Monday, February 27, 2012

President Paternoster discusses emigrating to America

I had the shock of my life a few weeks ago when one of my Elders Quorum Presidents Patrick O’Brien told me in an interview that he was seriously considering accepting a lucrative offer from his company to go to California, which is in America.  He explained that the head office is right next to a beautiful beach and that he could buy a home in a very nice neighbourhood close by.

The O’Brien’s are from a small branch and to lose a solid family like them would be a great hardship on the other members. Sister O’Brien is the Young Women’s President and their children make up half of the primary.  As an experienced Church leader I knew just what to do. 

I asked Brother O’Brien if he had considered the Church policy related to this matter.  He replied that he didn’t know the Church had a policy on whether he should take a job transfer to America and wasn’t even sure that the Church should be trying to influence his decision one way or the other. 

I was able to explain that the policies the Church has in place are for our own good and well being; they have been written by prophets, seers and revelators according to the spirit of the Lord that is in them and we would do well to heed their counsel. 

We logged onto to read the inspiring policy that the Lord has put in place for the edification of mankind.  I asked Brother O’Brien to prayerfully consider the section entitled “Emigration of Members” which is summarized below:

*“Members are encouraged to remain in their native lands to build up and strengthen the Church.  As members remain in their homelands and work to build the Church there, great blessings will come to them personally and to the Church.  Stakes and wards throughout the world will be strengthened, making it possible to share the blessings of the gospel with an even greater number of Heavenly Father’s children.”

Critics will probably say that the Church is simply trying to look after its own interests but they fail to understand that our ways are not the Lord's ways, nor are our thoughts his.  I asked Brother O’Brien to fast and pray about whether he and his family would be better off heeding the advice of the Brethren by staying in Ireland to partake of the great blessings that the Brethren have promised to them.  I further explained as per the manual that the Brethren have been kind and thoughtful enough to warn that “... those who emigrate often encounter language, cultural, and economic challenges, resulting in disappointment...”

I related to him how often in America we have to say things 17 times before being properly understood and how the culture is so very different from ours. 
Three days later Brother O’Brien rang me to confirm that he had turned down the offer and that his co-worker (who is Presbyterian) will be going to work and live by the beach in California instead.  He said to me “I bet the Presbyterian Church doesn’t even have an emigration policy” and I answered “Well Brother O'Brien, that’s just one of the many great advantages of being in the one true Church!”

Friday, February 17, 2012

President Paternoster Wins the Wrong Award!

Brothers and Sisters it has come to my attention this morning that my blog was nominated for certain Brodie awards and in fact won the title of “Best Humor/Satire Site or Blog” for 2011. 

Words cannot even begin to express how disappointed I am right now.  When a Stake President decides to come online to show how the gospel helps individuals come unto Christ and when he defends the Church against the attacks of the enemy there is absolutely nothing humorous in this.  We are in a battle for the souls of men and Satan is winning.  I am disgusted at the very suggestion that my blog may contain humour or satire.  I am also outraged that the creators of the award couldn’t even spell humour correctly.  Don’t they have schools in America?

Rest assured I am working with the people in charge to change the name of my award from “Best Humor/Satire Site or Blog” to “As Faith Promoting as General Conference Blog.”

I went so far as to research the meaning of satire to try and understand where this gross misconception might be coming from.  The below is my understanding of the purpose of satire and why my blog absolutely does not fit into this category:

“In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming the institution itself, into improvement.  (My blog is about the one true Church even the Lord’s kingdom upon the earth which certainly does not need to be shamed into improvement.  Improvements, if any even need to be made, will come through the revelatory channel that the Lord has put in place for the salvation of mankind). 

Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon. This "militant" irony or sarcasm often professes to approve or at least accept as natural the very things the satirist wishes to attack. (My blog does not meet this requirement, although Sister Murphy did once mention I was rather witty).

The best satire does not seek to do harm or damage by its ridicule, unless we speak of damage to the structure of vice, but rather it seeks to create a shock of recognition and to make vice repulsive so that the vice will be expunged from the society under attack; (to the truly faithful my blog posts do not create a shock of recognition.  If it did they would be working against me trying to bring my blog down and reporting me to blogger or whomever they could – trust me).  Whenever possible this shock of recognition is to be conveyed through wit: the formula for satire is one of honey and medicine. Far from being simply destructive, satire is implicitly constructive, and the satirists themselves, often depict themselves as such constructive critics.

The reason the satirist doesn't merely write moral tracts encouraging people or organizations to virtue, and the reason he feels justified in displaying anger and indignation at the institution under attack is that the satirist's world (in the church) is not one of basic good accidentally gone astray, in which every man would seek good if he knew how or were shown the way, but rather it is one of unseeing fools and unsightly knaves who either claim to possess virtue already, or who have already rejected it, claiming that vice is (or is as good as) virtue. It is a world of hypocrisy, in which social standing, church membership, titles and positions, peer praise, lip service to morals, and wealth are all used to hide evils of the first order. In such a world of hypocrites and pretenders, simple moral encouragement would be totally inefficacious. The satirist, therefore, will display his critical attitude and implicit morality through irony, often by creating a narrator (naturally this does not describe the good President Paternoster) who appears to be as much a hypocrite as the target of the work, but who exposes himself and the target by his lack of true perception or inability to hide his hypocrisy.

Church members pay little attention to moralizers or blogs that attempt to expose the Church. Since the hypocrisy demands this particular approach, it is not surprising that the satirist takes hypocrisy for granted in his works. The theory is, then, that for the satiric mode to be corrective, certain values must exist which people do not follow, but which values they claim to follow (this of course does not describe the church, at all).

Exaggeration is one of the most commonly used techniques in satire, since the depiction of an extreme or blatantly vicious case is one of the best ways to get the target to recognize or admit that a vice exists at all. Recognition must precede correction. The satirist brings his description of a wrong to its logical extreme, or at least exaggerates by overemphasis in order to make the unseeing see, and the seeing-but-complacent oppose and expunge corruption." 

To him that hath ears let him hear.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A New Convert's Testimony

I apologize as I haven’t had time to write a blog post lately.  Last week I was privileged to hear a testimony given by a single 27 year old named Michael Tozer.  Since he had written his testimony on paper I asked for a copy and Brother Tozer agreed to have it posted on this blog.  I hope you will be as moved as I was by his sincerity and commitment to the Lord:

“Brothers and Sisters when the Sister missionaries found me one year ago today I was a very different person than I am today.  The Church has changed me so much and I am deeply grateful for the additional knowledge that the restored gospel has given me. 

One area in which the Church has helped me is in time management.  I used to waste away my evenings with friends playing a round of golf or enjoying a game of tennis.  Now I study the scriptures, do my home teaching, attend Church meetings or go on splits with the Elders.  My friends have pretty much abandoned me.

In addition to this I used to spend Sundays swimming and relaxing at the beach or doing some other meaningless activity but now I spend my time more wisely attending the three hour block and keeping the Sabbath day holy.  

The Church has also helped me from a health perspective too. The first time the sisters visited me I was eating a salad and drinking green tea.  Each time they came I would offer them a cup of green tea and they would politely decline but would always accept a fizzy drink (that they called pop).  One evening I had a bottle of red wine open for when they arrived but was quite taken back that they wouldn’t enjoy a glass with me but instead drank pop.  When they taught me that only those who obey the Lords law of health could enter the most holy places on earth, even the temples, it all started to make sense.  I determined from that day forth to follow their example and now whenever I feel a desire for green tea or a glass of red wine I think of the Saviour dying on the cross for me and partake of pop instead.  I have put on quite a lot of weight over the past year but the opportunity to go to the temple is one that I do not intend to miss out on.

I realize now that the beautiful women of the world that I used to date were probably just using me to satisfy their own carnal desires and cravings.  I am now saving myself for my one eternal companion with whom I can be sealed for time and all eternity.     

Quite recently I had an experience in which I was in a place where a song by Jennifer Lopez was playing.  A very beautiful brunette with pretty brown eyes came up to me and suggestively whispered the words of the song “You can go hard or you can go home” in my ear. I immediately went home.  

Had I not been a member of this Church I shudder to think that I might have stayed and found myself in the throes of passion and lust with her later that night committing a sin next only to murder in gravity.  As I read the Ensign alone that night I knew without a shadow of doubt that the Lord loved and approved of me. 

I wish with all my heart that my old friends could see the joy that the gospel brings into the lives of the elect few who have chosen to abide by its precepts, and I leave these thoughts with you in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.”