By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Few Thoughts on Current Events

Our world grows more and more complicated, with many events and trends competing for our attention and our time.

Regarding the bird flu, a possible pandemic is of great concern. From what I have heard, a vaccine cannot even be started until enough victims of human-to-human transmission exist to provide the virus form needed to prepare the vaccine. Then it would take months/years to make enough vaccine to begin vaccinating the public. One suggestion I have heard is that if every family had a minimum of 2 weeks of food/water/other necessities stored--and preferrably 4-6 weeks' worth--then if there was an outbreak, people could stay home, out of the way of infection, until it had blown over. That would be something each of us could do that would have a realistic chance of lessening the impact of the spread of bird flu. Naturally, it also reminds me that there are more uses for storing food and other necessities than just some end-of-the-world scenario and that our prophets, President Hinckley and his predecessors, are very much worth listening to.

Iraq. Views are all over the place on this topic. It is not an easy war, not a simple war. But I feel that we are doing a good thing in rescuing the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein and his sons and their ilk. There are insurgents and they are doing damage, but they are the minority. I also feel we have at least partially disrupted terrorist activity.

Education. I am not affiliated with any school or college. I am not a student. I have no husband or children to be students. One might say I am a spectator. I am greatly concerned, though, when I read that most teachers/professors are liberal/leftist/Marxist in their views and that conservative views are shut out, denounced, ignored. I thought education was meant to be a true mix of a wide variety of viewpoints. I thought education meant learning to think things through and reach our own conclusions. Are students truly being taught those things or are they being indoctrinated in leftist ideals with no acknowledgment given that there are other views, other ideals? Are students limited in what they can study and write about if they want to succeed in academia? If so, how does that foster truth? How does that open the field to all sorts of ideas in the search for solutions to problems that society faces?

Science. One likes to think that science is objective, realistic, truthful. But is the competition for grants and other funding from the government and other sources causing certain theories to be emphasized, regardless of the truth, regardless of the evidence? Is there too much outside influence dictating what science "should" find?

Politics. On both sides of the aisle, it seems there is too much political rhetoric and not enough real debate of real issues. Whenever one or the other party is involved in a scandal of some sort, the other party is often all over it, pointing fingers and saying, "See? We're better than they are!" Only the next time, the positions are reversed. I long for simple discussion of real issues, don't you? What can we do to improve society? What about economics? Education? Public health? Foreign policy? What solutions have the best chance of succeeding, never minding their political source?

What can we, as individual citizens, do? It's almost impossible to be active in all the various issues, but we could at least choose one that is near and dear to our hearts and minds and become active in that issue. Join a responsible group that fits your ideals. Write letters/emails. Blog. Discuss with friends and neighbors. Write articles or a book for publication. You may not succeed in everything, but you could very well make a difference. Whatever sincere views we hold, if we will get them out there and support them, others could get a real feel for the issue from all sides and begin to find solutions.

My two cents. Respectful comments supporting any and all viewpoints are welcomed.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerned with Bird Flu !!!

Kdeep an eye on it

mynewsbot.com should help

9:21 AM  
Blogger chronicler said...

What a great way to atart the new year! Excellent review of major topics Mary.

I too have become inceasingly frustrated with certain ways we do things in the western world. After reading Mark Steyns article on the disappearing Christian world by attrition my mind has been working it over and over. I just wish we could have a decent dialog between people regarding the breeder/non-breeder camps, however, rather than setting personal views aside most people just want to continue the argument.

It will become a topic of choice for me and I will discuss it quite a bit in the new year and throughout more than likely.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Pop said...

Mary,

Follow the Brethern. I know that rankles some folks, but is good advice none-the-less. Yes, there are many scenarios in which food storage could prove it's worth and a pandemic would be one.

I believe that Iraq is a just cause, but then I felt the same way about Vietnam. I served two tours there and like 60% of those that served in the actual combat theater of operations. I enlisted. The old story about everyone being drafted is exactly that, a story.

Leftist views on campus are nothing new. They were aline and well when I was there 40 years ago. Yes, there are those places where an opposing view is not welcome. A student has to go by feel as some would penalize based on politics. Further on education, they really need to get back to basics. The number of college students that need remedial courses is very sad. I think that many of the answers can be found in the home. One thing that I do know is that money, in and of itself is not the answer. There are far too many examples of money not making a difference. Washington D.C. has one of the highest per pupil ratios in the country and turns out idiots.

Science, remember that evolution is not a proven fact, you can't go from a to z without a break. There can be honest debate about global warming, but it is generaly treated as fact because it matches the MSM's political leanings.

Politics seems to attract the worse examples of both sides. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a real discussion of the issues, unless you look very good in blue.

Pick one or two issues that really matter to you and stick with them. Whether sending email or snail mail, always compose the letter yourself, never use form letters. If you sign a petition, be sure that you support the petition barer. No matter what you might think of someone's position never tell them that they are out of their gourd, stupid or such. Guarnteed to not help you pervail.

Pray to Heavenly Father for help in choosing the right.

Pop

8:05 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Pop, as always you give great advice and make excellent comments! I appreciate your comments, too, chronicler. Is that the Mark Steyn article about demographics? He talks about Christianity and other religions and how much lower the birthrate is with Christians. In Jewish World Review today there was an excellent column by Suzanne Fields that speaks to the education issue. It's called "Dangerous Questions for Dangerous Times." I don't think links take well in Comments, but here's the url for copy and paste.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/fields010906.asp

I think, as Pop said, if we'll follow the prophets and do what we can to be active and interested and to set good examples, we will at least be trying and who knows how much good it will do in the end?

12:51 PM  
Blogger s'mee said...

Wonderful post, as always, Mary. Sometimes I become frustrated and feel that all the writing of letters, boycotting of this or that, and voting in whomever is a moot point; yet I continue to do these things in hopes of something sparking.

Be as prepared as we can be, become as educate as possible, be responsible, and try to set an example for those around us. I guess that's the best I can do.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Pop said...

Never give up, never.

Pop

5:15 PM  
Blogger chronicler said...

Yes Mary, that's the article. Along with that article, two others by Muslim clerics in Europe denouncing homosexuality. It makes me concerned that while we spend our time arguing the fine points of life: whether to breed and overpopulate the world and be happy or whether we should stop reproduction all together, that there is a looming society willing to kill all of us. Maybe I am just over-reacting to it all.

I love what Pops said. Follow the brethren. It's the most important thing said here.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa M. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

I think that our efforts are worthwhile, even as they frustrate us--we improve our own life/character, we set a good example, etc. I find that it helps me to refine my thinking, too, as I learn about an issue.

And, yes, it's frightening to think there are people who would kill us just because we aren't more of them, but at the same time, we can't live our lives afraid, so I guess we hang in there and follow the Prophets and do our best and encourage one another!

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Pop said...

In dealing with all of the challenges, I pray that none of us will become bitter, envious or self righteous.

Pop

1:08 PM  
Blogger chronicler said...

Mary this is off topic but I have to tell you how much I love your sidebar links! I use you as a reference point all the time!

7:36 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Pop, you are so right.

chronicler, thanks! Glad I can be of use. It makes it handy for me, too!

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Mary, I always respect you for giving your honest views with no hidden slants. Also, you are very open-minded and respectful of others. I agree that so much of what is taught in College has an agenda behind it. In fact, when I was majoring in Elementary Education, I could really see how that program was inundated with ideas such as being accepting of lifetsyles contrary to what we believe as LDS. I come from quite a liberal upbringing myself. My dad has said that the media has such a conservative bias with the exception of the news on Public TV and Public radio. I have brushed shoulders with so many conservative people and have shifted my view on many issues. I am still sorting out exactly where I stand in politics. I focus more on issues that the LDS Church encourages us to support and try to advocate those issues.

3:47 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

I echo the "follow the Brethren" comment:) Here are some thoughts to add to your thoughtful post. It was great to read your words.

Media:
I too am concerned with liberal views. It is quite a trial for those that cannot insulate themselves from an "addiction" to media. It is a trial for each of us to blot out what we choose to, or inadvertently see or hear. On the flip side (ever looking at both sides here...), I see it being taken waaaaay too far by some groups.

We recently saw Seussical. After going, I began to see other locals lambast it for the content - Horton Hatches the egg of a single "free loving" bird that chooses to vacation rather than bring up her child. Horton is also courted by a pill popping beauty obsessed bird. My view of Seuss has forever been changed - under today's content guidelines, these books would probably not be published with the same success found yesteryear.

It seems everything from the classic OKLAHOMA! to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof are being tried by those proposing that we need to put a stop to ALL illicit media. It's sad to realize that Seuss and other classics are under the microscope now, and no longer en vogue. I'm a bit saddened, yet in ways, I feel there is some truth...

In an ideal world, everything would be praiseworthy. The heavy handedness of some groups (letter writing campaigns, etc.) seems to me to be the arm of Satan weilding his power to me as well. When we turn on Christian based shows/radio, we must be careful to look in our hearts to see if Satan is weilding his power again, by using "good" media in a way that we actually hurt our agency long down the line. Many praiseworthy media outside of the church uses doxology/theology that is not in harmony with being LDS - and it is a constant exercise in our own theology to weigh out the implications (I say stick with lds.org for uplifting and inspiring speeches and writings). It's a double edged sword! There is good, and bad it seems, everywhere. We just have to choose to find other outlets for family fun (which isn't too hard to do for us).

Bird Flu:
It takes 16 to 18 months for a pandemnic to run it's course. We've heard that is would be prudent to stock our food storage and water purification (and storage) beyond the one year supply asked for by the Prophet. This might be unique for our area (SW) in that we seems to ALWAYS have some sort of bird, butterfly or insect migration going through here to Mexico raising the statistical probability of an outbreak starting in any of the southern US areas.

After seeing the trials brought on by the hurricanes, I don't think any of us wants to be involved in the hassles of working with government crisis management - we're so fortunate to have prophetic counsel helping us withe the opposite of crisis management -which is provident living.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Thank you so much for your comments, Barb and Concierge Services! It helps me a lot to learn how people see things, so I can think them through more clearly myself.

6:24 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Mary,

Nice post on current events. My .02 worth:

1. Bird Flu: I agree this is an excellent argument for food storage. Though I wonder about how much media hype there is in this story. I supose time will tell.

2. Iraq: I believe it's an indefensible war of aggression, politically and morally. There was insufficient evidence to justify the loss of life that has resulted. I believe there will be some surprised leaders who will face some awful responsibility on the other side of the veil. I do agree with you that one good result was the removal of Saddam; however, that alone, I believe, is insufficent to send young American's to die on foreign soil.

3. Education: a true and classic education is likely lacking in many of today's schools. You may be right about political indoctrination. True education comes from a search of the best books, and as your blog title describes, by study and also by faith.

4. Science: A good discipline; however, I think as The Book of Mormon teaches it is good to be learned only if we hearken unto the counsel of God. Science is still in its infancy, when viewed from an eternal perspective. I believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ is consistent with all truth in all academic disciplines.

5. Politics: Both current political parties offer little more than fluff with a very angry delivery. We would do well to follow the prophets as has already been suggested in other comments to this post. There is no salvation in any political party. We need to believe in Christ as did the Nephites in 4th Nephi so that there will be no manner of ites.

6. What can we do? I agree with you. Blog, write letters, be involved, bring good Gospel principles and truths to everyday life. Every little bit helps.

Best Regards,

Guy Murray

7:56 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Guy, even though we don't see things the same way on some issues or parts of issues, I really appreciate your viewpoint because I want to have plenty of information and insight to consider as I make up my own mind about things. Thanks for your honesty and your kindness--all in one neat package!

I enjoy your blogs, by the way, even though I don't comment much. I really ought to start doing that more. And posting to my own blog more!

3:26 PM  

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