Health professionals everywhere are beginning to understand that loneliness is becoming a problem that both people – and the systems meant to keep them well – are woefully ill-equipped to deal with
The root of this problem is the shift of society over the past 20 years to a very self-centered and ego-driven model of behavior that is unprecedented in the annals of modern civilization… a switch from decades where people worked together for the betterment of their local area, to the here-and-now where people are only focused on obtaining personal gain/fame/infamy
Humans as a species have evolved a keen distrust of these type of people because it’s contrary to survival – and, yet, with this unparalleled move towards selfishness, we’ve become immensely conflicted
The most common refrain you’ll hear amongst young people in 2019 is that “people suck” – and they’re not wrong
We are long past eras where you could rely on other human beings to help make the life around you better – and that makes the world a very big, scary place… and your place in it may seem so small and insignificant that virtually any decision you have to make becomes worrisome
Before this derailing of social constructs, you could rely on strangers and passers-by to shoulder the load… that, through co-operation and aligned interests, the well-being of your community (and entire nation made of other communities like yours) was looked after and assured in its continued success
As the 21st Century’s second decade draws to a close, this is something that exists less and less… and this is a state of affairs that expresses itself in a myriad of ways – ones that are going to endure for the rest of human civilization, or, at the very least, this version of it
One of the movements that is easiest to comprehend is the move towards mobile ordering of traditionally walk-up restaurant fare: you can now order your coffee/muffin/burger/whatever from your favorite fast food outlet via an app you’ve installed on your cell phone – which means you won’t have to actually interact with another human being beyond hearing your number called at the pick-up counter
Another mobile trend that serves this move away from wanting to deal with other people is the rise of services like Uber and Lyft: at first glance, it doesn’t seem like these companies help you avoid peopleing – but they do in fact remove you from having to depend on common-good services like taxi cabs or other forms of public transit… and instead make the service feel like it’s just for your benefit because it’s something you can call with an app – which gives you the flawed impression that the car service is somehow bespoke to just you like a private limousine
The inexorable and steady rise of Amazon.com is tied heavily to its customers not wanting to interact with people – having the packages travel from a warehouse directly to them at home without their needing to wade through the unclean masses that you’d find at a shopping mall, or even the local Walmart store
How Amazon is directly shaping the future of humankind isn’t something you think about when you’re enjoying the 4K television you spent $15 less on than if you had actually went to a store… but that doesn’t change the fact that your not wanting to people is upending the nature of employment and how people in the future will earn money: the pressures of its customers to save money means that Amazon constantly needs to find savings of its own… and that means automation and streamlining at Amazon distribution centers by replacing human workers with robots that don’t need to be paid or afforded basic human rights against workplace abuses
Those people whose jobs have been replaced by automation face bleaker and bleaker employment prospects as society keeps moving towards self-interest: they won’t be able to find employment at bricks-and-mortar retailers because those stores are also embracing automation to save money… they won’t be able to find jobs in the food retail industry because of the apps I mentioned above… they can’t get jobs driving delivery trucks because that industry is moving to autonomous/self-driving vehicles – and that even extends down to the Uber/Lyft services as each company is seeking ways to remove their “independent contractor” drivers and the costs they incur, a process that also helps their customers avoid peopleing since the robotaxi will hum along in complete silence
However, the are more dangerous trends – ones that directly and unavoidably threaten our very existence on this spinning rock as it hurtles through the void
Vaccines have been so effective in eradicating deadly/debilitating diseases that used to be common because everybody got them… that the ubiquity of getting your shots meant society had herd immunity against those pathogens that used to kill both often and indiscriminately – ones that gave zero shits about whether you were rich or poor, young or old, man or woman, or whether you prayed to the Invisible Man In The Sky every morning
But, now, so many people only think of themselves that herd immunity is beginning to fail in heavily populated areas – which is why you’re now seeing massive outbreak of measles or mumps or chickenpox, after decades of those diseases being practically non-existent in Western civilization… and not because these diseases have mutated into becoming more virulent like the antibiotic-resistant superbugs your hear about on the news, but simply because there are too many ignorant and ill-informed people that have elected not to get immunized – and the higher the number of people who aren’t protected, the higher the number of vectors by which these diseases can spread and multiply, eventually reaching (and quite often killing) people who have compromised immune systems
We humans became so complacent in our mastery of medicine that generations grew up believing that they were impervious to disease because they had never seen anyone become seriously ill from one… because they’d never seen a friend or loved one hospitalized by a pathogen that occurs naturally in their everyday environments… that any stories of the horrors caused by things like polio or smallpox were simply tales handed down from eras no longer connected to living humans, much like hearing about the bubonic plagues of the Middle Ages
And because of the extreme disconnect from the actual effects of infectious diseases, people today think they can follow the advice written in poorly-written emails or Facebook posts that expound the evils of Big Pharma and how vaccines are a scam – or whatever other nonsense that these idiots believe that can make them think they have the right to forgo the extremely momentary sting of a needle injection
Millions of people will die over the next decades because of this self-entitlement, and it’s something completely and utterly avoidable if those people sitting in their doctor’s offices actually thought about other people and how their own idiocy will endanger people they don’t even know – but since those are other people with other lives, why should they give a shit? Needles really hurt, man!
Want to think bigger?
Okay… this move towards self-interest has lead directly to the rise in power of people like Donald Trump and others like him – who completely fail to take into account people who aren’t them or their friends, and because of this ignorance of humanity as a whole, they pass laws and regulations that are completely contrary to the success of humankind
A glaring example of this was the United States withdrawing from the Paris Agreement that was designed to combat global warming – a very real peril that faces the entire planet, but because it inconvenienced a select few billionaire friends of Donald Trump, the President Of The United States of America withdrew from agreements signed by his immediate predecessor
Over the years since he won the Oval Office, Trump has repeatedly signed legislation that benefited extremely small groups of people at the expense of not only the entire country, but Planet Earth as whole – all because of his own egoism and his need to be popular among the loudest yelling sections of society… which also tend to be the most misinformed and purposely ill-educated because those people are extremely self-interested like himself
This pandering has emboldened malcontents and criminals who used to live on the fringe of society, giving rise to immense violence against societal minorities – whether it be because the victims were racially different, or because they were a separate gender, or because they were sexually oriented in a way that those criminals found threatening or offensive
On the night of the U.S. election that gave Trump his executive powers, there were strings of attacks against Jewish and Muslim places of worship in countries all around the world – nations where that sort of violence wasn’t as commonplace as it is in the United States
So, again, the move towards self-interest is having serious, and often deadly, consequences for people in all walks of life
Why wouldn’t young people today think that people suck? The humans that they see on TV, on the internet, in viral videos that their friends send to them on their phones… well, those people really are terrible – terrible in ways that trigger those parts of the human brain that have evolved to make sure our species continues to survive that I mentioned way back at the start of this long-winded rant
It’s come to the point where the people inheriting this world from the generations before them have even started classifying themselves – or at least those among them that embody all of the above problems – as “special little snowflakes” because the phrase sums up how this generation of young persons has been raised: upbringing by well-meaning parents that reinforced the rights of the individual at the expense of those around them
Kids have grown-up today is school systems that, in their effort to embrace the needs of every individual, have become institutions that disservice all students – and because of this, those young people are graduating from high school completely ill-equipped for dealing with the world because they were never challenged as individuals over the previous 14 or so school years… since any challenge by educators would have trampled their individual rights and made them feel stupid
So, how does all of this lead to the epidemic of loneliness?
That evolutionary process that makes us instinctively want to avoid these incredibly selfish people triggers our own selfishness and not wanting to have to deal with them if at all humanly possible
The truth of the matter is that as a social species, we’ve come to a point where we can’t healthily live without people – but we desperately want to avoid humans at all costs if it is in any way feasible because we just don’t want to risk becoming the collateral damage of some jackass and their desire to benefit themselves and only themselves… whether it be someone having a loud phone conversation on a city bus full of frazzled passengers, or someone holding up the line at the grocery store because they feel like they’re entitled to being treated differently than everyone else
So, we opt to stay home more and more often and avoid the places we used to encounter people in years past – and those stores, and malls, and restaurants, and sporting venues are where we used to make new friends and experience different ways of life and points of view… and these interactions enriched our lives through the benefit of mutual social experience, and this feeling of belonging kept us from feeling alone
This argument keeps getting repeated because it sounds complex – but it’s actually simplistic bullshit. You can’t blame everything on some power conspiracy and the media.
Hitler needed to die. Saddam needed to be spanked. ISIS needs to be wiped off the face of the Earth.
Someone a lot smarter than me once said that ‘war is politics by other means’ – that at some point all the pretty words and good intentions will mean absolutely fuck all and that violence is the only way to achieve a better world.
To think anything else is childish and naive.
There are monstrous people and entities out there in the world that will not listen to reason… will not answer the call to be civilized… will not value human life and dignity – and the only way to fix the problem is to forcefully remove them from their positions of power since no megalomaniac will just step aside when you ask nicely.
Let’s examine my three examples from above.
Yes… in many ways Hitler was the almost unavoidable result of the restrictions and penalties that were slapped upon Germany at the conclusion of The Great War (World War 1) – which in itself was a wholly avoidable conflict that sprung from complex and nefarious machinations by a several political entities… but it was a war that happened all the same, and Germany was by far the worst offender.
In short, the Allies reaped the whirlwind.
But… but… Hitler used this excuse to further his own agenda by co-opting the anger and destitution of the entire German population so that he could “cleanse” the world of people he did not care for: primarily the Jews, but also Gypsies, Negroes, homosexuals, those with mental or physical handicaps, etc etc etc.
Terrifyingly, Hitler and his Nazi pals would have succeeded if it hadn’t been for two things… a major blunder on his part, and something happening on the other side of the planet that he had no control over.
At the start of hostilities, Hitler signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviets – essentially promising Stalin that Nazi forces wouldn’t attack bona fide Russian territory as long as the USSR stayed out of Germany’s way.
It sounded nice on paper, full of flowery language that established Nazi Germany and the USSR as best of pals – but as with all promises, it didn’t carry a whole lot of weight with one of the parties: Adolf engineered the pact for the express purpose of gaining territory without worrying about Soviet resistance… and when the Nazis had conquered pretty much all of Europe, they tore up the pact and attacked Russia with everything they had.
During The Great War, the Russians had lost something like 14 million fighters – which lured Hitler into thinking that Russia would be easy pickings, but he failed to understand how much the Soviets loved their snow-ridden country, and how they would muster 12 million more soldiers to fight for their Motherland (8 million of which who would die).
Also in World War 2, the Nazis were allied with Imperial Japan – so much so that the two countries were constantly swapping gold reserves to prop up each others economies… despite the fact that Hitler held a great deal of disdain for Asians of all colours.
Unfortunately for Hitler, the Japanese decided to attack the U.S. of A. four years into his battle for world domination – which only enraged the Americans and brought them into World War 2 properly (they had supplied weapons to Britain and its allies for quite some time).
It became quickly clear that the Nazis were going to be fighting wars on both the Western front (the British, the Americans, the Canadians, etc.) and the Eastern front (the very angry Russians, who had more fighting men/women than the entire Third Reich) – which was a tactical situation grave enough to give any leader a moment of pause… but not Hitler: he doubled down on all fronts because he was not going to give up any of his ill-gotten territory, nor was he willing to give up the opportunity to commit genocide.
In the face of daily briefings by the German Wehrmacht that Nazi forces were getting their asses handed to them by the Allies, Hitler refused to accept reality – and it was at this point that it became clear that Hitler needed to die.
Hell, even members of his own Nazi party wanted Adolf dead – trying on a few occasions to do it themselves.
Thankfully, Hitler himself did humanity that favor by blowing his brains out after his wife Eva had poisoned herself – but only after realizing that the war was truly lost… which had been made evident by Allied forces breaching Germany’s pre-WW2 borders.
Could the bloody, wholesale violence of the WW2 conflict have been avoided? No chance whatsoever.
Let me say from the outset that Saddam didn’t need to die – so I’m going to restrict this section to the First Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991) and not the latter Gulf War II that eventually lead to his capture and execution.
The First Gulf War was really the end result of the cessation of American-Russian Cold War posturing when the former Soviet Union collapsed.
You see, throughout the Cold War, countries in the Middle East were used as pawns by the American and Russian governments – sometimes to great effect, but mostly it was a draw… maintaining a power balance between Communism and The West.
For example, the Americans armed Iran with the best weapons the U.S.A. could export – that is until the Iranian Revolution overthrew the Iranian royal family (The Shah) in favor of strict Islamic rule.
Fun fact: to this day, the Iranian Air Force still flies F-14 Tomcats that were gifted to the Shah – despite that the Americans retired the aircraft from service a number of years ago, which means there are no new spare parts to keep those planes flying once they break down… not that the Americans would ever let Iran buy said parts.
Anyhow, Saddam’s Iraq vacillated back and forth between the Americans and the Soviets – essentially choosing whoever would give him the most toys for his military… which in the end was the Soviets: there used to be a running joke that Iraq had more Russian-made T-38 tanks than the USSR did.
By choosing to accept the Soviet “philanthropy”, Iraq alienated itself from The West – and the The West made good on this by drastically slashing the amount of oil Saddam was allowed to sell on the open market (yes… Iraq sold a lot of oil to their Russian benefactors, but Soviet currency wasn’t worth a whole lot).
When the Cold War drew to a close, The West continued to see Saddam as a nuisance and thusly kept the oil embargo in place.
At this point, Iraq was the equivalent of the spoiled brat who throws a tantrum when nobody pays them enough attention – despite their having every toy in the Sears Wishbook.
Seeing that he had more tanks than any of his neighbours, Saddam decided to invade Kuwait – not really for the territory, but for the oil wells that the Kuwaitis possessed… oil wells that produced a good deal of the crude that made the world run.
His reasoning was pretty simple: by controlling the Kuwaiti oil, Saddam could pressure OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – but you can call them the Oil Cabal) into lobbying their Western patrons for lifting of the embargo on Iraqi oil exports.
If Kuwait hadn’t had any oil, it’s highly unlikely that there would have been a military intervention by The West… but Kuwait did have oil, and that oil went towards powering big American SUVs, European diesels, Italian sports cars – while also being turned into the plastics Asian nations turned into manufactured goods.
With OPEC charging more money for less oil, a military coalition was formed to free Kuwait.
At this point, the war was still avoidable.
Saddam could have seen reason and pulled his forces back into Iraq – but he had surrounded himself with “yes men” by executing anyone who disagreed with him… which meant that there was nobody in his cabinet to point out that all his Soviet-made military hardware had a glaring flaw: The West had spent decades developing weapons and tactics designed specifically to destroy the Soviet military.
And so, Saddam needed to be spanked… to be forcibly shown the error of his ways.
Oh… and just in case you’re asking why Western forces didn’t warn Saddam about his out-of-date military, let me assure you that they made that very clear before shipping a single HUMVEE to the Middle East – warnings that fell on self-assured, deaf ears.
The rest is history: within 6 months, Iraq’s military was blown to bits… its military morale shattered… and its forces driven back inside Iraqi borders.
Despite being thoroughly beaten, Saddam was still defiant… ordering his war chiefs to mount continual attacks with what little armaments that they had left – and to set fire to the very oil wells that Iraq had invaded for in the first place.
If you can’t win the war, you might as well punch Mother Nature in the cunt, right?
It took a further month to negotiate an end to hostilities – and by that time, the Iraqi forces were pretty much stuck with throwing rocks at Coalition troops.
Was it all about oil? No: Saddam had shown the world his willingness to commit genocide by using chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels in Iraq’s northern territories – but it was mostly about oil… and Saddam’s monumental ego.
Of my three examples, the First Gulf War was the most avoidable… and the Second Gulf War was a crime committed by the American Republican Party (for which nobody was punished, by the way).
If Saddam had had a single, discordant voice of reason in his political cabinet, he might have been convinced that invading Kuwait was pure folly.
If the world hadn’t entrusted the pricing of oil to the OPEC Oil Cabal, there would have been less impetus for squabbling over Iraq’s seizure of the Kuwait oil fields.
However, we must also take into account the feelings of Kuwaiti citizens – who were, for the most part, overlooked in the conflict: a Kuwaiti person had every right to refuse Iraqi rule… the right of every sovereign nation to be free of harassment by foreign powers.
So, in the end, the war had to happen.
Finally, we have ISIS.
The rise of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh was a foregone conclusion – the direct result of the Second Gulf War… which, as I stated above, I think was wholly avoidable.
By the very nature of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, rogue Islamic groups were not allowed to form in Iraq – since they would be seen as a threat to the ruling Baathist party… which necessitates the destruction of said Islamic movements by the elite Republican Guard.
There’s probably no way to determine how many Islamic factions were put down by the Iraqi government – what with most of its leadership dead and all – but with all that violence, a particular type of anger began to fester in one extremist vein of Islam… and unfortunately, it was the most dangerous.
You see, groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban are all about strict adherence to Islamic tenets – but a very narrow interpretation of Islamic texts that can be lumped into a catch-all called Sharia Law.
While the implementation of Sharia Law is both brutal, inhuman, and anachronistic – the jihadis that follow Al Qaeda and the Taliban have a fairly well-defined end game: possess a territory and rule it.
Yes, expansion of that territory is always an option – but global conquest isn’t the driving force, regardless of how much Osama bin Laden called for the death of Western infidels.
This is where ISIS differs: while they have the same adherence to Sharia Law, ISIS also wishes to conquer the entire planet… just so that they can usher in Ze End Of Ze World.
Yes, folks: ISIS is a Doomsday Cult Of The First Order – but this time around, the bad guys want the entire planet to drink the poisoned Kool-Aid.
When asked, an Al Qaeda jihadi fanatic will tell you that ISIS is much too fanatical for their tastes: while 72 virgins in Heaven sounds like a good idea, how are they supposed to get those virgins if the entire human race is dead?
And because of this fundamental goal… the whole foundation of their existence… it will be forever impossible to negotiate with ISIS: your desire to keep living is incompatible with their desire to kill you and everyone you love.
Fun fact: ISIS has taken possession of territory from other Islamic nations – and then proceeded to destroy Islamic historical sites located therein… purely because ancient Islam wasn’t Islam enough (which is a form of logic so preposterous as to defy explanation: Mohammed, source of all things Islam, wasn’t tough enough – despite ISIS waging war in his name).
Want another fun fact? ISIS agents specifically recruit mentally handicapped persons to employ as suicide bombers.
And of course, there’s all the raping and murder of children… but who’s counting? Certainly not the liberal Peaceniks who think these ISIS animals can be reasoned with.
I’m not a bloodthirsty guy.
If a sensible peace can be arrived at through non-violent means, I will always vote for that – but if you take away any hope for that kind of pie-in-the-sky resolution, then by His Noodliness, I’m 100% for shooting every single last ISIS jihadi in the face… or bombing their encampments into a fine, bloody paste.
Yes, we are reaping the whirlwind that the Second Gulf War set in motion… but that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and let these savages have their way with the world because some of you out there lack the intestinal fortitude.
That’s the thing about war: it happens whether you agree with it or not… especially when it’s for the simple right to exist.
Do I agree with all wars?
There have been some really tragic, drawn-out conflicts that were mostly avoidable – mainly Korea and Vietnam.
Those two conflicts were such drawn-out affairs because of the Cold War… proxy battles between the United States and the Soviet Union (via its fellow Communist nation, China).
Let me be clear: the wars themselves were unavoidable as both the South Koreans and South Vietnamese had the right to defend themselves against the newly aggressive and Communist North, but the wars could have remained regional without international involvement.
However, The West didn’t see things that way: Communism was too dangerous to let spread, so major offensives were required to drive it back… with such large military operations only able to be waged by a military that built solely for that purpose – and The West had been predicting Communist invasions of Continental Europe pretty much since the end of World War 2, and therefore had a surplus of troops and weapons.
I should take a moment to point out that the Korean War was fought with weapons not much advanced from WW2, and hence the combat dragged out for years just as before – but this time, there was the real threat of nuclear exchange hanging in the air.
In the end, no real peace was attainable – and so the Koreans have been managing a cease-fire for sixtyish years… with the threat of war resuming being quite real.
Vietnam, however, was its own thing: military hardware had advanced (we humans never tire in our wish to kill each other more efficiently – right on up from the first caveman to use a club instead of throwing rocks, to the team who first conceptualized the MIRV nuclear warhead) and the Cold War had reached its most deeply entrenched period where both sides had developed firmly seated ideologies that dictated war being fought by third parties on behalf of The West and Communist nations.
The problem with the South Vietnamese was that the financially poor sub-nation wasn’t really equipped to fight Communism at a level of vigor the United States found acceptable – which, at least in the beginning, meant that France, Biritain, and America subsidized the South Vietnamese with weapons and professional soldier training.
But, in an effort to screw Atheistic Communism as hard as Jesus demanded, American boys were eventually drafted for Vietnam to fight a war that America hadn’t spent 20 years preparing for – which essentially turned the conflict into a meat grinder that chewed through 60,000 U.S. soldiers before it was realized that winning was not a possible outcome without using nuclear weapons.
And while Jesus hated Communism, Americans wouldn’t support Nuclear Armageddon – and honestly, they should have said “enough is enough” a lot sooner than their elected officials.
Yes… the tie-dyed, LSD-imbued, and Bob Dylan-powered hippy movement was a direct result of the Vietnam War – but, ultimately, guitars do not beat bombs.
(But rock guitars did win the Cold War – and to argue the point with Americans will just garner you a dismissive eye roll)
So, yeah… war isn’t a simple concept.
People who blindly regurgitate anti-war sentiments are the same ones who are anti-gun – which is just as infantile as a mantra, but that’s an article that I’ve already written before.
The world is a big, ugly place.
It’s a place where there are far too many skin colours, religions, political ideologies, and even genders for there to ever be true peace.
Everyone – and I mean everyone – hates somebody… whether they want to admit it or not.
And with hatred comes war.
We’ve gone an amazing 70 years without a truly global conflict.
How much longer do you think that will last? Honestly?
And for the last goddamn time: War is good for business… Peace is good for business. Two sides of the same coin.
Boeing makes more money on airliners than it does on fighter jets.
Below, you will find transcriptions of a back-and-forth that’s taking place betwixt myself and some good ol’ ‘Murican boys on a YouTube video – and it really does shed a light on how ill-suited Americans are to the global influence they wield abroad.
NOTE:The video on which we are commenting is someone’s copy of a National Geographic video about an Ohio-class ballistic submarine (SSBN), whereas the video is titled in such a way as to make you think it’s about a Los Angeles-class attack submarine (SSN) – which has raised the ire of people familiar with naval assets like myself.
— Here… we… go! —
Grandpa The Grey:However, when they launch their Trident Multiple Warhead Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, they’re ATTACKING someone… right? So in reality, even a boomer is used as an ATTACK sub. lol
Stormcastle: Boy… that’s some special kind of stupid. No wonder this internet is getting dumber.
John Ruggles: @Grandpa The Grey, let’s educate you a little bit. The US Navy (not combined with the Army as in the title of this video) currently has 3 types of submarines yet only 2 COMMON names for them. they have SSN, SSBN and SSGN. The letters stand for (in order as listed prior) Submersible Ship Nuclear, Submersible Ship Ballistic Nuclear, and Submersible Ship Guided-missile Nuclear. SSN’s, being the smallest are referred to as Fast Attack because compared to their big brother, they are small and agile like an attack dog. The SSBN and SSGN are called Boomers because the weapon they carry on board, in the past, made very big booms at very long ranges. The SSGN is the new type converted from older SSBN’s and refitted to carry a different type of weapon but since they are still the same type of hull, they keep the name.
Stormcastle: Or just make it simple for the ignoramus: if it’s named after a U.S. state, it’s a boomer… if it’s named after a U.S. city, then it’s probably a 688 fast attack… if it’s named anything else, it’s probably a Seawolf or Virginia – which, being small and agile, are ‘faster’ fast attack subs that can patrol shallower waters. I guess that wasn’t as simple as I figured in my head, LOL
Michael Rocker: Whatever the size of the Submarines in the fleet are they are still very capable of kicking the shit out of any ones Navy especially the Russians. Our tracking capabilities are second to none.
Stormcastle: @Michael Rocker, Typical American bullshit: there are quite a few subs out there that could sail through the middle of a USN carrier group and never be noticed – a Russian-made Kilo, for example. FFS, y’all need to stop being so full of yourselves. Also, unless you’re in the trade, don’t make grandiose comments you know nothing about save for what you’ve seen from watching The Hunt For Red October on Netflix.
+xc5647321 xc5647321:[comment removed by author – essentially saying diesel/electric boats are crap, which is why American boats are better]
Stormcastle:@+xc5647321 xc5647321, You don’t know what you don’t even know – and yet, you still like to spout off. While, yes, diesel/electrics have a range that’s somewhat limited compared to a nuke – “extremely limited” is pure stupidity on your part: a Kilo (which is pretty much the gold standard for the type, and is why I make note of it again) has a submerged, non-snorkel range of about 800 kilometers at prowling speed. You think I’m anti-American? No… I like you lot just fine when you’re not acting like you’re the greatest country on Earth – which just happens to be 99% of the time.
Yeah… your military tends to have most of the nicest toys – but there are areas where other countries will gladly hand you your asses on a platter.
I mean… you’ve lost in both Iraq and Afghanistan because all of your high tech weapons were beaten by cavemen who haven’t progressed much beyond the Bronze Age.
So, please… put your Yankee Doodle soapbox away and go back to the vids about deep frying turkeys and NASCAR where you belong.
+xc5647321 xc5647321:[comment removed by author – asking where I live and what makes it so great – before assuring us he knows everything about naval matters because he has a “relative” in the service]
Stormcastle: @+xc5647321 xc5647321, Someplace without rampant racism… someplace with top-notch education (America doesn’t even rank in the Top 20)… someplace with free healthcare that doesn’t require citizens to sell their cars just because they have a broken leg… somewhere where cops are 95% less likely to outright murder people in the street… someplace where there aren’t more people in prison than there are people in school… someplace that has proud military traditions while also spending money on being actually human… someplace with a clean environment… someplace where corporations aren’t people nor can they effect the government… someplace that isn’t #1 in preventable child poverty.
Where could that be? Oh… about 20 or so countries around the world.
You have a “relative” in the USN? That’s nice. Apparently, I have a long-lost uncle who’s a Nigerian prince who needs someone to launder millions of dollars for him. Would you help?
+xc5647321 xc5647321:[comment removed by author – asking why I’m scared to say where I’m from if it’s so great]
Stormcastle:@+xc5647321 xc5647321, Not scared at all: CANADA… I was just pointing out that there are many places better than the U.S. of A. as far as quality of living is concerned. Yes, you Yanks have just about everybody outgunned – except for the Chinese, of course… and Americans gladly subsidize the Chinese military by shopping at Walmart. But, what’s the point of having the best military when it guards a shit way of life?
You asked why people move to America? To get rich, of course – as that’s what you export to the world, and is also why so many groups want you all dead: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness money.
Personally, I love all your military toys… but I just wish they were at the disposal of someone with a better sense of what it is to be human.
If – somehow – y’all elect Donald Trump as president, my point will be proven: given your “freedom”, the majority of Your Fellow Americans chose a greedy, racist, dumb-as-a-brick, narcissistic douchenozzle to have his finger on the launch button.
I only love your military because it generally keeps the worse guys in check – except for when there’s nothing for the U.S. to gain… like when Russia invaded Georgia (the country, not the state) or the Ukraine.
But, by God, if either of them had oil to make gasoline for your SUVs, y’all would have thrown a nice little war for each.
So, yeah… I love the U.S. Navy… just not a fan of the country from which it sails until you fix all of your problems.
motorcop505:@Stormcastle, The envy of the US is real with you. You rant and rave about others in an attempt to belittle them without success. BTW, if you ever actually traveled to Afghanistan or Iraq (or most 3rd world countries), you’d see how the people in those countries are so thankful for the US ejecting dictators like the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, and for the billions of dollars of equipment, food, and assistance we provide them with. That would actually entail putting your ass on the line to help others, and we all know that isn’t about to happen. Stick to your hockey and… Sorry, my mistake. I thought there was something else Canada was famous for (you know, like how the US created the Internet), but there isn’t anything.
Stormcastle:@motorcop505, To “belittle” would mean I was being less than honest – but I was being 100% truthful.
America is: someplace with rampant racism… someplace without top-notch education (America doesn’t even rank in the Top 20)… someplace without free healthcare – practically requiring citizens to sell their cars just because they have a broken leg… somewhere where cops are 95% more likely to outright murder people in the street… someplace where there are more people in prison than there are people in school… someplace that has proud military traditions while not spending money on being actually human… someplace without a clean environment… someplace where corporations are people and unfairly affect the government… someplace that is #1 in preventable child poverty.
If you disagree with any of those things, you’re both delusional and a moron.
I’m all for you having the best military, though… really I am.
Please, continue spending more than half of every tax dollar on warfare while your children starve and whole section of your society are legally mistreated.
Us here in Canuckistan will play our hockey and then go to the hospital and have 100s of tests done just for shits and giggles – before going back to school and learning more than any Murican who doesn’t have a diamond-encrusted trust fund.
Make fun of Canada all you want – it really doesn’t bother us in the slightest since we know our lives are better than yours.
Seriously… I came here to talk about subs, but man, y’all got me sidetracked with your JESUS LOVES ‘MURICA bumper stickers.
Michael Rocker: @KriegProductions [who’s tried to get the thread back on track a few times] What Stormy Boy leaves out about Canuck health care is that if you need surgery they can make you wait for months and a great deal of Cunucks come south of the border for health care if they can’t wait and their government will pay for it. One reason is if they need a transplant they would get put on the same list as an American rather than not get one at all up there. They also don’t have the same quality of surgeons like we have here.
Stormcastle:@Michael Rocker, Someone’s been drinking the GOP koolaid, LOL. About 5 years back, I was in a motorcycle accident and broke my left leg in 6 places – which required 2 rods and a whole Home Depot worth of screws… and within 2 hours of reaching the ER, I was in surgery getting it done. Being the curious sort, I looked up how much the whole ordeal (including tests, x-rays, MRI, etc) would have cost in the U.S…. and it topped $400,000!
In 2 hours flat, I had a surgery done that would have cost you nearly half a million dollars – and I never had to pay a red cent… not even for the ambulance ride.
Yeah… Canadians do travel to the U.S. for EXPERIMENTAL treatments that haven’t been scientifically proven to 100% deal with whatever issues they have.
And, yes, some Canadians do have to wait for specialized surgeries as there are shortages of some types of surgeons because the unethical medical types prefer to make millions of dollars in the U.S. instead of helping the people where they were born (as I pointed out up-thread, greed is your #1 export).
Nothing you can say about Canada hurts our feelings (we can have those checked by a medical professional for free, after all).
Well… you CAN poke at our Navy and it might smart a bit – leaky British subs and all – but it’s nothing we don’t know, and we generally accept it as a trade off for not being born into debt like our ‘Murican neighbors.
We’re healthier, smarter, and happier… while we read about American cities that are being straight up poisoned by their city officials just to save $100/day – and whose elected government in Washington won’t help them because most of the people in Flint and other similar places are black.
By all means, keep the marching band going and salute the Stars & Bars while thanking Jesus for your iPad (made in China).
I’ll sit here and cheer your Navy on as it stares down the Iranians. Oh, wait… the Iranians can just grab your guys whenever they want.
KriegProductions: I’m quite pleased with myself. 5/10, +2 for unintentional troll.
Stormcastle: @KriegProductions, Oh, I know. I do hate being suckered into this sort of thing – but patriotism isn’t just for Americans 🙂
KriegProductions:@Stormcastle, Eh. I was in the US Army. Interesting, but it wasn’t that spectacular. In fact, you could pretty much say it inspired certain criticisms that I have with it’s command structure.
Michael Rocker:@Stormcastle, Give it a break Stormy. Canada is not exactly perfect. First off Sorry that you fell off you bicycle and got hurt but the job of any hospital is to get you in and treated in a timely matter. I was talking about people who need transplants or who have cancer as well as knee or hip replacements. I know a couple of people who died while waiting for cancer surgery or a transplant because it wasn’t a medical priority. I was in an accident in my car when a guy with a Harley was on my side of the road going around a curve and if I tried to get out of his way I would not be here right now and over the side of a mountain. I wasn’t hurt but the guy who hit me lost his left foot. My car insurance paid for his surgery and amputation of his left foot. His leg was also broken in 3 places and he needed a ton of hardware CT’s and MRI as well as X-rays and I saw the medical bill sent to the insurance company and it was just a bit over $50,000 and nowhere near the $400,000 you were talking about.
Born in Debt. What a laugh. Canada is just as bad if not worse. Canada sends your tax money over to the UK to keep your Queen living high on the hog. The US took care of that during the revolution. Therefore the saying “No taxation without representation” came from. The UK didn’t represent us so why should we send our tax dollars there.
As far as the GOP Koolaid I don’t go anywhere near it. Why don’t you fix that province in your country that feels they don’t need to be a part of Canada and should only speak French. Most of the Francos like you hate the Anglo’s especially the ones from the US but never complain about taking US money which right now the USD is worth $1.40 and the CAD is only $0.72. Who is in Debt?
Your politicians are no better then anyplace else so don’t even think you are better than us. And who is this Jesus guy you are talking about? Is he your next door neighbor from Mexico?
Stormcastle:@Michael Rocker, Wow… you just had to go full retard, didn’t you? ZERO Canadian dollars go to Britain unless they’re in our pockets and we buy a chocolate bar at Heathrow. Canada has been a separate, sovereign nation since 1867 – but we remain part of the Commonwealth… and organization many countries continue to join even now.
We use a parliamentary system like Britain because it’s by far the most effective way to govern – and looking at your completely dysfunctional system only proves that by a factor of at least 100: your government can’t get anything done at all because of the constant Dem Vs GOP bullshit that’s caused how many government shutdowns in the past decade? Yeah… don’t throw stones since you live in a glass house.
An MRI alone costs $15,000 in the U.S. – and feel free to check that on your National Institutes Of Health website, where they track such things.
“Fix” Quebec? While, yes, they are a constant annoyance to the rest of Canada, they have every right to be here as much as us Anglophones – and that’s another way we’re better: we teach acceptance… where as Americans demand assimilation.
Exchange rates? Puhleeeeeze! That only affects us if we go to your side of the border, thanks… and we can do without Cheezits from Target (as we have all the Walmarts and Costcos we could ever need right here at home).
As for your insurance paying for surgeries, yeah… but who pays for the insurance? You! HMOs in your country are a nightmare to any civilized nation – as they’re happier when you’re dead. Oh… and how many millions of Americans don’t have any insurance thanks to idiot state governors refusing to use the evil Obamacare? How many are denied care because they’re poor (also a massive problem in the U.S. – no food stamps here, son).
Trying to assault the facts that I lay out just makes you look more stupid with every word you type.
Michael Rocker:@Stormcastle, Wow. Full Retard huh. I have never been called a retard more or less a Full Retard. Is that the best you can say. You sound like Pee Wee Herman saying I know you are but what an I.
So you have Walmart and Costco and now you are getting Loews Home Improvements just took over Rona. Now you have a new place to fix your leg.
LOL “Fix” Quebec? While, yes, they are a constant annoyance to the rest of Canada, they have every right to be here as much as us Anglophones – and that’s another way we’re better: we teach acceptance.” Is that why every year or so they want to vote to secede from the rest of Canada and be their own nation? The provinces east of Quebec have already have made plans to ask to become part of the US rather than having to drive through Quebec because the only way they can make money is to charge outrageous tolls and taxes for truck driving through to go east or west.
You said it “we teach acceptance.
As far as taxes going to the UK
Queen costs us more than the Brits pay – Over the past 10 years, the Canadian cost of supporting the monarchy has more than doubled
Stormcastle: @Michael Rocker, 1) Obviously, you’re not a movie buff – or you’d get the ‘full retard’ thing. 2) Still harping about the Quebec minority that wants to live with France? As I recall, there’s quite a vocal minority in Texas that thinks the state should leave the Union. 3) You didn’t read the Maclean’s article – or, if you did, you were unable to properly decode the English language used therein due to your inadequate education: it describes the cost of our parliamentary system that has offices duplicating the ones in Britain – which does indeed make it a trifle more expensive than theirs since Canada has a smaller population (37 million to the U.K.’s 64 million). The article does not indicate we pay for the monarchy – since we only do that when Queen Elizabeth is actually in Canada for state visits… something that even the U.S. does when she visits you.
Look, Mikey… don’t show up to a knowledge war when you’re woefully unarmed, mmkay?
This is why America is laughed at around the world: you think you know shit, but the stuff you know is *actually* shit.
For further proof, go over to Google and type in (with quotation marks for subject clarity) Ignorant American. Even Your Fellow Americans agree that the majority of you are idiots… even if they’re well-meaning idiots.
As I said pretty much all the way at the top of this flame thread, I like Americans just fine… just not when they pretend to have a brain. Y’all serve a purpose for us Canucks, after all: you kept the Ruskies from coming through Canada to get at you during the Cold War – which we really appreciate since nobody likes borscht.
Anyhow, I’m sure Michael Rocker will be back to spout more clueless ‘Murican jingoism, but I’m done battling someone with such an obvious handicap.
You know a person has touched people deeply and often – by using the gifts they were born with – when the mediasphere suddenly stops and almost universally covers that person’s death… regardless of how tragically meaningless said death was.
Even the White House made a statement in regards to Robin William’s death.
When Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton eventually O.D. from whatever party drugs are in vogue at the moment, sure the media will blurb about it over the course of the day, but people will collectively shrug while TMZ treats is like a national emergency.
I’m sad that such a vibrant and often brilliant man had come to a point in his life where he thought there was no other escape but through the veil to whatever exists after this mortal coil – but in some ways, I don’t think there could have been any other outcome to Robin’s life: when a person has such a manic and larger-than-life energy, you could hardly imagine the depths of the inevitable lows when all the laughter ran out.
In our daily lives, there are certain universal constants that we all assume will be there the next morning after we go to sleep – and the presumption that Robin Williams would always be there with a movie (regardless of how shitty or uninspired the plot might be) or TV show or stand-up comedy special was something most of us were guilty of.
In some ways, Mr. Williams was the toy that we forgot we had: the one that slowly creeps to the back of the bedroom closet until, one day, your parents come along and toss it in the trash because they never see you play with it – and the very next day, you remember you had that toy and go to play with it… only to feel the guilt and sorrow that comes from the realization of all the fun possibilities that you’ll never get to make good on.
Robin had surely felt the lack of love on our part since we had lost interest in the trademark zaniness that had been pasteurized and shaped into a formula by studio focus group testing – which is both our own fault for not embracing edgier material, as well as not holding studios to a higher standard with our hard-earned dollars.
As with all suicides, both of the celebrity kind and that of regular everyday people whom you know personally, we don’t realize how much someone means to us until they’ve gone – leaving us all to gaze inwards at ourselves and wonder why we didn’t do more to make that person understand that they had people who loved them dearly.
The prevailing wisdom on the topic of suicide is that it’s “a permanent solution to a temporary problem”, but those who are in the dank pit of depression completely lack the perspective to make that kind of differentiation – which means that all of us have a moral obligation to make sure that we help them find the path back out into the light… and it’s something that we’re woefully inept at since most of us are all too caught up in our own little lives to be bothered with helping a fellow soul out in their time of need.
If Mr. Williams had been able to witness the outpouring of love and admiration that came after his death today (well, yesterday since it’s now after midnight as I write this), I’m absolutely certain that he would have been able to get through the darkness that was consuming his troubled soul.
While unnatural celebrity deaths are one of the unavoidable truths of Hollywood, they fall into a few different categories.
The first is accidental: where a celebrity meets their end due to forces mostly beyond their control – like when Paul Walker met his end in a car wreck… and while these events are sad, they fall in line with the rules of the universe.
The second is accidental drug overdose: where the party-hard lifestyle of Hollywood’s A-list crowd collides with the vicious downside of the illicit drug trade – but that downside is always a possibility since there are no strict quality standards for illegal substances, nor are you always going to be able to use appropriate judgement of how much drugs you can safely take while you’reunder the influenceof drugs… which is a lesson we learn from the death of someone like Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
And then we have the third, the celebrity suicide: the last, pathetic cries of a usually washed-up actor or actress who has pissed away their fortune and alienated the Hollywood establishment by either generally making an ass of themselves in public forums or signing on to any piece of drivel that comes along in order to make some quick cash so they can fuel their own self-destructive tendencies with shit tons of alcohol or street drugs.
Having reached rock bottom, these former celebrities stick a shotgun in their mouths at a seedy motel and pull the trigger, which generates a few headlines due to our collective morbid curiosity about such things.
But I don’t think Robin Williams was anywhere near has-been status, nor could he have been conceivably poor since he surely still makes plenty of coin through royalties on past hits – as well as having been recently the star of a network television series, regardless of how well it was or wasn’t received by critics and audiences alike.
In many of today’s articles written after his death, it was revealed that Robin had been fighting substance addiction… which I suppose would be almost unavoidable given his manic personality, but it also underlines one of the facts that we at home overlook: actors, actresses, music artists, and sports celebrities are still human beings – and if any of us mere mortals were to endure the kinds of pressure these people do in their highly performance-oriented lives, many of us would crumple under the weight of endless demands.
I say that last part not to excuse the alcoholism or pill dependency that many celebrities develop, but to simply understand that each and every human being needs some downtime where they are free from worry or stress.
In the end, I truly feel for Mr. Williams’ family who have been left with both a gaping hole where their loved one used to be and a three-ring media circus that will spend the foreseeable future scrutinizing Robin’s life in the months leading up to his suicide in the supposed search for answers, but mostly just to sensationalize the final few sad and lonely moments of an apparently broken man.
There is a meme that’s been floating around the interwebs for a number of years that is a screencap of a question posted to Yahoo Answers (always a fantastic place to go if you need to be reminded of what a pitiful species we humans are) where an apparently religious parent is concerned about their son or daughter turning into an atheist.
As is the problem with these sort of images, the picture has been posted, downloaded, re-posted, downloaded, re-re-posted etc etc etc to the point where the text has become almost illegible due to the fact that sites like Facebook compress each image that you upload – and every time an image like a JPG is compressed, bits of information are lost… sort of like if you took a photo and photocopied it and then photocopied that 1st photocopy and then photocopied that 2nd photocopy: each generation becomes worse than the one before it.
It’s a good little message, so before it gets to the point where the text is completely beyond human comprehension, I figured I should transcribe it here to the Omniversal Blog – with a little editorial polish: even my own articles here go through subtle revisions in the days after they go live as I re-read them and break down clunkier concepts for the sake of understanding and word flow.
Okay… here we go.
Q: What Is The Best Way To Stop Your Child From Becoming An Atheist?
A: Do not educate them, or expose them to critical thinking, logic, or science.
Lie to them constantly about how the world works. Feed them a steady diet of mumbo jumbo dressed up like real knowledge – jumbo jets are really the whirlwind, for example – and pretend that it is deep wisdom.
Make them loathe their own natural bodies and functions. Convince them that they are small and weak and worthless and in need of redemption. Tell them everything enjoyable is grievously wrong to even think about, and that their only pleasure in life should be grovelling to an invisible friend.
Ensure that they resent anyone who is not like them in every way – skin colour, nationality, political opinion, and especially creed. Make such people out to be evil and vile and give all of those impotent minorities the fictional power to somehow oppress and persecute the vast majority who think exactly like you do.
Teach them to laugh at and dismiss out of hand any faith but their own. Early on (as soon as your child can speak), make sure that they are taught the difference between superstitions: where one raving lunatic in the desert telling the truth about a capricious God who kills people is a sinner, but that another raving lunatic is the desert telling the truth about a benevolent God that kills people is telling the eternal truth.
Instruct them, with all the severity and importance that you can muster, to never ask questions… to never think for themselves… to never live their own lives… to only seek answers from one (just one) particular set of semi-literate Bronze Age folk tales.
Above all else – and this cannot be overemphasized enough – make your child easily identifiable as a True Believer by making sure they cannot spell, use correct grammar, or understand basic English words.
If you do all of the above things, you should be in luck!
The answer was submitted by a mostly anonymous Answers user that goes by the handle of ‘David M’, and I would like to think that the ‘M’ stands for Magnificent.
Let me be completely forthright off the bat: I am an ex-Mormon – I was born into the church to a family full of True Believer Mormons (TBM) – who left the church after 22 years.
The reasons I left are legion – but foremost among them is The Church’s (Morg members shorten the formal title ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ to simply ‘The Church’ – and for the sake of avoiding unnecessary keystroking, I’ll do the same) completely batshit approach to reality, its financial shenanigans, and its backwards gender roles.
Many people – who only know Mormons as a peculiar-but-harmless religion that occasionally sends young men knocking at their doors – who find out that I used to be one of the Morg (‘Mormon Organization’… but also a somewhat clever play on Star Trek’s nearly unstoppable villains The Borg) often ask me what The Church is all about and why I now hold it in such low regard.
So, in trying to make a complete and thorough answer, I’m constructing this blog entry with all the pertinent facts about Mormons, Mormonism, and the overall Mormon church.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are a currently practising Mormon who intends to trash this article in the comment section below, be aware that your comments will be immediately deleted – and if you persist, I will blacklist you for harassment.
To those Mormons who read this without the intent to abuse me, I ask you to consider everything I write with an open mind that’s capable of critical thinking – not with one where you only enter into thought processes approved by The Church.
I hold no ill-will towards the average, individual Mormon church member as they are decent folk who try to be as morally good as they can… and I used to congregate with some stellar people in various wards – but I hold priesthood members of the Church hierarchy in strict contempt due to their perpetuation of such a deceitful, biased, bigoted, and misogynistic system.
So, without further ado, on with the show.
Exhibit A: Church Origins
To get to the root of the Morg, one has to look back at it’s early 19th century architect – a young man named Joseph Smith, Jr.
Born on December 23, 1805, Joseph was a rather unremarkable man according to contemporary accounts (that haven’t been purchased and later deep sixed by The Church – which is the organization’s M.O.), with the only things drawing any attention to him was his frequent run-ins with law enforcement.
You see, Joseph was a flim flam artist (a ‘Glass Looker’ in the parlance of the day) before his upgrade to Prophet: he was arrested three times for the glass looking, arrested for being an imposter once, charged on numerous occasions for bank fraud and counterfeiting money, and was held in general low-regard among law enforcement officials of the day due to his many attempts to get locals to invest in his ‘get rich quick’ schemes that usually involved his using a divining rod to locate buried treasure.
Most of the newspaper articles regarding his criminal exploits have been either stolen from the regional archives or purchased outright by The Church’s historians and then either destroyed or sequestered in Church vaults where The Church hopes the stories will never see the light of day again – but the information is still available to those who are willing to wade through the court documents of the era.
By the mid-1830s, Joseph had come to realize that his life was going nowhere and that he was doomed to be just another American frontiersman with a meagre family land plot in New York state – never fulfilling his desire to be a rich, powerful babe-magnet that wouldn’t have to deal with the ordinary folk around him ever again.
It’s not known exactly when he came up with what I will call the ‘Prophet Plan’, but in June of 1830, Smith made the first recorded statement that he had been contacted by an agent of God – an angel that went by the name ‘Moroni’ – in 1823 that was subsequent to a vision he had of God and Jesus in 1820.
Prior to this supposed event, Joseph had made known to various family members and friends that he was dissatisfied with how Christian faiths were being managed – in particular, Methodism, since it was the predominant church in Smith’s area – but he had never claimed to have any divine insight.
At around the time of his first ‘vision’, Smith and his frequent partner-in-crime Oliver Cowdery were trying to get people interested in their new Church Of Christ – a church that eschewed common church practices in favour of things Smith and Cowdery deemed more important.
I’m guessing that there weren’t too many takers to the new religious format, which lead Joseph to implement the Prophet Plan… as that’s what makes sense when you take into account the man’s personal history.
Anyhow, Moroni told Joseph where to find a cache of buried ancient artifacts (*cough* buried treasure *cough*) that had been secreted away under a hill in Manchester, NY by the last member of an ancient tribe of Jews.
According to official Church teachings, these artifacts were composed of:
a large book of gold pates with inscriptions on them (in really fine print if you take into account the length of the Book of Mormon)
an old breastplate from the armour of one of the long-dead American Jews
a set of magical stones that allowed a layman such as Joseph to translate a language he had never seen before (That’s pretty convenient, don’t you think? Very thoughtful of this pre-Christ American Jew).
The morning after the ‘vision’, ol’ Joe tried to dig up the gold plates and drag them back home (seriously, gold is heavy), but Moroni came back and smacked his hands.
Over the next four years, Joseph made numerous trips to the hill where the plates were hidden so that he could translate bits of the text, not having the patience to sit in the dirt and do a full-on, cover-to-cover writing – but, finally, on September 22, 1827, Moroni said “Whatevs, dude” and let Joseph dig the plates up, put them in a locked chest, and take them home.
PLEASE NOTE: Not one single person other than Joseph ever saw these gold plates, despite claims to the contrary: all supposed witnesses were either extended family members, close friends, or persons with a financial stake in seeing Mormonism succeed – and many of them had belonged to Smith’s former cadre of treasure seekers.
It’s unknown if he had his new wife Emma drag the chest containing the gold plates behind her, but that wouldn’t be out of the question considering The Church’s treatment of womenfolk.
At the same time, some of his old treasure-seeking pals had grown tired of Joseph not hanging out with them anymore and decided to ransack his house in search of the hidden treasure – which forced Joe and his wife to skip town, moving from Palmyra to what is now Oakland, Pennsylvania… taking the gold plates and the magic stones with them.
In short order, various lackeys were employed by Joseph to write down the stuff he “translated” from the plates as he hid behind a curtain and used the magic stones and a stove pipe hat to convert the Ancient American Jew scribbles into Ye Olde English.
Seriously, the Book Of Mormon was written into The King’s English… The King’s English of 1611.
In fact, Joseph so closely mimicked the language of the King James Bible (despite the fact that NOBODY talked like that in 1830s – what with all the ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ and other anachronistic terminology) that he inadvertently copied whole passages from The Bible into his ‘Book Of Mormon’ – which has been explained away by The Church as being universal truths laid down by God, so naturally they would be worded exactly the same… irregardless of the King James version of The Bible not being the most accurate translation of that source material.
Anyhow, despite all the mysterious translating, and the fact that Joseph took the plates back to that hill in Manchester to re-bury them where they have remained ‘hidden’ to this day (it doesn’t hurt that The Church has purchased all of the land that makes up the hill and fenced it off so nobody could ever look for these gold plates), an ever-growing number of people started to believe in what Joseph had pulled out of his ass.
Thusly, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was born.
In the early days of The Church, there was a lot of drama and murder and arson – with The Church being forced from town to town until 1844, when a group of Joe’s old associates started causing a stink in Nauvoo, Illinois, which had become the central hub for Mormondom.
The commotion grew into such a tempest that regional authorities – who had tried to quash the Mormon movement – finally had no choice but to arrest ol’ Joe and throw him in the near-by Carthage Jail… the act of which made Mr. Smith an easy target (he had been protected/hidden by the Mormon faithful up to that point).
On the night of June 27th, 1844, an angry mob camouflaged themselves for the dark by applying blackface (ironic since, later on, Church doctrine labelled people of the African-American persuasion to be cursed by God) and attacked the jail, killing Joe’s brother Hyrum with a shot to the face, and finally cornering Joseph Smith, Jr. – which he remedied by attempting to jump out a 2nd story window… but not before being riddled with bullets.
He died shortly after hitting the ground, but for good measure, the angry mob shot him several more times.
No word on whether they asked “Where’s your God now?”, but I like to think that they did.
Exhibit B: The Modern Church
If you’re going to make up a new religion, and you need it to take on legitimacy, there’s no better way to pump up the church membership than to give them a martyr – and the angry Nauvoo mob did just that.
After Joe was murdered (the term ‘lynched’ hadn’t been invented yet), the Mormon movement lost its appreciation for the quaint woodsiness of the Upper East Coast part of the still-young United States of America, so they all piled into a wagon train and headed west – all the way to the mostly unexplored area of the country that would eventually become Utah.
The Church was happy that there wasn’t a human population for hundreds of miles in any direction, allowing them to develop their new fiefdom in private – away from the prying and judgmental eyes of the unclean masses that made up the rest of the world.
Being an unimaginative lot, they named their capital Salt Lake City after, well, the Great Salt Lake nearby.
In or around 1853, The Morg started work on the Salt Lake Temple – the mother ship of Mormondom and a religious icon that took 40 years to build (because apparently Stone Masons were persona non grata in Mormon Land?).
Over that 40 years, The Church pretty much dialed in what it is today, based on the babblings of Joe Smith and subsequent Godly revelations through the modern-day prophets that are the church presidents.
These were the basic tenets of the Mormon faith:
The Church was the only “true church” of God… naturally
The indigenous native population of North America were descendants of those Ancient American Jews
The President of The Church is God’s only legitimate voice on Earth (naturally), akin to the Pope of the Roman Catholic faith
That The Book of Mormon and its companion books (The Doctrine & Covenants, and The Pearl Of Great Price) are the last word in all matters – you know, aside from all that stuff written by bored sheep herders that eventually became The Bible
That human kind isn’t born guilty – unlike, say, Roman Catholics
10% of every dollar you make should be given to The Church in the form of tithing (no collection plates for The Morg)
Black people were ancestors of Cain – the son of Adam & Eve who murdered their other son – and were unworthy of any type of church office (despite Joe Smith being cool with black dudes)… but they were welcome as church members
Women are not designed to gain The Priesthood (The Priesthood being male specific set of powers that come from God, and is open to every male church member over 12) and cannot attain high church office
Baptism by water is the only way to receive the Holy Ghost (the tertiary spirit of God) and one cannot attain The Kingdom Of Heaven without it, but don’t worry if y’all haven’t been baptized: you can be baptized after you die by zealous Morg drones in one of their temples – irregardless of your religious views (Ann Frank? Yeah… she’s been posthumously baptized a half-dozen times just in case being killed by Nazis wasn’t bad enough)
Young men are expected to fulfill their Godly duty to mankind and go on a 2-year mission around the world to spread the gospel and recruit new members
Consuming certain foods and plants will bar you from Heaven (a list of which is contained in The Word Of Wisdom… which is sorta like Life For Mormon Dummies)
Touching your genitals for the purpose of self-pleasure will bar you from Heaven
One must only eat foods when they are in season
Every Mormon man is meant to have multiple wives so he can populate the Earth with as many Mormon children possible
On the verge of the 20th Century, these were the beliefs held by the Mormon faithful – but, as you can imagine, there’s going to be 1 or 2 problems.
The first major problem for The Church – outside of the all the murder committed by those against The Church and by those people in its employ – was that in order for Utah to become an official American state, the Feds demanded that Mormons stop practicing polygamy (the act of having many wives).
So, in spite of the fact that he had previously commanded all the Mormon men to shag as many ladies as possible, God – totally by coincidence, yo! – whispered in Church President Wilford Woodruff’s ear that polygamy wasn’t cool in 1890, and he ordered it stopped at once.
When The Church demanded that all the polygamous nookie be stopped, whole factions of The Church resigned membership from the main Mormon body and set themselves up with what they called the ‘Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ (because the church name wasn’t long enough already) – and today, they’re the ones you see on TV in shows like Sister Wives or Big Love.
With the Feds appeased, Utah achieved Statehood, and The Church was no longer faced with any dire impetus to change – and they generally haven’t since 1904 when Joe Smith The Second told everybody that The Church was serious about the whole one wife thing… for realsies.
Exhibit C: Racist Religiosity
In the early days, African-American people who joined The Church were allowed unfettered access to The Priesthood – and in fact, two of The Church’s first high poobahs (Elders Abel and Lewis) were black, and Mr. Smith never said a single thing about it.
However, when ol’ Joe met his untimely demise and was replaced by Brigham Young (of the university’s name) as president and prophet, The Church’s viewpoint radically changed: being in favour of slavery and having a diminished view of the negro, Young decreed the above part about blacks being the descendants of Cain – whose skin was turned black because of his role of being the world’s first murderer.
Nobody in The Church, or in communities where The Church operated, rose an eyebrow because blacks were imported slaves… and having slaves was the shit, so condemning them to non-Priesthood was really a non-issue: who wanted Godly niggers? (note: I’m not fond of that word, but ‘nigger’ was the term of the day).
Just in case people misunderstood him, Young repeated this stance in 1849 – 12 years before the American Civil War (as of 1860, there were only about 50 black people in the entire Utah Territory – which made it a remote governance item at the time) that put the issue of black slavery to an end, but not the innate American racist attitude that permeated the Deep South and Mid West.
On a side note, it’s rumoured that Young was forced to make his beliefs public because a black Mormon dude named William McCary claimed to also be getting Tweets from The Heavenly Father – but since there could only be one true prophet, it was best to just condemn the whole race.
Young went so far as to say that black men could only obtain The Priesthood after they die (“In the Kingdom of God on the Earth the Africans cannot hold one particle of power in Government.”) – which I guess means there are A LOT of pissed off Priesthood holders in Heaven that got lynched in this lifetime during the Civil Rights struggle.
The funny thing was that Young couldn’t come right out and endorse slavery because Joe Smith & Friends had included in The Doctrine & Covenants the idea that “it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another”, and included that all people are children of God and “he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female” into the Book of Mormon.
So, his hands were tied… and he also didn’t want to bar The Church from gaining new members via missionary work in 3rd world countries overseas – which, incidentally, had large populations of non-white people.
That Native Americans were allowed to obtain The Priesthood – in spite of their non-white skin – was endemic of Joe Smith’s basic church dogma that American Indians were descendants of those Ancient American Jews who had fled to the Americas by boat from the Holy Land due to persecution (why or how he decided to make Native Americans into Jews is a mystery, but I have a feeling that he may have seen an immigrant Jew once and noted that the person had darker skin than white guys – and since Indians were somewhere between black and white, it made sense to call them long-lost Jews).
(As a further bonus for Native Americans, joining the church would let them become “white and delightsome” over time – as long as they were good Morg sheep.)
In 1949, Church President George Albert Smith directed The Church to address the ‘Negro Question’ thusly:
“The attitude of the Church with reference to the Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the Priesthood at the present time.”
This anti-African American stance actively remained on The Church’s books until 1978, when Church President Spencer W. Kimball officially called for an end to the discriminatory practice:
“He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the church may receive the Holy Priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that follows there from, including the blessings of the temple.”
However, there was still institutional sluggishness within The Church up until quite recently – mainly due to the fact that the upper hierarchy of The Church is mostly composed of Old White Men®, who were brought up in the era when The Church was openly racist.
In 1995, black church member David Jackson had to practically beg the church presidency to verbally repudiate the declarations of church prophets and church administrators that African-Americans were worth less than their white counterparts.
In December of 2013, the Church Presidency directed administrators to release the following, simple statement that hoped to put the issue to rest permanently:
“The Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavour or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”
Maybe it’s true that The Church has turned a corner on this issue, but given that The Church is still presided over by Old White Men®, I find it hard to believe that racism has been completely expunged from the organization.
Exhibit D: She Wants The D And Not The Priesthood
Blacks can now hold The Priesthood… YAY!
However, if you were born with a vagina, no Priesthood for you!
The Church has a very simple mandate for you if you are female:
Look as pretty as possible – which means wearing a nice dress to church on Sundays
Attend the ladies-only Relief Society (lots of singing, baking, sharing parental tips… like Good Housekeeping: The Musical) classes once you hit your teens
Marry a returned missionary
Have lots of babies with said returned missionary
Foster a talent useful to The Church – like singing or playing the piano/organ
Grow old and teach Relief Society classes
See? Doesn’t sound so hard, does it?
…If your only goals in life were to be married, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen while waiting for the washing machine to stop.
Women are 2nd class citizens in The Church – despite all the carefully worded church literature that makes it sound like being female is the next best thing to being God.
The gift of indentured servitude to a man who will bore you with the stories of all the places he went to on his 2 year mission – which may or may not include exciting locales like Boise, Idaho or Bancroft, Ontario.
“Spread ’em and then make me a sammich, Sweetheart! Don’t forget the bacon. ”
As a young boy in The Church, I never really paid much attention to how all the heifers were herded off into their own section of the church building after the main worship meeting (the part of the Sunday program where everyone sits together and sings hymns, eats sacrament, and listens to long boring sermons).
But as I grew into a young man, I began to notice how classes had turned into a total Sausage Fest.
As a guy who’s a big fan of the ladies, this began to gnaw at me – so I casually inquired why things were the way they were… and invariably, I got an answer that paraphrased that book passage that I posted a couple paragraphs up.
In essence, the attitude is “Don’t bother yourself with it, young sir. The girls you used to hang out with in Sunday School are off learning how to be a better wife for you – after you spend 2 years at The Church’s mercy as they shuffle you around to random places.”
Now, missionary work is a peculiar hitch in church philosophy as young women can actually go on missions of their own – in fact, one-quarter of all Mormon missionaries are girls… but what they do on their missions varies greatly from their male counterparts.
The greatest goal for a male missionary is to baptize new converts into The Church – but since women can’t hold The Priesthood, female missionaries can’t do all the exciting stuff like that.
Typically, girl missionaries are the “Reconnectors”: they parachute into wards that have above-average lists of “inactive members” (members who don’t attend church anymore but haven’t gone through the motions of formally resigning from The Church) and move through the local community in attempts to get those inactives going back to church and paying their 10% tithing.
In the end, the life of a young woman on a mission is more clerical (concerned with or relating to work in an office, esp. routine documentation and administrative tasks) than clerical (relating to the clergy) – which explains why there’s 3 male missionaries for every 1 female: I can’t imagine many young ladies hoping to be a travelling secretary.
Oh… and over the length of my Morg life, I honestly can’t recall meeting female missionaries among the 20,000 male Elders (the formal title for male missionaries).
Church women are meant to be baby factories that mint new, tithing-paying church members… and if they can’t find a returned missionary to marry – or anyone else for the matter – they end up being the outwardly cheery (you can see the loneliness in their eyes) spinsters who bake food for the various Strawberry Socials that each church ward has every year.
Exhibit E: A Scientific Approach To Vagueness
How many of you watched the recent Bill Nye Vs. Creationism debate that transpired a few weeks ago?
Let me say firstly that The Church doesn’t belong to the ‘Young Earth’ group of religious weirdos – the type that believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
But… but… they do believe that God created the Earth in seven days as it’s laid out in Genesis.
At this point, you might be asking “How does that work?”
Well, this is where the official church line gets fuzzy (and it’s not the only scientific matter that goes for a walk in Whackadoo Park) when you ask your local bishop or Sunday School teacher: they will get a little uncomfortable as they have to reach deeply into their memories to course prep materials or the information that’s stored in the official Bishop’s Handbook before they come up with the standard answer.
In the New Testament, Peter says that in the eyes of the Lord, a day is a thousand days as seen by men… but Joe Smith did one better and included in either the Book of Mormon or The Doctrine & Covenants (I can’t remember specifically as this is an answer I got a very long time ago) that one of those God days equals 100,000 Earth years – or perhaps that was the bishops’ own interpretation of the scripture in question.
Either way, The Church skates by the Creationist cabal in an effort to look progressive.
And, to be fair, The Church has a generally embracing attitude towards modern science: there are no sermons preaching the evils of men trying to understand the works of God.
However, The Church has gone to great lengths to establish its own centres for scientific research and learning to redirect the good Morg sheep into material that seems scientifically sound but fully supports the bullshit that Joseph Smith laid down in the Book Of Mormon… and to a lesser extent, The Bible.
These schools try to offer up convincing archaeological and DNA evidence that Native Americans are actually descended from Jews who fled Jerusalem and sailed to the Americans around 2,000 B.C.E. – despite the fact that these theories do not pass muster in the realm of peer-reviewed science.
FACT: There are absolutely no archaeological sites in the Americas that support the stories laid down in the Book Of Mormon – which posits that these ancient Jews (who split into two factions, the good guy Nephites and the bad guy Lamanites) built enormous cities all over what is now the U.S. of A… complete with massive walls and temples.
FACT: DNA analysis performed by recognized universities has determined that Native Americans are descended from Mongolian stock that crossed the land bridge that connected Siberia and Alaska before the last Ice Age.
With these two incontrovertible bits of information, the Book of Mormon falls apart completely, and for The Church, that simply will not do… so they get “scholars” from Church-owned colleges and universities to write reams of worthless paper that sound scientific in their approach – with all kinds of diagrams and photos that purportedly support their findings – to firm up the beliefs of any Morg drone who might have a hard time reconciling what The Church teaches and what is written about in National Geographic.
Oh, and that DNA evidence? Apparently God magically changed the DNA so it would confuse the story – but good church members will pray about it and the truth will be made apparent.
Exhibit F: Financial F*ckery
Remember how I said that church members are required to give 10% of their income to the church?
That money contribution is to prove that you’re a humble person who’s worthy of The Kingdom Of God… or some bullshit like that.
As of 2012, The Church had 14,782,473 members enrolled.
Let’s say that 30% of those members no longer actively attend church or pay their tithing – which leaves 10,347,731 people.
Now, let’s assume a median income of $15,000 per year for each of those active members – allowing for many of them to be married to each other or for a lot of them to be teens working after-school jobs.
That nets the church member population a yearly grand total of $155,215,965,000.
All those people dutifully give away 10% of all the money they get to the church, which adds up to $15,521,596,500 every year.
I admit, my numbers are fairly soft since the church doesn’t release how many members actually pay tithing or how much money comes in from tithing, but let my ballpark number sink in: fifteen billion dollars a year.
For the sake of argument, you could +/- $1,000,000,000 and still be left with an epic shit tonne of money.
It should scare you to know that the majority of Morg drones don’t give it a second thought – or even a first one for that matter.
All they know is that giving away money somehow makes their chances of kickin’ it with God better after their lives end i.e. they’re happy to buy their way into Heaven.
Again… where does that money go?
Well, as you’d expect, there are a number of answers – some good, some bad.
First, the good: The Church has a number of social programs that legitimately improve the lives of certain members, despite the largest of them not being well-known outside the group of people who needs it.
Mormons are of the belief – not that it’s a bad one – that they should always be ready for the impending apocalypse: every household should have stores of canned and dry goods to eat, candles and matches to light their homes when the power goes out, etc etc.
Sure, the more well-to-do members can do all that shopping at Walmart or Home Depot with their own money – but what about the poorer members who don’t have extra money that’s not going directly to the food they eat every day and keeping a roof over their heads?
The Church provides… and in this instance, it’s in the form of canned food (fruits and vegetables) that are cultivated on church-owned farms all over the U.S., Canada, and other countries around the globe and labelled with The Church’s Deseret brand imprint.
I, myself, have spent a summer working on one of these farms in Jordan Station – a small hamlet outside of Niagara Falls in Ontario.
These farms are manned completely by volunteer labour donated by socially minded church members in an effort to do their part in making the world a better place – which is an admirable thing, don’t get me wrong.
One side-effect of all of this farming and canning is that there is a large surplus year-to-year because not every Morg household is as diligent in planning for the Second Coming as they should be, and that means warehouses full of canned goods that aren’t being used.
To solve this, The Church runs a food welfare program for low-income families and individuals who are at risk of losing their housing because they’re forced to choose between eating and having shelter.
Every two weeks, these people receive a box or boxes of canned food and dry goods manufactured by The Church, and supplementary frozen and baked goods like bread purchased with church money on the open market.
Recipients are urged not to make being on this welfare program a continual thing, but the program is managed at the ward level by the bishop and he has full autonomy on its dispersal.
It’s a good use of church funds – in fact, it’s probably the best thing The Church does with any of the monies it rakes in.
Another program is The Church’s official adoption agency that finds homes for children born to unmarried Morg girls who decide they can’t care for the child – so, it’s not much different from publicly funded/available adoption services… and, I’ve heard that they even adopt children out to non-members, but I have no data that supports that notion.
One of The Church’s much ballyhooed programs is Disaster Relief: church members are told that Mormon relief workers are often the first on the scene after a tornado or hurricane strikes, or an earthquake levels a city – but, in reality, that’s hardly ever the case.
In North America, it’s usually The Salvation Army that’s the first to roll out – or Canadian Tire in Canada.
7% or less of church money actually goes to Disaster Relief – but the stories The Church tells it’s members makes them feel good about all that money they’re bribing God with.
So far, we’ve accounted for 15-20% of church income: $3,104,319,300 – and don’t forget that churches are tax exempt.
Where does the remaining $12,417,277,200 go?
Well… The Church currently has 15 temples under construction around the world, and the average cost of one of these temples is $30,000,000 – with some costing more, some less.
There goes $450,000,000 – barely a drop in the bucket, and let’s be realistic: temples aren’t paid for all at once.
Currently, there are two temples under renovation – so let’s say the total cost for the two renos will be the cost one 1 brand new temple.
The Church has 14 temples in the planning stages, which I will presume requires land purchases – say $1,000,000 for each.
Still humming along with eleven billion dollars.
Did you know that The Church has quite the real estate empire that’s not related to religious service?
Multi-billion dollar shopping malls… condo towers and apartment complexes… and 2% of Florida’s total landmass that was recently purchased for $500,000,000 – most of it made up of worthless swamp land that will continually become more worthless as sea levels rise.
Let’s say that The Church spends $8 billion a year on property maintenance, acquisition, and land taxes.
We’re left with $3,000,000,000 – and I can’t figure out where that goes.
I can think of quite a few worthy federal, state, and provincial government bodies that could use $3,000,000,000 – but it disappears inside Mormon coffers instead.
Oh, and let’s not forget all the money The Church spends on political agenda items – like Proposition 8 in California that would have banned gay marriage.
NOTE: Bloomberg recently pegged The Church as being valued at approximately $350 billion
Exhibit G: Great Mormons Are Great
When you live a day to day life that’s managed by one of the most peculiar Christian religions on Earth, you can begin to feel a bit inferior when compared to your neighbours who regularly go out for coffee (BANNNED) dates with their friends… or the ones who laze about in their back yards during the summer and guzzle down ice cold Coca-Cola (BANNED)… or the ones who have bicthin’ parties every 3rd Friday where everybody is drinking beer (BANNED), booze (BANNED), wine (BANNED), or champagne (BANNED).
Honestly, it’s enough to give you a complex.
With that in mind, I bring to your attention one of the Morg’s more harmless quirks: their loud (and often) identification with fellow Mormons who make it big – in sports, movies, TV, politics, or business.
At any given time, all Mormons can name at least 6 famous Mormons – whether the celebs are practising members, were formerly practising members, were brought up in Morg homes, or are married to a Morg.
Think about the 2012 U.S. Presidential election: do you have any idea how unbearable Mormons would have become if Mitt Romney had become President Of The United States? It would, in one master stroke, validate everything they believed in – and Mormonism as whole being the only truly American religion.
In the 1970s, Morg kids publicly identified themselves with the Osmonds – and that habit hasn’t changed… even if the stars have.
Ken Jennings, a famous Mormon in of himself, would run the board on JEOPARDY! if the category were Notable Mormons – spitting out names like Gladys Knight, Wilford Brimley (The Word Of Wisdom didn’t save him from the diabeetus), Orson Scott Card, Roy Halladay, and James Talmage.
That all of the famous Mormons are known names – and are accepted by the world – somehow reaffirms the Morg drone’s belief system and deludes them into thinking they’re just a little bit famous, too… you know, by proxy.
Yes, I know The Church has other issues than the ones I’ve outlined above – which are all independently verifiable if you’re willing to put in the effort (and by effort, I mean clicking some links from Google search) – and I could probably go on for umpteen more sections, but I have to end this somewhere.
This is the point where I stop.
My endeavour here has really taken up more time than I’d have liked – wasting what precious little life we have in this world on something that really doesn’t mean anything tangible to me… tangible beyond the bitterness I have of pissing away my first 2 decades.
However, I encourage you to keep seeking the truths – they’re out there and I have certainly given you directions to look in.
This is verbatim from Mr. Twain’s book of reminiscing, Roughing It.
All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the “elect” have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so “slow,” so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle—keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate. If he, accourding to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason.
The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James’s translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel—half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern—which was about every sentence or two—he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc., and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass” was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet.
The title-page reads as follows:
THE BOOK OF MORMON: AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY THE HAND OF MORMON, UPON PLATES TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI.
Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof; sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of God. An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also; which is a record of the people of Jared; who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to Heaven.
“Hid up” is good. And so is “wherefore”—though why “wherefore”? Any other word would have answered as well—though in truth it would not have sounded so Scriptural.
THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES.
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for His voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes; nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with Him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
Some people have to have a world of evidence before they can come anywhere in the neighborhood of believing anything; but for me, when a man tells me that he has “seen the engravings which are upon the plates,” and not only that, but an angel was there at the time, and saw him see them, and probably took his receipt for it, I am very far on the road to conviction, no matter whether I ever heard of that man before or not, and even if I do not know the name of the angel, or his nationality either.
Next is this:
AND ALSO THE TESTIMONY OF EIGHT WITNESSES.
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
PETER WHITMER, JR.,
JOSEPH SMITH, SR.,
SAMUEL H. SMITH.
And when I am far on the road to conviction, and eight men, be they grammatical or otherwise, come forward and tell me that they have seen the plates too; and not only seen those plates but “hefted” them, I am convinced. I could not feel more satisfied and at rest if the entire Whitmer family had testified.
The Mormon Bible consists of fifteen “books”—being the books of Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, Mosiah, Zeniff, Alma, Helaman, Ether, Moroni, two “books” of Mormon, and three of Nephi.
In the first book of Nephi is a plagiarism of the Old Testament, which gives an account of the exodus from Jerusalem of the “children of Lehi”; and it goes on to tell of their wanderings in the wilderness, during eight years, and their supernatural protection by one of their number, a party by the name of Nephi. They finally reached the land of “Bountiful,” and camped by the sea. After they had remained there “for the space of many days”—which is more Scriptural than definite—Nephi was commanded from on high to build a ship wherein to “carry the people across the waters.” He travestied Noah’s ark—but he obeyed orders in the matter of the plan. He finished the ship in a single day, while his brethren stood by and made fun of it—and of him, too—“saying, our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship” They did not wait for the timbers to dry, but the whole tribe or nation sailed the next day. Then a bit of genuine nature cropped out, and is revealed by outspoken Nephi with Scriptural frankness—they all got on a spree! They, “and also their wives, began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness.”
Nephi tried to stop these scandalous proceedings; but they tied him neck and heels, and went on with their lark. But observe how Nephi the prophet circumvented them by the aid of the invisible powers:
And it came to pass that after they had bound me, insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work; wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly, lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me. And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceeding sore. And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea.
Then they untied him.
And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed, the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.
Equipped with their compass, these ancients appear to have had the advantage of Noah.
Their voyage was toward a “promised land”—the only name they give it. They reached it in safety.
Polygamy is a recent feature in the Mormon religion, and was added by Brigham Young after Joseph Smith’s death. Before that, it was regarded as an “abomination.” This verse from the Mormon Bible occurs in Chapter II. of the book of Jacob:
For behold, thus saith the Lord, this people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the Scriptures; for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord; wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
However, the project failed—or at least the modern Mormon end of it—for Brigham “suffers” it. This verse is from the same chapter:
Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate, because of their filthiness and the cursings which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our fathers, that they should have, save it were one wife; and concubines they should have none.
The following verse (from Chapter IX. of the Book of Nephi) appears to contain information not familiar to everybody:
And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the multitude did disperse, and every man did take his wife and his children, and did return to his own home.
And it came to pass that on the morrow, when the multitude was gathered together, behold, Nephi and his brother whom he had raised from the dead, whose name was Timothy, and also his son, whose name was Jonas, and also Mathoni, and Mathonihah, his brother, and Kumen, and Kumenenhi, and Jeremiah, and Shemnon, and Jonas, and Zedekiah, and Isaiah; now these were the names of the disciples whom Jesus had chosen.
In order that the reader may observe how much more grandeur and picturesqueness (as seen by these Mormon twelve) accompanied on of the tenderest episodes in the life of our Saviour than other eyes seem to have been aware of, I quote the following from the same “book”—Nephi:
And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise. And they arose from the earth, and He said unto them, Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, My joy is full. And when He had said these words, He wept, and the multitude bear record of it, and He took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. And when He had done this He wept again, and He spake unto the multitude, and saith unto them, Behold your little ones. And as they looked to behold, they cast their eyes toward heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were, in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them, and the multitude did see and hear and bear record; and they know that their record is true, for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children.
And what else would they be likely to consist of?
The Book of Ether is an incomprehensible medley of if “history,” much of it relating to battles and sieges among peoples whom the reader has possibly never heard of; and who inhabited a country which is not set down in the geography. There was a King with the remarkable name of Coriantumr, and he warred with Shared, and Lib, and Shiz, and others, in the “plains of Heshlon”; and the “valley of Gilgal”; and the “wilderness of Akish”; and the “land of Moran”; and the “plains of Agosh”; and “Ogath,” and “Ramah,” and the “land of Corihor,” and the “hill Comnor,” by “the waters of Ripliancum,” etc., etc., etc. “And it came to pass,” after a deal of fighting, that Coriantumr, upon making calculation of his losses, found that “there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children”—say 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 in all—“and he began to sorrow in his heart.” Unquestionably it was time. So he wrote to Shiz, asking a cessation of hostilities, and offering to give up his kingdom to save his people. Shiz declined, except upon condition that Coriantumr would come and let him cut his head off first—a thing which Coriantumr would not do. Then there was more fighting for a season; then four years were devoted to gathering the forces for a final struggle—after which ensued a battle, which, I take it, is the most remarkable set forth in history,—except, perhaps, that of the Kilkenny cats, which it resembles in some respects. This is the account of the gathering and the battle:
And it came to pass that they did gather together all the people, upon all the face of the land, who had not been slain, save it was Ether. And it came to pass that Ether did behold all the doings of the people; and he beheld that the people who were for Coriantumr, were gathered together to the army of Coriantumr; and the people who were for Shiz, were gathered together to the army of Shiz; wherefore they were for the space of four years gathering together the people, that they might get all who were upon the face of the land, and that they might receive all the strength which it was possible that they could receive. And it came to pass that when they were all gathered together, every one to the army which he would, with their wives and their children; both men, women, and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breast-plates, and head-plates, and being clothed after the manner of war, they did march forth one against another, to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not. And it came to pass that when it was night they were weary, and retired to their camps; and after they had retired to their camps, they took up a howling and a lamentation for the loss of the slain of their people; and so great were their cries, their howlings and lamentations, that it did rend the air exceedingly. And it came to pass that on the morrow they did go again to battle, and great and terrible was that day; nevertheless they conquered not, and when the night came again, they did rend the air with their cries, and their howlings, and their mournings, for the loss of the slain of their people.
And it came to pass that Coriantumr wrote again an epistle unto Shiz, desiring that he would not come again to battle, but that he would take the kingdom, and spare the lives of the people. But behold, the Spirit of the Lord had ceased striving with them, and Satan had full power over the hearts of the people, for they were given up unto the hardness of their hearts, and the blindness of their minds that they might be destroyed; wherefore they went again to battle. And it came to pass that they fought all that day, and when the night came they slept upon their swords; and on the morrow they fought even until the night came; and when the night came they were drunken with anger, even as a man who is drunken with wine; and they slept again upon their swords; and on the morrow they fought again; and when the night came they had all fallen by the sword save it were fifty and two of the people of Coriantumr, and sixty and nine of the people of Shiz. And it came to pass that they slept upon their swords that night, and on the morrow they fought again, and they contended in their mights with their swords, and with their shields, all that day; and when the night came there were thirty and two of the people of Shiz, and twenty and seven of the people of Coriantumr.
And it came to pass that they ate and slept, and prepared for death on the morrow. And they were large and mighty men, as to the strength of men. And it came to pass that they fought for the space of three hours, and they fainted with the loss of blood. And it came to pass that when the men of Coriantumr had received sufficient strength, that they could walk, they were about to flee for their lives, but behold, Shiz arose, and also his men, and he swore in his wrath that he would slay Coriantumr, or he would perish by the sword: wherefore he did pursue them, and on the morrow he did overtake them; and they fought again with the sword. And it came to pass that when they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with loss of blood. And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz. And it came to pass that after he had smote off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised upon his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died. And it came to pass that Coriantumr fell to the earth, and became as if he had no life. And the Lord spake unto Ether, and said unto him, go forth. And he went forth, and beheld that the words of the Lord had all been fulfilled; and he finished his record; and the hundredth part I have not written.
It seems a pity he did not finish, for after all his dreary former chapters of commonplace, he stopped just as he was in danger of becoming interesting.
The Mormon Bible is rather stupid and tiresome to read, but there is nothing vicious in its teachings. Its code of morals is unobjectionable—it is “smouched” from the New Testament and no credit given.
Of course, Mr. Twain nails it.
If you care to argue, save it – as Mark had more insight into human affairs before his morning coffee that you’ve had in your entire life.