I admit, I have been worried in recent years about the nonsensical issues that seem to be tearing our society apart. IMHO, this particular video highlights some of the issues that tear at the roots of Utah's culture.
I believe strongly in reading and supporting local literature and film. Since I live in Utah, that means reading about LDS history from multiple perspectives. Contrary to what my posts sound like, I do not hate Mormons. I believe that members of the LDS Church are people who authentically want to be good people. They joined the LDS Church because they were hoping that the LDS Church would provide a framework that allows them to be good people.
The thing that drives me batty in this state is that the foundational systems created by Smith and Young use awful, base, negative techniques which end up undermining both the LDS society and the other people who have the misfortune of living in LDS dominated areas.
Smith and Young were typical 19th century rogues with dreams of becoming kings and emperors—like Napoleon. In their little grub for power, they replicated a formula that has been around since antiquity. They divided their followers from the mainstream culture by promising worldly riches and sex in the present life, and the outlandish claim that their followers would become Gods—just like Jesus and the Heavenly Father—in the afterlife.
Smith cemented his power base by creating a division between his follower, who he calls the righteous, and the gentile. The righteous are saints on earth and will be Gods in heaven. The gentiles will be smited by a mean, terrible, evil, hate filled God.
With this in mind we enter Robert Millet's speech to the missionaries:
As Latter Day Saints you already know more about God and Christ and the plan of salvation than anyone who will attack you [...] you already know more than your attackers will ever know.
Millet starts by telling a group of 18 year-old boys that being part of the LDS church makes them superior to all others. This is a total ego feed to a demographic group with minds already filled with teenage know-it-all fantasies.
He then presents the oppositional logic at the roots of Mormonism by projecting that oppositional logic onto his enemies. Essentially repeating Joseph Smith's mantra that the gentiles are conspiring against the righteous!
It shouldn't be a shock to us that people oppose us [...]
In 1945 the Quorum of 12 Apostles issued a proclamation to all the world. [...] "As this work progresses in its onward course and becomes more and more an object of political and religious interests and excitement, no king, ruler, or subject, no community or individual will stand neutral. All will at length will be influenced by one spirit or another and will take sides either for or against the Kingdom of God."
The real gem is the quote from the Quorum of Apostles (yes, Joseph Smith bought the loyalty of a group of people by naming them Apostles).
This quote from 1845 shows precisely the way that this oppositional logic works. If a power monger can successfully create a division between their followers and the world at large, that division might resonate throughout the culture at large.
The way you gain absolute power is by dividing your little group off from the community. You project your motives onto your opposition. If you are lucky, the division you created will provide opportunities to grab power and wealth.
Notice how many times in the lecture Millet reinforces his efforts to project oppositional logic onto his opponents. The important part of the training is that when you finally do get someone to respond to the bait and oppose the Mormon plan, you pounce. See how evil and effective this methodology is. You quietly sneak the oppositional logic into the debate. When your opponent calls you out, you can effectively project to the world the illusion that they are the source of the opposition.
We need to be surprised if we are opposed in this work.
Another Introductory Thought: The things of God can only be known in a real way by the power of the spirit of God. [..] The truthfulness of a matter is really only to be known by the quiet whisperings of the Holy Spirit, but how significant that thing is may often be known by the loud opposition that comes in response to it.
Millet also introduces another really nasty trick above. Truth is something that is whispered by a spirit only to Mormons. Truth is relative to the LDS hierarchy and gentiles cannot know the truth, as they are not in the hierarchy. Truth comes in quiet, all but imperceptible whispers. Both Millet and Joseph Smith reject the western tradition that finds observation and logic a pretty good path to truth.
The lecture jumps into a short interlude where he tries to claim that the LDS Church is singled out for persecution by citing cities that were opposed to building grand LDS Temples. If you know anything about modern city planning, every single proposal to build something in modern US cities gets inundated with opposition. This is especially true with a structure like an LDS Temple which is designed to dominate the land around the temple. If a Muslim group were to build a grand mosque in downtown Salt Lake (with people singing from the minaret, etc.) You can bet the plan would be nixed.
In an underhanded trick, Millet ignores the fact the fact that the opposition to temples is that they are constructed to dominate the land and the people around the temple. The typical temple is a big white shape tower. Towns in Utah generally have strict zoning codes which prevent land owners near the temple from building things that obstruct the view of the temple. I like the phraseology that Brigham Young uses to describe his efforts to create opposition by dotting towns with massive white eye soars:
Brother Brigham is reported to have said that every time we announce the building of a temple, all the bells in Hell begin to ring, and, oh, how I love to hear those bells.
The next part of Millet's claims the Book of Mormon is singled out for persecution. He first claims that all it is just a book.
Why would it be that the Book of Mormon receives such opposition from people? [...] Well, If I didn't already know by the quiet whisperings of the Holy Spirit to my soul that the BoM is another testament of Christ ... The same is true with the concept of "only true church". [...] If I did not already know by the whisperings of the Spirit to my soul that the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS is in fact the kingdom of god on earth, that we hold the fullness of the gospel, that we hold the priesthood of almighty God. If I did not already know that in a quiet way, I might suspect that is the case by the kind of loud opposition that that very concept elicits from people.
After the claim that the BoM is just a book, he reverses himself and says that it is not just a book, it is a new testament from Jesus Christ.
Now, I really know of no opposition to the BoM as a book. It is the claim that the BoM is a testimony of Jesus Christ, and that the BoM imbues one group with special rights and privileges over all other people that gets people rankled. Millet obviously knows that because he says that. It is sickening.
The claim that Joseph Smith was to establish a Kingdom of God in the United States in the fledgling American Democracy is the type of thing that should rightly rankle American patriots who fought to establish a democracy.
Anyway, the data stream from BYU broke after the following quote, which I think is a fitting end to this post:
Then the prophet Joseph uttered this great principle : "The nearer a man approaches the Lord, the greater the power of the adversary will be manifest to thwart the accomplishment of God's purposes. So opposition will come with the turf."
The escalation of conflict with oppositional logic is a primary theme of Millet's speech and of the Book of Mormon. This makes me so terribly sad. Is the primary plan of Jesus Christ to create hatred and opposition so that we hate and kill each other?
I really don't think so.
For that matter, I think very few members of the LDS Church really understand the full implications of the mean, nasty, manipulative side of their Church. It seems to me that Mormons are trying their hardest to be good people, but they keep finding their efforts undermined by the quiet whisperings that undermine both their efforts and the community around them by creating a climate of opposition and conflict.