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  • Writer's picturestephenstrent7

Beware of Wolves in Sheep Clothes


Some of the rioters who attacked our Capital Building 6 January 2021; https://providencemag.com/2021/01/us-capitol-storming-epitomizes-shift-religious-to-post-religious-right


Where Science Meets the Book of Mormon: Come Follow Me Lesson: June 3-9; Mosiah 29 – Alma 4


Alma chapter 2 tells the story of a man, named Amlici, who lost the 87 BC election, and we are told in verse 8 that “…Amlici did stir up those who were in his favor to anger against those who were not in his favor.” And those backing Amlici joined the Lamanites and took up arms against their brethren. “…and this he did that he might subject them to him.” (v. 10) As a result of the ensuing civil war, “…there were slain of the Amlicites twelve thousand five hundred thirty and two souls; and there were slain of the Nephites six thousand five hundred sixty and two souls.” (v. 19) I have written in past blogs about the huge numbers of people living in the Americas at this time, so I won’t address that issue her, but, rather, I will discuss the notion of the insurrections and priestcrafts warned of in the Book of Mormon.


In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) In our modern world, we have been and continue to be deceived by wolves in sheep’s clothes. The last chapter of Mosiah and the first chapters of Alma present examples of such deceit. Mosiah told his people that if they could always have just kings “…then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.” (Mosiah 29:13) However, he warned that all men are not just (Mosiah 29:16-17) and therefore it would be best for them to elect leaders by the voice of the people. “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people. And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.” (Mosiah 29:26-27)


I have always read verse 27 as saying that when people become evil and choose evil leaders that the judgements of God will come upon them. However, that is not what that verse says. It states that if “…the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon…” them. People don’t have to be evil to choose iniquity.

We see a perfect example of this scenario in the second quarter of the twentieth century. During the 1930s, it is my opinion that the German people as a whole were not evil. However, they were oppressed by a world-wide depression and the crushing Treaty of Versailles. Attempting to pay the enormous reparations demanded by the Treaty destabilized the German economy, producing ruinous, runaway inflation. “By September 1923, four billion German marks had the equal value of one American dollar. Consumers needed a wheelbarrow to carry enough paper money to buy a loaf of bread.”1 

 

The German people’s “salvation” came in the form of a masterful speaker and manipulator, Adolf Hitler. He promised to bring Germany back to the good old days and make Germany great again. “Hitler rose to power through the Nazi Party, an organization he forged after returning as a wounded veteran from the annihilating trench warfare of World War I. He and other patriotic Germans were outraged and humiliated by the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which the Allies compelled the new German government, the Weimar Republic, to accept along with an obligation to pay $33 billion in war reparations… ‘We shall squeeze the German lemon until the pips squeak!’ explained one British official.”2 But that British official and the authors of the Versailles Treaty failed to realize that a country is not a lemon.

 

“Hitler, a mesmerizing public speaker, addressed political meetings in Munich calling for a new German order to replace what he saw as an incompetent and inefficient democratic regime. This New Order was distinguished by an authoritarian political system based on a leadership structure in which authority flowed downward from a supreme national leader.”3 

 

“Upon achieving power, Hitler smashed the nation’s democratic institutions and transformed Germany into a war state intent on conquering Europe for the benefit of the so-called Aryan race…Hitler had supreme authority as führer (leader or guide), but could not have risen to power or committed such atrocities on his own. He had the active support of the powerful German officer class and of millions of everyday citizens who voted for the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party and hailed him as a national savior in gigantic stadium rallies.”4 

 

Hitler and his fellow Nazis employed the Big Lie to pull the wool over the eyes of friends and foe alike. Hitler’s first Big Lie, in Mien Kompf, was to blame the Jews for inventing the Big Lie.

 

Politically, I am fiercely Independent, in part because both political parties are presenting the American people with Big Lies. In order to be a good Republican, one apparently has to believe the Huge Lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. The most bizarre part of this Lie is that the election allegedly was stolen by election officials — roughly half of whom were good, honest Republicans. On the other hand, I am a Developmental Biologist and, as such, strongly support the rights of developing embryos and fetuses. It is a Lie for Democrats to insist that abortion only involves the reproductive rights of a woman and that the embryo or fetus, as a non-person, has no rights. However, I do not agree with the extreme measures taken in some states by over-exuberant Republicans to ban abortion under all circumstances and to outlaw in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. A supreme irony here is that a person has the right to sue, say a large pharmaceutical company for damages received when that person was an embryo, but does not have the right to be protected from infanticide (actually feticide).

 

I am certainly glad that there is not another powerful nation in the Americas today. Otherwise, like the Amlicites joining with the Lamanites and attacking the Nephites, I think some of former President Donald Trump’s supporters would be happy to join forces and attack the United States, just like they tried to do at our Nation’s Capital on January 6th. I am certain that if that mob had had sufficient strength, as Hitler had by taking over the military, the threat to hang Vice President Mike Pence, who was defending our Constitution, would not have been an idle threat.


Now that Mr. Trump was convicted of a felony on Thursday, there are already threats to hang New York Judge Juan Merchan, in the aftermath of the guilty verdict. NBC News reported yesterday that, “On social media and web forums, users called for jurors, judges and prosecutors to be killed after the former president was found guilty on 34 felony counts.” The report continued, “The posts, which have been reviewed by NBC News, appear on many of the same websites used by Trump supporters to organize for violence ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.” NBC News further reported, “‘1,000,000 men (armed) need to go to washington and hang everyone. That’s the only solution,’ wrote another user. ‘This s--- is out of control.’”5 I have no doubt that if that person could find 1,000,000 “Lamanites,” the threat would not be idle. How far does our country have to go before it is ripe for destruction? Apparently, all the people who are willing to attack or Capital and threaten death to anyone opposing them lack at present is enough power to carry out those threats and destroy our Nation.


We are told in Alma 1:2-5, “And it came to pass that in the first year of the reign of Alma in the judgment-seat, there was a man [named Nehor] brought before him to be judged...And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God…And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money.”

 

In Alma 1:12 we learn that, Alma told Nehor, “…behold, thou art not only guilty of priestcraft, but hast endeavored to enforce it by the sword; and were priestcraft to be enforced among this people it would prove their entire destruction.” This practice of priestcraft had been defined back in 2 Nephi 26:29: “…priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.” Then we read in Alma 1:16-17, “Nevertheless, this [the death of Nehor] did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor. Nevertheless, they durst not lie, if it were known, for fear of the law, for liars were punished; therefore they pretended to preach according to their belief; and now the law could have no power on any man for his belief.”

 

Very recently, I was asked by a friend of mine to review a set of priestcraft books. The three-volume set, expensively bound and illustrated, is entitled the Universal Model (UM). As with Alma 1:17, the “lies” (in my opinion as a professional scientist) in those books are passed off, not just as belief, but as facts of science by a pseudo-scientist who has no science background, with a BS from BYU in “Organizational Psychology,” but who claims to be more intelligent than any scientist who has lived — at least in the last one hundred years. I asked my friend: if this had been a book of mathematics written by a person with no mathematics background, but who was stating that he was more intelligent than any mathematician who had ever lived and who stated as fact that 2+2=5, would she read the book and insist that I consider listening to the author?

 

I used this analogy because UM seems to be playing on the gullibility of people (mainly in Utah) who have apparently never taken a science course or who didn’t learn much from any course they did have in grade school through high school — and who fall into the trap of anti-science creationism. Some of the anti-science Bible purists, carrying crosses or signs saying “Jesus Saves” were among the mob that attacked our Nation’s Capital on 6 January 2021. Even worse, there were there banners suggesting that the Big Lie of Donald Trump winning the 2020 election had something to do with Jesus. Talk about taking the Lord’s name in vain!   

 

I do not wish to take up space here inserting my 34-page review of the UM, but if anyone would like a copy of my complete review, please let me know (stephenstrent7@gmail.com) and I will provide one.    

 

I will only give a couple of examples of the nonsense passed off as fact in the UM, whose author apparently makes his living from the sales of his books and by the lectures he gives, which I define as a form of priestcraft. I use that definition because, as I read these books, I realized that the whole shaky foundation beneath the UM house of cards was Noah’s flood and the idea that the “fountains of the great deep [were] broken up” (Genesis 7:11). Because of this one partial verse, the UM concluded that the Earth is not made of heavy metals, magma, and igneous rocks; but rather of ice and water — the whole Earth!

 

The book also claims that H2 + O ≠ H2O. This nonsense was discussed in Chapter 23 of vol. 3 and I was given only the first two volumes to review; therefore, I relied on the Summary of the UM (Sum. UM, p. 67). “Even though every science textbook claims or infers that two hydrogen atoms (H2) [that is a molecule not an atom] and a single oxygen atom (O) combine in Nature to create water, where do we actually see that happening? This fundamental question is rarely if ever asked, instead, we are just told that it happens.” That question is easily answered: we actually see that happening in a high school chemistry laboratory, which the authors of UM and Sum. UM apparently missed. The false statement in Sum. UM is exactly why students should take a chemistry lab class and not just read from “science textbook[s].”


I, personally, performed this “experiment” in my high school chemistry lab class (along with millions of other high school chemistry students): placing an electric wire into water and bubbling out hydrogen and oxygen. Add an electric spark to hydrogen and you get a pop, and water (because there is already oxygen in the air). I also performed that latter exercise in high school chemistry. The hydrogen produced in the water dissociation demonstration was highly flammable but the oxygen, while enhancing a flame, was not itself inflammable. These realities I saw with my own eyes in my high school chemistry lab. In 1783 Antoine Lavoisier: performed the same set of experiments. He called hydrogen “Burnable air”; the word hydrogen means “water maker”; in 1805 Joseph Gay-Lussac and Alixander von Humboldt discovered the ration of hydrogen to oxygen as ratio 2:1. The whole idea that water is not H2O is one of the most blatant lies in all of UM — well, aside from the silly water-world notion.


Please watch any or all of these YouTube videos: “Splitting Water - Electrolysis of H₂O”, “Water into Hydrogen - Making a Simple Hydrogen Generator from old battery”, and/or “Automated Hydrogen Generator”. Also, please watch “When Did We Discover that Hydrogen Produces Water when Burned?” All of these videos demonstrate just how full of bologna the UM actually is. You may also watch the 2013 NOVA program, Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday? (Kathleen and I just watched this last night on PBS). In that program, Dale Boucher, of Deltion Innovations Ltd., demonstrated that by capturing the hydrogen and oxygen released by the electrolysis of water into graduated cylinders, one can repeat the Gay-Lussac - von Humboldt experiment and show a ration of hydrogen to oxygen of 2:1.


We are told in Sum. UM p. 70, “Chemistry textbooks all show that Na + Cl = NaCl…What is so amazing about this supposed claim is that chemistry students are told the formula is real and they are shown photographs and videos that presumably illustrate an experiment. However, as you will see, the photographs are literally a hoax and have been deceiving students for years.” Wow, this is perhaps the biggest lie in the book — but how does one rank lies in a book full of lies?


Sum. UM continues, “Why is the experiment a hoax? Because the flash in the photo does not happen when Na (sodium) and Cl (chlorine) are combined at room temperature, no salt forms in this way. The magic happens only by dropping a small amount of water on the sodium, then BOOM! The Flash happens because sodium reacts violently with water, but that tidbit does not appear in the textbook description. The chemistry textbook writers merely staged the photographs to make it look like a flash happened just as sodium and chlorine are combined.” This is an authoritarian statement and is a complete lie – well not all of it: Na does react violently with air and water, that’s why it’s stored in kerosene, toluene, or mineral oil. However, I have seen both demonstrations in high school chemistry. Furthermore, I worked with my HS chemistry teacher to establish a Science Club, which met after school, and we did things not allowed in the regular chemistry classroom. One of his favorite demonstrations was called “the barking dog.” He cut off tiny pieces of sodium from a small block he kept in the chemistry closet, stored in kerosine, and dropped them into different sizes of graduated cylinders. As the small amount of kerosine on each piece evaporated, the sodium reacted violently with the moisture in the air and made a barking sound (a woof as the sodium exploded in the cylinder). The white residue left in the graduated cylinders after the demonstration was sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO₃). In the graduated cylinders, sodium atoms react with the water vapor in the air to form sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which rapidly absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, to form sodium bicarbonate. This simple chemistry demonstration shows that the above statement in Sum. UM, and apparently taken from UM vol 3, is blatantly false.


Please watch the YouTube video, “Making table salt using sodium metal and chlorine gas.” That demonstration shows that what the UM is saying is a pack of lies.


Also please watch the 2021 movie, “Don’t Look Up.” It’s not only a spoof of the anti-science movement, but I found it to be very entertaining.


Why am I spending time on this set of books, which are so full of nonsense? For two reasons: First, I was asked by a friend to review them. Second, one of my goals is to help people who are struggling with the perceived gulf between science and religion and let them know that there doesn’t have to be a gulf. Many young people are leaving the Church, in part, because of their perception that what they are taught in Church contradicts what they learn in science classes. A pseudoscientist, a practitioner of priestcraft, like the author of UM, is only making the gulf wider by throwing in nonsense, for which he apparently is being well paid, and which he apparently thinks supports his notion of what we are taught in the Bible. All a young person being fed this crap has to do is “look up” and realize just how much bologna is being dished out in the heavily illustrated, glossy pages of UM.


I will add here part of a review by a person on Amazon from 2017, calling himself Bezoar: “The author of the UM is a Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS), and since I'm a Mormon and also a Geological Sciences professor at Brigham Young University, which is owned by that church, some students brought the UM to my attention. Reading the book and interacting with the people who work for the author has been an astonishing experience for me, because I have never seen such an enormous pile of crackpot nonsense in my life, and I have never met anyone so unable to process thoughts other than his own than Dean Sessions. His mission is basically to take modern science and overhaul the WHOLE THING--I mean physics, chemistry, geology, biology--so it doesn't present any challenges to his interpretation of his relig7ion. He sees himself as a scientific genius on the order of Newton or Galileo, and is basically trying to build some kind of cult for himself among a certain demographic of Mormons and Evangelicals (the ultra-right-wing home-schooling crowd). Here's the basic strategy he uses.” You can read the rest of the review yourself at Amazon.6 


Bezoar concluded his review by saying, “Lots of people wish they could diminish all the tension between science and their religion, and I get that. But whether Dean Sessions is sincere, or not, the way he tries to do it is simply dishonest. Don't follow his lead and swallow patent crackpottery just so you don't have to feel bad about not having everything figured out, yet. And please, please don't teach your kids this kind of nonsense. As someone who has taught highly religious young people for many years, I can assure you that if at any point they make an effort to check up on Mr. Sessions's claims, they will quickly become disillusioned. If you have tried to use the UM to bolster their faith, they are very likely to throw out the baby with the bathwater.”7


Paul wrote to Timothy, as recorded in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affectiontrucebreakersfalse accusersincontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitorsheadyhighminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”


It turns out, that in the last days, the story is even more complicated than Paul had foreseen, whereas all he prophesied can be found in these last days, there are also Nehors and the like, who claim to be teaching the word of God but are apparently so afraid of true science that they make up fables and flat-out lies to lead away captive silly men and women (2 Timothy 3:6) for the sake of filthy lucre. From such turn away; for, as Alma said, “…were priestcraft to be enforced among this people it would prove their entire destruction.” (Alma 1:12)


Big Lies caused the downfall of the Nephites, Big Lies led to the complete collapse of Germany in 1945, and Big Lies led to the 6 January insurrection in Washington D.C. Beware of wolves in sheep clothes who can cause the collapse of our great Nation if not stopped.

In my opinion, political liars, creationists and their like, who are willing to lie to support their warped sense of scripture, and those practicing priestcraft and writing delusional books for the sake of money, are tearing our country apart — resist their propaganda — from such turn away.    

 

 

Trent Dee Stephens, PhD

 

References

 

1.     How Did Adolf Hitler Happen? nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/how-did-adolf-hitler-happen; retrieved 26 May 2024

2.     Ibid

3.     Ibid

4.     Ibid

7.     Ibid

 

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