28 June 2010

Annotating Patriarchal Blessings: Microsoft Word 2007

Some of the most sacred experiences I've ever had have been mentioned in some detail within my patriarchal blessing. As I've studied it, I've gained crucial insight into who I was in the pre-existence, and who I am trying to become in this life. Through studying the insights of my patriarchal blessing, I am able to plan and prepare for my future.

Studying my blessing has been crucial to understanding it. I've explored how I can use a couple of common computer programs to help me do this, and my goal is to point them out in the event that they can help someone else.

I began in Microsoft Word 2007, using the Comments feature in order to record my insights. To do this, Go to the Review tab, highlight the the word you want to annotate, and click on New Comment. A bubble will appear in the right hand column. Type or paste your insights here. You can also put links in these bubbles. The result will look something like this.







I have found that by picking out important words and phrases in my blessing, and studying how the scriptures have given context to those words, I understand much better that no part of my blessing is common. Our prophets also provide great insight that, when gathered and compared with the scriptures, deepens our appreciation for even the most fundamental aspects of the gospel. These aspects like prayer and scripture study take on new life because we can join them with the vision of our patriarchal blessing, and see how they fit into the larger context of our personal lives and eternal destinies.

As we gather more information and carefully store it in our Word document, it may begin to look something like this:



Which bubble goes to which thought? It gets pretty tangled. When you click on a bubble, it will show you which highlighted phrase is associated with it, which does help. But some reformatting might make this a little easier.



It may take some time, but playing with it will help you to figure out how to set it up just the way you want it. For those of you who dislike reading from a screen, I can't say I blame you. But under this approach, it's easy enough to print what you've gathered every so often--making it simpler and more organized than handwritten annotations.

Another nifty feature which may appeal to some is using the Charts feature to show which words appear the most in your blessing. For those of us with longer blessings, this may be a little harder to figure out. I made a Wordle with mine, then found the top 10 words. Once you have your word counts for the words you want to use, go to the Insert tab and click Charts. Choose the chart you want and enter your data.

When you finish, it'll look something like the following example:


You can change the colors of your charts by double clicking on them and choosing from the options that appear in the tool bar at the top of the document window. You can also change the color of your annotation bubbles by going to the Review tab, clicking the arrow under Track Changes, then Change Tracking Options... and changing the color in the Comments drop down box. The color shown in my examples is Violet.

There are features I like about Microsoft Word, but that isn't the program I use personally. I annotate a PDF of mine in Adobe Reader. I will do a separate post on that program soon.

I know patriarchal blessings provide some of the choicest council from the Lord a person can receive in this life. I know the patriarchs are inspired of God, and I know that my patriarchal blessing is comprised of words straight from the Lord to me. My blessing is mine, it is divine, and I knew that when I received it.

Receiving and understanding our patriarchal blessings protects us from the deception of Satan, which will become a greater need in each of us as these last days bring us closer and closer to our Savior's return. In the holy name through which these blessings come, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

22 June 2010

Of Projects & Parables: Responding to Evil

You may have heard about the young woman in Provo who was recently attacked, raped, and left for dead outside of the Branbury Apartments.

What you don't know is this young woman is in my stake.

It's no mystery to anyone familiar with Brigham Young University that entire stakes do not cover a large geographical area. Members of my ward live in the complex where the incident took place. I don't think I have to explain that I live very close to where this incident happened.

But on Sunday, our stake presented us with an opportunity to do something about what happned: a service project to clear away the trees and undergrowth separating the Provo River trail from the Branbury Apartments.

On Monday, we gathered and got to work.








As I did my part to clear trees in the heat of desert midday, I thought about the young lady whose need has inspired our actions. I thought about her loved ones, and how hard it must be for them to see her go through this. I said more than one silent prayer for them all that day, and my prayers do remain with them because they are not just nameless strangers to me. They are members of my Church family I haven't met yet, and I don't need to know their names or ever see their faces to love them like family and wish them the best.

Those feelings of love and family stayed with me as I looked around and saw my fellow volunteers. I saw the priesthood holders who would come on a day's notice and give their time and their sweat to protect the safety and virtue of others. I saw members of my Relief Society there, doing their share and pulling their weight--exerting strength according to what they could lift, and conserving their energy so they could work longer and do more. I saw a great and powerful love that day between friends and strangers alike as we do what we can to diminish Satan's influence in our community.

And the great part to me is that this project was just the beginning to a larger solution--which is so important because just changing the environment isn't going to be enough in this battle against the adversary. The Branbury is providing an ongoing self defense course, which has (unsurprisingly) received an overwhelming response from young women who want to feel safe despite what has happened to our sister.

But what I will long remember from this day was the image of the Priesthood and the Relief Society working together. If I may invoke the language and cadence of a parable, I want to picture the kingdom of heaven for a minute.

Young men and women lift burdens that look like trees and underbrush but are actually something much greater--despite the heat of the day and the weight of the load. They leave all the tired gender battles on the ground where they belong.  A log is a log, and someone has to lift it and put it in the pile over there. It's that simple. You lift what you can carry, and when you get tired you pray. Male and female, you are strengthened through Christ and you carry on.

A young man, seeing I have no gloves, gives me some to use. I use them for my task and give them back to him because I don't need them for everything. Certified workmen run the equipment, the chainsaws and the wood chipper. They oversee everyone, young and old, and clear the area when it's time to pull another tree down. They plan, make the first cut, and hand us a rope to pull the tree down.

If I have hands, I can work. The strength of my back is the strength of my back. The only reason there were only four of my church sisters there working is because only four of them showed up--not because the women weren't invited.

President Spencer W. Kimball once taught of the Relief Society, "There is a power in this organization that has not yet been fully exercised to strengthen the homes of Zion and build the Kingdom of God—nor will it until both the sisters and the priesthood catch the vision of Relief Society." (see here)

I don't know what other people see when they think about heaven, but it's important to remember that the work never stops when you want to go far. In Matthew 20, Christ teaches:
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

In my mind, heaven wouldn't be heaven if there was no work to do. Sure, we could sit around in pretty mansions and shoot the breeze with each other for all eternity, but what would be the point? We need to remember that heaven, in all its perfection, still has a purpose: to serve God in opposing evil continually.

If the work in which we're engaged for mortality never penetrates that spiritual realm of good and evil, doesn't force us to look beyond our immediate circumstances and into that eternal future, we won't be ready for that future when it comes.

18 June 2010

Get Outta My House--a scary thought from 2 Nephi

--originally published on Waters of Mormon on November 8, 2008--

Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.” 2 Nephi 26: 26

My mother has never been one to protect my sister and me from the wicked things of this world, I suppose in the hopes of teaching us something about it. My last trip to New York City as a non-member was no exception.

The last night we were in the city, we were hopelessly lost in the business district of Manhattan some time after six in the evening. The streets were deserted—an eerie contrast to the bright and bustling hub of Times Square. As the sun set behind the towering buildings on the horizon, my worry for my family became more pronounced in the dying light. I looked to my mother, the citadel and Ma Joad of our existence, and saw a tired, care-worn woman pouring over a map that had long proved to be useless. I can imagine her still, refusing to acknowledge worry or defeat for the sake of keeping our confidence. I felt powerless in her shadow, but my confidence in her faded with each rat that scurried across the sidewalk, each pole dancer that entered the “gentlemen’s club” across the street, with the anxiety that spilled into the evening air with the steam beneath the manhole covers.

We’re all going to die, I decided finally, plopping myself down on the sidewalk.

It soon became necessary to caffeinate my mother, so my death was thankfully interrupted by a trip to Dunkin Donuts that changed my outlook on life forever.

A homeless woman with an overstuffed, black plastic bag slung over her shoulder was walking down the sidewalk across the street. Even from where I was standing, I could hear her incoherent yelling to someone I had assumed was behind her. I could make out only one repeated phrase from where I was.

“GET OUTTA MY HOUSE! Y’AIN’T WELCOME IN MY HOUSE! GET OUTTA MY HOUSE!”

I laughed at her, despite myself, because I honestly felt scared enough to cry. A tumult of sympathy for this deranged stranger, my exhaustion from a day surrounded by people and their constant noise, and silent misery disguised as maturity became too much for me to face anymore. I laughed at this poor battered soul as she dug through trash cans for things to add to her Atlas-like burden. It was only at that moment that my mother finally spoke to me.

“She’s probably a schizophrenic woman whose family doesn’t know where she is, and she doesn’t have any more medication. It isn’t right to laugh at her.”

I realized two things in that moment that I still keep with me: my mother may not know where she is sometimes, but she is never lost; and the suffering of this woman was meant to teach me something.

New York City represents for the United States the apex of all worldly success—the financial prowess and cultural center my family intended to celebrate with a three day vacation that became for me a type of pilgrimage because of this one soul. This woman will be a walking testimony against our society at the judgment day, at a time when our greatest weaknesses will be shouted from the rooftops for all to hear. Her life serves as a warning against us all because even though our Father in Heaven will never turn His children away from His house of worship, He is fully prepared to tell us to “Get outta my house” at the Judgment Bar.

Many might object to the idea of a schizophrenic homeless lady being a messenger for the Lord, but I am convinced that even the unlikeliest of people can be angels of warning. Whether on the streets of New York City or in a classroom at BYU in Provo, Utah, the idea that Heavenly Father’s love could be so entirely conditional does not seem to go away.

12 June 2010

Relief Society and the Priesthood: Then, Now, and Forever

I wrote a post discussing the power of women's virtue here. I'd like to expand upon those thoughts to an organizational level, and explore the great gift God has given the Church by restoring the Relief Society to the earth.

The following is an article from the Deseret News, published in April of 1868, available here.

FEMALE RELIEF SOCIETY 
--by Eliza R. Snow--
This is the name of a Society which was organized in Nauvoo, on the 17th of March, 1842, by President Joseph Smith, assisted by Elders Willard Richards and John Taylor. Although the name may be of modern date, the institution is of ancient origin. We were told by our martyred prophet, that the same organization existed in the church anciently, allusions to which are made in some of the epistles recorded in the New Testament, making use of the title, "elect lady."...

From this we see that the Relief Society was just as much a part of the gospel Restoration as the priesthood. For women to be organized and contributing to the affairs of the church is a function of the Plan of Salvation, the gospel of Jesus Christ. That gospel is incomplete without Heavenly Father's daughters.

If that's the case, what does He intend for them to do? We find those answers in the very next sentence:
"This is an organization that cannot exist without the Priesthood, from the fact that it derives all its authority and influence from that source."
The Relief Society has power, authority, and influence in the priesthood!

Whoa! Are you tellin' me that everything I've heard about the powerless Mormon woman is a lie? That she has had power and authority in the gospel this WHOLE time? That she can act in God's name through her access to the priesthood, and Joseph Smith taught that from the very beginning?

Yes, dear. That's what I'm telling you. And if you'll come with me to the scriptures, we'll explore a few things about the calling of an "elect lady."

There may be more references that are not so explicit and of which I'm unaware, but one New Testament reference to an elect lady occurs in 2 John 1: 1. A few verses of note from the epistle directed to the elect lady, which hold an amazing amount of relevance to the Relief Society of today:
5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. {Note: the classical Greek word for love used in these verses is agape, also translated as charity. Charity Never Faileth? Anyone?}
7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
Also note in verse 13 it refers to an elect sister. This phrase, along with elect lady, baffles Bible commentators. Who is the elect lady? Why isn't she named? Is she even a person? If not, who/ what is her sister? Because the verses refer to the elect lady both singularly and collectively, it's difficult to identify who she is by the sparse details provided. I read an online commentary here which presents a few ideas on the Greek, but ultimately decides the elect lady must be a name for a single congregation of the church.

To say it's a congregation seems simple enough, without ever having to acknowledge the radical notion that women actually participated in and mattered dearly to the early Christian church.

We must also recognize that just as God is infinite, eternal, impartial, and unchangeable (1 Nephi 10: 18, Moroni 8: 18), His gospel is infinite, eternal, impartial, and unchangeable. If He empowered women before in His covenant, they will always be empowered under His covenant.

We see this power throughout the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, beginning with Emma Smith, long before the Relief Society was ever established.

In July of 1830, the Prophet Joseph Smith revealed the following unto his wife Emma from the Lord Jesus Christ:
3 Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.
5 And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy husband, in his afflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness.
7 And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit.
8 For he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.
9 And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee in the church; for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith.
15 Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.
Notice Christ, through the mouth of Joseph Smith, has called Emma an elect lady 12 years before the Relief Society would be restored. The Lord was not giving Emma the charge to babysit her husband. He was teaching her about her access to the priesthood.

Women do not function in the offices of Melchizedek because they have their own office as wives and mothers in God's covenant. To reject that office and calling it to reject His power.

Emma's calling also goes beyond her personally, in her ordination to "exhort the church." That sentiment, along with "elect lady" require the Relief Society to truly be fulfilled. These phrases function as prophesy that not only would the Relief Society return, but that Emma's eternal destiny was tied to it. She would become the Relief Society's first president--a choice daughter of eternity not just by association with her husband, but to the Restoration of the WHOLE Church. A Church that would be incomplete so long as the women were not formally organized and given power and authority within it.

There are women in this Church who look at verses 6 (not shown above) and 7 and wonder why women are not given such responsibilities today--why they no longer have some of the same responsibilities women had early in the Restoration. These women argue that our power has been taken from us. They don't see how covenant motherhood IS powerful, and has a much greater purpose than bearing children--as important as that also is.

Julie B. Beck, the Relief Society general president, has given many talks over the past few years that outlines where women's access to power and authority is.

In Mothers Who Know, she taught that women's power comes through motherhood.
"Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women." 
People criticized President Beck in this message because they never stopped to consider that this kind of influence would require them to access the power of the priesthood, and to have the authority to USE IT.


In Fulfilling the Purpose of Relief Society, she makes her message to the sisters of the Church even more plain when she teaches:
"Just as the Savior invited Mary and Martha of New Testament times to participate in His work, women of this dispensation have an official commission to participate in the Lord’s work."
But perhaps that's not plain enough. Let's go to her most recent talk. You don't have to read anything but the TITLE to see where she's been going with this the whole time!

And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit is not just a title. It's a prophecy found in Joel 2.
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
In the Church we're so used to hearing we're in the latter days that we wouldn't know the call we've been waiting for if we heard it--the one that tells us when the Savior is coming.

You wanna know how I know that? Because the call--or some portion of it--came this most recent session of General Conference, and almost nobody heard it.

Go back and read President Boyd K. Packer's talk. Read it like he just told you something extremely important. This line should scare you:
“The authority of the priesthood is with us. After all that we have correlated and organized, it is now our responsibility to activate the power of the priesthood in the Church.”
What's he talking about? Haven't we been acting in power the whole time? We have temples and ordinances and callings and stakes and all that. What else is left to activate?

To answer this, I direct you to D&C 113:
7 Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?
8 He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, { who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, } and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.

The purpose of the Relief Society is the SAME as the priesthood: to build Zion on the earth. I've been in enough lessons on Zion to see how people sell her short--Zion is wherever you live, they say. The Church has been building her all this time. It's nothing to get excited about.

I'm telling you, when God wants to hide something, He puts it in the Pearl of Great Price.


Read Moses 7: 62:

62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.
The purpose of the priesthood and the Relief Society is to build Zion, which will usher in the Second Coming of the Savior.

So when I read and hear comments from women about how lame, how unenlightened, how boring Relief Society is, the nicest thing I can think to say is: if you can't get excited about participating in Christ's return to the earth, I sure hope you like maggots.

04 June 2010

Growing Pains

--originally published on Waters of Mormon on March 4, 2009--

But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.” Alma 32: 41

What does it mean to be God?

If I were a wiser person, I would read chapter 32 of Alma every day of my life because of what it teaches me about the answer to that question. The chapter connects so beautifully with the Tree of Knowledge from Lehi’s vision, something I did not realize until I thought about chapter 32 in the same terms as Christ—what He was, is, and will be—and I realized that this chapter teaches me about what I was, who I am, and what I will ultimately become if I will continue to be nourished by His living water.

In comparison to everything that Heavenly Father is, I am just a tiny seed in the ground of His kingdom. I thought about that yesterday as I was thinking about my past, and in my frustration wandered around campus until I finally found myself laying supine underneath of a tree by the Carillon Tower. Staring up through the branches and boughs to the tiniest, reaching twigs at the top of the tree, I thought about how long that tree must have taken to grow.

I thought about Abraham and how his posterity divides and splits like the limbs of a tree, how inconceivable is the collective number and strength of those who came before me, who support me and feed me from the roots from which all who seek the truth gather strength.

I thought about those delicate twigs reaching for the same heaven as I am, with fingers that have taken generations to reach their height. I remembered where I started, feeling the swellings of a seed in my breast before I ever knew it had been planted, trying to put what I was feeling into words and failing at it most of the time. I remembered the pain of growing quickly—not that I would have had it any other way. I remembered my delight as I saw the seed beginning to sprout, and the changes that came to my life that told me this seed was not only good, but so was the heart’s ground in which it was planted—something that had never occurred to me before, and still barely registers to me now.

I pondered the kind of tree I would be someday, the thought stretching beyond the furthest reaches of my understanding—into heaven and out of sight. I wondered about what awaits me, how to become like the kind of trees I have sat beneath throughout my life—their spines bending around unseen opposition so they do not break, opening their arms to the sky to embrace rain and snow and whatever else comes their way with their weakest limbs forward.

Exposed in winter to a coal gray sky full of uncertainty and meaning in these days—I see in the trees all around me the kind of person I want to be until I can reach for something greater.

One of my favorite verses in Alma 32 is verse 35 where it asks a question that I have asked people about the way I see the world and the God I adore: “O then, is not this real?” It is a question I have been asking for a long time, and I have learned from the frustration that has followed so many times that I should only trust the spirit to speak to my confusion. People tell me they struggle with the idea of religion and God sometimes because it all just seems so irrational to them, and they tell me that everything about God is so complicated because it relies upon things you cannot see.

At some point I lost the ability to relate to that kind of thinking because the Lord is the only thing I understand anymore, and I see His hand everywhere. Granted, I have to be a little bizarre sometimes to get my eyes to see; wandering around on and off campus until I find myself in some place I have never been before, staring up into a tree just before I was going to give up the search for truth that day—only to be rescued from myself moments before I would have told myself “all is lost.” But like a waiting parent, He was there—always first comes the gentle reminder to be patient, that He does hear me, that He will speak only when I am listening, but also that I am His child and He would never leave me alone to face this world—not for long, anyway.

He has made it perfectly clear, through the softest peace of trees—not to mention the beautiful truth in all of His creations—that being God means never being the one who walks away.

Our Savior Jesus Christ will return to us, in all of the glorious radiance of the sun—and more!—and those who walked away from His extended hand will certainly wish they had not.

01 June 2010

A Humble Reaction

--originally published on Waters of Mormon on April 25, 2008--

Its trash talk like this in the New York Times that reaffirms my faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints, and the tasks we are given by our leaders.

We have been told to gather our personal family histories, to be familiar with our ancestors and their lives. Because I have obeyed, I see the egregious error in Egan's logic when he claims that the LDS church ought to apologize for its polygamist roots. I know that my ancestors lived in pastoral Virginia, where the brides were not only young, but related to their husbands. I know that they were farmers that owned multiple slaves.

I have come to terms with the lives of my ancestors, and I understand that while their lives have influenced my family, they are no sin of mine. The social conventions of the past, while our current lifestyles and biases condemn them, have no influence on the truth of any church's message. If such a connection was valid, no church would stand blameless before God. Such an egregious logical fallacy, obvious even to a high school student, should reflect upon Egan for what it is: his personal ignorance and bias, not truth.

In the Church, we have also been taught to know our history; contrary to Egan’s claim “of the wealthy, modern Mormon church to leave a big part of its past behind.” While Egan may praise Fawn Brodie and her claims about Joseph Smith--that no man knows his history--this claim couldn't be further from the truth. It is because I know the history of my Church and the Prophet Joseph Smith that I converted to the LDS Church. Because I have read the personal accounts of those who knew Joseph Smith--in mediums where no reason to lie would taint their honesty--I am familiar with his character. Because I have read his personal writings, I see the way he viewed himself and those around him. I might add that not only was Joseph Smith an active man--constantly busy, serving his fellow man and erecting the Church--he was too illiterate to fabricate the Book of Mormon, even to "let his libido lead him into trouble," as Egan claims so disrespectfully.

(Anyone seeking to familiarize themselves with Joseph Smith--as opposed to the enigma that he has become both to history and critics--I would suggest reading Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman. He places Joseph Smith within his cultural context without expecting him to apologize for that context; providing, more than many other biographies, a more genuine perspective of the Prophet's life.)

And because I've obeyed the commandment the LDS Church has been given to read and be familiar with our scriptures--including the Doctrine and Covenants cited by Egan--I understand the importance of "worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may," as stated in our 11th Article of Faith. In a society that has been so intolerant to the differences of its own people in regards to race, gender, and creed, one would expect for the American government and its people to celebrate any creed that preaches tolerance. Unfortunately, that continues not to be the case.

Perhaps before Egan calls for an apology from the LDS Church for its past, he should familiarize himself with the execution order from Lilburn Boggs. According to Egan's logic, the state government of Missouri would owe our Church an apology and restitution for the grievances committed against us by the execution order that left many pioneer LDS women and children destitute. But we expect no such apology and restitution. We expect our government, the protectorates of Justice--to learn from their experiences with us, that the sufferings of our early church are not repeated.

But as the case against the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints in Eldorado, Texas continues to unfold, it does not appear that the American government has learned anything from the mistakes of its past; including the creation of broken homes by needlessly dividing the participants of polygamist unions. And while Egan may praise the results of Buchanan’s invasion in the 1850’s to enforce laws against polygamy, I find it interesting that Egan compares the Texas raid to another raid that was conceived just as dishonestly as the Eldorado raid.

Buchanan replaced Brigham Young as Utah’s governor without informing him, then shut down the mail routes to Utah to keep him from finding out about his replacement. If Brigham Young was truly unfit to be governor of Utah, why not pursue him under the law, instead of sneaking after him? If the children of the Yearning for Zion are truly in danger, why deny their parents fair trials? Why hinder their lawyers in defending their clients? Why deny the FLDS women the ability to contact their lawyers? If the evidence is so overwhelming against the FLDS, why does the state of Texas refuse to allow Constitutional due process?

Oh. That’s right. Buchanan’s raid was ill-contrived, and looks really bad on paper in hindsight; as the Eldorado raid does already.

“Sometimes, the faith of our fathers is better left to the revisionists.”

Is that so?

Well Mr. Egan, I think the LDS Church and its membership would prefer to speak for themselves. We need no revisionists to apologize for us, especially in regards to polygamy. I think its safe to say we have more experience with polygamy than our critics; enough to state that anyone who views polygamy as a completely abominable practice--as something for which an apology must be given—does not understand polygamy.

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