Mitt Romney, the Law of Tithing, and the Words of Wisdom

Mitt Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Latter Day Saints (LDS) have some very important principles that seem relevant to issues raised by an email I just received that is soliciting campaign funds for the Democratic Party. It is telling me that:
Either Mitt Romney will win, give huge tax cuts to billionaires and Big Oil, and end the Medicare guarantee for seniors -- or we can elect a strong Democratic Majority to back President Obama and move America forward.
The LDS Church has a thing called the "Law of Tithing." It is what ensures that there are sufficient funds to pay for the human services that they provide. The LDS Church is one of the best human service organizations in the nation. They are very well organized, and they really get after it and things really get done that help people for real. It's not just a hand-out; it's a hand-up. Here in Salt Lake City, there is "Welfare Square," where there is a dairy, a cannery, and a bakery, as well as a "Deseret Industries" (Wikipedia) store and "Bishop's Storehouse." They feed, clothe, and educate a lot of people. If not enough members payed tithing or made fast offerings, the church would not have sufficient funds to maintain these programs.

Baptism is a symbolic re-birth into the Church "family." Upon baptism, the initiate takes on "the name of Jesus Christ." Thus, everyone in the collective agency has taken on this name as "their own..." (plural "their", not singular "his")  The Latter Day Saints believe that "The family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." We are all His children. Our Heavenly Father wants all people, of all races and nationalities, to co-exist with one another in peaceful love. The purpose of an organized church is to foster the maintenance of Tradition --- which has the same word-root as "trade" --- which is the handing down of knowledge and Lore from one generation to the next, from the Father to the Son, from the Mother to her Children, from the Master to the Apprentice, from the Professor to the Student, and from the Prophet to our Congregation. I was taught that the language of the bible is archaic, and that over the years a certain amount of "semantic drift" has occurred, and so many people often... misunderstand it... To "consult with the Lord" simply means ask someone who's thoroughly studied the subject matter when you need assistance in making a correct decision. The "Lord" are simply those who have been gifted and entrusted with the Lore.

Over the millennia, human civilizations have encountered each and several of a plethora of adversities, from ice ages, famine, disease epidemics, mortal conflict with other groups of people; technological advances and setbacks have occurred, and through all of this, the most successful civilizations, it stands to reason, must have always had to be the ones who were the most diligent at preserving their collective knowledge by taking great care to hand it down intact and in entirety, from one generation to the next. Technologies and behaviors become deprecated and eventually obsoleted when serious flaws are discovered, and in the process, better methods, materials, and ideals are developed; compendiums of "best practices" are generated; and as time marches on, We Evolve... but things we don't use often enough will essentially atrophy, or be forgotten. There are some things We should not allow to atrophy! There is knowledge We must not lose! There are lessons that, when forgotten, are at least as expensive to learn again as they are to learn the first time.

The government of the United States of America, and that of each of the states, also relies upon monetary contributions made by the citizens --- taxes --- for the funding required to pay government employees who staff the various agencies that provide governmental and social services. When there's insufficient funds, the government presently must borrow money from banks, and that means they need more tax revenue to pay off those debts... But if everyone payed their fair share of taxes, then --- assuming Good financial management, of course --- those debts could be paid, and the government could actually accrue savings or institute programs that could improve health, foster education, so we can raise our averages, and fund the reconstruction of our electrical energy and transportation infrastructure.

The Latter Day Saints also promote and live according to The Word of Wisdom, which strongly recommends against the use of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, (and illegal drugs), and provides a brief guideline for healthy eating (and exercise) habits. The Latter Day Saints, among many others, are aware of the negative health impact of smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol --- essentially the negative health impact of polluting one's body's little "ecosystem." It follows that the Saints thereby do not want to expose themselves to toxins such as petroleum distillates, automobile exhaust, pesticides, herbicides, and nuclear radiation. Of course those things affect the health of Our Living Planet by polluting Her ecosystem, of which we are an integral part. Obviously the health of Our Living Planet's ecosystem affects our own health, as individuals, and as a collective society. Thereby, the Word of Wisdom naturally extends to strongly recommend against the continued use of fossil fuels.

So, what I'm saying here is that I think that if Mr. Romney is really a Latter Day Saint, then he's probably not in favor of allowing people who have more money than they need to selfishly and sinfully hoard it all to themselves; nor does it seem likely that he would be opposed to provision of Medicare; nor to the expedited deprecation of fossil fuels, along with the associated toxicity, resource contention, and armed conflict between nations. (Those are not necessary evils, they are evils, and thus they are not of God.)

Of course, when Latter Day Saints pay tithing and give fast offerings to the church, there is reasonable faith that it will be spent according to the laws embodied within the Gospel Principles; it will be invested "as advertised" on the things you can learn about via the LDS.org web sites. I think that many people, when they pay taxes to the government, are reluctant to do so, believing that the money is not being spent the way they would like. They would rather keep that money in their own pockets, so they can spend it on anything they want... They don't want "the government" spending it on military conquest... vs health care reform, education, and especially the long overdue improvements to our electrical grid and power generation system, and to the concomitant upgrades to our transportation infrastructure.

But if a disorganized mob of individuals are all out there today spending their own money on anything they want right now, then what are they going to be buying with it? Many small things disappear into the pores of consumerist society --- the divide and conquer competition of personal vehicle "separatist" transportation, gasoline to burn, widgets and do-hickeys, small frail plastic things that break, cosmetic surgeries, make-up, make-believe, closets full of more new clothing than they need, and no panacea for their ragged trousered affluenzia. If they were to pool their resources and work together, it could be argued... that same knot of people could move mountains, assuming the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, or anything.

If we pool our resources, and entrust our tax dollars to "the government", then presumably the money will be spent... And presumably it SHOULD be spent according to laws, not according to men... But if there's nobody else left but desk-chair pigeons in office, who allege to represent us, who then gamble our economic future on petroleum... Gamboling in our over-wintering hay-stack with burning money...? Then how can we sit back and have faith that the money is being thrown up on the feet of the proper agency, who will spend it according to rules they allege to follow?

"Faith" is not meant to be a passive term. Think about it. Can you just sit back, talk back, and hope that somebody else somewhere else is going to take action to do something you oil or we all need, if that other person has no reasonable assurance that you will eventually get out of the chair and perform actions that do something in exchange? Somebody has to do something. One person alone has very little power to affect  "the government" without quite a large knot of others all pulling (or pushing?) in the same or similar direction as ole Johnny Booker can do too, right?

Many of the Mormon pioneers who crossed the great plains to settle in Utah Territory carried their belongings here on hand-carts; that is, small horseless two wheeled wagons. If you push the cart, it's likely to run up against obstacles you can not foresee, since the wagon is blocking your view of what's directly right in front of it. If the wheels miss the stones and prairie-dog holes, you'll likely trip and fall over some, since you won't see them until they are right underfoot. But if you turn the cart around, and walk before it, looking at where you're going... pulling it behind you, you will naturally follow a course that avoids running it up against unforeseeable obstacles...

Democracy is it's own worst enemy, and sometimes, when not enough of us do our part, if we're not surrounded, we're at least up to our hocks in it. If it's up to a knot of fancy-pockets who think everybody else can just go git their own, they'll vote for no taxes, and sew poor old Uncle Sam won't have to squat for shine-oila, or anything... since they'll "probably" be stimulating the economy with that money, instead of letting "the government" waste it on banking fees and interest, right?

I believe that the two party system exists more to foster the dialectic than anything. Granted, on some issues, they seem to be polar opposites. On some things, they warm up to one another quite a lot... There's got to be an optimal solution, but the "equation" does not always "balance" the way somebody else would like it to, since they see "variables" and "reasons" not included in (or excluded by) the "consensus" model.

I don't believe that God wants us to form "consensus" by excluding dissenting opinions... Let me put it to you this way: There is a Theory of Cognitive Dissonance which "proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements." But when the problem creating that dissonance is based in physical reality, we can't make it go away by gripping a wallet and injecting the tar sand into our heads.

The problem is that dependence on any kind of fossil fuels, at all, is the problem, along with the associated negative health effects of breathing, or drowning in, it's filthy offal. And the problem's not going to go away on it's own. It's T=Totally golden-spiked into our subconscious. Hmmm. There must be an answer out there... blowing on the wind.