Friday, April 13, 2018

Unicorns in the Bible and the need for Joseph Smith

This article is not an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
Source

A few years ago I engaged in a gospel discussion with a friend of another religion whom I respect greatly.  We disagreed on a point of doctrine and went to the New Testament to find out why.  As we studied the verses back and forth, our difference came down to the Joseph Smith Translation of a verse.  She very kindly said that she did not support interpreting the Bible based on changes made by a man in the 19th Century.  I completely respect her point of view.  

Because let's be honest, it can seem quite strange that some of our doctrine is based on what we call the Joseph Smith Translation found in the Pearl of Great Price and as footnotes in the Holy Bible.  In essence we are saying, "Here the Bible is wrong, this is what it is actually supposed to say."  

To learn more about the Joseph Smith Translation and how it came to be, click here.  

We have had the King James Version of the Bible for centuries, and the LDS Church uses that version as their cannon scripture.  Yet we also have an Article of Faith that says, 


"We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly." 
If you are easily amused, here is that Article of Faith sung by a group of children.  You're welcome.



Anyway....

The point is that while we do believe the Bible, we also reserve the right to say that we don't always agree with how it was translated.  Joseph Smith spent several years of his life as a modern-day prophet receiving revelation to correct many of those errors.

What does this have to do with unicorns?

Source

We actually find that unicorns are mentioned 9 times in the authorized version of the King James version.  But unless you are a 5-year-old girl, you know that unicorns aren't real.  So why would the word of God makes us think that they are?

Thanks to a website called Unicorns Rule (and yes, unicorns do rule) we have a history of how unicorns show up in the Bible.

The original language of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. 

One of the words used was

re'em.

In 250 B.C. the Greeks took on the task of translating the Bible into Greek so that the Bible could be made available to the public.

When they came across the Hebrew word re'em, they were puzzled because the animal re'em had gone extinct.  So there was no word in the Greek language that could be used to translate re'em.

What is a re'em anyway?

No one really knows, but many scholars have come forward with their ideas.

It might have been a wild ox with one horn.  It might have been what is called an elasmotherium, which is an extinct animal like a rhinoceros but with wooly fur. 

Source

It might have even been a one-horned rhinoceros, knows as the rhinoceros unicornis.

Source

Some have even suggested it might be a narwahl.  A whale that has a long tooth that grows out of its head.

Source

Don't those look terrifying?

But the animal mentioned in the Bible is a land creature.  So it's not likely to be a narwahl.

Source

But whatever a re'em is, the Greeks didn't have a word for it.  So they did their best and used their own word.

monokeros 

which means one-horned.


Now we have a new translator, in 390 A.D. St. Jerome began to translate the Bible into Latin.  There is some question as to whether he translated the Bible from Hebrew (which he might not have been fluent in) or Greek (which he most likely was fluent in).  Whether he was looking at the word re'em or monokeros, he used the Latin word

unicornis

which also mean one-horned.

In 1611 when a group of scholars translated the Bible into English they too didn't have an English word so they made one up.  The word was "unicorn."

And that's the story of the birth of a unicorn.

Source

Which frankly is way cuter than this ugly thing.

Sorry, dude! 

But as you can see what was intended to mean one thing, morphed to mean something completely different.

But at the end of the day whether it was meant to mean an extinct wild ox, a rhinoceros, or a narwahl, what does it matter? It wouldn't change any doctrine, would it?  I'd say probably not.

But there are thousands of words in the Bible that were translated, not just this one.  And as you can see it is a complicated process (much more complicated than what I've shown here) and it is possible for words to be misconstrued or mistranslated.

Additionally, not all mistranslations were accidental.  In 1604 when the King James Version of the bible began to be translated, there was a purposefully effort not to commend civil disobedience to royal supremacy1

And that's just one translation.  We find many different translations of the Bible written throughout the centuries.

To see the list of English translations, click here. 

Can you see why the LDS Church says that it believes the Bible to be the word... as long as it was translated correctly?  And why Joseph Smith, a modern-day prophet, worked for years and used divine revelation to correct as many errors as he possibly could?

I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet and had the proper power and authority to do this.  That is why I read the Joseph Smith translation found in the Pearl of Great Price and the Bible as part of my scripture study.

But I still think unicorns are cute.

Source



1. Daniell, David (2003). The Bible in English: its history and influence. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09930-4.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ministering and Serving: What is the Difference?

This is not an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
Recently, the LDS Church announced it was retiring its Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching programs and switching to a ministering program.  Many elements of the former program are still in effect.  Members of a congregation will still be assigned to other members, but they way it is coordinated, reported, and measured will change.

To read more about the new ministering program, click here.  

As I've had over a week to think about this new change, I've pondered the idea of ministering to others instead of serving others.  Are the two words synonyms?  Is there a difference between the two?

To help me see if there is any difference, I thought of the words as nouns.  Two images comes to mind:

A minister

Source


and a server

Source




A minister is someone who preaches sermons, visits those in his or her congregation, helps with baptism, weddings, funerals, provides a listening ear, and shows love and compassion.

Source


A server is someone who provides a list of options, you let the server know what you need, and he or she brings you what you asked for.

Source

Neither of these descriptions accurately portray what the LDS Church is asking of its own members, but thinking about the difference in these terms helps me see where the shift of focus needs to be.

When we serve others, we really are offering to another what it is that we have to give.  If a person gives birth, we bring them a dinner to their home.  If a person loses a loved one, we bring them flowers.  If a person gets married, we give them a gift.  Essentially we are providing them something we assume they need.  Hopefully we are right, and the service is appreciated.
Source



When we minister to others, we think about them as an individual.  We don't offer one-size-fits-all gifts.  We listen with love and try to get in tune as to what they really need.  If they are lost, depressed, or disaffected, we strive to find them to let them know they are loved.  If they are lonely we sit with them and offer companionship.  If they are hurting, we hurt with them.  We don't try to necessarily fix them or heal them, we just love them.

Source
Note: Click on the source of the picture above.  It will take you to a Hallmark page giving suggestions of what to say to someone struggling with a serious illness.  They have good advice.  

I don't see ministering and serving as mutually exclusive.  There is a time and place for both.  Sometimes it is appropriate for someone to say, "This is what I need, will you bring it to me?"  Or for another to say, "If there is anything I can do, just ask."  That is service.

But others times it is appropriate to not ask at all, but just do.  We have a thought or inspiration to bake an extra loaf of bread and bring it to someone.  We stop by someone's home just to say hi.  We kneel at night and pray for someone else.  We don't focus on what it is that we are able to give as much as what the other actually needs.  That is ministering.

A few months ago I had an opportunity to stand in front of a small group of women where all were members of a worldwide organization called the Relief Society living in lower New York City.  I was asked to share my feelings on visiting teaching.  This was a hard assignment because at the time I did not like the visiting teaching program and thought it needed to be completely overhauled.  But I didn't want to undermine the program so this is what I said:

"Give yourself permission to fail.  We are going to make mistakes when we try to serve each other.  And people are going to make mistakes trying to serve us.  Let's forgive ourselves and each other as we try to figure out how to best do this. Every morning pray and ask how you can help someone else.  And then go and do without worrying whether you are doing it 'right' or not."  

As LDS members trying to figure out what ministering like the Savior really looks like, I think the same advice can apply.  We shouldn't let our fear of making a mistake keep us from trying.  Sometimes we'll serve someone a dinner when what they really needed was just a visit.  Or we'll talk their ear off when all they needed was someone to help them fold laundry.  And that's okay, we'll keep trying and we'll get better at it.

Source

For resources and tips on ministering like the Savior, click here.



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself: What Does That Really Mean?

This is not an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



Today during General Conference, our new prophet, President Russell M. Nelson announced that Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching would be retired and replaced.  

The letter from the First Presidency states:  


"The separate programs of home teaching and visiting teaching are now a coordinated effort referred to as “ministering,” overseen by the elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies under the direction of the bishop. Ministering is Christlike caring for others and helping meet their spiritual and temporal needs."




The letter also indicates this is an attempt to focus on ministering the way the Savior taught.
In particular, the commandment that Christ gave to us when He said in Matthew 22:37:


"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."


For years I have heard this scripture to be interpreted to mean some version of, 

"Love thy neighbour the same way you love yourself."  


What follows are usually one of two sermons: either the need to be compassionate, charitable, kind, nonjudgmental or about the need for self-esteem, self-care, taking time to refill the well, basically learning to love yourself.  

While I do agree with both the need to be kind to others and the need to love ourselves, for the past year or so I have had a nagging question that won't leave my mind.  The question is this, "Is that really what Christ was talking about?"  

As I look through the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, I can't find any stories of when Christ didn't serve others because He said, "I just really needed to focus on myself right now."

Yet we do find several instances where He withdrew Himself to be alone. In Luke 5:16 we read: 

 "And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed."



 I find this to be a powerful example of the need to take time to ponder and meditate, but is it really about focusing on self-love?  


This question has led me on a journey of studying what loving our neighbor actually looks like and whether we need to love ourselves to do it. 

What if loving your neighbor as yourself actually meant this:  

"Love thy neighbour as if he were you."  


Take for example the story of the Good Samaritan.  Despite the fact that the man lying on the road bleeding and hurt was his political enemy, the Samaritan treated that man exactly the way he would want to be treated if he were in that same situation.  Could we do the same even if we don't have a full bucket or high self-esteem?  I think we can.


Source

Imagine if you were a refugee. You have been forced from your home and placed in a foreign land. Now you are told that you are a danger to other people.  How would you want people to talk about you on social media?  



Imagine that you are driving on the freeway.  You are preoccupied thinking about the horrible meeting you just had with your boss.  You almost miss your exit.  You accidentally cut someone off to get to your off ramp.  How would you want the person behind you to react?  


Source 

Imagine you are recently widowed.  You and your husband used to spend every Friday night at the movies.  You miss this tradition but don't feel like going to the movies all by yourself.  What would you want your neighbor to do?  

Source

These questions are pretty easy to answer aren't they?  They don't require hours of studying compassion or charity.  They don't even require loving ourselves or making sure our bucket is full.  What it does require is the ability to put ourselves in the place of our neighbor, trying to see the situation from his or her point of view and then ask, "How can I show the same love as if it were me?"  

And as I have thought about this question, this is what I have decided.  

When we try to love our neighbors as if they were us, we know exactly what to do.  We all want to be treated with compassion, charity, and without judgment.  We want to be treated the way Christ would treat us.  



It is when we truly love our neighbor, we are able to love ourselves.  It is when we love the way Christ would love, we fill our own bucket. 



All photos are from lds.org unless otherwise indicated.  







Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Claw over New York City

There is a scene in the movie Toy Story where Woody and Buzz end up inside a machine at an arcade.


Buzz asks, "Who is in charge here?"

The cute little aliens all look up and say, "The claw! The claw is our master.  The claw chooses who will go and who will stay."

Living in New York City sort of feels like that.  When you arrive you don't really know what is going on or who is in charge.  And you never know when the claw will come down and send you away.

I was warned when we first moved to New York City that we'd always have a temporary feeling but to live like this would be our home forever.  I took that advice to heart and have tried my best to do so.

Whenever we went back to visit Utah, where we kept our home, the number one question we were asked was,

"How long are you going to live
 in New York City?"  

Which is sort of like asking, "When is the claw going to pick you?"

My reply was always the same, "For as long as we can."

Well, last month the claw swooped down and picked us.  We ended up packing up our apartment in 3 days and spent 5 days driving a moving truck with our belongings back to Pleasant Grove, Utah.

Devastation does not even begin to describe how I feel that our adventure in New York City is over.  I have shed so many tears that I think I'm permanently dehydrated.

Leaving so quickly didn't give me adequate time say a proper goodbye to all the dear friends I made.  But I tried my best.  I would say the number one response was,

"You'll be back."  

I hope that is true. 


I didn't have much time for mental preparation, so right now I feel like I'm in a period of mourning.  Here is a list of things I already miss about living in New York City:

  • Friendly doorman welcoming me back when I return home.  
  • Someone to pick up my packages for me so they don't get stolen.
  • Several grocery stores within a 10-minute walk from my apartment, one just across the street. 
  • Being able to read while on the subway.
  • Hearing languages from all over the world as I walk down the sidewalk. 
  • Taking less than 10 minutes and 3 steps to clean my whole kitchen.
  • Being able to do more than one load of laundry at once.
  • Having boxes and large items magically disappear.
  • Meeting several visitors when I go to church. 
  • Meeting new investigators when I go to church.
  • Feeding the missionaries whenever I want. 
  • Museums, exhibits, pop up stores, festivals, and events on any given day.  
  • The parks, so many parks everywhere I turn. 
  • POPS (Privately owned Public Spaces) where you can sit and watch people go by. 
  • The food, mostly bagels and pizza. 
  • Restaurant week that last 3 weeks. 
  • Being able to help tourists who are lost or confused, or even just to assure them if they are scared. 
But the number one thing I miss already are the amazing friends I made in New York City.   These are people who are willing to live in a crazy, crowded, fast-paced metropolitan area. This creates an instant connection that forms friendships quite quickly.  Since no one knows when they'll get selected by the claw, you don't waste time with the "let's get to know each other for a while before we decide whether to be friends" phase. 

Fortunately, with cell phones and social media, my NYC friends never feel that far away.  But it doesn't keep me from sobbing all the time.  

Now we are in the process of trying to figure out how to merge all of our NYC household items into our Utah suburban home.  Which piece do I love more?  What should go?  What can stay?  Do these look good together?  My home is becoming kind of a mid-century/farmhouse blend, which are two styles I never would have thought to put together.  (I just googled it, apparently it is a thing.)

As I unpack and try to find a new home for my NYC wares, the symbolism is not lost on me.  I learned tons in the short time I was in NYC.  Some of my new knowledge won't do me any good back in the suburbs of Utah. (Like making sure you exit a car on the side closest to the sidewalk so that a taxi doesn't hit you as you get out.)  

But just like with my furniture, I hope there are some lessons I learned that I can keep with me and never forget. 



  





Monday, January 22, 2018

Toolulah and the Millionaire Soldier in Afghanistan

Toolulah got a letter from a soldier in Afghanistan. 

Is it just me or does she have a lot of makeup on her dresser while living in Afghanistan?  
Meet Sgt. Rosine Smith.  She's fighting for our freedom... or trying to take all my money.  One of those two.  My thoughts within her emails are in all caps.

Nice to meet you , I am Sgt. Rosine Smith from the South Eastern State of the United State (Kentucky) THAT IS DEFINITELY WHAT WE CALL KENTUCKY, THE SOUTH EASTERN STATE based in Kabul Afghanistan, I hope all is well with you? CONSIDERING I'M NOT IN KABUL AFGHANISTAN, I'D SAY I'M DOING PRETTY WELL I am working with the United States Air Force peace keeping troop in Afghanistan, on war against terrorism. I need your help. OF COURSE, THAT MAKES SENSE THAT THE USAF WOULD ASK RANDOM CITIZENS TO HELP FIGHT THE WAR ON TERRORISM.

I have in my possession the sum of $ 3.5 million dollars (three million five hundred thousand United States dollars) that I made here in Afghanistan. WAIT A MINUTE, JUST HOW MUCH ARE WE PAYING OUR SOLDIERS? 

I deposited this money with an agent of the Red Cross. WHAT IS A RED CROSS AGENT?   I want you to remain my beneficiary and receive the fund and keep it safe until I can meet with you. ISN'T THE AGENT KEEPING IT SAFE? I have an urgent need to get this box out of here because they are planning to take some troops out of Afghanistan and I am among them, now I have no choice but to move this box to a safe place, that's why I contacted you and I believe in you . 

It will help me to invest in a good profitable company, GOOD PROFITABLE COMPANIES TYPICALLY AREN'T LOOKING FOR INVESTORS, IT'S THE ONES WHO HOPE TO BECOME PROFITABLE WHO LIKE INVESTORS I will give you 20% of the fund for your assistance after you have received the cash. You will send a response kindly WHAT HAPPENS IF I RESPOND MEANLY? if you are willing to work with me to be able to send you the information where the money was deposited, BUT YOU ALREADY TOLD ME THAT THE CASH IS WITH THE RED CROSS your urgent response is needed. Everything I need from you is honest and trustworthy.

Regards,

Well this seems pretty legit.  A soldier in Afghanistan, who has time to do her hair and makeup each day, has made $3.5 million working with the USAF peace keeping troop. Toolulah is in. 

Wow!  What a story.
How did you make $3.5 million in the army?

Because, you know, that's a pretty good gig.  Maybe Toolulah should join the army. 

She responds,

Due to the United Nation policy on Afghanistan, there is a plan to move some troops out of Afghanistan... BLAH BLAH BLAH, LET'S GET TO THE GOOD STUFF... 

I must not fail to explain to you how I came across this fund I want you to use for investment.  OKAY LAY IT ON ME.  our soldiers had encounter and exchanged bullets with some gunmen YOU TRADED BULLETS WITH SOME GUNMEN?  and eventually three of our soldiers were injured in the event while over sixteen of the gunmen were killed, as a nurse in the army. THE GUNMEN WERE NURSES IN THE ARMY?  YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T EXCHANGE BULLETS WITH THEM THEN.  

I and my group rushed to give medical attention to our men WAIT, WHY DIDN'T THE NURSES GIVE MEDICAL ATTENTION?  OH YEAH, THEY WERE THE GUNMEN who were injure at the spot where the sixteen gun men were shot to dead, SHOT TO DEAD?  IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE SHOT TO LIVE?  I saw two trunks and showed it to my fellow YOUR FELLOW?  DO YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND FROM THE 1950'S?  and we decided to force of the trunks open and discovered huge amount of dollars in it  and we did the same to the other trunk and saw the same thing and we quickly took the trunks.  AND THEN YOU SHOT THE FELLOW TO DEAD RIGHT?  IF YOU DIDN'T, YOU BETTER SLEEP WITH ONE EYE OPEN. 

Finally, I want you to stand as the beneficiary and receive the fund and keep it safe so that as soon as i come to your country, MY COUNTRY?  ISN'T THE UNITED STATES YOUR COUNTRY TOO? you will assist me to invest it in a good profitable venture,I will give you 20% of the total money for the assistance after you have receive the money. SO AFTER I GET 100% OF THE MONEY FROM THE RED CROSS AGENT, YOU ARE THEN GOING TO GIVE ME 20% OF IT?  NO, I'LL JUST KEEP THE 100%, THANKS. 

Where we are now we can only communicate through our military communication facilities, which are secured so no body can monitor our emails, BODIES CAN'T MONITOR EMAILS, BECAUSE YOU KNOW, THEY ARE BODIES then I can explain in details to you. I will only reach you through email, because the control unit monitor all calls, I HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU BUT EMAILS ARE PRETTY EASY TO MONITOR TOO I just have to be sure whom I am dealing with. OH HONEY, YOU HAVE NO IDEA Please if you can handle it, let me know so that i will furnish you on the way forward. 

Okay, so to sum up.  You and another soldier stole $3.5M and gave it to the Red Cross but I am the only one you can trust.  So you are going to give me all of it, I'll tell you where it is, you'll come pick it up and let me keep 20%. 

Amazing!  And they were in US dollars in the trunk?
Because exchanging Afghanistan currency in Utah can be tricky. 

these are looted funds being moved before our encounter HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU ROSINE, BUT SOUNDS LIKE YOU WERE THE ONE WHO LOOTED THE FUNDS AFTER THE ENCOUNTER.  

Who looted them? Toolulah asks.  

hi, we traced and figured out that the trunk was being moved by ISIS members HERE'S A THOUGHT, INSTEAD OF TRACING DOWN THE MONEY, GO GET THE ISIS MEMBERS! 

Toolulah doesn't like ISIS.  

Oh, I don’t want ISIS money. They are bad dudes.


She has a great response. 

this money was recovered, RECOVERED?  I DO NOT THINK THAT WORD MEANS WHAT YOU THINKS IT  MEANS so i am the owner of the money as we speak, and i am urgency to move the box THE BOX?  WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OTHER BOX? out of here before my troop gets transferred...

Toolulah asks, 

When does your troop get transferred?

the information that cam was the my troop is to move in less than 4 months. the exact time was not stated, thta is the more reason i have to move the box as quick as possible 

Rosine must be in a hurry, she doesn't have time to capitalize anymore.  

i will send the diplomat information so you can contact him and let him know where the box will be delivered

Diplomat?  I thought it was a Red Cross Agent. 

Oh let’s not waste time with all of that.

First you need to try to find more boxes.
Seven days goes by and I don't hear from Rosine.  I get worried.  


Hello?  Did you die?

She finally starts to get suspicious. 

The company have been waiting for my beneficiary, YOU HAVE A COMPANY?  but I have failed to get someone so far WHAT?  NO ONE IS GOING FOR THIS?  I'M SHOCKED! and I am not sure if your serious or playing with me in this issue,  I'M DEFINITELY PLAYING WITH YOU that is the reason. I had to let you to be.. 



Saturday, January 13, 2018

Questions for a Certain Englishman About a Certain Englishman's Wife

What is something I say a lot?  
"Here's something I learned today..." or "Did you know?" 

What makes me happy?
"A clean kitchen." [SAD BUT TRUE, NOTHING BRINGS ME MORE JOY.]

Did I have any pets growing up?
"You did. Ponderosa.  It was an Irish setter." 

What makes me sad?
"That so many people in the nation believe Trump is an honest man." [I DON'T KNOW HOW SAD THAT MAKES ME, MORE LIKE MAD.]

How tall am I?
"5'2 and 3/4" 

What's my favorite thing to do?
"You have lots of favorite things to do.  You love to write.  You love to walk along the Hudson river.  You love to hear the ocean waves crashing." 

What is my favorite food?
"You love a good rare steak.  A certain pizza in New York City.  A certain burrito from your childhood. And you love finding and creating new dishes." 

What is my favorite drink?
"There are a number.  Grape juice on crushed ice. Strawberry-kiwi Shasta.  Dr. Pepper. All kinds of Italian sodas." [BUT OF ALL OF THESE, GRAPEFRUIT PERRIER IS THE TOP.]
What is my favorite candy bar?
"Peanut butter M&M's. Oh, Twix would be your favorite candy bar."
If I could go anywhere, where would it be?
"To your own quiet retreat in the house." [YEP, I TRAVEL ENOUGH.  THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME. AND EVEN BETTER THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE A QUIET HOME.]

What is my dream car?
"A convertible Mercedes Benz"  [I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW MERCEDES BENZ HAD CONVERTIBLES AND I DON'T LIKE CONVERTIBLES.  BUT THERE IS A 1969 BENZ IN THEIR SHOWROOM IN STUTTGART I'VE GOT MY EYE ON.]

What does my dream house look like?
"Smaller than our current house with a sun porch and it's clutter free and low maintenance." [AND THERE IS NO YARD, AND A DOORMAN TO ACCEPT MY DELIVERIES, AND IT'S CLOSE TO DOWNTOWN SALT LAKE CITY, AND IT PROFESSIONALLY DECORATED BUT LOOKS LIKE I DID IT MYSELF.]

Do you think you could live without me?
(Long pause). "Yeah, I do.  For how long, I don't know."  [MEANING HE'LL GET REMARRIED RIGHT AWAY????]

What scares me the most?
"Your own shadow." (Laughs.) "Me waking you up."  [IT'S TRUE, WHEN HE WAKES ME UP I SCREAM LIKE I'M BEING ATTACKED WITH A KNIFE.  HE HATES TO HAVE TO WAKE ME UP.]

What do I make that you love to eat?
"I love eating your new creations.  I love your salads.  In the last year, the cookies you make. Your burritos."  [SINCE MY FRIEND DIED, I'VE BEEN MAKING HER COOKIE RECIPE A LOT.]
How do I annoy you?
(He snorts.) "I was just thinking about waking you up." (Long pause) "I'm trying to remember some times when I've been frustrated.  You'll say something or do something and I'm like 'C'mon!' but I can't remember what triggered that." [NICE SAVE.]
What is my favorite tv show?
"West Wing."
What is my favorite music to listen to?
"Music that is cducational that has powerful messages like Brave by Sara Barailles or I Lived by One Republic.  There is a common theme in the music you like, positive messages that are uplifting and inspiring." [I ALSO LIKE TRY BY COLBIE CAILLAT AND TRY BY P!NK]

If the house was on fire, what is the one thing I would grab before running out of the house (assuming all family members are safe)?
"Whatever family history stories that are written and not available electronically." [THAT'S SO TRUE, I NEED TO DO MORE SCANNING.]
What is my job?
(Long pause.) "What is your job?  CEO of the Pack clan in addition to your writing and serving communities at large over the same period of time."
How old am I?
"You're 48." (Long pause)  "You're a young 48." 

What's my favorite color?
"Blue." [IT'S LIGHT BLUE, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.]
How much do you love me?
"More than words can say and beyond how far my arms can stretch."

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Toolulah's Back! And She's Getting Reported to the FBI!

It's been a while since I've had time to do some scambaiting, but getting sick over the holidays freed up my schedule to stir up some trouble.  There are just so many Hallmark movies one can watch.

So one day, I was looking through Toolulah's emails and found this gem: [MY THOUGHTS ARE
IN BRACKETS AND IN ALL CAPS. I bolded the words that jumped out at me as funny.]



From United States Former Ambassador to the Republic of Benin: [I'M CONFUSED IS THIS ADDRESSED TO ME OR TO THE REPUBLIC OF BENIN?]

 This is Mr Frank Edward. the Former United States [ARE WE NO LONGER THE UNITED STATES???] Ambassador to Republic of Benin, [NO FRANK EDWARD WAS EVER AN AMBASSADOR TO BENIN, I LOOKED]

 I came down here in Cotonou Benin Republic for an ECOWAS meeting [ECOWAS SHOWS NO RECORD OF ANY MEETINGS IN BENIN IN 2017] and I was searching for some files that I left in this office before I left [JUST HOW MESSY IS THIS OFFICE?] and found out that you have not received your fund, and I asked the present ambassador Mr James Knight

THIS IS THE CURRENT AMBASSADOR TO BENIN, HER NAME IS NOT MR. JAMES KNIGHT


what happened that you have not receive your fund since months ago, [SHE'S BEEN THE AMBASSADOR FOR YEARS] and he said that you refused to pay the required fee for the delivery of your ATM CARD. [I LOVE HOW HE MAKES ME FEEL LIKE IT'S MY FAULT FOR REFUSING TO PAY THE FEE. THIS SHOULD GIVE YOU A HINT AS TO HOW THINGS ARE GOING TO GO.]


  I'm contacting you this morning because the director of the ATM CARD center here in Benin Republic [WHY WOULD THIS GUY BOTHER TO CONTACT THE DIRECTOR OF THE ATM CARD CENTER?] said that they will divert your ATM CARD to the Government Treasury [THE TREASURY USES ATMS?]  just because that you cannot pay for the service fee of your ATM CARD which is $105.00 only according to them. [SO ONLY THE DIRECTOR THINKS THE FEE IS $105.00? WHAT DOES EVERYONE ELSE THINK?]

But I told them to wait until I hear from you today [THAT WAS GENEROUS OF YOU.] so that I will know the reason why you rejected such amount of money $5.5 Million which will change your life [HOW DO YOU KNOW $5.5M WILL CHANGE MY LIFE?  MAYBE I'M ALREADY REALLY RICH AND DIDN'T WANT TO BE BOTHERED!]  just because of $105.OO [ARE THOSE ZEROES OR THE LETTER "O"?]

I want your urgent response as soon as you receive this email and explain to me the reason why you have abandon your ATM CARD [IS MY ATM CARD ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD WITH A CARDBOARD SIGN BEGGING FOR FOOD?]  because of $105.OO But if you don't need it then I can change your name to another person [MAYBE TO MR FRANK EDWARD?] so that this Government will not claim this money but I know that you will love to have it. [MAYBE I DON'T LOVE MY ATM CARD, MAYBE THAT'S WHY I ABANDONED IT!]

 My dear [I THINK MR FRANK EDWARD HAS A CRUSH ON ME.]  I want to help you to receive this fund because it was a big shock to me [HE'S REALLY EMOTIONALLY INVESTED IN THIS ATM CARD!] that you have not receive your ATM CARD and withdraw your money since months ago you will receive your fund before the end of this meeting. [WAIT, WHAT?  I WILL RECEIVE MY FUNDS MONTHS AGO?  CAN THIS ATM CARD TIME TRAVEL?]

   This is where you should send the fee today and don't fail to do that as I have said.

   Receiver Name==== Frank Chi [WHAT A MINUTE, THAT'S YOUR NAME!]
   Country =======Benin Republic
   City ============= Cotonou
   Text Question ===== When
   Answer ============ Now
   Am ount ======== $105.00
   Sender Name ==== [HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN MY NAME ALREADY?]
   Mtcn ====

 I will wait to hear from you today with the mtcn number.

  Your Sincerely [MY SINCERELY WHAT?]
  Mr Frank Edward
  Tale: +22968074155 [YOU NUMBER YOUR STORIES?]

I have learned to hook a scammer so they go off  script, I have to keep my email short.
I say, "$105 is too much money I don’t have it" 

He took the bait and went off script immediately.  

How much can you be able to come up with? 
Am waiting for your urgent respond. 
Thanks

Hmmm... looks like this $105 fee is negotiable.  I decide to lowball him.  

If I sell my pet, I think I could come up with $10.

If you recall, I have a goat that has been causing me problems.  

If you are interested in receiving your funds then you have to try and come up with $75

This guy is tough.  He's only knocked off $30 from the initial fee.  Wait a minute!  Didn't he say the director of the ATM Center told him what the fee was?  How is he able to negotiate the fee?  

Before I can respond, he sends me another email. 

You will send the fee through Money Gram or western union  with this information's below.

Receiver name ---Yaron Gwanda [WHY IS IT NOW A DIFFERENT RECEIVER?]
City-------------COTONOU
Country----------BENIN REPUBLIC
Test Question----GOD
Test Answer------GOOD
Amount-----------$75
I am waiting to hear from you today with the payment slip. 

Based on the test question and test answer, I think he's getting frustrated with me. I try to talk him down. 

$75 is too much. 

How about $25? 

Maybe I could round up some more cats or something. 
He definitely is off script now.  

Hello i received your email and i want u to try as much as you can to send $50 today. 
Am waiting to hear from you today with the payment slip. 

It's at this point I want to go out of character and ask "try as much as I can? Do you think being poor comes from not trying hard enough?"  Ugh!  But I resist.  

I can’t do $50. Maybe we could come up with a different plan. 


Now I've got him confused. 

How do u mean? 

I ask, "Is there something else I could do besides pay the money?"  Within reason of course.  

He answers: 

No,  you have to try as much as you can to raise the $50 because your first payment is ready and the only delay right now is the transfer fee. 
So you have to try and send the fee today.

Again with the trying!  This IS me trying.  He writes again.  

You will send the fee through Money Gram with this information's below. [SO I CAN'T USE WESTERN UNION ANYMORE?]


Receiver name ---Yaron Gwanda
City-------------COTONOU
Country----------BENIN REPUBLIC
Test Question----GOD
Test Answer------GOOD

Amount-----------$50

Am waiting to receive the payment slip as soon as u made the payment.

I write back "Do you have any suggestions as to how I can try to come up with $50?" 

I always like to see how creative these scammers are.  Turns out this guy isn't very creative.  

Sell your property 

Dude!  I live in New York City.  If I owned property, I wouldn't be worried about getting a $5.5 million ATM CARD!!! 

I don’t own any property. 

Then he calls my bluff.  

In that case you have to send the $25 immediately i will help you with the remaining balance. 
Am waiting to hear from you with the payment slip. 

Now this gets me thinking.  If he's in a position to help me with the remaining balance, why wouldn't he be willing to pay the whole thing?  After all, I could pay him back.  I mean I will have $5.5 million after all.  

Maybe you could lend me the $25? 

This is when I woke the beast.  He got really angry.  Here's the edited version.  

[BLEEP] you and stop contacting me. 
I am reporting you to the united state FBI right now. 
Stupid fool

Oh, I'm sorry!  Do strangers asking you for money via email make you angry? You poor thing!  Sheesh!