Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Horse or a Hard Drive?

Imagine, if you will, that you were Joseph Smith or one of his brothers in Christ. You have received revelations from the Lord and you need to share them with other saints. You go to the barn, saddle your horse, or hitch up the buggy, and set off. Your wife has packed a bit of food, you've donned your warmest coat and set off through the forest. No doubt the road, if there was one, was crude. There were few creature comforts to ease the burden of lengthy travel. You were no doubt warmed by the Holy Spirit, and you hastened to spread your newly revealed message. Under these conditions, haste meant several days of lost time. This was a common dilemma faced by our ancestors in the faith. Is it any wonder that they baptized scores of people at a sitting? They didn’t have the luxury of long winded, agonizing decision processes. They dealt in the here and now. When the spirit called, you obeyed.

Now, fast forward to today. You have a significant dream, a fresh testimony, an inspired thought to improve the fellowship and you need to share it immediately with others. You go to your home office, study, den, whatever, and pick up the phone or sit down at your computer. You are suddenly in contact with the entire world if you so choose. Aside from the usual complaints about faulty internet service, balky computers, and fuzzy phone connections you have the means of instant communication. You can “go tell it on the mountain” without any appreciable strain. You are only limited by the length of your email addressees list or your phone log.

One of the biggest challenges we face now is to insure communication with others in our circle of faith occurs at an appropriate moment in the recipient’s time zone. If Ev in Maine has a thought at dawn to share with Hartley in Nevada, his 3 am call may not be appreciated. So he fires off an email, which will be received as soon as Hartley fires up his computer. These intercontinental transactions would have been impossible for the Saints of 1830. The country didn’t even have regulated time until the advent of the railroads.

Given our current conveniences, what would be our excuse for not spreading the gospel? What would be our excuse for not being aware of the entire goings on within the church? Are we reluctant to face the terrors of the night trudging through the woods? Do we wish to avoid the discomfort of long range foot travel suffering cold, fatigue, hunger and fear of encountering some real or imagined predator? Sorry! There is no justifiable excuse available. These modern devices are gifts from God to be used to spread His message. Through His good offices, men have been inspired to design better and better means for communication. It is impossible to believe that the computer, on which this is being entered, is simply an extension of the “big bang.” Like many of our gifts, it is useless without prayerful application.

In our corner of Zion, we are surrounded by Amish neighbors. One could not possibly ask for better people to have so close. They are, though, a peculiar people, and disdain being connected to the world. Without motorized vehicles, electricity, or telephones they intentionally are out of touch. Being isolated from “the world,” they feel better able to quietly pursue their faith and not be distracted. There is no intention here to either condemn or endorse those feelings. It is just one group’s response to modern technology. They do, rightly, recognize that those things which can work so well to work for good may also be used to promulgate the workings of Satan. This applies to most things which surround us in daily life. The ability to exercise moderation, temperance and good judgment are not unknown qualities of saints. Obviously, if evil is the intent, it will probably be the outcome.

Traffic on the internet or other technology should be subject to the same prayers and supplications as other media. God will provide the discernment necessary to ferret out the truth. One need only ask. He “upbraideth not” anyone who seeks this help. Given this preparation we are then ready to exploit the huge resources available. God has supplied some marvelous tools for the dissemination of His word.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do You Think Too Much?

As I went through my folders this evening, I came across this little tale. I have no idea where it came from or worse, who wrote it. Since it was obviously floating free in the ether of the internet I shall publish without shame but with apologies to the author. It’s only right that we lighten up a little sometimes.

"It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone—'to relax,' I told myself—but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time. I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, 'What is it exactly we are doing here?'

Things weren't going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, 'Joe, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job.' This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. 'Honey,' I confessed, 'I've been thinking . . . .'

'I know you've been thinking,' she said, 'and I want a divorce!'

'But Honey, surely it's not that serious.'

'It is serious,' she said, lower lip aquiver. 'You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!'

'That's a faulty syllogism,' I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I'd had enough. 'I'm going to the library,' I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with BBC 4 on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors . . . they didn't open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. 'Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?' it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was 'Big Brother.' Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed . . . easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking. I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me. Today, for example, I voted for Hillary Clinton.”

Come on, laugh, it’s funny.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thought Police

One of the greatest threats from any totalitarian administration of the rules of order are from those would control thought. Physical abuses and the threat thereof are painful and can inflict long term damage upon individuals. However, abuse of the freedom of thought, though less obvious, is far more damaging to the entire society it affects. That last bastion of the right to privacy, the human mind, is under fierce assault from the political correctness advocates and the accompanying cadre of “thought police.”

Historically, we can view the perpetrators of thought control in the extreme without having to search very far. Joseph Goebbels (Nazi Germany), Pol Pot (Cambodia), Chairman Mao (China), and Joseph Stalin (USSR) are among some of the most celebrated names to rise in any discussion of the issue. While they physically abused their peoples, their most insidious assault was on their minds. They, in common, realized that a mind under control was equivalent to a body under control. Even the most historically illiterate readily recognize these stated examples. But, we say, this is America and it can’t happen here.

The purveyors of political correctness and diversity palaver are alive and well in our society and in our church. We are besieged from every side by those who would obscure the truth by accusing critics of insensitivity and disrespect. Granted, name calling and personal attack is not in any remote sense part of reasoned argument. However, stating matters in plain speech with actual facts should be allowable and part of normal discourse. Lacking the perfection of God, men will sometimes err on the side of overstatement and offer candid opinion which proves offensive. Often, the offense is a justifiable statement of belief which has a clear meaning stated in our scriptures. Many times, people’s actual words are repeated to verify their position and those words are criticized as an attack. I would suggest that editing what one says would help to avoid these embarrassing quotes later.

Recently, a brother challenged an accusation made against another and asked for specific citations and evidence of the supposed offense. The charges made were serious and entailed the eventuality of legal relief. Suspecting the charges were false and knowing they had been vigorously denied, he aired his opinion on a prominent discussion board. His action, standing up for the accused, resulted in being banned from the board. His original post named all the parties concerned. A revised post deleted the specifics but was still barred. It is well known that the accused party is an active critic of the current hierarchy. This suppression is a reprehensible example of censorship accomplished in the name of political correctness. Given the relationship of those who maintain the board and those who would lead the church, one easily concludes that it reflects the attitude of the leadership. God help us!

I freely admit to being terrified of this stifling of the free exchange of ideas. It’s one thing to have been asleep at the switch as the church slid into apostasy (decades ago) but quite another to be awake and alert and then thwarted by those who would suppress our right to free _expression. May God forgive me; I didn’t see it then. Today, with a clearer mind and a radically different level of interest, it seems blatant. It is not necessary for me to understand completely the wiles of Satan’s influence to appreciate his presence and influence. Some of those who perpetuate this vile dogma of hiding everything from the sunshine of truth may actually believe that they have the greater good in the forefront. They are, in my opinion, only “drinking the Kool-Aid.” For those who have forgotten, the preceding reference is to those who followed the false prophet, Jim Jones and committed mass suicide to avoid the ultimate “come uppance” upon their exposure. While I don’t see an exact parallel to this incident, I do see the danger in following leaders with personal agenda. We have need of only one master, Jesus Christ. To support His leadership requires the sublimation of self. If your agenda is not His agenda, it’s time to rethink your relationship. His pronouncements on the subject are clear.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

(If you wish to pursue the example cited, I have verifiable copies of all the pertinent emails, articles and responses. This is available to serious inquiry by sending your email address with a request to the comments section. Your email will NOT be posted. Your email address is not included on the messages we receive in the comments.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday Morning Rant (14)

In my opinion, one of the most descriptive words in the English Language is “bittersweet.” In our available vocabulary we may search and actually find an exact word or phrase to illustrate situations and conditions which we experience.

We returned from the Chicago area last night and a visit to my brother and his wife, Lynne. Regular readers (many of whom have sought healing for him through prayer) know Craig has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Upon arrival we found a normally robust and very athletic 62 year old man reduced to using a walker, nearly deaf and in a generally debilitated state. As the weekend progressed we discovered a man who is naturally competitive, filled with the will to defeat his condition and wage all out war against his disease. Hence, we have a new found appreciation of the word bittersweet to evaluate the trip.

Public expressions of religiosity and long professions of faith have never been part of his persona. It is not my place to judge his attitudes on such matters but I can relate the superficial evidence. It has been scarce. He is a good man but he doesn’t bother others with his innermost thinking on the subject. He did come in for a huge surprise in the process. The outpouring of concern, cards, phone calls and visits from interested people has been huge. He has found a “new” word for his personal vocabulary—blessings.

One friend, when he heard the news, flew in from Boston, not just to visit but to be on hand to help, encourage, and rag him to help himself. It’s a guy thing. Some men just need a buddy to deliver the unvarnished truth of the painful actions to take to assist in recovery. Dave supplied it. Many others overwhelmed him with concern. It appears now that he recognizes the true meaning of blessings.

Once one becomes familiar with the paradox of healing through chemotherapy, it is possible to view it as a blessing and a curse. It requires destructive processes to tear down the bad but in the process destroys the good and necessary. In war, they call this collateral damage. Unfortunately (or not!) many of you are all too familiar with the process due to the afflictions of loved ones or from your own personal experience.

The strongest upside to this whole affair was the opportunity to share, to a ready listener, my personal testimony of God’ healing power. It has always been received with not so much dismissal but rather bored acceptance. It’s an old song but it needs to be sung over and over. The audience which tires of it need the words the most. God has the capacity to alter any and every aspect of our lives, if He is sought. This whole process becomes far more attractive in the face of a life threatening calamity. To deny, or even doubt, this truth is to bar the Greatest Physician from an active part in ones recovery. When the false shroud of personal invincibility crumbles, the only possible recourse is faith in the ability of the Master to come to our aid. I believe He will. Thanks to your prayers, so far, I believe my brother is coming to this point. As a family, we solicit your continued prayers for his recovery and prayers for his wife for strength in a very difficult situation. Thank you.


What kind of an idiot drives 550 miles on “Black Friday” and another 550 miles on the last day of a four day holiday weekend? Would it have been possible to have chosen two worse days to take the road? Through God’s protection and my skills as a former professional driver we managed the trip without incident (other than sky high gas prices.) As our lives are currently structured, there was no choice.

In the course of travel, we were exposed to completely opposite ends of the human condition. We encountered folks who were courteous, friendly, helpful and generally considerate of those around them. Unfortunately, we also found a handful whose personal agenda prevented them from extending the least concern for their fellow man. They are among us. I have never quite figured out how jockeying for a one car betterment of position in a traffic jam is worth the risk. I am also unaware of the reason to pull on a busy highway and then drive twenty miles an hour under the assigned speed. As I pulled into a service station for fuel I observed an officer giving a citation to an individual in a parked car in the lot. I noted, while fueling, the transaction ended and the cited party drove the car off the lot and, without stopping, moved onto a busy arterial street. Oops! The officer noted this infraction and gave chase once again. I guess the driver is “stuck on stupid.”

As I walked into the store a woman outside complimented me on my shirt. This gratuitous remark then re-elevated my spirits and my disgust with the prior situation left me. It’s amazing to me how one little nicety can erase my former feelings and so quickly change my attitude. God is good.


We are now back home, safe and sound. We may now resume our affirmed policy of “preaching to the choir.” We sincerely hope your holiday provided feasting and most important, a celebration of God’s many gifts.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon