Category Archives: Scams

A Life Change That Helped My Happiness

I came across this brief announcement in the news…

Mormon church excommunicates leader for first time in nearly 30 years

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James J. Hamula – excommunicated Mormon leader

In some ways, a big part of me says, “not significant enough to comment on.” Another part of me, prompts me to use what little abilities I have to speak my mind clearly.

I hope he and his family find their way. I refer back to my own 20+ years experience as an active member of that religious organization. In that time, I went from devout follower, to an enlightened person who is grateful to be out of that organization. Perhaps this will be the break they need to extract themselves from such mind befuddlement, into an understanding of the lies, distortions, historical chicanery, counterfeit scripture, and the “guilt hold” this religion can have over someone’s supposed, free will.

Fortunately my immediate family has also worked their way out from under the social pressure, the repetitious pronouncements, and the circumventing of rational thought. They too realize how isolated from reality someone can become as long as they’re so heavily invested, in which their personal happiness can only be achieved by reinforcing their commitment to the organization, and most especially to its leadership.

The desire for people to be part of a group in which they identify with common beliefs and functions, and to elevate its leaders as special, set apart with distinctive insight, dates back to the earliest periods of tribal affinity and survival against hostile elements, infirmity, uncertainty, creatures, people, and to repel those things that would undermine their survival. It didn’t take long for humans to fill in the knowledge gaps with superstitious lore and set aside some people who pretend to know more than the common person. This becomes comforting, as we try to express our deepest feelings of devotion, ritual, compassion, and explanation into what happens after we die.

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Thomas S. Monson Mormon President

Religion can and often does fill in the blanks when we don’t know, whereas a lengthy education process seems too complicated for many people to understand. As we become further initiated, inculcated, and fully brought “into the fold”, we replace objections and logic with prepared phrases from supporting text or the words of others within the same organization. We not only worship the unexplainable, unfathomable, unknowing, rejecting doubt as insufficiently devoted or not passionate enough, and substituting guilt and recrimination when we don’t meet group expectation or total acceptance.

It’s relatively easy to observe the leadership of these organizations say the same things, they speak in similar controlled tone, they look-alike, and often are educated at the same schools. Acceptance comes through adherence. There are numerous phrases or words defined to mean unique things for the group. Intolerance, bigotry, character assassination and rumor generalizations have been directly loaned, re-translated with euphemism.

The only safe thing for your mind, and for the benefit of others within your family, is to have the courage to recognize the self-deception and the group think mentality, and get out.

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| 08 August 2017 | “On Tuesday morning, James J. Hamula was released from his position in the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after disciplinary action.

LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins provided no details about the removal. But the church did confirm Hamula was no longer a member of the church and that his ouster was not for apostasy or disillusionment.

In cases involving members of Mormonism’s presiding quorums — rare as they are — the faith’s governing First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles form a disciplinary council to consider such actions.

Hamula, 59, who could not be reached Tuesday for comment, was born in Long Beach, Calif., and served in many positions with the Utah-based church — including as a full-time missionary in Germany, bishop, stake president (overseeing a number of LDS congregations), mission president and Area Seventy.
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My Quest 4 Understanding

I’ve explored and tried to understand religious thought of a fairly wide variety of well-known religions. Understandably, I’m most familiar with Christianity, since I grew up in America, however I have read materials, religious texts, and tried to understand Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Scientology, and Mormonism. I grew up as a Lutheran, attended catechism as a teenager, joined the Mormon Church (officially called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) at age 20. I served in various lay capacities of that organization for over 25 years, and after learning more about its inner workings and the beliefs of the LDS religion, I left it behind before the turn of the 21st century. I consider that good, but far too long to learn a basic truth. This is my indictment on the dishonesty of religions.

True believers of any one faith usually believe that their own scripture is the truth, whereas they regard all other holy books with suspicion or accuracy.

christ-headAt first introduction into most of these organizations, and for many people who become committed to their teachings, the religion of choice, looks harmless and to many seems to provide personal benefit. It appeals to people who are seeking answers to complex questions of who we are, how did we get here, finding our way through competing ideas and personal identity, adopting a moral code, and where we end up after death. Over a period of time, while learning more, testing the ideas and logic of said organization through objective examination, you may find that some of your most closely held beliefs and self-identification, are formed by the purveyors of myth and perversions of intellect.

A religion or sect most often will appeal to fear or threats of rejection, requires the individual to become obedient / subservient in acts of self-hatred, isolation from contrary resources or people who may alter your commitment, aggression toward others outside the group, renunciation of family and friends in order to prove commitment to satisfy peers or arrogant, arbitrary and controlling leadership.

Another hallmark of many of these belief  systems are the subtle and not so subtle methods they employ to keep you in the group. These include, but aren’t limited to, repetitious readings, group meetings which encourage people to give talks and presentations about their commitment to the religion and it’s leaders, and only reading or viewing materials which promote the religious group. Many unique phrases or words are used or words redefined to carefully construct and enhance the individual to group identification and involvement. Some organizations have cleverly institutionalized  mind & emotional control by making the patron purchase materials as steps in a never-ending scheme to perfect themselves. Words like training or study guides are euphemisms for indoctrination as an outcome. People may later learn to find themselves so embedded in a religious culture through personal associations, family, and routines, they don’t see how they can ever give it up.

behaviorial-change-intention-chart

Examining beliefs and intentions can help us understand the impact they produce.

Understanding these beliefs and the intentions they produce can provide clues on how to impact behavior change.

“Lip service” of those who profess belief are usually put to the test by the prompting of lay leaders or clerics through several types of heinous acts, such as martyrdom, polygamous marriages, debasement of women, sacrificial denial, and patronage through large donations. Acceptance of bogus and ancient myths over rational and provable thought is the hallmark of those who eschew testable and accumulated scientific knowledge.

Promises of great reward are most often made for those with the deepest commitment to the clever machinations of manipulative, egocentric, charismatic leaders. They most often demand that you give up your hopes, dreams, enjoyment of life, to enhance theirs, under the guise of pleasing some remote entity that neither can be seen, or doesn’t have agreed upon attributes and purposes. bhagvadgita-images

Those with the strongest group identification will have a foundation built upon the writings, teachings, visions and prophecies of people who have a questionable history or nebulous past. A cult will impose their will on your researching other sources for information, sometimes in more subtle ways through ostracism, reprimands, or peer criticism. Close examination of who these leaders are or were, or if they even existed as described, is officially frowned upon, and sometimes grounds for corrective (private judicial group proceedings) action by the group through expulsion, re-education, or in some extremes  death.

After leaving the LDS church, I’ve never been happier. My life’s purpose has been enhanced through continuing my own education. The artificial group think, the control, and redirection of my life through the limited vision of other people has been eliminated. I’m not advocating other people live their life in a way that is acrimonious, or makes them unhappy with their culture and friends. I’m just unwilling to turn my life over to people who think they know what’s best for me, but have a such limited understanding of reality.


Getting Rich May Be More Difficult

Perhaps that title should read, getting rich may be more difficult if your honest, but cybercrime is paying well.

Back in the 1930’s a bank robber by the name of Willie Sutton was asked, “why do you rob banks?” His answer supposedly was, “that’s where the money is…”

As to what actually motivated Sutton to hold up banks, as he said in Where the Money Was: “Why did I rob banks? Because I enjoyed it. I loved it. I was more alive when I was inside a bank, robbing it, than at any other time in my life. I enjoyed everything about it so much that one or two weeks later I’d be out looking for the next job. But to me the money was the chips, that’s all.” Read more at Snopes.

As of October 11, Malware Must Die had identified a total of 53 distinct web addresses involved in bot attacks, 25 of them located in the U.S. The attacks have been traced back to a total of 23 countries. This is from an article in SecurityWeek, I recommend you follow this link for further details.

bugs & malware

“These attacker IPs are the combination between (known) Mayhem bots we monitor and unknown sources (including the suspected possibility of new panels/CNC/bots),” Malware Must Die wrote in a blog post.

“Many of today’s enterprises have adopted public cloud-based services that run on systems that can be infected by Mayhem, but the enterprise has no visibility into whether servers have been patched, no ability to dictate patch schedules, and no visibility into whether exploits of Mayhem have resulted in theft of their data or user credentials,” Rich Campagna, VP of products at Bitglass, told SecurityWeek.

Shellshock the new normal of vulnerabilities?

The latest trends suggest the business of cybercrime is doing rather well adapting to the higher security landscape of digital domains and creating new methods for extracting financially rewarding data. ShellShock is one such exploit that lends itself well to repackaging legal and popular apps (application software) with a way to finding vulnerability in servers as well as many Apple OS products. Data exploits into gaining illegal access at J.C. Penny, Home Depot, J.P. Morgan are merely the tip of an iceberg in cybercrime.

server rackOne of the 10 Digital World Commandments — “Know thy cloud vendor” It’s critical to know your web host services vendor or your cloud vendor, and has patched for Shellshock & Heartbleed vulnerabilities.

Another Digital World Commandment — “Thou shall avoid Loading Apps unless you know their source” The path to making a significant living for some people is to develop an application which becomes highly popular (goes viral) then attracts enough attention from a large company to buy them out. It’s happened quite a few times, which has also attracted the attention of criminals to take the original app and bundle it with an exploit and then promote this combined program on the Internet. It may even be given away so that it gets a wider distribution. After all, the offending party doesn’t care about earning revenue through software sales. Their payoff is when you load the new app on your smart phone or digital device of your choosing. Then when loaded, the exploit goes to work behind the scenes to further compromise the security of your device. Gathering financial information is big business, especially if you live in a country that won’t prosecute or extradite you.

Professionals may be interested in the following resources: