, and a few losers, because most religious people who are dramatized as characters in TV or inside movies are that kind of negative characterization. It’s not reality! . . . The world on screen shows families that are less intact, less stable, less nourishing, a world that is more violent, more ugly, more profane, more destructive than the world that most of us live in. A columnist whom I respect, Joe Erschel said, "When something is not worth doing at all, it doesn’t matter how well you end up doing it." We focus today on lavishly loathsome losers, people who are less interesting, less decent, less heroic than our own friends and neighbors.

Lie #3 "If you don’t like this stuff, than just turn it off."

But this, too is a lie, and again I think I can show you that it’s a lie with another little public opinion survey here in Rexburg, Idaho. How many people here have ever bought tickets to a Madonna concert? [three hands raised] How many people here have ever purchased a Madonna video, CD, or cassette tape? [more hands raised] How many people here know who Madonna is? [every hand raised] The point is very simply this: for the overwhelming majority, well over 95% of the people in this room, you never chose to make Madonna a part of your life. . . . The fact is that you can’t avoid this woman, even if you want to. . . . I don’t want Madonna taking up space in my mind, and I don’t want Bruce Willis up there either. There’s limited space, there’s limited time in life, I’d rather not waste my time on these people. . . . When it comes to avoiding people like that it’s like the great philosopher Joe Lewis once said, "You can run, but you can’t hide" because popular culture is everywhere, it’s in the air we breathe, it’s part of the polluted air in Los Angeles, it’s part of the air right here in Rexburg, Idaho, it’s everywhere!. And saying to people, that if you don’t like popular culture, just turn it off, makes as much sense as saying, "If you don’t like the smog, just stop breathing."

I know a lot of parents who became very upset at one point a few years ago with something that happened to America’s most respected man of medicine, Doogey Hauser, when Doogey on national TV lost his virginity. Since a lot of eight- and nine- and ten-year-olds watch this show, I knew a lot of parents preferred that their kids don’t see it, but you can tell your kids, "No no, you’re not going to watch the show tonight," but it doesn’t matter, because the network ran promos even on Saturday morning cartoons saying, "Doogey does it for the first time, tune in" and there he was bare-chested carrying his girlfriend to the bedroom.

It is absolutely phenomenally dishonest for people to suggest that you can escape popular culture. You cannot! And even if you protected your own children, what about everybody else’s children? What about your neighbor’s kid who hits yours over the head, or rapes her? We are all impacted by this material, and that’s exactly why the popular culture is an environmental issue. And at a time when we are demanding rightly that big corporations show greater responsibility for their pollution of our air and our water, it’s also appropriate to demand greater accountability from the entertainment conglomerates about their pollution of the cultural atmosphere we all breathe.

Final point: What do we do about it?

We’ve talked about the three lies, the idea that it’s just entertainment, it doesn’t influence anybody, the idea that it just reflects reality, it doesn’t shape reality, and the final notion that it’s always easy just to turn it off, all of them lies. How do you respond to a lie? With the truth. Learn the truth to speak the truth, and if possible, to live the truth.

How do you respond to the first lie that we just entertain people, we don’t influence? We need to affirm in our own lives a simple truth, a two-word truth: messages matter. It matters what you put inside your imagination, the TV shows you watch, the music you listen to, the movies you go to see.

If you go out and eat one hot-fudge Sunday it’s not going to kill you, it’s not going to change your life, but if you start eating a hot-fudge Sunday every day, or five hot fudge Sundays every day, it’s not going to be too long before you start looking like Roger Ebert. The same thing is true of violence or sex-drenched popular culture. If you go and see one piece of garbage it’s really not going to kill you; it may be a bad experience, but it’s not going to ruin your life. But if you see this stuff every day and hours every day it has a cumulative impact because messages matter.

So the answer to the first lie is tell the truth to yourself, become more discerning consumers. When you go out to see a movie, or when you’re planning to turn on a TV show, don’t look only at how glamorous the stars are, but look at what the impact is going to be on you, on society. Because the impact is there, and it’s real, and the most important thing here is for people who know better, who are trying to lead lives of goodness and decency.

That brings me to the second lie, the idea that we just show the world in all of its hideous ugliness. We have to reject that idea, and respond to that lie by not looking at the world through a TV screen, but looking at the world by throwing open the windows and looking at the actual world around us. And you know what you’ll see? You’ll see a country that is far better, that is far happier, that is far more decent and fulfilled than any of the world you see on TV or at the movies. . . . Yes, there are lots of things that appear to be going wrong, but open the windows, stop moaning and belly-aching and look at some of what’s right with America, and feel gratitude, because when you owe a debt of gratitude, and you don’t pay that debt of gratitude, and you don’t express gratitude to our parents, to our country, to the Almighty who has given us all of this, that ingratitude becomes an acid that corrodes our very souls and helps to lead to some of the bitterness and misery that you see so unnecessarily in this country.

And that leads me finally to the third point, the lie that says we can always turn it off, tune it out. No you can’t, but you know something you can do—turn it down. Everybody in this room can improve the quality of your life by going on a pop-culture diet, by watching a little bit less TV, by spending a little bit less time with movies,. It is absolutely appalling the amount of time that the average American wastes on this material. The average American now watches 28 hours a week of TV; that’s the average, that means that half the country watches more than that. Do you know what that comes to? That comes, if you figure it out over the course of a seventy-five year six-month average life expectancy, it comes in the course of a life time to 13 uninterrupted years of TV! . . . Do you want that on your gravestone! "Here lies our beloved husband and father who selflessly gave 13 years of life to his TV set." The TV set doesn’t need that gift, your family does, your community does, your country does. It’s so easy, you can get up from this place and make a resolution, cut it down, for goodness sake. . . . It would be so easy to cut down an hour a day, and do you know what cutting down an hour a day means, it means seven extra hours [a week] to enjoy friendship, to enjoy loved ones, to volunteer for your church or for your community, to read a book, maybe, to listen to music or to play music, to do athletics or to exercise, to go out and about on a beautiful day like this one, and to enjoy this beautiful world and this beautiful country the Almighty has given to every one of us. Let’s make the most of it.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Bible - Inspired and Imperfect

Translations and versions of the Bible.

According to the United Bible Society, at the start of 2008 the full Bible was available in 438 languages. Various portions of the Bible were available in 848 more languages. One of the two Testaments [probably the New Testament] was available in 1,168 other languages. In addition, in English, there are numerous versions. I use the King James version.

Ken Collins compares some of these versions. He has this to say about the King James version.

The King James Version is almost incomprehensible to anyone who has not been brought up on it. For example, the word comfort means strengthen, suffer means let (or allow), let means prevent, and prevent means precede. Some verses are completely incomprehensible or misleading; for example, Psalm 5:6, 1 Kings 11:1, and Ezekiel 27:25. The textual scholarship underlying the King James Version has been superseded in the last two centuries. Most US editions do not include the Apocrypha, the translator’s footnotes, or the translator’s preface, all of which were part of the original edition. Many US editions contain the epistle dedicatory, which was the translators’ cover letter presenting it to the king. The King James Version makes a distinction between the second person singular (thou, thee, thy, thine) and the second person plural (ye, you, your, yours) which is not easy in modern English. If you think that ‘thou’ and ‘you’ are synonyms, or get ‘thou’ and ‘thee’ mixed up, or don’t understand the difference between ‘ye’ and ‘you,’ this is not an advantage.

Anyone who speaks more than one language, and who has spent some time reading, studying, pondering, and trying to understand what is in those nearly sixteen hundred pages, and who has compared several of the available versions and translations, will be surprised to learn that many Christians believe the bible to be perfect and infallible.

Catholic statements on the inerrancy of the Bible.

According to The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, the books of the Bible "are sacred and canonical because, having been written by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that have God for their author, and as such have been handed down to the Church. The inerrancy of the Bible follows as a consequence of this Divine authorship. Wherever the sacred writer makes a statement as his own, that statement is the word of God and infallibly true, whatever be the subject-matter of the statement." Pope Benedict XV, in Spiritus Paraclitus, paraphrases Pope Leo XIII as confirming "the ancient and traditional belief of the Church touching the absolute immunity of Scripture from error: So far is it from being the case that error can be compatible with inspiration, that, on the contrary, it not only of its very nature precludes the presence of error, but as necessarily excludes it and forbids it as God, the Supreme Truth, necessarily cannot be the Author of error."

I say Benedict paraphrases his predecessor because in Providentissimus Deus, Leo actually says this.

It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings, either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration, or make God the author of such error. And so emphatically were all the Fathers and Doctors agreed that the divine writings, as left by the hagiographers, are free from all error, that they laboured earnestly, with no less skill than reverence, to reconcile with each other those numerous passages which seem at variance - the very passages which in great measure have been taken up by the "higher criticism;" for they were unanimous in laying it down, that those writings, in their entirety and in all their parts were equally from the afflatus of Almighty God, and that God, speaking by the sacred writers, could not set down anything but what was true.

Protestant statements on the inerrancy of the Bible.

In 1978 a gathering of American Protestant churches, including representatives of the Conservative, Reformed and Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Baptist denominations, adopted the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Here is their position regarding the inerrancy of the Bible.

  • God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.

  • Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.

  • The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

  • Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.

  • The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

What non-Christians think about the Bible.

Many people say the Bible is merely a literary work - that it contains no revelation - and that there is really no God. These folks are all dressed up in coffins with nowhere to go. What is so amazing is that many of the people in this group are doctors of religion - the very people one would think should most staunchly defend the Word of God. If you want to expose yourself to some anti-Bible material, check out the Skeptic's Annotated Bible or Joseph Frances Alward's website. Just a brief foray into this material will leave you shaking your head. These people have spent an enormous amount of time commenting on things they don't understand. Some say ignorance is bliss. These folks must be ecstatic.

Latter-Day Saint statements on the inerrancy of the Bible.

The Latter-Day Saint eighth Article of Faith says "we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." That puts us squarely in the middle: the Bible is an inspired book, but it is also an imperfect book.

One of the things that most infuriated Joseph Smith’s neighbors was his assertion that the Bible was imperfect and incomplete. Some people think polygamy was the fly in the ointment, but very few people knew about this restored principle until after the Saints were in Utah. It was the Bible that, more than any other thing, caused the persecution of the Saints. The fact that none of the Saints owned slaves, and that they were moving into slave states, was a second huge factor. But it was the Book of Mormon that gave the sectarian religious leaders so much distress. Of course, Nephi was shown this latter-day condition and wrote about it.

2 Nephi 29:3 - And because my words shall hiss forth--many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.

Prior to this, an angel taught the prophet Nephi some things about the Bible - which wouldn't be put together for another thousand years. You should read this entire chapter.

1 Nephi 13:23 - And he [the angel] said: Behold it [the Bible] proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.

This same angel told Nephi that evil men, or perhaps ignorant men, had changed the Bible, and that because of it people "do stumble exceedingly."

1 Nephi 13:34 - And it came to pass that the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying: Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel--and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy father--wherefore, after I have visited them in judgment, and smitten them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb--I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb.

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism (Vol. 2, Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible) has this to say about Nephi’s vision.

The Book of Mormon presents an account of a vision in which an angel, looking to the future, describes the Bible as a "record of the Jews" containing writings of "the prophets" and of the "Twelve Apostles of the Lamb." The vision asserts (1) that the ancient authors wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, (2) that originally their words contained the fulness of the gospel and were plain and easy to understand, but (3) that many things which were plain and precious, and many covenants, would be "taken away" from the original manuscripts; as a result, afterward (4) a great many persons, even with a Bible, would not understand the fulness of the gospel, but (5) the lost material would be restored through "other records" that the Lord would bring forth (1 Ne. 13:21-41). A somewhat parallel statement came to Joseph Smith in June 1830 while he was restoring a revelation received by Moses, declaring that many things would be taken "from the book" which Moses would write, but that the missing information would be restored through another prophet and thus be "had again" among those who believe (Moses 1:41). Latter-day Saints believe that the "other records" referred to include the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the JST, and other records still to come forth, and that the prophet divinely raised up to begin restoring the lost material is Joseph Smith (see Scriptures: Forthcoming Scriptures). In light of the foregoing statements, it is worth observing that the principal difficulty in the Bible apparently has been omissions. The remaining text may be generally correct in itself, but many important doctrinal items (resulting from the loss of a single word, a verse, a longer passage, or even whole books in some instances) are now missing.

A number of authors have noted that the Bible suffers more "from losses than glosses." In other words, some things have been taken away, but for the most part what's there hasn't been changed very much.

Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5, p.11 - When Lehi left the Land of Jerusalem, where he had resided all his life and where his children had been reared, he took with him a copy of the Hebrew Scriptures which were engraved upon plates of brass. These, it may be assumed were complete. Besides the writings of Moses and the prophecies of Isaiah which they contained, Lehi's son, Jacob, and other Nephite servants of God, often quoted the words of the Prophets Zenock and Zenos also found thereon. The wonderful parable of the vineyard given by Zenos and recorded by Jacob in his own book is almost incomparable. The writings of these holy men are now omitted from all available Old Testament compilations. There are other missing records. The excuse is sometimes made that all the books presently comprising the Bible are old; that there are no original manuscripts accessible to us for collation. Those who make that apology infer that it would be fruitless to compare the versions now in use with those of a thousand years ago because, they say, "the same conditions prevailed then as now."

Hugh Nibley, Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, p.4 - And then Professor Albright, who has talked here and has an honorary degree from here; the most distinguished biblical scholar America ever produced, William Foxwell Albright. I'll never forget what he said as we came from the airport, "My, it feels good to get away from those anemic Protestants," he said. Well, the Pearl of Great Price is not anemic. It carries a wallop. As Professor Albright puts it, "Our Hebrew texts have suffered more from losses than from glosses." Glosses are changes and corrections by scribes—alterations, notations, those things. That isn't what has damaged the Bible. It's losses, the stuff that has been removed. That's where it really suffers. And he proceeds to illustrate the point from a number of books showing he says, "Future translations will have to expand the text substantially, including some passages of great importance in their content that are missing from the Bible because they have been removed." They are being restored now.

Hugh Nibley, quoted above, is a world famous antiquities scholar. Dr. Nibley had this to say about Nephi’s vision and the idea that wicked men had taken "plain and precious" things out of the Bible.

Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 1, p.258-260 - The final idea: Why do so few people know anything about the Atonement? We leave it up in the air—we don't know what we are talking about. Why do so few know anything about the gospel, for that matter? But the point is, here is this thing which is the central point of the teachings of Jesus Christ—his atoning blood. The term is used over and over [in the Book of Mormon]; it's dominant. It's a central theme, and yet, as we saw here, there is no agreement about it [in the world]. People are trying to figure out what it is. There is one very good explanation of that—something has been taken away. As I told you about Johanan Ben Zakkai, they didn't want the temple. They didn't want any of this. Remember, the main purpose of the temple was the carrying out of the sacrifices of the Atonement. That's what you find described in the books of Moses. The rabbis, who were teachers and not priests, were glad to get rid of it. Ben Zakkai took his school and went over in Jamnia and founded the first rabbinical school. They didn't want any of this, so these things were removed. As the Book of Mormon tells us, many precious things were removed. That's why people stumble. It's very obvious that the Atonement stands right there, and yet it's a vacuum. There's something missing. The explanation is very clearly given by Nephi at the first that many precious things have been removed; therefore, many stumble because of that. The Gentiles stumble, etc. It's obvious that has happened, but the Book of Mormon replaces that. It replaces those parts that have been removed, and that's why we need it—-among other things. Precious things have been removed from the Bible.

In his book Articles of Faith, Apostle James E. Talmage wrote this about "missing" scriptures.

p.501, Footnotes - Those who oppose the doctrine of continual revelation between God and His Church, on the ground that the Bible is complete as a collection of sacred scriptures, and that alleged revelation not found therein must therefore be spurious, may profitably take note of the many books not included in the Bible, yet mentioned therein, generally in such a way as to leave no doubt that they were once regarded as authentic. Among these extra-biblical scriptures, the following may be named; some of them are in existence today, and are classed with the Apocrypha; but the greater number are unknown. [See my list of lost books below.]

This is from Elder Talmage’s book Jesus the Christ.

Ch.9, p.119 - p.120 - Missing Scripture. -- Matthew's commentary on the abode of Joseph, Mary and Jesus at Nazareth, "and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, he shall be called a Nazarene" (2:23), with the fact that no such saying of the prophets is found in any of the books contained in the Bible, suggests the certainty of lost scripture.

Well, enough of the preliminaries. Let's get into the evidentiary portion of this brief.

A list of lost or missing books of the Old Testament.

2 Chronicles 9:29 - Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, [are] they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?

King Josiah is mentioned in 2 Kings 22-23 and also in 2 Chronicles 34-35. In 2 Kings 23:28 we read that the "rest of the acts of Josiah" can be found in "the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah." Is this a reference to a lost book, or merely to 2 Chronicles? Since the 2 Chronicles version doesn’t add much to the story I suspect this is talking about another book.

Exodus 24:7 - And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

Jude 1:14 - And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

1 Chronicles 29:29 - Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they [are] written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,

2 Chronicles 9:29 - Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, [are] they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?

2 Chronicles 12:15 - Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, [are] they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And [there were] wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. [Note: are the two above the same as the one below?]

2 Chronicles 13:22 - And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, [are] written in the story of the prophet Iddo.

Joshua 10:13 - And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. [Is] not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

2 Chronicles 20:34 - Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they [are] written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who [is] mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel.

2 Chronicles 9:29 - Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, [are] they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?

1 Chronicles 29:29 - Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they [are] written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,

2 Chronicles 33:19 - His prayer also, and [how God] was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they [are] written among the sayings of the seers.

2 Chronicles 12:15 - Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, [are] they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And [there were] wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.

1 Samuel 10:25 - Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote [it] in a book, and laid [it] up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. (I suppose this could merely be the Book of Samuel.)

1 Kings 11:41 - ¶ And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, [are] they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?

Numbers 21:14 - Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the LORD, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon,

2 Chronicles 26:22 - Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.

A list of lost or missing books of the New Testament.

A missing epistle to the Colossians, written from Laodicea: Colossians 4:16 - And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the [epistle] from Laodicea.

A missing epistle to the Corinthians: 1 Corinthians 5:9 - ¶ I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

A missing epistle to the Ephesians: Ephesians 3:3-4 - 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).

A missing epistle of Jude: Jude 1:3 - Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

A declaration of belief mentioned by Luke: Luke 1:1 - ¶ FORASMUCH as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

Joseph Smith’s "Inspired Revision" of the Bible did not restore any of these missing scriptures.

Merrill Y. Van Wagoner, The Inspired Revision of the Bible, p.17-18 - The Prophet Joseph Smith did not restore any of the missing books mentioned in the Bible. On June 25, 1833, seven days before ceasing the work of revision, the Prophet stated in a communication to the brethren in Zion, "We have not found the Book of Jasher, nor any other of the lost books mentioned in the Bible as yet; nor will we obtain them at present." (History of the Church 1:363.) Such books as the book of Remembrance kept in the days of Adam, the book of the Covenant, the book of the Wars of the Lord, the Acts of Uzziah, the book of the Prophet Shemiah, the book of Jehu, and others yet remain to be restored when the Lord deems it necessary.

One need not think that the many "plain and precious parts" taken from the Bible were the result of one person. Rather, they are the result of the efforts of the Adversary working over thousands of years with fallible mortals.

Merrill Y. Van Wagoner, The Inspired Revision of the Bible, p.33-34 - To summarize, many changes which were indicated by the Prophet's inspired corrections are of such great regularity and of such vital nature that they appear to have been made deliberately to keep the truth from man. Some of the most important of these changes include the first statements of the Gospel plan and its ordinances, statements about the work of the Messiah who was to come, and statements of the higher Priesthood, all of which show that these facts were made known to man as soon as he was placed on the earth. "Who brought about these changes?" we ask again. And again the answer is, "We do not know." In this connection we are certain of only two things: First, that when the books of the Bible were first written, they were correct; moreover, they were understandable. Second, that as they are today, there are many important items missing, and too many passages border on in-comprehensibility. It is difficult to imagine any one individual, group, or organization having had sufficient power and influence to cause the changes to be made in both the Greek and Hebrew texts as well as in the many versions. We must lay many of those changes which we label planned to the workings of the Spirit of Darkness, influencing various individuals in different ages in order to thwart the purposes of the Lord.

There is also evidence throughout the scriptures that men have taken earlier writings and, as Mormon did, compiled and abbreviated them. Whether they were commanded and inspired in what they did, as was Mormon, or had a darker motive, probably has no simple answer. The next quote talks about the true meaning of "and it came to pass."

Franklin S. Harris, Jr., The Book of Mormon: Messages and Evidences, p.119 - Elders E. Cecil McGavin and A. S. Reynolds note that the phrase "and it came to pass" is characteristic of an abridgment both in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. It occurs 386 times in the Old Testament and 81 times in the New Testament. It is entirely missing from 15 books of the Bible, and also entirely absent in the Moroni appendix of nearly 7,000 words which Moroni adds to the abridgment of the rest of the Book of Mormon. Though the phrase occurs 1,382 times in the Book of Mormon, every time it is in the midst of summarized material.

One interesting thing to do is to compare the chapters of Isaiah given in the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon. I have written a fairly complete series of articles about Isiaiah which include information about these chapters. If you email me, I'll mail you a CD.

A few years ago I did a study called Women of the Old Testament. As I did my research I noticed a lot of textual errors in the King James Version. Most of these seem to be merely the result of poor proof-reading. Was this the fault of ancient scribes, or of the King James translators? I wonder how many of these discrepancies appear in other versions of the Old Testament. The ones I found are presented below for your consideration.

A list of discrepancies in the text of the Old Testament.

ABI/ABIJAH - The daughter of king Zachariah. Also notice the variant spelling of Zachariah/Zechariah.

2 Kings 18:2 - Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also [was] Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.

2 Chronicles 29:1 - ¶ HEZEKIAH began to reign [when he was] five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.

ABIJAH/ABIJAM - Also note the variant spelling of his mother’s name.

1 Kings 15:1-2 - 1 ¶ NOW in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah. 2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.

2 Chronicles 13:1-2 - 1 ¶ NOW in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also [was] Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.

ABISHALOM/URIEL - Maachah was also the name of one of the wives of Rehoboam, king of Judah. notice that her father is called Abishalom in one place and Uriel of Gibeah in the other. Perhaps Uriel was Absalom’s son, or was married to Absalom’s daughter? It is all pretty confusing!

1 Kings 15:1-2 - 1 ¶ NOW in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah. 2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.

2 Chronicles 13:1-2 - 1 ¶ NOW in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also [was] Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.

ABSALOM’S SONS - did he or didn’t he?

2 Samuel 14:27 - And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name [was] Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance.

2 Samuel 18:18 - Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which [is] in the king's dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place.

AHAZIAH/AZARIAH - Ahaziah is called Azariah in 2 Chronicles 22:6.

2 Chronicles 22:6 - And he returned to be healed in Jezreel because of the wounds which were given him at Ramah, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria. And Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab at Jezreel, because he was sick.

2 Kings 8:25 - ¶ In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.

ASRIEL/ASHRIEL & MANASSEH’S WIVES - Manasseh the son of Joseph had a wife who bare Ashriel, and an Aramite concubine who bare Machir, the father of Gilead. But we also read that Machir was Manasseh’s firstborn. Notice that there are two spellings for the name of one of the sons of Manasseh.

Joshua 17:1-2 - ¶ THERE was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he [was] the firstborn of Joseph; [to wit], for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan. 2 There was also [a lot] for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these [were] the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families.

1 Chronicles 7:14 - The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bare: ([but] his concubine the Aramitess bare Machir the father of Gilead:

ATHALIAH - Athaliah is said to be the daughter of Omri in 2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2, but she was really his granddaughter! Notice that Omri’s son was Ahab, and Ahab’s son was Ahaziah.

2 Kings 8:26 - Two and twenty years old [was] Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.

2 Chronicles 22:2 - Forty and two years old [was] Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also [was] Athaliah the daughter of Omri.

1 Kings 16:28 - So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.

1 Kings 16:29 - ¶ And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.

AZARIAH/UZZIAH - Many of these errors appear in parallel versions of a story. And many of these things are merely name spelling differences. I wonder if these names are identical in the original Hebrew?

2 Kings 15:1-2 - 1 ¶ IN the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign. 2 Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Jecholiah of Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 26:1 - ¶ THEN all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who [was] sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.

BATHSHEBA/BATHSHUA & AMMIEL/ELIAM - David’s whore Bathsheba and her father also have a name problem. Since Eliam looks a lot like Ammiel spelled backwards, maybe this is some weird kind of translation error.

1 Chronicles 3:5 - And these were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, four, of Bathshua the daughter of Ammiel:

2 Samuel 11:3 - And David sent and enquired after the woman. And [one] said, [Is] not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

BATHSHUA - Another Bathshua was one of Judah’s wives. Her name means "daughter of wealth." I wonder if this was not a name at all, but merely a description of her father? See Shua below for this same question.

BITHIA’S SONS - The following verse says, "these are the sons of Bithia," but doesn’t give their names. Something is missing. Another wacky example similar to this one is Miriam. Check it out too.

1 Chronicles 4:18 - And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these [are] the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.

CHERUBIM - The plural of cherub is cherubim, but the King James Version of the Bible uses cherubims 59 times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament. Cherubim is never used. This is like saying, "the three deers crossed the road." The Book of Mormon, Moses, and the JST of Genesis all use cherubim. We think of a cherub as some kind of cute baby, but these angels were actually mighty warriors. Think of the guardian angel in Rose is Rose whenever Pascuale is threatened.

CHILEAB/DANIEL - David’s second son. His mother was Abigail.

2 Samuel 3:3 - And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;

1 Chronicles 3:1 - ¶ NOW these were the sons of David, which were born unto him in Hebron; the firstborn Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; the second Daniel, of Abigail the Carmelitess:

DINAH - Dinah was the daughter of Leah. If you look up Dinah in the LDS King James Bible dictionary, you’ll discover that she was the daughter of "Leach." So errors can creep into dictionaries as well as into the Bible itself.

EPHRATAH - Caleb’s wife’s name is spelled two ways.

1 Chronicles 2:19 - And when Azubah was dead, Caleb took unto him Ephrath, which bare him Hur.

1 Chronicles 2:50 - These were the sons of Caleb the son of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah; Shobal the father of Kirjathjearim,

ESAU’S WIVES - One of my sources claims that Esau’s wife Bashemath was also called Adah and Mahalath. But from the text it would appear that Esau married two daughters of Elon; Adah and Bashemath, and he married two daughters of Ishmael; Mahalath and Bashemath. And then he also married Judith and Aholibamah. Confusing at best.

Genesis 26:34 - ¶ And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:

Genesis 28:8-9 - 8 And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; 9 Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.

Genesis 36:2-3 - 2 Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; 3 And Bashemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth.

FORESKINS - Saul was envious of David. He sought to kill him by offering him his daughter Merab in return for a certain number of Philistine foreskins. How many foreskins did David bring back? This was "full tale," which means it was what had been promised. Saul, assuming David wouldn’t make it back, had given Merab to another man, so he gave David another daughter, Michal. Maybe David was just being generous by bringing 200 foreskins instead of the requested 100.

1 Samuel 18:25 - And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king's enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.

1 Samuel 18:27 - Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

HODIAH - The sons of Ezra’s wife Hodiah the sister of Naham were the father of Keilah the Garmite and Eshtemoa the Maachathite, but their names are not given. It sounds like there is something missing here. One of my sources says "The King James Version erroneously translates this section to identify Hodiah as the wife of a man named Ezra. Actually Hodiah was a man, an ancestor of Keilah the Garmite and Eshtemoa the Maacathite."

1 Chronicles 4:19 - And the sons of [his] wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.

ISAIAH - The chapters of Isaiah that are found in the Book of Mormon are all indicated in the LDS King James Version of the Old Testament. Except for Isaiah 50 and 51. Somehow these were overlooked. Check it out!

JAEL - The wife of Heber the Kenite, Jael is highly regarded in Hebrew tradition for the murder of Sisera. Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Jael hold equal prominence. Eve is not held in high regard, is blamed for most of mankind’s problems, and is call "treacherous." Isn’t it nice we know the truth about mother Eve? Most of the errors I’m showing here are not doctrinal - but the misunderstanding regarding Eve and the Fall certainly fall into the category of "plain and precious parts" missing and causing "many to stumble." But I digress. The two versions of Sisera’s death sound as though he either died while drinking, or in his sleep.

Judges 4:21 - Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Judges 5:24-27 - 24 ¶ Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. 25 He asked water, [and] she gave [him] milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. 26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. 27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

JALON - Since Miriam is usually a woman’s name, perhaps 1 Chronicles 4:17 should say "and Miriam bare Shammai,..." or perhaps it should say, "and he bare Miriam..." (ie., Miriam was Jalon’s son or daughter.) Or perhaps the "she" in verse 17 refers to "Bithia" in verse 18. You tell me.

1 Chronicles 4:17-18 - And the sons of Ezra [were], Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. 18 And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these [are] the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.

JEHORAM/JORAM - King Omri’s son Ahab married the infamous Jezebel. Their son Joram, mention in 2 Kings 9:23 is called Jehoram in the next verse.

2 Kings 9:23-24 - 23 And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, [There is] treachery, O Ahaziah. 24 And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot.

JEHOSHABEATH/JEHOSHEBA - One of Jehoram’s sons by his wife Zibiah, named Joash, was rescued by Jehosheba in 2 Kings 11:2, or by Jehoshabeath in 2 Chronicles 22:11. This lady was the daughter of king Joram, mentioned above.

2 Kings 11:2 - 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons [which were] slain; and they hid him, [even] him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.

2 Chronicles 22:11 - 11 But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.

JOZACHAR/ZABAD - Shimeath was the Ammonite mother of Jozachar or Zabad.

2 Kings 12:21 - For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

2 Chronicles 24:26 - And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess.

MAACHAH/MICHAIAH - There are several women named Maachah in the Old Testament. In the verses below we learn that David’s son Absalom was the son of Maachah the daughter of Talmai, and that Absalom’s daughter was also named Maachah. One of my sources says "a careful study of her genealogy bears out the ancient historian Josephus’ statement that [she] was a granddaughter of Absalom." This generation skipping happens frequently in the Hebrew genealogies. Also see the entry for Absalom’s sons.

1 Chronicles 3:2 - The third, Absalom the son of Maachah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur: the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith:

2 Chronicles 11:20 - And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.

MAACHAH/MICHAIAH - Maachah was also the name of one of the wives of Rehoboam, king of Judah. Her name is also spelled Michaiah. And notice that her father is called Abishalom in one place and Uriel of Gibeah in the other. Perhaps Uriel was Absalom’s son, or was married to Absalom’s daughter? It is all pretty confusing!

1 Kings 15:1-2 - 1 ¶ NOW in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah. 2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.

2 Chronicles 13:1-2 - 1 ¶ NOW in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also [was] Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.

MERAB/MICHAL - Who brought up the sons of Adriel? Merab and Michal were both Saul’s daughters. Saul gave Merab to Adriel. Michal was given to David, but never had any children because she criticized David for dancing naked in public.

2 Samuel 6:23 - Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

2 Samuel 21:8 - But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:

MIXED STORIES? - Here’s an example from Numbers 25 where there may be three separate stories somehow mingled. While the Israelites abode at Shittim, some men began to go over to the daughters of Moab and committed whoredoms both with the Moabite women and with their gods, especially Baalpeor. The Lord commanded the people to hang up the heads of all those who had participated. One man, Zimri, a Simeonite, brought a Midianite woman, Cozbi, the daughter of Zur, to the tabernacle, apparently so he could have sex with her! Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, followed them into the tent and thrust both of them through with a javelin. For this righteous act, Phinehas was promised that he and his seed would always have the Priesthood. This stopped some kind of plague which had killed 24,000 Israelites. Read this whole thing and you’ll be as amazed as I am.

PHALTI/PHALTIEL - During the years David was an outlaw, Saul gave Michal to another man. What was his real name?

1 Samuel 25:44 - But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which [was] of Gallim.

2 Samuel 3:15 - And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from [her] husband, [even] from Phaltiel the son of Laish.

RACHAB/RAHAB - In Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:4-5) we read that "Naasson begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse." Most scholars think the Rahab mentioned here is the famous woman of Jericho who helped the spies sent in by Joshua in chapter 2 of that book. But the fall of Jericho occurred in about 1451 B.C., and David was born in about 1078 B.C. As near as I can figure, from my own genealogy, this works out to at least 12 or 13 generations, not merely 5. So there are some missing pieces in this genealogy. The text should probably say that Booz was a descendant of Salmon and Rachab and so forth. Also note the Rachab vs Rahab spellings.

REBEKAH/SARAH - There are two very similar stories told about Abraham (Genesis 20) and Isaac (Genesis 26) and their wives. Both husbands prevaricated and said their wives were merely their sisters. Both women were strikingly beautiful. Both stories took place in a land called Gerar. Etc. I wonder if these are really just one story which the ancient chroniclers somehow ascribed to one couple or the other incorrectly.

SARAH/SERAH - The daughter of Asher, who, according to Jewish tradition, was asked to hint to Jacob that Joseph was still alive before his sons told him who they ran into in Egypt, so the shock wouldn’t kill the old man. For this kindness, Jacob supposedly "blessed her with eternal life." Perhaps this woman was named after her illustrious great grandmother.

Numbers 26:46 - And the name of the daughter of Asher [was] Sarah.

Genesis 46:17 - And the sons of Asher; Jimnah, and Ishuah, and Isui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel.

SHIMRITH/SHOMER - Jehozabad’s mother was Shimrith. Was Shomer his father, or is Shomer another spelling for Shimrith?

2 Kings 12:21 - For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

2 Chronicles 24:26 - And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess.

SHUA/SHUAH - One of my sources said her name was Bathshua - daughter of wealth - so this may not even be an actual name, but a description of the family’s social status. Also see Bathshua.

Genesis 38:2 - And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name [was] Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.

1 Chronicles 2:3 - The sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah: [which] three were born unto him of the daughter of Shua the Canaanitess. And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the sight of the LORD; and he slew him.

TAMAR/THAMAR - I’ve mostly used examples from the Old Testament. Here’s one that includes the New Testament.

Genesis 38:6 - And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name [was] Tamar.

Matthew 1:3 - And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;

UNLIKELY STORIES!! - One of the most incredible stories in the bible is the account of the Levite’s concubine found in Judges 19-21. A Levite gave his concubine to some wicked men. These men "abused her all the night until the morning" and then let her go. She dropped dead on the Levite’s doorstep. So he cut her into twelve pieces and sent the pieces to the twelve tribes. The result is that 40,000 Jewish soldiers and 45,100 Benjamite soldiers were killed, along with all the women and children of Benjamin except for a few of the young Benjamite boys, and all the people of Jabeshgilead, a city that hadn’t sent any men to help in all the other meaningless fighting. And there are other pointless cruelties and barbarisms. Whatever happened here, this recounting of it must surely be mostly distortion and hype.


2 Kings 18:2 - Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also [was] Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.

2 Chronicles 29:1 - ¶ HEZEKIAH began to reign [when he was] five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.


You probably noticed that none of the examples above reveals any problem with the doctrines of the Bible. At the same time, this is certainly enough information to dispel once-and-for-all any notions about the inerrancy of the Bible.

Unfortunately, some minds are like concrete: thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.

What do you think about all this?