Thursday, March 29, 2012

Renounce war and proclaim peace

March 30, 2012 We are a Warlike People | Renounce War and Proclaim Peace!

Modern prophets have spoken out against unjust warfare and encouraged us to raise the standard of peace…
I’m going to talk about peace as a part of a week-long bloggernacle initiative.

I’ll write about a peace related topic (Anti-ballistic missile defense systems) and related issues, and then about peace.

ABM Systems — What is really bothering the Russians.

People are starting at the wrong place when they push for an ABM system in Europe.  The solution to Russian opposition is simple:  have them provide physical security for the site by posting a combat brigade there.  But understanding the reason they feel threatened by the system helps understand why such a solution is necessary.

The Russians do not have more than three or four nuclear weapons they can deliver.  Their Air Force runs on grain alcohol for coolant.  The last time they were able to run a regional drill was when the last MIG defected.  Since then they have not been able to store enough alcohol (that wasn’t drunk) and enough fuel (that wasn’t diverted) to run a regional drill.  They can not deliver a nuclear weapon by air to any significant distance.

Submarines?  Russian submarines are built around stolen mainframes hardwired to the submarine for targeting purposes.  Remember main frames made with vacuum tubes?

Ballistic missiles?  The o-rings on them, just as with the space shuttle, can not withstand freezing temperatures.  Ballistic missile bases for the Russians are all in Siberia.  In silos that do not have the best of environmental controls in a good year.  My best guess is that they have the means to repair 3-4 missiles if they have an urgent need.

A system that could stop 3-4 missiles is probably enough to shut Russia down.  We need to quit pretending that the ABM system we are building is not a threat to the Russians and work out a way to let them have assurance it won’t be used that way.

Giving them control of physical security of the site would do that.  Otherwise all we are doing is taking away their deterrence so that they are feeling less secure, rather than sharing in a defensive umbrella with us.

Peace — What does it really mean to renounce war and espouse peace?

Ok, I have addressed something concrete, now for something general.  What do we need to seek peace and find our refuge with God?

I think it starts with brother Clark:
And the worst of this atomic bomb tragedy is not that not only did the people of the United States not rise up in protest against this savagery, not only did it not shock us to read of this wholesale destruction of men, women, and children, and cripples, but that it actually drew from the nation at large a general approval of this fiendish butchery. Thus we in America are now deliberately searching out and developing the most savage, murderous means of exterminating peoples that Satan can plant in our minds. We do it not only shamelessly, but with a boast. God will not forgive us for this. If we are to avoid extermination, if the world is not to be wiped out, we must find some way to curb the fiendish ingenuity of men who have apparently no fear of God, man, or the devil, and who are willing to plot and plan and invent instrumentalities that will wipe out all the flesh of the earth. And, as one American citizen of one hundred thirty millions, as one in one billion population of the world, I protest with all of the energy I possess against this fiendish activity, and as an American citizen, I call upon our government and its agencies to see that these unholy experimentations are stopped, and that somehow we get into the minds of our war-minded general staff and its satellites, and into the general staffs of all the world, a proper respect for human life.1
For more, read Clark at:
What has our apostasy from peace cost us?
That question was Clark’s bottom line, over and over again.  Not only what has that apostasy cost us, but what will it continue to cost us?  Do we pray for forgiveness that we put our hearts and our trust in the arm of flesh and in war rather than in peace?

Will we mourn, as Kipling did:
God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Far called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!
Will God then have mercy on us?

So, from a concrete standpoint, I’ve covered one small way we could focus on defense rather than using a defensive shield as a tool of aggression, and, then, more generally, on just what is peace, what is pride, and when will we have God’s mercy.

Think on that.  Share your thoughts.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ultrasound intrusions, the issues

Often in discussing state mandated ultrasounds, the real issues get short shrift by some and not by others.

On the one side are people completely unaware that most reproductive services include ultrasound diagnosis.  Go in for a D&C, regardless of the reason (abortion or endometriosis or other reasons) and  you are likely to get the same type of ultrasound complained of

On the other side are people who discount completely the impact of choice or morality, or if they do, implicitly presume it.  That is much like saying that people have sex, so the issue of consent or choice in sex does not matter.  There is an issue of choice to have a procedure done and whether it is done for therapeutic or for coercive reasons.

I think consent, intent and purpose does matter, and I think the intrusions are, perhaps, close to unconscionable, regardless.  Not to mention the potential link between autism and ultrasound -- I have qualms about the current use of ultrasound as entertainment as much as diagnostic tool in many settings.
Anyway, this is just a preliminary note, but I think the current debate needs to better incorporate these points.

There are several studies that indicate harmful side effects on animal fetuses associated with the use of sonography on pregnant mammals. A Yale study in 2006 suggested exposure to ultrasound affects fetal brain development in mice. A typical fetal scan, including evaluation for fetal malformations, typically takes 10–30 minutes.[10] The study showed that rodent brain cells failed to migrate to their proper positions and remained scattered in incorrect parts of the brain. This misplacement of brain cells during their development is linked to disorders ranging from "mental retardation and childhood epilepsy to developmental dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia." However, this effect was only detectable after 30 minutes of continuous scanning. No link has yet been made between the test results on animals such as mice and the possible effects on humans. Although the possibility exists that biological effects on humans may be identified in the future, currently most doctors feel that based on available information the benefits to patients outweigh the risks.[11] The ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle has been advocated for an ultrasound examination — that is, keeping the scanning time and power settings as low as possible but consistent with diagnostic imaging — and that by that principle non-medical uses, which by definition are not necessary, are actively discouraged.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Alt SS: Theosis — Humans partaking of the Divine Nature

Theosis is the doctrine that we can be a partaker of the divine nature.  While a core LDS doctrine, what type of theosis we believe in is not clear, and it has never made the status of an Article of Faith or a revelation in the Doctrine and covenants.  It is the doctrine that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

The Wikipedia entry begins as follows:
In Christian theology, divinization, deification, making divine or theosis is the transforming effect of divine grace.[1] This concept of salvation is historical and fundamental for Christian understanding that is prominent in the Eastern Orthodox Church and also in the Catholic Church,[2][3] and is a doctrine of growing importance in certain Protestant denominations, being revived in Anglicanism in the mid-19th century.[1]
It would make a great Sunday School lesson to go over the history of the doctrine, and then the various approaches to it that have been taken by different people in the Church.  The lesson would start off a little dry, but should pick up.
I would start with the dry part.  Theosis as taught in the early Christian Church.  I’d just use this section from Wikipedia for a quick introduction.
According to Jonathan Jacobs, there were many and varied appeals to divinization in the writings of the Church Fathers.[5] As what he asserts is “just a small sample”, he lists the following:
  • St. Irenaeus of Lyons stated that God “became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.”[6]
  • St. Clement of Alexandria says that “he who obeys the Lord and follows the prophecy given through him . . . becomes a god while still moving about in the flesh.” [7]
  • St. Athanasius wrote that “God became man so that men might become gods.”[8]
  • St. Cyril of Alexandria says that we “are called ‘temples of God’ and indeed ‘gods’, and so we are.”
  • St. Basil the Great stated that “becoming a god” is the highest goal of all.
  • St. Gregory of Nazianzus implores us to “become gods for (God’s) sake, since (God) became man for our sake.”
Referring to such declarations by the Fathers, the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church says that the central tenet of deification is that, through the incarnation of his Son, God has called human beings to share God’s own life in the Son. It quotes Athanasius: “The Word became flesh … that we, partaking of his Spirit, might be deified” (De Decretis, 14); and Cyril of Alexandria: “We have all become partakers of Him, and have Him in ourselves through the Spirit. For this reason we have become partakers of the divine nature” (In Ioannem, 9).[1]
Saint Augustine pictured God telling him: “I am the food of grown men, grow, and thou shalt feed upon Me, nor shalt thou convert Me, like the food of thy flesh, into thee, but thou shalt be converted into Me.”[9] “To make human beings gods,” Augustine said, “He was made man who was God” (sermon 192.1.1) This deification, he wrote, is granted by grace
Ok, I’d add the dates for each of these statements, probably in the lesson footnotes, but not that much more.  The meat of the lesson would come next, the various approaches to theosis found in the LDS Church.  I would use phrases or labels that would make them easy to remember.
First, Baptist Infused Theosis or Biblical Inerrant Theosis
This approach is taken by those who take the Bible as the literal inerrant word of God.  I think of them as Baptist infused Mormons since inerrant scripture is a Baptist hallmark.  This theosis comes straight from the Bible and taking it literally.
  • Romans 8:17.  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. [A "joint-heir" is an heir who has an equal portion, in Romans 8:17 Paul taken literally is saying that we inherit the same portion of glory as Christ and are glorified together with him.]
  • John 17:21 where Christ prays that God will make his disciples one with him as he is one with God.
  • Romans 6:5 “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his”
  • John 8:28 and similar scriptures that say Christ said nothing and did nothing save what he was given of the Father or that God did first.
That is pretty close to many of the early Christian teachings and has a good dose of evangelical triumphalism in it as well. It contrasts well with the next type of being fearfully and wonderfully made.

Hinckley-Johanin Theosis or “We aren’t quite sure.”
This doctrine of theosis stems from John’s doctrines as found at 1 John 3:2:
Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
That is a theosis, but states that we, like John, are not quite sure what it means exactly.  It fits well with Moroni 7:48 in the Book of Mormon.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, apray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true bfollowers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall cbe like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be dpurified even as he is pure. Amen.
That is more of a theosis in that we are purified through Christ and thereby like God, without much of a definition.  It leads us into the next approach to theosis.
Amway-Relativistic Theosis
This is a theosis whereby men partake of the divine nature, but the gap between God and man remains the same — we are, in Amway terms, part of God’s downline.  As a result, whatever becomes of humans merely pushes God further up.  Given that infinity has densities (cf Aleph numbers), why not eternity?
In this type of theosis, the relationship between God and Man remains the same.  No matter what God gives us or makes of us, God retains the same essential distance in relative power and glory, always infinitely ahead of us.  It fits the Wikipedia comments.
Peter 1:4 explicitly speaks of becoming “partakers of the Divine nature”. Closely allied are the teachings of Paul the Apostle that through the Spirit we are sons of God (as in chapter 8 of his Epistle to the Romans). Paul conceives of the resurrection as immortalization (1 Cor 15:42–49) in conformation to the divine Christ. He also envisions believers as gaining superhuman power over the world, angels, and Satan (Corinthians 3:21–23; Corinthians 6:2–3; Romans 16:20). Both immortality and power are constituents of deity. Christians do not become independent gods, but are conformed to Christ’s deity.[4] See also the Gospel according to John on the indwelling of the Trinity (as in chapters 14-17).[1]. Corinthians 3:17–18 says that “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another”. In John 10:34, Jesus himself quoted Psalms 82:1 in saying “Ye are gods.”
And that leads us to the final doctrinal approach to theosis.
Teach nothing (but repentance)
In the Doctrine and Covenants, God goes on the record several times about avoiding doctrinal speculation and sticking to teaching repentance.
  • Doctrine and Covenants 11:9

    9 Say nothing but repentance unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.
  • Doctrine and Covenants 6:9

    9 Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.
Of course, at the extreme, this translates to teaching nothing about faith, or baptism or anything else by repentance, which is (obviously?) not what God intended … but we will put our trust in God and let that guide our belief.  Which leads to …

Wrapping the lesson up.
The scriptures talk a lot about Theosis.
What do you believe about Theosis?  How do you think we, as children of God, partake of the divine nature and what does it mean?  Which of these approaches appeals to you?  Why?  Do you combine them?  Do you reject any of them? As 1 Corinthians 2:9 states: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
What do you think God has prepared?  Do you think you can really understand Theosis before Christ appears?  What do you intend to teach your children about it?
There is a lot to think about when looking at Theosis.  Always has been.  What do you think?

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Truth about Mental Health in Utah//Hidden Issues

I thought I'd quote from a response in a thread that was basically a reprint of an old attack on Utah and the LDS Church. I'm not copying the name of the poster since the post comes from a closed group.  But what she had to say was right on point:

Ok, I am finally at a computer where I can look things up. You have to be careful when you rely on just one study. It’s better to review multiple studies to see if there is a pattern, I’m going to quote a few things from this paper: “Latter-day Saint social life: social research on the LDS church and its members” (found here:

“Of the 540 studies published between 1923 and 1995, I was able to locate fifty-five studies that dealt specifically with LDS samples. Of these fifty-five studies (seventy-three outcomes), 70 percent of the outcomes indicated a positive relationship between religiosity and mental health variables, 4 percent negative, and 24 percent neutral.” (p. 479)

“While many anecdotal descriptions…, essays (see Burgoyne and Burgoyne 1978), and media specials have discussed the detrimental effects of the LDS lifestyle on mental health (especially that of LDS women), few have any grounding in research evidence. None of the studies included in this analysis that included depression as one of its variables indicated support of an unhealthy relationship between Mormonism and depression.

“Spendlove, West, and Stanish (1984, p.491) looked specifically at LDS women and depression. In a comparison of LDS and non-LDS women living in Salt Lake City, Utah, they concluded that ‘no difference in the prevalence of depression was noted.’” (p. 487-488)

Here’s a link to an article about another study:

“Johnson's conclusions upheld findings of some earlier studies that Mormons have no more depression than does the nation's population as a whole.”

Now, you might ask, why did the original poster, who tends to be rather hostile to the LDS Church, hone in on an old article, singular, that has a concrete assaultive agenda?

I don't think they had malice in mind. Instead, just universal attitudes.  See, e.g.  The only thing I think that the pre-existing attitude did was cause them to miss the hidden issue.

Yes, there is a hidden issue, the discussion masks a completely different one.

I've dealt with a number of doctors who felt that every woman over 40 should be on Prozac or a similar drug (and note, SUIs vary, and regionally you will get strong preferences.  Prozac one area, Paxil another, without, seemingly, much effort made to determine which is more appropriate).*  Waves of that seem to spread in communities.

That is an important health issue.  Should doctors be prescribing serotonin uptake inhibitors on the basis of age and sex as a generally preventative matter on the thesis that every woman over 40 needs medication?

That deserves a lot more discussion.

It is probably not the hidden issue you were expecting either.

*I first ran into this in a practice where one doctor had embraced the concept and the others had stationed a nurse whose job it was to relieve his patients of those prescriptions on the way out the door.  Not so obviously, this led to an ethics consult, where the doctors involved concluded the first doctor was right and every woman over 40 really needed to be medicated.

That was an eye-opener for me.  But what that does is it puts all your female patients of age 40 and up on a monthly cycle to drop by the office, pay a deductible (and let you bill insurance) for a prescription renewal.  Changes a once a year physical/emergency need patient to a regular income stream.

The regional preference in SUIs also will mask total prescription rates.  One area has 300% of another in a particular SUI, but vastly reduced %tages for others.  Does it have 300% the national rate of anti-depressants or does it have just a different mix of which ones are prescribed?

Pharmaceutical sales representatives and industry practices and effectiveness is an entirely different issue.  Only one hidden issue per post, thank you.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Is this true (would like feedback on an NPR article)

Upset Men And The Happy Women Who Love Them

Lovers argue.

Men like it when women let them know when they're happy. Women like it when men share their anger and frustration.
Well, that sounds like a bit of a problem.
But the good news, researchers say, is that what matters most in a relationship is whether it feels like the other person is really trying to relate to the emotions, whether they're happy or sad.
It's not so hard to understand why men get satisfaction out of seeing their wife or girlfriend happy. Wouldn't anyone?

Is this really true?

Read the full story at NPR: