44 thoughts on “The Lord Helps Those Who Help Smite His Enemies

  1. This isn’t very nice of me, but when I first read the post, I could only think:

    “A fool and his money are soon parted…”

    It is so much worse than that though. That money is now being used to actively discriminate against a minority segment of the population.

    I was trying to get into the mind frame of the original poster and I just couldn’t. He’s almost bragging about his righteousness. Good thing he can crow about it on Nine Moons! I actually like that blog and read it regularly. Yuck.

  2. It is so much worse than that though. That money is now being used to actively discriminate against a minority segment of the population.

    Exactly. I’m not trying to be the “anti-Mormon” here, but I feel like they’re really shooting Mormonism in the foot with this post. Actively fighting to discriminate against gay people already looks selfish, mean, petty, bigoted, etc. Then to justify it by citing a personal financial reward, well… How to put this delicately? It doesn’t help.

  3. I think David is fully aware that his Stake President’s actions were very fishy. He commented on how surprised he was to find local Church leaders scanning tithing records to solicit campaign funds. That he chose to publish it ought to be applauded by those who feel the Church covers-up what it is doing too often.

    I read a great deal of ambiguity in his post and I don’t think he was entirely comfortable with the situation. It’s probably unfair to paint him as gleefully “put’n homos in their place.” But he personally feels like he was blessed for supporting his Church. Who am I to say he wasn’t?

    I think this whole campaign by my church is a bad idea. I think the way funds are being solicited in California is sketchy. And I really hate the idea of contributing a a single dime to Church’s who, when they aren’t fighting homosexuals, are publishing hate tracts on Joseph Smith. I’ve always hated the Mormon cultural alliance with the Christian Right, and this particular joint project leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

    But I’m not going to rule out that God might still bless a person for throwing in financial support on this issue. It’s very possible.

    Nor do I feel that same-sex partnerships should be given a government endorsement as “marriage.” I don’t care how picked on the gay community feels. They aren’t entitled to this.

    You can read my earlier post on Nine Moons for further clarification.

  4. I think David is fully aware that his Stake President’s actions were very fishy. He commented on how surprised he was to find local Church leaders scanning tithing records to solicit campaign funds. That he chose to publish it ought to be applauded by those who feel the Church covers-up what it is doing too often.

    I read a great deal of ambiguity in his post and I don’t think he was entirely comfortable with the situation. It’s probably unfair to paint him as gleefully “put’n homos in their place.”

    Very true.

    But he personally feels like he was blessed for supporting his Church. Who am I to say he wasn’t?

    I think this whole campaign by my church is a bad idea. I think the way funds are being solicited in California is sketchy. And I really hate the idea of contributing a a single dime to Church’s who, when they aren’t fighting homosexuals, are publishing hate tracts on Joseph Smith. I’ve always hated the Mormon cultural alliance with the Christian Right, and this particular joint project leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

    But I’m not going to rule out that God might still bless a person for throwing in financial support on this issue. It’s very possible.

    This is one of my biggest problems with organized religion and the morality it teaches. It is viewed as righteous (and deserving of a personal reward) to perform actions that may well be objectively unethical.

    Nor do I feel that same-sex partnerships should be given a government endorsement as “marriage.” I don’t care how picked on the gay community feels. They aren’t entitled to this.

    You can read my earlier post on Nine Moons for further clarification.

    Yeah, I saw it. Let’s just say we’re not precisely of the same mind, but we can have a civil discussion about it. 😉

  5. I think the Church actions here are misguided and counter-productive.

    I never said anything about “unethical.”

    Even when we get the Book of Mormon describing Nephi killing Laban, you’ll note that Nephi took the time to justify his actions based on something more than a mere “God told me to.”

  6. Different thoughts ran through our minds after the visit. My wife wanted to know how they came up with the customized figure and stewed over the notion that they probably reviewed our tithing records.

    That notion is probably true. It’s a little game that some bishops play: “Let’s see who earns what.”

    California’s Proposition 8– that’s all the stake’s been talking about for the past month.

    The Church’s obsession with this is – bizarre. I’m trying hard to imagine Jesus saying something like:

    “And Blessed are those who support Proposition 8.”

    It’s not doing the Church’s image any good, because the once persecuted have now become the persecutors.

    Would the Church ever offer this kind of active opposition to modern day polygamy? Not that I’ve seen. The most they’ve done is give endless clarifications about non-involvement today. GBH Interview with Larry King:

    KING: Are you surprised that there’s, apparently, a lot of polygamy in Utah?

    HINCKLEY: I have seen the thing grow somewhat. I don’t know how much it is. I don’t know how pervasive it is.

    KING: Should there be arrests?

    HINCKLEY: It’s matter of civil procedure. The church can’t do anything. We have no authority in this matter, none whatever.

    KING: Would you like to see the state to clamp down on it?

    HINCKLEY: I think I leave that entirely in the hands of the civil officers. It’s a civil offense. It’s in violation of the law. We have nothing to do with it. We’re totally distanced from it. And if the state chooses to move on it, that’s a responsibility of civil officers.

    According to another report, GBH commenting on homosexuality:

    “We cannot stand silent if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation,” Hinckley said.

    Does anyone sense a double standard?

  7. I forgot to add this from the Larry King interview:

    KING: Should the church be more forceful in speaking out? I mean, you’re forceful here tonight, but maybe — they’ve been saying that it’s rather than just a state matter, encouraging the state to prosecute.

    HINCKLEY: I don’t know. We’ll consider it.

    Still considering, I guess.

  8. Well, chanson, you just helped my blow a gasket. Thanks.

    Seth, what you must see is that the combination of ambivalence and obedience and superstition and self congratulation — this is all very disturbing. This guy doesn’t get any credit for being somewhat suspicious ’cause he still thinks he was rewarded. Gag me.

  9. I never said anything about “unethical.”

    One can debate over whether this particular action is ethical. I’m more disturbed by the principle: “turn your own conscience off because anything the Lord tells you to do is right, whether the action causes good or harm.” This principle is taught throughout the scriptures, for example in the story of how praiseworthy Abraham was for being willing to slit his own son’s throat when commanded to do so.

    I’m far from being a Buddhist, but I’m more impressed by this quote (attributed to Buddha):

    Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

    Regarding Proposition 8, I’ve been following the stories of a number of families who stand to be harmed by it. Then here comes David (of Nine Moons) revelling in the personal reward he (supposedly) reaped by helping to hurt those people. What the hell kind of ethics are those?

  10. the whole church-SSM thing STINKS; it’s just that some people’s sense of smell has been (almost completely) desensitized.
    The Only Way it makes ANY sense is the micro-management position that LDS Inc. has put itself into. More YUCK.
    ‘they strain at a gnat yet swallow a camel’

  11. I just think it is funny that they are so aggresively moderating and deleting posts over there. They definitely only want certain things said. It was a great reminder as to why I want nothing to do with mormonism-if you aren’t for them you are against them, and God forbid you have a different opinion than everyone else….

  12. Good point, TC. It’s like they don’t realize their on the interwebs where … you may have heard … censorship is treated as damage and routed around. Something about Mormonism as damage that tickles. 🙂

    Hey, Seth! It’s been a while. Good to get caught-up. 😛

  13. Nine Moons is a small Mormon group blog, and we have no pretensions to fairness or “welcoming all viewpoints.”

    It’s essentially Rusty’s blog and he makes the rules. He has already openly declared that his comment moderation policy is “if I don’t like what you say, I’ll ban you.” Unapologetic and straightforward.

    This isn’t a democracy or a court of law. This is a small social blog that discusses Mormon issues. We have no desire to allow trolls, or allow the conversation to be hijacked in ways we don’t like.

    It’s like a dinner party at someone’s home. You are a guest and should behave as one. If you become obnoxious or try to hold the conversation captive to your own agenda, don’t be surprised if Rusty kicks you out.

    Apparently somebody started publicizing our blog in certain quarters, and we’ve had a sudden inflow of commenters whom we’ve never seen before until this post. It’s like some agenda-based message board posted David’s post and invited everyone to mosey on over Nine Moons and “give em what for.”

    It’s already been made clear that David (and probably Rusty) are not going to allow Nine Moons to become a group gripe session about the LDS Church. For instance, I would guess that if Guy were to try to comment over there after his usual pattern, he would quickly end up banned – we really don’t care to hear it, and that’s not what we’re about.

    Rusty’s comment moderation policy is probably more strict than mine would be “if I ran the zoo.” But it’s his blog, and as a permablogger there, I fully support the comment moderation policy. Sometimes it’s OK for a blog to be closed off to certain viewpoints.

    You comment at Nine Moons, you should consider yourself “in Rusty’s house” and abide by his rules. If you refuse to do so, you are not welcome.

    Sorry, but there it is.

  14. Seth, thanks but no one’s questioning your right to be damaged.

    Censorship is always fully justified in the mind of the censor and one very common means to justification is to lump all disagreeable comments together and associate them with bad behavior. Mormons are trained to do this by institutionalized example. But in the process of “keeping your house holy” you unwittingly keep your house sterile.

    Good luck with that.

  15. Matt: agree.

    I think an online blog is more like taking marbles to the school-yard; It’s GREAT as long as you’re Winning; but when things sour….

  16. That’s a great metophor, Guy. Ah, online sunday school. Love it. Marbles, heh. This post that chanson has found is like the kid who lost his marbles — certainly an idiom rooted in school-yard experience.

  17. Censorship is always fully justified in the mind of the censor and one very common means to justification is to lump all disagreeable comments together and associate them with bad behavior.

    I agree in principle, but this may be a little unfair in this particular instance.

    If the post got some incoming links from a huge national site, it’s very possible for a site that’s moderated by one lay person (as a hobby) to get suddenly swamped by so many trolls at once (bearing nothing but nonsensical insults) that you temporarily have no choice but to take a heavy hand with deleting. Now if the policy stays that way for the long haul, I’ll agree with your assessment, but it looks like they allowed a lot of dissenting and critical comments through.

  18. Fair enough. Thanks for the moderation, chanson. 🙂

    But also, not to give nine-moons too much of the victim, I think that when you say something that’s basically insane and that essentially claims that god is rewarding those who seek to deny rights to others–a bounty if you will–, that perhaps some freaking-out is in order. In short, sometimes the mob is right.

    And to reiterate, I’m not against nine-moon’s right to censor … “nobody’s questioning [their] right to be damaged”, is what I said. What I’m for is pointing out the real cost of such censorship so we don’t get confused by their “cocktail party” metaphor into thinking that their just a private and peaceful group minding their own business.

    As They Might Be Giants put it:

    “This is where the party ends … my head can’t tolerate this bobbin’ and pretendin’ … listen to this bullet-head and the madness that he’s sayin'”

  19. Then I’ll spell it out. In a system, such an the internet, where the greatest value (perhaps the primary purpose) is found in free communication … censorship is damage to the system and the system, by its nature, finds a way around it.

    In other words: you censor at the peril of your relevance.

    PS. It’s not an idea that I made up. Wiser minds.

  20. Nor do I feel that same-sex partnerships should be given a government endorsement as “marriage.” I don’t care how picked on the gay community feels. They aren’t entitled to this.

    Seth,

    So you’re a bully and you’re proud of it? That’s so very sad.

    Why are you, as a (presumably) straight person, magically entitled to this “government endorsement” of your “marriage”?

    Can’t you see that exactly this type of mentality is why it is so easy for so racism, sexism and homophobia to be so prevalent? The totally false perception that you are somehow better than someone else, just becuase you’re male, white, or straight is probably the cause of more evil than anything else in this world.

    And it’s a little more than being “picked on”, it’s institutionalised, wide-spread, incredibly destructive discrimination. You have no idea what it is like to live like that, so I would ask you to perhaps not be so cavalier about it. Though I’m sure you’d rather think of it as a totally different issue, the truth is, what you say is no different from ridiculing black people and making light of centuries of slavery.
    I’m sorry that you are discomfitted by the very the existance of gays and our desire to have stable families and children, but nothing good will ever come about by denying rights to any group of people, no matter how icky we make you feel inside. There is no good, logical reason to deny us these rights, there is nothing to back up your desire to discriminate except religious pronouncements, and that is just not good enough to be the basis of a law, not in this country, anyways.

  21. “So you’re a bully and you’re proud of it?”

    Explain to me how you came up with this strange little conclusion.

    I don’t think I’m better than homosexual people.

    As it so happens, I don’t have even half the work ethic that I should. I tend to be very self-centered and prideful. And I have a compulsive video gaming habit (totally gets out of hand every time I engage in it).

    Now, this may be hard for you to accept, but I actually consider those failings to be every bit as serious and problematic as anything your random homosexual person is doing.

    So no, I don’t feel morally superior in the least.

    But the law is uncaring, impartial, and rather ruthless.

    It doesn’t care whether the baby who was killed was cute or ugly. It doesn’t care if your story is sympathetic or reprehensible. Justice is justice, and it blinks for no one.

    Gays are not entitled to a government endorsement of their marriages. They have no right to it.

    But, I will say it again – so try to pay attention this time – neither are “STRAIGHT” people entitled to a government endorsement of their marriages.

    Everyone should get civil unions. Same rights, same benefits.

    Over and out.

    You’ve totally misread my comments. Instead you rushed to pigeonhole me in one of your preconceived stereotypes.

    Sorry, I don’t fit. I’m not a friend to either side in this debate.

  22. Ok. The problem was you didn’t say that you also didn’t think straights should get marriage either – you just said gay people don’t deserve to get married. You might have explained yourself better.

    I for one, agree, to an extent. Either marriage or civil unions for everyone (like in Germany, for example). Either one works for me.

    And I said you sounded like a bully because you said,

    “I don’t care how picked on the gay community feels. They aren’t entitled to this”

    Which I interpreted to mean that you don’t care when someone is being picked on.

  23. From a personal standpoint, yes, I do care when someone is picked on. From a legal standpoint, maybe… maybe not.

    I do think it’s a crying shame that, for instance, a gay person may legally be turned away from the hospital bed of his partner by hostile family members. There probably ought to be a set of laws remedying such inequities.

  24. I’m glad that the conversation has been moving in another direction (back to the original post and comments) but I will say, in reference to Seth’s #14 – I saw the post that pointed out the nine-moons blog.

    Of course, it’s happened to many people/blogs (and just is part of the internets) that one person expresses their opinion and another person (or group of people) who disagree show up at the original blog/post to debate that opinion. While it is part of life on the web, I support a blog owner’s right to delete comments.

    For example, on a totally unrelated friend’s blog, she posted some personal family information about her adoption and how she felt about the agency – and received all sorts of nasty comments about her ability as a mom. With that said, most of those comments would not be said to her if they knew her IRL face to face. For the most part, I think it’s the better part of valour to speak (and accept) the positions you would state in an open IRL discussion. (Not that anyone on MSP has ever done anything different, just stating for the record).

    So I’m glad it’s being discussed here – I feel main street has more capacity for that type of discussion.

  25. It’s interesting. When I suggest that the LDS church (and all non profit organizations, including churches) should have to publish their financials yearly to their membership – many people get upset because I’m infringing on the separation of church and state. Publishing financials to membership (being required to do this by law) happens in many countries and would not be a government establishing a state religion (IMO). It’s just making sure that funds are being spent for religious activities. (So I can’t go out and declare/create “Aerin’s” church and no longer have to pay taxes. I have to show that I have a religious base).

    But the separation of church and state is obviously (tongue in cheek) not a big deal when the state is trying to make laws to protect its citizens. Churches *have* to get involved in how individual couples (not even necessarily involved in their church/religious organization) live their lives – and what laws the state is making.

  26. I agree that each blog is justified in setting its own comments policy, and that policy affects the flavor of the discussion. Still, the reason that post is attracting so much hostile outside attention isn’t just a case of meanies wanting to pick on Mormons (as much as some Mormons seem to want to believe that’s what it is).

    Matt’s TMBG quote hit it on the nose: That post earned the reaction it’s getting because it champions deplorable selfish values, and real-life Mormons are jumping on the bandwagon to praise the writer of the post.

  27. Seth: (back to the privacy/censorship matter)
    Aren’t dinner parties Strictly Private gatherings (held in-on Private Property)?

    I don’t view the internet as ‘private’ at all … Isn’t access the true issue?

  28. Of course it’s private Guy. Otherwise you’d have a legal cause of action for being banned over at Mormon Mentality – which you don’t. So there.

  29. Chanson, aren’t TMBG awesome?

    Seth and Guy, why don’t we call it what it is: semi-private. Blogs are like people standing on their backyard patio which just happens to back Wrigley Field. Sure, nine-moons are standing on their own little piece of private property on the Web, having a cocktail party if you will. BUT … they’re waving their free-speech banners about where everyone in the stands at Wrigley see, and even national television might catch an occasional glimpse when the Yankees come to play.

    There’s going to be a major popular uprising when the banners nine-moons banners turn to hateful and superstitious ignorance.

  30. Seth: Are you ‘sure’ you aren’t caught up the the LDS Uber-Legalistic version of most everything?

    for myself, I ‘just don’t see’ any point of only discussing – describing one side of a coin, one point of view of a matter of discussion or debate…

    Oh Well

    ‘Of Course’ it’s just a coincidence that YBU has a law school instead of a medical school, that LDS leaders are heavily represented with attorney backgrounds….

    As a commenter on (another?) board posted once: LDS with a highly-charged personal challenge/problem in their life…. often seek the advice of a stock trader, a civil engineer, or perhaps a DEA agent for advice instead of a trained counselor… ‘Incredible’.

  31. It’s just a matter of degree. The BoM has all the justification needed for prophetic atrocity. Sure, maybe the corporate church will always remain just a bowl of soggy cornflakes, but when you teach that god communicates and give examples of god’s bloody justifications in the holy books … well … eventually someone is going to do something insane.

  32. “LDS with a highly-charged personal challenge/problem in their life…. often seek the advice of a stock trader, a civil engineer, or perhaps a DEA agent for advice instead of a trained counselor… ‘Incredible’.”

    That’s true of almost any group in America Guy. Most people don’t like to admit they have a problem, and “see a shrink.”

    Why is it that every time you encounter a common human problem, you always try to land the blame on the LDS Church?

    I suppose when people cut in line at the football game, you blame that on Mormon culture too.

  33. cutting in line? I’ll have to think about that one.
    If the LDS people were taught More of the central Concepts & Principles of Christ-Like living instead of depending on leaders for guidance as to specifics & details… THAT would do a Lot of Good in the world.
    It seems to me that (generally speaking) LDS leaders Enjoy keeping the flock close to the teat…

  34. “If the LDS people were taught More of the central Concepts & Principles of Christ-Like living instead of depending on leaders for guidance as to specifics & details… THAT would do a Lot of Good in the world.”

    Currently, your average LDS gets plenty of BOTH.

    I see nothing wrong with that.

  35. I’m SHOCKED, SHOCKED I TELL YOU!

    it’s about time, eh?
    Has the ‘catching up’ began?

  36. Two things jump out at at me. Really quite old things but nevertheless …

    “As Church members decide their own appropriate level of involvement in protecting marriage between a man and a woman, they should approach this issue with respect for others, understanding, honesty, and civility.”

    Reminds me of “So Fred, have you stopped beating your wife?” Though the above isn’t a loaded question, it’s certainly a loaded statement. Hey, decide for yourself if you want to be saved and live forever as a god, or if you prefer hell. It’s up to you. The church … totally blind to the irrational, fallacious joke that it is.

    Of course, here’s the essential reason given for attacking gay marriage:

    “Marriage is sacred, ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. “

    Got that? Classic. Not only do we apparently know … KNOW … that marriage was invented by god and not by man. But we also KNOW that god meant to exclude those black sheep among his creation who just don’t fit the mold. Oh, and by the way, the whole eff’n world needs to be bound by law to see things our way because we’re right. God said so.

    Oy.

  37. this announcement… is 10 pounds of Shit in a 5 pound Bag.

    it is logically perplexing/confounding, and it identifies one group of society as sub-standard in the community. It’s only justification is an over-the-top Superiority Complex & Judgmentalism.

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