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20 minutes | Jan 21, 2021
Life is Like the Rio Grande
In the summer of nineteen ninety two I went on an amazing adventure to New Mexico with my scout troop . We had all sorts of adventures and perils . I climbed a mountain visited the beautiful pure white sand beaches . When inside a bat cave . Camped out with the wild animals and had a raccoon still some of our food . And to see that raccoon up close and personal was quiet amazing . Another thing that we did is that we visited the Rio Grande river . The border between New Mexico and Mexico . In that river . I decided to swim across . So that I could stand on Mexican soil . After I made it across the river . It wasn't long until I was ready to return to America . As I swam the current was very strong . And completely unexpectedly and suddenly . I lost my strength I didn't have the ability to swim and fight the current but instead began to be carried away in the current . I was moving so fast that I was quickly far away from my group . I call for help . In the scout leaders were trying to get me . But I was moving so quickly that it seemed that there was no hope they would be able to get me and I wondered if this would be my last day on the earth . I had a tiny but urgent suggestion . That came to me at that time . I thought was . Put your foot down put your foot down right now . I put my foot down . At that precise moment . My foot landed . On a tiny plot of ground . That was . So high . That was able to stand almost waist high on this platform . In this huge river with its strong current . I rejoiced inside . Because I was standing on solid ground . And could no longer be carried away . By this powerful current . My scout master eventually was able to reach me . And swimming back to safety . Modern life . Is actually . A little bit like swimming in the Rio Grande river . A great man once said . That . We can handle . Poverty . And trials and afflictions . And stay faithful to our God . But something . That we can not handle very well . Is affluence and wealth . And riches and abundance . Of course another great man said if riches is an affliction. Then . Please God afflict me with that affliction . But why would abundance and affluence . Be a curse and an affliction. Why would it be that way . Actually . When we have ready access . To anything that is pleasureful to us . Our brains convince us . That we need more and more and more of it . In fact our brains seem to be programmed . To tell us or convince us . That if we don't get more and more of these . Comforts and pleasures in our life . That . It's actually going to affect our ability to survive . And so it causes within us . These deep . And powerful urges . And over desire . For that which we really don't need . It causes us to do things . And we don't even really know why we're doing it . It causes us to . Have a lack of discipline . To go against some decisions that we've made for ourselves . In fact . We're swimming in the river of life . And the current is stronger than we realized . And we lose our strength and unexpectedly . With lose our will power . And then we get carried away . And can't seem to find a way for help . There's an amazing prophetic . Document . Called The Family a Proclamation to the World put out by the prophets and apostles in 1995 when Gordon B. Hinckley was the prophet . This inspired document . Describes . The currents . Of our modern day . And it also explains what happens to society . When . We fail to resist these currents and instead get carried away . When we put our foot down . On to solid ground . We are in reality . Coming to our Savior, Jesus Christ . To save us . Bonnie Oscarson a few years ago said . The Family a Proclamation to the World . Which at the time was about twenty years old . Is just as relevant today . As it was back then . She said . That it has become a standard for her to use discern. All the things that come from the wiles of the world . So that she can understand . What way is the right and what way is wrong . Dallon H. Oaks, one of the . Creators of the family . A proclamation to the world . Later described . That at the time of the creation of this amazing document . He and some of the other brother were of the opinion . That . The standards in this document . Were commonly believed in the world . And that it wasn't necessary to create such a document . But he recalled . That the spirit of God prompted them to create this document . And so they went forth . They spent a long time writing and revising and discussing . Until these fifteen profits . Were in complete unison and agreement . And they were ready to release this prophecy to the world as a warning . To us . To let us know what times are coming . And what things we need to do to protect ourselves . One of the rip tide currents . Of modern life . As pornography. It's readily available . It's something that . You will likely find many times in your life . Without even looking for it. It has been fabricated . An adulterated . And . Cozmetized. To the extent . That . It can convince . Our brains . That we need that powerful chemical stimulus . But in reality . Our prophets and apostles have taught . That we should avoid it like the plague . That it is incredibly dangerous . The media companies that promote it . Do not have our best interest in mind . As a matter of fact . As reported by Gordon B. Hinckley . One . Of the wealthiest media giants in the world . Who . Is known for promoting pornography . Was asked . If he himself uses it . He said he's a family man . And that he would not give it to his family or himself . But that it made him a lot of money . And he was interested in making money . It's interesting that he knew to avoid it . It's interesting that he knew . How harmful . It is . And why is pornography so harmful . There's so many reasons why . First . It adulterates the relationship within our family. It creates within us a . An intense lust for that which is not real . Making us unsatisfied . With . The relationship that we have with our wives . Or husband for you women . Making us constantly . Seeking for something that's not even real . The figures in . Pornographic media . Have been changed by surgery and . Video or photography effects and so forth and that's what I mean by it's not even real . They've discovered a way to make . That which is sexual to be even more powerful and stimulating than it is in reality . And it's really not good for us to have . That much of an intense . Pleasure hit because it . It actually distorts our view . Sexual relationships. Between a husband and a wife . Are an expression of love . And if our entire focus is on consuming intense pleasure . Then we miss out on . The profound . Godly aspect . Of having a sexual relationship between a married couple . The profound love and appreciation for each other . The bonding elements of it . Are distorted or destroyed because of pornography . In addition . People that consume pornography tend to prefer pornography to . The actual sexual relationship or they try to recreate . What occurred in the pornographic . Representation within reality even though it's not real . And it places . Comparison . On one's spouse . Or other things . So far what I've explained is . Not good . But it's still relatively mild because . We're just talking about . Yourself and maybe your relationship with one other person . But that happens to be the most important relationship that you could ever have . The relationship that can stay with you . As your best relationship . Throughout all eternity . Why would you throw that relationship . In the garbage . But other relationships are also affected because . People who are addicted to pornography their brains are constantly seeking it . And so it makes them unable . To visualize . Other people that they see throughout the day . In a wholesome way . It causes them to see other people as sexual objects . And that interferes with their ability . To have . Healthy relationships overall . And so it's not just that one relationship it turns out to be all relationships . It also affects the relationships that a person has with their children . Their inability to control their bodily appetites . He comes a major problem . Children may . Catch on to . Some of the indulgences. And . They may actually be tempted themselves to participate . Of course . If it leads to . Further sexual transgression . And divorce it affects the structure of the family . And no one is more impacted by that then the children living at home . And then finally . Pornography destroys society at large . What it does is it lowers the moral standards of the people living in the society . And so as more people . Consider its use to be normal . They also become more accepting . Of other things which were historically considered . Completely and utterly inappropriate . As the pursuit of pleasure becomes the new norm . We abandon our old and cherished beliefs . Our . Reliance on God . And we get carried away . Into a terrible storm . And while we may be enjoying . The pleasure of it all as we're carried down the river . Eventually we will realize . That we are being led . To a point of destruction . We're destroying our society we're destroying our souls . So how can we overcome . This great problem . It is a great problem that has captured . A very large number of people . Including . A very large percentage of the members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints . And I'm here to tell you that there is hope . You may have tried in the past . To overcome . These problems that I have described and others . But I'm here to tell you . That . With the solid foundation . That our Savior provides . You can stand . And put your foot down . And be on stable ground . That's it for now . Thank you for joining . Have a blessed day.Show transcribed by Watson Cloud
13 minutes | Sep 24, 2020
The Media Formula
Note: Audo Transcribed by IBM Cloud and may contain inaccuracies.This is Michael Hogan you're listening to religious expressions episode number 3. Social data is so complex in this day and age. In fact. Some advocates for social change. I'm not only able to indicate that they will be able to successfully make a change but they're even able to identify the time frame of how long it will take for a common social change to take place. This of course is not in violation of anyone's individual agency or personal ability to make choice. Their understanding of what drives change in the mind. And their understanding of what they've been able to do in the past. And how they were able to use that in order to drive what they want to make change in the future. This is very powerful and also. Very concerning. There's many forms of this but they do have a common formula that has been in use over the last 30 years or so at least. First you take a social norm which historically have stayed within time honored values with some exceptions and of course societies that have for cirque these time honored values have stopped existing. So the first thing that they do they take a common belief and they're perf portray a group of people living within that notion of their common belief and embracing it. But then the creators of this media entertainment are able to come up with the most innocent way in which the the belief could be placed into question. And then they show the characters experimenting with. A new idea. About. What could be considered. The normal or right or reasonable thing to do in this new but. Extremely unlikely lease circumstance. And so what they've done is at this point they've created. In the mind. The idea. That perhaps there are some. Rare circumstances in which a highly honored value. Perhaps. Could be disregarded. And just for one example imagine this scenario in which a man. Is stranded on a desert island with a woman or. Some choice of things on a woman. And of course the obvious assumption here. Is that if you're gonna be. Stock on an island. With just you and a woman for the rest of your life as you know at. Maybe that some justification to break your marital valves. Now what we commonly used to call this type of thinking is rationalization it's coming up with an excuse or a reason a situation a circumstance. In which we could feel justified in going against what we previously believed to be right and strongly identified with. But let's go back to the deserted island the scenario if you are stranded on an island and it's just you if you're a guy and and a woman do you have to break your marital vowels do you have no choice in this matter of course you have a choice and you can stick to the higher standard. And not use that circumstance as an excuse to break your. Covenants. That you've made. With yourself and with your wife. Now. If there is a god a great creator of the universe and the earth and everything in the air. Which. There is life has a purpose. And the plan and the things that really matter in life are not those things that give us pleasure or those possessions that we gain that we can't take with us after we die. And if you think deeply about it. Specially when a loved one passes away or a tragic circumstances happy circumstance happens. Most people will admit that they now there's something more to life and. We were created after the image of god in this world was formed by god with his matchless power. And if there was a great creator of all things as there is. Shouldn't he be able to tell us. A road map as to how we can be. Most successful in this life. N. meeting. The purpose of it. And finding the truest joy and happiness. As we live. And in exodus chapter 20 we have some guidelines about some of these roles that our creator has given us. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. The upshot not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything in heaven the shot not bow themselves down to them nor serve them. Thus shalt not take the name of the lord thy god in vain remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy 6 days shalt thou labor and do all the work but the seventh is the Sabbath of the lord in it there shall not do work down or they son my daughter. They made servant northern I. manservant nor like cattle no by stranger that is within thy gates for in 6 days the lord made heaven and earth the sea and all that in them is and rested the seventh day where for the lord blessed the Sabbath and how old it honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the lord thy god giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill thou shalt not commit adultery thou shalt not steal thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife nor his manservant nor his maidservant nor his ox nor anything that is thy neighbor's. So here we have a list of guidelines. That god has given. To his people. So that they can. A chief. The best things in this life if you look at the. Justifications the excuses the made up pretend to situations that cause us to re evaluate our values. They almost all or or maybe every one of them deals with these 10,ndments and particularly the shot not covet. And particularly assault not take the name of the lord thy god in vain. And thus shalt not bear false witness. Honor the Sabbath day. And now shalt not commit adultery. Of course all 10 of the,ndments are in violation but the portrayal of the media of creating situations in which society. Is given the opportunity to reconsider. It's standards is based upon. Those 5 that I mentioned. And so. If we have a chance to cover it. Then perhaps we will do something in regards to that coveting. And if we commit adultery then we may fill. That we can commit adultery with anyone we like at any time that we like. But the lord's standard for sexual relationships. Is between. A man and a wife legally and lawfully wedded. And anything else according to the board's definition. And this is a time honored definition. Is adultery. If you really think about it. You don't need to have a sexual relationship with anybody at any time. In any place in order for your life to be justified in order for you to fill satisfaction and accomplishment in life actually the inverse of that is true. When you attempt to satisfy your pleasures at any time in any place according to what feels right to you. That's the time in which you no longer have control over your life that's the time. In which you felt to fulfill your obligations to your family and to society. That's the time in which you become. A less trustworthy individual unless. Capable contributor that's the time in which you become a slave to addictions and I'd actually like to dedicate. An entire podcast to this subject because I do have a great deal of content about this. But in any case. I've noticed that the media. Is very skilled at crafting public opinion. And that changing social norms they've been doing it for a long time they're very good at it. But if you engage in this type of entertainment just be aware that is a very good chance that the entertainment that you're participating in. Was created with the specific purpose. Of. Changing the way you think about something. Changing the way you think about the world. Changing your opinions and possibly your values. All right it was a pleasure and I'll talk to you soon.
13 minutes | Sep 17, 2020
Key to Continuation of CivilizationYour listening to Religious Expressions with Michael Hogue. This is podcast number 2.Hello friends.Joseph Wirthlin once shared an experience from his military fighter pilot training...Decades ago Dr. Kenneth McFarland summarized the opinions of noted historians Edward Gibbon, Arnold Toynbee, and Will Durant. Even though each historian lived in a different century, their conclusions were in unanimous agreement with one another, in their conclusions about what led to the fall of every great civilization of the world, in all recorded history.McFarland noted six social/cultural shifts that always take place:They lost their religious convictions and flouted basic morality.They became obsessed with sex.They debased their money of its intrinsic value and let inflation run rampant.Honest work ceased to be a virtue.Respect for law disintegrated and violence became an accepted method of achieving individual and group desires.Finally, citizens were no longer willing to be soldiers and fight for the defense of their nation and heritageDr. Kenneth McFarland speech, “Bicentennial America’s Opportunity”. Given at Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, at the National Convention of the Independent Petroleum Association of America.Do we see any signs that America, as a whole, has lost religious convictions?In recent news was noted numerous lawsuits in which churches sued government entities for unfairly restricting citizens’ rights to attend worship services while placing no similar restriction on other types of civil activities – most severely the right to protest.To this, David Bednar responded: “While believers and their religious organizations must be good citizens in a time of crisis, never again can we allow government officials to treat the exercise of religion as simply nonessential. Never again must the fundamental right to worship God be trivialized below the ability to buy gasoline” https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/bednar-covid-19-pandemic-religious-freedom.Do we see any signs that Americans have become obsessed with sex?In short, the answer is indisputably “yes”.Do we see excessive inflation with money losing it’s value?From my personal observations, this seems to be the case. In my short lifetime I have seen the value of the average home raise by a factor of 10 to 15 times the cost of homes when I was a child. In the area where I live, I have seen in just a few years, the cost of the average home literally double.Paper money used to be backed by precious metals, but this has not been the case for a very long time.Any time there is a financial need, our country increases its debt.The percentage of people who maintain savings is very low across the board, with only a small portion of the population saving more than 15% of their income.People live on debt more than they ever have, turning yesterday’s luxuries into today’s necessities.Do we see any signs that honest work is no longer a virtue?I see this problem all around.Have we seen any evidence that respect for law is disintegrating, and that has started to become an accepted method for achieving individual and group desires?With the incidence still ongoing, following George Floyd’s death, it is quite clear that a growing group of people favor anarchy, and that even currently-acting major political leaders support violent protests as a right, even though in these cases the violence always seems to be aimed at innocent people, many of whom belong to minority groups, and it is devastating to report that some of the victims have been small children, toddlers, and even babies.There is a time and place for war, as was required to secure individual freedoms for the inhabitants of the United States of America; but the recent lawlessness and violent crime is a very serious and grave concern for us.I really can’t speak to the last point that was raised by these noted historians who have pointed out the circumstances that have historically led to the fall of all the great civilizations throughout documented history. However, in reviewing these main points, the United States of America doesn’t seem to be far from what could lead to its destruction.George Albert Smith said “There is nothing in the world more deleterious or harmful to the human family than hatred, prejudice, suspicion, and … unkindness”. He further admonished, “Whenever your politics cause you to speak unkindly … know this that you are on dangerous ground.”“Closely related to mockery is a spirit of cynicism. Cynics are disposed to find and to catch a fault. Implicitly or explicitly, they display a sneering disbelief in sincerity and rectitude.” Isaiah prophesied that they who make someone “an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught” shall be consumed (Isaiah 29:20-21).
8 minutes | Aug 27, 2020
Hello. I am Michael Hogue. I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time, and am now officially beginning this podcast in which I will discuss my faith. As a high school student years ago, I took a career assessment, the name of which I do not recall. It contained approximately 200 multiple-choice questions. Weeks later, all the students received reports containing 6 or 7 highly compatible professions we should consider, with details about each profession. Unlike most of my classmates, my report contained only two recommended career options, with the number one ranked choice as: pastor or minister for a church. Both recommended career paths would have been enjoyable and fulfilling for me, but there was just one problem with the top recommendation: my church does not have a paid clergy. In order to have pursued that career path, I would have needed to turn away from that which I love and know to be true. Doing so would have been a serious betrayal of my conscience and convictions. Since that time I have felt an ever-growing wish to share my thoughts and feelings about my faith. It works like this for me: As I study or meditate on a principle, I seem to gain deeper insights and appreciation for that principle. The whole process is exciting for me. It fills me with joy, peace, gratitude, and enthusiasm. But what dampens my joy in these experiences: even though I have attempted as often as possible, to share what I consider to be extremely meaningful and impactful and important; I’ve had relatively few opportunities to do so, with the essence of what drives me regarding these choice and precious principles.Regardless of which religion you embrace – or no religion at all – I hope that my words will work within you to bring you closer to God; that something within you will resonate to help you more fully understand and appreciate that you and I are created in His image; that our Creator has designed an important purpose for your life and mine. As you come to more fully realize God’s love, the purposes for which he has outlined your life, and as you step into that role which he has designed for you; your satisfaction with life will become immeasurable; you will find unending peace, joy, success, and happiness – and all of this will be in spite of the great commotions and contentions in our world today; it will be peace and happiness in your life regardless of setbacks, potential losses, and adversities.You may wonder how I can be so confident of these truths, but even when the Jews marveled that our Savior, Jesus Christ, knew letters, He didn’t expect people to take His teachings at face value. He said that anyone who does His will “shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).There are so many lessons that can be derived from this simple verse. Among all those lessons emerges the powerful theme that religious assurances require that we be “doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22).So when questions of religious doctrine confront you, which is likely to happen at least once if you continue to listen to me, you have the opportunity to find out for yourselves the truthfulness of any message – by humble meditation, submissive prayer, and obedient action. The first absolute requirement for the kind of faith that we all need to obtain, is to have an assurance in God’s personal attributes – most importantly that He is perfect, all powerful, all knowing, and that He loves us with a perfect love. Why would this be such an important requirement? I look at it this way: If we come to know for sure that God wants something for us, but we do not have an assurance that He loves us, then we might consider His will for us to be irrelevant and possibly harmful. If we know what God wants, but do not have an assurance of His perfect knowledge, wisdom, foresight, and power, then we might consider His will for us to be irrelevant because of its potential to be wrong.If we do not know that God is powerful enough to: raise the dead, move mountains, create food spontaneously, convert substances into other substances, with fig treas, arrange with perfect timing for someone to catch a fish that happened to have money inside, and if those don’t impress you – to create the entire universe through His Son;In short, if we don’t have a firm belief and assurance in God’s matchless power, wisdom, knowledge, intelligence, and love; then we will be forever BLOCKED in our lives from gaining the faith needed so that we will serve Him in truth, and trust in His ability to deliver on His promises.If, in your personal assessment of yourself, you find yourself to be short on faith in God’s character and His personal attributes, I encourage you to keep listening to my messages. I hope to have thoughts, scriptures, and ideas that will help to build your faith – if you are open and willing to receive it. But I want to you know that I make this recommendation ONLY because I know that I will intention to connect you to the only true source of power. If God’s word becomes precious to you, as it is to me; and if daily you come to understand God’s character, especially His love for you, because you diligently search His word, meditate on His principles, and pray sincerely for His guidance; and as you commit to God that you will follow his will in all things; then you will be connected to God who will give you satisfaction and joy as He leads the course of your life.With that said, I believe you found me for a reason. Even if you believe that the well of living water is already springing forth in your soul, you might find something in my messages that will be of great value to you.Thank you for spending this time with me, and I look forward to doing it again soon.By the way, you may have been curious about the second career recommendation: It was forest ranger. I didn’t pursue either.
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