Thursday, January 31, 2008

The End Justifies the Means Theology

Many wonder why James Dobson has not endorsed Huckabee. Is there a more unwavering pro-life candidate? Is there another who has been “born again”? Have any, under spiritual conviction and contrary to political consensus, withdrawn a news release that would have justifiably reproved an opponent?

Many find it perplexing. Even the secular world is finding something amiss. Time magazine, in a recent article of remarkable spiritual perceptiveness, was stunned by Dobson’s reluctance to make “the natural Christian right choice.”

For months, Dobson has [seemed to favor] … [Mormon] Mitt Romney over Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee … the natural Christian right choice. In December, Dr. Dobson praised a Romney speech, as ‘a magnificent reminder of the role religious faith must play in government and public policy. His delivery was passionate and his message inspirational.’ Dobson even made a congratulatory phone call to the candidate.
When Romney lost the Iowa caucuses to Huckabee, Dobson attributed the outcome to ‘conservative Christians,’ but he has not warmed to the former governor…. who has spoken of his great and longtime friendship with the Dobsons, [wondering] … why no endorsement appears to be coming…. In … [Dobson’s] assessments, Huckabee was found wanting in terms of foreign policy and ‘fiscal’ issues…. Romney, on the other hand, was praised as ‘solidly conservative’ and unlikely to renege on that stance.

The question remains: WHY no endorsement? And the answer appears to be Dobson’s “The End Justifies the Means” theology. The “End,” reconciling the lost to the Lord is commendable, but the “Means” are much less so. In order to save the world, Dobson has become more like it. He seems to have honed the political arts of alliance, compromise, and concession far better than the discipline of unwavering Spirit lead conviction. All things considered, perhaps Dobson HAS given Huckabee the endorsement he needed.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tar and Feathers

“Rigdon… made a new translation of the Bible, in which prophecies of the coming of Joseph Smith and the nature of The Book of Mormon are inserted in the 50th chapter of Genesis and the 20th chapter of Isaiah respectively…. the church was “persecuted”… on the 25th of March 1832 Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered at Hiram….In 1836 the Kirtland Safety Society Bank was organized (in accordance with a “revelation” to Smith)…. In March 1837 Rigdon and Smith, the secretary and treasurer, were charged with violating the state law against unchartered banks, and they were convicted in October…. In November the “bank” suspended payments and… Smith and Rigdon left the state for Missouri…. [After a] determined attempt to depose Smith… there was organized… a band… bound to secrecy under penalty of death, and formed to punish all who opposed the Church and its supreme head. Numerous crimes and outrages were attributed to them…. On the 4th of July 1838 Rigdon preached his “salt sermon” … urging his hearers to wage “a war of extermination” on those who disturbed them…. and necessitated the calling out of the state militia…. Smith and Rigdon with others were arrested and imprisoned on a charge of treason, murder, and felony… In 1842 Smith was charged with instigating and attempt… to assassinate ex-Governor L. W. Boggs of Missouri…. There seems to have been no secret about Smith’s cohabiting with other women…. he had a revelation expressly establishing and approving polygamy.” (The Encyclopedia Britannica, Thirteenth Edition, London, vol. 18, pp. 843-844, 1926)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Urim and Thummin

MORMONS: [The Encyclopedia Britannica, Thirteenth Edition, London, vol. 18, pp. 842-843, 1926]… a religious sect founded by Joseph Smith… born… December 1805 at Sharon… Vermont, from which place… his parents, who like his grandparents were superstitious, neurotic, seers of visions, and believers in miraculous cures and in heavenly voices and direct revelation, removed to New York, where they settled on a small farm… Joseph, a good natured, lazy boy, suffering from a bad heredity physically and psychically, began to have visions which seem to have accompanied epileptoid seizures… from which he recovered apparently before he became of age. The boy’s father was a digger for hidden treasure… the son became a crystal gazer and by the use of a “peep-stone” discovered the whereabouts of pretended hidden treasure.

He [Smith] said… that on the night of the 21st of September 1823 the angel Moroni appeared to him three times, and told him that the Bible of the western continent, the supplement to the New Testament, was buried on a hill called Cumorah, now commonly known as Mormon Hill….

It was not until the 22nd of September of 1827 that (as he said) he dug up, on the hill near Manchester, a stone box, in which was a volume… made of thin gold plates… and fastened together by three gold rings. The plates were covered with small writing [supposedly of the reformed Egyptian tongue]… with the golden book Smith claimed that he found a breastplate of gold and a pair of supernatural spectacles, consisting of two crystals set in a silver bow, and called “Urim and Thummin”; by aid of these the mystic characters could be read. Being himself unable to read or write fluently, Smith employed as amanuenses: first Martin Harris… then his own wife, Emma; after the middle of April 1829, Oliver Cowdery, a blacksmith and school teacher, and David Whitmer; to them , from behind a curtain, he dictated a translation, for the printing and publishing of which Martin Harris paid, in spite of the continued opposition of his wife to the scheme. An edition of 5000 copies of The Book of Mormon was printed early in 1830… Soon afterwards, according to Smith, the plates disappeared, being taken away by the angel Moroni.

The Book of Mormon, in which Joseph Smith was declared to be God’s “prophet,” with all power and entitled to all obedience, professes to give the history of America from its first settlement by a colony of “Jaredites” from among the crowd dispersed by the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel down to the year 5 A.D.