Planet of the Priesthood, Part 1: Fear and Loathing
Welcome back to ForeverLDS. This is our 18th Podcast. The timing lately hasn't been as consistent as I would like, but I think my fans would sympathize. I am feeling the pressure to finish "Thorns of Glory". The podcast and other projects associated with ForeverLDS are a wonderful and satisfying pursuit, and I'll continue to contribute, but perhaps not every Tuesday—as in past weeks. Not till I finish this dad-blasted novel. I doubt many of my fans would complain. They want to see how this story ends as badly as I do. And though the podcast has received some generous feedback and donations from fans, either directly or through Patreon, true financial security for my family resides in completing Vol. 13 of the Tennis Shoes Adventure Series. So bear with me while I marathon it to the end.
When I select a subject for the podcast on foreverLDS, I bounce all over the place. I love knowledge, and I love reading. I love discovering new things. As I've often told people as I've taught creative writing, your strongest passion should be a passion for learning. A storyteller has to be a mini-expert in practically everything—competent in as many subjects as possible. You CAN'T learn too much, because it's inevitable that as you sit down to write a story you're going to have to reach into your brain files and retrieve some scrap of information that will make all the difference as you strive to make your story plausible. Otherwise your readers will go—eh, this guy—or gal—doesn't know what he's talkin' about. And they'll lose interest, or they'll never read anything else you've written.
I know because I have the fan mail to prove it, putting "fan" in quotes. In this case the reader didn't know what they were talking about, but readers are a judgmental breed. You can lose them like that. Early in my career I got a letter from a teenager—I think he was a teen—might have been someone older—anyway, he read my first novel Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites and arrived at the point where the characters chop down some coconuts. I describe coconuts as these big yellow globes that Jim and Garth and Jenny have to bore into with a pocketknife to get out the milk. Coconuts, right? Well, his letter went on about how he'd seen coconuts in the grocery store and they were obviously small brown things with stringy outer shells, softball-sized—not yellow globes. So he decided if I couldn't even describe coconuts right, why read anymore of my book, or books.
This was so long ago, I don't even remember if I wrote back. I'd actually been to Mexico and Guatemala. I'd watched a local farmer shimmy up a coconut tree and chop some down. He'd used his machete to cut a hole in the top and even provided us with straws for the coconut milk and these were big yellow globes—not small brown, stringy softballs.
This guy didn't know about different kinds of coconuts. He'd seen Pacific coconuts at Piggly-Wiggly or wherever—and yada, yada. So I was accurate and he was wrong, but oh well. You really don't have to look too hard in any of my novels to find errors more embarrassing than my description of coconuts. The point is, people are persnickety. Many readers are very sharp. They know their stuff. And they know when a novelist is trying to pull something over on them, and they definitely aren't shy about telling you. So storytellers must become knowledgeable enough to know what they DON'T know—because invariably a story idea comes to mind that requires intensive research. Plausibility! That's the challenge. The great chase.
But for me research is the fun part. I love learning new things. The best research comes from books, but I've mentioned before that I devote a lot of my spare time watching educational channels—24-hour News, Discovery, History, Nat. Geo., American Heroes—stuff like that!
Not many subjects bore me, unless I recognize that the information is twisted or agenda-driven. And with experience those instances are fairly easy to recognize. Sometimes my wife, who might be scrapbooking or doing some other project in the same room, will hear me erupt with something like, "Whatever! Are you kidding me?" I'm actually arguing with the television. A show I'm watching is spewing nonsense. The hosts might be scientists, yet they're oblivious to how much they've become a total tool.
There are certain ideas on educational TV you will never see. Or rarely see. Sometimes I feel like all these networks are owned by one mega-network and if you approach scientific questions in a way that falls outside of the "accepted" approach, you're toast! So the producers and writers of these shows are in cahoots, determined to present a united front, and if anyone ever expresses sincere doubts about a certain premise, they lose their jobs.
One lesser example: Rarely will religion on these educational channels be approached from anything but a secular viewpoint. They present the same angle as a show about Bigfoot, or UFOs, or paranormal activities. Rarely will such topics be presented from a perspective that dignifies religious interpretation as a reasonable and intelligent position endorsed by reasonable and intelligent people. Morgan Freeman does pretty good. He'll sometimes let a religionist express an unedited point of view on "Through the Wormhole" but only when surrounded by secularists who can present an alternate point of view. So unless it's BYU-TV or some Catholic Channel, forget it! Theists cannot be members of the same elite scientific club. And science admits this. Not their role, they say. Besides, religious tenets can be so diverse. But the general idea of a higher power is pretty basic. I just feel if you're gonna talk about the likelihood of a comet destroying the earth, or a solar flare wiping away our atmosphere, you ought to balance it by asking WHY a comet like Chicxulub or some other cosmic phenomenon hasn't wiped out the human race. Could it be that something is holding it all together? Something is at the helm? A hundred years ago, I promise nobody would be rattling off all the myriad of components that would need to come together in order to make life on earth possible—odds that scientists admit are 10 to the 282nd power. That's a one with more zeros behind it than I can even count. Those are the odds of life forming on our earth without divine intervention. So back to what I was saying, nobody a century ago would have rattled off such odds without mentioning the concept of God.
Just watching educational TV makes it obvious that America is trending more and more secular, when to me the mysteries upon mysteries that science still confesses to exist —An admission that they still don't understand how the earth was formed, how the solar system works, how galaxies operate, or even the nature of subatomic particles—shoot, the Hadron Collider in Switzerland only adds questions with every experiment it conducts—So why isn't this constant compounding of questions drawing us closer to God? To me that's the biggest mystery. But it's really not that great a mystery. It all comes back to pride, that "carnal man" thing. Truth is not born of corruption. Answers do not arise in an atmosphere devoid of faith. Yet we sure expend a lot of energy convincing ourselves it does.
Here's something else you'll never hear on educational TV—any reasonable doubts or opposing viewpoints on the subject of anthropogenic global warming or climate change. Anthropogenic means "man-made" or "human-caused". If you happen to have a different opinion on this subject, don't expect any air time on the channels I've named. They have a definite agenda and objective, and anyone with an alternative theory that does NOT support the idea that man-made global warming will overwhelm our planet in the next decade, three decades, or at the very least over the next century—need not apply to be a program contributor. You are a spoiler. You're ruining all the fun. You might even be evil! A denier of the same ilk as those who deny man-made global warming are in the same category as those who deny the holocaust or other human atrocities.
It doesn't matter if it's a show about survival, sharks, migrations of wildebeests, cloning a woolly mammoth, gold mining in Greenland, or finding buried treasure on an island of snakes off the coast of Brazil—inevitably, invariably—the theme of the show—usually trumpeted at the end of every episode—is a woeful invective about the vanishing opportunities faced by scientists, naturalists, adventurers and documentary filmmakers because of the impending threat of global warming. Climate change. Global warming. Climate change. It's like turret's syndrome. The speech usually goes something like this: "And if man-made Global Warming continues at its current rate, all of this (whatever we happen to be looking at on the screen—animals, rainforests, birds, fish, glaciers) may be gone. Every opportunity to make a difference will have passed us by, and mankind will have no one to blame but itself for the crimes they have perpetuated that led to the end of our species as we know it."
One show I watched made a case for the idea that we were on the verge of the next mass extinction event—far worse than the last mass extinction created by the Chixilou asteroid on the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago—an incident that purportedly wiped out 60-70% of existing species. No, no, the coming event—definitely over the next century—will be far more dramatic. Based on our planet's current rate of species extinction, what's happening is more comparable to what geologists have dubbed the "The Great Dying" about 250 million years ago—an event that separates the Pre-Cambrian era from the era of the dinosaurs.
The most likely culprit for the Great Dying is purported to a massive volcanic upheaval in the earth's upper mantle across millions of square miles of Siberia, which upheaval may have been triggered by another asteroid collision on the exactly opposite side of the globe, namely in Antarctica. In other words, an impact one side of the planet had the causal effect of bringing magma to the earth's crust on the other side of the planet, showering the earth in acid rain and essentially altering the atmosphere's chemical make-up for millennia.
The "Great Dying" is said to have wiped out upwards of 90% of all life. And yes, that's the kind of extinction event presently unfolding across our globe, except this time the culprit isn't asteroids or lava fields. It's us. This extinction will be the direct result of human activity, the merciless exploitation of our environment by greedy corporations and irresponsible polluters, which in turn leads to the systematic destruction of our ozone layer by deforestation and the ocean-wide death of plankton and coral reefs across the 7 seas, which in turn leads to an unprecedented rise in C02 levels in our atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect that is, even now, melting glaciers and depleting the polar ice caps wherever such thicknesses can be measured. Therefore, unavoidably, in mere decades—fewer and fewer decades, it seems, every year, depending upon who you ask, causing a rise in sea levels that will inundate low-lying elevations like the entire state of Florida, forcing the residents of Miami and New Orleans and dozens of other coastal cities to either build massive levies or deport their populations inland.
Inevitable. Unavoidable. In his State of Union Address in 2015 President Barack Obama stated, "Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”
From the stage of the Academy Awards Leonardo DiCapprio, after winning his first Oscar, spent much of his acceptance speech promoting the issue of global warning. He said, "Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world, a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
Brash stuff. And influential. Forget the awkward English. Saying "collectively together " is, um, rather like saying "collectively collectively." But Leo is not an English major. Nor is he a science major. I've never really been quite sure why the public cares about the political or environmental opinions of actors, but there's no denying that such individuals, in consequence of their fame, carry a very loud megaphone whenever they want to present their views of the world. We feel like we know these people. They've been the protagonists in countless films where we were right there, rooting for them to win against all the odds. If I had that kind of megaphone, hey, I'd use it too. Right now all I have is a very small megaphone and, even if my audience is a fraction of a fraction of an A-list Hollywood actor, I'll still do whatever I can to provide what I think is a rational clarification.
But don't draw any firm conclusions about my overall opinion just yet, because you might be surprised. Right now I just want to do my best to illuminate some of the details and bring it around to an eternal, or Gospel, perspective, if I can. This is an emotional topic. Not many topics are MORE emotional to some people. It's become as volatile and delicate as the most sensitive subjects people can discuss.
I've always found that a bit unsettling. I think a lot of people with faith in something higher than themselves find it unsettling. That doesn't mean we don't care about the environment and the planet. Many people of faith are deeply concerned with issues like climate change and pollution and the preservation of our natural world. But it's sort of automatic for us to look at such issues with a certain degree of balance that others lacking in faith don't seem to utilize.
And just for the record, I don't think I've heard any scientists declare that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history. In fact, according the data, the hottest year in recent times was 1998. According to all the measurements of all the thermometers placed all over the world and in the atmosphere that track this sort of thing, every year since 1998 has actually gotten cooler.
That doesn't mean this coolness trend will continue. It may get warmer. Some scientists believe for the last century the earth has been cycling out of a period known as the "little ice age". Scientists are confident, for example, that earth's temperatures were actually warmer in Roman times, when vineyards and wineries were common on the island of Britain and when Vikings raised cattle on the vast grasslands of Greenland. We slipped into a little ice age during what's commonly known as the Dark ages, and we came out of that period of warmer weather during the Renaissance, only to sink back into another little ice age in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, around the same time that Joseph Smith Sr. experienced a number of crop failures that inevitably forced him to move to Palymra, New York. This cycle began to transform around turn of the 20th Century. Many believe we're still on the upswing of that warming trend, all the result of solar cycles of the sun rather than rising CO2 levels.
Now, it's not like Mr. DiCaprio's views on climate change haven't been expressed before. Word is that he was converted to the concept of global warming by none other than Al Gore in the late 90s. The Academy Awards aren't even the first time he expressed his view that the lack of snow experienced by the production crew of The Revenent was the result of anthropogenic global warming. Hey, even those of us living in Cache Valley felt like last year was unusually warm and dry. But the experience of folks in other parts of the country was exactly the opposite. Conditions were harsh and unusually cold.
As I was reading some of the trivia quotes on IMDB.com about The Revenent, I came across this: "Some of the filming occurred near Calgary (Ontario, Canada), where unpredictable Chinook winds have produced spring-like conditions in the dead of winter for as long as weather has been recorded. Evidently unaware of these Chinooks, Leonardo DiCaprio attributed a sudden thaw to the unprecedented effects of global warming, much to the amusement of locals and Canadian media."
I know those Chinook winds. We experienced the same phenomenon where I grew up in the Big Horn Basin of northern Wyoming. Now, I don't want to pretend to be a climatologist, aware of all the ins and outs of this issue, the data being collected, and I certainly don't claim to be able to interpret this issue from all the possible angles. (And just between you and me, neither do climatologists!) But when I grew up back in the 70s, those Chinook winds had the same effect of bringing springlike weather in the middle of January, only to freeze again before we could definitely say that winter was over. Sounds to me like some things haven't changed much. So all I wanna do is call for some semblance of calm—ask that we deploy a bit of common sense.
I understand the urgent call for action and President Obama's inference that he intends to move forward to solve this "problem" whether naysayers are on board or not—classic Obama, by the way—"Come aboard and do as I say, because if not you'll be lonely, on the wrong side of history, and left in the dust. You'll look stupid while the rest of us will look smart, because we made a difference."
Obama's actions frequently have an air of stridency and arrogance. I'm not even saying Obama is wrong on this issue, but to put out there that he knows, and the military knows, and the majority of American business leaders know, a majority of the American people know, along with almost—and that's a fundamental word to try and slip past us in a sentence like this—almost the entire scientific community and 200 other nations intend to move forward with or without you, is patently misleading.
It's almost involuntary that I hear something like that, that I do NOT find myself "lasering" in on a phrase like "almost the entire scientific community". Who, exactly, are these "almost" scientists who do not agree with the perspectives that the President and so many others seem to espouse? How many of them are there really? Are they just a fraternity of fruits, nuts, and rebels, hardly deserving of the accolades and PhD's hanging on their office walls? Are they really the embarrassing minority? What exactly DO these atypical scientists believe? Is it even worth examining? According to Obama and Leonardo DiCapprio—no—there's no time. These lonely knuckleheads are dangerous. They're inciting procrastination, wasting everybody else's time, and accelerating the certainty of human extinction.
Be that as it may, might I be allowed to at least hear the perspective of these lonely, dangerous, knuckleheaded scientists? Honestly it didn't take a whole lot of research or time to find out who the NOT "almost everybody in the scientific community" actually were.
It was a little weird, honestly—the whole experience of researching this thing. You just type in a phrase like "scientists global warming skeptics" and the search engines are surprisingly accommodating, providing you with lists of academics from all parts of the world who have not jumped aboard the anthropogenic global warming bandwagon.
So in what ways do these scientists disagree with Obama and DiCaprio? Again, the internet—particularly Wikipedia—strives to be very helpful—surprisingly so—seemingly hoping you'll end the search right there because they've already done the research for you. They've exposed these academic miscreants—placed all of these scientists in categories and sub-categories, species and sub-species, much like grouping together different phylums of animals. There's: Scientists questioning the accuracy of IPCC climate projections. The IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yes, that same organization that found itself in hot water a couple years ago because it was discovered that they cooked the books, fudged the numbers, to make the situation appear more dire.
Why would anyone do that? I mean, these are scientists, right? Academics whose core, driving motives are to analyze and present "truth" to the world. Fudging numbers? Why in tarnation would someone of that caliber, that status—? We'll get more into that in a moment.
The next category of skeptics are dubbed: Scientists who argue that global warming is primarily caused by natural processes. And then it lists out all of these guy and gals and provides links to pages that help us to learn even more about these individuals—on Wikipedia, of course.
Next we have: Scientists arguing that the cause of global warming is unknown. Okay. After that it lists: Scientists arguing that global warming will have few negative consequences.
There's even one last category: Dead scientists. These are scientists who would have belonged to one of the other categories, but died sometime during the last decade or so. That's fair, right? Fair and balanced to list all of those academics who can no longer speak for themselves, but who nevertheless expressed skeptical opinions and offered contrary research on these matters? In all, there were only about 50 names on this lists, whereas the Wikipedia page was more than willing to compare this number side by side with a list of approximately seven hundred scientists whose opinions are iron clad that global warming is caused by human activity.
Now, as I said, this list of skeptical scientists was way too easy to find—almost as if an active campaign to discredit these individuals is underway. The link to the page that listed them was right at the top of the search engine. I tried other phrases and often found myself directed to a Wikipedia article called "Climate Change Denial," which seeks to expose every cockamamie motivation behind such a phenomenon except hard science or sincere academic disagreement. I quickly discovered that this list isn't kept very up-to-date because scrolling further down I found other lists with other scientists who dismiss man-made global warming who weren't ON that original Wikipedia list of 50.
But let's just stick with Wikipedia's first list for now. What was interesting to me when I clicked on the names of many of these scientists who were skeptics was the effort taken by the "powers that be" at Wikipedia—which theoretically is you and me, but which realistically will always be the faction with the most skin in the game—the most to either win or lose—which unfortunately, according to the carnal nature of our species, means that altruism may not be the controlling impetus—Anyway, what was interesting was the effort taken to include in virtually every biographical article some statement intended to cast doubt or aspersions upon the reliability, character, or motivations of the research these individuals had produced.
It would have taken forever to click the link and read the biographies of every scientist on the list, so I only looked up a few. Among the lists of accomplishments and credentials and awards earned by each of these doubting scientists, it seemed there was invariably some statement—maybe just a sentence—that attempted to undermine this person's credibility when it came to the subject of human-caused climate change. Sometimes it was declared that their studies were improperly peer reviewed. Other statements claimed their research was tainted because some percentage of the funding that had produced the study had come from private interests, such as an oil company. Not all the skeptical scientists had such baggage attached to their work, but Wikipedia still made sure it listed—alongside a skeptics' theories or credentials—any scientist or scientists who had countered or disagreed with their research. The pattern was so blatant—so transparent—it started to become humorous. Unless I was one of those scientists, then I don't think I'd find it funny at all. But I suspect they're used to it.
I moved on to a list of scientists on a separate web page who had apparently come out of the closet, so to speak, in recent years, admitting that after once buying into man-made climate change, they were now convinced the threat was overblown or even a hoax. One such scientist said he had received death threats. Another scientist, who had apparently once been a "rock star" in the minds of his academic peers and simpatico figures in the media for his dynamic support of anthropogenic climate change—joining in with rallies and allowing himself to be arrested for standing in front of bulldozers—experienced a complete reversal of his views that broke the hearts of his followers. After changing his mind, he claimed he suddenly found himself isolated among his peers, as well as having his involvement with a local television program on the environment, cancelled.
Another scientist complained of the "tribal nature" of the climate science community and the fact that many researchers were stonewalling the release of data for independent review. She claimed the politics of this issue had become so fierce that scientists on one side of the argument were continually circling the wagons against those on the other side of the argument. She felt frustrated that the research of colleagues who were perceived as "not fully on board with the majority opinion" were being completely ignored. She challenged the scientific community by stating that, as a matter of principle, it must either carefully consider skeptical arguments or rebut them and learn from them, but that ignoring and ostracizing fellow researchers—doubters—in the climate community was becoming rampant as compared with other branches of science where an environment of mutual cooperation to accomplish a common goal was more easily fostered. This scientist opined that "the knee-jerk reaction of trying to suppress or discredit a skeptical researcher or blogger is not an ethical strategy and one that will backfire in the long run."
Wow. You mean scientists are people too? They can be petty and hard-headed and heavily influenced by personal biases? How peculiar! But maybe what's peculiar is that anyone allowed themselves to think otherwise. Ask any scientist in ANY branch of science if this pettiness doesn't exist in their ranks and they'll admit it without hesitation. Astrophysics. Biology. Archeology. Yet it seems such a surprise to all us "great unwashed" hordes of commoners that such a thing could exist. People, that's precisely the lesson we come away with as we read the various statements of believers and skeptics in the science of climatology. Let there be no doubt, internal politics are just as divisive among scientists as it is in any other enterprise. We like to think science rises above such nonsense. Nah. Human failings never change.
But divisiveness is really a secondary complaint. The bottom line, just like it is for any other business or enterprise, is money. Who pays scientists anyway? For the most part, we do. Tax dollars pay for climate research. There are also grants from private foundations and sometimes even businesses-for-profit who want to analyze the potential for future markets. Sometimes there's lucrative book deals for academics on BOTH sides of the arguments. And textbook deals for those on, primarily, the man-made global warming side of the argument.
AND there are people like Leonardo DiCaprio, who has donated more than 30 million dollars of his personal fortune to spread public awareness about the perils of climate change. In all fairness, he also contributes to causes I am sympathetic toward—saving tigers in Nepal, and fighting to save a beautiful strip of rainforest in Sumatra. Make no mistake, there are a lot of climate philanthropists focused on anthropogenic global warming. Not so many who donate money to climate change skeptics, except for a few evil corporations like Exxon or some other corporate industrial producer who invariably find themselves lumped into the same category as "big tobacco" who, at one time, did actually hire scientists to try and "prove" that nicotine was not addictive or that smoking was actually good for you.
The perpetual complaint is that those whose research seeks to validate man-made climate change receive massive funding and grants while skeptics are left to fend for themselves. The imbalance of available monies for those who are willing to promote the popular activist's agenda compared with monies for those who want to pursue a more balanced approach is becoming a tad bit unseemly.
One scientist—another guy who was once a staunch advocate of anthropogenic global warming—experienced a dramatic reversal of opinion in the mid-2000s, stating that global warming has gone "from a science to a religion," noting that research money is being funneled into promoting climate alarmism instead of funding areas more worthy. He concluded, "If you funnel money into things that can't be changed, the money is not going into the places that it is needed” (Wiskel, Bruno. "The Emperor's New Climate: Debunking the Myth of Global Warming", Edmonton Sun, November 15, 2006).
The best summary explanation of this very human problem that I found regarding man-man global warming was offered by an Australian climatologist who wrote in 2007, “I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical. After 2000 the evidence for carbon emissions gradually got weaker —better temperature data for the last century, more detailed ice core data, then laboratory evidence that cosmic rays precipitate low clouds." This climatologist added, "As Lord Keynes famously said, ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’" He spoke of those years when he had benefited from climate fears saying, “The political realm in turn fed money back into the scientific community. By the late 1990's, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming. And so were lots of people around me; and there were international conferences full of such people. And we had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet! But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed.”
Former proponents of human-caused global warming commonly express two central themes—that billions of dollars committed to GW research and lobbying for GW or for Kyoto treaties, etc., could be better spent on uncontroversial and very real environmental problems (such as air pollution, poor sanitation, cleaner water, and improved health services. And then there's the personal sacrifice associated with a reversal of opinion, with academics suddenly finding themselves shunned by environmental groups and their peers.
One scientist parroted the same line as DiCaprio at the Academy Awards: “(The slogan)'Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified."
Another scientist addressed the identical tactic used by President Obama—that of shaming those who refuse to climb on board the bandwagon of Anthropogenic Climate Change. He stated that his conversion to becoming a man-made climate change skeptic “probably cost me a lot of grant money. However, as a scientist I go where the science takes me and not were activists want me to go. When I go to a scientific meeting, there's lots of opinion out there, there's lots of discussion. I was at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia in the fall and I would say that people with my (skeptical) opinion were probably in the majority. (We scientists) ridiculed the environmentalists and media for not reporting the truth. But if you listen to activists and the media, it's like a tiger chasing its tail. They try to outdo each other and all the while proclaiming that the debate is over. But it isn't—come out to a scientific meeting sometime.”
I could go on, and on, and on, and on, cutting and pasting quotes and analyses from accredited skeptics until every listener had fallen asleep. I've probably gone on too long as it is, because, I fear it might present the wrong impression of what my perspective on this issue actually is. It's time to discuss what prophets like Mormon really meant when they wrote that the Book of Mormon will come forth at a time when "there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth" (Mormon 8:31) and what prophets like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others have actually taught us about our stewardship of the earth.
I'll get into more of that in Part 2 of these podcasts entitled Planet of the Priesthood. For now, take a breather. Digest. And remain open. So much of this has become so politically charged over the last few decades. Let it go. Live and learn. And here's the best advice I can give: Stay close to the Lord. And if don't feel as close to the Lord today as you did yesterday, STOP MOVING! Thank you for listening. Thank you for your patience as I've tried to devote as much time and energy as possible to completing Thorns of Glory. May God's blessings forever descend upon you and your loved ones. This is Chris Heimerdinger. And this is ForeverLDS.