27 January 2011

WTF: Does Palin think the Soviet Union won the space race?

That was another one of those WTF moments, when he so often repeated this Sputnik moment that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space, yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.

OK. Maybe Palin meant the "race to space" instead of the "space race." That is what she said, after all. But the launch of Sputnik resulted in the an American response (a "Sputnik moment") that produced the scientific and technological advances that allowed us to go to the moon in less than twelve years. Does she really think that was a bad thing?

20 January 2011

2 Nephi 1-3: A tale of four Josephs and loads of loin fruit

Second Nephi begins with Lehi rehearsing and rehashing the same old stories from Nephi's first book.

And now It came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of teaching my brethren, our father, Lehi, also spake many things unto them, and rehearsed unto them.... 2 Nephi 1:1

So I'm going to skip the first two chapters of 2 Nephi and begin with chapter 3.

Chapter 3 is all about Joseph. Joseph Smith, that is, along with three other Josephs and lots of loin fruit. (See the LDS Seminary Manual's section on 2 Nephi 3 to see that I'm not making this up.)

The author of Second Nephi (God, Nephi, Joseph Smith, Matt Stone and Trey Parker?) really liked the phrase "fruit of thy loins." It, or variants of it, is used 21 times in chapter 3 alone, with verse 12 setting an all time fruit-of-thy-loins record for a single verse, with 5. Here it is.

Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord. 2 Nephi 3:12

If the above verse doesn't make much sense to you, maybe it will help to have it read to you. (Note: Drew mispronounced "Nephi", but otherwise the reading is perfect.)

And that is a good summary of the first three chapters of 2 Nephi.

But to understand it fully, you must sort through the Josephs and loin fruit.

The first Joseph is Lehi's youngest son, who was born in the wilderness and got hungry on the voyage to America. Here are the only two verses that mention him up to now.

And now, my father had begat two sons in the wilderness; the elder was called Jacob and the younger Joseph. 1 Nephi 18:7
And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother. 1 Nephi 18:19

Since the author of 2 Nephi likes the name Joseph so much, Lehi directs his prophesy to his son with that name (Joseph #1).

And now I speak unto you, Joseph, my last-born. Thou wast born in the wilderness. 2 Nephi 3:1

Next we meet Joseph #2, the one from Genesis. Lehi discovered that Joseph #2 was his ancestor by reading from the plates of Lehi (that Nephi stole from Laban after murdering him). So Lehi was a fruit from Joseph #2's loins.

For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. 2 Nephi 3:4

And Joseph #2 (who was supposed to have lived ~1500 BCE) prophesied about another Joseph (#3) who would live 3300 years later in New York State.

Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light -- yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom. 2 Nephi 3:5

That's right, Joseph #2 is talking about Joseph Smith, Jr. (Joseph #3).

Now that he's been properly introduced, Joseph Smith (or whoever wrote 2 Nephi) makes some modest prophecies about himself.

He will be a choice seer,

A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins. 2 Nephi 3:6-7a
esteemed highly,
He shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. 2 Nephi 3:7b
and shall do "a work of great worth."
He shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth. 2 Nephi 3:7c
He will be great in God's eyes, like Moses,
And I will make him great in mine eyes ... And he shall be great like unto Moses. 2 Nephi 3:8-9
doing much good as an instrument in God's hands, with exceeding faith, working mighty wonders, doing great things in the sight of God.
And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God ... unto the seed of thy brethren. 2 Nephi 3:24
God's finger will write the law down for him.
I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him. 2 Nephi 3:17
He will bring forth the word unto the seed of lots and lots of loins.
But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins ... I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it. 2 Nephi 3:11-18

It'll be as though the fruit of someone's loins cried out from the dust, "For I know their faith." Or something like that.

And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith. 2 Nephi 3:19

And now we come to back to verse 12, which I'll repeat for you in case you've forgotten it.

Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord. 2 Nephi 3:12

Makes perfect sense now, doesn't it?

The fruit of Joseph #2's loins (Joseph Smith, Jr., Joseph #3) shall write the Book of Mormon and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write the Bible. And the Book of Mormon and the Bible will grow together confounding the false doctrines of the Catholics and other members of Satan's church.

Still, I don't see how Joseph #3 is the fruit of Joseph #2's loins, but the Mormon's say that he is. And Joseph #3 didn't write the Book of Mormon, did he? I thought he just translated it. Oh well, the rest of the story makes perfect sense.

But there's one more Joseph that I haven't mentioned. Joseph #4, Joseph Smith, Sr.

And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. 2 Nephi 3:15

See how he fits in here? Joseph Smith, Jr. was named after his father, Joseph Smith, Sr.

So there you have it. Four Josephs and a ton of loin fruit all sorted out for you.

Blogging the Book of Mormon
Next episode -- 2 Nephi 4-5: Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness

15 January 2011

Surah 4:81-135 Ponder on the Quran

The Rev. Terry Jones announced this week that he plans to put the Quran on trial. And I think that's a great idea, as long as the Bible is put on trial, as well, using the same standards that are applied to the Quran. The burning, firing squad, drowning, shredding thing is silly, of course, but the basic idea is sound enough. Read the Quran (Bible, Book of Mormon, etc.) and decide what it is worth.

And that's pretty much what the Quran says as well. Read the Quran, ponder on it, and decide for yourself what to make of it. If it is from Allah, you should find no incongruity. It should all be good, true, beautiful, perfect.

Will they not then ponder on the Qur'an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much incongruity. 4:82

With that in mind, then, let's continue to ponder the Quran by looking for incongruities in this section.

Let's start with the good.

  1. What goes around comes around. (It's not true, but it's a nice thought.)
    Whoso interveneth in a good cause will have the reward thereof, and whoso interveneth in an evil cause will bear the consequence thereof. 4:85

  2. If someone says Hi to you say Hi (or Howdy) back to them.
    When ye are greeted with a greeting, greet ye with a better than it or return it. 4:86

  3. Be kind, help the poor, and strive for peace.
    There is .. good in ... him who enjoineth almsgiving and kindness and peace-making. 4:114

  4. Value justice, for both poor and rich, even when it adversely affects you or your family's interests.
    Be ye staunch in justice, witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or (your) parents or (your) kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man 4:135

Now for the bad.

  1. Most of us would be followers of Satan if it wasn't for Allah.
    If it had not been for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy ye would have followed Satan, save a few (of you). 4:83

  2. So fight for Allah. Allah will always rig the battle so that Muslims will defeat non-Muslims.
    So fight (O Muhammad) in the way of Allah ... Allah will restrain the might of those who disbelieve. 4:84
    Relent not in pursuit of the enemy. If ye are suffering, lo! they suffer even as ye suffer and ye hope from Allah that for which they cannot hope. 4:104

  3. Don't try to convert apostates or Christians. Allah led them astray and he wants them to stay that way.
    The hypocrites, when Allah cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they earned? Seek ye to guide him whom Allah hath sent astray? 4:88
    Allah pardoneth not that partners should be ascribed unto Him ... Whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah hath wandered far astray. 4:116
    Plead not on behalf of (people) who deceive themselves. 4:107

  4. After non-Muslims die, they will make excuses for their unbelief -- like saying that they were oppressed. Then the angels will ask them, "Why didn't you move to another country?" But the angels won't wait for an answer. They'll just take them all to hell, except for the feeble men, women, and children who couldn't devise a plan. Or whatever.
    Lo! as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves, (the angels) will ask: In what were ye engaged ? They will say: We were oppressed in the land. (The angels) will say: Was not Allah's earth spacious that ye could have migrated therein ? As for such, their habitation will be hell, an evil journey's end. Except the feeble among men, and the women, and the children, who are unable to devise a plan and are not shown a way. 4:97-98

  5. All non-Muslims go to hell anyway.
    Whoso opposeth the messenger ... and followeth other than the believer's way, We ... expose him unto hell - a hapless journey's end! 4:115

  6. So don't be friends with them. They are an open enemy to you. If they oppose you in any way, just kill them wherever you find them.
    Choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend ... from among them. 4:89
    The disbelievers are an open enemy to you ... Allah prepareth for the disbelievers shameful punishment. 4:101-2
    If they keep not aloof from you nor offer you peace nor hold their hands, then take them and kill them wherever ye find them. Against such We have given you clear warrant. 4:91

  7. But don't kill any Muslims, unless it's by mistake, in which case you must set free a Muslim slave and pay some blood-money to the dead Muslim's family.
    Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose, his reward is hell for ever ... an awful doom. 4:93
    It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless (it be) by mistake. He who hath killed a believer by mistake must set free a believing slave. 4:92

  8. Those that have female gods pray to Satan.
    They invoke in His stead only females; they pray to none else than Satan. 4:117

  9. Don't bother trying to treat your wives fairly. It's impossible.
    Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). 4:129

  10. Don't cut cattle's ears. (Men shouldn't shave their beards and women shouldn't pluck their eyebrows.) Allah commands non-Muslims to shave beards and pluck eyebrows so he can have an excuse to burn them in hell after they die.
    I will lead them astray, and surely I will arouse desires in them, and surely I will command them and they will cut the cattle' ears, and surely I will command them and they will change Allah's creation ... For such, their habitation will be hell. 4:119-121

So ponder the Quran with Allah and put it on trial with Terry Jones. Do the same with the Bible, Book of Mormon, or other supposed holy book. Refuse to believe in any book that is unworthy of your belief, and you'll be free from religion forever.

12 January 2011

And Palin washed her hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person. Matthew 27:24

You can watch Palin wash her hands here.

10 January 2011

1 Nephi 22: Someday Catholics will get drunk on their own blood

As I mentioned in my last post, Nephi threw in a couple chapters from Isaiah, ending with this verse (Isaiah 49:26):

And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine. 1 Nephi 21:26

Now he explains who the "they" are.

And the blood of that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall turn upon their own heads; for they shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood. 1 Nephi 22:13

Catholics! Someday they'll all get drunk on their own blood.

And whoever fights against Zion (the Mormons) will be destroyed along with the blood-drunk Catholics.

All that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it. 1 Nephi 22:14

There will be blood and guts and fire all death over the place.

The day soon cometh that all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned. For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men ... that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire ... These things must shortly come; yea, even blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke must come ... they who fight against Zion shall be cut off. 1 Nephi 22:16-19

But then God will raise up a great prophet, as great as Isaiah (Joseph Smith).

A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that all those who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people. 1 Nephi 22:20

Those that listen to the prophet and believe that "the things which have been written upon the plates of brass are true" (the Mormons) will survive and everyone else (that belong to other churches -- the kingdom of the devil) will be destroyed.

For the time speedily shall come that all churches ... who belong to the kingdom of the devil ... must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble. 1 Nephi 22:23
The things which have been written upon the plates of brass are true. 1 Nephi 22:30

It's as simple as that.

And thus it is and so forth forever. Amen.

And thus it is. Amen. 1 Nephi 22:31

Blogging the Book of Mormon
Next episode -- 2 Nephi 1-3:A tale of four Josephs and loads of loin fruit

07 January 2011

Surah 4:35-80 Fresh skins for Allah's fire

This section starts off well enough, with Allah telling us to be kind to our parents, relatives, orphans, the needy, neighbors, strangers, and travelers.

(Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and unto the neighbour who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbour who is not of kin, and the fellow-traveller and the wayfarer. 4:36

And yet, even here, when the Quran is at its very best, its dark side seeps through.

Because the same verse with the good stuff above includes the bad stuff below.

Serve Allah. Ascribe no thing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto ... (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Lo! Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful, 4:36

Serve Allah, who has no partners. Be kind to your slaves. Don't be proud and boastful or Allah won't love you.

That's not all that bad, you say. And I agree. But it gets worse from there.

Allah reminds us about his plans for disbelievers and those who have the wrong imaginary friend (Satan instead of Allah).

For disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom; And (also) those who ... believe not in Allah nor the Last Day. Whoso taketh Satan for a comrade, a bad comrade hath he. 4:37-38

Next Allah says that there are times when we shouldn't pray. Like when we are drunk, dirty, after going to the bathroom, or after touching a woman. But if you have soiled yourself by touching a women or some other dirty thing, you can clean up without water by rubbing your hands and face in some dirt. That'll do it.

O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter ... nor when ye are polluted, save when journeying upon the road, till ye have bathed. And if ye ... cometh from the closet, or ye have touched women, and ye find not water, then go to high clean soil and rub your faces and your hands (therewith). Lo! Allah is Benign, Forgiving. 4:43

Now that that's out of the way, Allah tells us about our enemies.

Allah knoweth best (who are) your enemies. 4:45

And who are our enemies? Everyone except Muslims, of course.

  1. The Jews, whom Allah has cursed for their disbelief, causing them to disbelieve, "save a few."
    Some of those who are Jews change words from their context and say: "We hear and disobey; hear thou as one who heareth not" and "Listen to us!" distorting with their tongues and slandering religion. If they had said: "We hear and we obey: hear thou, and look at us" it had been better for them, and more upright. But Allah hath cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not, save a few. 4:46

    But Allah has not only cursed the Jews (causing their disbelief), he turned some of them into apes!

    O ye unto whom the Scripture hath been given! Believe in what We have revealed confirming that which ye possess, before We destroy countenances so as to confound them, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers (of old time). 4:47

  2. The Christians, who say that Allah has a partner, when, as everyone knows, Allah has no friends or partners.
    Allah forgiveth not that a partner should be ascribed unto Him. He forgiveth (all) save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribeth partners to Allah, he hath indeed invented a tremendous sin. 4:48

  3. Those that invent lies about Allah, believe in idols, claim to be more rightly guided, or whatnot. Allah curses them all.
    See, how they invent lies about Allah! That of itself is flagrant sin. Hast thou not seen those unto whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given, how they believe in idols and false deities, and how they say of those (idolaters) who disbelieve: "These are more rightly guided than those who believe"? Those are they whom Allah hath cursed, and he whom Allah hath cursed. 4:50-52

  4. And former Muslims. Hell is sufficient for their burning.
    And of them were (some) who believed therein and of them were (some) who turned away from it. Hell is sufficient for (their) burning. 4:55

Allah will burn disbelievers in the Fire. And after there skin burns off, he'll replace their skins and do it again and again. Allah is ever Mighty, Wise, Sadistic.

Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. 4:56

But those that believe and do good works will go to gardens after they die, where they'll have lots of shade and pure companions to mess around with forever.

And as for those who believe and do good works, We shall make them enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow - to dwell therein for ever; there for them are pure companions - and We shall make them enter plenteous shade. 4:57

So obey Allah and his messenger Muhammad.

Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger 4:59

Oppose those that refuse to obey.

Hast thou not seen those who pretend that they believe in that which is revealed unto thee and that which was revealed before thee, how they would go for judgment (in their disputes) to false deities when they have been ordered to abjure them ? Satan would mislead them far astray. And when it is said unto them: Come unto that which Allah hath revealed and unto the messenger, thou seest the hypocrites turn from thee with aversion ... So oppose them and admonish them. 4:60-63

Hang out with Muslims. "The best of company are they!"

Whoso obeyeth Allah and the messenger, they are with those unto whom Allah hath shown favour, of the prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they! 4:69

Fight the disbelieving minions of the devil in the cause of Allah.

Fight in the way of Allah ... Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward ... Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil.4:74-76

And don't worry about dying in battle. Remember the shade and the pure companions. Allah wouldn't hurt the down on a date-stone.

Hast thou not seen those ... when fighting was prescribed ... say: Our Lord! Why hast Thou ordained fighting for us? ... Say (unto them, O Muhammad): The comfort of this world is scant; the Hereafter will be better for him who wardeth off (evil); and ye will not be wronged the down upon a date-stone. 4:77

If something good happens to you, it is because of Allah. If something bad happens, it's your own damn fault. Heads, Allah wins; tails, you lose.

If a happy thing befalleth them they say: This is from Allah; and if an evil thing befalleth them they say: This is of thy doing (O Muhammad). Say (unto them): All is from Allah. Whatever of good befalleth thee (O man) it is from Allah, and whatever of ill befalleth thee it is from thyself. 4:78-79

Whoever obeys Muhammad, obeys Allah. Whoever doesn't, doesn't.

Whoso obeyeth the messenger hath obeyed Allah, and whoso turneth away: We have not sent thee as a warder over them. 4:80

So which would you prefer? Would you rather mess around in the shade with pure companions after you die or have your skin burned off over and over again by Allah?

Allah is Mighty, Wise, Sadistic.

06 January 2011

The Fowls of Heaven: Is God trying to tell us something by killing red-winged blackbirds?

Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? Job 35:11

You’ve probably heard about the thousands of red-winged blackbirds that fell from the sky on New Year’s Eve in Beebe, Arkansas. Well, that’s got Christians thinking. So I thought I’d help them out with that.

Is God trying to send a message by killing thousands of red-winged blackbirds?

It’s hard to say, but he’s done stuff like that before.

During the Exodus, for example, to punish the people for complaining about the lack of food and water, God sent a great wind that caused several trillion quail to fall from the sky. He forced the people to eat quail until it came out their noses. Literally.

Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you. … And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. Numbers 11:19-31

So maybe God was just punishing the people of Beebe for complaining about their food. If so, then the Christians of Beebe should eat every last bird that fell from the sky. Eat them until it comes out their noses, or else God might get angry and send a “very great plague.” That’s what he did to the Israelites.

And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. Numbers 11:33

I just hope it's not too late. Because if people don't eat the dead birds, birds will be eating dead people in the last supper of the great God.

Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God. … And all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:17-21