Choices and Consequences

My mind has been somewhat taken up with the news of the deaths of these poor baby girls in Saskatchewan, left to freeze and die in the cold snow, in -50 degree weather, this week. My heart breaks for them, for their loved ones, including the young father who left them (and again we don’t know all the details) because in spite of the mistakes he made, in taking them out without proper clothes, and leaving them, because he wasn’t aware of all he was doing, he is suffering for the choices he made. It looks as though something precipitated this, which caused a string of ill advised choices, fueled by alcohol and stress. I am not judging either, but just feeling pain for this family and these poor babies.The comfort is that I know Heavenly Father sent his angels to hold these innocents, to bring them home and maybe maybe to take away the suffering from the cold. Maybe the cold didn’t cause them too much physical anguish? I don’t know much of what freezing to death is like, and I don’t want to find out that they suffered excruciating pain, so young as they are. Children, especially the smallest ones need and are to be protected. So many children for many different reasons are not, and I know this hurts the Lord, I don’t question why He doesn’t always interfere, because He is wiser than I am.

What I feel, as a mother (and even just as a human being) is this urgency, to protect and save the suffering babies. Right now, this is the current one in my mind, these little girls who had little protection from the elements.

I am not thinking (as I know some are) that it is just more evidence of problems on the reserves. No, it is a human problem. The choices made by the father he will regret for the rest of his life. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and sorrow he is experiencing, and their mother as well, that because of a fight, she was not there to watch over and keep her girls safe. The tragedy just transcends all blame at that end.

I do think there is some responsibility for a government that does not regulate the sale of alcohol better. Yes, this father (and so many other alcoholics) made his own choice to purchase and consume alcohol, but evidence shows that First Nations people are genetically more prevalent to substance addiction. The government makes too much money, though to not control the purchase of alcohol or the accessibility of it, better. Do they think of the victims of alcoholism? The innocents, who because of this freedom to drink yourself into a stupor, suffer, and sometimes pay, as in this case, with their lives.

See, children have a right to be protected, to be cared for. They cannot care for themselves. If a puppy or a kitten had been left out there, that animal may have had a better chance of survival. But if an adult is at risk, then how much more are a 3 year old and a baby barely over the age of a year unable to look after themselves? Especially in the debilitating cold.

But the government does not want to lose the revenue they gain through the suffering of others. Our governments (provincial and federal) who are supposed to do their best for the citizens make poor decisions that affect the lives and well being of those who do not choose to even participate in that. These little girls were not a part of the decision their father made to drink, nor a part of the decision to sell the alcohol, to create easy access to it’s sale, to make it in the first place. Adults, people who are supposed to have the intelligence to make responsible choices designed to promote the well being and safety of those they have stewardship over, were the ones who made the decision that resulted in the suffering and death of two little girls.

All I know is that a loving Saviour held them in His arms, this I know, brought them home and ended their suffering and kept them safe and I am sure, wept tears because of His great love, not only for them, but for all involved.

Simon Southerton Promoting Book Again

Simon Southerton, who is struggling hard to be a critic of the Church in a long-since dead area is back again. Maybe his book had low sales last year, so he is trying to drum up some more buyers.

Anyhow, The Age had this, in part, to say:

Last year he published a rebuttal of the Book of Mormon teachings that Native American and Polynesian ancestors came from ancient Israelite tribes who had migrated to the Americas centuries before Christ.

In all the years I’ve read the Book of Mormon?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùin all the times I’ve read it from cover to cover?¢‚Ǩ‚ÄùI must have entirely skipped over the part where it teaches “Native Americans” and “Polynesians” are descended from Israelite tribes.

Maybe if Southerton focused more on what was in the Book of Mormon and less on how members of the Church have traditionally extrapolated the Book of Mormon, it wouldn’t be an issue that he “is facing possible ex-communication”.

I wonder why didn’t wait another week. If he had, he could have done double duty by bringing about press for his new book, and celebrating the first anniversary of the last time he brought this up.

DNA, Lamanites and Book of Mormon

Simon Southerton, geneticist and author of Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church, has taken up a crusade to “[examine] church teachings that American Indians and Polynesians have a historic bond with ancient Israelites.” He does so by using DNA research and applying it to current popular opinion of members of the Church and writings of some scholars with the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.

This seems to be a thorny issue for Southerton. He left the Church because there seemed to be no conclusive evidence that supported the widely held notion among Latter-day Saints that Pacific Islanders and indigenous people of the Americas were descended from the Lamanites.

First, I find it unbelievable—actually, I can believe it, but it still is dumbfounding—that someone’s conviction to the Church can be swayed by scientific evidence. The Book of Mormon is not a scientific journal. It does not establish scientific fact and does not even heavily support scientific theories. It is nothing more than a spiritual record—interspersed with select historical information—of a distinct, isolated group of people.

Second, there is no indication whatsoever in the Book of Mormon that the Lamanites and Nephites were completely alone in the Americas. To say otherwise is nothing more than speculation. It is entirely plausible and even likely that the Lamanites and Nephites encountered—and even mingled with—other peoples already present in the Americas. This alone would reduce any existence of Israelite DNA. As well, it is entirely plausible that the Lamanite population died off or were exterminated; after all, the record of their history is incomplete.

Third, popular belief among Latter-day Saints does not equal doctrine. Just because many Latter-day Saints hold on to the archaic notion that all people indigenous to the Americas are descended solely from Lehi, does not make it church doctrine. I wish more people would understand this one principle. Tradition is not doctrine.

The Book of Mormon is primarily a religious book containing teachings and doctrine about God and Jesus Christ. To treat it primarily as anything else is to treat it as a very shaky foundation.

That being said, it only take a smidgen of logic to see that DNA research does not disprove the Book of Mormon. One would think a scientist like Southerton would understand that.