Greetings, Gentle Reader,

In the 1950s science fiction stories were all the rage. Not only did the reading public love them, writers were crazy about them as well. There were no real boundaries; they could think up the most unlikely scenarios, because anything was not only possible (sort of), but acceptable, when they were not tied to reality.

In the 21st century we are dealing with what could be called "science fiction on steroids, with no holds barred," so let me retell a story that applies to today’s world.

It begins with the hero running and hiding from alien invaders. The entire story is taken up with his strenuous and successful efforts to stay ahead of his potential captors. He is alone, because everyone else on earth has been captured, and he must be constantly running and hiding so he can avoid the fate of the entire rest of the population.

The end of the story could have been thought up by no one but an O’ Henry fan: As the man is about to be captured, the story abruptly goes to an alien who is tending to the inanimate body of the hero. It is in a drawer in a vast warehouse filled with drawers holding the bodies of all the other earthlings. There is an electronic feed going into his brain, playing the movie of him constantly running and escaping. He is not really doing anything. He has been a captive for some time, as have all other earthlings, but he thinks he is running and successfully eluding his pursuers, because the movie attached to his brain allows him to think he is free, though being relentlessly pursued.

An assistant asks the attendant why they are playing this particular movie for this supine, totally immobile occupant of the drawer. The attendant explains that this earthling needs to think he is successfully eluding his captors, so that is what they allow him to believe.

Now back to the 21st century: We have thousands of interactive video games. They allow the player to be a part of the story. In some of them, he wins only if he blows the head off other characters. Rape has become common in some of these games. One particular game has the player assassinating President Bush.

These games tend to be addictive, causing the player to crave the interaction just as an addict does a substance.

How are these games different from the science fiction story? They pull the player into a fictional world and entice him to engage in abusive or violent activities that his brain begins to tell him is reality. Studies have shown that players of these types of games are vastly more prone to violent and/or abusive behavior than are non-players.

We haven’t exactly been invaded by aliens from another planet, but Americans have been invaded by aliens from another culture: The National Anthem is forbidden in some schools, a simple prayer can get a student expelled or a teacher fired. A Ten Commandments display can earn a city a very expensive law suit, one that most cities cannot afford. A cross sends some of our citizens into a state of near apoplexy.

We know we have been warned that the time would come when our Constitution would hang by a thread. It is there now. Brother Brigham warned us the time would come when the Constitution would be upheld by the Saints only. Are we up to that task? Our modern prophets are, but are we?

Our elected representatives make decisions for the rest of us. That is how our Republic functions. It is an inspired form of government, by which I mean mankind didn’t think it up. It came to our founding fathers from the real Father of us all, as did our form of Church government.

How are we carrying out the mandate given to us by our Heavenly Father? He expects us to govern ourselves according to His patterns. Are we doing that? Are we seeking out representatives who will do all in their power to support and maintain the Constitution?

Unfortunately, too many of us are easily persuaded by sweet words to vote for representatives who are only too eager to finish off our Constitution. We must learn to look at what a man or woman has done, rather than just to listen to what he says he will do in the future. People cannot hide their past actions, but the skillful can charm us into a state of mindless comfort, causing us to ignore their true goals.

We are not exactly in drawers in a warehouse, but we are becoming frighteningly close. Let us turn to the prophets of God for our wisdom. We need that wisdom more than we ever have in the past.

Until next time,

Muriel Sluyter

Return to the Neighborhood.

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