Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On Secrecy

One of the greatest threats to a free people is secret activity and combinations of people in positions of authority. On matters of national defense, it is unwise to share intelligence with our enemies. To prevent mass hysteria, it may not be prudent to release some information to the general public. Often, however, this prohibition of the dissemination of information is used as a tool to shield spurious dealings of those in power from the public.

Thanks to independent media (talk radio, web logs on the internet, personal correspondence, public protests, etc.) our first amendment protections, while diminished, are still intact. For now! Three separate and current new events support the need we have to hold our freedom to speak, think and communicate openly.

President Chavez of Venezuela recently banned the principal TV network there. Although he is the duly elected president, he does not take well to criticism. Despite protests and demonstrations, he will now be better able to exercise complete control over the people.

The drafters and sponsors of recent immigration legislation in our highest elected bodies have managed to obscure the intent of the bill‘s content to make it appear benign. Those who disagree are held in contempt, labeled with malicious accusations and accused of misunderstanding legislation which even the authors have not read or understand. The original bill ran to over 1200 pages and was never subjected to public hearings.

In Durham, North Carolina, a rogue (we hope) prosecutor obfuscated the facts of his investigation to secure false charges against three young men. Fortunately, the boys came from well situated families who were ableto secure capable counsel and come up with concealed evidence of theirinnocence. Because of sealed records and privileged grand jury testimony he was able to pursue his evil intent (to regain his position as district attorney at $100,000 a year.)

These are but three prominent examples of the result of the abridgement of first amendment rights. Our constitution cites these rights as granted by God Almighty and worthy of protection by our government. This same constitution, while intended to rigorously enforce these God given rights says nothing about the “separation of church and state.” Returning to secrecy, I submit to you words spoken by James Madison to the Virginia ratifying assembly on June 16, 1788: “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

This, then, poses some questions. What could possibly be said at any gathering of elders in the Restoration that requires banning tape recorders? Why were my spouse and others told to “get out” of the Waldo gym prior to a meeting? Why are the leaders of the CRE and the JCRB so fearful of “sunshine” on their gatherings? I don’t know the answers to these questions. I guess it’s a secret.

Cecil Moon


Joy Muir said...

This, then, poses some questions. What could possibly be said at any gathering of elders in the Restoration that requires banning tape recorders? Why were my spouse and others told to “get out” of the Waldo gym prior to a meeting? Why are the leaders of the CRE and the JCRB so fearful of “sunshine” on their gatherings? I don’t know the answers to these questions. I guess it’s a secret.

Dear Cecil,
I sent you a post yesterday but have not seen it asppear. Hope I have not been banned. :o)

To answer your questions. Hopefully Jan and the others were told to leave the gym prior to a quorum meeting with a little more kindness then 'get out'. Knowing the men who are at the conferences I have never heard any of them be rude to anyone.
The various quorums meet all around the building and things are discussed among the priesthood that should not be shared. No different then a normal priesthood meeting. The gym was used for one of the quorums and that is why people not in that quorum were asked to leave.

It was decided a few years ago to not allow tape recorders during the sessions. I am not sure why the elders decided to do that...but I KNOW if you would contact someone (Paul Gage perhaps) they will be able to explain the reason for that decision.

Did Jan have a problem with the JCRB conference that makes you ask why they fear the sunshine?

If I have indeed been banned please let me know. If it was just a case of my not sending the post correctly please let me know that too and I will send it again.

Seeker said...


No, you are not banned. You will never be banned. Nor will anyone ever be banned from this blog. There are very few rules here. No blasphemy, no personal attacks on named persons, and civility between those who disagree. To insure compliance, we filter the comments for content but not people. If a comment is deleted, that does not mean that the poster is not welcome to try again.

We have no built in system to alert us to incoming comments. We check several times a day to insure semi-prompt postings. Your message (and the only one which has come from you this week) came to us at 18:28, Wed. We drive to Carthage for services which include, guess what, prayer meeting. Since it is over forty miles away, we have to leave at least an hour earlier than the service. Therefore we were on the way out the door when the comment arrived. Though the meeting was sparsely attended, the prayers were thankful and thoughtful. The testimonies were timely and inspirational. You would always be welcome to join us here in the Ozarks. Now, on to your remarks.

I spoke to Jan about clearing the Waldo gym. The direction given to her was so shocking at the time she may possibly remember it until her dying day: “Excuse me; but, I’m going to have to ask you to get out.”
Apparently it was not delivered as a request, but rather as a command.
This was not the only person she encountered who lacked social skills, but even though some identified themselves, it serves no useful purpose to mention their names. Doing so would involve violating the spirit of the following: “Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm.” (D&C 42:7.f) This may now be inappropriate inasmuch as the 166 delegates (priesthood) voted to exclude the sacred work from which this was extracted. I guess that means it’s no longer valid. If nothing else, it still seems like good advice.

Joy, please be patient with me. I am still reeling from what I consider to be an unconscionable act on the part of those delegates. At least the villains in Congress have their voting records open to public scrutiny. Even with that degree of sunshine (or because of it,) their positive approval rating in the eyes of the general public currently hovers between fourteen and seventeen percent. Unfortunately the vote result for the preceding resolution was not published, or possibly I overlooked it. For sure, the ayes and nays for each individual were not a matter of record.

I need to post this now so I shall defer the balance of my response to your email until tomorrow. I really need to clear my outrage out of my mind and heart to thoughtfully give you the attention you deserve. I see my attitude as justifiable; I earnestly hope the Lord sees it the same way. He is the only reason that Jan and I choose to pursue these issues.

Joy, keep up your good works and remember that in no way should you interpret any of this as a personal attack. We both admire your industry in your work.

Remember, Zion beckons.

Cec and Jan

Seeker said...

Dear Joy,

Sorry for the delay in continuing the response to your comment.

Regarding my assertion that much current activity is clouded in secrecy: I quote from your comment “...things are discussed among the priesthood that should not be shared. No different than a normal priesthood meeting.”

I contacted two different elders who have at one time or another been my pastor. Between them, they have over one hundred fifty years as members. The older one has been in the pulpit for over sixty years in the service of the Lord. I posed the same questions to both, first, “If I came into a room with you and other elders, kept my mouth shut, caused no disruption would you allow me to stay regardless of what was being discussed? They both instantly responded, “of course.” I then asked, “What could possibly be discussed at a quorum of elders at a conference which necessitates the exclusion of a member in good standing from respectfully and non-disruptively listening in?” They both quickly answered, “Nothing.” Since both men are far better read in our scriptures than I, I asked each if there was supporting scripture in the three books, no matter how obscure, to support banning members from access to the proceedings.
Neither could think of anything.

Joy, I believe it is a very normal, human protective mechanism to be skeptical of matters which are hidden. I have long been leery of organizations which have private rituals, temple rites, and secret handshakes. I guess this would include Masons, Mormons (Utah LDS,) and others who would give the appearance of casting a veil of secrecy around their activities. This does not mean that any of the aforementioned are not capable of doing good works. It just happens to raise warning flags for me. Our church history requires vigilance in this regard. I remember the admonition from my first pastor, Seventy Raymond Jensen years ago, “shun the appearance of evil.”
God has opened his heart to me in so many ways. He has provided me with the tools (our sacred books) to know his mind and his wishes for my continued struggle to understanding and salvation. He has concealed nothing. He has given me His all. My prayer is that all his representatives would follow His lead. I cannot hide that which is in my mind and heart. This will make me unpopular with some. Since my quest is not to win a popularity contest, I have little to fear from sharing.

Starting with the earliest verses of Genesis, man has been at loggerheads with God. He has continuously sought to exercise his will over that of the Almighty. What is happening today is really no different from that which has taken place over millennia. Given the reality of my often faulty spiritual condition, I have little choice other than to follow God’s will as I see it and as He directs.

Joy, sorry once again for the length of time for the full reply. If anyone knows about being busy it would be you. Keep up the good work and post often.

My wish for you is the fullness of His love.

Cecil Moon

John said...

mmmm the one there that has been in the Priesthood I guess could be my good friend Roy Ries. I have been a member for 42 years and he either baptized me or confirmed me back in 65 when he was Pastor of the Atkinson Nebraska branch of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Unfortunatley that Branch is closed and I think the building has been sold. I went to my home town of Ainsworth and the few members there say they hadn't had any contact with anyone, C of Christ or Restorationist in years so I was able to share with them and we had a small servide at the Rest home where a dear brother resides now. His wife and children were there including the Girl that was baptized when I was. They still had some hymnals and a communion set so I had the priviledge of serving them communion for the first time in years.

John said...

Boy this is the forth time I have tried to post and am getting weary. Tell Roy Ries hi from an old friend from Nebraska. He I think either baptized me or confirmed me back in 65 at Atkinson Nebraksa. I figure he might be one of the ones you were talking about because he would have about that much time in Serving the Lord in the Priesthood.

Equally Coy said...

Your consultation with elders who said that they could not think of any reason why a priesthood meeting would need to be a "closed" session seems a bit odd to me.
A quorum meeting at a conference could possibly be such a case, but if that quorum was going to be taking action on a specific question I can imagine the desire to be assured that only those with authority to vote on such action to be present.
Otherwise, why have quorum session?

I am not trying to justify a rude dismissal (as you have reported) nor am I overlooking the possibility (based on your posts here) that perhaps your sensitivities run a bit on the raw side, and that a "Could you please leave now, we are going to have our quorum session" turns into, "get out of here!"

I can think of many meetings of priesthood in which matters of confidentiality might be discussed and people who are not priesthood should not be present.

From the tenor of this thread, it would seem that you probably sleep with one eye open.
Kind of a wearying way to live if you ask me.