Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Morning Rant (6)

I just read a news article about a shooting on a campus in northern Delaware. It had been shut down and all “non-essential” employees were urged to stay home. In itself, the warning to “non-essential” employees is common in all too frequent circumstances. It does beg a question. Just what exactly, is a “non-essential” employee? In today’s world of downsizing, payroll crunch, and imposition of Spartan controls over budgets and outlay how can any institution tolerate even the suggestion of “non-essential” employees?

As a church, should we tolerate the existence of “non-essential” members too? The announcement might read, “due to heavy rains and impending storms, all 'non-essential' members are urged to stay home on Sunday.” Dare we define this member? Is it the sister who attends with her chin on her chest and her eyes at rest during the sermon? Is it the brother whose physical limitations prevent any task, including taking the offering, too difficult to endure? Is it the newly baptized child whose minimal age allows her to continue in happy childhood, unburdened by the momentous issues facing the congregation? In that crazy quilt which comprises the congregation, I suggest there is no “non-essential” member. The evaluations of members cannot be accomplished with handheld calculators. No computer program is capable of establishing their worth in the eyes of God. Who is willing to evaluate the former contributions of the aged and the huge potential of the emerging youth?

From patriarch to parishioner, we will all face our Maker as individuals. We are all essential in His plan.


Earthquakes! What a tragedy. A comfortable, stable world suddenly, without warning, becomes unbalanced. Great buildings tremble and fall, people tumble into great fissures in the earth and broken gas pipes provide fuel to a fire akin to hell. This eventuality is real and not that uncommon. In the great natural scheme they occur mostly along fault lines and as a result of shifting tectonic plates. Modern geologists have identified these zones and interested parties keep uninterrupted surveillance.

Having a great interest in these phenomena, I check the reports daily. There are occurrences frequently along the well know fault lines of the West coast. Recordings are made and duly given from these hot spots on the Pacific rim. So, we conclude, the interior is safe. Not so! I take a special interest in those locations not normally prone to serious movements of the earth.

Among the surprises my years long study has established is the occurrence of earth tremors and quakes in places familiar to the Saints. Although minor (for now,) the area around Palmyra, New York is subject to upheaval. A minor fault line exists from off shore in Lake Ontario southerly to about 20 miles east of Rochester.

From offshore Lake Erie, another line terminates just south of Kirtland, Ohio. I have observed tremors within a very few miles of the temple itself. Nothing serious, it just is!

The greatest immediate threat is posed by the New Madrid fault in south east Missouri. As a crow flies, it’s about 250 miles South of Nauvoo. It’s hard to imagine that it would affect Independence but the one back in the early 1800’s rang church bells 300 miles away. It had sufficient power to redirect a long stretch of the Mississippi River. It is closely watched by seismologists as the next most likely occurrence. When it does happen, and it will, it will make Katrina’s damage to New Orleans pale to comparative insignificance. It will also have an extremely damaging affect on our largest river system which includes not just the Mississippi, but also the Missouri and the Ohio. Yeah, that Missouri, the one that runs near Independence. The brilliant minds making these predictions are reading seismographic computer models. The spiritual minds are reading Revelation. The conclusions are identical.

As you can see, the mechanism is already in place. I just thought I’d throw this at you in case you need another witness.


Here is an issue which is best described as “stuck in my craw.” We have as a church, embraced modern technology within the limits of our understanding. We have many private computers and some which work their wonders in the higher offices of the church. We use phones and cars and everything under the sun that operates on AA batteries. Unlike my Amish neighbors, we embrace communication. With one exception!

What is it with our antipathy to recording devices? This seems to be an arbitrary decision by the hierarchy for what ever reason. I certainly can’t find any scriptural references to support the position. We are a body which could be justly accused of an obsession for record keeping. Look at the concern Lehi had for the records of his faith. He risked everything, including his sons and a commandment-breaking murder (see I Nephi) to take them with him. We treasure every fragment of records of every utterance made by Joseph Smith and his successors. Yet, when it comes to our own meetings and conferences any device that would record with surety the proceeds of discussion and procedures are banned. Or, as Joy Muir once wrote to me, “even I can’t use one.”

I had correspondence with the wife of a former secretary who lamented that she and her husband had not been allowed to use any such device. She then told of the hours spent transcribing handwritten notes of conference activities. She was unhappy with my criticism of that procedure. I fully understand her pique, but, it was not I that forbade the use of a labor saving device. I can easily see where the methods used were archaic and probably very irritating to her.

Please don’t plead the excessive costs. We are poor as church mice and we can afford a recorder and enough tapes to cover our needs. I checked with Best Buy recently and determined that an order of multiple recorders and spare tape would have to hurry to exceed a couple, three hundred dollars.

What it boils down to is whether this is some Luddite response to modern technology or reluctance to have an accurate record of what is being said. I hope the former, because the latter suggests a layer of secrecy which is certainly inappropriate for any body in the church. If one feels that their contribution to a conversation is not fit for general consumption then rethink the ill chosen words. God already knows your thoughts so you already stand indicted or blessed by Him. Fear Him, not the membership. All we want is accurate reporting. Even our lawless Congress critters have a record of how they vote. I hope they have more to hide than our leaders and delegates to a church gathering.

Notes on the cuff were great for Sam Clemens and Ring Lardner but with the complexity of the issues we face it is not adequate. As Dennis Miller says, “this is just my opinion, I could be wrong!”

In His abundant love,

Cecil Moon

1 comment:

Patricia Ragan said...

Sometime in the mid-to-late 1960s, there was an earthquake in Kansas City. I remember. For some reason I was sitting on coffee table in our home. I think my mom was doing something with my hair. I felt a shaking which was different from any other kind I'd felt. My mom told me it was probably some big heavily laden truck driving down the road.

However, I was right. It was an earthquake. It knocked the mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, out of his chair up in the top story of some building.

One day, more than mayors will topple as a more powerful earthquake makes its presence known.