Sunday, October 13, 2013

These aren't the leaders we want.

So I read something somewhere. Some people believe it's historical fact, others just a fable made up by someone, but I feel its message is definitely applicable to the current situation in Washington. The story goes like this: there's two military leaders who each control a portion of the same country. Each one believes they have the right to the whole country, and so naturally, a war breaks out between the two different factions. Well this carries on for a very long time, to the point at which everyone is involved in the conflict. At this point, the leaders of one of the factions sees how much destruction has been wrought and offers to surrender his portion of the country to the other military leader. The other military leader demands that the one who offered to surrender give up his life along with the rest of the country. Well, the one who surrendered looked around and realized everyone fighting for him was so embittered, that surrender would do no good, so they carried on the fight. Well, in the end, because neither side would budge, both factions and the country were destroyed.

The same thing is going on in Washington right now. The new Senate deal? It was pretty much the same thing Boehner proposed in the House.  Compromise? Nope, all communication between the House and the White House is shut down. Obama actually almost folded (according to one story I read), but then Harry Reid egged him on saying that they wouldn't compromise and Obama not folding was justified. Basically, both sides seem so embittered that they don't want to surrender. What's at stake? Well only the lives of two little boys my former High School English teacher is trying to provide for off of her meager salary, the world's economy with the US dollar as its reserve currency and the entire economic well-being of the entire nation. Looking at the language between the two different parties, it seems to me like both want the default. I think both as self-assured the other will take the blame and it will cause people to give their party more power and influence.

Well here's my little message to America: we don't want leaders that are willing to sacrifice our well-being and our way of life for their own ends. Our history is playing out like the story, and leaders like that don't deserve to lead the world's most powerful economy or the world's most powerful democracy. We seriously need to start a 3rd party that is not unified within itself that everyone votes for instead of either party, so no one will ever be able to believe they can wrest the control of our country at the expense of everyone else and we as a people, show our leaders we will only support leaders worth supporting.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Testament study: the Lord's prayer phrase and what does the truth mean to you?

The first part of this post talks about a difference in the Lord's prayer between the English version and the Dutch version. The second part talks

Background: So I was reading in the New Testament yesterday, and I've been reading it in Dutch actually. I'm doing everything I can to not lose it, so most of my scripture and Gospel study has been happening in Dutch. I hope I don't starve spiritually because of this decision, but I'm doing my best to make sure I understand everything. Google Translate is a great pseudo-dictionary.

Fun realization about the Lord's prayer: When I was reading this phrase in the Lord's prayer "En leid ons niet in verzoeking, maar verlos ons van den boze." Something caught my eye. Here, the verb leiden (English: to lead) is used with the preposition "in." (English: in) That's weird, because in modern Dutch, if you denote being led to something you say "Leid naar..." Now I understand this is older Dutch, so maybe I don't understand everything, so I did a little text search on the verb stem leid through different chapters, to see the other prepositions it was used with. I found this chapter, and in the beginning, it uses "leiden" with the preposition "tot" which can also mean "to, toward" in English, so my suspicion is correct, the phrase is not saying "And lead us not into temptation..." like in the English phrasing:"And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." There's obviously a difference in meaning between the two translations. The Dutch one in my opinion is saying "And lead us not in temptation, but save us from evil." Which I take to mean that if you're being tempted by something, then the last part of the prayer is asking for help avoiding it, instead of it being allowed to continue with you while you're receiving Heavenly Father's help.

The most powerful lesson I learned: The thing that struck me the most about Luke Chapter 11 was the end of the chapter made it sound like Jesus drew the hatred and malice of the Pharisees and the scribes because he chastises them for corrupting their religion. He's not lying, but his words obviously stoke their hatred. What hit me really hard about these passages of scripture was the importance of self honesty and acceptance. The slaying of Jesus came about because some people weren't willing to accept the truth when they were being told it. Yes, it was negative what Jesus was saying, but it was not untrue. This just showed me that if we want help preparing ourselves to meet Heavenly Father again, we need to be able to accept some of the not so nice things about ourselves. Because if we can't recognize those things then we can't fix them.

There's a little passage from the Book of Mormon that goes directly with this realization:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

- Ether 12:27

I really like how strongly the Book of Mormon and Bible support each other and expound on each other when teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This passage does a good job of showing us that we don't have to be ashamed of our weaknesses, because we will be given the power to overcome them if we do what's right.