22 September 2016

Darkening Clouds of Strife

I've had a thought about the riots in Charlotte, NC. There are several things that have hit NC hard and it's starting to seem like the state is being targeted for trouble.

First the NFL, then the NCAA and ACC pull their tournament games from the state. Why? Because they don't know how to read the law and misinterpret it for being discriminatory. Nevermind the other states and nations they play in that truly have discriminatory laws (such as Puerto Rico and the Bahamas).

Then a black cop on a police force with a black police chief shoots an armed black man. And all of a sudden we have rioters smashing, looting, and causing all sorts of violence claiming black lives matter and blaming whites for the problem.

We know that George Soros and others have funded BLM and the organization is flush with $100 million cash. I suspect that the rioters in NC have been brought in from out of town. Just like Ferguson, MO, just like Milwaukee, just like in Dallas and Baton Rouge and several other places.

I just wonder when it will be Louisville's turn. Why? We've had a number of police shootings here that could have received national attention and caused riots. In each of these cases in Louisville, just like in Ferguson, just like in Louisiana, and even Charlotte, the police were justified in defending themselves and the public by taking the deadly force action they took.

If BLM really wanted to riot for unjustified police brutality, there have been a number of cases that they could have risen to, but they haven't. There have been two or three cases recently where an officer shot and killed a handcuffed suspect. But the BLM aren't protesting these situations.

If BLM really wanted to improve relations and the state of black lives, they wouldn't be rioting and torching people's homes and businesses that provide the necessities of the communities they serve. They would, instead, be trying to help their brothers and sisters gain skills to succeed. War is not success.

The darkening clouds of strife, anguish, revenge and hate have been darkening quite quickly over the past two or three years. I will be quite curious to see the scrolls of the world history laid bare of these years. I want to see where I was wrong in my opinions and where I was right. At this point, I have no ability to affect change at large. I can only affect change locally. And I will show love to those around me. I will show I have no animosity, no guile, no angst against anyone. Hopefully, I will receive the same respect.

01 October 2015

My Testimony on Tithing as the lesser law to the Law of Consecration (or United Order)

One of the things that has always concerned me about my oaths and covenants with God was my fulfillment of the Law of Consecration. Did observance to the Law of Tithing satisfy the conditions of Consecration? During some research on a closely related topic, I found my answer and my testimony on the subject. This article will follow my progression on that other topic to my personal revelation and increase in testimony. Really cool, actually.

First, what is the Law of Consecration? The Law of Consecration can be defined as consecrating "our time, our talents, and our money and property to the cause of the [God's] Church." In short, in all that we engage ourselves in for the prosperity of ourselves, family, and community, anything that is earned, should be given to God for the distribution back to us and others who are in need. In short, and on a temporal plane of thinking, it is the redistribution of wealth. But looking at it deeper, it is SO much more. (And by following the link above, you can find out more.)

United Order vs Socialism

First, I knew from past lessons that the United Order of God, from which is the manifestation of the Law of Consecration, is not the same as Socialism or its related political manifestations: Communism and Fabianism. Some definitions:
  • Communism is the revolutionary component of creating a socialist government. That is, it uses a revolution, often violence, to force a government to change to socialism. An example is the United Soviet Socialist Republic and the People's Republic of China
  • Fabianism is the evolutionary component of creating a socialist government.. That is, it uses constitutional and societal means to change the government to socialism. An example is Nazi Germany, and several other Western European countries. Even the United States as it moves closer and closer to a fully enacted socialist government.
How is Socialism different from the United Order? Well, how is it the same? In 1966, President Marion G. Romney, of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, spoke on the matter:
The following are similarities: Both
  1. deal with production and distribution of goods;
  2. aim to promote the well-being of men by eliminating their economic inequalities;
  3. envision the elimination of the selfish motives in our private capitalistic industrial system.

Where they are different is multitude. And you can read all about it in his talk, "Is Socialism the United Order?" Simply, the difference hinges on forced redistribution of wealth, which results in the destruction of wealth and loss of freedom. The other, the United Order, is the free will of the participant to join the Order and participate, freely giving up their wealth to the greater good out of their desire to follow God's Law, which results in the creation of wealth and the increase of freedom.

The United Order, as directed by God through his Patriarchs and Prophets throughout time, have had varying levels of success. Mostly failure. Two known successes are the City of Enoch and the few generations after Christ visited the people in the Americas. Concerning the City of Enoch, the Pearl of Great Price teaches us:
And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them. (Moses 7:18.)

And of the time after Christ in America:
And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. (4 Nephi 1:3)
I just noticed something. I stated above that God's Law increased our freedom. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to explain that. But there it is, right there in 4 Nephi 1:3. Okay, back onto the main topic.

Of course, the failures are documented as well. The early church of Christ in the Old World tried for awhile to live the Law of Consecration and the United Order, but the distances between the seven churches was too great and they were having a hard time just living the basic tenets of Christianity. Not to mention the overpowering influence of the Roman empire. The early church in the Last Dispensation, while Joseph Smith was the living prophet, the United Order lasted for 3.25 years before it failed as President J. Reuben Clark Jr. noted:
The United Order lasted, in theory, for some three and a quarter years, and then it was discontinued, withdrawn by the Lord, because of the greed and selfishness of men. (“Testimony of Divine Origin of Welfare Plan,” Church News, 8 Aug. 1951, p. 3)


So where does this leave the Law of Tithing? Tithing is the giving of 10% of one's increase to God. How is increase defined? Well, that's between you and the Lord. For me, personally, I have evolved on the subject a bit, but will not add my personal thoughts on the subject here. You can figure it out for yourself. (Do I include *all* increase, including gifts, birthday present money, etc? Do I include money that is taxed away from me or discount the taxed monies that were given me in pay?) Whatever you decide 10% is, is what you should give to the Lord. And now we're getting somewhere in relation to the Law of Consecration.

Tithing was always an active Law in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, before and after the United Order. Tithing was an active law during the time of Christ, during the Generation of the Israelites, even as far back as Abraham:
And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes; yea, even our father Abraham paid tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed. (Alma 13:15)

So we now understand that Tithing is an important Law, but how does it relate to the Law of Consecration. And am I fulfilling my responsibilities to the Law of Consecration by simply following the Law of Tithing?
The law of tithing, for example, gives us a great opportunity to implement the principle of consecration and stewardship (Enrichment L The Law of Consecration and Stewardship, L-8 Preparing for Consecration)
First, let's answer the question about relation. And this is my big revelation... (not prophetic revelation, that's already happened but the revelation and testimony I received): the Law of Tithing is the Law of Consecration, at least in part. Marion G. Romney writes:
As you will recall, the principles underlying the United Order are consecration and stewardships and then the contribution of surpluses into the bishop’s storehouse.


Notice the wording of the above statement. The underlying principles ... are consecration and stewardships and then the contribution of surpluses. There it is! The tithe is a request of 10%, for many of us this is a contribution of surplus.

So what about those where a payment of tithe is a sacrifice and not a contribution of surplus? Well, certainly, if our society truly lived the United Order, the person for whom it would be a sacrifice would not feel the pinch at all. Since everyone who creates or earns a wealth keeps what they need and gives of the surplus, the surplus is returned to those who could not create an increase sufficient for their needs. For those with greater creation power they feel no superiority and those who receive feel no humility as the giving and receiving is done with an eye single to the glory of God and for the welfare of our brothers and sisters.
The United Order exalts the poor and humbles the rich. In the process both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and humiliating limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by consecration and by imparting of their surplus for the benefit of the poor, not by constraint but willingly as an act of free will, evidence that charity for their fellowmen characterized by Mormon as “the pure love of Christ.” (Moro. 7:47.) ("Is Socialism the United Order", Marion G. Romney)

But we are not living the United Order today and those who pay tithing just might feel the pinch of
sacrifice by doing so. The honest tithe payer will admit to being blessed, even if it is not monetarily or temporally manifest. However, their temporal needs may be met by the welfare programs of the Church, in counsel with the steward of the Lord's Storehouse, the Bishop (or Branch President as the case may be). Having just served in such a branch and being privy to the financial needs of its members as the ward clerk, I can testify that NO ONE should look down on those who receive from the welfare of the Church. NO ONE. The decision of the Branch President or Bishop in these matters are given to him by the Spirit of God and for the benefit of our Father's children. So, should you find yourself speaking ill of either a recipient of Church welfare or of the decisions of God's representative, please check your pride. (And I exempt not myself as I must be continually watchful of my thoughts and demeanor toward the poor and needy.)
Wherefore, the office of a bishop is not equal unto it; for the office of a bishop is in administering all temporal things; (Doctrines and Covenants 107:68)


So, am I living the Law of Consecration by paying tithing? Yes! and no. Yes, because for me I am doing God's will with an eye single to his glory. I am also a giver of Fast Offerings. Can I give more? Probably, possibly, maybe not? I have made decisions for my family and myself and I feel honest with God in my financial performances to him.

Now let's review the Law of Consecration. It is that we consecrate our time, talents, and all things with which the Lord has blessed us. Are we consecrating our time? How about our talents? Do you have a calling in the Church? Do you fulfill that calling to the best of your ability? Do you spend the time necessary to fulfill that calling? Do you spend the time to fulfill other needs to bring to pass the immortality and eternal lives of God's children by performing temple work, genealogy, missionary service, home teaching or visiting teaching, reading of your scriptures, prayerful supplication to Heavenly Father? I have need of much improvement and repentance in some of these matters. In others, I do quite well.


I'm not sure where to add this, so I'll add it here. This is not new if you've read the links I've provided. In short, however, the Law of Consecration is the willingness of the participant to give of all they have and to receive all that they need and want. But they are to be stewards of what they receive. Jesus told of the three people who received talents of the master and how those three handled those talents and performed their duty in stewardship. In the United Order, we are to be stewards of what we receive and increase that to the best of our abilities. The product of our abilities may be more or less than others or more or less than our needs, but the Lord blesses us individually and as a society for proper obedience.

15 May 2014

Louisville Housing Market

Well, with 2 house showings in 2 days right after Derby, I thought, perhaps, the housing market was picking up. But perhaps not. April wasn't great for the market, and May doesn't appear to be doing any better.

At the beginning of the year, bad weather was to blame. April could blame it on Derby festivities, but only partially. What is it then, that is causing such low interest? The report states that the house inventory is low, which should equate to higher prices, but that's not happening. Why?

Here's my theory: The market for the middle class housing is tepid. (Right where my house is situated.) But I've heard that the houses in the $400,000 range are moving. The problem is that, like all well intentioned mucking around with taxes, it's the middle class that gets hurt. Gas prices have consistently stayed above $3.00 for 3+ years (Jan 22, 2011) in Louisville, KY,
health insurance is WAY high (what happened to that $2500/family savings?), and the costs of goods all around have increased.

The decrease for the middle class fall into wages, jobs, and purchasing power. A lot of people have not had raises for 5 years. A lot of people have lost jobs, despite the "fact" we're coming out of a recession. And the pool of people in the Middle Class have decreased. (Some are getting wealthy, most are falling off the backside.) I also think that people are realizing that purchasing a house 2.5x their yearly salary really isn't a wise move. And that's a problem for the $40,000/yr wage earner and the available houses are $120,000+.  From what I hear the renter's market is up. Here in a couple of weeks, we may test those waters with our house.

29 November 2013

Deceptively Dishonest Reporting to Engender Greed Against Corporations

Ok, Drudge linked to a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article that tries to make the argument that shoppers aren't really getting a deal during the Christmas season because these retail outlets are making an 11% profit margin during the season rather than their normal 9% profit margin. Well, DUH! Somebody at Bloomberg BusinessWeek has failed math.

Sure, they are making more. They don't call this Black Friday because Americans Corporations are racist. They are making more on volume. Their operating costs stay the same, but they are selling a lot more. Even with loss-leader items, people still buy the other items in the store which are not discounted.
"For every $98 flat-screen TV, there’s plenty more to buy at a 98 percent markup."
Well, shock of shocks! Retail outlets that have to pay a bunch of employees wages, employee taxes, license fees (if they are a licensee outlet), business license taxes, property taxes, healthcare benefits, healthcare taxes, middle management wages, management wages, all on top of the shipping costs and actual costs of the product are actually marking up their products enough that they can actually cover these costs and stay in business.

I guess I shouldn't find it odd in a country that "graduates" high school students that can't think for themselves also graduates college business students that don't understand basic economics.

15 July 2013

Ponderings of the State of the Nation and the Plan of God

For my politically active and religious friends.  I was pondering the state of the country today and what an absolute mess it is in. I was also feeling a loss of being able to read what the majority of Americans are thinking. I don't trust the polls since they only take a sampling of a few thousand people at most... and who knows if those people who (1) answer the phone, (2) stay on long enough to answer questions, and (3) answer truthfully. During the election cycle I had a pretty decent read on the state of affairs - but then that was shattered on election day. Our "Dear Leader", Divider in Chief, won by cheating. While he may not have been directly involved, his supporters were.

Well, as I said, I was pondering my inability to get a good feel on the state of the People. Are they a majority that still uphold laws or are the majority happy in their free-loader state of being, railing against those evil people who have jobs and make money.  Are the majority fighting for a race war, wealth war, war on women, etc, etc, or are the majority fighting to end those "wars." (Hint, I'm on the side of ending them. I have no ill will towards other races, towards those who have more than I do, or towards women - though many on the opposite spectrum would accuse me of being so.)  I just could not figure it out.

Then the Spirit confirmed to me that all was well and I need not worry about those things. God is in control and He has His spokesman on earth. We must look to His prophet for guidance and do what is right. We must warn our friends and let them know that God has a living prophet... and that is an absolutely wonderful message.

This doesn't mean I have to silence my voice, but it does mean I can let the load off. In fact, my voice needs to be as loud as ever. I am grateful for this knowledge and invite all who don't know to research and ask God yourself for the answers.