Let me prepare a new recipe for you.  Try to figure out what the end product will be.  It’s just 3 main steps:

 1. Add a handful of “excitement”.  Stir it up….Vigorously!  Increase the fire, and bring to a boil.

* College students burn US flag night before veterans day.  And the school decides not to fly the flag anymore.

* University professors call for expulsion of students who counter-protested anti-Trump protest.

* Ominous warning of protests, riots to come.

Getting the oven hot only gets things ready for cooking.  There’s something to be made when the fires of violence, uprising, and unrest are stoked, while the hammer pounds something into shape.  What is being made?  And to whose liking?  Who’s holding the hammer?  Who’s stoking the fire…causing it to increase?  It’s not the general, common public…for they are the ones being stoked.  And fires don’t start themselves.  Someone starts those fires, and has to keep them going.  For what purpose?  What’s the final product?  That brings us to the next step.

2. Divide into portions.

Gallup: America most divided  Americans perceive nation as divided.  “Perception is everything.”  To whom?

There are two Americas now 

I watch movies the same way I read the scriptures:  These things are produced by design, which means there’s a purpose behind them.  And often, a message can be seen if you open your eyes wide enough to look.

Bring in the blockbuster movie:  Captain America: Civil War.  Note the disclaimer: “Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is PURELY COINCIDENTAL.” 

Riiiight.  Nice ‘use the Force’ move.

There’s a message here.  See if you can pick it out from these quotes in the movie:

Zemo: I knew I couldn’t kill them. More powerful men than me have tried. But if I could get them to kill each other…

Zemo: An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again. But one which crumbles from within? That’s dead… forever.

Zemo: [to Captain America] I’ve thought about nothing else for over a year. I studied you, I followed you, but now that you’re standing here I just realized… there’s a bit of green in the blue of your eyes. [chuckles]  How nice to find a flaw.

Steve Rogers: Who are you? What do you want?
Zemo: To see an empire fall.

See it yet?  If not…follow along.  What does it all mean? 

Well, you have to look at it from a symbolic sense and try to see what a storyteller tries to convey, much like fables and parables: someone always represents (symbolizes) something.  In this case, I’m gonna make things “symbo-literal”…and by that, I mean that yes, things are both Symbolic and Literal at the same time.

Cap’n America and Iron Man represent America in 2 ways.  Cap’n represents the America of old: traditional, moral, freedom-based, humble, selfless, a defender, deliberate, strong…because he was resourceful, thoughtful, morally Good, with a heart of Goodness.  Iron Man represents the America of today: entrepreneuring, tech savvy, arrogant, selfish, a fighter, impulsive, strong…because of his weapons, gadgets, and inventions, with less regard for morals than for brute strength, whose heart was a machine.

What is the empire desired to fall in the movie?  In the movie…the empire spoken of is not America.  It’s the Avengers.  And how do you make an empire fall?  Get them to kill each other.  Get their “team” to crumble from within.  The enemy has been watching, studying, patiently, looking for flaws…and that enemy found it, exploited it…successfully.  They pit the 2 “Americas” against each other. 

The movie is about real things:  America: Civil War

What’s the storyteller’s message?  The characters who symbolize America in the movie are split…and in real life, the nation we call America is also going to be split.  In the same way.  How?  Well, just as Cap’n America and Iron Man America can’t be overcome by outside enemies, the Real America’s enemies won’t attack America from the outside.  They will not invade outright.  “An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again.”  But enemies can do it by getting America to fight itself…by getting us to fight each other, hurt each other, divide from each other.  Get the people to be divided.  Celebrate diversity.  Promote it.  Drill it into their heads.  Keep repeating it over and over.  Compel them to be diverse.  And get them to accept things they do not want to accept.  And make things that are unacceptable as acceptable. And then get people to be angry at each other.  Create rivalries….political, religious, educational, racial, intellectual, psychologically labeled rivalries.  Whatever.  Keep pecking at it, bringing it up, twisting words around.  Anything to keep pulling at wounds, hurts, perceived as well as real.  Get them to fight…and keep fighting each other.  And, in the meantime, while everyone is fighting each other, outside forces and influences infiltrate from within and take their positions….not as foe, but posing as friend, or better yet, as harmless.

America’s enemies (nations as well as citizen defectors) will encourage the autoimmune disease of Enmity and Hostility, where the body sees itself as its own enemy…and kills itself slowly.  They want to see the people of this nation crumble from within.  And they believe that when that happens, the nation is “dead…forever”.

United, we stand.  Divided, we fall.  Are we, as a people, being divided by those who stoke those fires of anger, uprising, hatred?  Are we falling for it?  For many, it sure looks like it…while the rest of us try to preserve what good we still can.

That was the “movie” part.

3. Invite family over for dinner…maybe.

Video shows mom ‘kicking out’ 8-year-old son for supporting Donald Trump

The election is getting people uninvited to Thanksgiving
Really?  Have we allowed ourselves to be divided?  Even for a Thanksgiving meal? Are we willingly dividing our families now because of our perceived political differences?  The place we wish to find refuge, our place of safety….our home, our family…has the spirit of division and hostility now reached us?   Why have we allowed ourselves to this point?  Nations can crumble.  Cities can crumble.  Communities can crumble.  But your family?  The tender relationships you’ve formed, the lives you’ve raised, the world you’ve created…a place of escape from the cruel outside world…you’re giving it up?  For what?  A politically-charged emotion?  REALLY?!  You’re giving up your family…for an opinion?  REALLY?!

“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew12:25, KJV)

If America is to unite…it must start in the home, in our very own families.  If we’re eating each other alive, killing our relationships, fostering division in our own homes….how can we expect to unite our communities, our cities, our state, our nation?  And if our enemies can see these things…how encouraging it must be for them!  They don’t have to fire a shot, they don’t have to invade…because we are weakening ourselves….WILLINGLY, VOLUNTARILY.   

We’re doing the job for them!

Let me repeat that:  We are doing the job of Destroying America….for them.

4. Save some for later

This 4th step is not included in the recipe…because I don’t want to have what the recipe calls for:  A divided nation, a broken people, and desolate homes.  But, after having said all of this…what now?  What do we do about it?

I want to preserve my family.  I want to preserve my heart, my integrity, my trust in God.  I want to preserve love for others, to be a blessing to them in their time of adversity and trial.  I want to preserve Good-ness, loyalty, patience, commitment, enduring to the bitter end.  I want to preserve compassion for those who fall, humility and gentleness, meekness and teachableness.  I want to teach this to my children, to keep them close to me, to enjoy their laughter, their company, their embrace.  I want them to be anchors in a world gone mad.  I want them to be shelters for those who seek refuge.  I want to preserve these things in their hearts so that someday, when I leave their presence, they will share these things with others.

The world can crumble all it wants.  It can eat itself to death if it wants to.  And it can try to convince me that I can’t do anything about it.  I can’t beat them…but I will not join them.

I will stand apart from that world.  I will save what is Good, Virtuous, and True into my family.  I will keep my family together, and invite them to join me, be with me.  I will be a protective shield of Love for them.  I will be a safe haven for them.  And I will anchor myself to God.

And I invite you, dear friends, in this season of Gratitude and Peace, to Preserve and Save your heart, your integrity, your soul, your families, your relationships, your homes, preserve what is Good, your liberty, your God…for now…and later.

The LDS Lamplighter