Saturday, April 19, 2008


It’s time for another round of psycho-babble. Fifty years ago I started getting interested in how the mind, body, and attitude all interchange to affect one’s life in its entirety. It started with Kurt Levin’s Resolving Social Conflicts, augmented by Harris’s I’m OK, You're OK, and continued with various offerings from Eric Berne (see transactional analysis) and a two decade exposure to the magazine Psychology Today. Although never tempted to seek “professional” counsel to reconcile any manufactured psychosis I made every effort to keep up on the field. In the process I discovered that “thar’s gold in them thar ills.”

Currently in the news is a woman, Sarah Edwards, who has dreamed up a couple of books full of information on a new disorder; pre-traumatic (yes, the prefix is not a misprint) stress syndrome. Equipped with an alphabet of titles after her name and a high regard for Gaia, she has coupled the two to promote this previously unheard of illness. Essentially it is reserved for those persons who have attained much in life and have substituted fear for faith. They see disaster under every leafy bough and carry a constant thought of impending doom. We used to call them “worry warts.” I am certain you know one or perhaps intimately share their pain. As a man of meager resources, I personally have little to fear in their loss.

Her grief for the planet causes her excessive concern for the use of fuel, waste paper, water pollution and other eco-ailments. The physical result is neck and shoulder pain, fibromyalgia and fatigue. She reports it was so severe she had to move from crowded Santa Monica to a “cabin” in the Los Padres National Forest. She claims to have reduced her shopping needs to a trip to the nearby grocery every three weeks.

This “cabin” is a three story affair which is home to the Pine Mountain Institute where one may retreat to nature and experience appropriate therapy. The picture I viewed showed more of a mountain mansion than the rustic dwelling I had initially envisioned. With treatment at $100 an hour she has joined the other one hundred “qualified” specialists in a field that has grown, by their admission, to a $228,000,000 industry. That is indeed, gold.

For your further curiosity, here is the website for your perusal.

I covered some of this on a previous “rant.” Until we fully appreciate the source of our gifts in life I see no possibility of understanding the transitory nature of our existence and the lack of meaning in their loss. We came in naked and we shall leave the same way. If our entire focus is on the protection of that which we have rather than that which we may become then our presence here is hopeless. We are constantly chided in the scriptures to have no mind of the things of this world. We have a forward-looking faith.

To understand our lives on earth we must learn to accommodate some raw data. To provide shelter; trees are cut. If the shelter is to be warm; fuel must be extracted from the ground. To sustain our bodies; animals and vegetables must die – so also with our clothing. To exercise our talents in labor; we must move about. Creator God, by His own word has provided all of this for our use. And yes, He also has advised that we exercise good stewardship in their use. In our growing (and shrinking) environment we witness a planet very much alive. It is in a state of constant change which is sometimes not gentle. The forces which shape our natural world often demonstrate unimaginable power. They can also be subtle but just as dramatic in the end result. We are currently witnessing ground saturated with water from previous violent storms with 3 to 4 inch falls of rain refusing to accommodate an additional ½ inch. A flood from ½” of rain!

If you are a victim of “pre-traumatic stress syndrome,” I have some advice: unless you have $100 an hour to throw away on a quack, count your blessings and deal with it!

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Springtime Musings

In mid-April it appears the perils of the winter are finally past. Spring has finally arrived. Dogwoods, redbuds, daffodils, crocus, lazuli buntings (very rare), robins and our ever present over flights of turkey buzzards (more later) announce the changing season. But, while running errands in a nearby town yesterday I spotted the surest signal of all. I came across a brace of Mormon missionaries in their traditional plumage: black pants, white shirts, neckties, black name tag/pocket protectors with scriptures and tracts in hand.

Walking down the middle of the street (no sidewalks,) they were identifiable at least three blocks away. As I passed, I waved encouragement and they smilingly returned the gesture. Two well scrubbed young men with close cropped hair whose eagerness shown on their sunlit faces. I appreciated the normalcy of the occasion and it triggered memories from long ago.

In 1948, I had driven a car which belonged to a friend of my Dad to California from Iowa. It sounds bizarre today, but I hitch-hiked home. On the trip back I had experiences coming through “Mormon Country” which established life long interest and preparation to be a Latter Day Saint. One of my many “rides” dropped me off in front of a LDS center in Cedar City, Utah. There on the porch, I had my first encounter with missionaries. Paired, even on their home ground, they were eager to share their testimonies and after a long conversation gave me my first Book of Mormon. I enjoyed the interchange and was grateful for the book. Pressed by coming darkness we had our farewells and I continued on.

The next day, Sunday, about thirty miles from Vernal, Utah, I was picked up by a Bishop on his way to services at the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. He invited me to share with them, with the further enticement of dinner later after the meeting. I didn’t realize at the time it involved a place of prominence on the dais but thankfully, no speaking role in the four hour service. After all, what Methodist Youth Fellowship leader could resist an opportunity of such magnitude? What I didn’t fully realize at the time was that carrying a Book of Mormon was my passport to all the fellowship and benefits a stray hitchhiker could enjoy. They were gracious hosts, great cooks, and the initial formers of my opinion of Latter Day Saints which has never dimmed over the decades regardless of who used the scripture.

Although it had little to do with the faith, a young Uintah lad helped me get the 7½ gallon hat I bought at the trading post shaped like his. To my horror he plunged it into a rain barrel and then formed it properly. It was my constant companion during the next twenty years until my spouse announced that it was either the hat or she that would have to go. I still had it when I was baptized at the RLDS church in Bedison, Missouri in 1967.

It would be over twenty years after that baptism that the young men I spotted in town were born! My understanding of Lehi, Nephi, Moroni, Alma and the other beloved figures in the Book has enlarged over the years but it doesn’t lessen my thanksgiving for those who first exposed me to it. My appreciation of the Church of Jesus Christ was certainly enhanced by their efforts.

I promised in the first paragraph to enlarge upon the turkey buzzards. As a firm believer in intelligent design, I would be quick to offer these magnificent birds. Aloft, they present the ultimate in style and grace. Riding the air currents in search of carrion they present an air show of incomparable proportions. In flights of eight to ten, they circle about, soaring, diving in an age old pattern of ground surveillance, beautiful in its simplicity. Once on the ground and out of their element, they are because of their naked red heads and necks some of the most repulsive creatures God ever created. However, once one comes to understand their feeding habits, it is possible to appreciate their appearance – not to mention their efficiency. I guess it all comes down to not questioning God in perfecting these very necessary scavengers.

It’s Spring; a time for reflection and renewal. My prayer is that you all may all enjoy this blessed season.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


For those whose interests lie in numerology, we have this startling report from the International Programs Center: which informs us that on May 10, 2008, this agency of the U.S. Census Bureau projects the population of the world will reach this figure. They did not specify the hour and the minute—or for that matter, the time zone.

Christians have long held the “666” as the mark of the beast and perk up their ears at any mention of the combination. Far less attention is paid to the number of Jesus which is “888.” That’s about par for the course. For man, it is predictable that it is easier to fear Satan than to embrace fully, the Christ. It is of course triangular by nature and therefore an enticing and interesting number. If you compute the ascending progression of numbers, their sum then equates to 666. 1+2+3+4+6+7+ etc. to 36 = 666, defines the process.

Scholars have worn themselves out over the millennia working on various theories about the report of John the Revelator (REV 13:18) concerning the identity of the beast (man.) The most popular seems to be a code for Nero. In Hebrew and other ancient languages it was common to assign a numerical value to the letter. In Aramaic, adding these numerical equivalents results in 666 being Nero. With a despotic ruler or for that matter any marginally unfriendly government it is unwise to make direct reference to individuals by name. Hence, they used the substitute numerical, based on a language that few of their oppressors knew, to refer to Nero. In more modern times we find persons in conflict with the powers that be, resorting to an alias or code to conceal their activities. One that easily comes to mind is Barack Ale. (Ed. note: What a coincidence. We know of a woman who teaches that the number 666 is a counterfeit; that the number is actually a "good" number, because it is Joseph Smith's number. Where we go from there is anybody's guess. Perhaps to the nearest psych ward.)

One of the conflicts in the study of the issue is the assignment of 616 for the number. Upon research and at the risk of over-simplification it boils down to what language you speak. It seems that Nero in Hebrew gematria comes up fifty short of the Aramaic version. This was supported by the discovery of some manuscripts which predate the originals by some hundred years. The opponents of this theory claim that “face to face” records of conversations with the revelator negate this.

The number occurs in the Old Testament as well. In 1 Kings 10:14-22 we find Solomon given his weight in gold to the extent of 666 talents. The Satanic influence becomes apparent in the next chapter (1 Kings 11:4-9) as he builds altars to three different pagan gods, indulges in human sacrifice and completes his apostasy.

So what does this all have to do with anything? In my view, very little is accomplished other than providing employment for researchers and number crunchers. Any middle-schooler can tell you that the number comes up once in any collection of 1000 consecutive figures. Do we really need it to identify the work of the adversary? Our scriptures have assured us of the presence of this dark force and also provided the antidote. Name, number, or inner sense of evil; it makes no difference if one’s life is consistently centered on the Savior. Rather than seek the shallow meanings of diabolic symbolism I believe we are better served relentlessly pursuing the uplifting and exalted message of Jesus Christ.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 33

As I blundered along this weekend, checking blogs, news sources, sharing with other Saints and generally shopping for some good subject matter I found the mother lode.. It is a story of oppression, suppression of constitutional rights, and common sense gone out the window. Have they gone completely mad in the educational establishment?

The possession of the items listed below are a few of the reported ones which resulted in the suspension of the youngsters involved from public school. Please note that each is linked to the news source so you don’t have to take my word for it. They are as follows:

1. A butter knife

2. An empty disarmed grenade

3. A beeper

4. Kool Aid Mix

5. A squirt gun

6. A pen w/ a Glock logo

7. Mouth wash

8. A sketch of a gun?

9. A Sharpie® pen

10. A ham sandwich

11. Snowballs

12. An emergency road side kit

13. A pointed (finger) and saying “bam”

By now I hope you have checked out a few of them and possibly joined me in an absolute fit of outrage. To make this readable, I checked out each and every one to transfer the URL codes. After each, I thought that it couldn’t continue to get more ridiculous with the next one. I was wrong. There is apparently no end to the insanity which is extant in the public school systems. These incidents have no geographic focus. They entail all ages of students as well as gender, and, I suspect, race. The only thing they have in common is excessive control and bureaucratic nonsense. They all illustrate a complete lack of understanding on the part of educators, of youngsters as a group and certainly as individuals.

I thank God each and every day for my family and their insistence on home schooling. It comes at a very great price but it is also accompanied by a huge reward.
Over the last few months I have been able to worship with the Saints in Miami, Oklahoma, at least twice a month. It’s 140 miles round trip and I don’t mind the time, but the current price of fuel combined with accelerating prices curbs my activity. I speak on the phone with fellow believers about three or four times a week and of course on the internet daily. On those Sundays I don’t go to Oklahoma, I seek a Christian environment here and worship with other protestant churches.

It has been an enlightening experience to be with them, observe, sometimes participate and enjoy their welcoming spirit. I have also heard some outstanding speakers. This morning, the pastor, Lee Parsons of Fellowship Baptist Church in Aurora, used Matthew 7:22 & 23. “Repent, therefore, and enter ye in at the straight gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat. (23) Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

His quick interpretation was something I hadn’t heard from a pulpit in years. His essential message was that the road to hell is wide and easy. On the other hand the other path is not so easy and is extremely narrow. The preacher went on for a fascinating half-hour making sure that his flock understood the difference, and felt free to call a “spade a spade.” He pulled no punches about the difficulties found in following Christ. He made no wild promises about ease and comfort in the process. His primary concern was the destination and encouragement to make the journey as fulfilling as possible. Although serious and straightforward, I rejoiced to hear him make his appeal with such obvious relish.
It is a temptation to comment on the recent “conference” in Independence. Although I have many who report frequently, I shall defer any further observations until I have a great deal more information. In the meantime I continue to encourage you all to pray for the strengthening of Jesus Christ’s Church.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon