Friday, March 30, 2012

Publishing Peace

There is an Orem billboard which states, "Why did Spencer W. Kimball say: 'We are a WARLIKE People'?" and then links to a website. It is controversial, because whatever a person believes about war, it is a political agenda billboard which relies solely on quotes from prophets, scripture, and other church leadership to support (and sell) its point.

I have no issue with the supposed purpose of the billboard, which is to encourage LDS members to read the quotes included and think about the issue of supporting war in light of LDS principles. But I have issue with the approach, and I have issue with its actual purpose hidden behind the ostensible one, which is to call people to repentance in support of a libertarian agenda.

There is a fine line between persuasion and manipulation. Appeals to Church authority and quotes are patent manipulation, particularly without background or explanation of the interpretation and how the author believes it fits in with doctrine as a whole, or without plenty of allowance for differing interpretations*. It consists of an attempt to force a person into a situation where they either agree with the presenter's tacit interpretation of the quotes (deduced from context, since the authors never actually state their agenda openly unless you click on external links,) ignoring all opposing peripheral quotes, or they seem to put themselves at odds with "the prophets."

This is deliberate.

It is a tactic I faced many, many times when trying to share the Gospel in an area of Germany populated with opinionated Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists. They would often take a quote (or many) from the Bible and quote it at us, following it up with a "do you believe the Bible?" They create a false dichotomy. Either I accept their quotes AND their interpretation of the quotes, or I look like I'm fighting against the Bible, and am therefore not REALLY Christian at all.

This is manipulation, pure and simple. Declarations of innocence such as I've heard regarding this billboard are quite common in attempts to manipulate. Bible bashers, too, when called on what they were doing, would often respond with "I'm only sharing scripture. What is wrong with that?" You cannot divorce such manipulation from the context in which it is given, any more than you can divorce the seemingly innocent comment of an abuser from its barbed history.

Manipulators LOVE the tactic of demanding that their targets see only the parts of the context the manipulator wants them to see and ignore the rest.

At the time, my experiences with quote-slingers were frustrating, but now I'm grateful because it allows me to recognize it even in people I generally agree with. I find the tactic used in this movement extremely inappropriate, especially in people who, as the speech the banner quote is mined from says, should be focusing more on sharing the gospel, "to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies."

To me, that includes the idolatry of any political dogma, no matter how much scripture is mingled with the human philosophy in them. It includes persuasion by long-suffering, charity, and kindness over passionate speeches, judgmental phraseology, and excerpted, pre-supposed interpretations of scripture. It includes focusing on the good message of the gospel in the way that Spencer W. Kimball proclaims.

If this message truly were about promoting peace, about trying to get people to think, there are myriad ways it could have been done without inciting contentious discussion. It could have taken a positive approach, "Spencer W. Kimball encourages us to promote peace. Find out how at" "Reliance on God, not War, is the path to victory." "Become a people of peace. Find out how...." It could have not linked to propaganda sites.

But that's just it. None of those other ways would have drawn as much attention to the main political agenda lurking behind the billboard.

It doesn't just "publish peace." It publishes a particular brand of peace riding piggyback upon contention. Permissable. But not appropriate. Not in those who truly believe the things they are quoting.

*I have read the quotes on the site, and many other passages of scripture and LDS talks on war. I do not believe that the quotes mean precisely or only what the authors of the site and billboard believe they do. I do not support war in general. I believe strongly in conducting my personal behavior to rely on the Lord, rather than on personal defenses in times of conflict and contention. I also believe that there are times the Lord asks us to take up arms, sometimes in ways that are aggressive, or for the defense of others.

Of late, I have had personal experiences when I have been attacked that have tested that belief to its fullest, and taught me just how difficult it is to practice and truly understand. I think it is more important to apply these principles to myself in my life before applying them to situations, such as recent wars, that I really know nothing about.

It is easy to take such quotes and principles and use them as measuring sticks for others. That doesn't require that we really, personally, understand what we are promoting. It doesn't require personal examination and change. It is far more difficult to use such principles to measure my OWN behavior. And until I get a handle on them for myself, I don't feel it is appropriate to judge how others are doing. Maybe not even then. Especially not by using quotes from disciples of Christ as bludgeons on my fellow Saints.


  1. I agree completely. If we are right, we do not need to resort to rhetoric's dirty tricks. Jesus set a mighty fine example when he refused to say, "it's so because I said so" even though he had every right to and he was always right. He understood the nature of a shepherd ... leading people along. It's a respectful kind of leadership, devoid of manipulation.

  2. It appears to me that the billboard stands for itself, to be interpreted according to the viewer. I don't see anything being sold except ideas, for free.

  3. For the record, I don't think is promoting peace, although I bet it's promoting something :)

    To play devil's advocate, what if one honestly believes that their libertarian, political agenda and God's agenda are one and the same? And if the message causes contention, is that necessarily a bad thing? Christ himself said a number of pretty controversial things that caused a lot of contention, so much so that he was killed, but does that mean he shouldn't have said them? As a disclaimer, I know those who put up the billboard and generally agree with their political views, but that doesn't mean I'm convinced this is the best way to spread their message so I'm sincerely interested in understanding other points of view.

    In response to the author's comment "I also believe that there are times the Lord asks us to take up arms, sometimes in ways that are aggressive, or for the defense of others." perhaps I'm mistaken, but this seems to imply that the author believes the creators of the billboard are 100% anti-war. Once again, perhaps I'm mistaken, but my understanding of the billboard creators' position is that they also believe there are times when aggressive war or war in defense of others is justified, but what is not justified is for the state to make those decisions and then force individuals to participate either directly or indirectly in supporting such wars. If someone wants to volunteer to be involved in a war of aggression, that's fine, they can do what they feel is right, but what right does the state have to force someone to fight in a war or pay for it if that person doesn't believe the war is just?

  4. I'm JC, co-president of the and one of the people behind the billboard. I can tell you the specific purpose behind the billboard. I don't think that you actually read the site BTW. Aggressive warfare is no condoned by the gospel of Jesus Christ nor by his prophets. Defensive warfare, when you haven't been guilty of the first nor second offense IS condoned. If we put GOD first and obey his commandments, he will fight out battles for us if it comes to battle. Current US military posturing in the world doesn't meet those standards and LDS people should re-calculate how they support current political leadership in this country. It's funny how you can't say a thing about Spencer W Kimball's speech. You can only criticize the fact that we used it and guess at our motives for doing so. How bout you respond to the words of the prophet himself. Do you agree or disagree with them and why or why not?

  5. I think the emphasis on the billboard should be redirected to the purpose of the billboard and that is to go to the website In such website the "opinions" of the creator of the billboard are completely non-existent. He just gathered the apostolic advise about war and peace. Most of the advise is like the previous comment says, the church is not completely anti-war BUT explains the instances in which is justified.

    If anyone disagrees with apostolic advise that's fine. The billboard isn't contentious unless someone takes the truth to be harsh.

  6. Derek—I'm sure you do. That is part of my point. It's seems to be free of bias, but it isn't. As can be seen by the links on the site, and by every word that I have heard from the mouth of its authors in its defense.

    Joshua—Good point about the .com. is better. I didn't even catch that! Guess I'm more innocent than I thought. -l-

    If someone actually believes their political agenda is the same as God's agenda, they're wallowing in hubris. If that were the case, the prophets themselves would support libertarianism. And they don't. God said his work and glory is the immortality and eternal life of man. No political agenda fits that without mingling the philosophies of man right in.

    Christ himself said a lot of controversial things, but he had the authority to do so. If the authors of the site claim authority from God to do what they are doing, than that is a whole other conversation than the one they are having.

    I don't think that they are 100% anti-war, but I do think that they somehow think that their interpretation of what does and does not constitute a just war is self-evident in their quotes. It is not. Unless they are prepared to accept the Iraqi war (since that is a war where we were not guilty of the first or second offense, necessarily. It all matters how you count "offense.") I also think that unless they have a position in the military or President's executive branch that they aren't disclosing, they can't possibly be in possession of all the facts. For what it's worth, I highly doubt the war was just. But I would never claim to KNOW that, seeing as how I wasn't in the room that made the decision, and admit that I don't know everything.

    Again, I'm more concerned about applying the words of the prophets in my own personal life, where I CAN be in possession of all the facts, than using them to browbeat my fellow saints into accepting my political agenda.

    I think that your assertion that they are trying to take a stand against the state forcing participation in a war is fallacious. It simply can't mean that with any reasonable estimation. Considering that one of the quotes they use on the site is of Captain Moroni, and Moroni forced participation in war by killing—not imprisoning, but killing—those who did not agree, it would be ridiculous and highly cherry-picked indeed for them to be taking that stance.

  7. JC—Just so you know what tone I take your comments in, I want to outline what you have communicated to me.

    1) You are going to explain yourself. Wonderful! I look forward to it.
    2) I either lied, or am stupid and don't have reading comprehension. Not a good start to opening up a real conversation. It is, however, a great start to bullying someone.
    3) You are stating the exact opinions that I assumed were the ones you believe are self-evident in the quotes on the site. They are not.
    4) That this issue is so much more important than any other, that people should not support a candidate who believes in war, no matter how much the rest of his platform might be in line with gospel principles. Convenient, since the only anti-war Republican candidate with any support is Ron Paul. (Ah! There is the hidden agenda that I keep hearing denied.) And not only should they not support it, but if they do they are going against the prophets, and in a state tantamount to rebellion against God. Classy.

    Of course I can't say anything against the speech. I agree with it. I made that perfectly clear. I just don't think it means what you think it means.

    I know you would love to bring the topic back to arguing about the principles of war. But the catch is, I'm not going to argue the principles. I agree with them. I just think your tactics of communicating them are disingenuous and manipulative almost to the point of being controlling.

    I'm happy to discuss with you how they may not be. That is the topic at hand. Further straw man arguments (ie. pretending I'm disagreeing with something I'm not) will be subsequently ignored. I'm in no mood to be patient with that. Which is why I'm not commenting on any of the blogs sponsored by libertarian supporters of this billboard.

    Bear in mind that I am centrist with libertarian leaning in my political beliefs. But the more I interact with libertarians, the less pleased I am to admit that.

  8. AJ&D—Since JC deleted his comment, feel free to apply what I said to him to yours.

  9. For those of you who missed it, this is the comment I responded to:

    JC Bollers:

    I'm JC, co-president of the and one of the people behind the billboard. I can tell you the specific purpose behind the billboard. I don't think that you actually read the site BTW. Aggressive warfare is no condoned by the gospel of Jesus Christ nor by his prophets. Defensive warfare, when you haven't been guilty of the first nor second offense IS condoned. If we put GOD first and obey his commandments, he will fight out battles for us if it comes to battle. Current US military posturing in the world doesn't meet those standards and LDS people should re-calculate how they support current political leadership in this country. It's funny how you can't say a thing about Spencer W Kimball's speech. You can only criticize the fact that we used it and guess at our motives for doing so. How bout you respond to the words of the prophet himself. Do you agree or disagree with them and why or why not?

  10. I was actually on here trying to repost my comment. I wouldn't have written it, if I didn't wan't it there.

    someone else deleted it. It sure wasn't me. I'm not ashamed of my words at all.
    As a matter of fact, I think that since you can't publicly disagree with the words of the prophet you are mad at the fact that we put them up in the first place.

    But, you're saying that you agree with the principles, but you don't agree with the method. You don't agree that it's good to drive traffic to a website where there are words of prophets and scripture references? Controlling huh?

    So was the title of Liberty controlling?

    The reason we created a separate website from was because ldsliberty contains OUR insights and views based on the doctrine itself. is at least 90% straight doctrine instead of commentary. I'm sorry that you don't approve. We're not out there to win over everyone. It's impossible. But, if you think it's controlling, you must also have a hard time reading the ensign magazine..or the scriptures. I'm sorry about that.

  11. I absolutely love the billboard! I think that it will make people think A LOT!

  12. Mm, yes. I'm sure that's why.

    Perhaps you can discuss how what you're doing isn't controlling instead of simply trying to cast aspersions on my character?

  13. Sorry, for the aspersions. Isn't the whole point of your blog post to cast aspersions on MINE and my motives? You're right I should have been the better person. Sorry

  14. The truth is this: If you agreed with the words of the prophet instead of being angered by them, you'd be promoting this as a good cause and asking people to donate for it to be displayed for a second month.

  15. I think the blog owner is deleting comments posted by JC. I am refreshing the page very frequently and I see them for a few seconds before they are taken down.

  16. The blog owner is censoring comments!! This one will disappear in a second too!

  17. wow you deleted my comments too! WOW! talk about damage control.

  18. Actually, I'm not deleting them, as should be obvious by the fact that I reposted one of them for him.

    If I wanted to block him, I'd just do that. It wastes less of my time.

  19. I'm guessing it's a Blogger issue I have no control over.

  20. someone sure is deleting comments that don't agree with SilverRain's points above.

  21. I'm right and I'm wrong. Seems Blogger has flagged you all as spammers. Perhaps you are posting on other Blogspot blogs as well. I have released your comments, but I can't control whether or not Blogger thinks you're a spammer.

    1. SilverRain -- Blogger has been strange, especially here. It flagged my comment, supporting your post and thanking you and others for the analysis, as spam and it is gone.

      Too bad some of the posters could not understand what was going on, though it tells be a great deal I did not expect to learn about the specific bill board.

      Thank you all.

  22. What I was trying to say was that, Silver Rain, if you like the content of the words of the prophets on, you would have promoted the billboard as a good cause and asked people to donate to it. I'm just sayin..

  23. If an LDS person saw the billboard and was directed to the site and read the quotes on the site with no prior knowledge of which group funded the billboard then i think they would have an open mind about how we are to be a peace-loving people and try to love our brothers and sisters around the world as Christ taught, not chase them halfway across the world and hunt them out of the rocks and holes to kill them and camp out in their backyard for a decade.

    Maybe those who disagree with the message of peace will be happy to fund a billboard on I-15 that says:

    Let's kill our brothers and sisters around the world until they all accept democracy or give us cheaper oil!

  24. Now, JC, I have cast aspersions on your behavior and formed opinions on your motivations. That is a far cry from insulting your intelligence and claiming that you are in rebellion against the prophets and against God.

    The truth is this: you are so caught up in your opinions of what God thinks and does, that you are seeming to challenge His laws of agency, as well as the commandment to wield the powers of heaven upon principles of righteousness.

    The only thing I regret is that I let you pull me down into the cesspool.

    Fair warning: I will be moderating all comments over the weekend, as I have better things to do than pay attention to my blog. You all have one more hour to say your piece before all comments will go directly into moderation until Monday.

  25. dang girl is hostile!

  26. I like the words. I like their message. I don't like your hidden agenda.

    Chris, is the hidden agenda supposed to somehow be better because it is hidden?

    One other thing. You have all made it quite clear that you think I'm in rebellion against God and love to kill people for a hobby. Any further comments on those lines without backing them up with actual discussion will be deleted as per the commenting policy at the bottom of the page.

  27. Yes, Jackson. I'm a girl and I have an opinion. Therefore I'm hostile. I appreciate you using that word instead of the one most people prefer.

  28. SR, I don't agree with your take on this issue, but I do want to make it clear that I think you are a good and honest person, and I want to ask commenters to be civil to SilverRain, who is just putting forward her opinion like anybody else. Peace.

  29. SilverRain,

    I have no "agenda" in this project, hidden or otherwise, other than the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the promotion of peace. That you claim to understand my/our motives is unfortunate though unsurprising. Instead of assuming, how about asking?

  30. I have no clue as to what "hidden agenda" there may be to this site. The only thing I see this site doing is to get LDS members to think about how LDS should view war in light of the words of the prophets and the scriptures. If we are supposed to liken the Book of Mormon to our day, then shouldn't we use the examples in the BoM good and bad and realize how the LDS should stand? As well as the words of latter-day prophets.

    I, for one, am a big fan of this site and and the idea for a billboard. Clearly this group isn't skewing President Kimball's words at all, just using one byline to point people to a website which is 100% full of scriptures and prophetic talks. No personal viewpoints or commentary.

    I hope that many LDS will see the billboard and visit this site and seriously think about how they view war and how God wants to view war.

    Good job to whoever put up the website and billboard!!

  31. Thank you for the support, Geoff.

    Connor, Chris, let me put it this way to try to explain why I have come to the conclusions about this movement that I have.

    For what people did you post the billboard? What are you hoping people will do when they read your site? Honestly, please. It's never just about "thinking" with a billboard. Billboards are promotions to action. Are you satisfied if someone goes to your site, reads it, thinks about it, and realizes they have no need to change what they are doing?

  32. Q: For what people did you post the billboard?
    A: Clearly LDS folk, who else would know who Spencer W. Kimball was?

    Q: What are you hoping people will do when they read your site?
    A: I don't see any action item on the site other than donating money to keep the billboard up a bit longer. Do you?

    The problem I think is that you already know ahead of time who is behind this site and don't agree with their political views, therefore you hate the idea of a billboard suing for LDS folk to think about the words of the prophets when it comes to war & peace.

    You have per-conceived notions.

    Just my opinion.

  33. Chris, it is possible that my previous knowledge of the tactics of the involved parties colors my opinion.

    In fact, it's very likely. But pleas to divorce past tactics of the involved parties from this one is a method of control I am quite familiar with. That is, in fact, one of the pieces of evidence for me that the motivations behind this campaign are not as pure as they seem.

  34. There were people wagging their fingers at Christ, Ghandi, and everyone else who has been innovative and effective at turning society from violence. If you do something audacious enough to be noticed and provoke thought, for many it won't be enough to boldly proclaim Truth. They want to give you marks for style. Publish Peace! Go ahead, knock yourself out. Find a more appropriate way, don't wait to be commanded. See how popular it makes you.

  35. I visited this before and it had more comments than it does now. What's up? Are things being deleted? I will not post if I think that you aren't looking for honesty.

  36. Kristine, if you read the comments, you will see what is happening.

    I have enjoyed the parts of this discussion that actually WERE discussion instead of rank accusations. Hopefully those of you who are willing to treat me as a person will return on Monday to continue it. Hopefully the rest of you will move on to other targets.

    Thank you, and have a nice Conference weekend.

  37. I am not affiliated with any organization and I believe that I was the first contributor to the billboard.

    I am not libertarian. I don't know Connor. I have never read or purchased any of his books. I love the Lord. I love the Book of Mormon. I love listening to General Conference and I liken the scriptures to myself, including this talk in 1976 by President Kimball.

    My agenda is this: To prepare the way for the coming of the Savior to this earth. My heart has to be in the right place for that to happen. I need to do it out of love for my fellow men, regardless of their race, color, religion, or frame of mind.

    When the prophet speaks, regardless of how much I may squirm, I listen, pray about the changes I need to make and ask the Lord for a change of heart if it's something too difficult to understand.

    That is not a political statement. I do not endorse ANY candidate who supports pre-emptive war. That includes Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Gingrich, Romney, or Santorum.

  38. SilverRain-

    I'm with you 100%. This movement isn't about bringing people to the Gospel; it's about bringing people to Libertarianism, and ultimately to Ron Paul. May I quote one of their adherents: "I'm a recent convert to libertarianism..." Posted on Facebook only today.

    The ideologue is one who holds their political beliefs above their religious beliefs. Their religious beliefs may remain, so long as they mesh with their political convictions. They use correct principles, misapplied.

  39. When did being antiwar become solely a libertarian agenda? The statement neglects that many democrats, independents, anarchists, and republicans (to name only a few) support not going to war. Perhaps your argument would have more teeth if the libertarians were the only ones pushing to end war but you are mistaken.

    It is being argued that manipulation is being used but I see no areas where quotes and talks have been changed to suit their advantage. The website not only allows you to see the full talks and scripture references being shared but it also sends the reader to the official church website. If a demand is being made of the reader to see only the parts of the context that these supposed manipulators want others to see, why is it that they allow the reader access to the whole talk?

  40. If there are quotes that differ with the message of being against aggressive war and you know of these quotes, feel free to share them. The individuals supporting the website have provided their sources and references for their anti-war beliefs, but it would be interesting for you to share your references that contradict these teachings and show where the prophets have called for wars of aggression and foreign interventionism.

  41. I see no ad hominem attacks toward latter-day saints being made on the website and therefore I don’t see the correlation between what the website is supporting and the bludgeoning you are saying is taking place. I also do not see anywhere on the website where they seek to “force” the reader to choose between their personal beliefs and those of the prophets (past and present). That suggests that this is the sole purpose of the website. But what about those that aren’t LDS who visit the site? How are they supposed to choose? What if they went there simply to see what another religion’s leaders have had to say regarding the matter? Such individuals are not made to go through the scenario you had laid out.

    The analogy you provide from your mission is an instance in which an opposing group actually asked you to choose between two ideas they created which is not what the website has done. And, as you assert, if you are not in the position to judge others, it would be contradictory to declare that you really know the intentions of the group that you do not know much less declare what the banner is “really” doing.

  42. Gordon B. Hinckley had a few things to say about the wars: “No one can ever estimate the terrible suffering incident to these wars across the globe. Lives numbered in the millions have been lost. The terrible wounds of war have left bodies maimed and minds destroyed. Families have been left without fathers and mothers. Young people who have been recruited to fight have, in many instances, died while those yet alive have had woven into the very fabric of their natures elements of hatred which will never leave them. The treasure of nations has been wasted and will never be recovered.

    “The devastation of war seems so unnecessary and such a terrible waste of human life and national resources.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “An Unending Conflict, a Victory Assured,” Ensign, Jun 2007, 4–9)

  43. SR, look at the bright side: you got a lot more comments on your blog, right?

    I would gently point out that 99.9999 percent (approximately) of the people who see the billboard will have no idea what the political ideology is of the people behind it. They will go to the web site and see quotations from the prophets condemning war. (Connor has taken down all links to ldsliberty, etc). They will not know if the people behind the billboard are libertarians, authoritarians or commie pinkos (probably the last one). I absolutely guarantee that there will be many people, I would wager the vast majority, who will say, "wow, I didn't know the First Presidency said that." I didn't know most of the quotations mentioned, and I am definitely more engaged than your average person. So at the end of the day the whole thing will be a relatively harmless educational exercise. Much ado about nothing, really.

  44. You make excellent points, as always.

  45. After reading the OP and the comments, perhaps a constructive approach would be to ask SilverRain exactly what doctrine or war policy governs/informs your decision whether to support a particular war or not?
    Is it the "just war doctrine" ?
    Is it purely defensive wars? and if so how do you define what is or is not "defensive"?
    Do you subscribe to the Bush doctrine, ie, pre-emptive attacks if necessary? Does that include Cheney's one percent doctrine?
    Do you believe in the Section 98 approach

    exactly how do YOU decide then we can go from there.

  46. BTW, I just commented above with the question and did not know how to include my name but it is Ron Madson fwiw. I never write anonymous but couldn't figure out how to publish otherwise? sorry

  47. This entire post is a straw man argument. It judges the creators motives and "agenda" rather than simply addressing the MUCH weightier and more important subject of the billboard.

    Is US Foreign Policy out of step with LDS/Christian teachings? Thousands upon thousands of people are dying in the countries we are occupying and you are ranting on about whether it is appropriate to address the issue with the words of a Prophet?

    I applaud them for their courage to take a stand. I just wish more members would take a stand for something instead of sitting back on the sidelines and criticizing the style or tact of anyone who fights for peace and liberty.

  48. For me, Gordon B. Hinckley set things right. In his masterwork "War and Peace" talk, he told us "there are some things we can and must do..."

    I, opposing absolutely a preemptive war doctrine back in that time frame, was considered an absolute reprobate, unworthy of citizenship in the USA by most of those who knew me. They derided me as un-patriotic. "Oh, you don't support the troops?" What a mindless propaganda phrase that was.

    My stance against an unconstitutional war, for it was not declared by the Congress as requisite by the US Constitution which now certainly hangs by a thread, really brought me flack. But right burned and still burns in my bones on the issue. Then, Gordon B. Hinckley delivered his magnificent "War and Peace" talk in the LDS General Conference of April 2003. Note what he said:

    "Now, there is much that we can and must do in these perilous times. We can give our opinions on the merits of the situation as we see it, but never let us become a party to words or works of evil concerning our brothers and sisters in various nations on one side or the other. Political differences never justify hatred or ill will. I hope that the Lord’s people may be at peace one with another during times of trouble, regardless of what loyalties they may have to different governments or parties."

    Wow, what was that? Apostate me, told that there is "much" that I "can and must do"? And what was number one and first in that? It was: 'WE CAN GIVE OUR OPINIONS ON THE MERITS OF THE SITUATION AS WE SEE IT."

    The merits of the situation are God's doctrines and those things spoken by prophets. Why have prophets if they are to not be cited, especially as they teach relating to war?

    Oh, and how choice was it that Gordon B. Hinckley also pointed out that we were not to hold out "hatred or ill will" toward those on the other side of the opinion, hence Sean Hannity spewing venom on KSL radio about "Freedom Fries" and "Freedom Toast" and decrying anyone questioning the grand Moneychanger agenda with their "ambitious and scheming leaders" frontmen, to whom we as a people had succumbed, who have brought us hollow promises and costly wars, burdening us with heavy taxes.

    So, There are indeed some things that "we can and must do" and that would be to share our opinions on the matter as we see it. My opinions are in alignment with prophets, and I champion the billboard and rejoice in its message of a prophet---a message which when delivered back in 1976 was "given the instant deep freeze" as Hugh Nibley correctly assessed.

  49. SilverRain,

    I just want you to know that I will not post here on your very own personal blog that is entirely yours and not mine at all if I think you are letting people be rude to you out of some false sense that there is something wrong with deleting people off your own blog site who are openly insulting you and being unfair to you.

    So I guess you'll have to choose between me and Kristine. ;)(Just kidding Kristine. I do actually understand what you were really saying.)

    By the way, I should probably mention that my own personal policy on war is that we should nuke all countries whose names I can't pronounce. I think it would come in handy during Geography class.

    So actually -- now that I think about it -- you might want to listen to Kristine more than me.

  50. To me, this part:

    "... to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies."

    is the money quote. It is one thing to abstain from war, but quite something else to go among your enemies and do good to them, serve them, and share the light that one has with them. Nothing beats turning an enemy into a friend - this from my own personal experience.

  51. I think it is a beautiful site that lets the words of the prophets speak for themselves. While I am aware of the people who have done this, I do not see any "hidden agenda." It is thought provoking to read those talks. I was impressed with the site because it is so straight forward.
    SilverRain, I do not suppose to know your agenda, motives, etc., but sometimes you seem to take offense at other people and you seem to attribute a desire to control on their part that is nonexistent.

  52. I appreciate the perspective the site is offering, as far as it goes, though I don't feel obliged to agree with its authorities on every point even assuming they're being quoted responsibly (such as E.T. Benson on the proper role of government). I am fundamentally opposed to the Gospel of Libertarianism as promoted by LDS Liberty, and the comments by its backers here make them sound pushy and unpleasant, but you can sort of pretend none of that exists on just the Warlike site itself.

    What's really interesting is that the billboard reminds me of signs put up by evangelical churches with message like "Are you going to HELL?" and "Only CHRIST can save you" with a web site or scriptural reference. It's a direct, confrontational style that appeals to authorities that its likely target audiences are predisposed to accept. The in-your-face billboard approach is not a typical "Mormon" way of doing things, but very in line with some strains of conservative Christianity. So, yeah, different in the context of Mormonism but still oddly familiar.

  53. I think when we discuss these topics we need to think about what we are actually saying. What are the actual definitions of these words we use too often.
    The saying "political bias" or "political agenda" or even "propaganda". Isn't everyone politically bias if you are holding to principle? And if you don't have a strong opinion have you studied enough to from one? Everyone has an agenda when ever we are doing anything. When I try to sell a service or product I have an agenda. When I dated my current girlfriend I had an agenda to get with her. If someone does not have an agenda than they aren't educated or lying. Everyone does. There is nothing wrong with it. There is nothing wrong or immoral about it. If your lying so people come your way than obviously that is wrong.
    Also if these quotes from prophets are taken out of context than please explain how they should be taken? Criticizing and saying they are taken out of context without showing proof is easy to do but does not make your opinion correct or their's wrong.
    It doesn't matter if your a republican, democrat or libertarian. These sayings that we use (like ones quoted above) that give people a negative feeling towards the writer aren't justified. We have been programmed to feel negative towards these sayings but in reality the sayings are neutral. It doesn't favor negative or positive.
    I think the use of these sayings are more manipulative than someone with an "agenda" when spreading information.

  54. Freedom of speech.

    If something comes out of the backend of a horse and goes ker-plop on the ground, are you offended at the horse? At the road apples? It's nature in all its glory.

    But when it's political, we are conditioned to take offense. Right? Socially conditioned to separate ourselves from each other, pushing us further away from God. When an ideology kills the love, it's time to kill the ideology.

  55. I have a few things worth addressing in the above comments.

    First, thank all of you, both who agree and who disagree with me, who refrained from viciousness.

    A general opinion seems to be that I only disagree with the billboard because I disagree with its agenda. I don't. I think I am a better authority on what I believe than any of you are. On this, my opinion completely trumps yours and I will not argue it further, nor allow any further comments of that nature.

    Some of you enjoy the site. Some of you don't see the hidden agenda. That is fine. I do. Therefore, I called it out. I don't think that the authors of the billboard are necessarily evil. But I have been taught by experience and the Spirit to see issues of control more sensitively than I used to.

    Everyone tries to control the people around them from time to time. But those of us who honor agency seek to root out those controlling behaviors in ourselves. Those of us who truly want to control others seek to hide their actions. The emotional responses by so many on this, a relatively backwater, out-of-the-way blog, are telling. They serve to reinforce my impressions rather than change my mind.

    It is interesting that until now I have never experienced this level of viciousness except from people who believe that they know better than the Church leadership how the Church should conduct itself, and are agitating for a liberal change to Church culture.

    If any of you are interested, it has hurt a little. Here are people who I generally agree with, whom I generally perceive as being on "my side," if you will, who are just as willing to eviscerate me when I see a problem in the tactics they are using as those with whom I do not agree.

    That being said, I have also evaluated my own behavior. I do not apologize for writing this blog post. In this billboard, I perceive an attempt to control people through use of the words of Church leaders, whether it was a benign attempt or not. I still do not find that laudable. I do, however, regret and apologize for the defensiveness I fell into in some of the comments. I generally try very hard to resist the temptation to snap at other people, especially online where no one can know me and vice versa. I have no excuse that I am willing to accept.

    I have thought more about this issue over the weekend, and have decided to write another post explaining in better detail why I do not see this billboard as appropriate. It should be published soon.

    Meanwhile, because of the nastiness of many of these comments, the worst of which I chose not to publish, I will be leaving my blog on moderation for awhile. I am sorry to those of you who find it more difficult to post, but I find it necessary.

  56. I'm a little late to the discussion so I hope you don't mind me jumping in. 68 comments filled with insuinations (sp) that you unrighteous and warlike for disgreeing with the billboard is the kind of behavior of abhor. I mentioned on another blog that people of certain political persuasions tend to act in a very argumentative, mean, and vicious way. The comments here are a perfect example of that.

    They are manipulating the prophets to suit their agenda and then attacking the sprituality of those that disagree. So your point is completely acucurate and I appreciate it a great deal. I'm sorry you had to deal with such vitriol, especially over a weekend when you should have been enjoy the feast coming from living prophets.

    I understand that politics can be quite contentious but I would appreciate if the holy prophets arent' used as cudgels with which to beat your opponents into accepting your political views; and I really wish we could stop questioning the righteousness of those that disagree with us.


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