Monthly Archives: September 2008

Christmas Is Coming…A Gift Idea from Cinepro

As Summer slips away to Fall, I thought I would take a moment and share a gift recommendation to consider for the coming holiday season.  Not a gift for you to give to me, of course, but a gift for you to consider giving others, or asking others to give to you.

For your gift-giving consideration:

The ClearPlay DVD Player

I first came across the ClearPlay DVD player 4 years ago, with their very first model.  My kids were approaching their post-toddler years, and I faced the conundrum many parents do.  As they were growing older, there were many movies they wanted to see, but they had a habit of unintentionally mimicking the language of movies they watched, so I was reluctant to introduce them to movies that had “bad” language.  I was familiar with the clean-movie services that sold pre-edited versions of Hollywood films, but objected to them for reasons of principle and legality.

ClearPlay was different, and it was awesome.  It works by editing the movie while you watch it, which allows you to select how picky it is.  You can choose varying degrees of profanity (including “Names of Deity” or “Racial Slurs”), violence, and Sex/Nudity, and the player will mute the audio or skip over scenes as you go.  This is made possible by a small, movie-specific file which you download from the ClearPlay website and load into the player via CD-ROM or USB drive. (Files are available for a few dollars, with different economically-priced subscription plans to choose from.)  Thousands of filters are available, including many foreign and independent films (and even G-rated blockbusters like “Toy Story”!?)

We have watched dozens and dozens of movies with ClearPlay, and I have never been disappointed.  The only frustrations I have had are for movies that require a great number of edits, making the movie hard to follow or almost nonsensical.  R-Rated films such as “American Gangster” are almost unwatchable with strict filtering. (No, my kids didn’t watch “American Gangster”; my wife and I usually prefer to avoid the garbage in R-Rated films if we can.)

ClearPlay has been most usefull for a small number of excellent films which have too much profanity for my younger kids to watch, but are otherwise enjoyable.  Films such as “Back to the Future”, “ET”, “The Goonies”, and “Men in Black” are just as enjoyable for my kids with the objectionable language edited out, and are in heavy rotation at the Cinepro household.  And the original version of the movie is always available if desired.

If you, or someone you know, enjoys watching movies but wants to avoid profanity, sex or violence found in many modern films, I highly recommend getting a ClearPlay DVD player.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Now if they would only make a Blu-ray version of their system.  Maybe for next Christmas….?

(Disclaimer: Cinepro is not affiliated with ClearPlay in any way, other than being a satisfied customer)
(Bonus: In addition to ClearPlay, there was a competing “editing” DVD player format in the early 2000’s called “Movie Mask”  Movie mask would alter the film by placing graphics and animations over offending bits, so nudity would be covered up by animated underwear, and blood and gore would turn into green blood or something.  They could also add interactive links, or insert items for product-placement).  The company went bust, but the hilarious demo-reel is available on YouTube.  Check it out if you were always bothered by the sword play in “The Princess Bride” and wish they had used lightsabers instead:)

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Joseph Smith and the Prophecy of the American Civil War

An important part of being a “Prophet” is making “Prophecies”, so when discussing the Prophet Joseph Smith, it is logical for people to ask about his prophecies and their fulfillment.  And any discussion of Joseph Smith’s prophecies will certainly touch on his most famous one: The Prophecy of the Civil war.

Members of the church love to discuss this prophecy for two reasons:

1. It appears to be a clear, concise prophecy.  So often, prophecies are imprecisely worded, but this prophecy appears to be specific because it actually names a location.

2. It is canonized.  Most of Joseph Smith’s “prophecies” are reported in obscure books or the non-canonized 7 Volume “History of the Church“.  The Prophecy on the Civil War was canonized by the Church in 1877, so it is found in the Doctrine and Covenants, a “Standard Work” of the Church.

But is this prophecy really a “prophecy”, and was it fulfilled in the way that Joseph Smith prophesied it?  I say…no, and here is why.

First, you should familiarize yourself with the environment in which this prophecy was made.  Specifically, Joseph Smith made his prediction in 1832 right as the Nullification Crisis was occupying the national mind.  What’s that?  You aren’t familiar with the “Nullification Crisis” of 1832?  Here is some background.
Nullification Crisis

Nullification Crisis

Nullification Crisis

Then consider other subsequent parts of the prophecy:

QUOTE
3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain,…
QUOTE
…as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.
Ummm…no.  That didn’t happen.

QUOTE
4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
Ummm…no.  That didn’t happen”The recruitment of black men, including many freed slaves, into the Union Army after the Emancipation Proclamation was approved: towards the end of the war, the Confederacy relented, and began to allow Blacks to enter the Confederate Army, but this action was only a token effort. ”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War

More here…

History of Slave Rebellions

(Notice the Turner rebellion in 1831, with no notable rebellions during the Civil War)

More on Slave Rebellions…

QUOTE
5 And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.
Who are the “remnants”? Who are the “Gentiles”? When did these remnants “marshal themselves” and “vex” the “Gentiles”?

QUOTE
6 And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;
Honestly, by any reasonable measure, things are drastically better all over the world since the Civil War.And “end of all nations”….? It probably sounded foreboding in 1832, with the second coming just around the corner and all that, but 172 years later, most nations seem to be doing just fine, with little worry of “ending” any time soon.

So if I have to spell it out for you, let’s go through verse by verse and see how many specific claims Section 87 (the Prophecy on the Civil War) contains, and how many are “hits”:

QUOTE
1.VERILY, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;
The nullification crisis of 1832 (just months before this revelation was given) provides ample context for this prophecy. Also, the term “shortly” is certainly debatable. But we can call it a “hit”.1/1 (Hits/Claims)

QUOTE
2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.
The American Civil War did not “pour out war upon all nations”. Not even Britain and France got really involved.

QUOTE
The open recognition, the active aid, the material and financial support which the South needed so greatly were never forthcoming. Europe refused to take a hand in America’s quarrel. North and South were left to fight it out between themselves.http://www.civilwarhome.com/europeandcivilwar.htm
That’s a miss.1/2

QUOTE

3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States,-and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called,-and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations;

-and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

Yup. Yup. Nope. Nope.3/5

QUOTE
4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
Nope.3/6

QUOTE
5 And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves,-and shall become exceedingly angry,-and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.
Nope. Nope. Nope.3/9

QUOTE
6 And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn;-and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;
This is pretty dramatic stuff, but “all nations” seem to be doing fine, by and large. We’ll just say he’s 0/2, and not break down each prophecy in the verse.3/11

QUOTE
7 That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.
I have no idea what he meant by this, so if you can explain it, it could be a “hit”.

QUOTE
8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

The “day of the Lord” hasn’t come yet. I’m gonna say that “170+ years” does not equal “quickly”, and call this a miss. You can stretch “quickly” as long as you like and call it a hit, but that’s more of a stretch than I could make and still keep a straight face.

3/12

So of the 12+ distinct portions of the prophecy contained in Section 87, Joseph Smith only got 3 right, and even that involves a stretch of the word “shortly”, and ignoring the contemporary Nullification Crisis as a probable “inspiration”.

In short, the “Civil War” prophecy would be the prophetic equivalent of (current LDS Prophet) President Monson seeing a weather forecast for a hurricane in Florida, and prophesying that a hurricane was going to soon wipe all of Florida into the ocean. Then the hurricane dies out, and nothing happens. 30 years later, a small monsoon hits Florida, and causes a little damage. Church members point to President Monson’s prophecy as being fulfilled, conveniently ignoring the part about Florida being wiped into the ocean.

Personally, I’m only impressed with prophets that bat better than .500.

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