Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sat in the Smoking Section of Church Today

One of the best misunderstandings ever happened today. I was asked by a leader to help out at a "gospel discussion" after church for expatriates (expatriates are foreigners living in China - we can have gospel discussions with them but not with Chinese citizens, a rule we strictly follow). This discussion was going to be held at a popular jazz bar and night club associated with a fellow member and friend. An unusual venue, but I was able to go and agreed to help. I asked my wife if she'd come along and she graciously did. We went there straight after church, expecting to find a small gathering, perhaps two or three people in a side room or something who might want to ask about church history or something. What we found was a packed venue with dozens of people listening to Tia Fuller (yes, the Tia Fuller, saxophonist with Beyoncé's band) at the mic, sharing her story to an enthusiastic crowd apparently right after performing.

I still didn't get what was happening and wondered if this venue could possibly be meant for a religious event. It took me a while to realize that this wasn't a "gospel discussion," is was a celebration of gospel music in honor of Black History Month. And yes, it was a religious event: it was "church" the way church should be done, according to some of the performers. There were awesome musicians, mostly African-Americans now living in Shanghai, with some from other parts of the world as well. Loud, lively, fun gospel music. We sat in the smoking section with a couple of friends from the US Consulate that played a role in supporting this major event, possibly the first major gathering of gospel musicians in Shanghai, the owner of the club told me (if I understood correctly). Not every misunderstanding turns out to be this enjoyable, except for the smoke.

May all your future misunderstandings have rhythm.

By the way, having been made a little more aware of Black History Month and in light of the painful history of race issues in the Church, let me turn your attention to some useful materials that help deal with the real issues involving blacks and the priesthood. One of the most straightforward and clear things I've read on the issue is Scott Gordon's "Three Mormon Myths About Blacks and the Priesthood." I'll need to update my own writings on the topic as I further absorb and ponder the insights he brings and those offered by the other resources he links to, including BlackLDS.org. Interesting stuff that may challenge your old assumptions but give you a better view of what has happened and what great blessings have finally been opened up for all.

As you read and ponder, there's an important word to keep your mind open to as a possibility associated with this issue: mistake, as in the human kind. Maybe Mistake. Or even MISTAKE. Yes, they happen, even in the Church. It's what you get, unfortunately, when you let us mortals do things, even good mortals trying to do good things. It's possible that serious mistakes can be made that can demand patience from us until they are rectified. Are you prepared for that? (Me, I prefer perfection from everyone else but me, but I guess I'm something of an idealist.) May we all be more understanding regarding the pains and mistakes of the past, and do all we can to avoid racism and other forms of bigotry today. (OK, perhaps not all racism: the excessively good treatment I get in China as a result of being white is something that the natural man in me is not quite ready to part with. I can't imagine how difficult life would be if I were on the receiving end of completely opposite treatment, facing animosity and harshness because of my skin color.)

Let me know your thoughts about the specific points Scott Gordon makes, and the points raised in the links he provides. I'm not interested, though, in the usual diatribes about how awful Mormons are for the long-gone limitations on the priesthood in the past, whatever the reasons were for that temporary policy. We've heard that a million times (well, 968,346 times, according to Google's Insult Counter Widget for Mormanity, which is plenty for now).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rejoicing in China: The Best Two Years (?) of My Life

It's actually been less than a year, but it could easily be two, three, or even four based on the number of adventures and blessings I've experienced here. It's been the most intensely lived time of my life, packed with wave after wave of experiences. It's also been the most romantic, with more time dedicated to my marriage and the fun and joy of companionship than ever. It's a date almost every day, with some really great adventures along the way such as visits to Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Florida, and several parts of China since my wife and I entered China. But just walking around Shanghai, just walking around our neighborhood, is an adventure and delight almost every day. The honeymoon definitely isn't over. I love it here, in spite of some things I dislike.

We came here with a sense that this is where we were supposed to be. Many of the Latter-day Saints we meet here have that same feeling. Being here feels like a mission, a calling, a destiny. For me, a wildly fun one. But coming here was a careful, prayerful decision with many factors and much time and effort. As glamorous as Shanghai is, as exciting as the career opportunity is, the decision to come was difficult. (Staying here, at least for now, has been a second, equally difficult decision that we recently made.) To come here, I had to leave an exciting job while also turning down an opportunity to return to academia. Yet the unexpected, unplanned opportunity in Shanghai won out, at the expense of many things that are important to me. We have grandchildren now, and they are not in China. My beloved backyard apple trees aren't in China either. We haven't sold the house yet, but probably need to. I love that place. We're so grateful to the great LDS couple that has been renting the house from us. (Moving to Appleton? Let us know. We probably should just go ahead and sell the home. Perfect neighborhood. And if you love the world's best applesauce and fresh apples, perhaps you too will fall in love with the two trees I planted years ago.)

Our social life here has also been richer than ever. We do something with other people almost every day. This includes lots of fun with local Chinese people such as taking them out to dinner, having them treat us to dinner, cooking dinner for them here, having them over to practice English and Chinese, meeting with them for a Chinese lesson, etc. We also have lots of fun with fellow expats (foreigners living in China) such as people from Church or people we meet here through other circles. For example, we had a super-cool couple over for dinner Sunday, and as they left nine young single adults showed up for even more fun and food. A bit hectic but very rewarding. We get to meet and associate with some really fascinating and even famous people and learn things from them we never would have learned on our own.

Professional opportunities have also been surprisingly interesting, and now I'm scheduled to speak at a variety of events in the next few months, including a plenary session at the annual meeting of a very significant organization meeting in Indian Wells, California in May and at upcoming conferences in Bangkok, Beijing, and Shanghai, with an invitation to speak in Singapore just in. The world of innovation and IP in China is pretty interesting, and a lot of people want to learn more about it, especially me. What a great place to be.

So why do I write all this? All this adventure, all this fun, so many blessings and miracles and sense of belonging, and yet there is the melancholy of being a pilgrim and a stranger in a foreign land, having left my home and much that is precious, and not sure when or if I'll return and settle down again on familiar land. How to fulfill my duties to family in the States while working here? We get back occasionally and I'll be in the States again in May and probably in the summer. But it's not enough. Just not enough.

Somehow, we really feel that we need to be here now. For years? We don't know. To stay here will mean that my wife, now on a leave of absence for one year, will have to give up the rewarding teaching job she had in the country's greatest school district, the Appleton Area School District of Wisconsin, a district so progressive that they gave full support to my wife in forming the Classical School as a public charter school focused on academic excellent, where over 400 students K-8 now flourish with exceptionally high test scores and great teachers and facilities. All those memories, all those children in the community who loved Mrs. Lindsay and greeted here almost everywhere we went, all those friends over the years, and those apples, we're away from them all over here and not sure when we'll be back, if ever. But I think we will stay here for now.

You should meet my friends here, including LDS friends and those of other faiths, or those who think they have no faith. There are such rich souls, such generous, loving, noble people, people I am proud to view as my brothers and sisters. I cannot imagine how lucky I am to have so many jewels added to my life. The other morning, after pondering the blessing of all the special friendships we keep forming here, I awoke with this strange thought in my mind: "Do not doubt that the people entering your life now were prepared and placed there by the Lord, including many special souls who will one day rejoice together with you." I hope that's true. There's so much rejoicing to do, and I'm going to need a lot of help to get it all done.

Come over and visit us here in Shanghai. Come rejoice with us. We need all the help we can get in this business of rejoicing.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Single Adults: Looking for Suggestions to Help in Our Fabulous New Calling

My wife and I just began the best calling ever. We were called as co-chairs of our District's Single Adult Committee. We get to work together and travel together to help LDS single adults in several parts of China, including a sizable group of young single adults (ages 18-30), many of whom are here in Shanghai. Is there a better calling than this anywhere? Honest, no bribes were involved (here I am defining bribes as "cash" and not, say, a bright red 2012 Ducati Streetfighter motorcycle with programmable GlowZone-3 LED accent lights).

Last night we attended the Shanghai baptism of an amazing 19-year-old young man who is our newest young single adult, a bold and intelligent young man who is the only member in his classy and supportive family. We learned more of his story today in the single adult Sunday School class that I got to teach. After Church we had many of the young single adults over for dinner and chatting. What an awesome group of young people. What a blessing it has been already to associate with them. They are at such an interesting and critical stage of their lives now, all having a major adventure with us here in China.

Our calling will take us to some other cities soon to meet with other single adults to better understand their needs and help them out. We'll also need to help plan activities and do other things for them. Suggestions? Any of you done this at the Stake or District level before? Or unit level? I'd like to hear your thoughts about how the Church can better meet the needs of single adults, young and beyond, and what things we should keep in mind, make sure to do, or be sure to avoid. We're complete novices but already love the calling and feel so grateful for it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Shanghai Under Attack!

Shanghai is under attack! As I write, I am cowering under a table, seeking protection from the endless explosions that are happening all over this city. It is a senseless, violent attack with brutal bursts everywhere I look. Who is behind all this destruction?? A large eruption just happened across the street--now another one--probably taking out floors 30 and above of another apartment building. I can only imagine the horror the survivors face.

This shell struck right across the street from us, taking out a major hotel.
By the time you get this post, I and much of this city may be no more. A vicious aerial assault is underway, with large shells exploding above, next to, and directly on the many skyscrapers of this town. Whoever is attacking us, they have an enormous arsenal. And what a diversity of weapons. Some of the eruptions are blue, green, red, orange, and multiple colors. Are these chemical weapons, releasing deadly gas? I look outside again. Thick clouds of smoke are arising in the regions where the worse eruptions are occurring. Nerve gas? Or just the smoke of deadly burning?

Here is a deadly barrage against other apartment complexes near us. Will we be next?

Oh, the Mormanity!
Boom–a fiery eruption just occurred next to our building. Now another. My time may be up. I can feel the building shaking under the assault. I’m on floor 18. It may be that floors 25 and above are no longer. Strangely, though, I hear no screaming. Only the endless explosions. What nation could have this much firepower, this much wealth to squander in invading another nation? Logic leaves only one choice: this must be an invasion of the World’s Policeman, the United States. But why now? And why Shanghai? Oh, yes. I get it. It’s an election year.... Well, that’s politics, and now I’m seeing it up close. So ugly, except these explosions are, in spite of their horror, surprisingly beautiful in a warped sort of way. The flashes of color and the bright sparkles made by all that flaming shrapnel are almost artistic. Or is the shock of war making me crazy now?

Now I hear gunfire, the sound of hundreds of guns discharging wantonly–pop!pop! pop! boom! Boom! pop-pop-pop, but so fierce it sounds almost like a million giant firecrackers going off. The ground fire is probably cutting down thousands of citizens trying to escape. Ground troops must be taking the city as the aerial assault continues in many other sectors. Suddenly I heard the roar of nearby gunfire coming from the street immediately below me, and now from behind our building also. Survivors fleeing our complex have no chance. This is the end. But I never guessed that America's penchant for foreign war would be my doom.

A strategic hit right between two adjacent apartment buildings next to us, taking out many floors in both buildings at once. Notice all the colors in the assault. Are there chemical weapons, too?
Strangely, our Internet service is up. Miraculously, I may at least be able to document the final moments of my life. Kendra, I love you. Sorry about the missing chocolate–yes, it was me, not the maid. And Mom, I love you , too. Sorry about the missing chocolate when we visited. I guess I was involved in its disappearance, sort of. Sorry.

I barely escaped the attack of these shells before seeking cover in my apartment. But they are getting closer now.....
I call out to my wife who was in the next room when the bombing started. I believe she is seeking protection under the bed. I hear her voice–-she’s still alive!-- but the noise of endless explosions drowns our her words. Should I risk rushing over to be at her side? Yes, it is my most sacred and urgent duty, but first I’ve got to finish this post. Just a few more words and then some photos, and maybe a quick Tweet or two....

My wife walks into the room. She dares to stand in full view of the window, which somehow hasn’t been shattered yet by all the blasting. She has her coat on and looks calm, even happy. I think the shock of war has made her delusional. "Jeff, come on, let’s go out and see more of the fireworks for the Lantern Festival. Isn’t it beautiful?"



--Written Feb. 9 during the fierce violence of the Lantern Festival, part of the celebrations associated with the lunar New Year, coming 15 days after. Somehow we and the city of Shanghai survived.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More on Word Pairs and Hebraisms

My previous post linked to a significant 1997 article by Kevin Barney that revealed the presence in the Book of Mormon of a recently recognized traditional element of ancient Hebrew poetry, word pairs. There are several other good resources that you might enjoy, especially if you are interested in understanding or appreciating the Book of Mormon. A few more suggestions:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Our Semitic Book of Mormon: Hebraic Word Pairs (and Question on Mosiah 7:11)

Kevin Barney's impressive article, "Poetic Diction and Parallel Word Pairs in the Book of Mormon" published by the Maxwell Institute is a must-read for those interested in the issue of vestiges of Hebraic language structures (Hebraisms) in the Book of Mormon. Barney treats just one of many related topics, but this issue of word pairs is well researched, well documented, and a meaningful advance in our understanding of the Book of Mormon and its Semitic roots. He offers 3 hypotheses to explain why these are found in such abundance in the Book of Mormon. Decide for yourself which one makes the most sense. Here is the list of 40 attested word pairs from Hebrew literature that are used appropriately, even skillfully, in the Book of Mormon. Given that scholars did not recognize the concept of Hebraic word pairs until decades after Joseph Smith's day, I hope you'll at least be impressed that they have been implemented so well in the Book of Mormon text.

Here is the list of 40 attested word pairs that occur in Hebrew poetry and in Book of Mormon passages. Many, of course, are logically related and not surprising of themselves to be used together, though some are far from intuitive or obvious. More important, I would suggest, is how they have been used. Is it random and clumsy, as we might find, say, in any attempted forgery written in King James lingo (why not go ahead and have your favorite Bible student try this for a few pages and see what happens?) or skillful and deliberate? Read the article and let me know your thoughts.

Index of Word Pairs

1. anger//fierce anger
2. blessed//cursed
3. blood//burnt offerings
4. city//land
5. day//night
6. dead//dust
7. deliver//destroy
8. earth//darkness
9. earth//mountains
10. eyes//heart
11. favor//blessing
12. God//man
13. good//evil
14. hearken//give ear
15. hearken//hear
16. heart//soul
17. hear//understand
18. heavens//earth
19. highway//road
20. Jacob//Israel
21. knees//earth
22. lead//destroy
23. light//darkness
24. Lord//God
25. mountain//valley
26. nations//earth
27. old men//young men
28. people//Israel
29. place//land
30. pride//wisdom
31. righteous//wicked
32. sea//earth
33. seen//heard
34. sin//righteousness
35. tell//declare
36. thousands//ten thousands
37. tree//waters
38. visions//dreams
39. walk//observe
40. way//law
Special request for your Hebrew experts:In a recent comment on this blog, Annie J. made an interesting observation. I'd like further input on this verse and causative structures in Hebrew:
There's another possible Hebraism that I discovered while reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese. It was in Mosiah 7, verse 11 - the English wording is "I should have caused that my guards should have put you to death." I noticed this because the wording is very elegant in Japanese; they have a causative - a verb conjugation that means "to cause someone to V." As I read it in Japanese and noticed how appropriate and native-like it sounded, I flipped back to the English, where I found the much more cumbersome "should have caused that …" A native English speaker, in that situation, would have said "I should have commanded my guards to put you to death," or inserted a similar verb. We're not accustomed to having a causal form of a verb.

When I returned from my mission, I asked a good friend of mine who is an Orthodox Jew and speaks Hebrew very well if Hebrew had a causative mood. She told me that it does, and that it is used often.

Now, the part I don't know is whether this knowledge would have been available to Joseph Smith or how often it occurs in the KJV. But I did think it a rather interesting little tidbit to stumble across on my own.
Yes, I think that's interesting. I don't recall seeing this verse treated in previous articles on Hebraisms. It has the feel of something that has been translated and unnatural for an English speaker to have written or spoken. Is this something that could be a plausible and perhaps relatively direct translation of good Hebrew?

Update: Looks like the Book of Mormon's frequent use of the verb "cause" in ways that are not needed and often awkward in English does fit a common Hebrew construction, as was already noted in this 1914 article about Book of Mormon Hebraisms by T. Brookbank, courtesy of Kerry Shirts: http://www2.ida.net/graphics/shirtail/brookban.htm.

The Church Statement on Immigration and Undocumented Residents

In the midst of moving to China last year, I missed this important announcement from the Church regarding immigration and undocumented residents. I find it interesting and fair. In addition to a kind approach for those already in the U.S. or other nations illegally, I would prefer some additional steps, such as better securing of our borders (even without using advanced technology and tall fences, with our huge armies, this would so much easier than invading nations on the other side of the globe!). I would also propose a much more generous immigration policy for those of many nations seeking to be productive, law-abiding citizens. Anyway, here is the June 10, 2011 statement from the Church on immigration. I believe this press release expresses the reasonable views of Church leaders on a difficult issue and agree that we should take heed, while also exploring improved ways to deal with the complexities of illegal immigration and its implications on health care, spending, taxation, elections, etc. And please, can we open the door for more nations to come and share the vision of American, in addition to many skills and talents that we really need?
Immigration: Church Issues New Statement
The history of mass expulsion or mistreatment of individuals or families is cause for concern especially where race, culture, or religion are involved. This should give pause to any policy that contemplates targeting any one group, particularly if that group comes mostly from one heritage.

As those on all sides of the immigration debate in the United States have noted, this issue is one that must ultimately be resolved by the federal government.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned that any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God.

The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.

In furtherance of needed immigration reform in the United States, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports a balanced and civil approach to a challenging problem, fully consistent with its tradition of compassion, its reverence for family, and its commitment to law.
I'm a foreigner living in China, and really appreciate the kindness I receive here and the surprising freedom that I enjoy, as well as the privilege of working in one of the coolest cities on earth. But if you're thinking of coming here, please don't even think of doing it illegally. The law is taken very seriously here, as it usually should be.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Book of Mormon on Grace

While the Book of Mormon, like the Bible, repeatedly calls upon man to repent and obey God, the charge to keep the commandments must be understood in terms of the infinite grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, who offers us forgiveness of sins and eternal law if we will have faith in Him and accept His covenant of mercy, which involves the choice to repent and follow Him. The foundation of salvation by grace is laid out by Lehi, a wise philosopher-prophet in the 6th century B.C. Here is an excerpt from his very philosophical discourse in 2 Nephi 2:
4 ... And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.

5 And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.

6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.

9 Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
The full benefits of the Atonement of Christ are offered to those who seek to accept Christ. These are those who are humble and contrite, who believe in Christ. That this should involve seeking to keep His commandments in no way implies that they earn this infinite gift of grace or no longer need grace. It's simply accepting the gift under the conditions of the covenant Christ offers.

Wonderfully, part of the power of the Atonement and the grace of Christ is the gift of freedom to choose. We are given the power to choose God and Christ, or to reject them. That choice involves our response to the commandments God gives us and our willingness to repent or not (this is where humility and contriteness are essential). Read all of Lehi's discourse, but here are some of his concluding words:
27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be hmiserable like unto himself.

28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;

29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.
Believe in Christ and seek to make Him our Lord by repenting and living His teachings, growing steadily in Him and relying daily on the infinite grace that He offers.

Romney Jabs: Engadget Enters the Fray?

So clever! The witty writers at AOL's popular Engadget website for technology fans has a poll for the 2011 Engadget Awards. For best robot of 2011, the choices are Honda ASIMO, Obotix Sphero, My Keepon, iRobot Roomba 700, and, uh, Mitt Romney.

Ha, that's hilarious, get it? Yes, a joke! And so original of the media-icon AOL. Well, maybe it was a little more original when Popular Science made a scene about Mitt Romney as robot a few days ago (PopSci was recently sold by Time Warner to the giant Swedish media conglomerate, the Bonnier Group with 175 companies). Maybe a little more original the day before that when the Atlantic Monthly pretended to be discussing science when it ran an insulting article explaining why Romney was giving so many people the creeps, just like a robot gives people the creeps when it starts to seem too lifelike and enters "the uncanny valley." This irresponsible drivel in the Atlantic (whose editor was a New York Times bureau chief in his previous role and is the son of a political official in both the Clinton and Carter administrations) was based on the assertion that Romney is repulsing people with his robot-like creepiness. I'll grant the sentiment may apply to some of his political opponents, but voters don't seem to be sensing that creepiness at the voting booth. Kudos to the media for reminding us. And need I predict that we'll soon be reminded that he's not just an ordinary robot, but a cult-member robot possessed and programmed by a dangerous Bork-like entity in Salt Lake City? Romney, the Mormon zombie robot--based on unbiased scientific analysis, of course. Can we find a professor to step into the limelight with a fancy graph to explain why? Sure, news like that can be programmed when needed and can look so real that it's, uh, creepy.

What would life be like if major media outlets actually lived up to their claims of unbiased coverage and fairness, especially in election years? OK, that's kind of like asking what if lived in a world without greed and corruption, without poverty, without mindless TV sitcoms, and even without zombie robot journalists who live to regurgitate the talking points of their masters.

And don't even get me started on that other candidate who has remained invisible to the media during much of the presidential race. Now that's where things get really hilarious.

Yes, the Romney as robot joke is just a minor jab that I almost glossed over. But it's a symptom of a much bigger problem, or a much bigger joke on the rest of us.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Your Personal Mental Health Prevention Clinic: Now Free Online!

The Internet is one of the most powerful tools to help us in the battle against mental health. Some web resources are especially helpful in mental health prevention, such as this recent contribution from the Huffington Post (discussed in detail at FAIRLDS). Online anti-cult resources are also powerful tools. With their help, when you see a Mormon on the street or on TV, you'll soon be hearing little voices inside your head warning you that they do not believe in Christ, no matter what they say, teach, preach, and believe. You'll also hear spooky music, feel a cold chill, see dark shadows ooze into view, and recognize deadly fangs in their smile. That which once was innocuous or positive will be transformed into a terrifying encounter with raw evil. You have a right to be scared out of your wits, and rabid anti-Mormonism is the perfect ticket to achieve that witless state of angry, fearful paranoia. This kind of mental health prevention does more than just transform you: it can also transform relationships and even help win elections, too!

The Internet isn't the only way to practice effective mental health prevention, of course. Many old-fashioned books and DVDs can be used, such as Ed Decker's mind-jarring The God Makers. I saw this used last year by a highly skilled mental health prevention therapist/pastor in a popular evangelical clinic in Wisconsin, where two adult children of recently converted Mormon parents were virtually reduced to quivering hysteria regarding the zombie-like transformation of their parents into demonic soul-suckers. They had unmasked Voldemort, and no matter how much mom and dad explained that they believed in Jesus Christ, it didn't matter. Logic, evidence, detailed statements from the Church about what we believe and teach about Christ--none of that matters. Once Ed Decker's voice and his orchestra of spooky strings is inside your head, you'll never be the same.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. That's the key to successful mental health prevention. Oh, and it sells books, too! Yikes, did you know that a Mormon politician will be controlled by a demonic cult if elected? And never make any independent decisions again? Just like those ultra-conservative, orthodox zombie-Mormon politicians Harry Reid and Mitt Romney have been doing all these years?