Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wright's sermon: close to Book of Mormon curses.

(May 28, 2008: I've updated this post with a couple scripture references at the end.)

I watched a video of Bill Moyer's interview with Rev Wright. And in that video is a clip of the controversial part of Wright's sermon.

BUT, Moyer's clip of Wright's sermon shows enough of the sermon to put the controversial lines in context.

Looking at Wright's sermon in context, shows me that Wright's premise is in line with the Book of Mormon's (and the Bible's) promises of blessings and cursings upon this land.

I will disagree with Rev Wright about whether the US government is actually fomenting drug use and helping to spread AIDS. Those parts may be just conspiracy theory.

But he lists enough other valid collective sins by our country and by our government that, in my opinion, would qualify our land to merit the curses promised in the Book of Mormon.

Our own (LDS) prophets have told us that all the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are present in our country. I think some of the Brethren have said such sins are even more prevalent now.

Many Christians have jokingly said that if God doesn't punish us for what's going on in our country, he's going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.

We need to turn and better follow God's ways, both individually and collectively as a nation.

I think the slams against Rev Wright are akin to what people said in the Book of Mormon against Abinadi and Alma (and in the Bible against Isaiah and Jeremiah) when those prophets testified about the sins of the people, and warned them that God would curse (damn) them if they didn't repent.

Such warnings about consequences of obedience to God versus rebellion against God are clear in the Old Testament. Keep God's commandments and prosper. Disobey God's commandments and face his curses.

I don't agree with everything in that sermon. But Rev Wright's pleas for God to damn America seem to me to be pleas for God to fulfill scriptural promises concerning the obedience/disobedience or righteousness/unrighteousness of a people or nation. Which promises are laid out plainly in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants.

In my opinion, those who are condemning Rev Wright over this matter are very close to making the same mistakes of King Noah's priests who called for Abinadi's death, and also those Ammonihahites who threw Alma and Amulek into prison.

Rather than saying Rev Wright is crazy or un-American, we ought to be saying that our country, collectively and as individuals, needs to repent of our wickedness. The guy's got a point, and the scriptures back him up.

In the Bible, Leviticus chapter 26 contains the promises of blessings for obedience, and cursings for disobedience. Those were specifically given to ancient Israel, but I think they can also apply to any people who profess to be God's people.

Such promises of blessings and cursings are repeated in the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 1:20, and Alma 45:15-16. These promises are specific to "this land" where the Nephites lived, which we believe to be the Western hemisphere, putting aside for the moment just how much of the Western hemisphere was actually occupied by Nephites.



At 4/27/2008 02:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more Bookslinger. Patriotism is used so powerfully by those in power to fill our hearts with pride and lead us on to destruction as we continue on in our foolish ways and condemn the message that cuts to the core.

As you point out, the Book of Mormon is rather clear on the stark choices we face as a nation. I've often pondered on the fact that about 30% of the Lord's message to us via the Lehites in 3 Nephi, relates to our time when the time will come that the remnant of Jacob is going to wreak some havoc on the Gentiles unless we repent. This is repeated 3 times by the Lord in 3 Nephi, then Mormon repeats it in chapter 5:22-24 and the Lord puts it in the D&C as well in section 87. I think the secret combination message of the scriptures are ignored or scoffed at too much in our church as well. If we were to recognize the major combinations that exist today, what I like to refer to as the Military-industrial-finance-government complex, it would be just a bit too uncomfortable for many in our church who swallow the whole blind patriotism thing. Nonetheless, the Book of Mormon speaks very sharply about these combinations and point out how they are likely to lead to our nation's destruction. Moroni even mentioned that he sees that we fully embrace them in our day. The book of Helaman shows that these combinations can be subscribed to by many generally good people who are led astray by the cunning words of those who orchestrate the secret abominations until we all become card-holding members of the Gadianton society.

At 4/28/2008 02:42:00 PM, Blogger Bruce said...

You are correct about reverend Wright sounding like the Book of Mormon, but I see it more in the guise of latter generations of Lamanites continuing to blame the Nephites for all of their problems because Nephi's people usurped the leadership role from Laman and stole the brass plates. Wright's language seems more like hate speech rather than pleadings to God. No question America is being led down a destructive path, but I still believe the majority of Americans are God fearing people. Are Clinton, Obama, or McCain going to stop the downward spiral? I don't think so.

At 4/28/2008 11:50:00 PM, Blogger Bookslinger said...

Bruce, I didn't see that aspect in the sermon clip that was included in the Moyers video.

Wright mentioned specific sins such as murder, rape, abortion, and immorality, sins that are on the individual level, and for which God is going to curse (and is probably in the process of cursing) this land.

Although he did allege some conspiracy things against the gov't (aids and crack coccaine), and denounce our involvement in Iraq, he's entitled to throw those in as his opinion.

But the specific point where I'm agreeing with him, are the individual (and include black-on-black, not just white-on-black) sins of murder, rape, theft, abortion, and immorality.

I did _not_ see Wright calling upon God to curse America for only, or for specifically, white-on-black sins. Nor did I see him call upon God to curse the American government for sins against blacks.

I heard him call upon God to curse the land of America for all the sins we are committing and tolerating and even encouraging to happen right here.

At 4/29/2008 01:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about the AIDS allegations, but the crack cocaine conspiracy spoken of by Wright has some pretty good evidence from what I've seen. Gary Webb's expose in the San Jose Mercury Newspaper was a pretty good piece of investigative journalism and the US does indeed provide us a precedent with the history of supplying heroin to US soldiers in Vietnam etc. as exhaustively researched in the book, "The Politics of Heroin" written in the 70's. I'd have to say Wright hasn't been too far off the mark from all that I've heard so far.


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