Alma 51 in the Book of Mormon

I was wondering if anyone else has ever noticed how Alma 51 is a rehash of the American Revolution? Take a read tonight if you have the book and tell me what you think. If you need a copy, you can find it electronically at

King-Men = British
Freemen = American Revolutionaries
Moroni ~ George Washington
Standard of Liberty = The flag of the revolution

Key words – Free government, freedom, voice of the people, people of liberty, defend their country.

Key ideas – nobility and high born against the [commoners], defending cities near the sea, the opposition is a greater number and force.

I’m sure there are other similarities, but these are the ones that stood out.

Why I disagree with Prop. 8 – Monday, November 10, 2008

I think prop. 8 was a huge mistake. This country was based on the principle that all [people] are created equal. As a law abiding citizen, I should be allowed to be treated equally under the law regardless of my religious beliefs (or lack there of), skin tone, or who I want as spouse. Marriage is a social contract between consenting adults, and as such should be left as a right of every free citizen.

What I find most ironic about the passage of prop. 8 is that is was due in large part because of he African American’s and Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. These two groups more than many others have suffered persecution by being labeled “the other” and not being allowed the same basic rights we all deserve. If you change prop. 8 to exclude any religious or ethnic group, the whole thing never would have made it to the ballot. And yet, two people who want to make commitment to one another are cast aside since they do not conform to some religious standard. Specifically, the LdS church already has a separate marriage different than the rest of the world. By their doctrine, all other marriages are less than the LdS marriage since they end at death anyway. A marriage by any non-Mormon, in a civil marriage, is a secular ceremony that unites people only on this earth. Should a “time and all eternity” marriage be outlawed since it conflicts with the US majorities view of what constitutes a marriage?

What about the procreation of the species? There is no question evolution would not work if only partners of the same sex cam together. However, less than 1% of any population is actually found to be homosexual. It is also not confined to homo-sapiens. Other groups have small populations of same sex coupling. As humans, we can have children out of wedlock, yet no one would ever conceive of banning a person’s right to procreate outside the bounds of marriage. Many hetero couples get together and never have children by choice. Should they have their rights revoked since they do not share in some religious prerogative? Certainly not. Human procreation will never be affected by allowed homosexual couples to marry.

What about the children? Won’t someone please think about the children? In order to have a better society, people need to grow up in a loving environment. Even if they don’t, most people make it into society ok despite how they grew up. It is also true that a child needs positive role models from both sexes to understand how they interact and their roles in society. So, should we outlaw single parenthood? If a mother or father is trying to raise a child on their own, they are not living up to some preconceived notion of how things “ought to be”. In the situations, children find role models in their other family members, neighborhoods, churches, civic organizations, etc. What about all those kids in foster care because there hetero sexual parents did not want them? There are so many waiting for a loving home and now, at least in one state (Arkansas) single parents are not allowed to adopt. So, the kids are left to an abusive system that causes more harm than good instead of getting them to a loving family, whether single or a gay couple. Those left to the foster system will become “screwed up”.

If homosexual couples are allowed to marry, it will justify homosexual relations as an alternative lifestyle. The funny thing, it already is. People already live their lives together in same sex relationships; they just do so without the same rights as hetero couples. There is simply no proof that a child raised by a same sex couple will choose to be in a same sex relationship at a higher rate than those raised by heteros. The simple fact is we are attracted to whom we are attracted to. We have as much choice with whom we fall in love with or find attractive as we do our hair color. You can force a change, but your roots will eventually show through.

I am grateful to live in a free country that protects the rights of individuals regardless of their religion, color or nationality. I am thankful to have a loving father than made sure his sons understood life is short and this is all you get, so make the best of it and help others do the same. Finally, I am grateful to be in a congregation of people where differences are celebrated and welcomes people no matter who they are or what their particular path through this life is. I know there are surely homosexuals among them, but I could not tell you who they are, only that they are part of my extend human family. 

You Did What?

In response to some interest in my past, I thought I’d share a piece written by an author that I found influential and share a little of my time as a Mormon.  I joined the Mormon church when I was 16.  I fell for a girl and it was really important to her, so I looked into it.  I loved history mysteries and the Book of Mormon purported to be the history of early indigenous of North and South America.  I met the missionaries, took the discussions and joined the LDS church.
My father was great.  He is not religious at all and his father was an outspoken atheist.  I had to have his permission to join and he did so without much thought.  Later when I decided to serve a mission, he was okay with that too, especially when he found out I was going to Australia.  I served two years over in Oz, came back, dated, met a beautiful girl and got married in the Dallas Temple.  We had three girls, all blessed in the church.  Some time in 2006, I had been reading the Book of Mormon to Kassidy and we came to the passage in 1 Nephi 4:18.  In this section, Nephi (“good” guy) cuts off Laban’s (“bad” guy) head.  Kassidy turns to me and asks why?  I try to explain, you know god kills bad people to make a point.  Then she asks, “Is that true?”  Had it been an adult, I would have said yes without thinking, but I just could not answer that.
So I spent the next year and a half trying to come to grips with the belief system I had come to accept as true.  I spent a lot of time fasting, praying, reading the scriptures and church sanctioned commentary.  I thne moved to other resource not sanctioned, one of which was “Farewell to Eden“.  I was part of a newsgroup and had gotten into some long, heated debates with the author.   I had the book delivered to the library (I was not about to spend a dime to support his “heresy”).  I finished it in a night and realized I’d been duped.  I could see the Book of Mormon was a fraud and a really clumsy one.  A little over an hour spent at the local library would be all that is needed.  It took me a while to understand how I could have been misled for so long.  I read a book “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)“.  While it has nothing to do with religion, it is a good book on psychology and how we justify our decisions.
My wife’s side is still Mormon and mine are still, whatever, mostly non-religious.  We tried the Unitarian Universalists for a while, and my wife still goes.   I am an atheist and really have no need for religion, but I think it is important for my kids to learn about christianity as well as all the other worlds myths.  I find the intellectual honesty I have with myself now is worth the trouble I went through to get here.