Romans were notoriously superstitious. They sought for auguries and omens. By our lights, the result should have been poverty and failure. On the contrary–they rolled. (more…)
That is a population pyramid. I picked it randomly. There are lots of places that look the same. Spain and Slovenia and Singapore and China and lots of places here in America. (more…)
He then asked: “If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?”
I replied that the lives of our people must become the only meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship.
–thus Gordon B. Hinckley, from the Sunday morning session of the April 1975 General Conference. This anecdote was meaningful to him, and he brought it up more than once later.
We of course must be those symbols ourselves. But we must also surround ourselves with saints. Surround ourselves with symbols of Christ. It lifts up the soul.
Other Posts from the Sunday Morning Session of the April 1975 General Conference
This article from Scott Alexander may be the most important secular thing I’ve read recently. It’s about cost disease. In so many areas of modern life, things cost multiples of what they used to. Sometimes the service has improved slightly. Sometimes the service has gotten worse. (more…)
A great movement of the earth heaved up a mass of rock. When the dust settled, the rock stood unmoved, stern and proud, thrust up into the sky. It stood unmoved through great winds and searing heat. In the season of rain, rain fell, and the great mass of rock still stood unmoved.
O little rain, the rock said, you lack ambition and achievement. You fall passively while I rise defiant into the skies.
The rock mused for a space. You can never rise to my stature, rain, the rock said, but I have taken an interest in you. Surely if you exert yourself, you can accomplish something. What is it you are now able to do?
The rain spoke. I cool the earth and raise crops. I travel down the great rivers. I fill the great seas. I flood towns. I raze rocks.
Self worship is a curse. I take back nothing I have said against it.
But my littlest is at the age where she is discovering herself. She wanders around the house chanting to herself: [Name] is my name! [Name] is my name! It makes her happy.
No one who has seen a toddler in the middle of a shrieking storm of “mine” can ever disbelieve in the natural man again. At the same time, I cannot see her waggle her eyebrows in delight when I give her an apple and croon, “this apple is mine!” and believe that the self and individuality is all wrong.
The Buddha, God bless him, got it wrong.
The self is not holy just because. That is the modern error. But there is a core of selfhood that is. It would be unholy to jettison that part of selfhood. It is, ultimately, what we have to offer God.
His joy is our joy at judgment day, when, eyes wide with surprise and delight, we croon “these blessings are mine! these blessings are mine!”
Some say that democracy is war by other means. Some say that immigration is invasion by other means. There is some truth to both.
There is some truth to accusing the great and good in this country of importing foreign mercenaries to overcome their own people. They have been quite explicit about it. “The Coming Democratic Majority.” This is why, though a healthy polity would be obsessed with the appalling collapse of birth rates that we have experienced, ours is not. Those in charge are not discontent to see their enemies dwindle, especially if it makes a rationale for importing more troops.
More than 30 million of Obama’s votes came from people who arrived under the Hart-Cellar act; fewer than 10 million of Romney’s did.
-from here (link is not endorsement).
Related: sickle cell analysis shows that roughly 40% of all children born in France have two North African or Sub-Saharan African parents. 75% in Paris.
An observer from Mars would quickly and uncontroversially assume that the West was in the middle of demographic replacement.
Being a Christian is hard. Let’s not kid around. The more seriously you try it, the harder it gets, until you reach the breakthrough. The idea that religion is a bunch of harsh rules that require abject submission to a harsh and demanding God is a caricature–but it is a caricature that every faithful man will experience at some point. (Almost everything is the experience of knitting together a series of caricatures.)
But there is a point to it all. When we are learning to submit to God, not least we are learning to submit to our own will. We are not eliminating our own agency and our own desires. We are taming them until they can be brought into the whole. We are ensuring that some irruption of will or desire now doesn’t make that will or desire unworkable forever. Submission now preserves all of our full characteristics for the eternities. Obedience to God is saying that every part of ourself is too precious to ever lose.
Character is determined by the extent to which we can master ourselves toward good ends. It is difficult to say just what builds good character, but we know it when we see it. It always commands our admiration, and the absence of it our pity.
-thus Elder Tanner
Other Talks from the Priesthood session of the April 1975 General Conference
Virtue Signaling is just Pride that needs to be reassured. Pride, but without the confidence. All of the sin, but none of the upside.
-thus our Zen
Virtue signaling is virtue without courage.
-thus Nassim Taleb
When people virtue signal: play dumb, mock them, or pretend to find “problematic” attitudes (racist? patronizing? cis-centric?) in their virtue signals. Even explicitly praising a virtue signaler’s level of education (use the word “articulate”!) will discomfit him: blatant virtue signals are still virtue signals, but blatant status signals are tacky. The need to signal one’s status betokens low status, so a signal must be subtle and understated to communicate high status.
-thus Quincy Lathan, Social Matter
But in the end, everything will hinge on the private decisions of individuals; perhaps even of one single individual – this is how the world works (although we never know the sepficis, in mortal life).
The threads of causality converge on a point of decision, then diverge-out from that point.
At that point it might be You – You will, soon, be brought to some point, and will make a difficult choice. You cannot ever know that your choice is not the one at the convergence point of a vast portion of the web, your choice the origin of many other changes.
And anyway, nothing is insignificant in this world – everything matters, because anything might be crucial.
(There are no ‘unimportant people’.)
How you decide, how you perform on that single test of integrity, could determine the future of the nations.
-thus Bruce Charlton
An old woman knew herself to be dying. She called her son, a captain of soldiers, to visit her bedside.
“My son,” she said, “you know that I have something of the second sight. I have told you that greatness can be yours if you but reach for it, but you have refused to try. Now I ask for something less. I ask you to make me a small promise. On the first anniversary of my death, on that day, tell no lies.” (more…)
His Majesty: “I doubt that’s the only reason.”
We are drowning in strawman Christianity. I don’t just mean progressivism. I mean this hideous notion that what Jesus wants us to do is keep the corrupt and the sinful in power over us–because to do otherwise would be “unforgiving.” This is a doctrine of hell.
So a shepherd in Tallahassee was preying on his congregation–he had seduced a man’s wife. When he got caught, he announced he had no intention of stepping down–because to do so would be to deny his repentance. Also his congregation should keep him running the church, because that would show how awesomely they had forgiven him. Gaa! Strawman Christianity and virtue signaling are twin poisons.