Friday, May 25, 2012

A Fork in the Road!

If you’re headed down the wrong road and you take the right fork in it, as opposed to the left one, does it suddenly become THE right road? Somehow that seems the logic of “God-fearing,” free-market capitalists. The economic road forks a few paces in, and despite the fine rhetoric of freedom, choice, agency, prosperity, ownership, private enterprise, growth, merit, values, etc., etc., capitalism has even less conformity to Christ’s teachings (let alone, those of other faiths) than communism does. When compared with the moral teachings of spiritual leaders through all ages, both economic systems reveal themselves as fallacious ideologies with just enough smattering of truth to decoy the good and mollify the greedy. Here is a quote that should help wake us up!
Satan's masterpiece of counterfeiting is the doctrine that there are only two choices, and he will show us what they are. It is true that there are only two ways, but by pointing us the way he wants us to take and then showing us a fork in that road, he convinces us that we are making the vital choice, when actually we are choosing between branches in his road. Which one we take makes little difference to him, for both lead to destruction. This is the polarization we find in our world today. Thus we have the choice between Shiz and Coriantumr—which all Jaredites were obliged to make. We have the choice between the wicked Lamanites (and they were that) and the equally wicked (Mormon says "more wicked") Nephites. Or between the fleshpots of Egypt and the stews of Babylon, or between the land pirates and the sea pirates of World War I, or between white supremacy and black supremacy, or between Vietnam and Cambodia, or between Bushwhackers and Jayhawkers, or between China and Russia, or between Catholic and Protestant, or between fundamentalist and atheist, or between right and left—all of which are true rivals, who hate each other. A very clever move of Satan!—a subtlety that escapes us most of the time. So I ask Latter-day Saints, "What is your position frankly (…) regarding the merits of cigarettes vs. cigars, wine vs. beer, or heroin vs. LSD?" It should be apparent that you take no sides.[1]
If a weapon of war works, why not keep using it—déjà vu upon déjà vu, as noted above? Thus we see our present-day polarity: “We have the choice between the wicked [Communists] (and they [are] that) and the equally wicked ([if not] “more wicked”) [Capitalists].

If we think that competition, bottom-line obsessions, management excesses, private luxury, elitism, disparities, consumerism, materialism, lobbying, favoritism, mammon-mongering, debt/credit, etc., etc., have any place in Zion OR that our active promotion of capitalism is furthering the kingdom of God, perhaps we should think again. Perhaps we should make a more careful study of the economics of Zion vis-à-vis that of Babylon. Perhaps we should flee the excesses to which we have become accustomed before it is too late.[2]

[1] Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, Chpt. 4, “Gifts,” edited by Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989], 112-113. Bold emphasis added.)
[2] "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies." (Old Testament Jeremiah 51:6-9)

Monday, May 7, 2012

The List (& Déjà Vu) Goes On (& On)

For the poor shall never cease out of the land: ... (Old Testament Deuteronomy 15:11)
WHY would God say this through Moses? Is it because He knew there would always be, in every age and place:
▪ the rich (who would never cease to accumulate excess)
▪ leaders & bosses who would love money more than the masses
▪ Madoffs, Abramoffs, Keatings, Lays, Delays, et al., ad infinitum
capitalists and communists without conscience
▪ lords & lobbyists
▪ debtors & creditors
▪ Popes, Prophets, Priests, High Priests, Knights Templar, Orders, Fraternities, Churches, etc. seduced/decoyed/distracted/corrupted by wealth and power (Take a walk through history!) and
▪ “believers” who would favor
    ~ competition above cooperation
    ~ mammon above mercy
    ~ luxury above ”love thy neighbor”
    ~ self above sacrifice
    ~ words above actions
▪ conspiracies & corruption
▪ cons & collusions
▪ elitism & envy
▪ fear & greed
▪ pride & prejudice
▪ propaganda & power-plays
▪ servitude & slavery
▪ oppression & obstruction of justice
▪ and the list goes on (& on).
Why do we seem to ignore the last half of Deuteronomy 15:11 when quoting the first half?
For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land (Old Testament Deuteronomy 15:11).
If this all seems too negative for our PMA and LoA culture, then perhaps we should reread Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc. When we pay attention, much of what God and His old prophets have to say about “chosen” peoples is pretty depressing. Take for example some of His last words to Moses:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them (Old Testament | Deuteronomy 31:16).
If we think we are any better, considering the images and idols that surfeit our time, imagination, and entertainment, perhaps we should think again.