Thursday, March 26, 2015

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Ezra Taft Benson on the Last Days

Ezra Taft Benson, prophet of God and Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, warns us of the Last Days. He has been the most powerful advocate for freedom and liberty, and is a man I love, admire and respect tremendously. He shuffled off the mortal coil on May 30, 1994. And now fights for us on the other side of the veil.

 

Copyright 2015. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

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Behold, the Enemy Is Combined

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


Years ago, I wondered over the scriptural imagery of angels waiting “day and night” for “the great command” to come down and reap the tares in a wicked and suffering world; it seemed rather eager to me. (See D&C 38:12; D&;C 86:5.) Given such massive, needless human suffering, I don’t wonder anymore!

Even so, the final reaping will occur only when the Father determines that the world is “fully ripe.” (D&C 86:7.) Meanwhile, brothers and sisters, the challenge is surviving spiritually in a deteriorating “wheat and tares” world. (See D&C 86:7.)

Granted, occasionally a few defectors or dissidents may try to vex us as they hyperventilate over their particular concerns, but it is the engulfing effects of that deteriorating world on Church members which is the “clear and present danger.” “Evils and designs” really do operate through “conspiring [individuals] in the last days.” (D&C 89:4.) The Lord has even announced, “Behold, the enemy is combined.” (D&C 38:12.)

Yet we must not be intimidated or lose our composure even though the once morally unacceptable is becoming acceptable, as if frequency somehow conferred respectability!

One of the most subtle forms of intimidation is the gradual normalization of aberration. Alexander Pope so cautioned:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Today, lust openly parades as love, license cleverly poses as liberty, and raucous sounds mockingly masquerade as music. Evil even calls itself good and often gets away with it!

While I would not shrink the circumference of freedom, the size of that circle is not the sole measure of social well-being.

Hence, to exult, as some do, over how much decadence is permissible at the edges ignores the erosive effects of such grossness upon all within that circle. Yeats’s descriptive imagery fits:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Attributed to historian Will Durant are these relevant words: “If the hunger for liberty destroys order, the hunger for order will destroy liberty.” In this connection, how can there possibly be a disturbing loss of individual impulse control without a corresponding loss of collective freedom?

Violence abounds, often to purchase drugs in order to “tune out” of the world instead of overcoming it. Just as foretold, our days actually are fast resembling the days of Noah, especially notable for their pattern of corruption and violence. (See Matt. 24:37; Gen. 6:11.) No wonder the adversary steadily promotes all the ancient sins, not because he is uninventive but because his harvest is so constant.

Abortion, which has increased enormously, causes one to ask, “Have we strayed so far from God’s second great commandment—love thy neighbor—that a baby in a womb no longer qualifies to be loved—at least as a mother’s neighbor?” Even so, violence to an unborn child does not justify other violence!

What of neighboring? Long ago, Tocqueville anticipated how individualism, unenriched by family and community, could produce the “lonely crowd,” saying:
“Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart.” (Alexis de Tocqueville, “Democracy in America,” as quoted in Andrew M. Scott, Political Thought in America, New York: Rinehart & Co., Inc., 1959, p. 225.)

In their search for identity and belonging, too many supposedly savvy teens are now confined to the solitude of a lonely gang. What is the lasting advantage of becoming streetwise if one is on a street to nowhere? Gangs mark the failure of both families and communities as well as symbolizing the pervasive revolt against authority.

Instead of being communicating neighbors, we are flooded with talk shows, some of which feature not real conversation but exhibitionism and verbal voyeurism among virtual strangers.

We are lathered with soap operas in need of nothing so much as soap—for the scrubbing of themselves! Some seriously maintain that media violence and sleaze leave consumers untouched. But revenue is received from commercials precisely because of their influence. Either we deserve reforms, or sponsors deserve refunds!

Those who mock the traditional moral values should heed this lesson of history from the Durants:

“A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to his sexual desires; and if he is unchecked by custom, morals, or laws, he may ruin his life before he matures sufficiently to understand that sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume both the individual and the group.” (Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968, pp. 35–36.)

Lasciviousness wrongly celebrates the capacity to feel, so that people lose their capacity to feel! Three different prophets in three different dispensations bemoaned those who became “past feeling.” (See 1 Ne. 17:45; Eph. 4:19; Moro. 9:20.) Do we really expect those presently “past feeling” to fashion an acceptable future? Gross sin not only dulls the feelings, it also impairs the intellect. After murdering Abel, Cain ironically boasted, “I am free”! (Moses 5:33.) Did the herd of Gadarene swine similarly console themselves, thinking that they were actually rugged individualists as they raced down the hill to their destruction?

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn lamented recently how those who hold “there is no God, there is no truth, the universe is chaotic, all is relative” constitute a “relentless cult of novelty … [which] conceals an unyielding and long-sustained attempt to undermine, ridicule and uproot all moral precepts.” (“The Relentless Cult of Novelty and How It Wrecked the Century,” The New York Times Book Review, 7 Feb. 1993, p. 17.)

Pornography especially victimizes women and children. Why then the inordinate preoccupation with its protection? Pornography is better protected than citizens on the streets!

Even with its flaws, the family is basic, and since no other institution can compensate fully for failure in the family, why then, instead of enhancing the family, the desperate search for substitutes? Why not require family impact studies before proceeding with this program or that remedy, since of all environmental concerns the family should be first? Hundreds of governmental departments and programs protect various interests, but which one protects the family?

Since democracy depends upon citizens’ “obedience to the unenforceable,” why then the stiff resistance to moral education which could emphasize widely shared and time-tested principles?

Only reform and self-restraint, institutional and individual, can finally rescue society! Only a sufficient number of sin-resistant souls can change the marketplace. As Church members, we should be part of that sin-resistant counterculture. Instead, too many members are sliding down the slope, though perhaps at a slower pace.

In a “wheat and tares” world, how unusually blessed faithful members are to have the precious and constant gift of the Holy Ghost with reminders of what is right and of the covenants we have made. “For behold, … the Holy Ghost … will show unto you all things what ye should do.” (2 Ne. 32:5.) Whatever the decibels of decadence, these need not overwhelm the still, small voice! Some of the best sermons we will ever hear will be thus prompted from the pulpit of memory—to an audience of one!

While living amid the foreseen “distress of nations, with perplexity,” members also have prophetic leadership which provides direction. (Luke 21:25; see also D&C 88:79.) Several times a year, we sustain fifteen Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. So we know to whom to look, even though there are a few members who “seek not the welfare of Zion” and “set themselves up for a light.” (2 Ne. 26:29.) Furthermore, the Prophet Joseph clearly taught that recipients of that apostleship possess “all the keys that ever were, or that can be conferred upon mortal man.” (Cited by Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 1:137.)

Repetitive experience teaches Church members that we need not be prey to pretenders. Besides, “The day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, … neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people.” (D&C 1:14.)

Additionally, the very process of Church government also ensures that we do not have secret leaders:

“It shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.” (D&C 42:11.)

President Wilford Woodruff urged the Church flock to follow the Brethren because, he said, “the very moment that men in this kingdom attempt to run ahead or cross the path of their leaders, … they are in danger of being injured by the wolves. … I have never in my life known it to fail.” (In Journal of Discourses, 5:83.)

Further help comes to us through sermons, the sacrament, the holy temple, prayers, the scriptures, tithing settlements, and admonitions from loved ones. However, when members cut themselves off from all of these, then there is trouble. For instance, it is from estranged and self-justifying lips that some devastated spouses hear those terrible words, “I never loved you!”

With the enemy combined, it is so vital to keep “in the right way.” (Moro. 6:4.) Orthodoxy in thought and behavior brings safety and felicity as the storms come, including “every wind of doctrine.” (See Eph. 4:14.) Happily, amid such winds the Holy Ghost not only helps us to recognize plain truth but also plain nonsense!
Orthodoxy ensures balance between the gospel’s powerful and correct principles. In the body of gospel doctrine, not only are justice and mercy “fitly joined together [for] effectual working,” but so is everything else! (Eph. 4:16.) But the gospel’s principles do require synchronization. When pulled apart from each other or isolated, men’s interpretations and implementations of these doctrines may be wild.

Love, if not checked by the seventh commandment, could become carnal. The fifth commandment’s laudable emphasis upon honoring parents, unless checked by the first commandment, could result in unconditional loyalty to errant parents rather than to God.

Care is even needed in our renderings between God and Caesar. (See Matt. 22:21.) Even patience is balanced by “reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” betimes meaning early or soon. (D&C 121:43.) Spiritual poise also includes both taking time to smell the flowers and noticing the leaves on the fig tree to see if “summer is nigh.” (Matt. 24:32.)

Thus, the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is greater than any of its parts and larger than any of its programs or principles!

Even during these difficult times, members “armed with righteousness” can do so many things. (1 Ne. 14:14.) We can have love at home, even though the love of many waxes cold in the world. (See Matt. 24:12.) We can have inner peace even though peace has been taken from the earth. (See D&C 1:35.)

We can keep the seventh commandment even though others break it and mock it. We can render individualized, humanitarian service even though the mass of human suffering seems so overwhelming.

We can use our tongues to speak the truth in love, while refusing to use them to bear false witness. (See Eph. 4:15; Ex. 20:16.) We can stand fast “in holy places” even though in the world “all things shall be in commotion.” (D&C 45:32; D&C 88:91.)

We can reach for “hands which hang down,” even if some refuse our proffered hands of friendship. (D&C 81:5.) We can hold to the iron rod even if others slip away and a few end up mocking us from “the great and spacious building.” (1 Ne. 8:26–28.)

Like Nephi, we may not always know the meaning of things happening to us or around us. Nevertheless, like Nephi, we can still know that God loves us! (See 1 Ne. 11:17.)

Yes, “the enemy is combined,” but when we are combined with the Lord’s “chariots of fire,” then “they that be with us are more than they that be with them”! (2 Kings. 6:16–17.) Furthermore, the divine promise is that no weapon formed against the Lord’s work shall finally prosper; this “is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.” (Isa. 54:17; D&C 71:9.) I so assure; I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!


Copyright 2015. All rights reserved by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friday, March 20, 2015

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“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” ― C.S. Lewis


I am recommending CJ Hill's aka Janette Rallison's latest book in the Slayer series: Friends and Traitors

***

In C.J. Hill's action-packed sequel to Slayers, the group of teens known as Slayers have been betrayed--but they won't give up without a fight.

Tori's got a problem. She thought she'd have one more summer to train as a dragon Slayer, but time has run out. When Tori hears the horrifying sound of dragon eggs hatching, she knows the Slayers are in trouble. In less than a year, the dragons will be fully grown and completely lethal. The Slayers are well-prepared, but their group is still not complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker--the mysterious missing Slayer. 

What Tori doesn't bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers. She isn't just a Slayer, she's part Dragon Lord, too. How can Tori fight to save her friends when half of her is programmed to protect dragons? And with a possible traitor in their midst, the Slayers will be divided in more ways than they ever imagined. Buy Friends and Traitors now.


Copyright 2015. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party Wins

It is a good day for Israel, and America. They wisely overrode the foreign efforts to remove Benjamin Netanyahu and voted for his party once again. The party will now choose who will be prime minister, and it will likely be Netanyahu again.

America was very engaged in this election. Barack Obama sent his crooked election team to Israel to try and defeat Netanyahu. American citizens donated to Netanyahu's campaign, some of them quite large donations.

For me, I listened as Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the U.S. Congress. 


It was a powerful speech condemning Barack Obama's efforts to make a very bad deal with Iran. Netanyahu was right on every single point, and it was a relief to find a world leader finally taking Iran and ISIS seriously. 

While Barack Obama continues to golf, take potshots at Republicans and Benjamin Netanyahu, and generally make a nuisance of himself. Israeli's decided their temporal salvation was safe in Benjamin Netanyahu's hands. Arabs were bussed into the polls to vote, but it didn't work. The Likud Party took 30 seats, and with the coalition building in place, Netanyahu is certain to retain his Prime Minister Seat.


This gives me a small measure of peace. Israel's fate is closely tied with America's, in my opinion. I find it a sacred duty to support them as they fight for their very survival and ancestral homeland.

I know I haven't blogged much lately, but that is going to change. I'm going back to blogging three times weekly and will try to give you uplifting blogs as well as informative.


Copyright 2015. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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ALA Evolution Show Choir Takes Heart of America Invitational as Grand Champion

ALA Evolution Show Choir is Utah's only competitive Show Choir. Under the direction of Mr. Rick Lunt, they carve out a new niche every year. This year they told the story of Pinocchio, but not necessarily with songs from the Disney movie. They walked away as the Grand Champions of the Heart of America Invitational winning nearly every award.

I am so PROUD of them. They have been invited back to the FAME National Competition in Chicago and need to raise $10,000. These kids have worked SO HARD! Please text EVOLUTION to 801-788-4171 and please donate what you can! It is an exceedingly secure system, so rest assured your data is safe. 

And if you're not in the position to donate, please spread the word far and wide!
 


Copyright 2015. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Two Hysterical Studio C Skits

I am a recent fan of KBYU's Studio C. My nephews and nieces absolutely love the show and anxiously await each new episode. I saw two very funny skits this morning and wanted to share with my friends in Blogland.

Studio C - International Relations


And then we have:

Studio C - National Relations: Republicans v. Democrats


Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

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My Greatest Privilege

It was the greatest joy of my life to be the wife of Alvin Salima. Yes, we suffered all the major stresses that usually break couples up, but it made us stronger.

We weren't rich, couldn't be with the gross amount of medical bills. But we found great joy in going to breakfast and a movie every payday. A simple ice cream cone and walk in the park was so fun. We had fun watching television shows. We had the most fun when we spent time with my sister and her family.

A great light has gone out in America with the passing of my sweetheart. But heaven has gained a powerful missionary and an advocate for Christ, with the biggest capacity to love.

Sweetheart, I will love you to the moon and back forever more.

Goodbye, My Love.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Monday, September 22, 2014

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Goodbye, My Love

Alvin Lafaele Esene Salima was born in Hawthorne, California on August 20, 1962 to Papali’itele Tumusa Tolupeni Talitua Salima and Fa’ilepou Esene Salima. He attended Birney Elementary School, Stephen M. White Junior High and was a Carson High Colt until the day he shuffled off his mortal coil. After serving a mission in Papeete Tahiti he attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where he majored in Communications, played football and met his eternal sweetheart, Candace Salima. He is survived by Candace Salima (wife), Alexander Salima (brother), Angieline Tuia (sister), Masame Tito (brother), Salamasina Afalava (sister), Perenise Tuiafaiva (sister), Muamai Salima (sister), Saono Salima (sister), Logomai Vaifanua (Sister), Emmett Tela (brother), Goldie Alapati (sister), Tolupeni Salima. Jr. (brother), Marjorie Sapiga (sister), Brenda Seumalo (sister), Kristian Salima (brother) and Alvin Salima (brother). Alvin was preceded in death by his parents.

Alvin worked with troubled youth throughout his adult life, spending over a decade with the State of Utah Juvenile Justice System. He loved going to work and he loved the people he worked with. The measure of how successful he was as a counselor is in the untold number of times he ran across these youth as adults and they stop him where they find him to say, “thank you.”

Alvin’s life was personified by a great love for all he met, music, football, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People would travel long distances just to get a hug from Alvin Salima. His smile and laugh lit up a room, and the impact he has made on this big old world of ours is immeasurable. He was a devoted husband, brother and uncle. He had a wicked streak of sarcasm woven through his sense of humor and he and “da boys” loved to talk story. He loved almost nothing more than spending time with his beloved nephews and nieces.

Alvin left this mortal realm at 7:23 a.m. on the morning of September 17, 2014. His funeral services will be held on October 3, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 1625 South Slate Canyon Drive in Provo, Utah.

Public viewing will be on the same day at 11:00 a.m. to Noon p.m.

Funeral Services are under the direction of Peni Malohifo'ou of Serenity Funeral Home.


Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

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Mighty Kacy Catanzaro, American Ninja Warrior


My husband has gotten me addicted to American Ninja Warrior. It is a show that requires the contestants to be in the peak of physical condition, have an immense spirit of competition and perseverance that is seriously second to none. They train all year for one trip through the course and each city has it's own course and particular obstacles. Kacy did what no other woman had ever done, she completed the course in the first stage of competition.

Then came the semi-finals and four more incredibly difficult obstacles were added. But watch this 5' 100 lb. young woman make history, again! She inspires me in so many ways, but most of all to never give up and to always believe you can get the job done. Rock on, #MightyKacy!

Kacy Catanzaro, a former gymnast from Towson University, became the first women ever to successfully complete the finals course on the show American Ninja Warrior.


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Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Monday, July 14, 2014

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Money Back with your Purchases

I promised to give a report on this company called Lyoness, which is a worldwide rewards program company. I'm deeply, deeply impressed.

Consumer: No cost for becoming a member. No cost for rewards card. No monthly fee. No monthly product requirements. Earn cashback on every purchase you are already making, 2% direct deposited into your bank account, 8% deposited into a Loyalty Program which adds up to units which comes back as cash. Merchants decide how much they give back to the consumer, so it can vary from 2% return to whatever. For instance, Olive Garden and Red Lobster do 9%. I am using a 10% example. Loyalty funds can be used to purchase from Lyoness Merchants. So you shop, earn money. Done. If you want to tell friends and family about the rewards card, it benefits you to do so. If you know businesses who could use this system, that benefits you as well. But it is not required. There are currently 4 million and counting Lyoness consumers. In November, Lyoness is releasing a pre-paid Mastercard credit card that can be used anywhere, but "double" (add the merchant cashback to the Mastercard cashback) the cashback if you use it with a Lyoness merchant.

As the consumer you can also decide to do this as a business. Still no cost up from. You share the news of the rewards card with family, friends and co-workers. As they become consumers, all of us just using the rewards card on money we're already spending anyway, then you earn money. If you decide to do the business, which Alvin and I are doing, it can become very lucrative. If you're interested, we'll hook you up with the guys who talked to us. Easy, straight forward, and loaded with common sense and opportunity.


Merchant: Setup Costs, very affordable. Cost to purchase Lyoness reward cards to hand out to your customers. Should see an uptick in customers as the program spreads and you actively market your rewards program. Lyoness Consumers tend to shop at Lyoness merchants. There are currently 40,000 and counting Lyoness merchants. Personally, I intend to add a lot of merchants to that number. First, I would become a consumer, then after you see how it works, you can become a Lyoness merchant.


“Cash back with every purchase” is the Lyoness motto. With thousands of local, regional and international merchants and millions of members in more than 40 countries, Lyoness has become the premiere global shopping community and loyalty program! Shoppers enjoy four ways to shop and earn cash back – online, in-store with their Lyoness Cashback card, with merchant gift cards and via their smartphones.
The Lyoness loyalty program is built on creating lasting relationships that benefit the merchants and members. As the shopping community grows, the merchants receive more sales, and in turn, they can provide increased rewards. With loyalty, everyone wins!


Alvin and I really looked over the entire company and program and were amazed. We like it. We became a consumer on Friday. I am personally working to get local merchants using the program so I can remain a consumer of local business. So, if you're interested in becoming a consumer, let me know and I'll get you set up. If you're interested in becoming a merchant, let me know and I'll get you set up.

They are in 41 countries including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Poland, Italy, Turkey, United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Macedonia, Lithuania, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Latvia, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Montenegro, Plus: United Arab Emirates (Lyoness Europe AG – Dubai Branch), North America, South America, Asia.

Sampling of Companies currently part of Lyoness Program: ACME, Affordable Cartridges & Toners, Albertsons, American Airlines, Applebees, Bartek Deli, BP, California Pizza Kitchen, Chevron, Cub, CVS Pharmacy, Bahama Breeze, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Seasons 52, Yardhouse, Doris Market, Exxon Mobile, Farmfresh, Footlocker, Give a Night, Home Depot, Lowes, Hornbacher's, Hotel Voucher, Jewel-Osco, IHOP, K-Mart, Lord & Taylor, Office Depot, otel, Outback Steakhouse, Rotelli Pizza & Pasta, Sears, Shaw's, Shop 'n Save, Shoppers, Subway, The Billiard Club

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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US Daily Review: America Awash in Scandal Edges Toward Apathy


by Candace Salima, Senior Contributor on US Daily Reivew

The Obama Administration is awash in scandals with national security implications, not to mention the nation no longer trusts its government, let alone Barack Obama. It's intriguing to note how completely Obama and his administration have completely ignored his oath of office:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I do not believe there is any common sense thinking person in the United States of America that will say Barack Obama has lived up to his oath of office, and, in fact, has violated it a number of times. Liberals, of course, are willing to ignore just about everything because they really do want our republic form of government replaced with a socialist democracy.

Barack Obama's administration has been littered with scandals and America has become punch drunk with them, edging toward apathy over the sheer number. Let's just list a few, not in any particular order: Read More on US Daily Review


Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Monday, June 9, 2014

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To Fold or Play

It is very difficult when a loved one is ill. My sweetheart was diagnosed with end stage renal failure (kidney failure) thirteen years ago. I think it's thirteen. I believe I can safely write this blog post coming from an area where I have a great deal of experience.

When a loved one is ill we have two choices, to rant and rave against the circumstances -- or -- to educate ourselves, help our loved one as much as possible, and treasure every day you have together.

I have an acquaintance on a social media site who has chosen to be bitter about her husband's illness and the treatment he's being given at the hospital. May I offer some advice?

Just because someone is ill doesn't mean they are not still the same person we fell in love with. My sweetheart, Alvin Salima, and I have been married for nineteen years, and he has been ill for the bulk of those years. The first year was the hardest as we educated ourselves about kidney failure. Alvin's health took some hits because we didn't learn fast enough or completely enough. But by the end of the first year we considered ourselves relatively well educated.

The next four or five years were rough ones for Alvin. He was in and out of the hospital, one visit lasting six weeks. During that six weeks Alvin came closer to death multiple times than he ever had before. At one point I was told he was the sickest man in the hospital and the next 24 hours would be touch and go as to whether Alvin would live or die. 

I'm not going to lie, it was hard. Really hard. I often went into the bathroom to sob my heart out, then I would splash cold water on my face and go back into that room with a smile on my face. Yes, I argued with doctors on occasion, but I learned when to listen and when to dig in.

Through it all, friends and family prayed and fasted for Alvin and I saw the results of that due to the miraculous nature in the events that unfolded in Alvin's life during that time. Our love for one another grew deeper and deeper, and our appreciation for life itself also grew. Our belief in God and His plan of salvation also deepened until it went past belief to pure knowledge.

Instead of becoming bitter over the circumstances we chose to simply live with it and do our best to keep Alvin as healthy as possible. It isn't easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. But we have each other and we do all we can to keep life as normal as possible. It's the very best advice I can give: Trust in God and make the very best of the circumstances in your life. Don't let them drive your life, you drive them. Learn, grow and make a difference by helping others learn to cope with similar situations.

Thirteen years later Alvin does dialysis three times a week, works full time and I pick up whatever contract work I can find. We visit with family often, go to matinees and eat at restaurants that are affordable, once or twice a month. We spend time with friends, and we spend time fighting for America. We go to church, and have nephews and nieces spending the night often. We're happy enough and looking forward to the day when Alvin gets his kidney transplant.

Trust in God and do what you must to keep moving forward.

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Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

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I So Swear

Yesterday, Alvin and I were incredibly privileged to attend the ceremony of a young man we lovely dearly as he swore his citizenship oath to the United States of America. We met Jarel many years ago, and over time came to love him as if he were our own son.

After completing his 2-year mission for the Lord, he went to BYU Hawaii to complete his college education. There he met his sweetheart, Genna, who became his life. Now he has an adorable daughter, and is finally a citizen of the United States of America. We are so very proud of him, and so happy for him and his sweet family. Congratulations, Jarel.

I am of the opinion that every single American, at the age of 18, should take the citizenship oath of the United States of America. And because I believe that, I so swear:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.



Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Friday, May 30, 2014

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Context Missing from Discussion About LDS Women

This is a response from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the current, and ever repeating, issue of women and the priesthood. I stand with the Church on this issue, in every possible way.

# # #

Comments on various blogs over recent months about what Church leaders should or should not think and do about women’s roles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prompt me to provide some context from an insider perspective that may be helpful.

Recently a woman posted this comment on a blog:
Please understand that not [all] women who wish to be seen in all their worth are seeking to be ordained to the priesthood…. What I am finding…. is that most of these women have been demeaned and marginalized by one (and usually many more) of the brothers of our faith. They have been told their ideas won’t work. They have been told they are not important. They have been told they are lesser.
The point is a noteworthy one, namely that LDS women who describe themselves as feminists don’t necessarily seek ordination, but rather to be genuinely valued and given a voice that is respected and welcomed.

There are three specific criticisms that have been raised on various blogs that will be addressed here:


Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Monday, May 26, 2014

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Danny Boy by David Osmond

This is a stunning rendition of Danny Boy by David Osmond. Wow. It brought tears to my eyes. Thanks to Doug Osmond for sharing it with me. Happy Memorial Day to all those who have lost loved ones.


DOWNLOAD SONG HERE: www.DavidOsmond.bandcamp.com

ALSO DOWNLOAD on iTunes: http://goo.gl/LvoCT4

"Danny Boy" is a timeless classic written over one hundred years ago. It's one of my absolute favorite songs!

Most people have heard the first verse. A lot of people may know the second verse. But almost nobody has heard the third verse. It's a powerful song with a powerful message, and we want to give even more power to this song now.

JUST SO YOU KNOW... 100% of all the profits from the sale of this song are going to benefit a charity called, GOLD STAR MOTHERS. This is an organization of mothers who have all lost sons or daughters while they were serving in the military. This is our little way of giving back funds and recognition to those who absolutely deserve it.

It's a fantastic cause, so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for being so generous!!!

God bless!

David Osmond

DANNY BOY:

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling.
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side.
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling.
It's you, it's you must go, and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow.
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow.
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And should ye come, and all the flowers are dying.
And I am dead, as dead I well may be.
Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.

And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me.
And all my grave shall warmer sweeter be.
For you will bend and tell me that you love me.
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.

But should I live, and you should die for Ireland,
Let not your dying thoughts be all of me.
But say a prayer to God for our dearest Ireland.
That he may hear, and help set her free.

And I shall take your pike and sword my dearest.
And strike a blow, though weak that blow may be.
To help the cause to which your heart was nearest
And you shall sleep in peace, until I come to thee.

Oh Danny Boy, Oh, Danny boy
I love you so.

FYI: Almost ALL actors (minus Scott and Cohen are members of the Osmond Family.)

CREDITS:

Vocals and Guitar: David Osmond
Produced by: David Osmond and Aaron Edson
Daniel Sullivan, Jr.: Adam Gregory
Daniel Sullivan, Sr.: Scott Schroeder
Daniel Sullivan, III: Chris Osmond
Wife: Valerie Osmond
Daniel Sullivan, III (child): Dylan Osmond, Cohen Edson, Kate Osmond (baby)
Directed by: Aaron Edson
Co-Directed by: Ryan Little
Director of Photography: Brian Sullivan and Glen Fisk
Hair/Make-up: Valerie Osmond

Special THANK YOU to:

American Gold Star Mothers, INC. (501c3 Charity)

American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation for helping provide soldier's pictures. All pictures of soldiers (minus Chris Osmond), are of actual fallen soldiers. These are their names:

- Lance Cpl. Nigel Olsen (provided by Kim Olsen)
- SSG Gary Lee Woods, Jr. (provided by Becky L. Johnson - Gold Star Mother)
- PV2 Isaac T. Cortes (provided by Ramona Emily Toro - Gold Star Mother/PGR Member)
- PFC Gifford E. Hurt (provided by Lisa Davis)

Thank you to Bam Bam's BBQ and Bella's Mexican Food for their delicious contribution to the crew!

Sponsored by:




Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

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Remember: Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance

Many people have forgotten the power, strength and impact of the American Pledge of Allegiance. Today I am sharing Red Skelton's recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance again. Forget the monotony of it, and remember the meaning of each word:



Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

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Movie Corner: The Amazing Spiderman 2

Movie: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Fox, Sally Field and Dane DeHaan
Runtime/Rating: 142 min. / PG-13

In a nutshell, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) graduates high school about the same time he starts seeing the ghost of Captain Stacy (Denis Leary), the father of his girlfriend Gwen Stacy. And with these sightings, he is reminded over and over of the promise he made Captain Stacy.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens with Peter's parents; and we finally find out what happened to Peter's parents and it plays into the current story as well.

If you'll remember, Peter promised Captain Stacy as he was dying that he would stay away from Gwen. That didn't last long, although Peter did try. The sequel opens up with Spider-Man taking on the bad guys who have stolen a truck full of plutonium. He's supposed to be at his high school graduation, but turns out he's a little busy.

As the story of Peter and Gwen unfolds, so too does the story of an electrical engineer named Max who becomes Electro. To top it all off, Harry Osborn returns from boarding school with a disease that's killing him. Obsessed with finding the cure, he pleads with Spider-Man for his blood, and then the venom that Oscorp has kept hidden.

All in all, the movie has depth as Peter struggles to do what he promised Gwen's father, fights to keep the city safe, and does so with wit and charm. I very much enjoyed this movie. And as a side note, I much prefer Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man than Tobey Maguire. He's more believable, and he's more engaging.

I'm looking forward to Spider-Man joining The Avengers. My husband says he's supposed to, so we shall see if the big boys will play nice and let that unfold.

I give The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a 4 out of 5 stars. It was that enjoyable.



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Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Monday, May 5, 2014

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God Bless America

On this day, May 5th in the United States of America, I celebrate the greatness of our nation. The beauty that reaches from shore to shore, and her stunning lands in between. More than that, I celebrate the fierceness of the American spirit. That spirit which founded this great nation, is the same spirit that is fighting to keep the Republic now. May God bless America that her beacon of light and liberty will shine forever more.

This is Madison Rising and their stunning rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.



May people don't know all the verses to our nation's anthem. I'd like to share them with you now:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light 
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? 
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, 
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? 
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, 
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. 
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave 
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep, 
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, 
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, 
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? 
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, 
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream: 
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave 
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore 
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion, 
A home and a country should leave us no more! 
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. 
No refuge could save the hireling and slave 
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: 
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave 
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand 
Between their loved home and the war's desolation! 
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land 
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. 
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, 

And this be our motto: "In God is our trust." 
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave 

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Monday, April 21, 2014

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Movie Corner: Heaven is for Real



Heaven is for Real is the true story of young Colton who visits heaven, holding the hand of our Savior, while the surgeon and surgical nurses are fighting with everything they have to save his life. It is based on the book with the same name.

The movie opens with Colton's father who is a volunteer fireman, wrestling coach, and pastor at the local church. We see family life unfold in a small Nebraska town until Colton's appendix bursts and his life hangs in the balance.

When Colton recovers he begins to share his experiences with his father, who oddly enough, experiences his own crisis of faith because of these experiences. As the movie goes on, bits and pieces of his experiences unfold and the entire town is shaken in one way or another. 

Are we afraid heaven isn't real, or are we afraid that it is? This is the main question of the film.

It was poignant, powerful, inspiring and incredibly uplifting. It is a true story told in an understated fashion. Knowing what I know of the roles that Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly, I was some startled at the casting. However, it only took 15 to 20 minutes for me to forget their crass television shows and be immersed complete in the story of the Burpo family.

I give Heaven is for Real a solid 5 out of 5 stars. It is a movie worth seeing, and definitely worth adding to the home library, both book and movie. Both Colton, and a young girl (who is a remarkable artist and painted this rendition) who had a similar experience both say this is what Jesus looks like. This is Akiane's Jesus Christ. In fact, young Colton's reaction when he saw this painting of Jesus was startling. He definitively said this is what our Savior looks like.

There are many who doubt these children saw what they saw, but I am not one of them. Remember, Jesus Christ said:

Matthew 18:3: And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

When a four-year-old tells you he visited heaven, then gives specific, and accurate, accounts of who he met and what they said, then the conclusion must be that heaven is, indeed, for real.

The naysayers may say what they will, but God lives. This is I am certain of and I look forward to the day when I will see Him again.

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Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

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I am Candace Salima

My name is Candace Salima. I am married to the love of my life, Alvin E. Salima. I am not a racist, nor am I the white Coretta Scott King. I am descended of kings and queens, but recognize and honor those who came to America in the 1500s and carved a nation out of this great land. My ancestors, and relatives now, have served in every war this nation has ever fought. I stand for God. I stand for Family. I stand for America. I stand for the U.S. Constitution. I stand, and always will. I am Candace Salima, and that is enough for me.


This picture was taken in the early spring of 1995 and is our engagement picture. I do adore this man of mine.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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Senator Mike Lee Opening Statement at Comcast-Warner Hearing

WASHINGTON – Senator Mike Lee, Ranking Member of the Antitrust Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, delivered the following remarks at the start of the hearing regarding the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable:

As prepared for delivery

Lee: “Today’s hearing has received significant attention, and for good reason. The proposed merger between Comcast and Time-Warner has implications for two markets that affect the everyday lives of the vast majority of those in my state and in the country as a whole. Most Americans pay a monthly bill for video and broadband internet. In fact, as recently as 2012, ninety percent of U.S. households with a television paid for a TV subscription. And a recent study concluded that approximately 70 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 18 have broadband access within their home.

“The parties to this proposed merger have carefully structured their transaction. The two companies do not currently compete in each other’s footprint, and the combined company would have less than 30 percent of the video market—a number some have suggested acts as a kind of safe harbor for concentration in that market. Comcast has vertically integrated with NBC Universal—a complicating factor for a large distributor of video content and broadband internet that is seeking to become larger. But, as the company points out, it remains subject to conditions stemming from regulatory approval of that transaction. In addition, the companies argue that this merger will produce efficiencies, increase service for Time Warner customers, and facilitate increased innovation.

"The proposed merger has nonetheless raised concerns. This transaction takes place against the backdrop of significant pre-existing concerns with respect to the competitive state of the market for video and broadband internet. I have heard concerns for some time that the effects of robust competition, whether experienced in terms of pricing or quality of service, are not currently enjoyed in these markets. It is important that this Committee take account of the state of competition in the markets for video and internet as pre-existing issues may make it more likely for a large transaction to pose a competitive threat. At the same time, if concerns related to this transaction result only from issues affecting these industries as a whole, it may be unfair to the merging parties to impose only on them conditions designed to ameliorate competition. Regardless of the outcome of the agencies’ review of this transaction, I believe it is important for Congress to continue to monitor the competitive state of these markets.

Concerns with this transaction also arise from the nature of the services at issue. Internet, in particular, is of obvious importance to American families and businesses. The combined company will potentially control greater than 50 percent of high-speed internet access in the country. Markets change quickly, and government must be careful not to step in where economic forces will better direct and incentivize future investment and development of new products. But where the stakes are high—and they surely are high with respect to Americans’ access to the internet—any potential for anticompetitive effects or undue control of that market must be carefully scrutinized.

“As with any matter before this Committee or the relevant enforcement agencies, it is essential that we apply proper economic analysis and ground our conclusions in the evidence. By ensuring that we protect competition, and not any individual company or competitor, we can help create market conditions that benefit consumers and promote economic development.”

###


Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

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Movie Corner: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America is my favorite superhero, and Chris Evans is the best one yet. That's neither here nor there though. Alvin and I anxiously awaited the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. My husband is a Marvel comic books aficionado and he regaled me with stories of how Bucky, the Winter Soldier, eventually ends up being a good guy. . .




Captain America, the First Avenger, opens with a super secret S.H.I.E.L.D. mission with Cap's new team and the Black Widow. It's exciting, lost of fighting and action, pithy lines, etc. But when the mission is complete and the unexpected dealt with, Cap finds out that the Black Widow was there for a different reason. This is the beginning of an action packed film filled with surprises, betrayal, and unending excellent fighting scenes.

Here's a little something about me, earn it and I'm intensely loyal for life. For some weird reason, I just love Captain America. So this movie, while completely awesome, had some rough moments for me.

So here's the main push, HYDRA is still alive and well in the world and has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. at it's highest levels. No one can be trusted, not even Cap's own team, Strike. Cap and the Black Widow, along with Falcon, fight through to not only reveal what is happening, but to save millions of lives.


Joss Whedon does an excellent job at all levels of filmmaking with Captain America, but he did an entirely too good of a job making the Winter Solder a really, really bad guy. In fact, Whedon did such a good job that I expect I will have an extremely difficult time accepting Bucky as anything but a super bad guy. Alvin didn't care for the lengths they went to in order to make Bucky soulless. He insisted that Bucky is Cap's sidekick and he didn't like how that part of the story unfolded.


There were times in the movie where an early bullet to the brain of multiple bad guys would have saved our team a great deal of trouble. But the story didn't call for it, although logic did. (Yes, there must be logic, even in a superhero movie.) I really had a hard time watching the Winter Soldier beat the crap out of Captain America. It just didn't set well with me. But Cap prevailed and won the day, of course.

Nonetheless, the story is amazing, matched only by the filmmaking and acting. Ironically, given my political bent, I saw a serious parallel of what is unfolding in America today.

I give Captain America a solid 4 out of 5 stars.




Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

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Movie Corner: Draft Day

Alvin and I were invited to see an early screening of Kevin Kostner's new film, Draft Day.



Draft Day is a sports comedy-drama film directed by Ivan Reitman and is scheduled for release on April 11, 2014.

The movie opens on the waning hours until the NFL Draft begins. It was intriguing to watch this extremely stress-filled period (I've seen it from the player's viewpoint) from a General Manager's viewpoint. The machinations, negotiations, pressures from those who don't see the big vision, conflict, etc. really played well on the big screen.

Kostner, as Sonny Weaver, did an excellent job portraying the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns as he works throughout the day to recruit the one player he believes will turn his team around. Throw in the love interest played by Jennifer Garner, an unexpected pregnancy, the extremely hard to get along with coach, Dennis Leary, and the slightly crazy, bereaved mother. Kostner proves he's back with this movie, no question.

While I expected mild enjoyment of the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself completely engaged in the plot and the lives of those playing out on the big screen. Very well done, and everyone should go see it.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend to anyone that loves football you'll really enjoy it.

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Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

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I'm a Christian, and I think Noah Deserves a 4 Star Review

I review movies often, but Russell Crowe's Noah is one I decided to never watch because it has nothing to do with the story in the Bible. However, this very clever gentleman went and saw it and wrote this freakin' awesome review. I have to share it, I laughed so hard. I have included it in it's entirety.



On Friday, my wife and I had a very rare date night.

Naturally, we decided to spend it being pummeled by the blaring condescension of the most insipid, absurd, unimaginative, clumsily contrived piece of anti-Christian filmmaking to come along since, well, probably just last week.

In fact, if I learned anything from Noah, it’s this: despite popular perception, you can often judge a book by its cover. Also, giant deformed rock monsters make for awkward supporting characters.

We’ll meditate on that second item in a moment, but it’s the first point that should be especially emphasized.

Christians: you’ll hear people insist that you can’t criticize the movie until you’ve seen it. Noticeably, the loudest voices in this camp are the ones who will (rather coincidentally, I’m sure) profit immensely if you meet their challenge.

Don’t.

Don’t bother.

You can hate this film without watching it, for the same reason that you can assume Citizen Kane is slightly superior to Need For Speed, without having seen either of them.

Just use context clues. Use your judgment. Use your money on something else.

Noah is a major Hollywood blockbuster, made by an atheist director best known for his previous flick where a mentally disturbed lesbian ballerina goes insane and bleeds to death on stage. Already, a critical person might be slightly concerned about his handling of the Bible, considering what he just did to the ballet.

These concerns grew from suspicion to reality before it was even released, when the man himself came out publicly and professed Noah to be both an environmentalist propaganda piece, and the “least Biblical” Bible film ever made.

He wasn’t lying.

But he forgot to mention that it’s also a terrible film.

The way I figure it, I must now convince at least two people to skip this movie in order to cancel out the twenty dollars I just contributed to Darren Aronofosky’s and Russel Crowe’s coffers.

What better way to do that than by spoiling the entire thing?

So here goes a thorough synopsis and spoiler, which will hopefully quell your curiosity and alleviate any urge you might feel to go and experience this ridiculous train wreck for yourself:

We are first introduced to the Noah of Noah on a hill in the barren wasteland of the Fallen. In a captivating and subtle initial sequence, our protagonist castigates his son for pulling a flower out of the ground, right before rushing to the aid of an injured dog.

A scraggly band of Bad Guys soon show up with the wicked intentions of devouring the animal’s flesh, because, in this story, the Height of Evil is to stave off your imminent starvation by hunting wild game. (If only they’d developed Noah’s ability to be a strict vegetarian in an environment almost entirely devoid of vegetation.)

The Bad Guys attack Noah, not realizing that he’s a vegan Martial Arts master. Noah proceeds to kick some serious butt, leaving all of the Bad Guys bleeding on the ground.

One of them looks up at him in awe and terror. “What do you want?”

“Justice,” Noah growls with a determined gaze.

I was expecting him to then whisper, “I’m Batman,” and disappear, but I realized that superhero movies wouldn’t have dialogue nearly so clichéd as this embarrassing farce.

At any rate, Noah wants justice. Of course, this is coming from the same dude who will spend the rest of the movie contemplating murder-suicide and threatening to stab babies in the face.

But, hey, nobody’s perfect.

After a troubling nightmare, Noah, for unclear reasons, sets off to find his grandfather Methuselah, who, for unclear reasons, hangs out in a cave and drinks hallucinogenic tea all day.

On the way, our heroes encounter a group of the aforementioned Rock Monsters.

The Rock Monsters — a cross between the Ents from The Lord of the Rings, Transformers, and Muppets — are fallen angels who came down to Earth to help the humans after mean ol’ God cast Adam and Eve out of Eden. The ‘Creator’ was ticked at the angels for being big softies, so he cursed them and turned them into Giant Stone Gumbies.

Christian apologists for this movie have claimed that the Rock Monsters are, in fact, “Biblical” because Genesis does make vague mention of “giants.”

That’s like turning Jesus into an Olympic figure skater and calling it “theologically accurate” because the New Testament says he walked on water.

Still, the Rock Monsters are great unintentional comic relief, so I certainly wasn’t upset to have them along for the ride.

Skimming over a few parts: Methuselah gives a roofie to Noah, prompting a hallucination about the ark. Noah and the gang and the Rock Monsters then start building the ark. More Bad Guys arrive, intending to takeover, but they’re scared off by the Rock Monsters.

In this “version” of the story, only one of Noah’s sons, Shem, boards the ark with a wife. Ham, completely wife-less, is a tad displeased at the notion of default celibacy for the rest of his life.

Understandable, I suppose.

Eventually, he runs pouting into the woods, falls into a hole filled with corpses, and finds a girl sitting among all the dead people. They fall instantly in love — the classic “how we met” story — and the two of them head back to the ark. Unfortunately, Ham’s girlfriend gets caught in a bear trap and trampled by a human stampede along the way. Classic breakup story. Noah forces Ham to abandon her and leave her to die.

Ham is mad. He pouts some more.

Here’s Ham, searching ditches and mass graves for a bride. The movie apparently takes place sometime before Match.com came into existence.

Noah also pouts. Everybody is pouting. And then it starts pouring.

As the rains begin, the Bad Guys make their climactic charge on the boat. We are then treated to an extended sequence of Rock Monsters swatting swarms of drowning people.

Interestingly, only the Main Bad Guy comes up with the clever idea to, you know, go around the Rock Monsters.

The Main Bad Guy’s genius maneuver pays off, and he successfully manages to sneak onto the ark.

Luckily, Noah and crew aren’t forced to make room on the ship for the Rock Monsters, because they’re all ascended into heaven as a reward for kicking a bunch of humans in the head for twenty minutes.

Sadly, all of the (unintended) levity and humor goes up right along with them.

The rest of the film will now be dedicated to a brooding Noah glumly obsessing over his belief that the Creator wants all human beings to perish — himself and his family included.

This forces him to have that difficult family meeting where he explains to his kids that humanity is wicked and they all must die.

But, as usual, it’s right when you plan the obliteration of mankind that your adopted daughter announces she’s pregnant. We’ve all been there. Am I right, parents?

Noah is less than happy about the news, and tells Shem and Ila that, if they have a girl, he will murder it the moment it is born.

Needless to say, Noah doesn’t attend the baby shower and things are generally pretty awkward for the next nine months.

Meanwhile, as Noah plots to murder his grandkids, and Shem plots to kill Noah if he tries, the Bad Guy stowaway is also plotting with Ham to kill Noah. Ham is willing to cooperate with the homicidal plan because he’s still upset that his girlfriend of four minutes was trampled to death. Essentially, this has become a floating soap opera. Think Days of Our Lives meets Waterworld.

Side note: If you doubt the Bad Guy Credentials of the Bad Guy, the writers made sure to include a scene where he bites the head off an endangered lizard while sermonizing about the glories of being a carnivore (this is how vegetarians see the rest of us). His Bad Guy Monologue consists entirely of simply and accurately quoting Scripture (this is how you identify the bad guy in a Hollywood movie).

The next several minutes of emotional-manipulation-disguised-as-plot-development center around the drama inevitably created when a dad wants to kill his grandchildren, and all of his children want to kill him in return.

Finally, in the predictable climax, the Bad Guy tries to stab Noah, but Ham — getting cold feet over the whole patricide thing, I guess — ultimately decides to kill the Bad Guy instead. In the midst of the chaos — wouldn’t ya know it? — Ila goes into labor.

Shem makes a halfhearted attempt to stop Noah from becoming humanity’s first abortionist, but is easily tossed to the side.

Ila gives birth to twins — both girls. GASP. Noah charges at the infants with knife in hand, but has a sudden change of heart. Even though the Creator wants him to wipe out all of humanity, he refuses.

That’s when they hit land.

Next thing you know, Noah is drunk in a cave, depressed that he didn’t have the guts to murder his twin granddaughters. Ah, regrets. We all have ‘em.

Following a pep talk from Ila, Noah decides that maybe it’s OK if people repopulate the Earth. The Creator decides to go along with this new plan.

The end.

I’ve heard the movie compared to Titanic and Gladiator. Personally, I’d say it’s more of a cross between Mutiny on the Bounty and The Shining. Only far less coherent than any of them.

I’ve also heard some “Christian leaders” endorse this steaming pile of heretical horse manure. I’m tempted to accuse them of being cowardly, dumb, or dishonest, but I’ll just give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they slept through the most troubling parts — like the part at the beginning, and the end, and all of the parts in between.

It’s true that it might be a bit difficult to discern the “message” in a film so filled with explosions (the Bad Guys have bazookas, naturally), monsters, and infanticide, but any supposed Christian “leader” ought to try a little harder. Pay a little closer attention. If you do, you’ll see a tale that entirely perverts the nature of God, while flipping sin and immorality on its head.

Aside from a brief glimpse of something that appeared to be either rape or cannibalism, wickedness is portrayed as mostly a matter of eating meat and mining the earth for resources. Noah — a righteous man in the Bible — is stripped of his righteousness in favor of obsessiveness. God is stripped of any characteristics at all, apart from vindictiveness.

It’s not that ‘Noah’ strays from the text — of course it does, the actual text is only a few pages long — it’s that the movie completely and utterly distorts the message and meaning of the original story.

This movie is not an adaptation of anything at all. As far as I can tell, both Noah the Movie and Noah the Bible story have in common: a guy named Noah, a boat, some animals.

That’s it.

If you’re looking for a movie more obviously inspired by Biblical precepts, go see anything else. Go see The Lego Movie. I’m sure even that will bear a closer resemblance to Scripture than emo Noah and his gang of Boulder Creatures.

But what if you don’t care about the Bible and you just want to see a good movie? The critics seem to love this film, don’t they?

Yes, they do. They love it because they’re a herd of politically correct cattle and this is a movie that they’re ‘supposed’ to like. It’s made by an ‘important’ director. It’s ‘controversial.’ It’s upsetting a bunch of Tea Party types.

Plot and script be damned; it’s already got all the necessary ingredients for critical acclaim.

Remember, these are many of the same critics who panned The Passion of the Christ — a beautiful, bold, and mesmerizing retelling of the greatest story ever told.

Politics and theology aside, The Passion is art. Noah is a marketing strategy.

And, in fairness, maybe it ought to be reviewed on those terms.

You can’t condemn it for being a poor Biblical adaptation, because it isn’t a Biblical adaptation.

You can’t condemn it for being a bad movie, because it isn’t a movie.

It must be considered as it is: a gimmick. A brilliant gimmick, for sure.

If the movie studio wanted to spin a yarn about mythical beasts, epic battles, homicidal sea captains, and a pagan Earth god, they could have done so. They could have called it anything. They could have told their own story. But they called it Noah because they knew that the supposed connection to the Bible would garner immediate fascination. They knew there would be controversy, and controversy sells.

They padded it with enough action movie clichés to draw interest from secular crowds, they hid the outright blasphemy well enough to please gullible Christian crowds, and they mocked Biblical theology blatantly enough to delight the critics.

They came up with a way to make millions while exploiting the various sensibilities of different audience demographics.

That was their first and primary intention, and in it they succeeded wildly.

As an adaptation or retelling of Judeo-Christian theology, it’s a blatant mockery.

As a film, it’s like the script for a Syfy Network miniseries got shoved into a blender with the treatment for a Lifetime channel made-for-TV movie and then mixed with enough moping nihilism and environmentalist sermonizing to fool pretentious elitists into using words like ‘daring’ and ‘relevant’ when describing it. In other words, it’s aggressively abysmal.

But, as a money-making ploy, it’s a downright masterpiece.

Final assessment:

Four Stars for marketing

No Stars for quality, substance, coherence, meaning, or theological accuracy.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

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