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Archive for April 2008

Albert Hofmann Died Tuesday

Albert Hofmann, the first synthesizer of LSD, died yesterday aged 102. Lest anyone imagine Hofmann to be a stoned-out hippie, the obituary noted that in “retirement, Hofmann served as a member of the Nobel Prize Committee. He was a Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences, and a Member of the International Society of Plant Research and of the American Society of Pharmacognosy.”

He leaves a large legacy to humanity. May his memory be a blessing.

“Through my LSD experience and my new picture of reality, I became aware of the wonder of creation, the magnificence of nature and of the animal and plant kingdom. I became very sensitive to what will happen to all this and all of us.” (Albert Hofmann)

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My Patriarchal Blessing

When I was about sixteen, I decided it was time to get a patriarchal blessing. I got a recommend from my bishop, set up an appointment with the stake patriarch, and arrived at his house at the appointed time, fasting and praying that I would get a good blessing.

The patriarch sat me down in his living room and interviewed me about why I wanted a blessing and what I wanted to do with my life. He then asked my parents into the room. I had asked them to be there for my blessing because it seemed like the right thing to do.

He turned on a reel-to-reel tape recorder, laid his hands on my head, and said:

My dear brother Jonathon Blake, as a servant of the Lord in the power and authority of the Holy Melchizedek priesthood I lay my hands upon your head and seal upon you a blessing of the Lord which shall bring comfort to your mind because in it you shall find knowledge, understanding and guidance concerning the Lord’s will in what He wants you to do. You are a choice vessel of the Lord for in you there is the blood of Ephriam who is the son of Joseph who was sold into Egypt and you shall partake of those great blessings which were promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You earned the right and privilege of this inheritance or birthright because of your valiant activity in your preexisting life. You were among the sons of God who shouted for joy when the plan for your salvation was laid before you. It was your desire to come here upon the earth to fulfill the requirements for further progress and to become an ambassador of truth and righteousness. This is the day of your preparation to become that ambassador. You are to show your preparation through all that you do and say remembering always that your Heavenly Father loves you and has prepared the way before you that you need not fail. You are here to learn to live by faith. This will require that you place your trust in the Lord.

Your preparation for doing the work you are sent here to do shall require you to read the scriptures daily, that you pray at night and in the morning of every day and participate in family prayers. You are to draw near unto the Lord by keeping all of His commandments. Remember that as you seek you shall find. The power and influence of the Holy Spirit shall be made manifest in all righteousness. The Lord commands you to listen to His living servants, the prophet, the leaders of His church, your parents and all who shall preside over you and are sent to teach you. Listen and take counsel. The Lord has advised that you ”seek not to counsel the Lord, but take counsel from His hand”. Now in keeping this counsel you shall keep the Sabbath day holy, renew your covenants each Sunday as you partake of the sacrament, live the law of chastity, keep the word of wisdom, pay tithes and offerings, be honest and upright in your dealings and magnify the powers of the parenthood in all that you do and say. The Lord wants you to set your course this day to prepare for what He wants you to do. He wants only that you will do what is best for you and will prepare you to become like Him. Indeed you are to become a joint heir with Jesus Christ in all that the Father has.

The way is open before you. It is not meant to be easy because easy things do not make men grow. You are to grow in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, ability and faith to the degree that you shall be a useful instrument in the hands of the Lord and help in doing His work. He wants you to make the most of your educational opportunities by study, learning and preparation.

What you learn shall be an everlasting benefit and shall prepare you for your greatest responsibility which shall be to adequately provide for a home and family. The Lord shall bless you in the decisions you make so that your work shall fit into your interests, desires and abilities. You shall be called and sent forth to teach the everlasting gospel and in the power and influence of the Holy Spirit you shall deliver the message of the gospel so that it will touch the hearts of those you teach. Your tongue shall be loosed so that you can speak with conviction, testimony, power and authority. It shall be your privilege to serve the Lord in the wards and stakes of Zion. Because of your understanding of the gospel you shall teach. You shall also serve in capacities of leadership and endear unto you those you will serve. You shall be rewarded with gifts of the Spirit to enhance your efforts so you can meet challenges and fulfill the Lord’s will. It shall be done in the power of faith for you shall not doubt the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your conviction and testimony shall grow into perfect knowledge. You shall also be blessed in magnifying the powers of the priesthood wherein your faith shall be exercised in the healing of the sick and in the administration of the work of the kingdom. Be aware that this probationary state of your life is a most important time. You came into the world at a very important period in the history of mankind. You were privileged to come at this time because you had prepared spiritually for the work which will prepare the world for the coming of the Lord. You must gain the powers of self determination so that all that you know and do is right and true. You must stand firm during times of great adversity. The powers of Satan are abroad in the world but you have the straight and narrow way. It is the way that will lead you to life eternal. You are not only to be an ambassador of truth but also a pillar of strength upon which others can lean and rely so that you can steady their course and open their way. You shall see events given to prophets in our day as signs indicating that the time of the Lord is near. You shall be among those who are worthy to be caught up to meet Him and receive of His great gifts of glory.

You must give your time and attention to the Lord’s work in many ways but the most important way shall be in the creation of a home and family. You are to seek for a companion who will have a love for the truth and who will become one with you in the gospel of Jesus Christ. You shall go into the holy temple and there be married for time and for all eternity. You shall build upon those vows that you take so that there will be love, unity, harmony, peace and contentment in your home. You shall be completely devoted unto your companion in meeting her needs. You shall give the proper leadership in your home where you shall preside in the dignity of the priesthood. You shall have children and prepare the atmosphere for learning that shall enable them to gain a true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a foundation in His gospel to live by. They shall become favored sons and daughters of God. Favored because of obedience and diligence. You shall find it important to keep an account of the activities of your life which shall reveal your interests, attitudes, faith and testimony. This shall be had among your posterity.

You shall do a sacred work for the salvation of the dead and enjoy the privilege of working in the temple. You shall be fruitful and be prepared to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection to receive the blessings of immortality and eternal life. All of these blessings are predicated upon your faithfulness in keeping the commandments and doing the will of your Father in Heaven and I seal them upon you at this time in the worthy name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

The misspelling of my name disheartened me a bit when I received my copy in the mail. I believed that this was a blessing directly from God through his earthly mouthpiece, the patriarch. Surely God knew how to spell my name correctly (i.e. the way he spelled it in the Bible). All the same, it gave me direction and purpose. I am where I am in no small part because of some of the counsel in this blessing. It has always been in the back of my mind, coloring my expectations and choices.

There are many sacred secrets in the LDS church, and patriarchal blessings are one. You’re not supposed to share them publicly. People share snippets with each other but they are generally kept private. I’m a very discreet person. You can count on me to keep your secrets. The only other people to see this until today were the patriarch, his wife who typed it up, my parents, and my wife.

There are other sacred Mormon secrets that I don’t divulge because I don’t feel like they are my secrets anymore. This, my patriarchal blessing, is still my secret to do with as I please. Today, it pleases me to share this with you.

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I’m Going to the Celestial Kingdom!

I just realized that if I’m wrong about Mormonism and it actually is the truth, then my disbelief and forsaking temple covenants doesn’t matter. I’m going to the Celestial Kingdom, baby!

Incredible? Here’s proof (as quoted in Hope for Parents of Wayward Children):

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God. (Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110)

Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang. (Brigham Young quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:90–91)

If you succeed in passing through these trials and afflictions and receive a resurrection, you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory. This is just as sure as that the sun rose this morning over yonder mountains. Therefore, mourn not because all your sons and daughters do not follow in the path that you have marked out to them, or give heed to your counsels. Inasmuch as we succeed in securing eternal glory, and stand as saviors, and as kings and priests to our God, we will save our posterity. (Lorenzo Snow in Collected Discourses, comp. Brian H. Stuy, 5 vols. [1987–92], 3:364).

My parents are pretty faithful, though I don’t want to put any pressure on them. I’ve worried them enough, I’m sure. There’s got to be at least one of my ancestors that I can count on to save me from the hell that is the Terrestial and Telestial Kingdoms: I’ve got at least five or six generations of Mormons on every branch of my family tree.

If all that Mormon ancestry fails me, I can always fall back on faithful Father Adam—who is Michael the Archangel and certainly faithful enough to save his posterity.

So there you have it. I can have my cake and eat it too. I’m going to the Celestial Kingdom.

(Thanks to Deconstructor on RfM for the quotes. I knew I’d heard this from somewhere, but had a hard time scrounging up the authoritative citations.)

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Anatomy of a Seduction

Here’s an interesting interview with Jason Beghe about leaving Scientology. Sounds very familiar.

I’m having a moment.… of coming out of Scientology. There are moments where you just feel a loss. And it’s not a loss of “I miss Scientology” by any stretch. It’s a loss— It’s a regret of having invested so much in something that is empty.…

There’s a book that [L. Ron Hubbard] wrote that’s called [A] History of Man. And he talks about a lot of these traps that can catch a Thetan,… The best Theta traps are ones that the Thetans runs on autopilot. Like if I’m trying to enslave somebody, the last thing I want to do is to have to worry about… keeping the key [and] the lock. The best traps, you get a guy to just keep himself in jail. And that’s what Scientology does. You just keep yourself in jail.… It’s a perfect Theta trap because you believe it, and you’re investing your time and your money. So you can’t be a fool: that’s too much to confront.

The more I got in, the stupider I got. As I get out, that’s my perception. I mean—Christ!—you don’t even ask questions.… What I gather as I wake up—you know, it’s a funny thing—in Scientology, you feel as though you’re waking up to the truth or reality or what really is. But what you’re doing is waking up to the reality of Scientology.

[Scientologists] are good people. These are some of the best people you can meet. These are people [who] really want to help.

I’ve never been closer [to my family than] now that I’m out [of Scientology].

There was a moment where I could have woken up there [upon hearing about Xenu]. But you choose not to. And that’s part of the reason Scientology’s expensive.… If you’re paying a lot of money for it, it makes it more valuable.

You’re driving the car. It’s just that you don’t realize that the car, as a Scientologist,… it’s got a pre-rigged route.… And so you feel like this is this easy life. I’ve just got to sit here and the car basically drives itself. All I got to do is show up at the church, and I’ll be happy.

Jason Beghe the Scientologist is willing to lose David[, his best friend], is willing to sacrifice certainly the quality of my relationship with Mom and Dad, and brothers and sisters, and God knows who else that I could have made friends with that weren’t Scientologists,…

For somebody who’s in [Scientology], as far gone as I say you are as you go up [in the levels of Scientology], the difference between waking and being asleep up is the difference between being waking up and asleep. And it’s like sometimes when you’re asleep you can still hear the shit that’s going around because you’re only half asleep, you’re not that fucking brainwashed. So I’m here to tell you, this is what I say: wake up!

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Secrecy Amendment

I find it increasingly disturbing that the U.S. government tries, convicts, and punishes people based on secrets which are withheld in the name of national security. This has been going on for too long.

I would like to see an amendment to the Constitution along the lines of the following:

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property on the basis of secret law, evidence, testimony, or process.

I would much rather some guilty people go free because we were unwilling to disclose the evidence against them than see all people at the mercy of unaccountable bureaucrats who epitomize the banality of evil.

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