Richard Alger

Personal Online Journal

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Likening the Ancient Temple to the Covenant Path

Here is an episode that I particularly liked from Book of Mormon Central. It likens imagery in the ancient temple to the first principles of the gospel.


https://youtu.be/2b8pIhU66eE

Monday, June 22, 2020

Brigham Young, Racism, and the Grace of Christ

I recently shared an article "Brigham Young, Racism, and the Grace of Christ" on Facebook.

It has brought to my attention again how we must allow for the Grace of God for those in our history as well as ourselves. We can take a strong stand against racism today at the same time we acknowledge the leadership of those 150 years ago. Leaders can be great as well as flawed. Jesus was the only perfect one that lived. We all fall short of the glory of God.

One great example of this is John Marshall Harlan. He gave the dissenting opinion on Plessy v. Ferguson the 1896 Supreme Court decision that legalized segregation.

"But in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guarantied by the supreme law of the land are involved.”
― John Marshall Harlan
https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/4643152.John_Marshall_Harlan

Despite being the grandfather idea of Martin Luther King Jr's to "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character", John Marchall Harlan was a racist by any modern standard.

"That Harlan's views were not perfect should not erase recognition of what was good about them. Opposition to some discrimination was better than nothing. But respect for Harlan's accomplishment must be tempered by the realization that Harlan advocated neither a thoroughgoing colorblindness of the kind supported by many modern conservatives, nor the more complex concepts of equal outcomes proposed by some liberals. Harlan's Plessy dissent is of significant historical interest. But it does not offer principles which Americans should be prepared to embrace today."
https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-1996-05-12-1996133020-story.html

Regardless of his flaws, the dissenting opinion of Plessy v. Ferguson should be taught and celebrated for what it is.
We all " see through a glass, darkly" 1 Corinthians 13:12
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/nt/1-cor/13.12?lang=eng#11
None of us see with the clarity that God does.

I agree with Kwaku. Brigham Young was a hero yet not a hero without flaws.
https://mobile.twitter.com/thekwakuel/status/1274504527379644416

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We Are in a Moral Panic: Coleman Hughes
https://youtu.be/Mtjuf_RxsLA

I had never heard of Coleman Hughes before a few weeks ago. I agree with his analysis of the state of racism in 2020. I recommend listening to him.

Coleman Hughes on the First Step Act
https://youtu.be/Mtjuf_RxsLA?t=1921
First Step Act

A good friend of mine replied to my Facebook post about what it means to "speak evil of the Lord's anointed". This is how I replied,

I have been thinking about what it means to speak evil of the Lord's anointed. I have two gut responses to this. 
I think a balance of these responses is the following in the "Race and the Priesthood" article. 
"Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng 
It completely disavows racists ideas without disavowing anyone who happened to say them. 
Humans instinctively seem to huddle to their tribe when we feel threatened. I have seen this within the church and with those that have chosen to disassociate themselves with it. 
I love the example Henry B Eyring gave when he was first sustained to the first presidency. "we can be open. We can be direct. We can talk about differences in a way that you can't anywhere else because we're all just looking for the truth. We're not trying to win. We're not trying to make our argument dominate. We just want to find what's right."
https://richalger.blogspot.com/2007/10/here-are-prophets-of-god-and-theyre.html 
I highly recommend the video that goes with it.
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Thursday, June 04, 2020

Manage my social media experience on Facebook

From a FB Post of my friend Jonathon Max Wilson

I have quite a few friends and family members who are struggling to find the right way to manage their social media experience on Facebook. Many find that they can’t seem to post about their beliefs and views without getting sucked into hours of conflict in the comments. Some have a lot of Facebook “friends” who they don’t really know in real life but that they have accumulated over the years.
Here is the approach I use and which I have recommended to some of my friends. The rest of you might find it helpful as well.
1. Turn on the Facebook option to allow people to follow your public posts even if they are not your friends.
2. Then set the option to only allow friends to comment on your public posts.
3. Then unfriend everyone except for actual friends and family, or other people you are interested in discussing things with.
Everyone who used to be your friend will remain subscribed to your _public_ posts and see them in their newsfeed, but they won’t be able to comment on them.
Actual friends and family will be able to comment.
Anything that you only want friends and family to see and interact with you post to _friends_ only.
People who are interested in following what you have to say can follow your public posts, but won’t be able to harass you with comments.
When people send you friend requests you can ignore them or decline them, and they will still be subscribed to follow your public posts without being friends. But they also won’t be able to comment.
I’ve used this setup for a number of years. With a few exceptions, I only friend people who I have actually met face to face. Others can follow me without being a friend. And when I post, I carefully select which audience the post should be visible to: pubic or just friends.
As an additional recommendation, I suggest that you be aggressive about maintaining the kind of discourse you want in the comments. Don’t hesitate to hide or delete comments that poison the discourse and then direct message the commenter and ask them to try to rewrite their comment in a way conforms to the kind of conversation you want you have.
Also remember that public social media “conversations” aren’t really conversations. They are more like public performances or debates.  Often people are not really interested in understanding your point of view or winning you over to their way of thinking. They comment on your post because they are trying to influence the others who read your post. It is okay to shut down someone who is merely trying to commandeer your post and your audience to push ideas that are contrary to your own.
It is also a good idea to hold a regular social media fast to disengage and decompress.
Hopefully this is helpful for someone. If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes and if it improves your Facebook experience.

 

Lean in to where the Magic Happens

The following is from Lisa Capretto of OWN
When something makes you uncomfortable — whether it’s as simple as hearing a condescending comment from a friend or as life-altering as being cheated on by a partner — most people immediately develop a particular narrative about what they’ve just experienced. They’ll feel insulted, betrayed, hurt. They’ll tell themselves the story of why this unpleasant thing happened, and often, the gut-reaction narrative soon impacts our self-worth. “He doesn’t respect me,” for example, morphs into, “I’m not worthy of respect.” “She doesn’t love me,” can become, “I’m not lovable.” 
Researcher and best-selling author Brené Brown has seen (and even experienced) this type of narrative on various scales. As she tells Oprah on “SuperSoul Sunday,” the reason why we tell ourselves these lies comes down to one primitive thing: survival. 
“Our brain is wired, above all else, for survival. So, the minute we have a threat, whether it’s anxiety, fear, shame, whatever that threat is, our brain says, ‘Give me a story,’” Brown says. “Our brain recognizes the pattern of a narrative: Beginning, middle, end. ‘Give me a story that tells me who’s safe, who’s good, who’s bad, who’s dangerous.’” 
Typically this story forms in an instant, she continues. “It’s really about trying to make sense of things very quickly,” Brown says. 
However, in this haste, our brain overlooks something very important. 
“What our brain does not take into consideration is the need for discomfort and vulnerability in real relationship,” Brown says. 
You may want to sidestep the discomfort, but Brown says that doing the exact opposite is actually what will help you overcome the feeling and rise above the pain. 
“It’s he or she who’s willing to be the most uncomfortable can rise strong,” Brené says. “Discomfort: the way home.” 
It may be more tempting to lean away from discomfort with “a glass of red wine, or six,” Brené jokes, but leaning in is far more powerful. This is a concept that Oprah articulates back to Brené with just a few words. 
“Leaning into it actually helps you eventually push through,” she says. 
“It does,” Brené nods. “It can revolutionize the way you live, the way you love, the way you lead, the way you parent. It has completely changed everything for me.”
Oprah asked Brene Brown, "What is the greatest truth that you practice regularly; that you embrace in your daily life?". Her response is "Be Brave, Show up" (https://youtu.be/LYFRcK4hDes at 2:39)


Do not stop making preparations to defend yourself and your loved ones



Moroni as an example of one who prepared his people for dangers present and future.
"Moroni did not stop making preparations for war, or to defend his people against the Lamanites" Alma 50:1

"I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them." Mosiah 4:29

"a strait and narrow path" 1 Nephi 8:20

Some of the many ways that we might be distracted from the work of the Lord
- "at that day shall [the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good."
- "others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security" 2 Nephi 28:21
- "others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none" 2 Nephi 28:22
- "wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!" 2 Nephi 28:24
- "wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!"
- "wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!", "We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!"
- "wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God!"

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Artists we saw today

Dreamy flowers and fruit http://lesliedukeart.com/

Bronze Statues http://www.brycepettit.com/

Stainless steel https://www.soulartinc.com/

Water Art https://www.nelsonart.com/

Birds in each piece https://www.barbararudolphfineart.com/home

Faces in glass https://www.sethfairweather.com/

Stacked Chips of Paint https://www.jensart.com/

Giant Flowers over metal paint. https://www.elizabethbutlerfineart.com/

Giant Train and Gianter mountain with train https://www.santiagomichalek.com/

Candy Wrappers http://www.ewbpaintings.com/paintings/current-work/

Fungus Photos https://carolynthome.com/

Black and White photography https://www.jonlintonphotography.com/


Blue Vase and Lemons https://www.graydonfoulger.com/




http://www.trevorswanson.com/videos.html

"at what point is it not blasphemous to become like God?"

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Do not all Christian churches advocate Christlike behavior? Is that not what the Sermon on the Mount is all about? If it is blasphemous to think we can become as God, then at what point is it not blasphemous to become like God—90 percent, 50 percent, 1 percent? Is it more Christian to seek partial godhood than total godhood? Are we invited to walk the path of godhood—to “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”—with no possibility of ever reaching the destination?
("Our Identity and Our Destiny", Tad R. Callister, 14 Aug 2012, BYU Devotional. YouTube link)
https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/tad-r-callister/our-identity-and-our-destiny/https://youtu.be/h_gt2p9Oy3I
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"read therein all the days of his life"



Deuteronomy 17:18-20

18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:

19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.