Friday, September 21, 2007


Back in my guitar playing days I had a song in my repertoire that went something like this: “I been to Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota”, etc., etc.,. I’m sure you've heard it; it’s called “I’ve Been Everywhere.” One day, I thought about it and realized that it was true. I double checked the words and sure enough, I had. In fact there is a reference in the verse to “totin’ my pack along the dusty Winnemucca road.” It’s now I-80, but back then it was US 40. Hitchhiking back to Iowa from California in 1948 I did just that. It has been a lifelong activity that has given me a keen appreciation for every state and several foreign countries.

In addition to vacations, business trips, and driving professionally (I still hold a CDL) I have also actually made residence in twenty different states and some of them twice (Colo., Nev., Mo., Neb.,) I have to admit each one had a definite upside. Many of these moves were prompted by promotions, lateral transfers and other business opportunities. The last two moves were not. They were of a result of a family conference and intentionally picking a destination to make a home and continue our life. When we left Wisconsin, we moved to Las Vegas, NV.

I was close to some of the kids and grandkids. Jan easily found the most rewarding professional opportunity she ever had. We enjoyed our stay there but it just didn’t have the fullness of life we wanted. During our stay I managed to locate a “living room” group and we met every Sunday to share the Word. Actually, it wasn’t that tough, it was in my ex’s house (we are all great friends) and it was a great little group. It was here that Jan visited one Sunday, had an experience with the Lord and joined not only the group but was baptized in to the company of Saints and most importantly, Jesus Christ.

Gradually, Las Vegas became more oppressive and we decided to move. But where? I threw a copy of Rand-McNally to Jan with a yellow highlighter and told her to outline an area on the US map where she would be content to live. What she returned to me is easy to visualize. Open the atlas to the US map and then place a large banana with its stem near Albany, New York and the other end near Tulsa, Oklahoma. That’s what her outline looked like. I then spent three weeks on the internet locating properties in our price range. I narrowed the list down from 360 to about 35 and set out in my trusty Explorer to see what they looked like in person. It took about two-and-a-half weeks, a ton of planning, endless photographs, and a fortune in phone calls to narrow the list down to five. There were no absolute losers.

After I came home and showed Jan the pictures and shared all the information I had written down we settled on a house in Mansfield, Mo. on five acres. We then sent the deposit to secure the property and a couple weeks later we set off for the Ozarks to seal the deal. The realtor met us there and I gave him additional deposit money, as agreed, and we inspected the house.

After we left, about ten miles down the road I began to detect some hesitation on Jan’s part about the house. We pulled over and had a serious talk. I encouraged her not to think she would hurt my feelings by expressing her concerns about the property. I believe the final word was, “It just doesn’t seem right.” We talked some more and the negatives kept adding up. Finally I remembered I had brought some reference material on other places in S.W. Missouri and we decided to check them out. A great relief came over both of us. We found a hotel in Springfield, had a nice dinner, and got well rested for the next day of House hunting.

In the morning, we set off, had a disappointment in Stockton, and headed for a realtor in Mount Vernon. After seemingly endless wanderings through the countryside with him leading the way we came upon a house set way back in the timber. The first week of March in the Ozarks is the absolute least favorable time of year to show a house. The forest is dreary, the weather overcast, and there is left over mud every where.

We loved it! We looked at no other properties and talked excitedly all the way to Tulsa where we faxed a counter offer on the house. We also kissed goodbye to the deposit we had on the property in Mansfield. The power of the circumstances which drove us to our new property bore the influence of God with no other option in both our minds. We “owned” that property the minute we saw it. There was no pillar of light or direction in a dream. It was simply an absolute compulsion to follow His lead. For once in my life I had the impression that I was doing His bidding to a tee. I realize that is not the only thing I have ever done which has pleased God. It was, however, the only time I have ever been so certain of His presence and direction in so personal a matter of such a worldly nature. It was an exhilarating experience.

In the decision process, we had of course prayed mightily, but in retrospect I’m not so sure we listened carefully for the answers. It’s possible I was so impressed with my organizational skills in the selection process that I assumed I was doing it by myself. How often does this happen in our lives? I assumed that God had turned it over to me when in fact the opposite was the necessary course.

This little twenty acre patch of oak, walnut and occasional other trees is dense and dark and forms a barrier sufficient to thwart any intrusion from the world. At night, there is absolutely no light from any manmade source. The quiet is deafening. Over the last three-and-a-half years we have labored long with a lot of sweat planting flowers, clearing brush and trees, and encouraging grass to reflect the potential which was in our minds eye when we first saw it. The flowers which God planted to separate grass from woods are yellow daisies and surpass in beauty all our meager efforts at horticulture. We have tailored the inside to suit our personalities and utility. At 1600 sq. ft., it’s not a mansion but it is more than adequate for a geezer and his bride, three cats, one Yellow Lab and one Shiffon.

So, finally, in my dotage I am content to love where God leads me. (I made what I thought was an error in the last sentence—love, not live. I think I’ll leave it alone.) I truly believe if God wanted me in Independence He would have so directed. I do believe that, for right now, this particular end of Mount Zion is close enough. We have a choice of four Restoration churches within a fifty five mile radius. We chose Carthage Branch at 40 miles, but we routinely visit the others.

Do I miss the excitement of Las Vegas, the mountains of Colorado, the seaside ambiance of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana? Will Cambridge, Mass., Louisville, Ky., Lincoln, Nebr, Topeka, Mobile, or Washington, D.C. ever lure me back? Could the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, the Packers of Wisconsin, the tunes in Nashville ever tempt me to return? Probably with no more likelihood than returning to the state of my birth, Iowa or it’s neighbor, Illinois. With every passing day, I find myself ever more willing to go or stay as God directs. If He is there, then I shall be happy. If He is not there, then I will be the same helpless fool I was before He changed my life.

What about you? Thinking of a change? I strongly recommend the ultimate in relocation advice: God Almighty. The price is right; all you have to do is ask.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Name for the Church

Following a new thread on one of the discussion boards has raised some questions, but as usual provided few lucid answers. The central issue over the name has several parts, not the least, the prospect of corporate protection of names by the Community of Christ. Someone wisely pointed out that names which may come into common usage need to be legally protected against the prospect of future use. Bodies, be they secular or spiritual, ignore names at their peril. If you want to see a storm of biblical proportions, name it the Church of Coca Cola. Moroni never faced an army equivalent to the phalanxes of lawyers that would descend on that action. The corporate wrath from Atlanta to protect that name would cover us like an ice age glacier.

Our zeal to capture every spiritual nuance of the faith in a corporate identity is laudable but unnecessary. We already have it: The Restored Church of Jesus Christ. But, you say, what about RLDS? That name has been corrupted, ignored, defamed and ground into the dirt by secular activists within the ranks over a period of several decades. They have chosen to defame its noble origins and water it down to nothingness. It has come to represent doctrinal strife and deviation. It’s the same as “Democrat” (defined by some as “mob rule”) party members wishing the change to “Democratic” (implying equality.)

To my knowledge, our current name carries no historical baggage; it describes our purpose, and is fairly brief and very easily understood. So what’s the problem? If the Community of Christ wants to play “dog in the manger” with names, let them. I can’t believe that God approves of that sort of petty behavior but it’s up to Him and not me to deal with that.

It was not what you were baptized into umpty-leven years ago. You came to Jesus Christ, not a body of believers or a quaint little building off in the woods. Even the name RLDS ignores Jesus Christ unless you use the complete name, which is unlikely. Why in the world are we wasting all this time chasing a memory when we could devote our time and efforts toward bringing others to Jesus Christ? We have what we need right now. We have the three books (CRE resolutions notwithstanding,) a full infusion of God’ spirit, and co-religionists who are the crème-de-la-crème of true believers. Let us get on with the work of Kingdom building and establishing Zion. God doesn’t need a name and a ZIP code to find us.

In His abundant love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Throughout my life, I have heard that confession is good for the soul. I do believe that to be true. Inasmuch as repentance demands the acknowledgement of our sin then confession must be an integral part of the process. To understand sin we then must allow God to work His wonder in our life and be aware of His will. Unlike those who most generally make the allegation found in the first sentence, my belief is that the order should be God, self and then others. That is, share your knowledge of the infraction with God and ask his forgiveness. Be sure you clearly understand the error yourself. Lastly, but yet extremely important, share your remorse with any offended parties and take remedial action.

Now that the ground rules have been laid, I feel free to confess. Prior to the launching of Zion Beckons, I was and partially continue to be, an internet political junkie. Part of my morning ritual was an addictive rite of bringing up my "first tier blogs" folder and clicking through my favorites in order: a thoughtful grin from Day by Day, news overview from Drudge, the earthquake report, Neil Boortz, more grins from "bussorah", on to Instapundit and on, and on, and on. Suddenly, it’s 10:30 am and I'm still in my bathrobe listening to the constant click of the mouse. "But," says I, "I can’t do anything productive until I check the Center Place message board."

My father maintained that if you will spend one hour a day in intense study, every day, without fail, on a narrow subject, you will, after a year or so become an expert of some renown. He was right so long as you restricted yourself to a fairly narrow topic. On one occasion, he chose to study mung beans (you know, bean sprouts on salads.) He ended up in correspondence with agronomists from major universities, seeking information about this miraculous bean which is one of the greatest protein sources in the vegetable world.

The rub comes when your interest lies in broad topics like politics or faith. In both cases, there are too many players to gain comprehensive knowledge of the subject in one lone hour per day. The next logical step is to then separate fact from opinion. However, here, in both cases, one man’s opinion is another man’s basis for a cult. Yes, there are cults in politics too. Check out, dailykos, or maybe anybody swept up in the fervor of global warming.

The result of my dedicated addiction to the affairs of the world and particularly the US government has left me with an enhanced awareness of activities both wonderful and sometimes unconscionable. In the foregoing sentence, substitute the word church for "world" and hierarchy for "US government." Any observation of both bodies, when considered in parallel, leads to a common identity. Since I consider the US Constitution to be inspired by God, I deem it akin to scripture. Not exactly the same, but certainly a fundamental basis with a Holy source. In both cases, the gulf between the aims of men and dictates of the canon widen daily. Individual interests supplant the noble goals provided from God-given sources and provide confusion for the electorate (members.) Failure to give heed to both the Bible and the Constitution has resulted in demeaning the goals of God and seriously infringing upon the God-given liberty to the people. In both cases, the solution lies in selecting conscientious men to exercise the responsibilities of both documents for the people without regard to their own personal, self-centered agenda.

Government has an important role in both political affairs and the issues facing our church. In both cases, we need a central governing authority to serve the people. To conduct business on an international stage, to provide for the common defense, and regulate those matters which have a legitimate national interest is constitutionally the proper role of our government in Washington, D.C. The strength of our founding document is its genius in assigning the proper role of that body of law both at the state and national level. The church also requires a central authority to serve the members with statistical data, inter-church relations, and activity which exceeds the capacity of individual branches to provide. To have either institution fail in their responsibilities is to not properly serve the electorate or the members. The key phrase here is "properly serve."

In both cases, I believe this has been sublimated by men who seek self-aggrandizement and power. If the responsibilities of leadership were clearly understood, it is my belief that few men would seek high positions. Among the best examples of longevity and extended power-seeking in the federal government are Kennedy D-Mass. and Stevens R-AK. Their key to success has been in "bringing home the bacon" to their respective states in exchange for continuing tenure. Neither has a history of demonstrable concern for the nation as a whole. At the least, their motives are transparent; they make little effort to conceal their interests.

Since money, per se, doesn’t seem to be the objective of those who seek leadership in our church we must ask, what does drive them? Getting everyone on the same page in our church would seem an impossible task. The simile of herding cats comes to mind. In a group the size of ours, the very idea of "power" is ludicrous. We don’t give out embroidered beanies, capes, long flowing robes or spiffy little aprons, so high liturgical fashion can’t be the answer. It’s possible that someone has hinted that the higher you go here on earth, the closer you get to God in the afterlife. Admission to that group (celestial glory?) is highly restricted but not impossible. The problem is getting a seat front row, center. At the least, this argument brings an afterlife component to the discussion. It is also entirely possible that some otherwise unstated factor has been introduced in that endless round of unrecorded, closed, and secret meetings, which drives them to achieve.

Maybe the parallel to national governance ends here. Just once, I would like to hear someone from on high explain exactly what God has in mind for the "organization de jour.” There is among the hierarchy today a cottage industry in forming new groups with new names. What part of "God is no respecter of persons" is not well understood? On a scale of one to ten, is humility closer to ten, or two? While we are doing the math, I forgave those who drove the church to apostasy the obligatory 7 X 70. And again, and again. But is there not some point where a measure of repentance must be shown to garner that level of forgiveness? Is this manifest in the dust-up over The Name? Or, is that just another part of the "plan."

Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps the parallel does extend to the here and now. We have people in government who further demonstrate our weakness by capitulating to those who wish us dead. They would shackle the most powerful military force on the face of the earth and go to great lengths to appease those who hate us. They oppose liberty with every opportunity. Among our church leadership we have those who refuse to recognize the serious doctrinal differences which have emerged over the last three decades between the Restoration and the C of C. They seek counsel and "reconciliation" with those who work actively to thwart the plans of God. They are willing to appease the adversary at every turn, stressing peace and love and urging us to kiss and make up. I guess what they don’t understand is that we willingly can love everyone, do them no harm, but still maintain our integrity. They need a refresher course in loving the sinner but hating the sin. I for one don’t need to be lectured to by apostates.

This is the fifty-third post on this board in under two months. With that milestone in place, the twenty one hundred of you who have checked in may rest assured that the wheel will continue to turn. Please forgive me if my political addiction intrudes on my most important subject matter, Jesus Christ. Pray that He will continue to supply the inspiration for many, many, more.

In His abundant love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Morning Rant (4)

People in rural areas have some privileges denied to urban dwellers. As members of a consumer owned rural electric cooperative, we are entitled to attend the annual field day and general meeting of the co-op.

I gladly did this last Friday and came away well fed (steak sandwich and the trimmings), gifted (a tote cup and one of those new mercury light bulbs,) and enlightened about the progress (we made money) Ozark Electric had made this past year, in spite of the ice storm in January.

During the course of the meeting I was also spiritually elevated. Kailey Tyler of Willard spoke and related her adventures representing the co-op and the state of Missouri in national competition in Washington, D.C. and she gave her speech, “We The People” which took second place nationally. Her speech gave lie to the myths of all our young people being hopeless, dope smoking, lazy, ignorant clods. It was brilliantly delivered in clear, well organized language and with treasured ideas. Her respect for the history and tradition of America rang throughout the presentation. She was also not shy about mentioning the role of God in its formation and its continued growth. All in all, a sterling performance by an excellent representative of her family, community, state, co-op and especially, her age group. With folks like Kailey Tyler, there is indeed, hope for the republic.


When Jan first got the idea to have a blog she was seeking answers she couldn't seem to get on other venues. At the time, I warned her that there was a lot more to blogging than met the eye. One of things we discussed was, putting up with trolls. Since I have about 75 or more blogs on my favorites list, I was a little more familiar with the medium. Posters and commenters who exist solely to be disruptive do prowl the net. Generally they are either anonymous or use multiple alias’s, and are nearly always recognizable. They normally use deceptive interpretations or faux scholarship to change the meaning of the original post. As a rule they start with some minor flattery to get your attention and then lower the boom.

Since we have a spiritually based subject we assumed that we wouldn’t have much problem. Then, I was somewhat hurt that no one cared enough about us to become our own personal resident troll. Suddenly it was like Christmas morning; “Gee Mom and Dad, you mean I now have my very own troll?” Yep, they came out from under the bridge and made their presence known. The M.O. was typical – no real names, accusations of intellectual inability, far out questioning of accepted doctrine, and veiled insults.

As a team, we rarely have a reason to even consider deleting a comment before it posts. We don’t do “tin foil hats,” named personal attacks, and of course blasphemy. If questions are asked and we feel the commenter is sincere, we answer to the best of our ability. If we consider the commenter to be a troll, we choose to just ignore it, much the same as one ignores a petulant child. So, to our anonymous trolls – knock yourselves out but don’t expect a response.


Nathan Baldwin put up a comment on the center place message board this morning about who rises to the occasion to further the work of the church. He, rightly, points out that the same people seem to show up to do the work. It’s true in every branch. Priesthood and members alike have individuals who find the time and the energy necessary to further the work of the Kingdom at their level. There is always a small cadre who emerge as leaders to direct the activities and participate in the “grunt” work. Throughout we notice the same people serving the food, conducting the classes (in Sunday school or reunion,) conducting a missionary effort, mowing the grass and serving the Lord. Some of these are acknowledged, but, many are not.

The quality of work they accomplish is sometimes criticized by those whose greatest effort is lifting a hymnal. At the missionary level, some poor elder who is really sweating it out in some backwater third world excuse for a country is knocked for his failure to baptize the universe of people lined up at the door of the mission. The sister who is responsible for arranging to have the church cleaned hears all about every overlooked speck of dust and water spot on the chrome fixtures in the ladies room. When all else fails, blame it on the pastor. If the Lord was this impatient with our meager efforts, we would all be in dire peril.

If you think a stray Coke can in the parking lot is a disgrace to the faith, bend over and pick it up. If you feel a Sunday school class mixes too many grade levels in a class, get off your stumps and offer to teach an additional section. If you believe the folks you encounter in the work place are too rude and crude for salvation, think again and practice your own missionary skills. It’s not “our” church alone. It belongs to God and it’s up to each of us to provide an environment to glorify His name. The name on the sign should say it all: The Restored Church of Jesus Christ!

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon