Charlotte

We complain a lot in our society about women living in a “culture of thin” that overwhelms us with unrealistic standards of beauty and achievement.  (At least I complain about it a lot, but then I tend to be a whiner in general.)  Thankfully our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, provides the antidote to this: “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7

From an early age we are taught that we will be judged, by God & our Savior only, on the intents of our hearts, our good works and our obedience.  This is a wonderful concept, that when truly and fully lived, provides a full and happy life – even if we are not successful as the world defines success.   I love the Church with all my heart and it has been the best thing to come into my life.  I am grateful for it every day.  I have no problem with the official Church doctrine.

I have a problem with Mormon culture.  I know many will disagree with me but my experience living in Utah was that it cultivates a “culture of perfection.”  And it is this culture that leads many of us, particularly women, to be depressed.

Oh, Katie

One of my Laurels in Edmonds summed up this issue quite succinctly.  She had just finished her first year at BYU and was home for the summer.  At the end of the summer she started getting anxious.  When I asked her what was wrong she replied that she had so much to do to get ready for school. How I could remember those days!  I asked her what she had left to do.  Her list?  Dye her hair back to blonde (she’s a natural brunette), highlight it, start tanning, get her nails French manicured, lose 10 pounds and get her teeth whitened.  Appalled, I asked why on earth she felt like she needed to do all that.  She answered sadly, “Because that’s what all the Utah girls look like.  I hate being the ugly one.”inflatable tunnels

I know many of you would say that is typical college freshman angst – and probably some of it is – but in Utah we take it one step further.  We have this idea that if we are righteous then it will show in our countenance.  So we take the reverse as true, thinking that a beautiful countenance implies innate righteousness.  We also know that when we are righteous then we will be blessed with riches and so, again, we make an erroneous assumption that the opposite is also true: if we have riches then that means we are righteous.  I don’t believe this is a conscious thought process but more of a cultural rip tide.

It is this misconception, I believe, that is the reason that Utah leads the nation in personal bankruptcies.  We have a desire to look perfect, no matter the cost, because it is a reflection on our spirituality.  On a more micro level, this filters down to our children, especially our girls.  I know there are many exceptions to this rule (heck, I was one) but picture your typical BYU co-ed.  Blond?  Probably.  White teeth? Certainly.  Thin?  Yep. (Utah consistently has one of the lowest average BMIs in the country, even despite funeral potatoes and Relief Society pot lucks).  Plays the piano? Check. Speaks another language?  Check, sometimes double check.  Holds a calling? Does their home/visiting teaching? Owns a home? Good job? Degree? Advanced degree? Married? In the temple? Kids? More?

We’re victims of our own success.  So many of us are so good that when we fail we take it personally rather than an indication of our overall flawed nature.  It also doesn’t help that in our culture of perfect, one of the rules is you can’t talk about your trials and struggles until AFTER they are over and you have learned your Very Important Lesson.  THEN it is okay to bear your testimony about conquering alcoholism (years ago).  Then it is okay to share in a Sunday School class how you had a hard time with your 3rd child (once he is safely on his mission).  No wonder we’re depressed.

We are commanded to “be ye therefore perfect” and that is the fatal flaw of Mormon culture: we are trying to perfect ourselves instead of humbling ourselves and letting the Atonement work in our lives.  Please note that this is the exact opposite of what the Church actually teaches us.  Nowhere in the scriptures does it mention bleached teeth or rock-hard abs.  I’ve never heard a general authority even say that you must have an advanced college degree to get into heaven (not that having one is bad).  The Lord expects us to do our best.  Our Mormon neighbors expect us to do their best.  And the Jones’ best.  And the Smith’s best.  And so on.

My Experience

I was raised mainly in Utah.  I also had two major bouts of severe depression.   I don’t blame my depression on the church.  I don’t even blame it on the Mormon culture.  But I do think the culture exacerbated my problems and made it much harder to get the help that I needed.

In high school, I was going through some difficult times with my family and a work situation.  As the stress mounted and the cracks began to show, my fellow Young Women (and friends of several years) began to notice.  And instead of embracing me or supporting me, they recoiled.  They said, in essence, “You are not like us anymore.  You are broken while we are still pristine.”  Which, I suppose, happens in teen culture everywhere.  But what happened next was uniquely Mormon.  These girls assumed because I was no longer perfect on the outside (and unable to fake it despite desperately trying to), that meant that I was spiritually flawed as well.  They stopped inviting me to their homes. They “forgot” to tell me about church activities.  At school, in seminary, they pretended not to see me.  Eventually it progressed to outright mockery led by several kids on the seminary council.  Even their mothers started whispering among themselves that I was a “bad influence” despite having done nothing remotely bad nor even having any power to influence their daughters.

At last I rebelled.  I figured if they thought I was different, then boy howdy would I show them different! I went goth. Black hair, black lips, black clothes.  Dark music, dark boyfriend, darker mood.  My friends were the other outcasts and it turns out they were pretty decent people.  Sure they smoke pot but they never judged me for failing to be perfect – in fact they liked me for my flaws.  The church kids in turn stepped it up a notch.  They assumed from my clothing that I smoked and drank (I never did.  Not even once.)  They assumed that I was sleeping with my boyfriend (we never even french kissed).  And it got to the point where I was so angry at their hypocrisy (some of them were drinking and sleeping around) that I considered leaving the church all together.

It was a crisis point in my testimony.  But thankfully, through the unwavering love of my family and dedication of one truly Christlike friend, I was able to separate the culture from the religion.  I slowly came to accept that I was a pariah in Mormon culture and most likely always would be.  But that had nothing to do with my testimony.  The Church is true.  The doctrine is real and healing and beautiful.  Still, it was a hard fought battle in every student ward that I was in – to show them that I was different but still good.  Eventually I had a second major depressive episode after which I realized that for me to survive and thrive I had to get out of the culture of perfect.  Which meant leaving Utah.used commercial inflatables for sale

My life has changed immeasurably for the better since moving away from Utah.  Much of my depression has resolved.  My IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) mostly went away. I was able to examine my feelings of inadequacy and imperfection without the glaring spotlight of every neighbor judging me.  I felt safe enough (in Seattle, weirdly) to drop the Goth act and the angst and just be… happy.   At church I was entrusted with important callings.  Friends readily accepted me.  Neighbors loved me regardless of my religion.

People from high school (when I see them, which is rarely) do not even recognize me now.   And I like it that way.  I do not like the person that I was in high school.  In fact, I am terribly ashamed of her.  But I am not ashamed of her for being broken.  I am ashamed of her for not being strong enough to tell them all in a better way that they were wrong.  I wasn’t strong enough to withstand that cultural pressure cooker.  It nearly destroyed me.  And despite my children already being smarter, stronger and generally all around better human beings than I ever was, I can’t in good conscience put them back in that place. Which is why my husband and I have decided that, barring direct revelation from God, we will not raise our children in Utah.  It’s just too darn depressing.

Note: This was difficult for me to write.  And I imagine that many of you will take issue with many things I said.  Which is fine – this was just my experience.  Please be gentle in your reprimands though:)

m did a good job showing the flaws in the depression article and I agree with every single one of his points.  The article is horribly written.  And yet, in a different situation I would probably say the same things as “Wendy.”

Hey everyone, Guest Blogger Charlotte here. You may recall me quoting (or misquoting) my friend Rachel in my previous post. Besides being a great friend, she also has a marvelous intellect and has written out her rebuttal to my post. I thought it deserved it’s own post (with m’s permission). She makes some excellent points – enjoy!

PS> Don’t worry, I survived ;)

Oh, Charlotte… where to begin???
The Foolish Premise

Your French Revolution analogy is laughably weak for many reasons, but we’ll start with the differences in Responsibility, Quantity, and Proximity.

Responsibility – Marie and Louis were entrusted to govern and protect the people of France who revolted against them. They were responsible for the security and general welfare of the people. When they failed to meet their obligation, the people removed them from their position of responsibility and authority. As of today, when I last checked the news, the United States government and citizens do not have any form of responsibility nor authority over the people of Mexico. Therefore we should not be held accountable for the condition of their country and citizens. This portion of your premise is absurd. We are NOT Marie Antoinette, and we do not deserve beheading as retribution for our comparative prosperity as a society. Success is not evil. Happiness is not something to be punished.

Quantity – The “few aristocrats” of the French Revolution cannot compare in size to the 300-million people in the United States who are “living high on the hog”. I don’t disagree with you that we enjoy a high standard of living in comparison – consider that some 80 or 90% of our “poverty-level” citizens have at least one color television, not to mention the electricity to power it. Comparatively, Mexico, with its 100-million citizens can hardly be compared to the “whole ton of peasants” who stormed the Bastille. Again, I’m not saying the Mexicans aren’t living like, well, hogs – I’m just saying that if they decided to revolt against the US, we wouldn’t exactly be sitting ducksblow up jumpers for sale.

Proximity – France, today, includes 260 sq miles (they, of course, would call it 675 sq km) of land. Marie and Louis lived in Versailles, just outside the most densely populated area, in North Central France. They were SURROUNDED by the angry, impoverished, masses. All 10 million sq miles of the United States are safely located north of the 2 million sq miles of Mexico.

So, your assertion of the inevitability of Mexico revolting against the United States, AND WINNING, is logistically ridiculous.

The Faulty Macro-Economics Theory

You’ve stated: “their economy is largely tied to our economy”.

Then, four paragraphs later, you suggest that by sharing what we have with the Mexicans, “Our standard of living will go down. And theirs will rise.” Blatant contradiction.

If our economy suffers (whoops, look like that ship has left the dock) and our standard of living goes down, guess what will happen to the Mexican economy – and the economies of many other developing nations who rely on us for a major portion of their income through imports, tariffs, outsourced jobs, and just plain handouts? They will suffer! Don’t believe me? Here’s a news excerpt from March 1, 2008.

The world’s hungry soon will find even slimmer pickings when it comes to emergency food aid from the United States, whose humanitarian relief agency is scaling back amid skyrocketing global prices, The Washington Post reports.

The U.S. Agency for International Development plans to reduce the number of recipient nations, the amount of food given or a combination, the story says.

Officials based their decision on a 41 percent increase in the cost of wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the last six months, which resulted in a $120 million budget shortfall that is expected to rise to $200 million by 2009.

You see, macro-economics cannot be interpreted through the scarcity theory wherein there is only so much prosperity to be had and if one recipient gets “more than their fair share” then another recipients gets jilted. In reality, prosperity begets prosperity. The more resources we have, the more resources we can apply towards innovations, technological advances, and efficiency improvements which will not only foster more prosperity, but will also benefit the rest of mankind. (Struggling to think of examples? How about the MIOX Water Purification System for bringing safe, clean water to developing countries? How about penicillin?)

Who are you calling HYSTERICAL?!?!?!?!?!

Just because my voice raises an octave and my eyes become as big around as dinner plates when I discuss this topic doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Illegal immigrants are taking American jobs. And stop believing that line about them being “jobs American’s don’t want”. That’s merely an excuse for allowing slavery to exist in the United States once again, and this time we’re importing our slaves from Mexico instead of Africa. Allowing “undocumented workers” to come pick lettuce for 50 cents and hour doesn’t help our economy or theirs.

Illegal immigrants are draining our healthcare system. A disproportionate number of them do deal drugs, bring gangs and violent crime, and kill people. Please don’t even try to pretend these things do not negatively affect our culture.

Mexican immigrants engage in these activities for multiple reasons. One reason is that extreme poverty is directly correlated to these particular types of crime. Another reason is because illegal immigrants have little respect for the laws and values of the United States. This is a result of the culture and environment from which they come. My company has a manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico and I am in charge of all information technology for the plant. After 3 years, we have thus far been unable to reach our profit goals from that facility for a few key reasons: theft (external and internal), unexpected security costs (including the need to hire three armed guards per shift instead of one), and incredibly high employee turnover.
You can accuse me of stereotyping if you wish, but the people of Mexico have lived and learned an entirely different culture in which corruption, theft and crime are either practiced, tolerated, or ignored out of fear of reprisal.

If we allow Mexican immigrants (illegal now, or “legal” at some point by act of Congress) they will come in greater numbers. They will work for very cheap wages. Some of those wages will return to Mexico, and more of the Mexicans will come to the United States. Our welfare, healthcare and education systems will collapse under the strain. Mexico itself would come to resemble a spoiled, irresponsible college student who gets an allowance from Mom and Dad, uses it to buy beer and women, and never shows up to class or applies himself to earn that college degree and start a career of his own.

What Jacob Said

You have misinterpreted Jacob’s words to the Nephites. You also try to take God’s admonition to man and apply it to our nation collectively, which is pure folly at best, and at worst is one of Satan’s tools to deceive and lead mankind to destruction.

  • “the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches”
    • Seeking riches is not wrong. In fact, it is a blessing from God – one we should accept and for which we should be grateful. Riches allow you to accomplish great things, including building the Kingdom of God.
  • “because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are alifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they”
    • Jacob isn’t saying that wearing costly apparel is wrong, he says that being lifted up in the pride of your hearts is wrong. It is a sin to believe that you are better than someone else because of your riches. So, if I believe that I am better than impoverished Mexicans, or citizens of any developing country, or anyone in the world – that’s when I’m in big trouble.
  • “And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.”
    • Like I said, big trouble. But, don’t forget what the previous verse clearly stated. We will be punished for our pride, not our wealth.

You will argue, of course, that resisting illegal immigration is an outward manifestation of pride. For some individuals, you may be right. And God will decide to which individuals that applies, and he will condemn them. You cannot. Nor can you “save them” from condemnation by electing members of Congress who will grant amnesty to 35 million people. Oh, and by the way, you can’t save yourself that way, either. Judgment day won’t be a high school band competition where we all get judged on our performance as a country. We will stand as individuals. We will either progress to the next level of competition alone, or get on the bus back to Boise, all by ourselves.

You paraphrase Jacob as having said: “we may have worked for what we have but we don’t deserve it any more than the next person because God gave us everything we have.” You add: “We are so blessed to be born in America with all the resources and opportunities that we have.”

Although you took some liberties in extrapolating Jacob’s words, you are absolutely correct in both statements. But now let’s consider how God wants us to employ the riches and bounty with which we’ve been blessed.
God has instructed us to be good stewards of those resources. He has instructed us to help the poor and needy, often specifically mentioning the widows, orphans, blind and otherwise afflicted. King Benjamin taught us that we cannot judge whether a person is worthy of our assistance, and we cannot assume that they have brought about their poor circumstances themselves. We are instructed to help and serve our fellow men regardless of their circumstances. Clearly we agree on this point. But, consider the good Samaritan. When he found the man in the road, did he drop a bagful of cash and walk on? Did he walk straight to the local publican’s house and let him know that he should send someone to help? No, he took personal responsibility to feed, clothes, shelter and treat the man himself. Again, please correlate the good Samaritan to an individual, not an entire society or nation. We will only be blessed for, and judged upon, our own individual actions and the contents of our own hearts.

‘So, What Should We Do?’ Part I: Individual Responsibility

As individuals, we must live according to the example of Christ and the teachings of the prophets. Seek after the bounty and blessings of this land, and then give of your bounty and of yourself. Give to those in need without judgment. And give wisely, in ways that will be most beneficial and not wasteful. We are told not to judge those in need, but we should make wise judgments about where to send our money and spend our efforts. If I may offer some suggestions:

  • Research the charities to which you donate and make sure a sufficient percentage of your money will reach the intended recipients, not just pay the salaries of administrative staff.
  • Give of your time and talents, not just your money. Volunteer to be a Big Brother or Big Sister. I can tell you from experience this is incredibly rewarding and will teach you much about yourself as you serve as a role model and friend to a young person in your own community.
  • Instead of just dropping a few bucks in the red kettle during the holiday season, consider participating in the Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program.
  • Rather than just participating in walks and races for various forms of cancer, volunteer to drive cancer patients to their treatments and back home.
  • The Salvation Army also has a program which pairs volunteers with families in need of mentoring – you can teach a young mother how to care for children, teach a struggling couple how to create and follow a budget, help a father improve his skills and prepare for job interviews, and help people of all kinds learn important life skills so they can seek and obtain the blessing and bounty this country offers.

‘So, What Should We Do?’ Part I: Public Policy

I’ve said this already, but it warrants repeating. When we leave this earth, we will not be judged by God as a Nation based on the laws we pass. A government exists, at the will of the governed, to protect the Freedom of its citizens. They do not exist to impose the moral laws upon its citizens by which they will individually be judged by God. To do so eliminates the free agency of the individual, and yes, I believe this to be evil and exactly the plan Satan had in mind for us. One third of the host of heaven thought it sounded like a good idea in the pre-existence – a sure-fire, fast-track back to glory. Apparently, a good portion of the population of the United States thinks it would be a good idea now that we are here in our second estate. But, governments must operate very differently from individuals in order to protect the Freedom of it citizens.

The United States must protect the Freedom of US citizens to pursue wealth and prosperity, and leave to the citizens the choice of how to use the wealth they obtain. Another quick lesson in economics… If they choose to use that wealth to build homes and schools for people in Honduras, they will be blessed for their choice, and the people of Honduras will benefit. If they choose to buy a yacht and sail around the world, the yacht maker will be able to employ a designer, a foreman, a carpenter, an upholsterer, and a warehouse janitor. Those five employees will be able to buy bananas at the grocery store that were grown and picked in Honduras. The people of Honduras will benefit and God gets to decide what to do with the guy in the yacht. We don’t. You can’t assume that God will condemn him for buying a yacht.

But, I digressed back into the Personal Responsibility section – back to public policy. The US must:

  • Enforce illegal immigration laws that already exist, punishing illegal immigrants and the companies who employ them illegally
  • Eliminate incentives that draw illegal immigrants to this country (healthcare, welfare, education, sanctuary cities, etc…)
  • Increase efforts to secure the border – no, it won’t stop everyone, but removing the incentives (see above) will give them a lot fewer people to try to stop
  • Eliminate restrictions and laws that hinder free trade so that all countries may participate in the global marketplace and benefit according to the value of their natural resources and productivity.
  • Allow the free market to demonstrate to Mexico (and all nations) that US companies will bring jobs and revenue to their countries if and when they provide a favorable environment.

We must defend our country and our way of life, and continue to strive to improve our standard of living. That is our responsibility as a nation and a world leader.
To return to the French Revolution analogy…

As I’ve said, it is unrealistic to imagine that a country with 1/3 the population, 1/5 the land mass, and a Gross Domestic Product that is 1/16 of ours would march their little People’s Army across the Rio Grande to storm our Bastille (what, all the way to Washington, D.C.?) and overthrow our government, or in some other way execute or enslave the American people.
However,

There is one possible scenario in which the US could be overthrown by Mexico and “beheaded”. That is, if we construct the guillotine, march ourselves to it, and help the executioner to pull the rope. And that is EXACTLY what you have proposed. We can be overcome from within, and you are suggesting that we throw open our doors and let in millions of people who, you yourself believe, are going to come in anyway even if we did try to stop them. You have said that they will conquer us if we don’t give them a healthy share of what they are trying to steal. So, you acknowledge that they have both the ability and the desire to take what is not theirs. And yet, rather than resists, you wish to appease them and hope that it will result in some beautiful, Utopian “synergy” by which we can all just get along. Has history shown that tactic to be very successful? Let me think for a minute. Umm… No!!

The last line of your posting was the most comical. “…in the end, it’s all going to equal out. Wouldn’t you rather it be on your terms?”

My terms?? I’m sorry, but my terms are not to roll over and allow myself to be victimized. I choose to stand up and defend my Freedom, my way of life, my standard of living, and my choice to give and share with others of my own free will. And I will defend that right on behalf of my children, grandchildren, and my great, great, great grand-children. Because that is the first and most important gift with which God has blessed this land and this nation. Freedom to choose is the gift he gave us each as individuals, even before he gave us a savior, or a body. If we don’t value, protect, and defend our Freedom, then no other temporal blessings matter.
Wrong Queen, Wrong Louis

Finally, and trivial though it might be, the phrase “Let them eat cake” was probably never spoken by Marie Antoinette. It is actually a mis-translation of a statement by Maria Theresa of Spain (wife of Louis the 14th) who actually said “Let them eat the crust of the pate.”

{Many thanks to m for offering me his blog as my own personal soapbox and for his generous introduction. And to his readers for putting up with me and my crazy opinions.}

The Scarlet Pimpernel and a multitude of jokes ending with “Let them eat cake!” That’s pretty much the extent of most people’s knowledge of the French Revolution. Which is scary considering that history has a funny way of repeating itself.

There are a lot of reasons why the French Revolution of 1789 went down like it did. But many of them come back to the basic principle that there were a few aristocrats living high on the hog and whole ton of peasants living like, well, hogs. Marie Antionette & Louis XVI, when informed that the people had no bread to eat and were literally starving to death, famously declared “Then let them eat cake!” (Didn’t know where that saying came from? You’re welcome.)

You Are Marie Antionette

(Or possibly Louis, but given the two I’d much rather be her. Still – your call – no judging here!) We all are. Even the “poor” Americans are aristocrats compared to most of the world. But especially in comparison to our neighbors directly to the south.

And don’t think they don’t know it. For as seldom as we think of them (Name five cities in Mexico that aren’t border towns. Los Angeles doesn’t count. Neither does Tuscon. Okay fine, you can have El Paso. Whiners.) they think of us quite often. Mostly because their economy is largely tied to our economy. (Yes, m, I know it’s not completely tied and the peso has been doing well relative to the sinking of the dollar but overall our economies are intertwined.) They also are inundated with our culture (clothes, tv shows, soda pop, Lindsay Lohan) and, most importantly, our jobs. They cannot help but feel the economic disparity between their lives and ours. Ever driven into Nogales? Tijuana? Then you’ve felt it too.

They Are The Peasants

There are currently about 35.5 million illegal aliens currently residing and working in our country. When we think of them, which we don’t often do, it is usually in a hysterical manner: They’re stealing our jobs! Draining our health care system! Dealing drugs! Bringing gangs and other violent crime! Killing people! Diluting our culture! Giving people salmonella from their fragrant-yet-unhygienic Taco Wagons!

I’m not trying to mock. These are serious issues. And people are rightly concerned about them. (Especially the taco wagons. Seriously – have you thought about how they “wash” dishes with no running water? But their burritos… mmmm.) But it is the proposed methods for reforming immigration law that have me scared.

The Guillotine

Any time there is a large economic disparity in history, it corrects itself. Often violently, as the rich don’t like to give to the poor (see Hood, Robin). This has been demonstrated time and time again. Americans are used to thinking of themselves as the scrappy underdogs but we’re top of the heap now. So I would propose that our current immigration challenge isn’t how to keep “them” out but how to let them in an organized manner. Because if we don’t figure out a way to offer it to them now, fences-drones-minutemen-in-lawn-chairs notwithstanding, they will figure out a way to take it later. And it won’t be pretty. Society abhors an economic disparity. (Yeah I just made that rule up but it sounds all science-y, no?)

The Cake

How do we share our cake with them and still keep it all to ourselves? You don’t. Our standard of living will go down. And theirs will rise. And hopefully (and this may be just a pipe dream), a type of synergy will occur and we will see that “they” are really “us” and that we all have a lot to give each other.inflatable tents

The trick for me is that by choosing how we share the cake with them, we retain some control over it. That way our resources aren’t overwhelmed and people have time to adjust. The harder we try to keep them out, the harder they’re going to try to get in.

The (Missing) Bread

There are many problems with my approach. 1) People don’t like to share. We never grew out of that impulse. 2) People don’t like to be forced by the government to share (right, m?). So any legislation favoring immigrants makes people feel taken advantage of, to put it lightly. 3) We feel like we earned it so we should keep it. They want cake? Let them build their own bakery and whip their own fudgy frosting.

These feelings are basic human nature but as Mormons, we have a larger perspective on this. Nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it say “share only when it’s convenient or easy for you.” It also doesn’t say “share only when the receiver deserves it.” In fact, it states exactly the opposite.

First consider Jacob’s warning to the Nephites (Jacob 2:12-14 – emphasis mine)

12 And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious aores, in the which this land, which is a bland of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.

13 And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are alifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.

14 And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.

Come on, nobody wants to bring down the wrath of God, right? And Jacob makes an important point: we may have worked for what we have but we don’t deserve it any more than the next person because God gave us everything we have. We are so blessed to be born in America with all the resources and opportunities that we have.

In verse 7, Jacob makes a suggestions that we would be prudent to listen to: 17 Think of your abrethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your bsubstance, that cthey may be rich like unto you.

The Nuts and Bolts (where I officially lose the French Revolution Analogy. Sorry. Had to happen.)

I expect that many of you will not disagree with me about the validity and timeliness of Jacob’s words. The issue comes down to how we implement it. As my friend Rachel (the second Libertarian I’ve met! m was the first) put it: “It isn’t charity if the government forces me to do it by stealing my money through taxes and giving it away without my permission. In fact, that is Satan’s plan – to force us to do the “right” thing by taking away our free agency.”

I can see the reasoning behind this argument. But I think this is exactly why we need to get involved in the discussion on legislating immigration reform. Make it your choice to be involved. Choose to give. Because, in the end, it’s all going to equal out. Wouldn’t you rather it be on your terms?