Posted by: nmontague | May 22, 2012

Bipartisan support for legalizing propaganda

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/congressmen-seek-to-lift-propaganda-ban

Looks like this insert in the latest defense authoritation bill authorizes the government to use propaganda on American citizens.

The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the independent Broadcasting Board of Governors, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.

This isn’t right. No matter who supports this in both parties, we should demand honesty from our government. We shouldnt give them the power to lie to us. Speak up. Demand honesty from our government. Bring this to people’s attention so we can kill this insert before it gets passed as a law.

It’s more important now than ever that we seek to make our lives honest. Truth cleaves unto truth. If we aren’t seeking the truth and living it, we will easily be decieved by lies. God will reveal the Truth to us, let us have faith enough to seek it and do what we can to prevent others from being decieved.

Posted by: nmontague | May 17, 2012

A Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer

Tomorrow, May 17, 2012 is going to be a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer. All are invited, and in fact, encouraged to particiapte regardless of religious background, denomination, or sect.

May 17th was chosen because the Second Continental Congress dedicated May 17, 1776 as a day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer to seek a remission of their sins as individuals and as a nation. It was a day to draw closer to God and seek His guidance and seek the hand of Divine Providence in protecting their liberities from the British during the Revolutionary War. It was a day to unite together and make a covenant with God that He would be their God and they would be His people.

We live in a precarious day. Our Constitution and Republic are hanging by a thread.  If we want to restore the Constitution, our liberities, and the Republic to the glory that it’s previously had, we need to build on the same foundation that our Founders have. We have to have God on our side, and more importantly, we need to be on God’s side. Not because someone forces us to be. Or because some government wants us to be. Not because our parents were. But because God is good and because we make a choose to turn to Him and accept the invitation he always has open to us.

We are a proud society.  We need to turn back to humility or we risk being destroyed because pride comes before the fall. We need to look for ways to build humility in our lives. It’s vitally important if we are going to more forward with the work of restoring our values and culture.

This day involves Fasting. Christ mentioned that fasting and prayer as an important requirement for some miracles (Specificlly casting out some demons). There is power in fasting. Fasting involves voluntarily giving up food (and sometimes water as well) for a designated period of time. Combined with prayer it can be a powerful spiritual tool to strengthen ourselves and our connection with God. Gandhi used fasting to seek Divine aid in persuading his people to be non-violent.

Prayer is supplication before the Lord. It’s not just reading off a laundry list of things you want from God. But it’s the effort to bring our will in line with God’s will and recieve blessings God already wants to bless us with, but which are conditional upon asking for the blessings. It’s about communication with God. Not just us speaking to Him, but speaking with Him and recieving revelation when needed.

I invite as many people to unite and join in this day of humilitation, fasting, and prayer tomorrow as you are moved upon by the Holy Spirit. If you can’t fast for medical reasons, still seek the Lord in prayer and fasting. We need to make our lives right in the eyes of the Lord. Seek a remission of your sins. Even the little ones. Especially the little ones. There may only be a handful that will do this, but the Lord can do amazing things with just a few people.  “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise” (Alma 37:6).

With the Lord’s help we can change the world. We can restore the Republic. We can unite as a people. And we start by changing ourselves and humbling ourselves.

Posted by: nmontague | May 10, 2012

It’s been a little over a year

I havent posted in quite a while. Im still contemplating a shift in what I want to talk about and format etc. I would like to be posting more in the near future though. Im working on the early stages of a few projects that Id like to share when I ever bring them to life. But things have been busy this past year with getting married and the arrival of our little daughter. I will try to share more soon.

Posted by: nmontague | October 6, 2011

Joseph Smith on Charity

I was reading Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith on charity. And I was just kind of inspired by the little things Joseph Smith and his wife Emma did to serve the Saints. I wanted to share those accounts.

First story:

Edwin Holden recalled: “In 1838, Joseph and some of the young men were playing various out-door games, among which was a game of ball. By and by they began to get weary. He saw it, and calling them together he said: ‘Let us build a log cabin.’ So off they went, Joseph and the young men, to build a log cabin for a widow woman. Such was Joseph’s way, always assisting in whatever he could.”

Seriously, how cool is that? Hang out with your friends and just decide to get them all go out and build a house for someone in need.

Second Story:

Lucy Mack Smith, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s mother, said of the time when the Saints were first settling in Commerce, Illinois, later called Nauvoo:“As the season advanced, the brethren who had settled here began to feel the effects of their hardships, which, joined to the unhealthiness of the climate, brought them down with agues and bilious fevers to such an extent that there were some whole families in which there was not one who was able to give another a drink of cold water or even to help themselves. Hyrum’s family were mostly sick. My youngest daughter, Lucy, was also very sick, and there were, in fact, but few of the inhabitants of the place who were well.

“Joseph and Emma had the sick brought to their house and took care of them there. And they continued to have them brought as fast as they were taken down until their house, which consisted of four rooms, was so crowded that they were under the necessity of spreading a tent in the yard for the reception of that part of the family who were still on their feet. Joseph and Emma devoted their whole time and attention to the care of the sick during this time of distress.”

And tell me, how many of us would do the same? I hope most of us. We should be willing to serve others like this. This is good and wholesome. It’s what Christ would want us to be doing. It would do more to help the poor, the sick, the afflicted then if we taxed everyone 100% of their money and just handed it out like crazy. Because this is true charity and service. Designed to uplift and bless others.

Third Story:

John L. Smith, the Prophet’s cousin, recalled the following incident that occurred in this same period of time: “The Prophet Joseph and cousin Hyrum, his brother, visited us. We were all sick but Mother with the fever and ague, and Father was out of his head the greatest part of the time. Joseph took the shoes from his feet when he saw our destitute condition and put them on Father’s feet, as he was barefoot, and rode home without any himself. He sent and took Father home to his house and saved his life and supplied us with many comforts so we recovered.”

How many of us would give someone the shoes off our feet or the shirt off our back? Isn’t this what we should all be doing? Cheerfully serving one another. Giving to those in need. Lifting them.

Fourth Story:

Elizabeth Ann Whitney recalled:“Early in the Spring of 1840 we went up to Commerce, as the upper portion of the city of Nauvoo continued to be called. We rented a house belonging to Hiram Kimball. … Here we were all sick with ague, chills and fever, and were only just barely able to crawl around and wait upon each other. Under these trying circumstances my ninth child was born. Joseph, upon visiting us and seeing our change of circumstances, urged us at once to come and share his accommodations. We felt the climate, the water, and the privations we were enduring could not much longer be borne; therefore we availed ourselves of this proposal and went to live in the Prophet Joseph’s yard in a small cottage; we soon recruited in health, and the children became more like themselves. My husband was employed in a store Joseph had built and fitted up with such goods as the people were in actual need of.

“One day while coming out of the house into the yard the remembrance of a prophecy Joseph Smith had made to me, while living in our house in Kirtland, flashed through my mind like an electric shock; it was this: that even as we had done by him, in opening our doors to him and his family when he was without a home; even so should we in the future be received by him into his house.”

A simple lesson here: We bless ourselves when we bless others. We get when we give.

Fifth story:

Mosiah L. Hancock reported the following experience that occurred in Nauvoo while he was a youth: “This summer [1841] I played my first game of ball with the Prophet. We took turns knocking and chasing the ball, and when the game was over the Prophet said, ‘Brethren, hitch up your teams,’ which we did, and we all drove to the woods. I drove our one-horse wagon standing on the front bolster, and Brother Joseph and father rode on the hounds behind [the bolster and houndsare structural parts of a wagon]. There were 39 teams in the group and we gathered wood until our wagons were loaded. When our wagon was loaded, Brother Joseph offered to pull sticks with anyone—and he pulled them all up one at a time—with anyone who wanted to compete with him.

“Afterwards, the Prophet sent the wagons out to different places of people who needed help; and he told them to cut the wood for the Saints who needed it. Everybody loved to do as the Prophet said, and even though we were sickly, and death was all around us, folks smiled and tried to cheer everyone up.”

Lesson: When our recreation time is over, it’s time to go serve others.

We need to be building communities where we serve on another like that. That is the attititude we should have as Saints. To quote the Prophet:

“I am your servant, and it is only through the Holy Ghost that I can do you good. … We do not present ourselves before you as anything but your humble servants, willing to spend and be spent in your service.”

And we should be humble servants who are willing to spend and be spent in your service and in Christ’s name.

Posted by: nmontague | August 11, 2011

Update

I know I haven’t written much lately. I’ve actually been contemplating a new direction with the blog with some regular posting. I haven’t formulated everything yet. I’ll keep everyone updated.

Posted by: nmontague | June 30, 2011

Love those that hate you

I was catching up on what I missed the last two days and it looks like Glenn Beck and his family were harassed when they tried to watch a public movie in New York. You can find details about what happened here. Interestingly, one of the people who sat behind his family, Ms. Lindsey Piscitell, came out denying it. Unfortunately for her she also happened to be tweeting about the incident at the time. And before she had the opportunity to make her account private, her page was saved. To see what her page said, go here. To sum it up, her tweets don’t match up with her current story. In fact, someone responded to her suggesting that she and her group “”accidently” spill something on him” and/or “kick him in the mouth”. Which is why it’s safe to conclude that she is being less than honest about the bottle of wine being “accicdently” spilled on his wife or the attempts to kick him in the head.

Now this behavior is completely rude. It’s uncivil. And completely unnecessary. Why on earth should anyone harass/attack another person, and more importantly his family, simply for disagreeing about politics or some other idea? This makes so little sense to me. And covering it up by lying about it? Why?

Despite all this, Glenn wasn’t telling the story to make himself or his family look like victims. He was trying to teach his listeners these two principles:

1) Have courage to be who you are even when you are surounded by people who disagree and may even hate you.

2) Love those that hate you, even when it’s tough.

Unfortunately, I think this entire lesson was lost upon many of his viewers. Yes. Ms. Piscitell, her friends, and the other New Yorkers who acted this way were wrong. They were uncivil, rude, and full of emnity. But there is no reason to react back at her and them the same exact way. Glenn’s trying to show you that you need to love those that oppose you and even hate you and then you go out and hate what these people did to Glenn calling them all sorts of horrible things and saying all sorts of horrible things when Glenn hasn’t and is telling you to do the exact opposite with them and anyone else who may be like them. If Glenn and is family is working to love them, why should the rest of us who were not the targets of this be angry and full of hate? Shouldn’t we be joining with Glenn is saying prayers for them and loving them as ourselves?

I was reading Matthew 24 last week and one of the versus in particular hit me.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

Now, I’ve always found it that verse interesting. It’s placed in the chapter where Christ is talking about Signs of when the Temple would be destroyed in 70AD and Signs of His Second Coming. Why is this significant for the Second coming? I’ve been pondering it a bit and I think I have one idea. Alot of people will perish because they have lost the ability to love. In order to get through the last days before Christ’s coming, those that are faithful will have to band together. They will have to rely on one another. That can only happen if we have love for one another. If we don’t band together, if we don’t love one another, then many, possibly even ourselves, will perish.

Christ has long taught us to love our enemies. He told us we need to turn the other cheek. In otherwords, that we need to love our fellow man so much that we would rather suffer violence be done to ourselves than to hurt them.

Glenn is a flawed man. He is the first to admit that. But what he is trying to teach us in loving those that hate us transcends any flaw he or us might have. We need to actually get the point he was trying to have us get instead of getting angry, and hating those that have harassed him. Love them.  Pray for them. Even if we don’t change them, we end up changing ourselves. And that’s just as important for us, for our families, and for the world at large.

Posted by: nmontague | June 28, 2011

The problem and potential of flash mobs

Flash mobs are becoming a problem in the news lately. A Flash mob is a group of people organized through telecommunications, social media, or viral emails who assemble suddenly to do something. Traditionally, this “something” has been an unusual or pointless act mostly for entertainment of those involved. It’s popular among the rising generation. Unfortunately, lately the news has been reportng about flash mobs that have gone from pointless to dangerous and just plain wrong.

Take this DC Flash mob for example. This is one example of Flash mobs turning to theft and looting. There have been reports elsewhere in the Country recently such as Las Vegas, Illinois, and Philadelphia. Basically large groups of people rush a store take what they want off the shelf and run out before the store has time to react. Because of the sheer numbers involved and the speed in which they are in and out it’s difficult to capture them. These mobs are costing businesses thousands in merchandise and damanges.

In Philadelphia, in particular Flash mobs are becoming violent. This is just random pointless violence. Random in where they show up. Random in when they show up. The randomness of it all is what makes it so difficult to stop.

So is that what is being taught to the rising generation. (I’m starting to feel like an old man with the way I talk). The fact kind of activity is quickly turning into a very visible sign of evil and corruption in our society. But does it have to be?

Perhaps, those who want to be good examples and shine a light on the good in society can use the flash mob to do it too. Why not react with Flash mobs of kindness? Flash mobs of service? use the same communication mediums to randomly do something good for your neighbors?

Or how about flash mobs of missionary work? You set up a time and send it around to get people to share the Gospel with a random person.

Or a flash mob of prayer. Where people can randomly gather together and start praying in public for those around them?

Evil is really good at organizing itself. It’s time those who want to do good do the same. It’s time to stop making excuses and take action.

Just a few thoughts for this evening.

Posted by: nmontague | May 25, 2011

A little venting

So I was surfing the web and reading some forums for discussion of recent news and I came across this article. A few weeks ago a 16 year old girl challenged Rep. Michelle Bachmann to a debate. Since then she claims she has been recieving threats, being mocked, being called a “whore”. Why? Because she had the audacity to speak out. I think this is completely messed up.

No one, especially not a 16 year old girl, should be attacked or criticized for being willing to engage in the political process. It doesn’t matter what your politics is, our freedom to speak freely is a gift and all people should be allowed to peaceably give their own viewpoint without concern for threats, personal attacks, or intimidation tactics. Freedom of speech only works if we are civil towards each other. We can disagree with what someone else says, but that doesn’t mean we should be mean, uncivil, or even worse, violent towards them.

Yet, not only are annonymous people threatening this girl, instead of people being mature and acting like adults and condemning it, I see people fighting over what party is more to blame for these ridiculous tactics. I mean What the heck?! People are seriously going to turn this into a reason to engage in partisan politics?! I mean don’t we have enough of these pointless disputes on issues that are actually important, but now people are going to argue over a girl getting threatened? Is it too much to ask to put aside the partisan bullcrap to condemn this type of behavior no matter what “side” is behind it?!

So far, it looks like I’m the only person on the thread who thinks that. I really have a hard time believing that I am the only person out there that feels that way. I know the anonymous nature of the web provides a platform for people to show their worst, to reveal who they really are inside. But I hope there are still people who won’t put up with this nonsense. Because if there aren’t, then I am seriously concerned with our future as a people. I know that a majority of our culture needs to significantly change who they are, be born again and put off this pride and contention. But I can’t imagine there aren’t people who already have.

If there are, please let me know. We need to network and bring about real change in this world. Or else things will get very messy. I suppose I need to be alittle more patient. But this lack of civility is just bothering me tonight.

Posted by: nmontague | May 4, 2011

Osama Bin Laden – dead

I’m probably not the only person who was surprised to hear about Osama Bin Laden’s death on Sunday night. He has long been a threat to peace and safety to the world, not to mention individual liberty. However, there are a lot of odd circumstances surrounding his death, and I am concerned about the reaction by society at large.

There is no question that Bin Laden was a dangerous and wicked man. However, I can’t take joy in his death, no matter how justified it was. I don’t want evil people killed. I want them to repent and become good people. I don’t take joy or pleasure in seeing people meet their Maker unprepared to meet Him. And the fact that so many people are taking pleasure in it concerns me a lot.

I understand feeling relief he cannot perform more evil in the world. I understand the feelings of the victim’s families who are resting now that justice has been served. I am glad they can. But I cant help but mourn that we needed to kill someone for it to happen. That someone would give up their right and potential to do real good in the world and instead do evil during their days. But should we really be celebrating someone’s death? Aren’t we supposed to love our enemies as ourselves? Should we be reveling in the fact that our military had to kill someone or be praying that our hearts and the hearts of our enemies change so that our military doesn’t have to kill them?

It’s not only the reveling in the violence and celebrating of death that bothers me, It’s the boasting about it. There are so many people boasting about how awesome “we” are for bringing Bin Laden to justice. How nothing can stop us. This pride, hubris, boasting, whatever you want to call it, is very dangerous. I wasn’t really ever worried about Bin Laden succeeding in destroying our country because I believed as long as we remained a moral and upright people that we would have the protection of Divine Providence watching over us.

But now that Bin Laden is dead, I, ironically, am seriously concerned with the future of our nation in a way I haven’t before. When we turn away from God in such a way that we desire violence against our fellow man and boast in our own strength, we are leaving the protection of Divine Providence. Unless we let go of our pride and seek love for our fellow man, The Spirit of the Lord will withdrawl from us. Before we are aware we will be left to fight against the evils and trials in our lives without the assistance of Divine Providence. Does anyone honestly think we can turn away from God without destroying ourselves or subjecting ourselves to our enemies?

We may succeed at weakening and destroying ourselves where Osama Bin Laden failed. That choice is up to us though.

I am also alittle concerned about all the circumstances this went down. There are variants of the stories of what happened. Which one is true? Why was the body disposed of so quickly? How did they get DNA results so quickly and where did they get the DNA to compare the results to? Why are we getting multiple stories about how much the Pakistanis knew? Why is the administration debating whether to release photos now? Are they honestly expecting us to believe that no one brought up the question of showing photos during the months prior to the mission? And if they are only thinking about this now, how competant are our leaders? What about the leaked reports of Al Qaeda threatening to use a nuclear weapon of Bin Laden was killed? Is there any credibility to it? Is this something we should be concerned about?

I find there are lots of questions that are bothering me. I don’t know that there is some grant conspiracy going on here. But some of these things don’t make sense and I hate things not making sense. But there are three things I think we need to remember after all this, even if we never get answers to these questions:

1. We need Divine Providence to protect us if we expect a long future.

2. We turn away from that protecting influence if we are too busy boasting in our own strength.

3. We turn away from that protecting influence if we are celebrating death and being casual with matters of life and death.

If we are going to survive the times coming, we need to have a humble heart. We need to be able to love others, including people we may now consider our enemies. We need to stand in Holy place and Holy places are where Holy people are found. Some people might not like what I’ve said, but I can’t keep silent on something this concerning to me. Otherwise, my conscience would condemn me.

Posted by: nmontague | April 2, 2011

Personal ministries

I’ve been pondering a lot about personal ministries tonight. I think that God has a plan for everyone who lives and that we have the privilege and the responsibility to figure out that purpose and bless the lives of others with our time, talents, and money in a way that is pleasing to God. This is our ministry. We do this in part, through the work we do everyday. Our careers aren’t just a job, they are a way to glorify God by serving our fellow man if we treat our efforts at work the right way. This is in part what used to be called the “protestant work ethic”. Obviously, as I’m not protestant, I do think there are still good principles found in the PWE and these good principles can be found in the scriptures.

Work seems to be a very important part of any personal ministry. And while I believe that our job/carreer can be part of our personal ministry, I don’t think that’s only aspect of it. I think we are supposed to work outside of our time at our jobs as well. We are supposed to be engaged in service of others and make attempts to lift their lives through our service and our friendship with them.  We live in a culture that tends to encourages idleness and amusement rather than our moral and religious obligations to God and our fellow man.

Whatever the work we do, it can bless us spiritually if it’s done in the right mindset.

First, the work of our personal ministry must be done to bless others. If we do work where we delibrately hurt others or try to take advantage of them in some way, we are not doing the right work. If we do engage in work that blesses others, if we do it with the wrong mindset, basically, to get financial gain or personal glory rather than to build up the Lord’s Zion and bless others, than we likewise get no Spiritual benefit. We are not ministering to others, we are seeking to only benefit ourselves. Our efforts must be focused on blessing others to get the fulness of the blessings we can recieve ourselves and to make sure that our efforts are completely blessed by the Lord.

Second, we must work of our own free will. We have been given agency from God to make choices in our lives. And in order to recieve the spiritual blessings to ourselves and to have the spiritual help to lift others, we need to be blessing and ministering to others of our own free will. This is why it’s important that we have the freedom to do this rather than outsource our efforts to a government program. Especially the so called entitlement programs. When government uses force to take from people to give to others, we lose much of the power to fix the real problems our society faces that we might otherwise have if we choose to personally act for ourselves.

For example, if we voluntarily give our time, talents, and money to our fellow man to lift them up, it is an edifying experience. We are blessed and enriched by our service. The recipient of our service is blessed and edified. They recognize our efforts as a gift and have the opportunity to be grateful for recieving it. However, when a government takes the time, talents, and money of one person in order to benefit the other claiming they are entitled to it, their action creates resentment because the giver’s efforts were taken from them by force and the recievers, instead of recognizing the gift for what it is, are told they are entitled to the benefits. Do either party really benefit from this forced transaction the way they would if the giver gave of his own free will and the reciever recieved recognizing the gift?

One method creates unity, gratitude, and love in society. The other resentment, idleness, and division. I contend that our society would be far better off with the voluntary method of ministering to the needs of our society.

At the beginning of Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge argued that he was already forced to help the poor through his taxes. Were either the poor or Mr Scrooge really benefitting from that arrangement? It was when he later realized that he should give voluntarily and minister to those around him with need that both he and those around him were blessed.

We need to start doing this now. Obviously the burden of government taxation and spending may limit our ability to provide money and perhaps even time. But we need to provide more time and effort to building our communities and ministering to those that need help around us despite what the government does to burden us. I don’t believe the burden of government will be lifted from us until after we’ve learned how to govern ourselves and lift up our fellow man of our own free will.

Finally, I would point out that sometimes those that are need are not those that are poor in the materials of the world, but those that are spiritually poor and needy. That can include people who might actually have a lot of wealth who need to be ministered to for the various problems in their life. They may be those who have not yet learned that they need to serve others but who have comfortable lives. The wealth and station of a person, or the lack their of, does not determine whether they are spiritually poor and needy.

Now this may be a new concept for some, or at least one not often thought about. But my contention here is that in order to fulfill our personal ministries, we need to stop looking at people and dividing them into groups of wealthy, middle class, poor, etc. We should see them as our brothers and sisters. It shouldn’t matter if they have $.10 to their name or $10,000,000, we should be willing to serve them and help build up Zion by building up our fellow man. If we are to have no poor among us, we likewise will have no rich. And I think that has less to do with what we produce and more to do with how we divide people in our mind. We need to stop looking at people as rich or poor. If others need to recieve our ministering, we should provide it.

Like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot about personal ministries tonight. Mine in particular. I fear I may have been neglecting it recently. And I think it’s about time I start working again. Learning how to work hard, smarter, and more patiently with others. I’d like to see us all united together and reconciled with God and our fellow man. And I think that requires us to work, to do so voluntarily, and see people are our brothers and not in the station or for the wealth they have. I am going to commit to work harder on my personal ministry and I would encourage everyone of every faith or denomination who has the opportunity to read this to do the same. It’s time to forget ourselves and get to work.

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: