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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Silencing the truth: No other viewpoint allowed!

On June 10, 1844, Joseph Smith jr, prophet and founder of the Mormon church, along with the city council, voted unanimously to have the printing press of the Nauvoo Expositor destroyed. The newspaper was declared to be a "public nuisance" and later that evening the town marshall carried out the order.
William Law, former member of the first presidency and chief editor of the newspaper, had accused Smith of secretly engaging in the practice of polygamy and openly teaching erroneous doctrines contrary to the Mormon Faith. He had also accused the prophet of becoming obsessed with wanting too much power and desiring to create a theocracy. In carrying out the order of destruction, Joseph Smith jr and the Nauvoo council had clearly violated the Illinois Constitution that granted freedom-of-the press to its citizens and had also trampled upon their first amendment rights.
 False religion is notorious for silencing the truth and prohibiting opposing viewpoints. Fear and intimidation are common tactics employed by a "power hungry" dictatorship. Like Joseph Smith jr, Supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has chosen the same methods and tactics to shutdown and silence those who oppose the policies of the government. With a little over a month until the next presidential election, the Iranian regime is busily arresting bloggers and journalists, to send a message to its citizens saying, "We will control what you see and hear!"
In January, on a day now known as "Black Sunday," security forces arrested 16 journalists and bloggers and quickly put them in Evin Prison. Since then, the government has stepped up their control over the internet by blocking access to vpn, a device Iranians need to open up filtered websites and get online. The goal of the regime is to disconnect the internet and deprive Iranians of access to any source of news and information during the course of the election. Iran is desperately trying to avoid the violence and bloodshed that occurred during the disputed 2009 presidential election by shutting down outside communications with any other media outlet.
In an ironic twist of events, on April 30, 2013, Iranian President Ahmadinejad was arrested and held for seven hours. He was interrogated by the head of intelligence in reference to some remarks he made about possessing "secret tapes" from the 2009 election. Ahmadinejad reportedly warned associates that if his hand picked successor, Esfandiar Mashaei, was rejected as a candidate, then he would reveal tapes that demonstrated that the 2009 election was a fraud. After a lengthy interrogation, Ahmadinejad was warned to back down from his ultimatum and then released.
Fraud, deceit and cover-ups are the norm for the Iranian regime. They will stop at nothing to deceive and control Iranians in order to conceal what happens behind closed doors.
Silencing the truth is the method Iran employs to shutdown any opposing viewpoint. In
October 2012, Sattar Beheshti, a Facebook blogger, was arrested and put in Evin Prison for writing an article that was critical of the government. Less than three weeks later his family was notified of his death. Although the regime claims it was due to natural causes, there was evidence of beatings and torture after a autopsy was performed.
Things have not changed much since the printing press of the Nauvoo Expositor was destroyed. Power hungry governments are still in the business of suppressing the truth and killing those who have an opposing viewpoint. My friends in Iran that I chat with daily online, told me that they are refusing to vote during the upcoming election. They feel it is hopeless and a waste of time.
For those of us who still enjoy first amendment rights and a government that is "of the people, by the people and for the people," we have a responsibility to be a voice for the voiceless. My heart is grieved that my Iranian friends don't have the same freedom that I have. Proverbs 31:8 gives us a royal command to stand up fro the voiceless.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves: ensure justice for those being crushed."
 I believe that as we collectively speak out and pray for Iranians, that God will honor our efforts and one day very soon give them true freedom.
There is a day coming when the truth will no longer be silenced.

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