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  1. The title is not truth, but rather common belief among some. So, the breakdown is that conservatives traditionally view liberals as naive, idealistic, and in need of some real world experience. In contrast, liberals see conservatives as rapers of the earth, controllers of women, haters of minorities--especially immigrants--and mean towards those who are different (read: LBGT...). So, back in the 1970s through early 20-teens liberals pushed the "tolerance" button. Conservatives mocked this, but subconsciously responded. After all, if liberals are foolish, they can learn better. They are not ill-intended. Then, SCOTUS handed liberals a tremendous victory, and mainstream society quickly turned. Now, conservatives are saying, "How about tolerating us?": (Read: religious liberty). Liberals quickly respond by saying they have no obligation to tolerate evil. Have I got this right, or am I missing something?
  2. There is a powerful dialogue near the beginning of Silence of the Lambs. Clarice is a young, pretty FBI agent from Behavioral Sciences (i.e. she has a B.A. in Psychology). Dr. Hannibal Lector is a psychiatrist, a serial killer, and a cannibal (i.e. he would eat parts of his victims). During her initial visit Clarice tries to get Dr. Lector to take a psychological assessment. He despises psychology as pseudo-science. So, he says to her (my paraphrase): You've read my file. You've seen what I have done, and why I did it [simply for my own enjoyment]. Clarice nods. He continues: You can't bring yourself to call it evil, can you? The devil swiped evil from our vocabulary. Now, post-modern society has filed a charge against God. Their claim is that hell is immoral, cruel, and mean. Many Christians are caught flat-footed by this allegation. For centuries the fear of hell drove many into the Kingdom. Suddenly, this doctrine has become a seeming albatross. Even C.S. Lewis said he detested the doctrine of hell--though, he admitted, his opinion of it mattered not, if the teaching was true. There is an element amongst younger clergy that also struggle--some even denying--against the idea of an eternal hell that is literal, physical punishment. One well-known TV evangelist was asked why he doesn't talk about hell. Without denying the doctrine, he responded that he was called to build up, not tear down. That sounds good, but I suppose it means that those of us who teach the whole counsel of God are guilty of tearing down. Without evil hell makes no sense. Rather than defend the doctrine of hell, we must needs revive the doctrine of evil. Opposition to God's reality, role, authority, and love is not a mental disorder, a result of various traumas, nor a genetically predetermined outcome. It is evil. After the final judgment the eternal kingdom will contain no evil. Hell will. So, what says the board? Am I right? Partially? What of the lower kingdoms--will they contain lesser evils, or will all of the kingdoms be sin-free?
  3. A subject spurred on by my own thoughts, but also some on here. I was wanting the hear your guys thoughts on the matter. To what degree is a person a good person whom does evil things, or at what point do does a person become evil? (I'm talking about one's adult choices to be evil, not whether one is inherently good/evil from the get-go).
  4. Authors note: For clarification, the use of the word evil in this post refers to the inclination of mankind to be selfish, greedy, ungreatful and entitled to what others have. I chose the word evil, because its one of the words used in the BOM to describe our nature. The question of whether or not mankind is inherently good or evil has been debated for centuries. Fortunately for Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon provides the answer that yes, mankind is inherently evil. The Book of Mormons prophets describe mankind as lost, fallen, carnal, devilish, sensual, and evil. That doesn’t sound too “good” to me. From First Nephi, all the way through Moroni, the Book of Mormon is saturated with examples of “mankind’s” utter failure to be good, not to mention Heavenly Father having to step in to humble his people so they will repent and obey. I am sure many are thinking, “How can you believe that we are inherently evil after holding a baby in your arms?” First of all, we are born innocent, not evil. It is our natures that make us evil. Anyone who has kids understands that it takes a tremendous amount of effort to teach them to share, be kind, be honest, treat others with kindness, to sacrifice, to serve others, to delay gratification, and the list goes on. Despite parents’ best efforts, this battle over the “flesh” is never ending; it will be with us for the rest of our lives. Below I have proved a list of scriptures from the BOM that show we are by nature, evil. Those who believe in the goodness of man (secularists) attribute evil behavior to external forces, such as poverty, racism, and inequality. They reject the idea that mankind is “free to choose,” to rise above their circumstance and fulfill their potential. It is ironic that the belief in the goodness of mankind undermines our ability to grow spiritually. One of the unintended consequences of the secularist belief system leads people to transfer their personal responsibility onto others in order to exonerate them of their “bad” behavior.Belief in our inherent goodness acts as a stumbling block to spiritual progression. Who is more likely to humble and submit one’s will to God, someone who thinks highly of oneself or someone who believes like the brother of Jared, “that they are evil continually?” One of the easiest ways to justify bad behavior is to judge ourselves by our intentions, rather than by our actions. This form of self-delusion comes as a result of thinking we are good, after all, our intentions are good, or at least we convince ourselves to think this. This false doctrine comes from the father of all lies, who believed he was so good, so superior to both God and the Christ that he sought to "fundamentally transform" the plan of Salvation, to ensure that everyone would be saved. No doubt Satan had high self-esteem that I am sure played a role in his unwillingness to submit to Gods will, after all, why would he need to. The belief in the goodness of mankind is contrary to the Gospel because it undermines mankind's gift of agency, the very foundation of what God’s plan is built upon. This doctrine is empowering. Without it, nothing would exist. Believing we are inherently "bad," is liberating. It means we have reached a point where Christ can make us into his image. To be molded, shaped and perfected according to his will. When we understand our true nature, then we will automatically become better parents, because we will help them to fight the greatest battle in life is which is within themselves. Remember the words of the Brother of Jared, one of the greatest prophets to ever grace the earth, "we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually." If feeling this away about himself is good enough for him, it’s sure good enough for me!
  5. I’m just curious what Mormon religious leaders (bishops and the like) and/or missionaries think about bad spirits, or maybe even ghosts? I’m not 100% sure weather “ghosts” exist (although I have experienced some VERY creepy things). But I KNOW there are evil spirits. So if a home is having trouble with unpleasant spirits, what does the church do? Do they perform blessings in the home, or on a person? Do they take any kind of action against it? Or do they prefer people just ignore it to smother it out? I really don’t hear a whole lot about this with LDS, so I was just curious. That’s pretty much the majority of my question. But for those who are interested in ghost stories, below, I will post the more specific reasons for wanting answers to this question, via my own personal experiences. Most of these things happened in my grandmother’s house, as it usually does. There are always lots of problems there, these stories are very common occurrences: Incident #1 (1999)-- I was staying at my grandma’s house one summer (on my mom‘s side), when I was 18. Several of her grandchildren live with her, because their parents were in jail. Grandma told me she was going to go pick up the kids from school. I said “ok”. I sat there waiting alone in the large, old, 2-story, 4-bedroom house. I was on the couch in the living room, watching TV. My only company was the family dog Cody (a large, brown pit bull mix), who was laying at my feet. Suddenly, I heard a loud thump coming from upstairs. I muted the TV, and listened. Then I heard distinct, heavy footsteps walking down the upstairs hallway (which is just above the living room). Cody heard it too-- he jolted upright and looked toward the top of the stairs. I heard one of the bedroom doors creek… So I thought somebody might be up there. I was kinda scared, but I ventured upstairs to check. I searched the rooms (closets, under the beds), checked all the window locks, etc. NOTHING. All was secure. So I went back downstairs and resumed my seat on the couch, Cody once again sitting at my feet. But this time, he wouldn’t relax… He was tense, sitting upright, and staring at the top of the stairs. Then he started growling, low and rumbly. He made his way toward the stairs very slowly, his back hairs raised. When he reached the bottom step, he paused, barking and snarling viciously! Again, I muted the TV and yelled out “HELLO??” ….. Then I heard BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! All the upstairs bedroom doors had slammed shut hard, one after the other. I completely freaked! Cody whimpered and ran over to me, and hid behind me. So I grabbed his collar and ran out of the house, probably faster than I‘ve ever run before. I sat on the curb outside the driveway, and didn’t go back in until grandma got back with the kids. It wasn’t the first time something like that happened, and to this day, I refuse to be alone in that house. I didn't tell grandma about it though, because she thinks spiritual stuff is just rediculous. Which is why nobody has ever been called in to bless the house, she probably wouldn't go for it. Incident #2 (1999)-- This happened a few months before the above incident. My cousin Nichole and I were at my grandma’s house. Grandma had taken the younger kids to Marine World, so me and Nichole were alone. We were in the back yard, by the pool. Nichole was practicing tricks on her skateboard, on the cement. I was relaxing on the white wicker patio furniture. Suddenly we heard a very loud, low, male voice yell out, “NICHOLE!” from the window at the top of the staircase. We both turned to look and we saw a very tall, very thin man standing in the window. He wore a black coat with a white under shirt. He had black hair and a mustache. Nichole and I looked at each other and I said, “Did you see that??” She said yes, and described the same thing I saw. We looked back up again, but there was nothing there. Now, keep in mind, this man’s head was way up at the top of the window, and it’s a LONG window! A person would have to be nearly 8 feet tall for their head to be that far up the window. We both ran inside, to see if someone was there. We checked around, but there was nobody. It really freaked us out. Incident #3 (1995)-- This happened when I was 14 years old. It was mid-August. Me and my 3 cousins (all a few years younger than me) were helping out with cleaning grandma’s house. I was not an active member at this time, and none of my cousins had ever been to church, much less read any bible. Our grandma asked us to sort through some of the junk in the old chest in the back closet, and throw out anything that was broken or useless. So there we were, going through a few old items, when we ran across an old Ouija board. It was still in the cardboard box, along with the curser. We took it out and decided to play around with it. We sat in a circle around it, gently resting our fingers on the curser. I didn’t actually touch it, because I didn’t want to be accused of moving it. We had this silly little “concentrating” moment, and then we asked it if there were any spirits in the room, and the curser pointed to “yes”. So we asked a few more questions: Are you someone we used to know?-- No. Did you pass away recently?-- No. Are there any messages you have for loved ones? -- No. Have you ever been alive on earth before?-- No. Are you an older spirit?-- Yes. Are you an angel, or a messenger of god?-- No. Where are you from? -- G-E-H-E-N-N-A I wrote the letters down on a piece of paper, and since none of us had ever heard of such a place before, we assumed it was either a silly nonsense word, or one of us must have been messing around. At the time, my dad and I lived in the same town. After I went home, I told my dad what we did, and he looked at me like he was disappointed. He went to bible college, and he is very religious (a baptized member, but not active). He knows a lot about the bible, and is very spiritual and liberal-minded. But he does not approve of stuff like that. Right away, he told me “You shouldn’t be playing around with those things.” Well, I told my dad about all the questions we asked and the responses. Then I told him about the name of the supposed location we were given… He looked at me kind of puzzled and asked, “Wait a minute… How was it spelled?” I showed him the piece of paper I wrote it down on. He looked at me like he was concerned. I shrugged and said, “What??”. He stood up, walked over to the end table, opened the drawer and pulled out our Bible. He flipped to the “concordance” as he called it, and looked around for a minute. Then he walked over and laid the book in my lap, pointing to the word “Gehenna”. Basically, one of its definitions was another name for ‘hell’. I looked at dad kinda freaked out, and he told me, “Like I said, you shouldn’t be playing around with those things. Don‘t do that again.” And I haven’t. I’m just saying, I think something is up in that house. If people get out of there, they are peaceful, happy, friendly…. But when they go in that house, they fight and yell constantly, and say the meanest things. Even get physical.
  6. Is religion a force for good? The knee jerk reaction from most people who hold to a religious belief is "yes, of course it is." Then when you point out that religion is used to motivate people to commit suicide bombings they will likely concede that this isn't always the case. In one instance though someone said religion is always a force for good because the intentions are always good, even those of a suicide bomber. My reply was that "the path to hell is paved with good intentions". However the question got me thinking, is religion actually a force for anything? There are many definitions for religion around, one is: "A collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred" My own take is that religion is the beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred. The practices are seperate. There are many religions and many churches. I believe that while humans always have free will that it is the church and the way they encourage members to act that determines whether or not the church becomes a force for good or bad and this is regardless of the intentions of the church leaders of the individuals within the church. Take Islam. The teachings of Islam include concepts of peace, love and many other upstanding moral values and yet certain extremist sects, churches if you will, manage to use it to "radicalise" people and turn them in to suicide bombers. Islam as a religion is neither a force for good nor evil rather it is how the church teaches it that determines the acts of the attendees. I posit that religion is not a force for anything, that it is a catalyst around which churches are built. That it is church leaders and the individuals within the church that determine if the church is a force for good or not. I posit that many issues surrounding religion stem not from the religion but the presumption by some that religion is good therefore what the church commands under the trappings of religion must also be good. That the problems in most cases are not with the religion but with the church leaders. It's amazing how good teachings can be twisted to serve someone else's "greater good". Thoughts?
  7. In rapid succession, we have civil uprisings in Iran, a military coup in Honduras, and in a little over a week, threat of an upcoming missile launch from N. Korea. Is the world going mad? What's next? Was George Bush, Jr. correct in his assessment of the axis of evil?