Category Archives: Religious

I’m Mormon and a Libertarian

round_lds_libertarian_sticker-r61564c5dda0b4cf3958447aaf505f1ba_v9waf_8byvr_324I wanted to get a little personal for a moment and talk about my spiritual side. It is true that I am a member of the LDS Church and also adhere to the principles of Libertarianism. Some may think that they are mutually exclusive including some who may be in the Church. However, based on the religious doctrines that I have studied in depth and the principles of libertarianism I have studied, there is far more in common between the two than what is normally perceived.

 In order to understand the first line up of the religious doctrine to libertarian philosophy, we must go before the world was created. According to our beliefs, in Heaven there was a great assembly of all the souls that would eventually inhabit the Earth. During this meeting our Heavenly Father laid out his Plan of Salvation. This plan would require for us to come to Earth, forgetting our Heavenly home, and come to accept God through prophets he would send. Because of this mortal state, we would make mistakes and would be considered unclean in the sight of God. In order for us to return to his presence and reunite with him after our passing, we would need a Savior to atone for the sins we commit.

 God’s plan required us to have agency, or the ability to choose to accept to come back to him. This is the first instance of free will.

 Another entity we believe as Lucifer, stood up to God and offered an alternative. This alternative was to force everyone to be righteous and then there would be no need for us to have this agency. There would be no need for a savior. Through Lucifer’s plan, all would be guaranteed to return to Heaven.

 The flaw with Lucifer’s plan was that without the ability to make a mistake, we could not learn beyond that which we already knew. We would not grow as spiritual beings in truly knowing the difference between right and wrong, suffering and pleasure, sorrow and happiness. We had to learn these things in order to become more like God. We had to understand things through experience.

 Ultimately the proposal from Lucifer failed, and we came to Earth with free will: our agency. This is 100% in line with the philosophy of libertarianism, as we believe all interaction must be voluntary without any force or coercion.

 The next doctrine I find that falls in line with philosophy is what we consider “Articles of Faith.”

The first one that I find aligning with libertarianism is the second article: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” This is saying that you can only be accountable for the actions you choose to take. You are the only one responsible for what you do, no one else.

The next one I find aligning perfectly with libertarianism is the eleventh article: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

In the Book of Mormon, taxation is linked with slavery and bondage of the people. One king was described as wicked for, among other reasons, a 20% income tax on the people, while another king is praised for his righteousness for levying no taxes whatsoever.

Doctrine and Covenants 134, a chapter in scripture prefaced as “A declaration of belief regarding governments and laws in general,” contains several verses which uphold the explicit right to private property. For example: “We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.” If you fall into the faction of libertarianism that believes a cornerstone of rights is the right to property, this is one that definitely aligns with our philosophy.

David O. McKay, the man who served as prophet of our church from 1951 until his death in 1970, stated the following: “A man may act as his conscience dictates so long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others.” On of the highest leaders of the Church in our history understood the importance of individual liberty.

Towards the latter end of the Book of Mormon, one of the books that serves as a doctrinal instruction and testament of Christ in the Americas, the prophet Mormon, who later compiled the record of scripture offers a stark warning to those who would eventually read the passages. He had documented how secretive groups of conspiring individuals brought down two strong civilizations by infiltrating the governments and imposing their  wills on the masses.

As members of the Church, we are counseled to “suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain” and commanded by God to “awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you.” Many members of the LDS faith thus are sensitive observers and tend to oppose corruption and conspiracy— especially within government, since our scriptures also document such groups usurp political authority in an attempt to further their lust for control and power over others.

One of the prophets in my lifetime, Ezra Taft Benson, regularly cited individuals like Hayek and Mises when delivering advice to members of the Church. He spoke often of freedom and liberty, both socially and economically.

These are just a few examples of places that we align. While some members of the Church come off as more authoritarian, we are not supposed to force our will upon others. We are supposed to have voluntary acceptance of our faith. Some who have garnered power have used it to enact spiritually based laws, which would negate why we came to Earth in the first place: to choose. We must remember that free will is why we are here, so I do encourage members of my faith to start reading into libertarianism.

Need Action Taken

wpid-PicsArt_1347912026461.jpgChristians in Raleigh, NC have been told they will be arrested if they don’t stop their regular ministry of feeding homeless and needy people on weekends.

Without just cause or legal citation, Raleigh police threatened Love Wins Ministries (LWM) for following Jesus’ teachings of feeding the poor by simply handing food and coffee to hungry people near a city park.

According to Rev. Hugh Hollowell, the pastor and director of LWM, last Saturday, sausage biscuits and coffee were to be distributed to people in need.

“On that morning three officers from Raleigh Police Department prevented us from doing our work, for the first time ever. An officer said, quite bluntly, that if we attempted to distribute food, we would be arrested,” the pastor said.

“No representative from the Raleigh Police Department was willing to tell us which ordinance we broke, or why, after six years and countless friendly and cooperative encounters with the department, they are now preventing us from feeding hungry people,” the pastor wrote in a blog.

“When I asked the officer why, he said that he was not going to debate me. ‘I am just telling you what is. Now you pass out that food, you will go to jail.'”

Pastor Hugh’s response, regardless of any law the city may have, is an encouragement to other Christians. “Simple: We will feed people.”

TAKE ACTION

Raleigh’s mayor and city council need to step up to the plate and support ministries like Love Wins Ministries which are reaching out to the homeless and hungry.

Please send them a word of encouragement to come forward and clarify that no police action will be taken against Christians putting their faith into action.

The Media Downplays the Violence in Egypt

In retaliation for backing the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi, Islamists have targeted upwards of 80 19396_IMG_13_1263220132Christian schools, churches and convents. Looting, arson, and the targeting of Christians for beatings and murder are now rampant.

This isn’t really all that surprising because the media outlets (at least in the main stream) are agenda-driven, not information or scoop or money or morality driven. They’re happy to assist President Obama & Al Sharpton manufacture a feeding frenzy out of a race hoax surrounding the fatal shooting of a black teenager in Florida. But only because there is plenty of political upside in that frenzy. The left thrive on racial division, love any excuse to push gun control, and know they need to distract from the failure of Obama’s economic policies.

When it comes to the persecution of Christians in Egypt, it is a totally different story.  There have been few (if any) reports given on the situation, as churches are burned and people murdered.

If Christians were attacking mosques in Egypt, you can bet it would be the biggest media story since a rodeo clown in Missouri dared mock “King” Obama.  It is high time that we start boycotting the media and their sponsors for their utter disregard for the truth.

Please also pray for the men and women facing this horror in Egypt. Ask that God protect them, and also bring to light what they are facing.  Since the media won’t do it, we must.

Obama and Pentagon Don’t Want Free Expression of Christianity

The Obama administration and the Pentagon are seemingly he’ll bent on preventing our Armed Forces from expressing their Christian faith.

A response from the White House on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would protect the expression of religion among our military essentially said it would serve as a distraction, harm morale, and impede missions. There was also a threat to veto such measures.

Let me speak from experience for a moment. When I was in combat, one thing that pulled me through was my faith. I honestly believe that prayers helped my squad in many ways. My squad was a mix of religions, but we prayed together all the time.

Some in the Pentagon would see such expressions as punishable, up to a court martial. We never forced anyone to participate. All willingly came and prayed with us.

So I present a question to all of you: doesn’t our military deserve the same rights they put their lives on the line to defend?

This is just one more piece of a growing war on Christians coming from this administration. It needs to stop and we must speak up to preserve our rights and the rights of our military members.

Are We the Last Hope?

United-States

As I sit here writing today, working on my small business, and spending time with my children, I was thinking that we may very well be the last hope for America. My generation. Those between the ages of 18 and 30. What have we become? What have we been allowing to continue? Will we allow the progressives to continue to destroy the nation we learned about in history books?

I have been pondering, and I came to the conclusion that we are indeed the last hope.  We are the only line of defense left to stop what is happening.  I truly believe that we are on a collision course of historic proportions, and we must decide now where we will be standing when the crash happens.  Will we be the freeloaders? The lazy? The apathetic? Or will we rise as many generations before us have, and fight for what is naturally ours?

I know not what course others will take.  I cannot pretend to speak on behalf of the American people, and for that matter, even those who belong to groups I am a part.  I have heard the talk of things to come and how the person will react to it, but saying and doing are two totally different things.

I do know this much.  I will stand as much as I am able for the future of my children and theirs.  I will do what I can to ensure that the great experiment brought about by our Founding Fathers continues on.  It is time for you to come up with your stand.  You have to find where you will be.  There will not be a place for people to sit on the fence when the catastrophe hits. You will have to choose where you stand.

I pray that God will see me on my course, and that any violence can be avoided as I move forward in what I must do.  I pray that He stand beside me as I teach others to stand up to a growing darkness.  I pray that I am wrong, and the government will be able to set its course back into the light.  I pray that the future be great for my children.

I will never end the fight.  I must press on, because I am free in my heart.  May God be with us through this.

Sharia vs. The US Constitution

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I really felt obligated to write about this topic, because I have had the opportunity to see Sharia Law firsthand, and I felt I needed to give my very real perspective of why we cannot have Sharia in America.

First, let’s start with my own story, and then I’d like to go through our Bill of Rights, and explain using their own words to show how they clash.

My story is simple. In Iraq, there was a classic story. On of boy meets girl, girl likes guy, dad sees girl & boy, dad takes girl, brothers slit boy’s throat, community publicly stones girl.

The young man in the story was an 18 year old Iraqi soldier, the girl was I believe 16. She had been betrothed to another man, and her father didn’t like what he saw.

Honor killing ensued, and because the girl had no witnesses to say she didn’t cheat on her “beloved,” she was executed.

Doesn’t that freedom just sound wonderful? It was so disturbing this happened. Two young people killed for a conversation. This is Sharia. This is what the Islamic extremists want on US soil.

So lets go through the Constitution a little bit:

Freedom of religion: nope. Islam or die. Convert to anything else, die.

Freedom of Speech: women have no right to speak, and speaking against Islam is capital offense.

Freedom to petition for redress: no. Islamic law is the rule. No other way. Follow or be killed.

Freedom of press: sure, as long as you say nothing contrary to Islam, Mohamed, or clerics. Otherwise you die. And you only have access to approved media sources.

Keep and bear: not unless you are security, police or military.

No quartering of soldiers: Islamic state chooses and will enforce Sharia at will, using military force.

Guard against unlawful searches: they make whatever arbitrary laws they feel advances Islam.

Right to trial: unless it’s an honor killing. Oh, and forget about a fair one if you’re female. Four witnesses to prove rape.

Cruel/unusual punishment: they cut off limbs, stone, behead, point blank shoot, etc.

The list goes on. You have to fight Sharia at all costs, or risk death. They will stop at nothing to kill you.

Stay frosty.

God is Watching

My friends. God has been watching us, and he has heard our pleas, asking for help in these.turbulent times. He has seen the filth in Washington, and is giving us the opportunity to take our American destiny back; we need only listen to the soft voice of the spirit.

God wants us to be free. He guaranteed us rights at birth. We have the right to live. We have the right to property. We have the right to a fair trial. We have a right to defend ourselves. These are but a few of our natural, God-given rights.

The only thing we must do is follow His law, and we are a free people and will receive many blessings in our lives. We need to live our lives in accordance to God’s Law, for it is higher than anything man can ever do. Who are we to question the will of the Lord?

We have ignored.His law for far too long, and we are starting to pay for our own foolish arrogance. God sees every time we remove Him from our buildings. He knows that prayer has been removed from our schools. He cries when memorials are torn down for fear of offending someone.

We must celebrate our faith! We must lead and unite people with our values. We are here on this earth to be tested, and sadly  many are failing. We must be Christians every single day, not just in church. We must spread love and charity among our fellow man.

God asks us to be kind to each other, for unto the least of your brethren, you have done so to Christ.

It is not too late for America. We are working to restore His work. There are many out there doing the good deeds that everyone should do, regardless of circumstance. If you cannot help with money, help with your time.

We are Americans, and we have love for Him. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Psalm 33:12.

God bless and be with you.

Restoring Love

Brothers, sisters. Patriots of this wonderful country. We are truly blessed by our Lord to live here and in these days. We are blessed as a nation because of our belief in God.

Last night I was able to watch history unfold. I wanted to share with you the level of the Spirit I felt last night, as I listened to the “I have a dream speech” of this generation.

Last night was the Restoring Love event in Dallas, Texas. As Mr. Glenn Beck took the stage and begin to speak, I was moved to tears. These words spoken were coming from God.

Mr. Beck spoke of the real America. I felt my heart rejoice as he continued throughout his speech. The truth of his words and the sincerity behind them are what Americans everywhere should hear.

This was not about conservative or liberal, republican or democrat. This was God’s message of love and charity.

As a pastor I have learned that God’s word comes in many forms and last night I testify to you, that was God’s work. The fact I cried hearing this is unusual for me.

Long before I thought of serving through ministry, I was serving in tje United States Marines. I am a two-time, hardened, combat veteran. When I heard the message of restoring love in America, my heart was softened and I cried.

We must take the message of service to each other and apply them daily. This is God’s wish. He so loved us that he sent his son to atone for us upon the cross. We must show love enough for each other in respect of His love.

Jesus said “As I have loved you, love one another. By this shall men know, ye are my disciples. If ye have loved, one to another.”

We will do this because we all wish to serve for the good of man. We are a great people and will demonstrate this in our lives. This was God’s calling to act.

The Lord has heard our prayers for our country, and He sent His reply last night through Mr. Beck. Hearken unto the words! Faith, hope and charity are how we will restore and rebuild America.

This is our hour. This is our time to rise to the challenge our patriot forefathers left for us! The road is before you! Walk wirh God down it. Open your heart and take the steps. God is with us and wants America to sieze her Destiny!

You must do this. I must do this. And together we will build a better nation and leave our children a great legacy.

May God bless Mr. Beck for having the courage to say what was needed. May God continue to bless and smile on our nation.

I say these things before you, testifying in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Amen

Sermon 5/6/2012

Church of Life Christian Fellowship.  Sermon 5/5/2012

In the grand scheme of eternal things, our God designed for us a way in which we living here upon this sin-cursed earth could be prepared for divine redemption and Heaven.

As the religious world becomes more and more accommodating to that which is politically correct as viewed by the world’s standards, they become less than honest with truth, even stooping to the place of passing it off as archaic, old-fashioned, or irrelevant, no longer necessary.

Open season has been declared upon the Word of God, especially it would seem by those in government positions, upon those sacred doctrines, upon those that holds its truth’s as precious in their lives.

I say that I am much more interested in pleasing God than I am in being a man pleaser or in being politically correct or well thought of by the religious crowd. I seek to be guided by the principle stated in Gal.1:10.

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

When our Lord calls for repentance, it is necessary everyone knows what the term means and what is required of them in the way of repentance.

When you consider that Jesus said, “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” Lk.13:3, it becomes necessary that you both know what the word means and that you do what it requires.

Repentance is defined as compunction for guilt; a reversal of one’s direction.

Compunction is a strong uneasiness caused by a sense of guilt, or a sting of conscience or a pang of doubt aroused by doing something wrong or the idea of wrongdoing. Repentance has been described as a total and complete turn around.

Repentance deals with a turn around in at least three significant areas which are sin (I had denied, now I confess); Self (I was good enough, now I am lost); and Savior (I did not need him, now I cannot live without him).

Repentance is described as a turning.

“And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 9:35) Repentance leaves wickedness and follows godliness, seeking God’s forgiveness. “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” (Acts 8:22)

Repentance also deals with conversion to, a becoming like, and, in agreement with God. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19)

The Word of God has the power to confront a sinner and bring him to humility. The Word, applied by the His Spirit, brings sinners to see themselves as God sees them.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4:12)

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet 3:9)

God keeps putting up with and allowing such things to go on, all because of his longsuffering grace.  He has every right to pass judgment upon our ways, but in his longsuffering grace, he waits against that day that we recognize it and respond to it properly.

Repentance is the results of divine workings for no man just makes up his to repent; such a action had it’s origin in Heaven. Just as surely as the Lord brings about that which effects repentance he effectively works in every living person to repent.

The Holy Spirit is massaging your heart and spirit with conviction right now because you need to be turned from what you are. The Spirit is reminding you of both God’s goodness toward you because he is calling you to repentance. He is placing the sacrifice of Christ into your heart, trying to tender it with his love so that you might respond in repentance. We have all heard the story of the old drunk, who beat his boy and cursed his wife until conviction brought repentance to his life and he was a changed man.

That change has literally been played out in tens of thousands of lives across time, as one after another, sinners came to repentance and God changed their personality and their practices.

What happiness to behold that selfish, self-centered sinner be transformed by repentance and wrought into a sweet, serving, caring saint.The world cannot seem to imagine what happens nor how the person was changed but they will have to testify that this man or woman is surely a very different person.

Perhaps the most classic illustration was Saul of Tarsus who was moved from a proud persecutor’s heart to that of a servant’s heart, giving his life that others might hear of Christ and the opportunity of repentance.

One of the first things that happens when repentance effects salvation is that that saved person becomes concerned over the spiritual condition of their loved ones. Caring, Compassion, desire to see others free of sin’s condemnation is one of the strongest witnesses an unsaved person will ever experience. Such caring however, is not limited just to relatives for every redeemed one wants to see others redeemed.

Saul was climbing the ecclesiastical ladder, persecuting Christians until he met the Lord in Acts 9.

“His life was no longer for Paul but was now for his brethren, even to wishing that he could be accursed if it would turn them to Christ. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” (Rom 9:3)

We can see that repentance is so necessary in today’s world.  We see people every day, especially in our government that have forgotten God’s word.  We need to be the first to repent, and give ourselves wholeheartedly to God and His Son, and start to hold elected officials accountable.

So let me ask you?

1. Are you a benefactor of repentance?

2. Are you sure that you repented and have been changed by Christ, and,

3. That your life is revealing Christ to others?

4. Who are you living for? If self is your answer, I’d sure do some searching of my soul about the matter of whether I had repentance to my credit or not.

Restoring America’s Values

Douglas Story of Virginia asked me what my position on restoring America to it’s Biblical beginnings, since our Founders were of Judeo-Christian faiths.  Specifically in reference to Roe v. Wade, and allowing for the teaching of Creationism in public schools.

For me this is a very relevant question, because this day and age, especially in the last couple decades, conservative Christians have been under a near assault on a daily basis from persons of a progressive thought when it comes to the way we believe as Christians.

To address the first part, I do want to see America return to its values.  I do not care what, if any God a person subscribes to.  There is nothing harmful in the words “Under God” or “In God We Trust.”  The majority of the population is religious to a degree, and as such we all mostly believe in God.  I see no offense in the words being there.

As for the infringements on freedom of religious expression, such as cross memorials, and the Ten Commandments being displayed, I feel that as long as any faith has equal opportunity to post or place their tenants of spirituality, so long as it is in good taste and of a non-offensive nature, it is their right to also do so.  I do not believe that the government should be making these sorts of things come down.  If anything they should encourage the types of morals many of the faiths have as their tenants.  this is not a subscription to a State sponsored religion, but allows for the free expression of all.

As for the question dealing with Roe v. Wade, I would love to see that as a State decision.  This is not something that the federal government should have stuck their nose into.  I am also against any government monies being used for abortions.  I would fight to try and save the lives of innocent children, because I do not believe that God would want that sort of thing in a nation He blessed.  I find it quite funny that people will claim that a microbe found on a rock from space is signs of life, but in the same breath say that what grows in the womb is not life.  There are programs for adoption that people could use if they are unable to provide for the child, and there are also ways a person who engages in sexual activity can prevent a pregnancy (condoms, IUD, etc.).  This should be an issue of personal responsibility.

I do believe under certain circumstances abortions should be ok in the law, and in God’s eyes.  Things like the mother stands a high degree of dyings, rape, and incest are among the examples I feel are ok to an extent.  But there is no guarantee in the Constitution that says anything of abortions.  Tenth amendment, reserved for the state.

And for the last point brought up, Creationism can be taught as an option in my mind.  There are many students who come from religious backgrounds being taught that the big bang was the only way, etc.  I think that it is acceptable that a teacher be able to teach theories brought up by students.  We should stop trying to drown out God from our public lives, and this includes school.  If a parent wishes their child not to hear it, they can home school their child, which is their choice.

Thank you for the questions Doug! God Bless, Your humble servant, Craig Bowden