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August 6, 2020

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Rolaine KingMay 17, 2015

I knew the name Christopher Hitchin's name from praise handed out for him on conservative political sites and some of his less pleasant "habits" because read about here and there but by no means expert on him or his thinking. I became interested in his persona when he made a comment about Mormonism just before his death and I assumed the remark was driven by the media exposing all of our sacred or reverently held doctrine/beliefs/people and probably that Hitchins had had no reason to look into the church history or culture or mores or mannerisms let alone the finer doctrine--the Jesus stuff. The news today about Hitchin's is his writing about Orwell as a forward to Orwell's diaries publication. It is supposed to be his last writings-formal writings. An online search gives many more links and Orwell as a favorite person/writer/thinker. . https://www.theguardian.com/books /2012/jul/16/christopher-hitchens-george-orwell-diaries The more telling and interesting thing that first got me to wonder about the hedonistic atheist, supposedly happy with his self envisioned lot as he lay dying is that he talked of Mormonism and found it somewhat "sinister". What darkness came to his insides that he felt a sinister force or feeling or something? https://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2011/10/is_mormonism_a_cult_who_cares_it_s_their_weird_and_sinister_beli.html "Of course, it surprises none of us that Hitchens would elect to weigh in on the Mormon moment. But what is noteworthy about the essay is how sloppy and hysterical he sounds." So says rd. https://religiondispatches.org/does-christopher-hitchens-think-mormons-are-sinistererer/ For an afterlife believer and a new reader of Hitchins I wonder what phase he is in now? Baptist Hell or Catholicism's or Dantes? He may find Mormon Spirit Prison even more maddening? Sinister indeed?

James W. JohnstonMay 15, 2015

More than three decades ago, I joined the LDS Church. Likewise, in the ensuing years, I have made a solemn promise to give all that I have and do everything I can to the building up of the Church. Is the Church Religion? By every accepted standard, "Yes, it is." Yet within the context of the topic at hand ... of "Religion poisons everything," I find myself asking, "Do our actions reflect our ideals," and if not, why not? My observations seem to suggest that "religion," no matter how pure, becomes a handle which can be grasped either tightly, or loosely, or even, not at all -- a garment that can be donned or discarded, as circumstances dictate. To be sure, you can go through the motions -- showing up for sacrament and paying tithing and and and ... yet can't these outward manifestations take the place of true and honest personal reflection ... of asking "What am I doing ... really?" In its place can there be found the calm but false assurance that come from merely living the letter of the law, while avoiding the hard choices that accompany being compelled by the spirit and truly following the example of Christ? The highest level of behavior can be found in BOTH His courage and his kindnesses. These behavioral paths are established fact -- we may ignore them for a time, but they cannot be avoided. This is personal reflection -- not high and mighty social commentary. I seek an approach that compels me to pay far greater attention to the forces of true salvation ... to my personal adherence to the laws ... just as I must with other immutable, unavoidable physical laws ... like gravity. Which leads me to ask, "When it is all said and done, isn't the Gospel of Jesus Christ really the 'Science of Salvation'" ? And if so, could that hone a sharper edge on its Sword of Damocles demands? There is no doubt that Jesus is the Christ. There is no doubt that we are eternal beings engaged in a brief mortal experience. It is a hard and inescapable truth that we will be held accountable for our knowledge of these absolute and eternal FACTS. Perhaps we could say that there is a sort of "Spiritual Darwinism" at work here -- not the law of tooth and claw, but rather, the understanding that, if we want to proceed in the eternities to the utmost of our capacity, it is imperative that, during this proving phase when the veil is drawn, that we not make excuses for ourselves and let Christ make up the difference. If we do not allow that the facts are indisputable, are we making the most of this glorious but indescribably difficult experience? Doesn't Satan's lasting strategy include the perception that "Religion poisons everything" because those who profess to believe are inherently and eternally flawed? He wants doubt ... he sows it. Because everyone's belief flags ... everyone's actions fall short. Perhaps it is a question just of semantics ... but at least for me, the realization that Christ is the author of the Science of Salvation and that our eternal progress is dependent on our understanding of a Spiritual or Eternal Darwinism moves the concept of a religious belief to a hard and unavoidable physical law. As they say in the practice of law, would we not be well-advised to "govern ourselves accordingly?"

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