Monthly Archives: August 2020

The Opposite Gospel

In the year that the government ordered a tax audit, Joe Carpenter took his family out of the USA and took up residence in an overseas tax shelter. There, little Joe Carpenter, Jr. was born. Everyone called him “JC” because his dad told them to.

Joe Sr. said, “JC are great initials. They’re mine. If he’s going to inherit my business, he’ll need initials like I have. Everybody call him JC, or you’re fired, and I’ll have the local police arrest you and deport you, even if you’re a resident in this fleabag nation!” Because Joe Sr. had lots of money, everyone who worked for him pretended to love his ideas.

A few days after JC was born, several dictators sent representatives bearing gifts to visit the child. In return, Joe Sr. lobbied Congress to drop business sanctions against those nations so that he could invest in them. When some Congresspeople objected to dropping sanctions against nations where the dictators would torture and execute people for no reason, Joe Sr. said that those politicians hated America and should be replaced by business-friendly politicians. He then supported the campaigns of white supremacists to replace those Congresspeople and said that was good.

When JC was 12, Joe Sr. brought him to work one day. While Joe Sr. was in a meeting, JC wandered off. Joe Sr. had no idea that his kid wasn’t with him until 3 days later, when he found JC in the board room, pointing his finger at upper management and screaming at them that they were all spineless dungheaps, not fit to work for his dad if they couldn’t turn their profitability around. Joe Sr. smiled and said, “That’s my boy. What he says, goes. Any of you that he fired, I want you out of here before lunch.” And it was so.

And so JC developed, day by day and week by week, into the kind of executive his father had been. When JC was 30, Joe Sr. retired as CEO and put JC into that position. Joe Sr. retained his position as Chairman of the Board, but let JC call the shots, both for daily operations as well as long-term corporate strategy.

Well, there was one interim CEO in there because Joe Sr. had to retire suddenly and leave the USA over a particularly nasty sex scandal. Joe Sr. appointed John Waterman as interim CEO until JC was available to officially start in that role.

Before he took over as CEO, however, JC took a 40-day vacation to a desert beach resort. He ate well and partied for every one of those 40 days. At the end of the 40 days, Satan came to him and said, “JC, if you bow down to worship me, I’ll give you all that you want.”

JC said, “My father told me about you. Send your contract to legal to let my boys have a look at it, and we should be good to go.” They shook hands and then went over to hang out with Jeffrey Epstein.

When JC got back from Epstein’s place, he want to see John Waterman. Now, John had been accepting praise for his role as interim CEO, but he always said that JC would be 10 times better than him, easily. Some of the activist shareholders were questioning Waterman’s hiring decisions, saying that they didn’t come from good business schools. Waterman replied, “Look, I don’t care if the guy is from Wharton or community college, I want someone who does what he’s told. I can make a manager out of anybody, if they just do exactly what I tell them to do.”

Anyway, JC goes to see Waterman. They have a big production that was staged for the media in which Waterman says he’s not worthy to share the same podium as JC, and JC tells Waterman, “You’ll share the podium because I told you to!” They have a good laugh and the business press just ate it up like candy.

JC brought in his own team of C-level executives, 12 of them, to spread his vision to the company as a whole. He raided a seafood processing company for a number of their execs, and also had a former IRS high official – JC was well-connected. His COO and right-hand man was one of those seafood guys, Pete Rock. JC and Pete made a great team.

JC didn’t bring in Waterman, though. There were some outstanding corporate tax issues from when Joe Sr. was in charge, so JC decided to hand the IRS Waterman’s head on a platter as the fall guy for the tax problems.

When JC took over officially, he called for an all hands meeting. This is what he said:

“We’re really blessed to be here today, especially those of us with big options packages. It’s going to be like heaven for us when they vest.
“Speaking of heaven, Carpenter Industries is canceling all paid bereavement leave, effective immediately. I want you worrying about profits for the living instead of memories of the dead. We’re like sharks here, keep moving or you die.
“Nobody gets nothing if you’re meek and quiet. You want to inherit the earth? Be like me, brash and bold!
“And if you want more of this politically incorrect talk, I’ll keep it coming.
“I want you to go after profits, without mercy. If you don’t, I might just fire you, without mercy.
“If you want to get a commendation from my dad, then you better get one thing straight: He doesn’t give prizes to Boy Scouts or little goodie two-shoes types. You don’t get a bonus from him that way.
“I’m not my father’s son because I’m a peaceful sort or anything like that. I go for the blood, I go for the jugular. Business is war, and that’s what we do here, war!
“And I got no time for so-called whistleblowers. As far as I’m concerned, those people are traitors and I’ll go after you with every legal trick in the book. I’ll bury you. So think twice before you decide to call 60 Minutes or anything like that.
“Just remember, I only insult my friends. The rest can go to hell. So if you’re mad about anything I say, good news, you still have a job where you get to hear it. You’re welcome.
“No doubt, you’ve heard in church, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Well, I got no place for that here. I need killers, real dyed-in-the-wool killers who will get Carpenter Industries more profitable than it’s ever been. You better not get caught, I’m telling you now, because I got no room for losers, but I also got no room for people without a killer instinct. Do yourself a favor and quit now, make room for someone who’s got the guts to be rich.
“We’re also introducing a stack ranking system. If you’re working alongside a fool or an idiot, tell your boss! Get that guy the hell out of here!
“I do need to stress that you all follow our company guidelines on sexual harassment so that we don’t get sued. Again.
“Anyway, I’m a real eye for an eye kind of guy. That’s how I want it to be around here. Somebody screws you, you screw them right back, but double, got that?
“All right, meeting over, get back to work or you’re fired.”

The Book of Mormon and Liberation Theology

For those interested in the socio-political details of The Book of Mormon, this is a compelling article for consideration.

The notion that The Book of Mormon has a thread of liberation theology in it was something I was recently considering and, prior to putting out my own thoughts on the matter, I wanted to see what was already out there. I find Dr. Potter’s assertions that the liberation theology in The Book of Mormon to be not just “a preferential option for the poor”, but also a stark warning to those with wealth and privilege to be most agreeable.

Bear in mind that while liberation theology shares with Marxism a criticism of capitalism, it by no means agrees upon the actions necessary to correct the abuses of capitalism and the social divisions and stratifications necessary to maintain a capitalist society. While Marxism would have workers of the world unite in a struggle, The Book of Mormon argues instead that the rich should humble themselves, give of what they have to the poor, and to use power in service, rather than to demand servitude.

As a church that has a long history of being predominantly white and English-speaking, with a patriarchal system, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is itself putting forward a message that it is worldwide, multicultural, and home-centered, with that home equating roles performed by husband and wife, particularly in terms of spiritual authority. It is a mistake to equate the Nephites with white Americans with conservative 1950s political views. It is a mistake both of history as well as self-perception.

It is even a mistake to equate the Nephites with the Church: how often do prophets preach to the Nephites because of their rejection of their message? Better to equate the Nephites with the Lamanites, both descended of the same parents, as well as parent-culture. Both can be blinded by lies. Both can be caught up in pride. And both can be redeemed by the same gospel message.

And so, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have this document that stresses the importance of community, of shared experience, and of material sacrifice, while condemning those who seek after riches, who place the self above the community, and who seek to create or perpetuate unequal social systems. I’m going to finish reading this document and will likely have more to say on this matter going forward.