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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Shattered Faith In Leaders, Salesmen And Prophets

Things are not as they seem -- particularly when all the information comes out.  I grew up at a time where I loved and believed in my country (USA) and what it stood for.  I "knew" that we stood for right and that my country would NEVER do things that went against this basic good-ness.  But I also grew up at a time when Vietnam seemed to stand in the way of US ambitions in that part of the world.  I found out that my country's leaders lied to US about WHY we got into that war (one that was never declared), WHAT we were doing there and my faith in the President was shaken to the core.

I remember how disgusted I was in President Nixon when it came out that he swore often, hated and belittled his political enemies and authorized illegal actions to maintain power and control over information.  Nixon wasn't the first leader who tarnished my faith in leaders who I wanted to believe in, but his antics seemed to add importance to the motto of my generation, "QUESTION AUTHORITY".

In 1978, a religious "prophet" named Jim Jones managed to convince 900 of his followers to commit suicide -- because they had made a "covenant" to follow his words without question.  Another group of religious worshipers also committed suicide when their leaders promised them the blessings of heaven as a comet grew visible in the sky in 1997.

This year (2011) an inspirational and motivational speaker named Greg Mortenson made speaking engagements that motivated people to help less fortunate people of the world to build schools and inspire people to do more for entire countries of disadvantaged people.  The only problems is that it was all based on things that most likely didn't happen and a great part of the donations he received has been spent on himself and other things -- rather than on those who it was intended to help.

I have often wondered  WHY we allow churches and politicians and important individuals and non-profit corporations to get away with fraud, misrepresentation and lies.  The answer is that we have something inside us that WANTS to believe the best.  We argue to ourselves that "what's the harm, if GOOD results come from things that aren't quite as they seem?

We seem to be surrounded with lies that inspire.  With charlatans who manage somehow to help a few people and then hold this up as proof that they are not the criminals that a more sensible view of their actions would prove them to be.

These people are the hawkers of snake oil because we WANT to believe that what they are selling is good for us and affordable and they certainly would not sell us a "bill of goods", would they?

I have done a lot of research into the origins of the elixirs that were sold to gullible people who were suffering from health ailments.  Many of them contained opium and other painkillers that temporarily helped, but did no good in the long run -- and even hurt.

As this blog relates to my religious heritage, the LDS church, I would DEMAND that they give an accounting how they spend their donations before I give them another penny.  Such an accounting should be required of all churches so that we can make informed decisions about our donations.

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