Bailouts R us vs. Inflation

“At this point, Congress is being asked to support an uncertain entity, costing an uncertain amount of dollars, for an uncertain duration – a decision that will have implications for generations to come and requires absolute certainty.”
– Congressman Jeb Hensarling, TX, and Chair of the House Republican Study Committee

To truly understand what is going on with the financial problems of the U.S., you must first have an understanding of where it all started. Hopefully I will do justice to this complex problem in such a relatively short explanation. Be sure to follow the links for more detailed information. The most important factor to help determine where it started requires a lesson on how the value of the U.S. monetary system has changed over the years; which can easily be seen by looking at inflation trends.
According to http://www.westegg.com/inflation/:

What cost $1 in 1800 would cost $0.58 in 1913.
If you were to buy exactly the same products in 1913 and 1800,
they would cost you $1 and $1.76 respectively.
That's an average of -0.51% inflation per year.

Money at this time was based on precious metals, so a dollar in gold was by definition, a dollar in gold, according to Congressional standards (see the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5). The negative inflation was due to technological advancements that allow products to be made more efficiently.

Historic Gold value was at or near $19.3939 from 1800-1833 and $20.67 from 1879-1932.

What cost $1 in 1913 would cost $4.09 in 1971.
If you were to buy exactly the same products in 1971 and 1913,
they would cost you $1 and $0.25 respectively.
That's an average of 7.05% inflation per year.

Historic Gold value was at $35 in 1934 and 44.2 in 1971.

What cost $1 in 1971 would cost $5.07 in 2007.
If you were to buy exactly the same products in 2007 and 1971,
they would cost you $1 and $0.19 respectively.
That's an average of 14.08% inflation per year.
Historic Gold value was at $126.3 in 1973 dollars and over $900 in 2008 dollars.
So what happened in 1913 and 1971?

In 1913 U.S. Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, on the heels of the 16th and 17th amendments. All three of these go hand in hand, but those who may have orchestrated this would have made sure history only thought it was the latter of the two that go together (along with the 18th and 19th amendments as part of the "progressive area"). In fact most people I've talked to, think the Federal Reserve wasn't created until the Great Depression possibly as part of the Banking Act of 1933. This is simply not true. The U.S. Congress even investigated the Federal Reserve for causing Black Tuesday, which stared the Great Depression; Instead of admitting guilt, and blaming government intervention, for flooding the market with paper money (ultimately causing artificial inflating stock values), the leaders of the Federal Reserve took the opportunity to grab more power through additional legislation and regulations that they hoped would allow them to stabilize this new system of paper money. For more information on this I suggest a book called The Creature from Jekyll Island.

Before 1971, the U.S. dollar had for the majority of its existence, been backed by precious metals, with only a few brief periods when this policy was suspend. After WWII, the U.S. had the largest gold reserves in the world thanks to European nations being highly in debt and transferring large amounts of gold into the United States. From that time on, the U.S. treasury would give one ounce of Gold for every $35 dollars as a foreign exchange rate to other nations, (as part of the Bretton Woods Agreements). Private ownership of Gold, in the U.S., was also outlawed during this time. On August 15, 1971 President Nixon, because The Federal Reserve had printed too many dollars for which there was not enough gold - at $35 per ounce - to back it up with, Nixon put an end to the Gold Standard. Of course the reasons given had to do with the Vietnam war that was currently going on, and the need to raise funds for the war; however, with Gold reserves down to 22% of the outstanding dollars (the dollar was tremendously overvalued with respect to gold), and Nixon wanting more dollar bills printed, one or the other had to be done away with.

For more information on this history and why it caused inflation rates to dramatically increase, see:
(please note: I'm not a die-hard "Ron Paul supporter", but he has some good information and ideas).

In the 1970's the cost of oil skyrocketed, most likely because the U.S. dollar was no longer backed by Gold. The overseas oil producers obviously wanted more dollars for their oil since they could no longer get gold in exchange. The Federal Reserve had printed too much paper money, and as we all know, thanks to natural laws of supply and demand, the more you have of something the less it's valued. This, according to some, has forced the U.S. government into doing drastic things to protect its supply of Oil, as well as to hide the true cost of inflation. Technological advancements have made some things much less expensive, but real commodities, like those made with real metals and other natural resources continue to become increasingly more expensive as inflation goes up.

If it wasn't for trade deficits sending much of the newly printed U.S. Dollars overseas were it gets saved up and taken out of circulation, the inflation within the U.S. would definitely be much higher, due to more money saturating the U.S. economy.

Over the last few decades, the Federal Reserve has simply printed more money every time the U.S. government runs a deficit on spending. This all works by the U.S. congress authorizing the creation of Bonds, which are then sold to investors, many of whom are overseas, but many of the bonds are given to the Federal Reserve as a way to back the dollars they print for the government. In other words, our monetary system, since 1971, has no longer been based on something of real value, but rather on the future obligations of Taxpayers (thanks to the 16th amendment) to pay back those debts. In short, our monetary system is based on usury.

This new ability to more freely print money allowed our government to more easily pay for all sorts of things, including wars, and huge bailouts of failing financial institution, corporations, pork belly spending, earmarks, and even foreign entities; essentially making the government for the government and for the corporations who get the bailout and make money off the wars. If it was truly for the people, they wouldn't be putting financial obligations on us as tax payers and would be providing laws and policies that help us keep our individual wealth instead of having it confiscated through taxation and inflation.

Here are some examples that help further explain our current "crisis":

Congress passed something called the "Community Reinvestment Act" in 1977, resulting in the creation of bureaucratic regulations designed to encourage, or even compel, financial institutions to make loans to people with lower incomes. In the 1980's, thanks to the massive devaluation of the dollar, and past deregulation that allowed Savings and Loans to make consumer and commercial loans and to issue transaction accounts, the savings and loan crisis occurred. This essentially ended up in a bailout by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve to the tune of about $124.6 billion (more then twice that when adjusted for inflation) directly paid for by the U.S. government (meaning tax payers), which contributed to the large budget deficits of the early 1990s. Proponents advocated that without these bailouts the U.S. monetary system and economy would have collapsed, but what it did instead was put more money into the money supply, creating more inflation; and it did nothing to stop the recession of the 1980's).

Unfortunately we didn't learn our lesson, and the 1977 lending regulations were amended in 1995 to encourage further lending. Then in 1999 Clinton signed into law what essentially equated to a deregulation on banks and financial institutions that undid much of the Banking Act of 1933; allowing banks to own other financial companies including insurance and investment firms (Practices that had been outlawed because they were believed to be big contributors to the stock market crash on Black Tuesday). This, along with the ability to greatly inflate the money supply, setup the beginnings of the financial crisis the U.S. is facing today.

In the early 2000's, after the events of September 11, 2001, the U.S. bailed out the Airlines with justification that it was necessary to maintain our ability to move goods and people throughout the nation, so that our economy could keep moving, and we could keep paying our debts. Once again this money came primarily from the government in the form of more budget deficits, and the inflation of the money supply. Other corporations, like Bowing, were also bailed out in the process. However, the airlines still haven't fully recovered, and we likely would be better off with lower inflation, and having the poorly run airlines go out of business; allowing the stronger airline companies to be much better off than they are today.

In efforts to further boost the economy and simulate growth (code for inflation), once again in 2005, the 1977 mortgage regulations were amended to create different rules for institutions of different sizes, so that various kinds of institutions would be better able to meet the government's goals for fostering home ownership in lower income communities. To make it easier, the Federal Reserve starting making loans available to the banking systems at extremely low interest rates which also encouraged inflation due to the easy at which money can be re-let, essentially creating more money (and inflation) based on the "assets" these loans created for the banks.

Over the last few years, the U.S. Federal Government has been spending money as if it was going out of style, and incurring the highest deficits in history. This of course has caused more inflation that almost everyone is now starting to notice in a big way. Just as in the 1970s, oil prices are skyrocketing, gold prices are rising fast (and have hit historic highs - not adjusted for inflation), and are expected to go higher. Food and other commodities have also been affected, and it's become increasingly harder for families and businesses alike to balance their budgets and to pay their mortgages. Of course this trend has been going on in a big way since the 1970's when a single family income was the norm. Today it takes most families two income to live the same lifestyle their parents did, and we could certainly debate the effect that has on the kinds.

With cheap housing loans available, financial institutions had been lending money to people who couldn't afford it. It caused an increased demand for housing that sent home prices spiraling upward. The Fed's policy of easy money, and laws forcing lending institutions into risky loans, falsely inflated the value of all real estate, especially in places like California, Nevada, Florida and others, were the housing problems are extremely difficult. This means that good mortgages could not be used to manage the risk involved in questionable mortgages, because the value of all homes are falsely inflated. All of this is coupled with banks spreading their investments too thin, artificially inflating stock prices, and a booming economy based primarily on an unsustainable housing boom. With banks also involved in insurance and financial dealings, other financial sectors have also made risky investments while competitively pushing insurance prices down thanks to the cheap loans; greatly reducing the companies cash flows. This has once again forced tax payers to bailout even more financial institutions or the economy would supposedly crash and burn like it did on Black Tuesday.

"It started with the $60 billion Bear Stearns bailout, followed quickly by the $300 billion bailout of government’s big mortgage/banker buddies last month. September started with the massive Freddie/Fannie bailout that will end up costing taxpayers somewhere between $500 billion to $1 trillion. On Monday, the Federal Reserve brokered the Bank of America buyout of Merrill Lynch. Then just the other night, the fed announced the $85 billion bailout of AIG insurance" - Chuck Baldwin

In the mean time Congress snuck through an additional $25 billion bailout of Detroit automakers, and today Washington Mutual was just ceased by the government to then be sold off, seemingly in the same day, with the likelihood of more government expenditures threw the FDIC. Today we are talking about another huge bailout to the tune of 700 Billion Dollars threw the creation of a new government entity control by the U.S. treasury to buy up bad debts. Sure they are making promises today that they will eventually regain much of the dept this would incur on the Taxpayers, but even if we do get the money back, will it really do anything to fix an economic problem that has been around for decades? All the other bailouts don't seem to have helped prevent this, so why should we believe that another bailout will?

For more information on how got here, into this mess, see: http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/what_you%27re_not_being_told_918


Will this "crisis" destroy the U.S. Economy? In the Great Depression 40% of homes went into foreclosure. Today the foreclosure rate is only 6%, and the trend is toward fewer foreclosures not more. The fact is that some politicians, bureaucrats, and various hysteria mongers, are misleading us. They tell us that the market is frozen, but the fact is that commercial loans are at an all-time high, and even the number of real estate loans may be higher than they were last year! Further expanding the money supply (creating more inflation) through all these bailout "loans" - causing the largest spending deficient in U.S. history - will only make it more difficult, in the long run, to get the whole situation under control. Sure they might help in the short term, but what’s the real solution to "fixing" this "crisis"?


From http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/this-would-be-simpler-than-a-bailout:

Financial Accounting Standard 157 is a regulation imposed on businesses by the quasi-private Financial Accounting Standards Board (FAS). This rule is also incorporated into the regulations of the IRS and is further enforced by the SEC and the FDIC. FAS 157 requires businesses to mark down assets to the lowest price for which similar assets have been sold in the market. The jargon term for this regulation is "mark-to-market." Mark-to-market forces good securities to be valued at the same price as bad securities.

Another solution might be for the greedy banking system to accept some losses and work with the lendees they allowed to barrow more than they could afford, to reduce their rates, put some of the interest already paid towards lowering the principle owed on the loan, and essentially giving them an affordable mortgage payment.

Others have suggested that we simply let these banks go under or rely on already existing mortgage insurances that were required in the first place on many of these high risk loans. Or are those insurance companies failing as well because they invested all their reserves into these high risk loans? Certainly the Insurance companies have some responsibility in this matter. They've made billions from people who have been forced by law to pay them. AIG just got an $85 billion bailout loan, hopefully so they could cover their obligations in this matter. Has it helped? It doesn't seem to have. On the other hand, the banks can't really make an insurance claim until they've foreclosed and auctioned off the property, and know what their actual losses are. Also many of these loans didn't even have PMI to begin with as they got around it with 80/20 loans. In the mean time the bank's and mortgage lender's cash flow has becomes limited, and the whole banking system in the U.S. relies heavily on the ability for banks to barrow from each other all day long, "keeping the cash flowing" so to speak; because they don't have enough reserves on hand to pay their expenses. It all comes back to being spread to thin while at the same time getting involved in risky business.


Do I want us to give up our current economic system and go back to a gold or precious metals standard? Not necessarily, as I don't think it's the tools we use that matters, but how we use them that counts. However, I do believe our current monetary system in the U.S. (and many throughout the world) is very susceptible to greed and corruption much more so then gold would be. On the other hand using a gold standard has been proven to have its problems as well; especially when one country is able to hoard all of the precious metals through trade surpluses. The real problem that I see is one of failing integrity and moral values throughout the world, and government leaders who don't understand the consequences that deficit spending and poor regulations have on our economy; particularly with how inflation creates instability.
I also have a short term solution of my own, but what I believe will truly make a different - not immediately but in the long run - would be for people to be more responsible, for corporations and financial institutions to not be so greedy, and for simple yet effective government regulations to be in place and enforced. The real issues I have are with the politicians who allowed laws to be changed to encourage irresponsible lending and investment practices. We need to vote every one of them out, even the "good ones" because they too have been tainted by association with the greed, corruption, and convoluted practices of our current government officials (The truly good ones that truly love this country will support us in this effort by resigning and helping us find replacements who have high values and integrity).


The best thing that Bill Clinton ever did for the U.S. was to balance the Federal Government's budget. The worst thing he did was to sign the financial reformation law in 1999; allowing the same kinds of activities to occur that greatly contributed to Black Tuesday. His indiscretions also created an attitude of non-enforcement of laws (i.e. immigration laws) to permeate the country and prevent good regulations form being enforced.

The best thing that George Bush did for this country was to stand up to a man that Bill Clinton failed to imprison despite having the opportunity to do so (Osama Ben Laden). The worst thing he's done for the U.S. is created the biggest U.S. government entity in history in the name of "homeland security", and incur the highest deficit spending in U.S. history, which of course creates a great deal of inflation; further endangering the integrity and stability of the financial markets.

I also believe the Federal Reserve's monopoly on the monetary systems in America today is unconstitutional, because of the laws that force us to accept Federal Reserve Notes as legal tender violating the fact that congress is constitutionally responsible for setting standards and coining money, not the Federal Reserve. I don't have a problem with Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. dollars), but I'd like to see the U.S. treasury also creating coins that contain real Gold, Silver, and copper that would then be allowed to also be used as legal tender based on intrinsic value; off-setting the monopoly of the Federal Reserve (after all competition is essential to a truly capitalistic economy). Ron Paul introduced a bill that would do just that.

The real problem, when it comes right down to it, is really all about integrity and stability. If we want a stable financial system, we have to expect slower growth, more moderate interest rates, and to have basic but effective regulations that actually get enforced. We also need leaders who have the highest levels of integrity and knowhow. We need everyone to be careful, wise and thrifty with their money (which was the law of the land before the 1970s). We have to save up for the things we want to buy, not buy them with fake money called "credit", which increases the money supply and causes inflation. We need to expect borrowers to put down 10-20% of the cost of what ever they are borrowing to insure that the lenders can easily get their money back should the borrower default on the loan. In the end, however, it's all about the moral behavior of all those involved in the system that makes the system behave in a manor full of integrity and stability.
For a more "entertaining" perspective on this issue see:

- Posted By Seth Hollist

Listen to a Prophet of God

How would you like to go back in time and talked to one of the Prophets mentioned in the Bible? Which prophet would you want to talk to, and what would you ask them? What kind of advice could they give us today to help us with our troubled world?

Your in luck. In just a couple of weeks, you can have such an opportunity when the prophet of our time will address the world along with his two counselors, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other church leaders.

Prophet Monson

Direct from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah: it's the 178th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sessions start Saturday morning, October 4th
Saturday Morning - 11am Central Daylight Time.
Saturday Afternoon - 3pm CDT
Sunday Morning - 11am CDT
Sunday Afternoon - 3pm CDT

Sessions can be watched on the following channels:
Dish Network - 9403
Verizon FIOS - 265
Direct TV - 374
Any Cable provide that offers BYU TV

Also available via the Internet at http://www.byu.tv/ or http://www.lds.org/.

For additional broadcast information and world wide broadcast information see: http://www.lds.org/broadcast/gc/0,5161,8176,00.html

It will also be broadcast via satellite to all LDS Stake Centers world wide that have satellite feeds.

Come join us, or tune in to any or all of the sessions.

- Posted By S.J. Hollist

Identity Protection

In this digital world it has become increasingly easy to copy just about anything; including your identity. So how do you protect yourself? Here's some tips:
  • Review your credit card and bank statements regularly for suspicious activity.
  • Request your Credit report at least once a year. Examine it for accounts you did not open.
  • Keep sensitive hard copy information in a fire and watter proof safe, or a safe deposit box.
  • Dispose of sensitive information by destroying it completely (i.e. cross-cut shredder).
  • Get a P.O. box or locking mailbox, and deposit sensitive outgoing main directly at the carriers office.
  • Use anti-spyware and virus protection on all Windows computers, or just get a Mac.
  • Encrypt sensitive files on your computer and removable media.
  • Keep your computer's software up to date, especially the Operating System.
  • Dispose of old computers and media securely. Deleting files or formatting the drive is not enough.
  • Change your passwords and pins regularly. Use a password utility to auto-generate strong passwords.
  • Never give out personal information over the phone or Internet unless you initiated the contact.
  • Never send any kind of personal information threw e-mail, even to people you trust.
  • Never click on links claiming to be from financial institutions. Go to their web-sites directly your self instead.
  • Reduce the amount of sensitive mail you get, including statements, credit card offers, etc.
  • Remove yourself from pre-approved credit offers, junk mail, and telemarketing lists.
  • Sign the back of your credit cards, and question the checkout person if they don't check it or your identity.
  • Get a freeze put on your credit for yourself and your children. This will also help you be more responsible with getting new credit.
  • Incurage your doctor to stop asking for your SSN and using it as the primary ID for their records.
If you believe your information or cards have been stolen:
  • Notify your card issuers immediately.
  • Have card issuers correct any unauthorized transactions.
  • Correct incorrect reports submitted to the credit bureaus.
  • Change your PIN and passwords immediately.
If your SSN is being used without your authorization:
  • Notify the credit bureaus and establish a fraud alert.
  • Use a unique identification number assigned to you credit report for all communications.
  • Send mail items as certified and with return receipt requests.
  • File a report with the local police where the identity theft took place. Keep a copy of the report.
  • Close the accounts that have been compromised or that were opened without your consent.
  • Put a freeze on your credit, to prevent anyone from accessing your credit files.
Here's some helpful web-sites:

Federal Trade Commission: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Free Annual Credit Report: http://www.annualcreditreport.com/

Credit Bureaus:
Equifax - http://www.equifax.com/
TransUnion - http://www.transunion.com/
Experian - http://www.experian.com/

Stop Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers: http://www.optoutprescreen.com/
Get off Junk Mail Lists: http://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/proto1.php
SS ID Theft Info: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.html
Do Not Call List: http://www.donotcall.gov/ or 888-382-1222 from the number you want on the list.

Anti-Spyware:
Sypbot - http://www.safer-networking.org/
AdAware - http://www.lavasoft.com/
A real OS - http://www.apple.com/macosx/

Password Utilities:
KeePass - http://www.keepass.info/
KeePassX (for Mac) - http://www.keepassx.org/
Password Safe - http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/

Disk Wiping:
Darik's Boot and Nuke - http://dban.sourceforge.net/
Heidi Eraser - http://www.heidi.ie/node/6

File Encryption:
Included with Apple computers
PGP - http://www.pgp.com/products/desktop_home

Anti-Phishing:
Google Toolbar for FireFox - http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/toolbar
IE 7 - http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp.safety/technologies/antiphishing

- Posted by S.J. Hollist

9-11, 7 years later

New York Times Photo

I was posed the question today as to what has changed in my life since the tragic attack on the U.S.A on September 11th, 2001. The more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that the events on that infamous day, as a singular event, did not have a big affect on me personally. Don't get me wrong, I was just as shocked that morning as the next person, and I'm certainly glad that we went into Afghanistan to break up the terrorist strong holds of Alkita and the Taliban. I just wish we'd spent more time finishing the job, instead of refocusing our efforts so strongly in Iraq. Don't get me wrong there either, I'm glad Saddam is out of the picture, but I also think it should have been handled much differently. Even while Bush was trying to make his case, I was glad to see the extra pressure on Saddam, but never felt we had a strong enough case for a full on invasion; however, there's really nothing we can do about that now, and I'm glad to hear my friends in the Military reporting that we are doing very well over there now, they did find mass quantities of chemical agents hidden in the ground at various locations, and even have the new Iraqi government working with us on an exit plan. Of course we'll more then likely keep a functioning military base in that strategic location that will be especially good for protecting Israel from Iran.

But to get back on the main topic, let me reminisce. . .

New York Times Photo

That fateful morning, I was sleeping in bed, as I worked an afternoon-evening shift. I was a bachelor at the time and had a few roommates paying the mortgage on my condo for me. They came and woke me up with an incredible story about terrorists flying plans into buildings. What a terrible plot to get me out of bed I thought. What's was going on in my condo!??

I must have sat on the couch in front of the TV for an hour; almost as if in a trance, not believing what I was seeing. I think I was in shock for the next few days, and never really felt all that angry about it, though I certainly observed a few people who were. I was probably this way because it was in a place thousands of miles away that I had never been to, and probably because I had known from my youth that great and terrible things had and would come to pass in these Latter-days:

". . . you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet . . . " - JST Mathew 24:23

There would actually be a number of other events to come shortly there after that would have a much greater affect on me. The first and biggest would be getting married the following year, and shortly there after the Enron scandal hit. I didn't think much of it at the time as I was getting a promotion and a big raise at work, but the events to from the Enron fallout ended up having a much bigger affect on my job then anything else that went on these last seven years. It was all thanks to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). As if dealing with HIPPA regulations wasn't enough, we now had people scrabbling over, and over-reacting to, a law that really only requires you to document why you do things the way you do them.

One might say the affect 9-11 had on the economy affected Enron in a big way, but Enron was on it's way out one way or another with all the crazy, underhanded, and manipulative accounting they were doing. It's probably better they went under sooner, then waiting until latter when the fall could have been much greater; like the Fannie Mae issue we are seeing today.

What is for certain, the issues at work, along with many other things going on in my life at the time, contributed to my wife and I moving a couple thousand miles to Texas. That too had a very big affect on my life.


Here's some people who's life it has probably affected much more then mine:
http://happygilmores.blogspot.com/
http://gr8e.blogspot.com/

- Posted By Spaldam

An Atheist's Questions to Mormons

From: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=25462359&postID=114424765259683521


Daniel Womack has got some great answers to your questions, though I have to agree with others and say that debating these kinds of questions will not help anyone understand one bit what "Mormon's" actually believe. And I put "Mormon's" in quotes for good reason; it's a nickname. Personally I prefer to be called LDS or Latter-day Saint.

In my experience, questions like this tend to come from people looking for reasons not to believe in the Book of Mormon. Why wast your time? There's a much better way to get answer to that question; Ask God (see James 1:5).

Are LDS people really so bad that people have to go out of their way to try and put them down and produce rumors about them? Sure they may believe some things that are different from other Christens but that doesn't mean they deserve the long history of bigotry, persecution and slander they have endured.

If you truly want to know what's in the Book of Mormon from the persecutive of an individual who has taught from it, check out my blog at:

bookofmormonstories.info

Here's my personal answers to your questions:

1- Why Did Brigham Young teach the Adam-God theory in the Temple?

I've never heard of this doctrine, and I'd suspect that I would have by now if it was truly official doctrine of the LDS church. Brigham Young is often quoted by many anti-mormon individuals as having said any number of non-doctrinal things, as if they were true LDS doctrine. Some of them I've found to be made up, others I believe were his personal opinions; though I'm sure much of what he said was important and beneficial to the church. I've even seen Joseph Smith quoted to say something to the affect that a prophet is only a prophet when he is acting as such. Meaning, he's free to have his own personal options, and he's still a flawed man like the rest of us. After all, Jesus was the only truly Perfect person to ever walk the earth that I know of.

2- What is your understanding of DNA and the Book of Mormon.

If you take a bucket of water from the Ocean, and it has no fish in it, do you conclude that the ocean is void of fish?

The Book of Mormon has a number of references to many different people migrating to the lands we now know as the Americas. A few dozen recovered corpuses that pre-date Book of Mormon times, showing asian decent have been found. What does that mean to me? Nothing. It's like pulling a few people out of a crowd in China Town, New York and saying that all of New York is populated with Chinese people. It's just not a definitive test.

Another thing to remember is that the Jews in Israel were decedents from Judah, the Nephites in the Book of Mormon were descendants of Joseph; two completely different tribes of Israel, many generations away from Isreal/Jacob himself.

3- What do you think about Joseph Smith having relations with 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball without Emma knowing. This occurred after the president said Helen and her family would be saved in the afterlife for this arrangement.

I really like Daniel's answer [especially the part about how 14 year olds commonly got married in the early to mid 1800's], and I'm not sure I can improve upon it. I will say that polygamy is something that has always been a very limited practice throughout history and only performed by God's people when specifically directed to do so. There's more references to it in the Old testament (40+) then in the Book of Mormon (only 1), and I've even heard some people say that it may have been in some New Testament books, but was latter removed before making it into the a canonized form.

Another thing you might want to consider is that many of the women Joseph Smith supposedly married, actually did what's called "Sealing for the Dead" where they essentially married Joseph in the Temple, after he was dead. This was soon stopped, and now these Sealing can only be done for people who were previously married in life, but it often is used to make Joseph look like he was married way more times then he actually was while he was alive.

4- Why doesn't the translation of the Egyptian papyri found in 1967 match the text of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price?

I don't know much about this claim, so I'll revert to what Daniel said. He seems to know a lot about it [because Joseph Smith did not use these papyri to translate the Book of Abraham].

5- Why do you think Book of Mormon has old English when it was originally written in "reformed Egyptian"

Because most of the people Joseph was going to teach were more familiar with the Bible's "old English" text then they were with "reformed Egyptian".

6- Why does the Book of Mormon contain King James translations and spelling errors?

I'm not sure if I completely understand this question, but I think I answered it in #5. Hopefully Daniel's answer was sufficient as well.

7- Why did Joseph Smith give African Americans the priesthood? Then years later Brigham Young took it away.

The way I heard it was that Joseph Smith asked the African Americans to not practice the priesthood he had given them, and then stopped giving it to any more of them. I've never heard that it was Brigham Young who took it away, but I could be wrong.

Try looking at it from another perspective:

The LDS church has never advocated or condoned slavery. I've heard that every slave owner who converted, was required to free their slaves.

The most convincing argument I've personally heard, and I have no idea how accurate it is (because I don't know what Gods plan was), goes like this:

Up until the 1970's both "Mormon's" and people with dark skin, endured a great deal of persecution. Being both at the same time would certainly have been very difficult in the 1800's. Perhaps the LDS church wouldn't have survived if it fully embraced those with a dark skin color because of the horrible stigma that came with it at the time. God had promised that his church in these latter days would not be taken from the earth.

It might also be helpful to point out that it wasn't about membership, but about holding the priesthood. Of course you could argue that without the priesthood, membership for a man is not much of anything in the LDS church.

8- Why are the "signs and tokens" in the LDS temple the exact same signs and tokens that the masons use. They are the same grip and even some of the same wordings.

I've never seen what the Masons do, so I really can't answer your question. I have heard the Masons are derived from people who helped build and maintain the temples in ancient times, so maybe it's really that they copied God's symbols and not the other way around. Maybe Joseph needed to be a Mason so he could learn these symbols.

Again, I really don't know the answer to this question.

9- One last kind of a hard hitting question. Do you know about the “Kinderhook plates” that are talking about in an early church newspaper?

I've never heard of them. It sounds like a rumor to me, with no real factual basis behind it.

Again, feel free to check out this blog "bookofmormonstories.info" and other blogs posted by LDS members (not those pretending to be "Mormons" or pretending to know what the "Mormon church" believes and teaches - there's technically no such thing as the "Mormon Church"). If you want the real truth, go to the real people who make up the real church, and find out how they live their lives, and what they personally believe.

- Posted By Spaldam

Binary


Humm... My Binary Code doesn't work for some reason...

11001101
01000101
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10...
Wait... What's this "2" crap?!?

- S.J. Hollist